Sonic Forces devs on the custom character and story plus more, brief Sonic Mania talk - Nintendo Everything

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Sonic Forces devs on the custom character and story plus more, brief Sonic Mania talk

Posted on August 6, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch

Recently, Famitsu spoke with Sonic series producer Takashi Iizuka and Sonic Forces producer Shun Nakamura. The two had much to say about the brand new custom character aspect and more.

First, Famitsu asked about the details on why character customization was added in Sonic Forces. Iizuka said that for many years in which he had been working on Sonic games, he received a ton of requests from fans to have their own original characters appear. While he has never been able to put in those characters exactly as they are, he still wanted to make those dreams come true, so SEGA decided to add a custom character that will fight together with Sonic.

Famitsu went to Nakamura for an explanation as to how the custom character was implemented. The avatar was created with the idea of “making straight high-speed action”. While Nakamura noted that the Modern Sonic series has had many playable characters, he wanted to go with the theme of playing side-by-side with the Blue Blur. In past games, each playable character would have their own vector in the action. But this time the concept is that all three styles (Modern, Classic, Avatar) would be high-speed based.

Recent demos have featured the custom character that is randomly generated. But in the full game, there will be multiple aspects to mess around with. Players will be able to make selections for the face, mouth, body color, and gender. Each species will also have their own unique skills, such as wolves being able to pull nearby rings.

When asked if it’s possible to have multiple avatars, Iizuka said that since it’s supposed to be the player’s own personification, you can’t change characters in the middle of the game. However, there is some sort of feature that’s unlocked after you’ve cleared the game once.

Later in the in the interview, it’s mentioned that Classic Sonic had a 2D viewpoint, and Modern Sonic had a viewpoint of going deep. Meanwhile, the new avatar style will have a speedy and rhythmic style like Modern Sonic, but also different vectors from Sonic, such as differences in timing for pressing buttons, or the Wisps giving the avatar trickier movements.

For the story, Nakamura wanted to depict heroes that would feel like Sonic. He hopes that by controlling different characters, he can show a story that extends to explaining the world setting as well. The story concept has been “Hero Army vs. Eggman’s Army” from the start. When wondering who should be made playable among the heroes, he came up with Classic Sonic.

In the end, the character setting for the avatar is a civilian in an area occupied by Eggman who stands up and fights together with Sonic.

In stages you will get to hear radio contact from partners like Tails and Amy. Sonic and the rest of the gang form a resistance to stand against Eggman’s army, so they relay information from headquarters. They will explain the “war situation” in other areas.

Past boss characters like Chaos and Metal Sonic will appear in Eggman’s army. There’s also a new character (Infinite) whose details are being kept secret by Nakamura, except for the fact that the character is going to lead Eggman’s army.

The main part of the storyline is that Eggman gathers strong enemies in the past to form an all mighty army to fight the hero army. Iizuka wanted to show that by giving a sneak peek of a mysterious strong enemy.

Nakamura said they did so because if they just show Eggman saying “I have conquered most of the world,” it wouldn’t seem convincing enough. Some people might be wondering why Shadow is on the enemy’s side, but they can find out more by experiencing the story.

Announcements and trailers have been released earlier in the west, but they have noticed a steadily increasing number of views as they release new trailers, starting from the first teaser trailer in last year’s June, then the trailer in March, and the Nintendo Direct in April. Iizuka thinks Japanese fans also like the fact that this game has a serious story, and that they can make their own character with the customization aspect.

When asked if they had any hardships with the new game engine Hedgehog Engine 2, Nakamura said that they did have various things to deal with during the early phases. However, they were able to solve them one by one, so he now thinks development is progressing very quickly. Another big problem they had was having to support a new console when the Switch version was announced in the middle of development. Having said that, they did predict, “It’s going to come to Nintendo’s new console” when they started the project.

Iizuka added that being able to also support Switch is an advantage of developing an internal engine. Other companies would have left support for new consoles to a third-party. SEGA had already predicted it would come to Nintendo’s new console because Sonic fans had a history of playing the series’ games on Nintendo platforms.

E3 2017 had the first playable demo for Sonic Forces, but Nakamura is also planning to show the game in Japan at Tokyo Game Show 2017 in September. They are also working on providing new information, including news that would be unique to Japan.

Aside from Sonic Forces, Famitsu also had a brief feature with Iizuka about Sonic Mania.

Iizuka noted at one point that development had been hectic. Sonic Mania was supposed to go gold earlier than Sonic Forces, but he thought the timing between the two might end up becoming about the same. They were so busy that they even hesitated on whether to build a demo build of Sonic Mania for E3.

However, production of content such as all stages and bosses are already complete. At the time of the interview, they were working on debugging and tuning, so it should have been done pretty soon at that point.

