(Europe) Buy and register Mario Kart 8 on Club Nintendo and you can choose to get Sonic Lost World or Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games for FREE digitally on Wii U

Mario Kart 8 Europe Promotion

Long title is long. Anyway, during the big unload of Mario Kart 8 information via the surprise Mario Kart 8 Direct and outside of it, Nintendo unveiled a promotion where if you purchase Mario Kart 8, either by buying it at retail, buying it digitally on the eShop, or buying the copy that comes with the special Wii U Mario Kart 8 Bundle (aka, you buy it new, you get this), and register the code that comes in the box on Club Nintendo (buying digitally does this automatically), you get to choose from one of 10 Wii U games to download from the eShop for FREE, among of which being the Wii U version of Sonic Lost World and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

This however is only for our European fans, because for North America, folks there instead get to choose from four games instead (all four are choices in Europe), they also say for people in Australia to check the Nintendo of Australia website in the coming days for more info.

Nintendo’s full message on their website:

Mario Kart 8 hits Wii U on May 30th, bringing the series into a new dimension with antigravity racing, exhilarating online play, and the ability to share your race highlights with the world.

Thanks to our special Mario Kart 8 Bonus Game Promotion, if you register the PIN code for Mario Kart 8 in Club Nintendo between 10am (UK time) on May 30th and 11:59pm (UK time) on July 31st, you could claim a free download code for one of a selection of great Wii U games!

Please read the Terms & Conditions for more information.

Users in Australia, please check the Nintendo Australia website in the coming days for more information.

The full list for reach region are as follows:


Sonic Lost World

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

New Super Mario Bros. U

Pikmin 3

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

The Wonderful 101

Game & Wario

Wii Party U


Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate

North America:

New Super Mario Bros. U

Pikmin 3

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

Wii Party U

Which game are you choosing? Let us know in the comments!

New trailer for Sega’s 3DS RPG Hero Bank features a remix of a familiar Sonic song


Sega just yesterday put out a new trailer for Hero Bank, Sega’s new RPG for the 3DS which just came out in Japan on March 20, 2014. At the very beginning of the trailer, you can hear the remix of a certain song, instantly familiar to those who played Sonic Adventure.

Give up? It’s Twinkle Park! We don’t know exactly who the composer is (hell we have little info on what folks were behind the game or if it was even outsourced to an external company), all we know if that it was produced by Toshihiro Nagoshi, the man behind Yakuza and Super Monkey Ball.

Thanks to AceZX in our forum for the find!

Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed now FREE on iOS and Android

unnamedSorry, Peppy Hare took a wrong turn at albuquerue and couldn’t be here today.

Yep, the Sega and Sonic the Hedgehog twitter accounts just announced the Android version of the game is now free to download, note that it’s a big file, it’s 789MB (on Android at least)! Download the game on iOS via the App Store here and on Android via Google Play here!

Very high-res off-screen development pic of Sonic Boom Wii U reveals HUD

Sonic Boom Crop

So what you see above is an in-development pic of Sonic Boom on Wii U, please keep in mind that anything you see in the debug data on the upper right is in no way an indication of the final product (so don’t panic over the 15FPS bit). Heck many bits aren’t even textured. I personally think it will be a night and day difference when we see the final version of the area. For now, we can have a look at the potential HUD, the general camera angle, and the layout of an area we’ll likely explore in the final game.

This was originally posted in a smaller resolution at AP, but was removed,  due to the appearance of a Wii U dev kit. We’ve decided to only share the main attraction, the actual screen and not the entire pic, we don’t want the Nintendo Ninjas to come after us next!

The large pic you see above was discovered by the user Finn from the Spindash.de forum (it’s best if we don’t link to it as it has the unaltered image), the exact origin of the pic however isn’t clear.

EDIT @ 3:20PM EST: Nevermind, it’s been decided we can link to the Spindash.de post, we just can’t put up the pic ourselves.

