TSS Discuss: Sonic Boom

boom

It’s been a little while since Sonic Boom’s initial unveiling, which fans were surprised with a totally new branch of the Sonic franchise, boasting new character designs, a new video game, television show and merchandise. If you missed anything important this week, be sure to check out our Sum-Up Sunday where all the important stuff is noted down in one handy dandy article. Now as avid Sonic fans ourselves, some of the writing team of The Sonic Stadium wanted to weigh in on our own initial thoughts regarding this brand new, re-imagined Sonic, as well as the possibilities the future may hold for this brand of the franchise we know and love.

HoL

So, what do I think of all this? Well, let’s go back to the teaser last year. When they showed the silhouettes last year, I was really confused and concerned. Knuckles was the biggest concern with how he had a radically different shape then ever before. Sonic was also a bit concerning with the extra spikes, but Tails and Amy had pretty much no different changes, just different clothes, so that was fine to me. Also the news of the show made me worry it was going to be some cheap flash cartoon akin to My Little Pony, and I’m not crazy about modern flash cartoons, they just feel like a cop out and cheap work-around versus the traditional cel animation of old.

But I realized they indeed meant it was going to be CGI, so my imagination turned more towards Sonic’s peer Pac-Man who was also rebooted in the same way, and I’ll say this right now; I adore Pac-Man & the Ghostly Adventures, there I said it! Hey, it has Canadian voice actors (many of whom were in the old DiC Sonic cartoons, bet you didn’t know that!) and it’s written by Ken Pontac, go figure, he rocks in this show, not as much in the recent Sonic games.

So fast forward to the present and… I’m super excited! When we first got our taste via the leaked Sonic and Knuckles designs, I was really impressed, they looked closer to the modern designs than I expected, I was worried we were going to get Nickelodeon-esc designs.

So then finally the full unveiling came via the leaked trailer, and it indeed is the 3rd Nintendo exclusive! And I’ll say this right now also, that just makes it even more exciting to me, the fact that Sega’s putting what is arguably Sonic’s biggest evolution since Sonic Adventure 100% on Nintendo is just effing incredible. Kudos Sega, kudos.

I’m a diehard Nintendo fan and only play on Nintendo’s systems (I was introduced to Sonic most specifically with Sonic Adventure 2: Battle on GameCube), and I always appreciate any exclusives that are designed from the ground-up, fully tailored to the strengths of Nintendo’s hardware, because lord knows virtually every port ever on Nintendo systems is gimped as hell.

And crazier still is that Sonic Boom is being shaped by none other than key members from Naughty Dog, who created Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. The founder is Bob Rafei, who was the big art director and character designer on both! And the 3DS version is by the same folks who took over from Sucker Punch and made Sly 4: Thieves in Time, just wow. I hope they use their experience and make the 3DS version their own and not a copy of the Wii U version. Make it cel-shaded!

I can’t finish without talking about the TV show clip now can’t I? I was very impressed, while the dialogue didn’t really have much to it, the delivery (especially by Mike Pollock as Egghead I MEAN Eggman) was really great. And the animation is fantastic! It’s at least direct to DVD quality, which is a good thing.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m super excited for this and can’t wait to see more! I hope you liked my opinion piece. 🙂

DMK

I think it’s fair to say SEGA certainly weren’t kidding when they hailed 2014 as a year to remember for Sonic the Hedgehog. As the announcements trickled out from New York on Thursday, I was perhaps one of the lucky ones, away from my computer and missing the inevitable explosion of immediate reactions. But that’s not to say I was completely calm and collected about the scenario – when I caught my first glimpse of the new character designs, I was absolutely ready to toll the death knell and proclaim “Sonic Doom!”. What had they done to my beloved series? Why was Sonic covered in tape? And what on earth had Knuckles been taking to get those muscles?

But the more I read up on things, and the more I analysed the TV and game trailers… the more I liked what I saw. My knee-jerk reaction to the new look was undoubtedly out of shock and fear of change – after all, let’s face it, Sonic’s not exactly had the best reputation when it comes to reinventions – but once the dust had settled and I collected my thoughts, Sonic Boom actually sounded like a rather appealing proposition. A well animated CG cartoon with top notch voice work and some decent writing? Hell yeah! A brand new teamwork-based game giving each character individual abilities and being developed by some of the industry’s finest in the genre? Shut up and take my rings! I’m very intrigued to see what this new take on the franchise has in store, and whether it manages to reach its full potential will be a key factor in deciding just how good a decision SEGA have made in revitalising their mascot.

