TSS Review: The Sounds of Sonic Concert (With Video Highlights!)

On Thursday, July 20th in the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton Bayfront, I witnessed a concert by Sonic fans, for Sonic fans. A rocking music extravaganza with trumpets, saxophones, guitars, drums a keyboard and a lot of passion. It’s obvious that Shoto Nakama wanted to create something special and he truly has.

It started off with the usual stuff. Sound tests, followed by a ton of trailers. There was a funny moment as I watched Jun Senoue hanging out on the side, head-banging to his own tune, “Infinite’s Theme”.

The first song off the bat is of course, “Green Hill Zone”. The saxophone and trumpets really added a jazzy vibe to this classic tune. The video screens off to the side were showing off the original classic along with a bit of the level from Generations. Next, we go from the first Sonic tune, to one of the newest, Studiopolis! It’s cool hearing an instrumental version of a tune almost entirely programmed digitally and it’s done really well.

Next up, the lead singer, Dave Ross came onto the stage along with Crush 40’s own Jun Senoue. Now this was a rock concert! “Live and Learn” was the first tune up and they really rocked it. Dave shows a strong passion in his singing and a great range as well. Especially since the next song up was “Believe in Myself”. A song originally done by female singer Karen Brake, was sung by Dave himself and he did a surprisingly faithful version.

I gotta say this about Dave. He really knew how to work the crowd and was full of energy. When he wasn’t rocking out onstage, he was constantly jumping off the stage and running around into the crowd, giving out high-fives and making damn sure that the audience was having a great time.

Next up was “Endless Possibility” which must have been a favorite for the band as it was also the encore of the night. Dave was incredibly into it and seem to really love the number. After that, it was “Reach
For The Stars”. It was great hearing a number normally done mostly in chiptune and tonebox done with full instruments and vocals. Another great highlight of the night. They followed that up with “Escape From The City” which Dave seem to take as something he wanted the audience to do as he jumped off the stage, running around the large crowd. After fooling around for a bit and having Jun do a VERY short guitar solo, they went into “It Doesn’t Matter”, a song that fit Dave’s vocal range very well. The concert wrapped up with another performance of “Endless Possibility”.

All in all, this was a fantastic concert. The people onstage were full of energy and passion for the music they were playing and that passion was absorbed by the crowd watching. Dave Ross had a great vocal range and the performance of a true rock star. They asked if they’d like to see this concert tour close to a town near you. Hell yes, I would! I’ve seen a lot of Sonic concert performances (mostly Crush 40) and this was by far the best one. If they turn this into a full tour, don’t miss it!

Sonic Mania: Behind the Scenes Panel from San Diego Comic Con

Check out the Sonic Mania panel at 2017 to get all the details we couldn’t cover! Join host Aaron Webber with guests, Takashi Iizuka, Christian Whitehead, Tee Lopes, Tom Fry, and Simon Thomley as we get more details on what went into this game.Get the full scoop on the game, check out some wacky glitches and the fan Q&A it’s all here! Continue reading Sonic Mania: Behind the Scenes Panel from San Diego Comic Con

Meet Infinite in the Brand New Sonic Forces Trailer for SDCC 2017

Among the familiar faces fighting under Eggman’s name in Sonic Forces comes a brand new villain by the name “Infinite.” SEGA dropped some new music for the occasion with a dedicated theme song featuring vocals and lyrics by Dangerkids band members earlier today (and sounding so deliciously Shadow the Hedgehog-like, I might add), and now we have a trailer dedicated to this dangerous new evil as well.

Give it a watch above, and share your thoughts with us on Infinite in the comments below!

