Sonic Lost World is a dramatic change in focus for a Sonic platform. Gone is the safe, well done engine from Unleashed to Generations and in comes a new game play experience. That’s a risky move considering many critics are just now seeing the improvement the Sonic games have been making. As me and Nuckles87 sit down privately with the head of Sonic Team Takashi Iizuka, he explains to us why this move was the right choice.
TSS – How long has this game been in development?
Iizuka – We started prototyping the different geometries and stages during Sonic Generations. So, about 2 & 1/2 years.
TSS – Who is the main director on this game?
Iizuka – Morio Kishimoto who did Sonic Colors and Heido Bayashi (sorry if mispelled) for the 3DS version who was the same director of the Colors DS version.
TSS – Who is the music composer this time?
Iizuka – Tomoya Ohtani. He did the music for Sonic Unleashed.
TSS – We know you can use gadgets in the game to help Sonic. Are these Eggman’s gadgets or Tails?
Iizuka – Tails.
TSS – Was the unreleased Sonic X-Treme any influence on this game?
Iizuka – No. Not at all. Actually, the developers of this game don’t know about Sonic X-Treme so it’s all new.
TSS – What was the reason for going with more simple and whimsical visuals?
Iizuka – Basically, so Sonic Generations and Unleashed was very beautiful with detailed HD graphics. It was great, but it had disadvantages as well. The rings and enemies can be hard to see at times and could merge with the background a little. Also, since the visuals were so heavy, we were pretty much locked at 30 FPS. So this new style makes things pop visually, things such as rings and enemies are more more easier to track and gives us 60 fps and a lot more freedom in development on how we build the stages.
TSS – Can you give us more details on the Deadly Six?
Iizuka – Deadly Six are a new set of creatures never encountered before called “Zeti”. They live in a unexplored area of Sonic’s world “Lost Hex” and Eggman is trying to force them to work with him and he loses control of them and he has to team up with Sonic to try and take them out.
TSS – What was the reason for going exclusively with Nintendo on these three upcoming Sonic games?
Iizuka – When we were first developing Sonic Lost World, the Wii U was not even announced yet and we were developing it on PC. So, the Wii U was the right choice for a couple of reasons. First of all, the second screen gave us extra options and advantages also, we think the Wii U is where fans of action platform games are going to. Plus we’ve had much success with Nintendo in the past.
TSS – Can the game be played on the Pro controller or gamepad only?
Iizuka – Single player is gamepad only. With two players, you can be on the pro controller while the other is on the gamepad
TSS – What makes this game so unique compared to other Sonic games?
Iizuka – Probably the easiest thing is the different geometries as you can see. It’s tube shapes and other style of geometry. It’s not just a series of tubes (laughs). Another cool thing the graphics style allows us to do is the each stage has a very unique style and aesthetic to it. Each stage has it’s own visual style so there’s a lot more to it.
TSS – Many on the internet have been comparing the game to Mario Galaxy. Do you feel the comparison is apt, or what do you feel sets this game apart from it?
Iizuka – Basically, because we have these geometries with their own gravity you hop to, you can kinda see the comparison there, but if you play the game on the show floor I think you’ll see the biggest difference is that it still feels and moves like a Sonic game.
TSS – Can you tell us anything about the new Wisp powers?
Iizuka – As you’ve probably seen, the WiiU version has the Lazer power in the demo and the 3DS version has the new asteroid power and the drill power you’ve seen in the original version. Other than that we are not talking about new powers at this time, but we will in the near future.
TSS – What kind of unlockables does collecting Red Rings and freeing animals give you?
Iizuka – (Laughs) That would be telling. We’ll be talking about that more in the future, but one thing we can say is that rescuing the animals will have a positive impact on your game. Just to be clear it’s not just the animals in the cages there will be some hidden in the stages you can free as well. The more you free, the better the impact will be later in the game.
TSS – Sonic Lost World represent s pretty big departure from recent Sonic tiles. What made you decide to change the formula up so drastically?
Iizuka – Basically, we were proud of our accomplishments on Unleashed, Colors and Generations. But we felt we explored that style of gameplay quite a bit and didn’t want too keep playing in that same space. The developers wanted to explore new styles of gameplay and part of the goal there was to make pure platform action a bigger part of the experience this time. Unleashed through Generations, we are proud of them but focus was pretty much on speed and platforming would happen from time to time, but the developers wanted to make it more of a traditional platformer. Not that we want to lose the speed. That’s why there’s still plenty of running and such. It’s still a Sonic game, but we want you to have more control over the speed this time around.
TSS – Thank you so much for your time.
Iizuka – Thank you.
Sonic Lost World will be available later this fall.