SEGA’s Sonic The Hedgehog YouTube channel has uploaded episode one of its Sonic Mania Plus developer diary. In a brief chat with Sonic Team Creative Director, Kazuyuki Hoshino, and Sonic Mania Plus Art Director, Tom Fry, the pair discussed how certain art and design choices came to fruition.
In reference to Mighty and Ray, Kazuyuki Hoshino explained how the team knew fans had been anticipating their return since the display of the "missing" posters in Sonic Generations and said how challenging it was to adapt them to the current title:
As they are older characters, not many design assets were available for them. We had to make them consistent with the original which was challenging by itself, but I think we pulled it off and created a game of excellent quality.
The Art Director elaborated on this by mentioning how the characters were built from the ground up and discussed the unique personality tied to each character:
I have to be emphatic here, there are no copy pastes with Ray or with Mighty, they are all built completely from scratch, the real challenge I think was to actually bring completely new animations into their repertoire that would fit with their characters...Ray is a bit more of a plucky, happy-go-lucky kind of chap whereas Mighty is all about his strength and resolve.
Hoshino went on to state how enjoyable it was to work with the Mania team:
It’s really fun working with the Mania Team and Tom, they’re fans to begin with so they know a lot about Sonic, they even reminded us of small details that we had forgotten...while we talk like this together it reminds me of when I was young and I would chat to my seniors about designs.
Fry himself said it was great how the dialogue was shared throughout development, with a continual exchange of ideas between the pair rather than one or the other suggesting the only option was their own way:
It was very much a collaborative effort from beginning to the end, and I think that’s what contributed massively, it's what made Sonic Mania as brilliant as it has become.
He was also honest about how difficult certain assets had been to alter. Fortunately, Mr. Hoshino provided assistance when necessary:
I would be telling a few fibs if I said it was a cakewalk, [or] if it was easy to give a fresh look to the designs in encore mode - the whole aim was to change the colour palette as it were, but in order to do that, the colour palettes are a separate thing from the actual level assets themselves, no direct modification like me actually drawing on any of the assets was made, it was just tweaking the colours...with the help of Hoshino-san we were able to find the right balance of colours for each zone, making sure that the levels felt fresh enough for encore mode.
Watch the full interview above and tell us in the comments if you’re excited about the release of Sonic Mania Plus on the Switch later this month.