According to the "1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die" book, this game was conceived when it's producer Takashi Izaka approached Sonic creator Yuji Naka with an idea for a brand new Sonic RPG that would have emphasis on story, characters, and 3-D visuals. I honestly can't help but see the classic competitive spirit between them and Nintendo mascot Mario, who's debut 3D game featured a minimalistic story and only one playable character, but mastered the relatively new genre of 3D platformer. The book calls the game a "flawed-masterpiece" and before I would have argued that the game really didn't have any problems aside from hardware issues. I would have argued that that the game was designed nearly perfectly with the exception of the mandatory fishing levels. But now I know exactly what they were talking about.