Here you go!

Who’s at Big Red Button? Part 2 – SuperBots are invading, we need reinforcements!

Big Red Button Entertainment Logo

For Part 1, look here!

It’s that time again! I’ve been busy doing more research on who’s at Big Red Button and working on the Wii U version of Sonic Boom.

Well my findings sort of come in almost two categories; the most common is the mass amount of former SuperBot Entertainment folks, the team behind PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, aka, Sony Smash Bros. Which by the way while it was never going to dethrone Smash, it looked like a very polished game from what I’ve seen, and Metacritic is pretty kind to it (only one reviewer gave it a horrendous 20/100 as the only score below 50, the game clearly is not shit).

The second category is held by one person, and it’s actually most deserving to be the highlight, more on that in a bit. 😉

Let’s start with a brief look at SuperBot. The team was formed in 2009 by a former Sony Santa Monica person (creators of God of War), and they were in fact, a 1st-Party developer of Sony, just as Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch, Sony Santa Monica, etc, are.

Well that changed, after All-Stars didn’t sell well (I don’t remember the numbers), Sony cut ties with them, and they were hit HARD, many thought they had closed but they confirmed in April 2013 that they were still active.

Well it seems a lot of them went to Big Red Button, now let’s see who’s there!

Let’s start with Niles Tucker, who was an Environment Artist at SuperBot, is now the same at Big Red Button.

Next is Kevin Hsu, who was a Senior Level Designer at SuperBot, is now a Combat Designer at Big Red Button.

Then we have Johnathan Nielsen, who was a UI (User Interface) Programmer at SuperBot, is now a Programmer at Big Red Button.

Fourth is  Carl-Henrik Skårstedt, who was Lead Software Engineer at, you guessed it, SuperBot, is now a Senior Programmer at, right again, Big Red Button!

Yet again, we have Daniel Ramirez, who was a Senior Character Artist at SuperBot, is now a Lead Character Artist at Big Red Button.

Here we have Mark Vernon, Combat AI Designer at SuperBot, is now Combat Designer at Big Red Button.

Next is Lisa Kapitsas, who was a Producer at SuperBot. Now she’s a Producer at Big Red Button.

What’s that? No more? Wow, I thought this wouldn’t end! XD Seven SuperBot folks, holy cow. This is looking more like a SuperBot-based company than a Naughty Dog or Insomniac one don’t it?

There are a few extras before we get to the big bit, they are the following:

First is Greg Prior, who worked at Sony Santa Monica as a Junior Environment Artist, specifically on God of War: Ascension. He’s now an Environment Artist at Big Red Button.

Second is Dannie Carlone, who also worked at Sony Santa Monica, this time as an Environment Artist, again on God of War: Ascension, is now also an Environment Artist at Big Red Button.

Next is Ben Strickland, this time having been a Junior Designer at High Impact Games (I covered a few HIG folks in the first part), is now a Game Designer at Big Red Button.

Finally we have David Nam, who was an Animator at High Impact Games (but only for a few months, he actually was an Animator for a few years at Wayforward, who makes Shantae, Mighty Switch Force, etc), is now Junior Animator at Big Red Button.

But wait, this person also worked at Disney, as he says specifically:

Created hand drawn animations under the mentorship of Anthony DeRosa, and animated on several scenes for “Winnie the Pooh”

This is leading up to my favorite of the pack, saving the best for last, allow me to introduce Todd Ammons, this guys’ resume will blow your mind. He worked at Disney for many years during the 90’s and early 2000’s as Assistant Animator on MANY Disney Renaissance Era films like Beauty and the Beast, Hercules, Tarzan, Hunchback of Notre Dame, etc as he shows on his site! He also worked on animating in the film Barnyard, and actually worked at Insomniac for a year and a half as Senior Animator, animating in Ratchet Deadlocked and Resistance: Fall of Man. He worked on numerous games at Heavy Iron Studios including Ratatouille, Wall-E, and Spongebob: Truth or Square.

