Stephen Frost: Sonic Boom is a Licensing Success

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Former SEGA America producer Stephen Frost has called Sonic Boom a “huge success”, thanks to the project’s cartoon and toy licensing initiatives.

In an audio interview with SEGA Nerds, the producer – who has been at the forefront of all Sonic Boom-related developments, from the video games to the cartoon and merchandising efforts – said that the animated show in particular helped broaden the audience for Sonic the Hedgehog in the US. This also encouraged an explosion of toy sales, which Frost added initially sold out in 24 hours.

Speaking of his response to the fallout from the release of the Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal games, Frost was positive about the effect the licensing drive had on reaching a large audience. “Obviously there are pros and cons to Sonic Boom,” he said. “As a whole… for some reason I think people still focus on the game aspect of Sonic Boom. And rightly so because Sonic’s always been a game [character]. But you also have to think about the other things we tried to do with Sonic.

“The goal of Sonic Boom, as I’ve said over the last year or so, is to reach a larger audience with Sonic – to make him relevant again. There’s a very loyal Sonic fanbase [out there], no doubt. But there’s no arguing that every year [the audience] gets smaller and smaller.”

Frost likened the dwarfing audience for Sonic the Hedgehog to other AAA video game franchises on the market. “Even if you have a [AAA budget title] every year, the install base is going to get smaller… So the attempt with Sonic Boom was to appeal to an audience that was not familiar with Sonic – or, were fans previously but weren’t anymore for whatever reason.

“I think from that standpoint it was a success. The audience for the cartoon is [healthy], the toys are selling really well. I remember hearing reports that in the early days, Sonic Boom toys at Toys R Us were selling out in 24 hours – that wasn’t just [sales] from fans, it was from people who were looking for something new.”

The reason for the interest in the toys, Frost noted, was because the “new direction” that the Sonic Boom series took allowed merchandising partners to create more interesting figures based on the new worlds, vehicles and character designs. For licensing partners, Sonic Boom presented “a breath of fresh air into their thinking process and ability to go in a [new] direction.”

Frost also added that Archie and the Sonic voice actors were also appreciative of the opportunity that Sonic Boom presented. For Archie, it offered a chance to create new stories and a new book based on the series, and for voice actors they were able to add nuance to their respective characters.

“I know of so many people who have not been interested [in the Sonic games] that now arbitrarily watch the cartoons and buy the toys, and that’s a huge success,” Frost said. “There are cases where people have come into the Sonic world for the first time, because of either the new toys, or the look of the characters (love it or not), or the cartoon. And that’s why I consider that a big success.”

Speaking about the video games themselves, Frost was pragmatic. “Could the games be better? Yes… [But] I see that we tried to do something different. I think the challenge is that – if you think about the fact that Sonic Team has been making Sonic games for 20-odd years. They understand Sonic and all the things that make a Sonic game.

“In a relatively short amount of time we had to teach new teams what Sonic is all about. But not only that — if I was to say to a team, ‘make a speed-based Sonic game’, they’d have to start from zero and catch up to 24 years of experience in one [development cycle]. Now imagine asking them to reinvent Sonic, to try something different – still capture the speed but also be different enough that when people look at it they know it’s a new experience. It’s really tough!

“We had very ambitious goals. We really wanted to deliver on something that people were excited about, that managed to capture speed but also add new gameplay components… I think that the failures of the game were [of] it being overly-ambitious initially, and the fact that not only were we trying to make a basic Sonic game but we were trying to add to it. We over-extended our grasp in some ways.”

Frost noted that there were a number of positive things that came from the development of the Sonic Boom games – for instance, the popular co-op mode, which he hopes will be a concept that Sonic Team will consider for future mainline Sonic titles.

Naturally, a lot of people have compared Sonic Boom to Sonic Team’s efforts, and Frost accepted that the project’s game development ended up being a victim of the team’s ambition. “There’s a reason why the Sonic games are relatively high quality – they’re basic in design,” he said, talking about how many Sonic titles follow a similar strand of gameplay design. “You have speed, homing attacks… but because of that [streamlined gameplay], and because Sonic Team have been doing that for so long, they can fine-tune that [with every game release].

