The Completionist Explores the Troubled Gameplay of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric

Over two years have passed since the hundredth episode of The Completionist, where Jirard Khalil did the inadvisable and went on to complete Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 at a great personal cost. Since then, the game has been dethroned by another, one which has drawn more ire and infamy than its predecessor ever did: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. Naturally, Jirard went and did the unfathomable… or he almost did.

The troubled development process behind Big Red Button’s project—stemming from both SEGA’s exclusivity deal with Nintendo, and incompatibility between CryEngine 3 and the Wii U—led to an incomplete and bug-ridden November 2014 launch that even a one-plus gigabyte patch couldn’t fix. Jirard dIves into depths never explored of just how broken Rise of Lyric is, as a game that likely cannot ever be 100% completed. Check out the latest episode of The Completionist below, presented in a brand new format!

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More Sonic Boom: RoL Concept Art Discovered

Jason Norton Sonic Boom 18

The Sonic Stadium has discovered even more concept art from Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric and a few pieces from Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal. The images were among the portfolios of artists Oscar Ponce and Jason Norton who used to work at Big Red Button Entertainment. The latter’s artwork is especially intriguing as it reveals scrapped ideas for Eggman’s mech, a ‘battle mode tank’ and what we can assume is a golem boss battle. Check out all fifty seven of the images in our gallery below and give us your thoughts in the comments.

Continue reading More Sonic Boom: RoL Concept Art Discovered

Rafei discusses redesigns, Sonic Team, and sports tape

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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.”

Sonic the Speedy Reptile, perhaps?

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…

GameZone interviews Bob Rafei, CEO of Big Red Button

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A new interview with Big Red Button Entertainment CEO Bob Rafei has surfaced over on GameZone. Though Rafei told GameZone a lot of information you’ll have to wait for when they bring to E3 2014, he did go into detail about the inspiration for both how the combat is unique for each character in Boom, where the “Enerbeam” idea stemmed, and how it’s used to interact with the environment around you. Rafei mentions specifically Knuckles’ Chaotix, which is well know for its own use of a tether which links you to a secondary character whilst playing.

GZ: Combat appeared to be quite a bit more involved than previous Sonic games. What can we expect in terms of the combat gameplay?
BR: In combat, our goal was to allow player expression via character selection and ability to engage enemies. We wanted to enhance how players can engage enemies through different character abilities. These are some really fun characters! We’re excited to allow all four, not just Sonic, more center stage in combat and navigation.

GZ: What are the uses for the energy tether, and was Knuckles Chaotix an inspiration for that idea?
BR: We looked at a lot canon titles including Knuckles Chaotix as inspiration of what would work best to establish this action adventure experience. We ultimately decided to go in a different direction for Boom. The energy tether, or “Enerbeam”, can be used in quite a few ways. Some examples are, in locomotion, such as the zip lines, to pull things like shields off of enemies and to interact with elements of the game world. Basically, it is used to some degree in all major pillars of the game and is an important character ability. It will also show up in the animation when appropriate.

You can check out the full interview over on GameZone where they discuss the founding of Big Red Button Entertainment, the Naughty Dog influence seeping into the art direction and what they believe the modern Sonic audience is. Guess E3 is where we’re going to get our next big haul of details about Boom, folks. Only a few months to wait!