Sega Producer Explains Why Sonic Boom Isn’t Coming To Wii U

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.

Thanks, MasterPikachu6

Sonic Thrives On Mobile With 100 Million Sonic Dash Downloads

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.

Looks As Though IGN Is Backing Tails For Super Smash Bros

It's okay to vote for yourself, right? #SmashBallot #SmashBros

A photo posted by IGN (@igndotcom) on

Wondering who IGN want included as the downloadable character for Super Smash Bros? Well judging from their Instagram page it would seem as though they’re backing Sonic’s best friend Tails. I suppose he would make the perfect companion for Sonic who already stars in the brawler. Don’t forget you can vote for your favourite character, here.

Thanks, Kaptain Krusha K. Rool

Be Sure To Get Your Mario And Sonic Costumes For Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

The Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate DLC pack is out now and with it comes Super Mario costumes and Sonic costumes. The other good news is that it is absolutely free. Not content with the Mario and Sonic costumes? Well you will also be pleased to know that there are additional all-new quests and equipment.

Sonic Boom Wii U Producer Defends The Game

The TV series of Sonic Boom may have been a success, but the games on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U have been far from it. Former SEGA America producer Stephen Frost still believes that the whole package has been a success. Frost mentions that there are people that loved the game and appreciate that they were trying to take Sonic in a new direction. Here’s some choice quotes.

  • Suggestion that Sonic had to re-invent itself because the fanbase was getting smaller. Gives Call of Duty as an example/comparison.
  • Boom was made to appeal to non Sonic fans. — This is stated multiple times.
  • Suggestion that people/retailers are bored of Classic – Dreamcast era Sonic. States you can only do so much with these eras/characters. He does go on to suggest this is from a retailer standpoint.
  • Claims multiple times that Boom (franchise) is a big success.
  • Admits Boom (franchise) could have been better.
    “Could the games have been better… yes, any game can be made better.”
  • Suggestion that part of the reason why Boom (game) isn’t that good is because the team didn’t know what Sonic was about/lack of experience.
  • “In focus tests, we heard all the time, people were sick of speed, Sonic was too fast, they wanted to slow down.”
  • “People really liked the Co-Op” — Hopes Sonic Team will do that in the future.
  • “The biggest mistake in Boom (gaame) was adding too many features to it.
  • “It was too much to ask of the/any development team” — In terms of different characters, combat, features etc.
  • “I was tasked (by Sega) with creating an experience that appeals to an audience which doesn’t play Sonic.”
  • “If I could do it again, I would remove features and speed would be the main focus from the start.”
  • “Speed was shelved because we were under the impression people didn’t want it.”
  • “Speed is always a Sonic thing, we didn’t focus on that.”
  • “The goal of Boom was to reach new people.”
  • “As a branch of Sonic, Boom is a success in many ways.”
  • Suggests that due to how much content you need to make for a Sonic alone game, it’s too much work. You need additional characters to spread the burden of content.
  • “Multiple characters resonate well with people”
    “Solo Sonic games, I don’t know how long that can last there isn’t enough variety to sustain it.”
  • “The future of Sonic games needs to be Co-Op, it worked really well in Sonic Boom, community and online play, that sustains it.”
    Say’s he’d love to see a Sonic level design game.
  • “In general, you need to do multiplayer and add online multiplayer aspects, that will sustain and keep the franchise alive.”
  • Says that the reason for the change in release date was likely a number of reasons, cartoon air date, Nintendo release dates, Sega release dates.
  • When the decision was made to change Boom’s release date, Sega did not know when Smash was coming out.

Thanks, Alex

Head Of Sonic Team Says Sonic Will Appear Again On Home Consoles

With the recent restructuring of Sega and their emphasis on mobile and PC some thought that Sonic might be relegated to a future on smartphones and tablets. Thankfully, Takashi Iizuka who is the head of Sonic Team, said we should still expect to see Sonic titles on home consoles. The next home console Sonic title was rumoured for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and hopefully the Wii U.

Personally, I don’t plan to stop Sonic for home-video game consoles. Don’t worry about them! And enjoy!

Thanks, MasterPikachu6

Sonic Advance Coming To Japanese Wii U eShop Next Week

If you’re a Sonic fan and live in Japan then you’ll be super pleased to know that Sonic Advance is coming to the Japanese Wii U eShop next week. Sonic’s well received adventure takes up 200MB and will be arriving on February 18th. Sonic Advance will cost Japanese consumers ¥702. Let’s hope it also makes it way to the west as I’m sure there’s more than a few of you that would enjoy it.

Thanks, misterbreada