“We were trying to add in bungee mechanics, combat, puzzles, vehicles, hopefully a more compelling story, and a bunch of different environments. It’s just a lot. And I think that’s the thing. If there’s any lesson that I’ll take forward with me, it’s that being too ambitious can be bad.”

There’s a lot more in the interview with SEGA Nerds – the discussion about Sonic Boom starts at 1:42:00.


Editor’s Note: This article originally offered a brief overview of points taken from the interview that were presented out of context. We have since rewritten the story in its entirety and removed all conjecture from the piece. We apologise for any confusion caused.

Sonic Boom is “a unified design and vision”, says Frost

A new interview with Sonic Boom producer Stephen Frost over at Gamasutra has gone into detail about the vision of the new extension of the Sonic franchise, giving some insight into how the collaborative efforts come together. Frost talks about a wealth of things from the creation of Sticks, the audience they’re aiming for and how he wants the whole of Boom to have a connected feeling to it.

Talking about the game itself, Frost touches on how Boom won’t be all existing Sonic fan’s cup of tea –

“We wanted a new kind of direction or branch of Sonic,” Frost says. “There are a lot of people who are familiar with Sonic, or fans of Sonic, who might be intimidated, or don’t play the traditional speed-based gameplay.”

In fact, there are even Sonic fans who have lost access to the franchise, says Frost: “We have this fan base who loves the character, but this is not their type of game.”

He then goes onto explain how he was initially worried about how Rise of Lyric seemed to have no core elements of Sonic, but development has improved on this with some signature speed –

Changing the Sonic formula too much can be a bit dangerous, though: “We had a point early in the early prototype phase where we’re sitting back and we were like, ‘You know, if we remove Sonic and the team from this… it could be anything,'” Frost recalls.

That’s changed, he says: Now, “there’s enough speed, enough core elements that make Sonic, Sonic in the game.”

It’s a team effort, guys.

Another interesting part to the article is where Frost goes into detail about how the synergy works across Sonic Team, the animation department, and Big Red Button when creating the identity for Boom. He specifically goes into detail about the newcomer Sticks, which he believes represents the “unified vision” despite there being multiple teams behind the character look and personality –

He told me this story about the creation of Boom’s new character, Sticks: “Sticks’ personality and core being was established by the animation team, but there was no design for her, so we took her core personality, and Sonic Team started doing sketches and ideas after that, and then based off of that, Big Red Button took that and fleshed it out into a 3D design.”

That kind of interaction leads to “a unified design and vision” for the franchise, moving forward, Frost says.

I’ve included the link to the interview below. It’s much more behind the scenes, but an interesting read nonetheless. Give it a look, and let us know what you think about what Frost expressed here in our comments below. Remember, this week is our collaboration with Sonic Retro and SEGAbits for Sonic’s 23rd birthday – keep tagging with #Sonic23on23 to keep the party going!

Source: Gamasutra

Sonic Revolution in Pictures!

10446480_10152972570759816_533319714706732893_n Pictures courtesy of Christian Gausin and 50 Rings Photography. This past Sunday was the first ever gathering of Sonic Revolution at the Holiday Inn at Buena Park. It’s the largest organized Sonic convention in the U.S. similar to “Summer of Sonic” in the UK, but still fairly small so far. We also are encouraging other Sonic fans across the U.S.  to make their own Sonic conventions or at least a “meet and greet”. Sonic Revolution was founded by Shayne and Charles Edwards, Christian Gausin and Lidice Garcia. It started with them organizing “Sonic Boom U.S. West Chapter” (it was in response to Sonic Boom moving to St Louis) in September of 2013. During our little meet and greet, she asked if we’d like to be involved in building up the community for a full on Sonic convention and we were all in!

The gang who made it happen.
The gang who made it happen.