To put it simply – Sonic Boom, you’re growing on me. Well, everything but Knuckles, anyway. Sorry Knuckles.

Jono

The hit of new information when all the details about Sonic Boom were revealed initially left me feeling alienated as a fan. It seemed like the Sonic I’d known for so many years was gone, and that those who may have seen themselves as veterans of the series now had no place in the new territory that the hedgehog would be moving into. More details came about, and now that I’ve had time to reflect, I’m actually eagerly anticipating the direction that this new canon can go.

I almost think that the best thing SEGA have done is how they’ve handled Sonic Boom’s reveal. In a way, showing the silhouettes off such a long time ahead of this reveal was probably the best decision they had at their fingertips. It gave the fan base some kind of expectation on what we would be seeing, and I dread to think what the reaction would have been like if these designs and universe suddenly came as a bolt from the blue.

As far as the game goes, it still looks a little ways to go before it’s ready. Character models and animations etc definitely need tightening up, and we haven’t yet been shown any real idea of how the game will play. That will come to light when the time comes, though. The main thing I’m excited about is the TV series. The teaser that’s been shown is a joy to watch and has remained consistently so on all my subsequent re-viewings. It’s witty, full of action and it keeps the Sonic most of us know intact.

As far as Sonic Boom goes, I think that Sonic’s audience focus is definitely shifting now. I’m sure many readers of TSS are those who grew up loving either Sonic’s classic era or his recent outings. I think a lot of people forget that yet another new generation of fans are also getting into the series, and SEGA would be wise to tap into this new wave of fans that may be discovering Sonic for the first time.

Basically… GIMME MORE!

Hogfather

Cartoon: Looks awesome, except for when Sonic runs in his scarf.

Game: Filter out all the PR stuff and talk about how ‘we completely understand the characters…’ this is what you get.

Battles with normal enemies take place inside arenas, 2 player co-op mandatory, Sonic uses a whip to attack certain enemies, no chaos emeralds so no Super Sonic, which is kinda ok with me since it’s a very overused mechanic that lost any special value years ago… though watch there be some kind of super form through whatever Deus Ex Machina device is thrown into this one.

Daddy Longlegs Sonic with that scarf which looks cool in the concept art, but looks ridiculous in motion.

That doesn’t mean it’s going to be bad, but you can call it a new branch of the franchise as much as you like, some people will still go into this thinking ‘Sonic game’ and end up being disappointed when they find out it’s not one. A lot of this reminds me about other instances where it feels like a new IP is trying to use an old IP to try and sell an idea instead of trying to make an original game that would have been a perfectly strong series on its own.
At the moment, my expectations and hopes are low for this. There are a bunch of glaring problems such as ingame character models looking awful, barren stages and why does Tails look like a zombified flying chimp in ‘that one screenshot?’

When we actually get details on the gameplay, see it in action instead of being told what the characters act like (seriously, this is a Sonic game, everyone knows what the characters are like). Then maybe everyone will be in a much better position to make judgements. But right now, do not expect a Sonic game, because this isn’t one. Give us more details before anyone can decide if it’s a good game or not.

P.S. Stop complaining about how Knuckles looks, yes he has become a giant. But if you read his bio on the official website, for once he actually sounds like a decent character.

vedjf

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t gone through the song and dance of redesigns before. Also being a Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon and Rayman fan, I’ve seen my fair share of drastic changes within my favourite franchises. And…in none of the cases was it ever particularly too bad. Sure, I pretty much lost interest in Rayman with Origins, but that was because I was brought up on Rayman 2 and the franchise went to the gameplay style of Rayman 1. Crash I stuck with, and for the most part turned out fine (I have a few gripes with Coco for personality, but the others were okay and I prefer new Tiny to old) and would have loved one of the redesigns planned in 2010 before it was cancelled. Spyro I stuck with, and while the Legend series was too dark for me (literally; I couldn’t see what was happening on-screen which is why I haven’t done New Beginning or Eternal Night), Skylanders has been enjoyable if not really pricey, and the series takes more and more cues from the classics with each instalment.

So, how is Sonic Boom shaping up compared to those reboots? Pretty tame actually. The characters don’t look that unrelated if not for a few design quirks. And the personalities we’ve seen are pretty much what they were in Colours onwards. My main gripe with what we’ve seen so far is that I didn’t particularly enjoy the humour in the clip of the show, but that’s all down to taste. I don’t think I’ve seen enough of the game to make a comment on it too specifically.

