In today’s edition of The Spin, I want to talk about something I think that, despite being a question no one will ask; if a Sonic Boom game can be good let alone should be made, is that if such a game period can be good or even GREAT. Short answer? Of course it can!
The long answer? I have some ideas.
Back when the whole initiative was announced by Sega back on February 6, 2014, that they would launch a sub-brand of Sonic that would not only come with a new TV show, but two games to accompany it, and at the time, the games seemed to be the meat and potatoes of the sub-brand with the show existing to complement it, rather than the other way around. Well in the end the opposite felt like the truth, where the show felt like it was the true Sonic Boom product and the games were put out to market the show.
We know how the games turned out, but I think most will agree that the show itself is pretty damn good, and is one of the sole saving graces of the Sonic Boom name, that and the comics, but I don’t follow those personally. 😛
So back on June 9, 2015, just prior to E3 was the surprise announcement that Sega got Sanzaru Games, who developed Shattered Chrystal on 3DS, to make a sequel called Fire & Ice, once again for 3DS set for this year, making it the only Sonic game on traditional gaming platforms for this year (Rio 2016 is out next year breaking the Olympic series’ traditional release schedule).
And so far Fire & Ice is… not too shabby from what I’ve seen. Shattered Crystal was seen as the “not as bad but not that good anyway” of the two and this at least looks like it might just bump that opinion to “hopefully at least pretty decent”, thanks to some potential refinements to the previous game’s formula and adding in a few extra layers of polish.
This brings me to the main point of the article; can a game be not just good, but even GREAT as I asked? Let’s get to how that might be accomplished.
I don’t particularly think Big Red Button is fit for the job, mostly due to a really bad first impression (I think Rise of Lyric is on both of Sega and BRB’s hands for different reasons), and there’s no telling just how hard the team has been hit following ROL’s release (all we know at the moment is that they helped out with God of War 3 Remastered on PS4) and if they’re even able do a AAA release, even though they were formed for that purpose. The problem is, one, this was their first true game, the second, is that it’s their first game after being formed 6 years prior in 2008. The only dev I can think of that had a similar history that actually put out a damn good game (just one example anyway) is Zoonami who after so long put out an “eh” game with Zendoku on DS and PSP, but then worked with Nintendo directly to make Bonsai Barber on WiiWare which got really good reception for what it was, yeah it was a vegetable hair cut simulator (how many games can be called that?), but a damn fine vegetable hair cut simulator!
But when can we trim a hedgehog?
Ironically, both companies were formed by pretty notable folks from legendary companies, with BRB being formed by Naughty Dog vets, with Zoonami being formed by a Rare veteran (specifically by Martin Hollis, the director of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark).
Anyway, it’ll take some sort of great game, even a small scale one to restore faith in BRB in my opinion. It can be done, but I want to see it happen first naturally before I want to see them on another big game, and specifically a Sonic game in this case.
So what now then? Well, I’ve come up with two choices. One we already have if only to just make a really good one, but another if Sega REALLY want to do a AAA release without holding back.
The former would be Sanzaru again on a Wii U game (talking from obvious history here with the games being on Nintendo systems, just work with me here), we have a very proven dev who earned their fame from working on not only remastering the Sly Cooper games, but created an all-new sequel on PS3 and Vita with Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, which of course was a full 3D platformer.
Do they own any of the tech used in Thieves in Time, I don’t know, but let’s assume they do. they can use the engine as a starting point, and bringing a PS3 engine to Wii U is way easier than from what we heard of BRB trying to bring PS4 and XBO-made tech to Wii U (supposedly the game started there and was forced to downport), also not using an engine not proven to shine on the platform and also Sanzaru would know their own tech inside and out, so they’d know how to get it working naturally (also they did port the game to Vita and that’s much weaker than Wii U).
I think this is a recipe that can work, if they make a true 3D platforming game that maybe takes some elements of Fire & Ice (I’d expect them wanting to as they are the same dev after all) and make a big adventure on Wii U, I’m thinking the results would surprise some people, especially if Sega do mean it when they said they’re sorry for the poor output recently. Who knows.
The other dev in mind if Sega really want to go all out, and it’s certainly one very familiar with western 3D platformers that really push boundaries, and can work on Wii U, that dev can only be; Insomniac.
These guys, unlike their pals at Naughty Dog and Sucker Punch, actually do still make 3D platformers, and Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time is supposed to the best in the series and each game is filled with personality and when they’re at their best, are outstanding experiences. And just look at Ratchet & Clank on PS4 which is a remake of sorts of the very first game. I said wow.
If Insomniac put the passion and quality they put in for example A Crack in Time in a Sonic Boom game on Wii U, I think we’d ALL be in for a real treat. It also depends if Sega would allow it by giving them the time and money needed to reach that kind of quality.
Of course, on the Wii U side of things, most would just say “wait until the NX”, whatever it ends up being, and you’re right. Wii U’s not having a good time (to say the least) and there’s a lot of talk about the NX being its successor that could be out in 2016 (it will be shown in whatever form it is next year, that much we know). Well let’s focus on the here and now and not straight away assume things. I’ve made my own but this probably isn’t the time or place for you to do the same, this is about Sonic Boom after all and not about what Nintendo’s doing next on the console front. 🙂
So yeah, this is just an idea of what Sega can do with the Sonic Boom series if they want to show people that a Sonic Boom game can be done right. Will they do it? I doubt it, but you never know what the future holds! What do you think of these ideas, and Sonic Boom as a whole? Do you think the Sonic Boom line can be salvaged gaming-wise, and would you like to see a truly serious effort in a game in the series? Do you have any ideas, like of who should make a Sonic Boom game, and what direction it should be taken? Let us know in the comments!