And he has an animation demo!


Here you’ll find clips of Ratchet, Barnyard, Ratatouille, Spongebob (oh my god this is my fav bit), a tiny clip of Home on the Range with Alameda Slim (the villain), among others.Guys, I think we’re in for a TREAT! He’s now Senior Animator at Big Red Button, and here’s his description of the position:

Responsible for development of Cinematic,Character,Camera and Game Animation for the main actors and enemies. Influential in creating a Combat style and adding personality to the heros

That wraps it up. I hope you enjoyed this, as I certainly have!

Sonic Stadium Interview: Sega’s Stephen Frost

Sonic Boom Logo

Here it is! The interview I promised and gathered some fan questions for! I’d like give huge thanks to Stephen Frost and Kellie Parker for working with me and answering the questions. 🙂

And now, let’s get started!

Hero of Legend: So Stephen Frost, as I already listened to the SEGABits interview just published about you, you’ve already said a lot about yourself, but just for readers here who haven’t heard that interview (and should right now!), would you like to give a brief introduction about yourself and talk about past experiences and such? I’d also like to hear about you as well Kellie Parker. I haven’t heard much about you, so take this opportunity to talk about yourself and your experiences at and prior to Sega.

Stephen Frost: Well, for those who haven’t heard about me, and I assume that most have not; I’ve been a producer at SEGA for almost eight years now. I’ve worked on a variety of titles ranging from the Sega Genesis Collection to Universe at War to some of the Marvel titles and Shinobi on 3DS.

I started in game development at a studio called Dynamix in Eugene, Oregon and eventually moved to California to work at Imagine Media. There, as Webmaster, I helped to build the foundation of what would eventually become The Imagine Games Network (IGN) before eventually jumping over to launch PSM: 100% Independent PlayStation Magazine.

Around seven years later, the desire to return to game development was too strong, so I jumped at the chance to join the team at Electronic Arts, where I worked on such titles as Armies of Exigo, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2 and Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath. From there, I had a brief stint at an Activision studio (Z-Axis), working on some Marvel superhero properties before hanging my production hat at my current home at SEGA, where I’m now fully focused on Sonic Boom.

Kellie Parker: I’ve been working in online community for 15 years. I got my start on the IRC network TalkCity, which became a company called LiveWorld. While at LiveWorld, I worked on message boards and live online chats for many companies, including HBO, Showtime, Food Network, A&E, Intel, eBay, Slim-Fast, and MSNBC. I left LiveWorld to become the community manager for PC World and Macworld magazines, and after a few years there, I joined SEGA where I am the Senior Community Manager. I’ve been at SEGA for 5 and a half years now, and it’s been an amazing experience.

HoL: I’ve been very curious about who exactly is the exact character design of Sonic and company here? I have my beliefs it’s Bob Rafei as he’s had a history of character design work at Naughty Dog (I believe he worked on designing Jak and Daxter themselves, please correct me if I’m mistaken) and he has indeed addressed himself as one in the recent interviews about Sonic Boom.

SF: The development of the main characters in Sonic Boom was a joint collaboration between Big Red Button, OuiDo Productions, Sega and Sonic Team. We definitely pulled a lot from Bob’s past experience as a character designer but a lot of people had input into the final designs you see today. Given all the different mediums that the characters will appear in (games, cartoon, toys, etc.), it was important to make sure that the character designs met the needs of each of those.

HoL: You (Stephen) spoke about the composers not being set in stone, but I am curious if perhaps you’ll lean towards Sonic Team veterans like Jun Senoue, or maybe perhaps work with composers who are familiar to the people at BRB who worked at Naughty Dog and Insomniac prior, such as Mark Mothersbaugh and Josh Mancell who worked on Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter, or perhaps David Bergeaud and others who worked on the Ratchet & Clank series?