And that’s generally the attitude I’m taking with Sonic Boom right now; I want to wait until more information comes to light before I make a more solid opinion on what is being offered with this so-called renaissance. Since I’m very much a character fan, I’ll be keeping an eye on whether other Sonic characters return (moreso for the show than the game since the game is set-up) and how their dynamics play in the new branch, as well as seeing what the inevitable new cast bring to the table. I’ve held back like this in the past and have been pleasantly surprised at the other end (Dino-Rang the fruit kebab fiend is adorable!), but who knows if this will end up being as well-liked. If not, I have the option of ignoring Sonic Boom and sticking to SEGA Sonic unlike the other redesigns which is a nice cushion to have. It’ll be like the Mega Man franchise where there’s more than one series you can be a fan of!

I also hold some reservations over the success of the push on a broader scope, but that’s neither here or there…

Sym

When I applied for the writing job on The Sonic Stadium, I wrote a blog post which expressed my desire to see Sonic establish himself more uniquely and become more relevant, fearing he wouldn’t be around much longer if he didn’t. And then, 2014 comes around and we’re greeted with this. A whole new, re-imagined Sonic the Hedgehog. I was surprised to see Sonic Boom be greeted by such positivity overall by the fanbase, including myself.

From what I’ve seen so far, I feel that Sonic Boom has some huge possibilities resting on its shoulders. Boom stands as a potentially huge success story for our blue hero – one that can capture the hearts of a whole new generation of fans and re-engage fans of old. Its desire to be new without hesitation feels refreshing. Whilst games in the past few years have, to me, felt the need to rely on older mechanics and nostalgia to keep fans engaged, or take too much inspiration from existing successful franchises *ahem*, Boom strives to separate itself from his Japanese counterpart and truly try to craft a whole new 3D Sonic experience. The fact Boom will be launching with four main characters, which are all playable, cements this idea of confident reinvention to me.

The only thing that I fear for with Sonic Boom is the chance that the developers strive too much to be different from traditional Sonic and lose sight on what once made the franchise special to begin with. But from what I’ve seen from the show and game so far, it doesn’t feel like I have reason to fear yet. This goes for the show especially. With its seriously wonderful looking CG animation, top notch voice acting and spot on writing which feels more faithful to these character’s personalities than ever, I have a feeling it could be the best on-screen adaptation Sonic has had yet. I don’t feel like I’ve seen enough of the game yet to lay down proper judgement, but I do hope those character models are worked on, since the rest of the visuals and art direction looks beautiful.

Overall, I am truly looking forward to seeing where Boom takes us. Let’s hope it’s onward and upward!

There we go! You’ve heard what we think so far – but we wanna hear your thoughts too. What do you think of Sonic Boom? Are you worried or are you excited? A little bit of both? Are we doomed forever because of blue armed Sonic? Sound off in the comments below and let us know! We’ll be sitting at our writer’s roundtable waiting patiently for your responses.

(Psst – also, don’t forget! You can also check out the new Sonic Show Podcast which Sonic Boom is also the topic for discussion. Enjoy!)

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Symbotic

A video game enthusiast, dog lover and dedicated Netflix user. Would probably spend every day eating pizza and talking about movies quite happily.

23 Comments

  1. At this point, I’m mostly optimistic in regards to this. I’m really digging how the game is looking so far, aside from the character models themselves, and I genuinely like the trailer for the show. I still need to see some more gameplay footage before I can hop on the hype train for certain, but I’m pretty sure that both the show and the game will be something great.

  2. uh i really dont know what is up with this website but it seems whenever i check it – everything overlaps and explodes off to the right side. i zoom the page out and it changes nothing…

    1. I get it sometimes, too, though only on some articles. Some articles are just fine. I could never figure out why.

  3. I think that this is one of the most interesting moves Sega have attempted with Sonic in years, I’m really hopeful that it pans out. The T.V. show sounds perfect for Sonic, I think that these characters will seem right at home in the looser, 11-minute cartoons with a heavier focus on being silly and having a laugh. It’s worked for Sonic perfectly in the games following Colours lead, and it’s certainly much better than the story-lines from the earlier 3D Sonic games which weren’t bad per se, but took themselves a little bit too seriously, making them feel kind of awkward. I also think Sonic’s positive attitude will fit in nicely in the modern world of cartoons and be a nice influence for young children!

