With Sonic’s 20th anniversary coming up it is rather strange that Sega has neglected to mention what they have in store for fans. Many are hoping that we will finally get a next generation Sonic title on the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, as those two consoles have yet to have their own Sonic game. The only Sonic titles in sight are Sonic Runners, which is out now on iOS and Android, and Sonic Boom Fire & Ice, which is coming out sometime in the winter for Nintendo 3DS. Aaron Webber, Sonic the Hedgehog PR & Social Media Manager, has said that they definitely have something in store for fans to celebrate Sonic’s 25th anniversary and says that they should have something to share early next year.
If you are a Sonic fan then you will be relieved to know that the upcoming Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is set to play more like classic Sonic games than its predecessor. There were a lot of surprised people when we found out just before E3 that Sanzaru were developing a new entry in the Sonic Boom series. However, we’ve been assured at this year’s E3 event that Sanzaru is listening to fan criticism and are trying to make this feel like the classic Sonic games we have had in the past.
- Developer Sanzaru is listening to fan criticism.
- Studied the map layouts of past 2D sonic titles especially Sonic Rush and the Genesis games.
- Controls have also been revamped to feel like Classic Sonic.
- Not necessary to gain collectibles to move forward through the game
- 5 playable characters (Amy now playable)
- Folks at Sanzaru would love to make another Sly Cooper.
Not only did Hyrule Warriors 3DS leak today, presumably earlier than expected, but it seems like Sega may have revealed some information they shouldn’t have and quickly took down the tweet. The rumoured tweet from the Japanese Sega account apparently said that Sonic’s amiibo would work with Hyrule Warriors and that Sonic would possibly be playable in some form or another. The tweet was accompanied by the image above. Guess we will find out next week!
It’s only been a day since the reveal of Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, however a picture of the supposed box art has surfaced. The box art, showing a wide range of Sonic’s friend-group, highlights some of the new enemies along with a distinct fire and ice theme. There is no set release date for Fire & Ice, however SEGA has confirmed that it is a Nintendo 3DS exclusive.
An interview has been published online from way back in 2001 between Sonic creator Yuji Naka and legendary Nintendo developer Shigeru Miyamoto. In the interview Sega developer Yuji Naka states that his intentions weren’t to beat Nintendo, but to make games that could stand shoulder to shoulder with theirs. The interview was conducted by Japanese gaming publication Famitsu right before the Japanese release of Sonic Advance back in December 2001.
Naka: Since the beginning, Sega has been saying “we need to beat Nintendo!” But my intention wasn’t really to “beat” Nintendo, but to make games that could stand shoulder to shoulder with theirs. If you try to make the exact same thing you’ll never win; you’ve got pursue a different path. That was our thinking when we made Sonic… but of course, when Miyamoto showed me new games like Mario 64, I realized we were lagging behind again! Just when I thought we were on par, he goes and puts out an amazing game like that.
Miyamoto: Well, whether you’re leading or trying to play catch up, I think that’s ultimately something that the players decide. We’re not exactly sitting cross-legged in some zen pose either; we’re diligently trying to stay ahead! (laughs) You overtook us in a big way in America, after all.
Naka: But Mario has sold 100 million copies. We can’t compete with that!
Miyamoto: Our thinking about that is the same as Namco’s. In their development process, they always spend a lot of time in the final tune-up phase. They’re very smart about programming there. So, in our own way, we too take a lot of time with game balancing: it’s like, “ok everyone, time for the tune-up!” That thinking derives from a saying we have at Nintendo: “it takes 5 years to build your brand, but only 2 to ruin it.”
Naka: I would love to work with Miyamoto on a game, at least once. I’m really interested in the details of your development process.
Naka: I’d like to see Sonic in a Smash Bros. game someday. (laughs) Actually, I talked about it at Space World with the director of the last Smash Bros. He said “I wish you’d have said something sooner!” (laughs)
Miyamoto: Well, if Sega is ok with it, we can add him anytime. I like that idea! (laughs)
Sega Producer Omar Woodley and Sega PR representative Aaron Weber have spoken to GameSpot about all things Sonic. On the agenda first was the reason why they decided to skip the Wii U this time around with Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice. The answer is partly due to the developers Sanzaru Games having prior experience developing for the Nintendo 3DS and also that the Nintendo 3DS version of the original Sonic Boom was the stronger version.
GameSpot: Since the Wii U version was less successful last time, and the 3DS was already more popular, why not try to do the Wii U version again but better? Why shift completely to the 3DS?
Aaron Weber: Sanzaru [the game’s developer] was already focused on the 3DS; they already had the structure built, and they already had the systems in place. So it was just a natural step for us to go with 3DS. So that was the main focus for us.
Omar Woodley: And the 3DS was definitely the stronger of the two titles last year. We saw it both in the user and the critical reviews, and so that was what really decided it. If we’re really going to focus on something, we’re really going to step it up and improve all of the things that need improvement, and try to make it a really solid game. The 3DS was a very natural choice.
We weren’t too happy about the Wii U [version]; we totally feel the 3DS was the stronger of the two. So [Fire & Ice] is 3DS-only. We learned a lot from all the reviews, from our events with consumers, from all the fans, and we took a lot of those comments to heart. So we went back to the drawing board and worked on a new game, with [developer] Sanzaru Games–Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice.
Basically, we took a lot of that feedback and we tried to fix what consumers and the fans felt was not truly “Sonic” in the last game or what were problematic areas: the character swapping; some of the special abilities weren’t fluid enough; the size of the levels were enormous and the users felt lost in this huge labyrinth. And also, users really felt that the speed wasn’t there. The speed that represented Sonic wasn’t true, so we went back and kind of reestablished and reworked a lot of our methodologies on how we designed the levels.
We really wanted to focus on fluidity of gameplay. So in this version we’ve actually decreased the size of the levels about 40%. We’ve cut a linear path through the main part of the level, so you can literally sprint through the whole level and have that fast Sonic experience. We’ve put all the exploration aspects on the periphery of the levels. We’re keeping the exploration because that is what Sonic Boom is. It’s a way of us taking Sonic out of his classic legacy gameplay, his arcade vibe, and it’s giving him a more real-world presentation, a more adventure-based presentation for a new generation of gamers.
We’ve also tied the game more closely to where the animated series is at this point. Last year we launched the game right at the beginning of the animated series. There wasn’t really a great following because the train was literally just leaving the station at that time. So nobody really knew what Sonic Boom was. A lot of the core fans said, “That’s not Sonic.” But I think this time around Sonic Boom is one of the leading cartoons on the Cartoon Network. We have established the merchandising already in stores so the message is pretty clear what Sonic Boom is.
As we found out earlier this year, Sega is focussing its efforts now on the mobile and PC space and they seem to be having some success. The company has announced today that they’ve seen 100 million downloads for their free-to-play Sonic Dash title for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The runner already has 14 million monthly players, which is quite a substantial user base. This all seems to bode well for Nintendo’s entry with DeNA into the smartphone market later this year.