NintendObs Weekly. And the Final Fest is on in Splatoon 2. VOTE MARINA. #ImNotBiased

A Compilation of Sonic Boom Reveal Day Interviews

NintendObserverGamerFitNation: “Alright, cool. Well thank you, I mean, wow, one more thing! WILL WE SEE SUPER SONIC???”


☆ NintendObs Weekly – Monday, March 24, 2014 – Sunday, March 30, 2014.

Sonic Boom

Pure Nintendo Magazine:

I was wondering if you can elaborate on the 3DS part?


Stephen Frost, Sonic Boom Producer at SEGA of America:

Unfortunately we’re keeping that a little bit under wraps. What I can say is that it’s a very different sort of gameplay experience. The focus is the same: the exploration and the multiple characters as far as switching between, the team, the speed-based stuff and the combat, it’s all there. But it’s a completely different story, it involves the same characters but it’s a completely different sort of seperate story presented in a very different way. So hopefully you’ll play the Wii U game and you’ll like what you see there and then you want to sort of expand the world and experience and then try something different on 3DS.

It isn’t a port or anything like that it’s a completely different experience… but that’s basically all we can say really about that right now.


Nintendo World Report:

Can you tell us a bit more about the whole theme of “collaboration?”


Stephen Frost, Sonic Boom Producer at SEGA of America:

Teamwork is a very important aspect of the game, it goes across all aspects of it, and we really want to reinforce that in everything that you do in the game. You’ll always have at least a couple of characters with you at all times. Not always maybe four, but at least at minimum two and so, you can always switch between the characters if you’re playing single-player or there’s options obviously to play co-op multiplayer, in which one person chooses a character and another uses another character. But you can easily switch around them on the fly, and everything you do is helping each other really. In navigation and overcoming challenges, you got to work together to help the other player through the level or the section. And combat, if you work together you can defeat bigger enemies in cooler ways. It really is this sort of teamwork theme and really I like to explain it as Sonic is stronger with his friends,” it’s a very important statement for this. It carries across to the animation as well which is sort of an ensemble cast.

Sonic of course is a star but, really we’re lifting up all the other characters and giving them that equal weight and presence so that if you were to run to the controller and say “I got Sonic!” I’m not gonna say “Shoot! I wish I had Sonic.” All these other characters are really really awesome, they have unique abilities that I think all gamers will really enjoy. Just instead of going against each other all the time — which you kinda do on occasion in the game — it’s really more about that collaborative working together and trying to accomplish a common task.


Nintendo World Report:

What would you like to tell us about this game, what makes this game different than all the other Sonic games?


Bob Rafei, Sonic Boom Creative Director at Big Red Button:

Well where to start… This is a character adventure story and we wanted to make sure that the characters had all great personalities but, first and foremost it’s a collaborative title. So that’s something that’s really different for the franchise. We wanted to have a shared co-op play experience. I’m a dad and I have kids who are 9 and 11 so, I wanted to make a game that fits with the kind of games they want to play, and that would be friends and family sitting in a couch who are having a shared experience. That was really important to us not to make it a single-player experience but to have that ability — you can surely play single-player, there is AI assist — but if you want to pick up a controller and tag along you could do that.


Nintendo World Report:

How heavily does the show impact the game? Was the show written beforehand and the game has to follow that or, what was the process in developing the show as opposed to the game?


Evan Baily, Sonic Boom Executive Producer & Showrunner:

So we started out independently, and then we came together. There was kind of a moment, because it’s like you’re working on something, you’re kind of crafting it, you’re thinking about it, and… There was a moment when we came together and we were like “How is this gonna go?” But when we got a look at what Bob and the folks at Big Red Button were doing, we loved it. And it was like “Hey, can we used that? You’ve actually figured out something that we haven’t figured out yet.” I think from Big Red Button’s side as well, there was some aspects of the series that they felt that they could kind of pick up on and make use of. I think one approach that we’ve taken that is different from what often happens in the industry, often you have sort of like a master PowerPoint presentation with the dos and don’ts for the characters and the world, and we didn’t think that was the right approach because games are good at different things that TV is good at.

The DNA of a game is play. What makes a game fun is the stuff that you get to do in it. The example I always give is Red Dead Redemption: it has an incredible deep, rich story and a big world, but what makes it fun is just repeatedly pressing the X button and like riding your horse through that beautiful landscape. And so, we didn’t want to impose TV-like storytelling structures on the game, and I think they didn’t want to impose game mechanics on the show. Wherever possible, we kind of found those points of commonality and tried to build one integrated universe, but we also left room for each to do its own thing.



What led to the decision to go with CryEngine for this game?


Stephen Frost, Sonic Boom Producer at SEGA of America:

Big Red Button has had a lot of experience in the past with the CryEngine and, you may initially think “Oh, CryEngine, Sonic, it seems a little bit weird,” but when you think about the CryEngine released games in the past, it’s a lot of focus on forests, jungles, beach, and water, and you start to think “Oh wait! Those are sort of iconic for Sonic,” right? So we started thinking about that and it really sort of made sense, and we worked really closely with Crytek in Germany to get this engine up and running on the Wii U and really pushing the hardware as much as we can. It allows us to do a lot of cool things, a lot of cool effects, but it was really a collaboration. Big Red Button also developed a lot of code such as the co-op multiplayer stuff and things like that that they shared with Crytek as well. So again, even in that aspect as far as the engine there is a lot of collaboration across the two groups.



How do you think fans will react to the character designs?


Stephen Frost, Sonic Boom Producer at SEGA of America:

That’s a hard one to predict. I hope they fall in love with them like I do. The main thing I want to get across which is really important to me and to my heart is that no change, no single adjustment in these characters was done without a lot of thought. Every single component we spent long, long, periods of time on, and it maybe something you might think “Oh, that’s simple” or “that’s not major:” everything was major to us. If I had to message something to the fans and the ones who are unsure and used to the classic designs of the characters: really look at why we re-did these characters, and there’s a reason for everything. We felt that in this time it was important to have this sort of branch, and since it’s a different type of gameplay and a different type of experience, it also made sense to have a new set of designs and characters that sort of fit in that world versus traditional modern Sonic and what he does so well.



Alright, cool. Well thank you, I mean, wow, one more thing! Will we see Super Sonic?


Stephen Frost, Sonic Boom Producer at SEGA of America:




I mean, that’s my thing like, I always like to see Super Sonic, I don’t know.


Stephen Frost:

I won’t comment. I like Super Sonic too. I won’t comment on Super Sonic but I will say that we’ll have new characters but we’ll also have some returning characters from past Sonic games that fans should hopefully remember and love as well so we’re excited about that. We’ll probably announce that later on maybe at E3.


I’ll say it right here and right now: I WILL interview Bob Rafei of Big Red Button. 😀

I would also be interested in discussing with Stephen Frost from SEGA of America but I think a discussion with him would be more relevant to SEGA and Sonic related fansites. However, I want to bridge the gap between Big Red Button and the Nintendo audience while exploring the mystery of how a former PlayStation exclusive developer (from Naughty Dog), came to work on a game from Mario’s old biggest competitor (Sonic), exclusively on Nintendo’s platform (Wii U).


Make sure you watch SEGA’s Announcement Recap video for the event!



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…Wanna play? Buy a Wii U.

And if you’ve already got yours, click on Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal for everything you need to know about the games. 😀


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