When did the very first talks begin between Nintendo and Sega to bring Mario and Sonic together in a game?

Simon Jeffery: The very first talks? Probably actually happened while Sega was still in the hardware business. Because of the rivalry between the two companies at the time, that was rather fanciful. But when Sega abdicated the hardware business, it was something that just began to make more and more sense, and it was really a case of finding the right commonality that would work for both companies, and that commonality happened to be the Olympic Games, the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Were Sonic and Mario the only characters on the table, or were there others that you were thinking of bringing together? Maybe Panzer Dragoon with Metroid, or Virtua Fighter with Super Smash Bros?

Jeffery: Because both companies have such iconic mascots–when people like Ziff-Davis do their gamer research, it’s fairly consistent that Mario and Sonic will come out number one and number two as the most favored icons of the videogame industry. So it was just very logical from both of our perspectives to pursue a partnership between those two characters.

Why does Mario get top billing over Sonic?

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