SF: At this time, we are not talking about the soundtrack or the musicians involved in the game. We should have more details at E3, though.

HoL: I am actually also really interested in knowing more about the names of people at Big Red Button involved with the game, more specifically just how many people who worked at Naughty Dog and Insomniac because of the key folks from the companies are known to be working on this game. I’ve done my own research about this and have found some interesting results.

I’m a dedicated researcher, I love knowing who works on games and what they’ve done before.  Knowing just who’s behind a game can really generate a lot of anticipation and confidence that the game is in fantastic hands, in my opinion. And so far some really amazing people have been seen to be working on Sonic Boom.

SF: Well, I would like to be respectful of all the team members and not mention them by name, but there is definitely a lot of talent at Big Red Button. We’ll be sure to put as many of them in the spotlight as possible as we get further along with the project. However, at a management level, we have folks who have worked on such franchises as Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, Uncharted, True Crime, Shrek, God of War, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Ghostbusters and Simpsons, to name a few.

HoL: I’d like to ask about the 3DS version of the game. I understand Sanzaru Games is behind this version and they’re most well known to have carried the torch of the Sly Cooper series from Sucker Punch. I’d like to know if this version will be for example a 3D platformer as well, also if maybe it will have it’s own style, like maybe it could be cel-shaded like Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time as they made just prior, similar to how the Wii U version is very similar in style to Jak & Daxter.

SF: At this time, we aren’t talking about the 3DS version of the game. You are correct that Sanzaru were responsible for the most recent Sly Cooper title and I’m sure they will bring all their experience from that project over to Sonic Boom. All I can really say right now is that the 3DS game is its own experience with a separate storyline from the Wii U version. We have a few surprises to announce in relation to the 3DS game, but you’ll just have to wait and see what they are.

HoL: Again about the 3DS version, is it likely to feature some connectivity with the Wii U version? Sonic Lost World already did so I personally wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

SF: The 3DS game will have some connectivity with the Wii U but details of that have not yet been announced.

HoL: Back to the Wii U version. I am personally interested in knowing if at least in the main hub shown if there will be a real-time day/night cycle for ambiance and such? Because some sneaky folks managed to slip in footage of the game way back in March 2013 during Crytek’s CryEngine 3 demo:


Under our noses all along and before Sonic Lost World was unveiled, my mind is still blown!

Anyway I personally love touches like this, and I understand this was in fact planned for Sonic the Hedgehog for the PS3 and 360 (aka Sonic ’06) but was removed for one reason or another. I personally hope this is indeed in the game as shown here, and the moving shadows is such a beautiful sight.

SF: The footage shown in Crytek’s CryEngine 3 demo was of an early visual prototype. It does not necessarily reflect the current Sonic Boom game or its features. That also includes the day/night cycle showcased in the video.

HoL: Also, as a fan of platformers that allow you to just relax and look around to your heart’s content, I’ve always been a huge fan of freely movable cameras, whether it’s just to swing 360 degrees around a character, or even as a first-person view to look up into the sky or down to your feet, is there a camera system like this in place so fans can look at the pretty environments from anywhere? Sonic Lost World and also the three Sonic games prior at least (Unleashed, Colors, Generations) did not have this at all or extremely minimally, but the Sonic Adventure games, especially the first really used this very well, and it was sorely missed.

SF: I can confirm that exploration is an important part of this game, so I would expect that the camera system would be designed around that, as well.

HoL: Bob Rafei mentioned to The Guardian about there actually being 2D gameplay in the game. Is this more or less like Classic Sonic again, or is it actually more like the 2D sections in Crash Bandicoot? Also how much of them are there in the game? I would think the game is very much mostly 3D, hopefully with only a few 2D bits sprinkled in, just my personal opinion.