Sounds of Sonic Music Event Set For San Diego Comic Con

SEGA have announced today a wealth of events to be held at the San Diego Comic-Con! To complement the already announced “Behind the Scenes” Sonic Mania panel, the five day convention will also play host to the “Sounds of Sonic” music extravaganza, which will take place at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront, and include a suite of music performed by Shota Nakama, creator of the Video Game Orchestra, and Sonic Team composer and Crush 40 guitarist Jun Senoue. Continue reading Sounds of Sonic Music Event Set For San Diego Comic Con

New Sonic Boom Speed Level Video and More New Demo Details from SDCC

While at the San Diego Comic Con, I managed to capture some footage of the new speed level from Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. The demo starts off with Sonic and crew in a cave you can explore a little bit (not shown in the video) from here, you can take off and go through the new speed course which does feature a few obstacles, but only at the beginning and ending. Leaving the cave into the lush jungle is a beautiful scene. What I find odd is that they decided to go with this new, shorter speed level rather than the old one. Especially since this new one has had some glitch issues in every other playthrough. My feet fell through the floor in one, Ben over at Segabits had a similar problem and the guy demoing the game for me fell through into nothingness at one point too. Why rush out a new, not tested enough demo when the old one worked fine and was longer? Oh Well. BTW, if you see some frame skips, that’s from my iPad recording and not the game itself. A small update on the Sonic and Amy Chemical Factory level. I got confirmation from Kellie Parker that my eyes were not deceiving me and that the games graphics have improved a touch over the E3 build. Also, during the cutscene with Quincy, Amy and Quincy’s mouth now move during their conversation. It might have just been me, but while playing the level again, I found more areas with secret items and it made me want to explore the level more. Combat’s still weak though. One other new thing is that while the opening cutscene with Tails and Knuckles is gone, you get more gameplay near the end with another Guardian chase. This time you have to dodge and jump over pipes while running away from the giant robot. The game is starting to grow on me, but don’t get too excited. Right now, it’s gone from a C- to a C+ in my book. That puts it at average licensed video game fare like the mediocre Pac-Man and The Ghostly Adventures.

Rise of Lyric Comic Con Demo Adds New Level, Drops One

Eggman

While at the San Diego Comic Con today, I decided to head to the Nintendo Lounge to see if the Sonic Boom demo had been updated at all from the E3 build. I found out that there was some differences made since the E3 build. I can honestly say that I did see some improvements made, a brand new level and one omission most likely due to the feedback from E3. Here is a list of the few differences I noticed.

1.) First off, the original speed level has been replaced with a brand new one that starts out in a cave. You can smash some boulders and there’s some small secrets around the cave. Before I hit the boost pad, I was switching around characters and ended up with a glitch where Knuckles and the others were halfway through the floor. I ran up to the front and hit the speed boost and it fixed the glitch. The speed section itself is a bit more difficult. There are more obstacles in the way and at least one or two alternate routes. The level did seem shorter though. I will say the best part was riding the enerbeam out of the cave and into the lush jungle. It was really a breathtaking scene.

2.) There were only three choices for levels compared to the four from E3. This is because they took out the Knuckles mine cart level from the E3 demo. I think it was a wise choice not to show the level that got the most negative reaction from E3 when showing off the game to the public. It’s a very slow and plodding level and they only need to really show one adventure level so it might as well be the more action packed one.

3.) It might just be the TV, but the visuals seem to be a bit improved. The colors really popped out more and the lighting seemed better. The E3 demo’s colors seemed bland but as I said, that could have been the screen too.

4.) Again, it might be me, but lassoing the robots seemed to be a faster experience from before. At least in the Sonic/Amy level. The fight with Eggman seemed exactly the same as before.

And there you have it. New speed level, no Knuckles mine cart level and some slight graphical improvements…..I think. If I hadn’t played the original E3 demo, this would have left me with a slightly more positive view of the game. As of now, my view of the game is just a bit more positive.

Interview: Aaron Webber

Sega had a very strong presence at the San Diego Comic Con this year. Not only did they have a Sega Arcade down in the Gaslamp Quarter, but on the floor they had Captain America at the Marvel booth and two demo stations of Sonic Generations at the Archie Comics booth. Surprisingly (or maybe not), there was no 3DS Generations demo anywhere to be found.