    As for the game, I remain cautiously optimistic. Though not developed by Sonic Team, it’s hard to deny the phenomenal talent situated at Big Red Button, so there’s definitely the right ingredients for a good game. The co-op sounds like a nice idea (anyone else have a brother they used to play Sonic 2 with?), and the heavier focus on a semi-open world with exploration is something I’m sure a lot of Sonic fans have been clamouring for. The semi-open world is not something I personally look for in a Sonic game, but will happily embrace if it’s fun.

    At the end of the day, if it’s bad the only thing that will be hurt is Sonic’s reputation, which in all honesty, is something the franchise really doesn’t need right now. Especially since a lot of people (outside us fans) are starting to see the franchise as getting back on track. But Sonic Team are still off somewhere, lurking in the shadows, planning Sonic’s next big “official” outing, so we really have little to worry about in regards to Sonic as a whole.

  4. “But if you read his bio on the official website, for once he actually sounds like a decent character.”
    Uh… what are you talking about? That like, one sentence thing? He’s kinda always been “strong and determined”, just Sega’s been pushing him to the background and making constant jokes with him… So… I don’t see the difference at this point.
    Just sayin’.

    (Longer bios would be nicer. I don’t think it’s too soon…)

  5. Well Sonic, new look design it’s okay and Tails, or Amy Rose, are perfectly awesome then kunckles is little good like one percent because Knuckles fans ruined the original Kunckles to make Knuckles him more stronger and more tougher.

  6. Hero of Legend: Wow! I’m right in line with you buddy! Everything you state matches up with how I feel exactly! I usually am too afraid to say this in fear that it will anger others, but I am really happy this is Nintendo exclusive as well! 😀 I think I’m in line with you the most.

    Doctor MK: I couldn’t agree with you more! 2014 certainly is the Year of Sonic and I can’t believe I didn’t believe that to begin with. 🙂

    Jono D: I agree wholeheartedly with your last statement. Once you get more, please tell us so we can get some more as well! 😉 I’m also on the same page with you when it comes to the trailer. I could watch that thing over and over and get the same comedic feel every time! 😀

    Hogfather: Okay *sigh*, there always has to be somebody. Considering the fact that you were 100% correct about the whole Sonic Lost World endeavor (Remember your demo impressions post from a while back?) I suppose I’m going to have to listen to you this time, even if I don’t necessarily like what I’m hearing. Of course, nothing at all is wrong with being skeptical. I’m glad you like the cartoon trailer though. Personally, I feel any game that has Sonic in it is a Sonic game, no matter what the play style.

    Vedj-F: You appear to have a very unique experience with reboot-esque type stuff, so it’s good to hear your opinion and have you on the team.

    Symbotic: “I was surprised to see Sonic Boom be greeted by such positivity overall by the fanbase, including myself.” This is probably the most important thing to be said. The fan base, including you guys, are all giving this a chance. No one is shutting this out or feeling completely negative. Sonic Boom is a huge opportunity for everything Sonic, and having all these satisfied faces is a very good sign 🙂

    You all made some very good statements, and I am glad to see us all taking part in the Boom wave. 😮

    1. Thank you very much! 🙂 Always nice to hear what people have to say about my opinions, and it’s extra awesome that you agree so much! XD

      1. You’re welcome! I am the only -serious- Sonic fan in my entire grade so I don’t have anyone to talk to about these Sonic the hedgehog related news bits at school. I really enjoy hearing other peoples’ thoughts and opinions here at the Sonic Stadium, especially thoughts from people of importance such as you and the rest of the writers, and I make sure to not miss out on the opportunity to respond.

  7. *Gasp* HOGFATHER has a negative opinion? WHAT a shock! *Hardcore sarcasm*

    Give it a chance, it has true potential and you don’t even know what it is, don’t become a stiff person afraid of change.

    1. Did you actually read anything I said? Or did you just see someone not lavishing the concept in mindless praise and go “I MUST REPLY!”

      Because I think you’ll find everything I’ve said is right based on what’s been shown so far.

      You don’t mindlessly give things chances based on people saying ‘We understand these characters’ and then barely showing any of the gameplay.

