Unseen64 details what happened during Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric’s development


Look Ma! We’re in the thumbnail!

Yes, it’s the story you’ve waited for, finally we get some answers as to why the game went, well, boom. Some quick key details include confirmation that the game was intended for “unspecified next-gen consoles”, the game was mostly done in this form, and Sega gave Big Red Button so little time to do the Wii U port when the exclusivity deal happened. Another highlight is that the footage in the debut trailer (that went bangarang on your ears), actually was NOT Wii U footage after all.

More can be seen in this 5 and a half minute video.

Thanks so much to Liam aka Tamaki from Unseen64 for this wonderful look into the game’s development. 🙂

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  1. Hopefully other developers and game companies will learn a lesson from this because this game’s failure was tragic and heartbreaking, and I hope no other franchise has to suffer through this. Fortunately Sonic’s fanbase are tough as nails; we’ll be alright.

    1. I feel the same way; I honestly wanted the game to be good and had hopes (not high hopes, but hopes)

    2. “Fortunately Sonic’s fanbase are tough as nails”
      Yeah, it ain’t hard to tell.
      They break ’em down whether they’re solid or frail.

  2. Well, now we know this game’s failure was all Sega’s fault. If they had chosen another Sonic game instead of this,then I think this game would’ve been a lot better.

    1. It wouldn’t really matter if it was sonic boom or not the problem was way the game works if they did better with rise of lyric and not rush development and all then the game would be decent but instead its not I’m not saying Sega didn’t screw up I’m just saying if they did better at creating it and not rush anything then people would complaining also the game wouldn’t make think ” OH NO Its the end sonic, sell him nintendo, give up Sega ,sonic is dead!”

      1. Well, I don’t think Sega notified them about Sonic Boom for Wii U from the start. Had Big Red Button been notified from the start, then yeah the game would’ve been a lot better.

  3. I thought SEGA should have learnt their mistake since 06, but in fact they didn’t

  4. Man… I’m heartbroken, really. I have said this time and time again about Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, but knowing even MORE about it makes me even sadder.

  5. Hogfather covered all this in his Spin posts didn’t he? Either way, it is very interesting regardless. I agree with TheBlackHoodedGamer and Kiloanna. Hearing even more about this… it’s just a tragedy and makes me sad. However, this is not the first time we Sonic fans have had to deal with, “What could have been…” Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) has finally met someone it can relate with.

  6. It’s tragic, to say the least. Some of you might recall that I was really looking forward to this game, and took up arms in its defense.

    Why can’t Sega ever learn the Miyamoto Philosophy of games?

    “A delayed game is eventually good. A rushed game is forever bad.”

    1. Because the other half of Miyamoto’s logic is currently the blame for the Wii U’s problems. I think. I heard someone else say this at least…
      But yeah. Most of the time he is right, especially this time.

    2. Because this logic requires money. It costs more to delay a game than to release it. I don’t think that Big Red Button had the money needed, and I don’t think Sega was keen on giving it to them anyways.

      1. Oh sure, SEGA has enough dough to create a ridiculous cross media campaign that revolves around merchandising and CGI television shows and making movie deals.

        But when it comes to the crux of their operation, the medium that made SEGA what it is today, the video games? Oops, no more money, time to penny-pinch.
        I don’t think BRB is that innocent in this ordeal, but it’s so funny how the Sonic franchise has a thousand ways that it can be revived and not one of them involves being owned SEGA.

        Also, as fellow appreciator of futuristic racers with flaming limbs, allow me to extend the obligatory greeting comingly known as
        “SHOW ME YO MOVES!

  7. It really is a shame. I was just as hyped for this as I was Sonic Xtreme, Sonic Unleashed, Sonic and the Black Knight, Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood and Sonic ’06 but sadly, they all fell flat on their faces at and after launch (aside from Xtreme which never even made it that far).