At one of the demo stations, I found Sonic brand manager Aaron Webber. Trust me when I say there’s no more likable fella working at Sega. Look at him. He’s just so gosh darn huggable ya wanna stuff him in your Warner Bros Comic Con bag and take him home with “AHEM!” Anyway, as he manned the station, many people were checking out the demo. Mostly the modern version. In fact, one fan kept coming back every day and managed to beat Aaron’s record on modern by one second! When he had some time, we went to the back of the Archie booth and set up an interview. (I wanted to snuggle, but he refused. XD Kidding, kidding.)

Have you been having fun at the Con this weekend?

Aaron – Definitely.  It’s been very, very busy. We’ve had tons of people playing Sonic Generations. There’s a lot of standing so your legs get a little tired, but beyond that, it’s good.

Classic Tails has recently been shown alongside of a modern model. Since we now have classic Sonic and classic Tails, will we bee seeing classic representations of other characters? 

Aaron – For the most part, classic Sonic and classic Tails are the only one’s you’re gonna see. There’s not much I can go into after that but stay tuned. Classic Sonic and Classic Tails fans should be pleased.

Along with Classic Tails, the Chemical Plant was shown. Along with Metal Sonic chasing Classic in what looks like Stardust Speedway from Sonic CD.  Will we see other surprises like this? Will boss fights be on separate stages?

Aaron – You mean will the boss fights be taking place in their original settings? That’s a very good question. In the majority of cases, you should probably expect that. The other question would be “What are those other bosses?” and you’re just gonna have to wait on that.

Now, the classic demo was recently released and…..I’m sure you’re aware was then hacked into and some assets were leaked. I’m not gonna go into that much as I’m sure you don’t wanna go into that yourself. However, one of the things shown was that there are several missions in each act. One of them appears to be a “Co-op” mission. We know that as you finish levels, you free your friends and the world opens up more. Are Sonic’s friends playable in the game once they’re unlocked or after the game’s finished?

Aaron – Ah the leak. I really wish that hadn’t been published. Several of those assets are from an older build and will not be in the final game. It’s a misrepresentation. As we stated in the beginning, only classic and modern Sonic are playable. You will see many of Sonic’s friends in the game but you will not play as them.

I noticed the demo released to the public felt a tiny bit different to the one at E3. Is this an older build of the game?

Aaron – Actually, the download is a more current build. 

There have been some criticisms of the demo from different forums. Mainly in his short rolling and his need for spindashing to gain enough speed for some loops. Is there a reason for classic Sonic’s heaver pull on gravity? (I mean, he is chubbier.)

Aaron – Well, there’s always a reason. I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is A.) Will it change? and B.) Why was it done? The team in Japan was working to emulate the physics of the original as close as possible. It’s not 1 to 1 or 100% ratio, but more like 90-95% in looking at the original and looking at Generations. 

Well, they are trying to emulate classic Sonic physics on an engine built originally for Sonic Unleashed or Modern Sonic if you will. 

Aaron – Yes, but improved upon as well. That’s kind of the key in that it’s not 100% but very close. In this case I know that the rolling for example, I think is good feedback. I’ve already sent that back to Sonic Team. But a key element like rolling for example, to change that drastically now would mean that they would have to redesign and test every single level, every single move to make sure this change in the roll doesn’t break something. Like maybe he’s supposed to go off this ramp in a certain way and he ends up overshooting it greatly. In this late of the stage in development, a change that small could break the whole game. Like taking one brick from the bottom of a wall you’re building, it could make the whole foundation crumble. 

That’s like when someone on Neogaf, they posted a video in which they changed the value by 1 and it changed the roll dramatically, but even he said it would probably break the game on other levels.