      1. I was so glad to read your thoughts, as mine are very similar; told a couple of my friends that it had potential to be a good game, not necessarily a “Sonic” game as we currently know it. I will admit I’m warming up to the concept of Boom in general, but right now we’ve seen so little game play; it irks me to see all of these comments about “Boom being the best thing ever that needs to replace the current Sonic!” On the other hand, the comments stating this game sucks and Sonic is dead need to chill as well. We’ve seen a single trailer; it amazes me people think they know exactly how it’s going to play already.

        My thoughts; I don’t want to see SEGA fail, but on the other hand, I’m not sure if I want Boom to be a hit in fear it will eventually replace the main series. I’m remaining cautiously optimistic; I’ll check out the show and merchandise, see if it’s decent to good quality and something worth spending time/money on; and the game I’m keeping my eye on, especially during E3 (though my attention will be more turned towards Wii U games like Smash Bros. and anything else Nintendo has up their sleeves). It’s hard to form a solid opinion one way or another (besides my gut-reaction) at this point with so little information.

    2. Not everyone likes Sonic Boom, the game looks alright but the redesigns are horrible (except for Tails and Amy) and any good serious story telling will be ruined by the cartoon’s comedic nature. Tha cartoon resets every episode and instead of a standard cartoon length Sonic Boom is eleven minutes. I’ll give the series a chance but so far Im not impressed. You are entitled to your opinion and everyone esle is entitled to thiers.

  8. At first, I hated the new designs. Now I’ve grown on to them a bit more. Just make Sonic’s arms peach and I won’t have anything to complain about, not even Knuckles.

    1. His arms are blue to signify that he is Boom Sonic and not the main series Sonic, so blue they will stay.

      You’ll just have to deal with it.

  9. I’m excited for Sonic Boom as well as I’m glad that it’s not replacing the existing continuity, I have high espectations for the game since the stages are more open and exploratory than ever and you can use 4 different character that, even if each have different abilities all share the same high speed gameplay the series are known for, also I like a good story and character dynamics with my Sonic games and it looks like that was a crucial part for the developers.

    That being said I’m not fond of the TV show, the animation is fantastic sure, but I don’t like the simplistic nature of it, I mean is a comedy show for boys between 6 – 11 years old, with episodes 11 minutes each and without long story arcs, I’m going to give it a chance but so far I don’t see me liking it.

    As for the redesigns well, as most people I didn’t like Sonic and Knuckles designs, I don’t mind Sonic being taller nor the bandages, I seriously love his new hair style a lot and I think I can get used to the scarf, but those blue arms!! It took me a while to realize why did I hate them so much, and is because I’m a big fan of Sonic comics and fanart and when Sonic appears with blue arms in those cases it means someone made a mistake, and my brain is processing this design as a mistake, but I’m sure I will get used to it. And with Knuckles I don’t mind him getting redesined to look like the tough guy, but he looks ridiculous, I think they were too far, he pops up too much from the rest of the cast like if the developers were following a different art style with him.

    To finish my post I will like to share a great video from GameXplain analyzing the Sonic Boom game trailer, also offering some very interesting pieces of information (like the fact that the first footage of the game was shown to the public like 2 years ago!). This really raised my espectations for the game a lot, enjoy!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZ__uzlfAdE

  10. I think I like the idea of the show. The trailer was humorous, and it actually made me laugh, which I wasn’t expecting. As far as the character designs, they’re ok. The more I think about Knuckles’, the more I think it fits. He is supposed to be strong, so naturally he should have some sort of muscles. The height would be just to balence him out. At first when I saw Sonic, I could tell something was off besides the fact that he now had a scarf, but I had to go to the comments to realize he had blue arms. I find nothing wrong with it, personally. His legs were always blue, and Tails always had orange(or yellow, don’t argue with me) arms. Why can’t Sonic have blue arms? You may argue that Amy still has tan(or whatever you want to call it) arms, but her legs are, too. Saying that just because Amy has tan arms could also imply that you want Sonic to have tan legs. There is nothing wrong with it. Anyways, the series looks cool. I don’t know enough about the game yet to make an opinion on that. It sounds cool, though.

  11. Anyway Sega does not deal with old fans who are 30 years like me, or those who grew up with the generation of 98, they especially try to attract a new generation of young children. Now I can not wait to see what the cartoon and video game will give, I am disappointed with the new look of the characters (sonic with great legs and blue arms, for example) but I expect more before me forge a definitive opinion. “Sonic X” had me quite disappointed at the time and I hope that the new cartoon will make up for it but I’ll always have a crush on the first because it is departed from my childhood. ^ ^

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