SF: As with most Sonic titles, where there is generally a mix of 3-D and 2-D-based gameplay. Sonic Boom will be no different. Given the focus on exploration of this new world for Sonic, we generally wanted to focus on 3-D. However, given our desire to deliver a “familiar but new” experience, you can bet that elements like the 2-D-based gameplay will certainly show up, but maybe with a few twists.

HoL: Are you able to give a detailed enough idea on what the characterizations of Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy will be? People are wondering if Knuckles will be on the less-than-intelligent side and if Amy will still go cuckoo for Sonic for instance? Tails is also in question as some are wondering if he’s going to be snarky as it were? (some point out his facial expressions art) Also curious if the brotherly bond between Tails and Sonic will be developed on.

SF: I am certainly aware that the characterizations for Sonic and team are a big discussion point amongst the fans out there. We know it’s important and we spent a lot of time working out how these characters should behave and act. It’s obviously key to be true to their original designs, but we also need to balance them out a bit, while accenting certain personality traits so that folks not too familiar with Sonic can quickly and easily understand who these characters are and what they’re like. This is the same philosophy that influenced the overall visual character designs for the characters. With Amy, for example, we aren’t really meaning that she is a strong, independent and acrobatic character only in Sonic Boom. She has been that way in other games. In Sonic Boom, though, these aspects of her character will really be emphasized in the story and gameplay in order to make it clear to everyone that this is how she is.

HoL: People are wondering where the idea of the Enerbeam came from? It’s certainly a new concept for the series.

SF: The original concept for the Enerbeam came from the general idea of us wanting a physical manifestation of the friendship between the main characters, something that connected them all together in a visual way. That was the genesis of the idea, at least, but the Enerbeam has evolved a fair bit since those early days and has been refined into something that is more of an extension of the characters, themselves. Once players see how the team gets this ability, they will definitely understand it a bit better.

It plays a role in all major aspects of the game, including navigation, combat, and interaction with the world, but is designed to enhance the gameplay, not detract from it. The uses for the Enerbeam are built to be fun and, again, build upon the character-specific abilities that each character has.

HoL: Is there teamwork in gameplay? How does this work? Something like in Sonic Heroes or Sonic Advance 3 perhaps?

SF: Yes, we have what I prefer to call “working as a team” but it isn’t really like either of those two games. Our teamwork dynamic is a bit more organic than what is found in Sonic Heroes or SA3. You aren’t hitting a button to have another character come over and perform a team-based attack, for example. Something like that doesn’t really work in a co-op setting since we wouldn’t want to take control away from the other player. It’s more like actually, physically working together. So, in combat, for example, maybe there is an opening that both characters would need to take advantage of at the same time to damage an enemy. Or, maybe there are navigational challenges that would require both players to work together in order to get past. Sonic is stronger with his friends in this game and that is something that reflects all core aspects of the experience, so “teamwork” is definitely important.

HoL: Speaking of the characters in-game, I read that in single player you always have two of them at once, and up to 4 people can play at once with each of the four? So is there online co-op or 2-4 player local split-screen? Or is it like where maybe one person uses the GamePad screen and the other person or up to three others use split screen on the TV? And as I said there’s always at least two of them in single-player? So you can’t just have Sonic all alone? He has to have at least Tails following him while being controlled by the AI?

SF: At this time, all we have announced is that the game will support up to two players in the main mode with parts of the overall game supporting up to four players. In minimum, there will always be two characters together, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Sonic has to be one of them. I also want to confirm that there are no online co-op features currently planned for this game. We felt, given the design of the game, that local multiplayer and co-op would be the more appropriate things to focus on. When people actually get their hands on the game and see how it plays, I think they will more clearly understand why we focused on what we did.

HoL: This was glossed over in the SEGABits interview when asked as it was bundled with another question, but will there be any humans in the game and the show (not counting Eggman obviously)?

SF: We want this world to be a living, breathing place to explore and that wouldn’t be possible if it was completely deserted.

