A new interview has surfaced with Bob Rafei, CEO of Big Red Button Entertainment, who says Sonic Team had some “discomfort” over some of the company’s more wacky redesign ideas. A lengthy article over on Gamespot goes into some details of the behind the scenes work of Sonic Boom, which Rafei explains about the freedom Sonic Team gave them, and where they simply had to cross the line.
“We went pretty wide with the designs at first, and by going too wide, we lost some of the spirit of the character and had to rein it in,” said Rafei. “Sonic Team and Sega were very open-minded about our approach, and accepting of a lot of things we were doing. Ultimately, because of some of our really wacky ideas, we did find the boundaries of things we could and couldn’t do[…] we experimented with different colors and surface features on the characters, such as fur or scales, and quickly Sonic Team came back with their discomfort of that. They were great guardrails for us to understand when we were deviating too far from the character. Without their input, the character would have been a lot more alien and different from what Sonic is known for.”
Rafei goes on to explain the time where Iizuka himself popped down the Big Red Button to have a chat about the new look characters – where they ended up having an adult conversation about the validity of pants on the cast.
“I felt sorry for the guy because sometimes he couldn’t actually look at the screen–it was too traumatic seeing all the crazy stuff we wanted to do. Over the course of that meeting, when we were coming up with new ideas, we had a very sincere–just two adults talking–conversation about why a character should or should not wear pants, and that was a very surreal moment in my life and my career,”
But that’s not all! Rafei also answers many other burning questions – such as, what is the deal with all that sports tape?!
“From my perspective, it was important the characters have a practical heroism to them and not vanity, which is more fitting for villains. The arm and leg wraps were inspired by fighters and American football players–two groups who don’t really care what they look like so long as the end result is that they kick ass at what they do. That was something I wanted associated with these characters. The sports tape is meant to show the characters are not vain; it’s just a part of their daily routine. When the world is in jeopardy, you don’t have time to worry about what you look like. It’s a more grounded approach for the characters.
This is in contrast to Eggman and his very formal, military-esque attire. That’s a very conscious design choice because his character is more vain and is very concerned with what his robots look like and what he looks like. Hopefully you can see the thought that went into this and not just something we threw out for the sake of it.”
Well, when you put it like that! You can read the full story over on Gamespot, where they also touch on other sweet details like the reason behind our brand new jacked up Knuckles, why Sonic is wearing a bandana, and how similar Sonic Boom will be to the classics we all know and love. Now excuse me while I go make a Sonic the Reptile with Pants picture…