Gamasutra has posted an extended interview with Hirokazu Yasuhara, one of the principles who created the original Sonic the Hedgehog titles. While his colleagues, Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima, have led somewhat more storied careers, Yasuhara has continued to plug away and has found himself in some interesting places. He is now a designer at Naughty Dog and worked on their most recent title, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.
While he’s called a ‘game designer’ it’s clear from the interview that Yasuhara is more specifically a level designer. Still, it’s interesting to hear him talk about his approach to creating environments with the goal of motivating players, as well as mentioning some ideas that should sound familiar to anyone who’s read Man, Play, and Games, the seminal work by the French sociologist Roger Caillois.