Naoto Ohshima

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Naoto Ohshima
Naoto ohshima gdc 2018.jpg
Ohshima in 2018
Born (1964-02-26) February 26, 1964 (age 58)
Osaka, Japan
Other namesBig Island
OccupationCharacter designer, game producer

Naoto Ohshima (大島 直人, Ōshima Naoto) (born February 26, 1964) is a Japanese artist and video game designer, best known for designing the Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr. Eggman characters from Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.[1][2] Although Yuji Naka created the original tech demo around which Sonic's gameplay was based, the character in his prototype was a ball that lacked any specific features.[3] Sonic Team considered numerous potential animal mascots before deciding on Ohshima's design, with an armadillo or hedgehog being the top choices because their spikes worked well with the concept of rolling into enemies.[2]

After leaving Sonic Team, Ohshima formed an independent game company called Artoon. There he went on to work on such games as Pinobee and Blinx: The Time Sweeper, and in 2004, the sequel to Blinx, Blinx 2: Masters of Time & Space. In 2010, Artoon was absorbed into AQ Interactive. That same year, he and other key members of Artoon left to form Arzest. Early in his career, he was credited under the nickname "Big Island" in a number of games, which is a literal translation of his family name.


Year Game Role
1987 Phantasy Star Designer
1988 Space Harrier 3-D Artist
SpellCaster Designer
1989 Phantasy Star II
Tommy Lasorda Baseball
Last Battle Art director
1991 Sonic the Hedgehog Character designer
Fatal Labyrinth Designer
1993 Sonic CD Director
1995 Knuckles Chaotix Original character concept
1996 Nights into Dreams Director, character designer
Sonic 3D Blast Advisor
1997 Sonic R Graphic advisor
Sonic Jam Supervisor
1998 Burning Rangers Director, character designer, graphic artist
Sonic Adventure Event motion designer, story event coordinator
2001 Pinobee: Wings of Adventure Director, character designer
2002 The Kings of Fighters EX: Neo Blood Art director
Ghost Vibration Game designer
Blinx: The Time Sweeper Director, game designer
2004 Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space
Yoshi's Universal Gravitation Producer
2006 Yoshi's Island DS Senior producer
Blue Dragon Executive producer
2007 Vampire Rain Producer
2008 Away: Shuffle Dungeon Producer, character designer
2010 FlingSmash Senior producer
Echoshift Producer
2014 Yoshi's New Island Development producer
2015 Terra Battle Character designer
2016 Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Supervisor
2017 Hey! Pikmin Development producer
2021 Balan Wonderworld Character designer


  1. ^ Sheffield, Brandon (2009-12-04). "Out of the Blue: Naoto Ohshima Speaks". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  2. ^ a b "The Essential 50 Part 28 - Sonic the Hedgehog". Archived from the original on March 28, 2017. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  3. ^ "Sonic's Architect: GI Interviews Hirokazu Yasuhara". Game Informer. Vol. 13, no. 124. August 2003. pp. 114–116.

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