Aaron – Exactly. When you see something like that, it looks so simple to fix, but it’s not so easy. The long and the short of it is, it’s still good feedback. Just like with Sonic 4. People said “Sega didn’t listen! They didn’t care!” But we did listen and we do care and now look at Generations. We’re improving step by step by step. It’s very difficult to go from 0-100 and get everything perfect on the first go, but we are doing our absolute best to do right by the fans and make everything the best we can, and I hope the demo – which I think is really, really solid even with the rolling – is something they’re enjoying.

I think so. I know this has gotten a much more positive response on forums than Sonic 4 had and Sonic 4 still got pretty good review scores. One thing I’ve noticed since E3, is that there are certain spots in the demo that have what I would call “scripted physics”. For instance, in the first corkscrew tunnel, Sonic instantly goes into a high-speed spindash when getting near it whereas the other tunnels have a rock in front that Sonic has to bust with a spindash to get through it. Also, there’s the wooden bridge with a loop. Get close enough and Sonic takes over himself and runs through it with no input from the player. Are there reasons why these particular areas are programmed like this or will this be fixed in the final version?

Aaron – Well, even in Sonic 1 when you would go through those tunnels, it would give you an automatic speed boost even if you went through them backwards. So even if you went uphill, it would give you that speed boost. What’s interesting here is from what I’ve played around with in the demo is that if you go in as a spin, it will push you though the tunnel, but if you run full speed it won’t force you though or force you into a spindash which is interesting, so I’d say these spots are kinda half-scripted. It’s going to check to see if you are in ball form before shooting you through which is kind of cool. You’ll see some of that stuff in the game, but not a lot. I wouldn’t use the term “scripted” which is kind of a derogative term used like “scripted vs. non-scripted” in some Sonic games in the sense that some scripted events are cool and dynamic, but mostly you have control over.

I won’t say much about the hack, but one of the cool things from it, was that someone put modern Sonic in the classic level and vice versa and it was actually pretty cool and looked playable. Especially modern Sonic. Is that something that Sonic Team would look into adding?

Aaron – (Laughs) That’s definitely something I couldn’t answer. That would be up to the dev team in Japan. There’s no intention to my knowledge of flip-flopping them into each other’s stages. Admittedly, the “what-if” scenarios are pretty neat.

In the classic Sonic games, you would have to press down and rapidly tap jump to make Sonic spindash. In Generations, it can be done the old fashioned way, or the simpler “hold X” style. But that style can be done even when running full speed or on sharp inclines. Is there a reasoning behind that? 

Aaron – I couldn’t give you the exact reasoning as that would be up to the dev team. I can tell you it makes it a lot simpler and in many ways that’s a good thing. That said I’m sure a lot of the purists might think that it makes it too easy. I think this is something where the dev team is trying to please both groups which is why the other way is optional. In fact, many of the kids playing Generations here at Comic Con were unfamiliar with the spindash and were getting stuck. I told them to hold X for a second and that’s simple and they got that quickly. But at the same time, you want to appease the retro fans. Which is why down and A is also in there. Personally, I get both sides. I kind of like what they’ve done here to make it easier to play for kids who’ve never played a classic Sonic game before. Although I did have one eight year old kid who told me Sonic CD was his favorite game. I was flabbergasted and told him: “Kid, you’re awesome!”

(Laughs) Awesome. I’ve noticed, not so much in modern, but in classic mode the environments are so lush and so detailed that Sonic can get lost in them. There’s one time where I’m hitting a spring and collecting gold rings and I see a platform to right of me that makes it look like I can land on it, but I fall right through because it’s just background detail. Is there a way for them to make it so Sonic pops out a little, or possibly fade the background a bit?

Aaron – If you turn the 3D option on and you have a 3D TV, Sonic will definitely pop out. Alternatively, I know exactly the spot you’re talking about as I’ve made that same mistake myself. Beyond that, there’s not too many spots where that happens. Most backgrounds are either easy to recognize as background or deep in the back. It’s a very minor thing and I wouldn’t worry too much about it

Now in the case of the 3DS, is there much you can tell us of the streetpass feature?