    1. Actually, some of those games you named were a financial success, such as Shadow the Hedgehog (approximately 1 million units on Gamecube alone, versus Sonic Boom that barely breached half a million last I checked), Sonic Unleashed, and Sonic ’06. Sonic Chronicles was actually received pretty well by critics too. I guess it depends on what you mean by “flat of their faces”–because the common theme I see is that none of these games lived up to the hype.

      1. Yeah, that was what I meant as well as them all being incredibly flawed in various ways. They only sold so well because of the hype, making the fans want them on release.

  8. Why did Sega include Sonic Boom in the Nintendo exclusivity deal? Couldn’t they make it a multiplat and make another M&S later? And while we’re at it, WHY did the exclusivity deal even exist? What did Sega gain from it? Nintendo helping them with the game’s marketing?

  9. Sonic Unleashed rocks. Anyone who gives it shit over the werehog stages but considers the Adventure games (whose only good stages were the speedy ones, which made up LESS THAN HALF OF THE GAME) good is clearly biased.

    1. That was directed at kamifox1, btw. For some reason my comment didn’t appear as a reply to his.

      1. And you’re not biased? Not once did I say “It fell flat on its face because of the werehog stages” nor did I say I disliked it for that fact. I happen to dislike the game as a whole aside from the story (even if the werehog was done in a really stupid way after the opening) and it did fall flat on its face as far as general opinion goes too.

        I also didn’t say I thought the Adventure games were good but if I had mentioned them, I would’ve said it’s not just the speed-type stages I enjoy. I actually enjoy all the different stage types except Big the Cats fishing games. Every stage type in those games has their good points and their bad points (again, aside from Bigs stages) even the speed type stages. I also favour the chao garden the most in the Adventure games, not the main parts of the games. I only really play the main parts to get the rings, emblems, eggs (in the first Adventures case) and animals/chaos drives that are required for the chao gardens.

        1. I also happen to prefer Sonic 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic Colours (Wii version), Sonic and the Secret Rings, the Sonic Advance series and Sonic Rush over Unleashed.

  10. I never blamed Big Red Button for the lack of quality Sonic Boom had to show for. I personally will blame SEGA and no one else. If SEGA had told BRB that they could have this game on PS4, Xbox One and PC then chances are the game would have run a lot better. But that only stops the game from not being down right bad, would about the fact that it is down right boring to play. Simple. Suppose Big Red Button had been working on this project starting from 2010, then simply put, SEGA were so desperate to show just how fucking different this version of the Sonic Universe is, that when BRB nearly got somewhere SEGA would barge right in and say “We have completely changed everything about what we want in this game so you guys are going to have to start all other again you fuckwards”. The more I look at what SEGA are doing, the more I see them being no different then Konami or Capcom in this situation. Their mind set is so god damn old that if it were up to me I would get the Sonic franchise, take it to a room filled with memorabilia so that he is happy before I put a bullet in the back of its head. But that’s just me.

    1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t one of the reports from Hogfather’s Spin articles stated that BRB came to SEGA with the initial idea of creating a new IP similar to Boom but SEGA only green lighted their concept on the grounds that it feature Sonic. Similar to what happened to Rare and how Dinosaur Planet became a StarFox game?

      I agree with everything you said until the Konami/Capcom comparison. I think SEGA is actually sandwiched in between the two.

      Capcom is the best of the three because they still have multiple powerful IP that is successful beyond Japan, they still have have loyalty to their international fan base, and they have an important role within the scope of competitive gaming through their fighting games. They currently don’t have the money to do any stupid shit like make a cartoons show and most of their IP are geared towards adults anyway so they don’t bother with that and concentrate on making games. Their issue is greed and penny pinching.

      Konami is the worse though. They just eliminated their most talented developer, have alienated wall of their long time fans with threats of censorship and have IP that appeals to an international audience beyond MGS. And have you seen their CCO? Guy looks like he’s high as fuck and acts like a clown. Rumor has it is that Konami is purposely following a self-destructive path so they can bow out the game business and concentrate on pachinko and Japanese gambling.
      So no, SEGA is not as bad as Konami…but it’s getting there.