HoL: We’ve seen most of the characters show their trademark abilities, but so far we haven’t seen Sonic perform a Spin Dash or seen Knuckles Glide, will they have these abilities? Also in terms of combat could Tails perhaps use his tails to whack things again? They’ve been out of the combat field since Sonic Adventure 2, and that was in the Chao Garden!

SF: While we have not yet revealed all the character-based abilities, what you have seen in the announcement trailer does reflect a decent number of them. We definitely want to include as many classic abilities and attacks for each of the main characters, as possible, but some of them would not be useful or work properly in the game we are building. I feel, though, that there will be enough in there for fans to appreciate, along with several new abilities that will add to the overall game experience in Sonic Boom.

SF: As a final thought, I just want to thank all the fans out there who have gotten involved in forum discussions, created artwork and sent me comments. It’s great to read and see everything you all have been doing in relation to Sonic Boom. Please keep it up. I love the passion and excitement that everyone has and I can’t wait until I’m able to share more about these games. Just please continue to be patient and I promise that we’ll have some great stuff to show in the near future.

And that wraps it up! Thanks again to Stephen and Kellie for taking the time to do the interview. 🙂

What are your thoughts on what Stephen and Kellie said? Do the answers make you more or less excited for Sonic Boom?

Very high-res capture of Sonic Boom concept art surfaces

Sonic Boom LogoThe following is a ginormous pic of Bob Rafei and the board full of concept art from Sonic Boom as seen in an earlier video, but this capture might be a proper photograph as it is way too high resolution to be a snippet from a video. At the moment we have no true source of the picture. But nevertheless, it’s here and for you all to see!

Bob RafeiClick the image for the full 3000×2000 version!

One of the most interesting characters shown is what appears to be Marine from Sonic Rush Adventure making her comeback.

Marine BoomMy boomerang’s a little Ty’d up at the moment…

Not only do the colors and the patterns match up, but she is also stereotypically carrying a boomerang and she did speak in an Australian accent before.

Another character, is what appears to be a robot that looks to have very similar features to Emerl, last (and only seen) in Sonic Battle (not counting Gemerl’s appearance in Sonic Advance 3).

Emerl BoomGod dammit Mad Doctor, we didn’t need to turn Emerl into a Beetleworx!

While we don’t have a definite source for the image, we have Eitarou and A Real Human Bean to thanks in our forum for finding (Eitarou) and posting the full image (A Real Human Bean). We also have an adjusted (albeit smaller) shot of the pic by Storme Prince so you don’t have to strain your eyes as much.

Sonic Boom Concept Artwork AdjustedWe had to cut corners to bring you this piece, we apologize.

So there you have it! Enjoy! 😀

SEGA Nerds interview with Stephen Frost


SEGA Nerds have put up a video webcam interview with Stephen Frost that explores more about Sonic Boom. There’s some more insight on the 3DS version, as well as more talk about the beginnings, the show, and what not.

There are also code giveaways in the video itself (Stephen shows them on a piece of paper) for 3D Classics Sonic the Hedgehog for 3DS, but I think it’s safe to say they’ve been long taken by now. 😛

Who is at Big Red Button? What is their long quiet history? Let’s have a look and see…

Big Red Button Entertainment Logo

So as my first own created post where I don’t just post big news, I decided to make it about the results of my research about the developer of the Wii U version of Sonic Boom; Big Red Button Entertainment.

Most may have never heard of them before, and you’d be right to not have, because they were formed in 2008, and have not put out a SINGLE title under their name, Sonic Boom will be their first. What on Earth was going on for the last 6 years you ask?

I have some answers, which is why I made this post. 😉 As you may know from the recent interviews, Big Red Button was co-formed by Bob Rafei, who was a AAA veteran from Naughty Dog, so much so he was actually their first employee, how about that?

He joined NDI in early ’95 as its first employee while in the visual development stage of Crash Bandicoot. He played a key role in establishing the look of this series; touching on all aspects of production, from back ground modeling, lighting, texturing, to character rigging and animation.