Aaron – There’s not too much I can say about the 3DS version in that regard. 3DS has some very cool stuff and is very unique. We went the idea that we can either do a lazy port or build something from the ground up that’s very cool and very unique and we went with the latter. I can’t tell you much right now, but stay tuned in the near future as we will have a lot of info going out about the 3DS version as we go forward.

What excites you most about Sonic Generations?

Aaron – What excites me most? At first it was just classic Sonic being there. Now, it’s that we get to introduce Sonic to two very distinct generations of people at the same time. We get the younger fans who love modern Sonic and we get to introduce them to classic Sonic and show them why so many of us older fans adore the Genesis games. But likewise, we get to pull in the older fans who might not have played a Sonic game in a long time. I’ve had some people come up to me who’ve said “I’ve not played a Sonic game in 15 years, but this looks amazing!” Every time I hear that (and it’s happened like, 150 times) it’s such a nice feeling that this is finally the game we can show that Sonic is really back. While Colors and Sonic 4 did a good job of bringing us back, but Generations is the one to unite both fans. While we may not always make 100% of both Sonic fans happy all of the time, but I’m betting the majority will be very pleased with this game.

One final question, I know Takashi Iizuka has stated that he feels Sonic Adventure on is the main cannon and that the current Chaotix are not the same ones from 32X Chaotix and he doesn’t seem to want to use any of the real old characters. While we do have poster in City Escape of some of the forgotten characters, one of those being Nack/Fang. There’s a poll on First Four Figures to see is there is enough interest to do a Fang statue. If this does come to fruition, do you see a possibility of Sonic Team bring him back in the future?

Aaron – That’s a good question, but one I couldn’t decide myself. We could make the case for that if enough fans ask for him. (But PLEASE don’t spam our Facebook. PLEASE! My bosses will not be happy.) There are much better ways to get people to recognize a fan following. I mean look at NiGHTS in SASASR. The entire campaign that Trippi and Digi (Sorry if I’m not getting the names right) did which was wonderful. So, if you really want to see Nack there’s always hope. It’s not my decision of course so I can’t answer the question completely. Make the case for it. Try to rally support. That helps. But, Sonic is so out there anyway, with so many cannons and universes. I mean, we are standing in the Archie booth right now. But, if you really want it, I say don’t give up, rally support around it and who knows?

Thank you so much Aaron. It’s been a great interview.

Aaron – Thank you.

NEW COMMENT:  On the last day, I was pretty much done with Comic Con and just hung out with Aaron for a bit at the Archie booth. I played the modern demo some more and watched as some really skilled players went back and fourth on the game. They were kind enough to let others play. I was amazed at one player’s skill. Ends up he’d been hanging out for quite awhile. Aaron has decided to leave one final comment relating to this.

Aaron – One of the things we’ve had a lot of fun with here at SDCC is speed running – for the few unfamiliar with the term, it just means getting to the end of the stage as fast as you can.

Trying to get as fast a time as possible is surprisingly addicting – so much so that at least 20 people have returned to our booth every single day to try and beat their previous times. One guy named Sergio literally spent three days here at the Generations console perfecting his time, teaching others how to complete it faster, and waiting to jump on again when the lines died down. As a result, he even managed to match my best time for the level!

So to anyone reading, here’s a little challenge when the game finally comes out: Can you beat 1 Minute, 49 seconds as Modern Sonic in Green Hill Zone? As it stands – and the level may still change slightly – that’s the fastest legitimate time the world has seen thus far. I’m most excited to see what tricks and strategies fans will use to complete even faster runs!

(Edited for typos.)

NOTE: Since some of these questions came from Segabits, this interview will be published both on Sonic Stadium and Segabits simultaneously.

Sonic Fans at Comic Con Photo Gallery

Hey folks! Jason here and I just got back from comic Con where I had one of my best years yet! Since Sonic Generations and Sega had such a strong precense at the con this year, I thought I’d check and see how many Sonic fans I could find. There were more folks in blue hats than I could possibly take pictures of! Here’s some fellow fans hanging out at the con.