  11. The part with people leaving midway through the project, others working overtime and such reminded me of Sonic Xtreme.

    I feel the video didn’t touch a more important aspect of the game: The gameplay. It explains the reason behind the general “unfinishedness” and the degradation in graphics compared to the early footage, but it doesn’t explain at all why the gameplay was as broken as to remind of Sonic 2006 at several parts. If anything, I’d be betting that if Boom was released on XO/PS4/PC and the engine was left untouched, it would still be plagued with broken physics and handling.

    I guess leaving Sonic to Iizuka is nowadays the only chance we have of seeing a “proper” Sonic game.

  12. Oh, boohoo! Why won’t Sega port all their games games to underpowered Nintendo consoles!?

    Get over it, gaming doesn’t revolve around Nintendo consoles. If anything, you should be complaining at Nintendo for not making their systems port-friendly. Ninty should be grateful enough for Sega supporting the Wii U when about every other third party ignored it (as stupid as the move was on Sega’s part, given that it ruined Sonic Boom and almost killed the franchise).

    1. Do you HAVE to be so condescending to everyone? Neither I nor Johnny has actually said anything that could be considered wrong, offensive or enraging yet here you are, seemingly trying to pick fights. Maybe try calming down a bit before responding to people, you’ll cause a lot less grief in the long run that way.

      On topic, however, during the era of a lot of the games he mentioned, Nintendo was actually king of the consoles as far as power and popularity went. Gamecube was the most powerful of that era, the DS was the most popular with both consumers and devs and as powerful as the PSP games-wise, at least during the PSP/DS era (it was just very rarely pushed to its potential, as is the case with most of Nintendos consoles, sadly). So I actually agree with him for the most part, it does seem odd for Nintendo to not receive those games or extra content during those eras. It does also seem off for the Wii to not receive the stuff the PS3/360 version of Unleashed had since it was more than capable of that much content, albeit with worse graphics (Xenoblade Chronicles, Monster Hunter Tri and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess all had way more content than that, to name a few). It also does seem odd that the Wii never got Sonic Free Riders since that would’ve been perfect for the Wiimote, it could’ve worked the same as Zero Gravity did.

      1. Yeah, you can thank SEGA for the existence of the franchise as well as several excellent game consoles, other franchises/standalone games and excellent music. But, no, I guess you’re too busy being an ungrateful jerk like a disproportionate amount of the fanbase.

        1. No I can thank SEGA for creating hundreds of great IP from arcade favorites to cult classics like Shenmue and Valkeriya Chronicles, only to shaft them in the ass because they don’t make Nintendo money and they didn’t market them outside Japan. Or maybe I should thank SEGA for whoring the Sonic franchise so far into the ground that it can never recover. Let’s thank SEGA for introducing such pioneering techniques such as rushing development on games and consoles, last minute changes to large scale projects, inter division feuds, poor treatement of their workers and poor mismanagement of funds into pointless crap like celebrity endorsements, cartoons and movie deals when they could have funded more games and consoles. Maybe I should even thank SEGA for fucking over their global divisions so badly, that they had to fire people from San Fransisco, Europe and Australia so they concentrate on Japan like the bunch of old fashioned nationalistic idiots they are, the irony being that this was once a Japanese game company founded by and built to entertain Westerners.

          Just about the only thing we should be thankful for is SEGA saving Atlus from Bankruptcy…and yet I’m confident they’ll find a way to fuck that up too. Poor Persona 🙁

          But you’re right. I’m too busy being an ungrateful jerk to show loyalty to a company who never wants to learn from their mistakes and keeps making even bigger mistakes.

          1. Yet you’re missing the fact if SEGA didn’t exist, none of their many games, their consoles or the music would exist in the first place. Yes, they’ve become crap in recent years but they’re not ALL bad as you’re making them out to be. It’s actually hard to find a AAA game dev company that HASN’T done any of this in recent years so really, you should give up on AAA gaming if your so willing to forget everything the companies have done in the past and just focus on the bad they’ve done more recently.