He worked on all of their Crash Bandicoot games, all of their Jak & Daxter games, and the original Uncharted (that’s where Sonic got his new scarf from you know).

He is also seemingly credited for the art design of Daxter himself:

He was part of the team who earned Best New Character of the Year for his art design of Daxter in the Jak series.

So that’s enough about Bob Rafei, he isn’t the only pebble on the beach. 😉 So who else is there?

Well E. Daniel Arey was the other founder of the company, and he was ALSO a Naughty Dog member. I am having trouble at the moment finding his exact positions in the company. He’s credited with scripts and cutscenes for Daxter on PSP, Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier on PSP and PS2, and the original Uncharted. IN FACT, he and Bob worked on The Lost Frontier as part of Big Red Button.

Remember I said Sonic Boom is their first proper game? That’s still true, because The Lost Frontier actually was developed by High Impact Games who earlier worked on Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters on PSP and PS2 and Secret Agent Clank for PSP (Sazaru Games who’s behind Sonic Boom 3DS actually ported Secret Agent Clank to PS2 later on). Big Red Button only have two sneaked in credits through the involvement of the two founders alone.

Where’s E. Daniel Arey now? Well he’s now Senior World Designer II at Blizzard Entertainment.

Next on the employee list is a 3rd Naughty Dog veteran, named Eric Iwasaki, who began with Crash 2 and ended at Uncharted 2. He is more of a tech person, working on models and engines. At Big Red Button as the Lead Technical Artist, he’s tasked with getting CryEngine 3 just right for Sonic Boom on Wii U:

Currently lighting, creating FX, authoring tools, and customizing CryEngine 3’s shaders and rendering tech for SEGA’s Sonic Boom™

Next, we’ll move on to an Insomniac person; Victor Murillo, who was an Environment Artist there, but again worked more on realizing 2D concepts into 3D. He began on Ratchet 2/Going Commando and ended at Resistance 3. Now he’s Senior Environment Artist at Big Red Button.

Now we’ll move on to a group of folks while they weren’t at Naughty Dog or Insomniac, they worked at their “Junior” versions so to speak, most specifically High Impact Games (that one’s most known from Insomniac), the three are Justin Rasch, who’s a Lead Animator, Adam Yeager, an Environment Artist, and Shiva Adloori, an Animator. All three worked on at least one of the Ratchet and Jak spin-offs at High Impact (the 3rd person just on Lost Frontier). MobyGames claims Justin was a stunt person in Uncharted 2, but it doesn’t fit with his other work so I’m curious if it’s a different person or not. Hey, could always have been the same person.

Finally as far as employees are concerned, is neither a Naughty Dog, nor an Insomniac veteran, but someone most of the Sonic fandom know very well.

That person is Chris Senn, who many know was basically the man behind Sonic X-Treme. Well he’s now at Big Red Button as Lead Level Implementer. He actually did work on one game that key Insomniac folks worked on previous but it’s questionable how much of his influence remained since this was way before it was even unveiled; Spyborgs for Wii as Design Director. Spyborgs was developed by Bionic Games, which was really a different label for High Impact Games, since most ended up working under High Impact Games on their output afterwards such as Phineas & Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension for Wii and PS3.

So you’re asking “great, we know the names, what the hell did they do for 6 years? Tap their fingers?”, NO! The following as an astounding find by a talented research group who apparently is part of Kotaku called Superannuation. Superannuation ran their own website and they’d uncover stuff you wouldn’t believe, from canned games to who’s at where, etc. The site closed years ago and now mostly run their twitter account. They were a common source for neat finds. Shame they sort of stopped or at least went low.

So about what they found, well back a year ago Superannuation at Kotaku posted this fascinating article about various finds, including what on Earth Big Red Button was up to, and the bold reveals some juicy tidbits:

Big Red Button Entertainment is something of a rarity: a studio that has existed for five years and operated under the radar without having shipped a single game.

