Tell us why you choose to work on a Sega Mega Drive book of all things?
We were asked by Sega to pitch on a documentary book after they saw our first title - Sensible Software 1986–1999. I picked the Mega Drive as it was the defining console for me and I felt like I was pretty well positioned to tackle it confidently. I tried to draw up a proposal for the Mega Drive book I wanted to own myself and not try to get too bogged down in what would be commercial or second guess what they might want to see. We were staggered to hear that they liked the proposal and we were offered a license.
Who is the book designed for?
The book is for anybody with a connection to the console. We cover so many aspects of the era - from production artwork to the hardware itself, right through to developer interviews - I'm hopeful every fan will flick through the book and immediately be confronted with brand new material related to games they have already have an intimate connection with.
What was is about the Mega Drive that makes it so special?
How has Keith been working on the project - is playing the games part of it for him and you?!
Have you / Keith had any interesting adventures tracking people and information down for researching the book?
How have SEGA contributed to the development of the book?
Tell us a bit about the artwork to feature in the book?
There is a great mixture of slick, highly finished production artwork and really rough 'n' ready, sketchy stuff from the early stages of the design process. To give a flavour of what's in store, there are character paintings for The Revenge of Shinobi, boss sketches for Wonder Boy III, detailed battle scenes for Golden Axe and really early, sketchy ideas for ToeJam & Earl. We'll also be featuring in-game artwork in a similar way to the Sensible Software book - showing off the detailed level maps and sprite sheets of iconic characters.
Tell us about the quality of finish of the book - we know as a designer and the quality of the Sensible Software book the print and finishing is very important to you as a Designer?
Did you learn a lot about SEGA and its games / hardware whilst being involved developing this book?
I'm still learning as we go! The insight into the development of some of the early Japanese games is extremely interesting and I think that will be a real highlight for fans. For instance, in our long-form interviews we learn of discarded boss fights from Shinobi, alternative level plans for Sonic and some surprising cinematic influences on classic Mega Drive games. I'm obviously being a bit coy here... I don't want to ruin the surprise!
What is your favourite 5 mega drive games of all time?
I won't be so bold as to place them in order, but I would select: Bonanza Bros., Micro Machines, Comix Zone, The Revenge of Shinobi and Streets of Rage 2.
Do you have plans to write a book on Nintendo after this one - balance the whole thing out then?!