This young lady was working the freebie table in the badge pick-up area.

A Sonic fan through and through.

For the Shad/Amy fans

Sonic fan hanging out at the Nintendo lounge.

A Shadow fan at the Sonic/Mega Man panel

Another Sonic fan hanging out near the G4 booth.

A Tails fan is pondering…….something.

Just before I left on Sunday, I found a fan in full Sonic cosplay armed with a sword.

That’s it for now! I’ll have an interview with Archie editor Paul Kaminski up later this week followed by a new interview with Aaron Webber.

Sonic Fans @ Comic Con

Hey, folks! I just got back from the San Diego Comic-Con!  I got to see lots of cool comic and movie related stuff and played tons of games. Sadly, Sega had no booth this year. Outside of a small presence at the Marvel booth, where they showed off Thor (which I’ll have an interview up at SegaBits on Sunday or Monday), there was no real Sega or Sonic happenings.

However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a presence of Sonic at the show. Lots of retailers had Sonic merchandise on the floor and there were quite a few Sonic fans out there. Not just a guy in a Sonic T-Shirt, but some hardcore Sonic fan boys and girls. Take a look!

Sonic and Me

Here’s a fan in Sonic cosplay and some incredibly stupid-looking dork in a cardboard Galactus hat!  Oh wait… that’s me!  That’s the beauty of Comic Con, though. You can dress as silly as you want and you’re one of the crowd.

Sonic fangals

Here’s two fangals. What you don’t see is that the girl with the Shadow hat also has a Shadow bag slung over her. Think she’s the top fan at the show? Check out this guy…

Sonic Yo!

BAM! This guy has got on a Sonic cap, Sonic t-shirt, Sonic jacket AND a Sonic buckle! Not only that, he still manages to do it with some style! That’s one cool fan.

As for me?  I went on to fight Darth Vader after winning the WWE championship.

Mega dork.

Catch It If You Can: SDCC JUVI Metal Sonic Figure Now on Sale!

MetalYup, it’s finally that time of the year again for the San Diego Comic Con, and for the handful of lucky, lucky American Sonic fans there’s a nice little treat in store. All attendees have their chance at picking up one of the Jazwares JUVI Metal Sonic figurines, which are exclusive to the event and will only be sold over the 4 days the event in held.

HOWEVER, if you’re quick enough, Toys R’ Us US are stocking a limited amount of the figure at $15.99 a pop, so even if you’re unable to attend the event you can still pick up one of these nice little additions. Unfortunately it looks like this is only open to the US, and only available to purchase for 4 days, so be quick about it if you’re wanting to snag one! Everyone else will have to open up their wallets and fork out for one (plus postage) on ebay!

You can buy the figure here at the Toys R’ Us Website.

More Metallic Madness! Metal Sonic Action Figure Planned

metalprotoFor those of you who simply havent had their fill of Metal Sonic this week with the announcement of the Jazwares’ Metal Sonic chibi figure, then fear not, as it looks like we have more shiny goodness on it’s way!

Pick up August’s copy of Toyfare magazine and you’ll find a nice feature on Jazware’s currently lined-up selection of Sonic toys, which not only includes a super-articulated Knuckles figure to join the host of others on the market, but that there is also a 10″ Metal Sonic action figure in the works too.

The figure looks to be in it’s prototype stages, but hopefully this high level of detail will be retained in the product – if so it’ll join the list of must-have items for hardcore fans to own. The other good news is it doesn’t look to be a San Diego Comic Con exclusive (unlike the JUVI chibi version), so you hopefully won’t have to pay collector’s exclusive prices for it! However it looks like it will be another Toys R’ Us exclusive, so us Brits will probably be forking out a fortune on shipping and handling from US ebay sellers once again.

You can check out the full article scan here.

Hats off to KururuSouchou on the SSMB for spotting this and scanning in articles!

So what do you think to these new action figures? Join the debate in the SSMB!