Online gaming publication VGS tried out Sonic Boom at this year’s E3 event and didn’t entirely come away enamoured. In fact, the writer claims that Sonic Boom is the worse Sonic game that he has ever played and he has played Sonic 06 and Shadow the Hedgehog. One of the writers biggest gripes with Sonic Boom is the game’s pacing which he claims is slow. Like, Werehog stages slow. You can read his opinions about the latest Sonic title for Wii U and 3DS, below.
“Let me be clear by saying that I’ve played nearly every single Sonic game. Yes, even the bad ones. As a Sonic fan from the early 90’s it’s hard to pass up any of his games. And even though people claim his 3D adventures sucked I actually enjoyed many of them especially SA, SA2, and Generations. Up until now though it’s been well known that Sonic 06 and Shadow the Hedgehog are the worst things to ever happen to the Sonic universe (Spinball for me). Well, after my time spent with the Sonic Boom E3 demo, I walked away frightened and shaken feeling that this could very well be the worst Sonic game made to date.”
“My E3 demo allowed me to explore a few of the game’s different themed levels. There was platforming, running, and a boss battle—each showing the unique aspects of Sonic Boom. The first platforming stage paired me up with Knuckles and it was sort of a brawler type stage. Straight from the get-go I felt something was incredibly off. The timing and precision when attacking enemies felt very clunky and some of my attacks barely registered. This also applied to many of the segments that involved jumping. Then came the lasso. Oh, god. Every time your character needs to pull something they would use this energy lasso, which in concept sounds interesting but ends up feeling dull in practice. It’s basically a web shot mechanic we see in Spiderman games except it’s highly broken and requires a lot of effort to get something simple accomplished. For example, when trying to move the box I had trouble trying to get the lasso to register properly and even when it did it required me to keep pressing down on the A button and move in a certain direction. The one before me (who was playing Sonic Boom at the Nintendo booth) gave up entirely because the lasso didn’t work half the time. I only did it because I wanted to see what was at the end of the demo. Turns out it was a mini-boss which can only be defeated using the lasso by throwing enemies at it. The only problem with was the throwing distance felt off. At times the enemies I threw landed close to where they were supposed to causing more frustration.”
“This leads to my next biggest problem with my Sonic Boom impression, the pacing. This game is slow. Like, Werehog stages slow, maybe even slower considering the lasso takes forever to get something done. I understand that this is an adventure take on the Sonic universe and I honestly don’t mind that at all. But between the long fights, and moving objects around, it just felt kinda boring. There were diversions that broke up the action. For instance I used the Wii U’s gamepad screen to scan the level for items and then dig them out using Knuckles.”
“Sonic Boom needs a lot of work. When I completed my demo I asked one of the reps at BigRedDot if these levels were final and to my horror he acknowledged it with a firm yes. I’m worried what will become of Sonic Boom and if it does turn out to be the next Sonic 06, then that’s a shame because there were some elements I enjoyed. I liked how the characters finally have personality, I enjoyed swapping characters on the fly, and the adventure elements really brought back the Sonic Adventure feel (which is something I haven’t felt in a long time). I want Sonic Boom to succeed but judging by my E3 impressions I fear it will be destined to fail.”
Sega has revealed a brand new character called Sticks for Sonic Boom on the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U. Sticks is described as a jungle badger who has spent most of her life living alone in the wilderness. Sticks joins Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy to form the core ensemble featured throughout the Sonic Boom franchise.
“Sticks is new to Sonic’s circle of friends– actually new to friends in general– and as the most primal character in the Sonic universe, she is a force of nature in every way. Sticks is wilder than the other members of Sonic’s team with unparalleled animal instincts and extremely sharp survival skills. She’s a fearsome combatant and a tenacious hunter who’s armed with handmade weapons at all times, most notably a handmade boomerang that she keeps in tow.”
“Her wildness means that her social skills need plenty of work and she’s not the most trusting individual. Full of outrageous suspicions, Sticks’ instincts often prove to be accurate. While the concepts of sharing, compassion and friendship are foreign to her, Sticks has a good heart and a genuine desire to get closer to her new friends, particularly Amy, who helps Sticks adapt to civilization. Sticks and Amy quickly become best friends, with Sticks willing to go to extremes to protect her new pal, a quality that will play out through new Sonic Boom content. Her eccentric character adds an endless amount of humor and surprise to the Sonic team.”
Sonic Boom producer Stephen Frost has revealed to Sonic Stadium why the development team have been so quiet regarding Sonic Boom for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Frost says that the developers have had to work carefully with partners and things need to be planned and organized carefully. Hopefully they can break the silence at E3 in Los Angeles next month.