  13. This video actually clears up a fair amount of the questions I’ve had with this game’s development so far, and adds up a little better compared to Hogfather’s research (and I don’t mean to shoot you down Hogfather; you did a lot of awesome work with your articles!) It honestly makes much more sense that Rise of Lyric’s failure simply chalks up to SEGA’s unfortunate history of questionable management, which I still hope is something they can really fix up someday. 🙂

    As for the people saying that the Wii U’s hardware “couldn’t handle Cryengine and ruined the game”, I have only one question to ask:

    Have you ever made a game before?

    Porting a game to other systems is extremely difficult in quite a few cases, especially for engines and games that were designed for specific systems. Some games get into the nitty-gritty of a system’s hardware, being designed to work with specific ways that a system handles memory and processes graphics, among many other nuances that are specific to certain systems. The best recent example I can think of this being used in the field is Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us”. The Last of Us is not just a big game, but a culmination of all of the tricks Naughty Dog figured out with getting the most out of the PS3’s hardware, which played a huge part in making the game look and play as well as it does.

    Then Sony had them port it to PS4 for The Last of Us Remastered. The PS4 has completely different hardware compared to the PS3, leaving Naughty Dog to rebuild parts of the game in order to make it even work on the system.

    As for how this relates to Sonic, if Sonic Boom was initially almost finished for other systems before SEGA made the exclusivity deal with Nintendo, the technical and graphical issues of the game suddenly make a lot more sense. Combine that with SEGA hardly giving them any time to do the port, along with Cryengine having no documentation or support for the Wii U (leaving Big Red Button to pretty much make a cobbled-together version of Cryengine by themselves that works on the Wii U) and you’ve set up a recipe for disaster.

    However, I wouldn’t put the blame of the game’s failure entirely on SEGA either; the core presentation and concept of the game is still flawed in itself, which I’m pretty sure was something BRB had a hand in deciding upon, although I could be wrong. A slow, generic beat-em-up puzzle platformer just isn’t what people think of when they think of Sonic, and I honestly thought Unleashed proved that back with the Werehog.

    In the end, this game was a heap of trouble, and I think both sides were at fault here to a degree. However, I hope that SEGA, or at least Big Red Button and everyone else, can take the lessons it taught us and use the knowledge to help prevent other failures like it in the future.

    1. So you say people who claim Cryengine being incompatible with WiiU know nothing about making games then go on to say that is, in fact, part of the issue?

      I’ve been saying Cryengine being used on WiiU, a system it’s not designed for, was at least partly to blame all along, before any of this came to light, and yes, I have made games before. I attended a game dev course for a while, until I was forced out of it for reasons I don’t wish to discuss or expect anyone who’s not from the UK to understand.

      1. Yes. It’s possible (and I mean possible; this is all speculation, and I apologize for not saying that in my first message) that people who didn’t know about the time and effort required to port the game were also the ones who made the decision of “Oh, we’ve got this Sonic Boom project over here that’s almost done, let’s just bring it over to the Wii U and fulfill the last game of that 3 game deal we just got!” without giving enough thought to (or even worse, not understanding at all) what exactly they were asking BRB to do. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen a client do this.

        I believe Cryengine could actually work on the Wii U in a form that at least performs better than the one we saw in Sonic Boom, even if it’s missing some of the graphical flair. However, I also think Crytek would be the only ones who could really optimize the engine and make it get the most out of the Wii U, since they have the resources (heck, they MADE the resources) to at least make it easier to bring games over.

        In the end, I’m just playing “What If” with all of this though, not to mention Crytek probably has other things on their mind right now beyond developing some sort of compatibility for the Wii U.

        And don’t worry about proving you know about making games or anything like that; you know who you are and what you know, and I trust you on that. My goal was to get across that making and porting a game is a tremendous amount of work that really isn’t as easy as it might seem to some, and I’m very sorry if it didn’t come across that way and/or just sounded rude.

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