So how was it? It was great! We had some wonderful guests and a nice amount of attendees. Guests included gaming composer legend Tommy Tallarico, Archie Comics Evan Stanley, artists Elson Wong and Devin Taylor, my brother John and his girlfriend Debbie selling her hand-made jewelry, Darian Gonzalez with his very Sonic-like fan game “Bingo the Multiva” Chris Wilcots of fan film “Sonic Prologue” and rock band Serenity Seven. Not to mention the extra surprise of Sega’s Aaron Webber and Stephen Frost who stopped by to check out the event.  We even had a real life hedgehog show up!

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“Where’s Amy at?”

The schedule of events included a cosplay contest, a panel with Tommy Tallarico talking about his life and video game music (he confirmed that Michael Jackson was the composer on Sonic 3), two concerts by Serenity Seven, Chris Wilcots showed off two exclusive scenes from his upcoming fan film “Sonic Prologue”, Aaron Webber and Stephen Frost had a Q&A panel (or course someone shouted “When do we get Shenmue 3?”),  a very tough trivia contest (hosted and prizes supplied by yours truly), a one minute art contest in which Evan and Elson had to draw Sticks auditioning for Sonic Boom, a gaming competition (with several consoles in the back showing off many Sonic games) and finally, a raffle for some cool prizes and one more concert by Serenity Seven. It was an absolute blast and I can’t wait until next year!  Let’s get to the pics! 10300798_10152972523359816_4530564000308773493_n

Our Gaming Tournament booth.

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Tanner “Ogilvie” Bates showing off his display of Sonic merchandise for sale.

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Our program guide.

10262093_10152972570334816_3423704538990129837_nBlaze and Rouge enjoying themselves.

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Bishop’s son enjoying the show.

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Now THAT’S a big Sonic.

1555347_10152972568569816_3027811355364177089_nTails – Don’t worry Shadow, I’m sure there’s someone who wants a giant, ugly Shadow plush.

10462593_10152972525394816_8131807437238788742_nMore of Tanner’s merch.

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Bishop Gahram’s Silver poster.

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Rouge with what appears to be a piece of the Master emerald.

10382455_10152972526854816_8143465718764279601_nLetting people in to enjoy the show.

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Blaze the Cat.

10415598_10152972540409816_5825149679628149225_nShard’s here and ready to party!

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Mariaaaa!!

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Aaron and Steven Arrive on the scene.

10360689_10152972530319816_3104139430612878713_n“Sonic the what now? Never heard of it.”

10353101_10152972542384816_7269390741591862311_nTommy Tallarico hangs out with Serenity Seven.

10441010_10152972550829816_6582564420626661241_nTommy talks to the crowd about his music career.

10339562_10152972558029816_6389958884070435588_nAaron and Stephen enjoying the show.

10329073_10152972556819816_7002660232995840957_nIt was so cool getting to meet a musical legend like Mr. Tallarico.

10492511_10152972543229816_4488397925994839600_nThis father and son were in line at least 3 hours before the show opened

1514603_10152972550169816_8682820146089877619_n“Gasp!” It’s the Chaos Emeralds!

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“Time to go super!”

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Some classic Sonic merchandise.

10472853_10152972531189816_580155949651627513_n“Hmmmm yes. This does play quite like Sonic. You’ll be hearing from our lawyers soon.”

1907383_10152972567404816_1763084521903635964_nHere, Aaron is showing off a fan’s concept art for a game idea Stephen had were Tails (who’s deathly allergic to bee’s in his official bio) is being chased by Charmy and the object of the game is to keep the pair apart.

10252160_10152972562124816_2096966346903899776_nThis is Aaron idea for a game. Big’s Big Fishing Adventure 3.

10478183_10152972547404816_8864299415244254186_nGuess who won first place in the cosplay contest?

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Aaron and Stephen answering questions on stage.

10430383_10152972551204816_5882430547580918695_nThe fans soaking in the Q&A panel.

10450173_10152972532704816_1141437979947196446_nFan’s at Evan, Elson and Devin’s booth.

10492511_10152972522234816_8164816271954384123_nFounders Shayne and Lidice enjoying the fruits of their labor.

