Nights into Dreams... is an action game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Sega Saturn in 1996. The story follows teenagers Claris and Elliot, who enter Nightopia, a dream world where all dreams take place. With the help of Nights, an exiled "Nightmaren", they begin a journey to stop the evil ruler Wizeman from destroying Nightopia and consequently the real world. Players control Nights flying through Claris and Elliot's dreams to gather enough energy to defeat Wizeman and save Nightopia. The game is presented in 3D and imposes time limits on every level, in which the player must accumulate points to proceed.
Development began after the release of Sonic & Knuckles in 1994, although the concept originated during the development of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 two years prior. Development was led by Sonic Team veterans Yuji Naka, Naoto Ohshima, and Takashi Iizuka. Naka began the project with the main idea revolving around flight, and Ohshima designed the character Nights to resemble an angel that could fly like a bird. Ohshima designed Nights as an androgynouscharacter. The team conducted research on dreaming and REM sleep, and was influenced by the works and theories of psychoanalysts Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. An analogue controller, the Saturn 3D controller, was designed alongside the game and included with some retail copies.
Nights into Dreams received acclaim for its graphics, gameplay, soundtrack, and atmosphere. It has appeared on several lists of the best games made. An abbreviated Christmas-themed version, Christmas Nights, was released in December 1996. The game was ported to the PlayStation 2 in 2008 in Japan and a high-definition version was released worldwide for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows in 2012.
“A sequel, Nights: Journey of Dreams, was released for the Wii in 2007.”