Takashi Iizuka (飯塚 隆 Īzuka Takashi?) is a key producer, director and designer within Sonic Team. Early in his career, he worked directly under Hirokazu Yasuhara as a senior game designer on Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, and quickly progressed to direct NiGHTS into Dreams and supervise development of Sonic R. In 1999, he is credited as the driving force behind Sonic Adventure, the franchise's third adventure in the third dimension, as it had been his idea to create a role-playing game featuring Sonic the Hedgehog himself. After the success of Sonic Adventure, Iizuka headed to America, where he and a few other members of Sonic Team began work on such games as Sonic Adventure 2 and NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams. Iizuka continued as head of this department, known as Sega Studio USA, until 2008, when it was disbanded, and team members, including Iizuka were absorbed back into the Japanese division. Thus, he became the head of Sonic Team.
His first collaboration with Sega involved working with Sega Technical Institute on Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles as a designer. Later, he helped supervise Traveller's Tales with the development of Sonic R. In Japan he was lead designer for NiGHTS into Dreams. He directed and headed up lead design for Sonic Adventure as well (it was his idea for a Sonic role-playing game).
In 2008, part of Sega Studio USA was absorbed back into Sonic Team Japan. Currently, he is the head of Sonic Team and also the new producer for Sonic Team's games since 2010.