This year’s release of Sonic Boom will do more than simply redesign the visual appearance of the famous blue hedgehog and his supporting cast of characters. Big Red Button, who is handling development responsibilities of the Wii U version of the game for SEGA, is recreating the franchise from the ground up with new gamplay features that focused on combat, exploration, and co-op for the first time as creative director Bob Rafei shared in an exclusive interview with Examiner.
As both the creative director of Sonic Boom and CEO of Big Red Button, Rafei likely knows more than anyone else about how the series’ gameplay is evolving. Even after adding co-op play along with large maps that are meant to be explored as opposed to merely dashed through, Rafei feels that the biggest change that Sonic Boom will bring to the franchise is the addition of a more combat-oriented play style. However, before creating any of the title’s new systems, the game’s creative director stressed that all of the new designs must be fun first and foremost.
Fun gameplay set in an epic adventure setting with an engaging ensemble cast and story were our main objectives. To make the experience fun, we started with fluid character navigation with responsive controls.
When it came time to start adding combat to the game, which Rafei recognizes as a challenge in its own right as Sonic games aren’t generally known for their combat mechanics, Big Red Button decided to embrace the large cast of playable characters that will be present in Sonic Boom. With that in mind, the developer researched each character in order to create a unique playstyle for Sonic and his friends that reflect their respective personalities. So the game should feel different depending upon which member of the team is actively being controlled.
Another change coming to the classic SEGA franchise is that the gaming icon will no longer have to rely solely on his innate abilities as Big Red Button is giving him an arsenal of handy gadgets. Rafei is particularly excited over the addition of the Enerbeam which Sonic can use like a lighting whip to swing around the game world or pull enemies around.
Sonic Boom is heading exclusively to Nintendo platforms later this fall. The title is being split into two entries with on release only on the Wii U and the other going to the 3DS.