SEGA: Sonic Titles Perform "Really, Really Well on Nintendo Platforms"
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
The design philosophy behind parkour controls is explained
Amidst a sizeable contingent of first party software this Holiday season, the arrival of Sonic Lost World on the Wii U and 3DS is certainly a cause for some third-party optimism. Our own first impressions were full of praise, and we're hopeful that the final product will deliver on the promise shown so far.
It's also, based on time with the game and footage that's appeared in various trailers, a title that pushes into some fresh territory; there are circular 3D stages that have typically brought Super Mario Galaxy to mind, and a series of parkour moves will be added to Sonic's capabilities. Familiar elements will return with memorable enemies and Wisp powers — which were introduced in the Wii and DS-exclusive Sonic Colours — but it's the new touches that are perhaps the most intriguing. Speaking to Polygon, producer Sam Mullen explained the motivation between introducing new athletic moves to the company mascot.
The whole parkour system, conceptually, comes from the simple fact that in past Sonic games, Sonic would move really fast and he was kind of uncontrollable, and then you'd run into objects and just stop. So we went back to basic controls and said, 'Okay, how to we get past this? People don't like running around fast, fast, fast and then stop.' It started out with really simple things, like when Sonic hit a corner he would just glance past it. So we thought, what if he runs up walls or grabs ledges? And it sort of evolved from there into the state it is now.
It all boils down to the fact that we want the player to maintain a flow, even if they're not having a sort of perfect playthrough. This way, the flow of a high-level Sonic player can be enjoyed even by a novice player.
Referring to the 3DS version, it was explained that what the overall style is common across both versions, it should feel "brand new" as Dimps has approached the core ideas "from a different perspective and a different angle". The assurance is that both versions will be distinctive and play to the strengths of their respective formats.
Sonic brand manager Aaron Webber also explained the thought-process behind the title being exclusive to Nintendo platforms; the blue blue and the big N's audience seem to be a natural fit.
If we trace Sonic's third-party roots all the way back to just after the Dreamcast, we released Sonic Adventure 2: Battle on the GameCube and it did phenomenally well. We think that's because there was a lot of overlap between the Sonic/Sega and Nintendo crowd at that time, and we just found historically that Sonic performs really, really well on Nintendo platforms. Sonic Colors did great, Sonic and the Black Knight did well and Sonic and Secret Rings did well — all Nintendo. When we look at the numbers, we thought — this is clearly where our audience is.
What do you think about some of the new ideas expected to feature prominently in Sonic Lost World, and do you feel that Nintendo systems are the natural home for SEGA's mascot in the current day?
Thanks to Ryan Millar for the tip.