Sonic Boom! Shake-shake-shake the Room
So it’s that time again, another Sonic game has been announced. However this time, it is in conjunction with an upcoming TV series. Yes it’s only on Nintendo systems (Wii U & 3DS). Yes, Sonic and co. have had some redesigns. And yes, once again my body is ready.
Without further ado…
While this will be an interesting first for a video game series to have both a game and a TV show tying directly into each other (provided Halo doesn’t launch theirs first) there are some important things for Sonic fans to note. It was firmly stressed on the announcement shindig that these redesigns and stories will not replace the current Sonic cannon but run alongside it.
While this official line might feel like a bit of a cop-out or that they are just testing the waters on this new endeavour before a full commitment, it will be interesting to see if this remains the case. Especially since the current Sonic video game canon is quite a mess and hard to get any cohesive story out of. I think it can stand to reason that if many comic/movie/TV/book series can do this why can’t Sonic.
On the redesigns note, while I personally don’t mind any of them too much and think they will be an interesting change of pace, they have of course been received in a wildly mixed fashion by the Sonic fan community. This is understandable though as we of the Sonic fan community are a fun bunch, that like Shadow the Hedgehog, has had to put up with a lot of experimentational crap in the past. As a result, we can be broody and troubled by the thought of more unnecessary change. We have been hurt before time and time again and it’s understandable if the pain remains for some. Still, I don’t think this is cause to go all ‘Punisment, Thy Name is Ruin,’ on the series yet and fortunately it doesn’t look like the majority of Sonic fans have.
Tails and Amy look the best they have in a long while and it looks like they may actually regularly useful in these adventures. Hell I think Amy even looks quite cool and since having almost never liked that character except for sometimes in the comics; I think this is quite an achievement. For people who don’t like how Knuckles looks in the still artwork, for some reason these pictures don’t seem to do him justice as he does look a lot better in-game.
The game will have an emphasis on exploration with each character having their own unique abilities. Co-op has been confirmed and will support up to four player multiplayer in some areas. While the nature of this co-op hasn’t been confirmed whether the whole game will be playable with multiple people a Sega rep. has gone on record to state that online play will not be included and they are only focusing on local co-op.
A new gimmick will be present in the form of energy tethering or ‘Enerbeam’ which players can use to interact in a number of ways with the world, shield themselves, use to fight against enemies and a variety of other new powers. While it initially may sound somewhat reminiscent of Knuckles’ Chaotix hopefully more will be revealed soon on this interesting new feature.
A new main enemy will also be introduced yet there has been no announcement or hints for who it will be. Old characters and new characters have been said to be making an appearance which makes me hopeful that they may be doing some much need world building.
Hub worlds, combat and speed areas will also be a part of the adventure. Furthermore, the 2.5D level sections would return with Bob Rafei (of Naughty Dog fame) stating:
“2D gameplay set ups work great for tight platforming and allow better use of suspense and surprise as design tools because of the more limited display in frame. It was important for us to incorporate it.”
For the sake of all, I hope that both the game is fun to play and the show is enjoyable. As long as this is the case with the game, at least it will be able to stand on its own even if people don’t like the redesigns or the TV series. If they manage to pull all of this off though it will be such sweet, sweet jubilation. On the preliminary plus side it is running on the CryEngine 3 and looks pretty as a sunny, summer, green-hilled day.
The Wii U title is also being developed by Big Red Button Entertainment with Bob Rafei at the helm who had been in an influential role with the Jak & Daxter series and has had many years of experience at Naughty Dog from Crash Bandicoot up to Uncharted Drake’s Fortune.
It was also quickly identified that elements of the game may have been leaked in the CryEngine 3 demo from 2013, as it has landmarks clearly from the Game trailer and may be showing some other areas from the game. You sneaky bastards.
It has also been revealed that Big Red Button Entertainment has collaborated early on with the French studio, OuiDo Entertainment, producing the tie-in animated TV series for a more united vision. This personally, makes me wonder if the former Jak & Daxter veteran has had a say in the character redesigns. Might explain the Jak-like accessories and liberal use of athletic tape. So. Much. Damn. Tape.
Don’t get me wrong, I love badass wrist & ankle wraps as much as the next guy but there is just so much of it. Maybe they should have dialed it back about 10% or so or at the very least have it work in more to their gloves or shoes like with Amy or most of Knuckles redesign rather than sit on top of shoes, limbs or other clothing needlessly. Anywho…
Sanzaru Games will be in charge of the 3DS version which apparently will not be a straight port and quite different from the console version despite still occurring in the same world. They handled the port for the fairly well received Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time and the Sly Collection on PS3.
Many have wanted to see Sonic’s continuity in the games expand for a while now and this is an interesting chance for the series to really go for it. I remain hopeful that in these adventures we might be able to learn more about the little blue guy and his friends. It is great to see a company take such a leaping risk with one of their most valuable IPs…then again that has happened a lot with Sonic over the past seven or so years.
Oh well, c’est la vie.