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Evan won the  one minute art contest with her drawing of Sticks jugging. Elson was apparently drawing her on a surfboard,but didn’t quite get to finish.

10440856_10152972567694816_8145892820577018568_nWell, that’s a wrap for now.  There’s plenty more pics on our Sonic Revolution Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/sonicrevolution . There, you can check ou-wait! What’s th-..

RougecloserOh dear lord!!

RougerealcloseRUN AARON AND STEPHEN! RUUNNN!!

TSS@E3 – Interview With Stephen Frost

[youtube width=”600″ height=”355″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU3neKGNktA[/youtube]

While on the E3 show floor, I got a chance to interview the producer on Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, Stephen Frost. We talked about the game, some fans concerns and Sticks. I was originally going to do a transcript of the interview, but it’s 16 minutes long and that’s a lot to transcribe and it’s been a long week and I’m lazy. Besides, this way you get to hear it straight from the man himself and reading is overrated anyway. Enjoy!

Stephen Frost speaks about why things have been quiet regarding Sonic Boom

Sonic Boom LogoStephen Frost kindly paid our forum a visit today to elaborate on why Sonic Boom hasn’t been booming over the past few months since the unveiling. Here’s his whole post:

I’ve been asked to chime in a bit here so I’ll do what I can to share some info with you all. I’ve said it a few times in the past, but there were key reasons why we announced the Sonic Boom initiative when we did. Along with that, there are a lot of partners involved with Sonic Boom so we have to be mindful of their timelines and requirements for their respective fields. It’s not just about a game anymore… This is a large group effort so any announcements and information shared publically needs to really be planned and organized carefully. We need to make sure that things we reveal don’t impact other parts and vice versa.

I completely appreciate the fact that you fans are hungry for info specific to the games, I really do. And that’s why we all work these endless late nights and weekends… It’s to get all the pieces in place for when the campaign does really kick off. We still have a ways until the cartoon and game launch, as well as the new toy line, so we need to pace all the info appropriately. And it all starts as we head into E3. You’ll learn more, for sure, but not everything. And the reveal of new assets and info should be more frequent from that point on. But trust me when I say there is no lack of effort by anyone involved with Sonic Boom. This is, by far, the biggest united effort I have personally ever seen Sega be involved in. We want to share everything with everyone because we are so excited… We just can’t… Yet.

So, please be a bit more patient. I’m working on screens and commenting on releases so stuff is coming. We will even have a bit of a surprise in there for you, as well as the first info and assets for the 3DS version. There is quite a bit of cool stuff ahead so hang in there.

So there you have it, it shouldn’t be much longer. I can’t wait to see what Sega brings to the table at E3!

Chaos Emeralds COULD appear in the Boom Universe, says Stephen Frost

6232-18In case you thought you’d never get to see Super Sports Tape Sonic, Stephen Frost has taken to the SEGA Forums to clarify on earlier comments made by a SEGA representative in an interview regarding the appearance of Chaos Emeralds in the Boom Universe. While it was initially said the Chaos Emeralds were not to appear, Frost says this isn’t the case and the Emeralds are still open to an appearance.

Hi all,

I just wanted to clear something up about the Chaos Emeralds as I think there was some initial confusion based upon an answer that Bob gave during an earlier interview. I believe he just misunderstood the question. When he said that there were no Chaos Emeralds, he simply meant that they do not appear in the upcoming Sonic Boom games. And there are specific reasons for this. However, that is not to say that they couldn’t exist within the overall Sonic Boom universe. I can’t promise that they will be talked about or brought up anytime soon (or at all) in any aspect of Sonic Boom, but there is nothing that prevents their possible existence. Just wanted to clear that up for you all.

So to clarify – just because the Chaos Emeralds won’t appear in the upcoming two Sonic Boom titles, doesn’t mean they won’t ever appear. I’m for this news personally since the Emeralds hold a lot of story potential aside from a climatic final battle moments, but what about you? Do you want to see the Chaos Emeralds return? Sound off in the comments below.

Sonic Stadium Interview: Sega’s Stephen Frost

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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:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAJE_twq4wE

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?