“I’ve been asked to chime in a bit here so I’ll do what I can to share some info with you all. I’ve said it a few times in the past, but there were key reasons why we announced the Sonic Boom initiative when we did. Along with that, there are a lot of partners involved with Sonic Boom so we have to be mindful of their timelines and requirements for their respective fields. It’s not just about a game anymore… This is a large group effort so any announcements and information shared publically needs to really be planned and organized carefully. We need to make sure that things we reveal don’t impact other parts and vice versa.”
“I completely appreciate the fact that you fans are hungry for info specific to the games, I really do. And that’s why we all work these endless late nights and weekends… It’s to get all the pieces in place for when the campaign does really kick off. We still have a ways until the cartoon and game launch, as well as the new toy line, so we need to pace all the info appropriately. And it all starts as we head into E3. You’ll learn more, for sure, but not everything. And the reveal of new assets and info should be more frequent from that point on. But trust me when I say there is no lack of effort by anyone involved with Sonic Boom. This is, by far, the biggest united effort I have personally ever seen Sega be involved in. We want to share everything with everyone because we are so excited… We just can’t… Yet.”
“So, please be a bit more patient. I’m working on screens and commenting on releases so stuff is coming. We will even have a bit of a surprise in there for you, as well as the first info and assets for the 3DS version. There is quite a bit of cool stuff ahead so hang in there.”
Takashi Iizukahas revealed that the core Sonic team is currently working on a brand new Sonic title for unspecified platforms. The game will retain the original Sonic look and the mechanics we’ve grown to love over the years and will be showcased later this year.
“At the moment, the core Sonic team at SEGA is working on a new title that will use the traditional look and mechanics of the series, which will get more details later during the year.”
“At the same time, Big Red Button, an entirely new studio, is working on a new version of the entire game universe, called Sonic Boom, which will use an entirely new aesthetic and is designed to accompany the delivery of a new range of toys and a new cartoon series.”
Takashi Iizuka, the producer behind Wii U and Nintendo 3DS exclusive Sonic Lost World, has revealed to 4Gamer that the team is now interested in creating more levels in partnership with Nintendo. Whether this is means more Zelda or Yoshi levels or utilising other Nintendo IP’s remains to be seen, but is interesting none the less.
“Sonic Lost World is a title that only released on Nintendo hardware, which is an opportunity that I couldn’t believe, collaborating together. This time, the appearance is interesting, as combining Sonic into such a world is extremely foreign, and I wanted to aim at the unexpected.”
“In normal production, the hardest part is building up the base of the game. Stages can normally be changed simply by variations, but this time, it was shaped to be a different experience on each stage of the DLC, which is why it took so long to complete.”
“The team says that the music, sound and songs of The Legend of Zelda were entertaining to try and re-create and is now interested in working on more levels that allow it to collaborate with Nintendo.”
Information regarding the Sonic The Hedgehog film have leaked online. The producers behind the film are apparently aiming to create something dark and edgy. The film is apparently geared towards an older audience and will feature a mix of live-action and animation. The only thing the film needs now is a writer for the project. Here’s the shortlist.
- Brad Bird (“Incredibles, “”Wall-E,” “Brave,” “Toy Story 2,” “Up”)
- Wernick & Reese (“Deadpool,” “Monsters Inc,” “Zombieland,” “GI Joe Retaliation”)
- David Berenbaum (“The Spiderwick Chronicles,” “Elf”)
- Phil Johnston (“Wreck it Ralph” and “Nebraska”)
In a recent interview with GameSpot Sonic Boom developers Big Red Button have spoken about the challenges facing the team when they came up with their original character concepts and designs.
“We experimented with different colors and surface features on the characters, such as fur or scales, and quickly Sonic Team came back with their discomfort of that. They were great guardrails for us to understand when we were deviating too far from the character. Without their input, the character would have been a lot more alien and different from what Sonic is known for.” Discomfort may be putting things mildly, particularly in the case of Takashi Iizuka, the current head of Sega’s Sonic Team in Japan. As Rafei recalled, “Early on, when we had our first review of all the crazy things we wanted to try, Iizuka-san came down to Los Angeles and looked through all the different concepts.”
“I felt sorry for the guy because sometimes he couldn’t actually look at the screen–it was too traumatic seeing all the crazy stuff we wanted to do. Over the course of that meeting, when we were coming up with new ideas, we had a very sincere–just two adults talking–conversation about why a character should or should not wear pants, and that was a very surreal moment in my life and my career,” Rafei continued. “But it helped us understand the rules of clothing in this universe. Any small adjustment went a very long way, so we had to be very careful.”