Founded in early 2008 by two Naughty Dog veterans—art director Bob Rafei and creative director E. Daniel Arey—Big Red Button had ambitions to become “the United Artists of games.” The duo wanted to use Big Red Button as a vehicle to AAA games that were genuinely accessible and solve the one of the major issues of contemporary games: players not necessarily completing the games they buy.

Arey seems to have left the company several years back to join Blizzard, and he currently appears nowhere on the studio’s list of employees. Curiously, a since-removed page of “Advisors & Consultants” listed him as a “Creative Consultant” alongside Doug Church, who apparently served as a “Creative Advisor” to Big Red Button prior to joining Valve.

Big Red Button spent the first few years of its existence creating a portfolio of original IP, and secured an alternative financing arrangement contingent on the signing of a publisher or similar partner. They briefly worked with the now-defunct Jerry Bruckheimer Games on an IP called “Ten Minute Man.” (The relationship between the two companies actually led a Jerry Bruckheimer Games production assistant to jump ship to Big Red Button.)

As of mid-2010, Big Red Button was pitching IP “to publishers such as Sony, Konami, and Activision.” By spring of the following year, Big Red Button landed an “unannounced major project with third-party publisher,” which seems to be the title they are presently working on.

Big Red Button’s recruitment copy describes the project as a “next-gen landmark AAA console project,” and job openings hint at a cross-generation “character driven, 3rd person action” title with co-op gameplay and some sort of mobile integration. The Big Red Button copy also mentions the company is keen on “delivering authentic gaming experiences that are as fun to watch as they are to play,” so perhaps the game is not too far removed from a cinematic action-adventure title like Uncharted?

Finally, a producer at the studio says the project has a “$19.9 million budget” with an estimated “34-month” production cycle and a present studio headcount of 28 people. Also, the domains itsasnowday.com and monstersurgeon.com—both registered in fall 2011—redirect to Big Red Button’s site, though neither of those quite sounds like a name of a AAA action title

So there you have it, we might know what the budget potentially was for Sonic Boom (granted said info could certainly have changed) and Sonic Boom may have been a cross-gen (meaning released on PS360 as well as Wii U, PS4, and Xbox One for instance), plus it was confirmed the game was multi-platform at one point.

And that’s that! For now. I may create a Part 2 if I find any more information about who may be at the company, there’s still so much to do, so much to see! Thank you very much for reading, hope you enjoyed it. 🙂

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed releasing in Japan on Wii U and PS3 on May 15th


In this week’s Famitsu magazine in Japan, it’s been announced that the game will finally be seeing release in Japan on May 15th, 2014, but only on Wii U and PS3, leaving out the other versions on 3DS, Vita, Xbox 360, and PC. The price will be 6,980 Yen (so roughly $70 dollars).

The original Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing on regular platforms did not see a release in Japan, however the mobile versions on iOS and Android did.

Thanks to Nintendo Everything for the summary.

Sonic Lost World ships 640,000 copies worldwide on Wii U and 3DS in 2013


Appendix of Consolidated Financial Statements 9 Months Ended December 31, 2013 (Page 6)

FLASH REPORT CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS[Japanese GAAP] 9 Months Ended December 31, 2013 (Page 4)

Comment from the 2nd pdf:

In the consumer business, although the Group launched multiple titles including “Football Manager 2014” and “Sonic Lost World” in the packaged game software field, sales were low due to the harsh market environment.

Sega have confirmed in their newly published Financial Earnings report that the Wii U and 3DS exclusive title Sonic Lost World has shipped 640,000 copies worldwide as of December 31st.  Sega also shipped 680,000 copies of Football Manager 2014 on PC in Europe and NA, while the Japan-only Soccer Tsuku: Let’s Make a Pro Soccer Club managed to ship 200,000 copies on PS3 and Vita.

You can find a full write-up over at Joystiq.