One of the main differences about Team Sonic Racing compared to the previous all-star racing outing is the fact the cast is limited to the Sonic universe. Characters from Sega's other games simply didn't make the cut this time around.
If you've been wondering why Sumo Digital dropped characters like AiAi from Super Monkey Ball or Ulala from Space Channel 5, in an interview with GameSpot at the start of this month, Sumo Digital's studio design director Derek Littlewood explained how this decision was tied to the team adventure mode and wanting to explore the Sonic universe in more depth:
"The reason we [dropped non-Sonic universe characters] was so we could dive into the Sonic universe in more depth, and tell a canon Sonic universe story, with our team adventure mode. That was very important for us."
This wasn't an easy choice to make, but it allowed the developer to create a unique experience:
"It was a difficult decision for us, but we feel like that was the right direction to go in. Because it's allowed us to create a very new kind of unique experience for Team Sonic Racing that I think people won't have had with the previous titles."
Team Sonic Racing designer Ben Wilson explained how this made character exchanges a lot easier:
"Because this game's set in a universe with characters who have relationships already, it's let us do a dialog system where they're on track and they're yelling at each other, and they have familiarity with each other and make references to history, which we wouldn't have been able to have done really [had other franchises' characters been present]. Or at least, not in as smooth a way. So it's let us do some additional stuff as well."
The director of the game also noted how the team at Sumo are "old-school Sega fans" and still want to continue the all-stars design in the future:
"There's nothing we have to announce, or even anything that is currently on the cards. But it's something that we would love to be able to go back to."
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