Sonic Mania will reproduce the pure good points and the easiness of playing a 2D game, and Iizuka thinks it is being well done. Fans, including Iizuka himself, can play it in a leisurely manner while getting surprised that new things get added to familiar stages. Sonic Mania should satisfy fans of the classic series.

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  • Roto Prime

    Can’t wait to Join Sonic with my own custom persona!! So stoked!!!….

    • Felipe M.

      Tbh, I just want to play as either Modem/Classic Sonic and leave the custom character option aside, if possible.

      • Roto Prime

        They are both coming which is a dream come true…..just have to wait for that hard copy for Sonic Mania…..It will be long ;_______;

        • Felipe M.

          I really want a physical copy of Sonic Mania too so I’ll wait and see if they make one. Well, not ‘one’ but you know what I mean. lol

          • Roto Prime

            hehe, Same here! we in this together!!!

      • MetalGear Lamia

        Disagree completely……..

    • *fursona

      • Roto Prime

        lol, woops, ya…fursona! lolololol

  • Felipe M.

    The thing that I like the most about Sonic Forces is that it’s basically Sonic Generations 2. I loved Sonic Gens.

    I can’t wait for this to be out but it’s gonna be released around same time of Mario Odyssey so nah, Mario first. : D

  • anthony

    I have very low hopes for this game, honestly. Everything about this game so far has did not impress me at all. Hell, It feels like a Sonic fan fic in some ways. I’m not as hyped for Mania as most people are, but I’m certain It’ll be better than this game. That’s just me, though.

    • _17chan

      Sadly I’m with you on this one. I was stoked for Mania and didn’t care for forces… now i find Forces looks awful and I’m even less pumped for Mania 🙁

  • KnightWonder

    I really hope they smooth out the framerate of the Switch version. It did not look consistent at E3. I’d be even more impressed if they could get it running at 60fps.

    • Felipe M.

      PS4/XO – 60fps
      Switch – 30fps

      • KnightWonder

        Wouldn’t have happened if they would have used the original Hedgehog Engine.

        • Felipe M.

          That would have meant more work for the team and in their perspective it wouldn’t be worth it.

          • KnightWonder

            And that’s the problem. They’re willing to give the portion of their fanbase who has supported them the most an inferior product because it would mean more work. Their loss.

          • Felipe M.

            Is it lazy of SEGA to do this? Yes.
            Could they have done better? Yes.
            The Switch ver. is inferior to the others? Yes.
            Should the game have been 60fps on Switch? Yes.

            But I digress, I’m happy that I’ll have Sonic Generations 2– excusive me, Sonic Forces at home and on the go and besides, if the 30fps is stable and locked I won’t mind it. I know this might seem like damage control which it very much is as I’m defending it.

            Switch users pay more for inferior ports of games that cost less and run better on other consoles/PC.

            The bonus part of having it on the Switch is that you can play it anywhere (the WiiU was about that but it was still very much a home console).

            Anyway, here’s hoping for a physical release of Sonic Mania.

  • Bap

    can’t wait for the tacked on, slow gameplay character. Sonic Team does it again.

    • Cometx-ing

      Just because you dislike it doesn’t make it tacked on.

      • Bap

        Did anyone ask for it?

        • Princess_Eevee9

          If you read the article, you’d notice that yes this was asked for.

        • Chris Landbird

          are you blind
          people have been asking for this for years, dude

          • Bap

            People who shouldn’t be listened to.

        • Felipe M.

          Yes. A new Sonic Generations-like is what I and others have been wanting.

        • Cometx-ing

          Did anyone ask for Mania? Let me answer that for you, no.

          • Bap

            Yes, people did ask for Mania

          • Cometx-ing

            Really? That’s news to me, I literally heard no one asking for a new full classic Sonic game. Literally no one. And I follow a large amount of Sonic related content and read the comments on said content quite a bit.

          • Bap

            It’s being made by people who’ve been asking for it.

          • Cometx-ing

            It’s being made by people who wanted to do it, but with that same logic Forces would be getting made by people who have been “asking for it”. But on the flip side, do you know how many people have wanted their OC’s in a Sonic game? A whole lot of people, this is more or less giving them what they wanted.

          • Bap

            Nobody has been asking for their fursona to be in a Sonic game because their too busy acting like teenagers in second life. You don’t seem to get it.

          • Bap

            People requested to have Sonic using a gun. Doesn’t mean they should do it. Oh right, you never heard about that request? Because in reality nobody that mattered wanted it. That stupid request gave us Shadow the Hedgehog.

          • Cometx-ing

            I know of that request, but this isn’t about what was good or bad, people wanted it, just like people want this. And this is not the same as that, OC’s are nothing as controversial as giving Shadow a gun, so your comparison is nonsense. Plenty of games offer custom characters, but now that it’s Sonic which is known for having bad OC’s it’s suddenly a bad thing, which is stupid. Like I said, you not liking it doesn’t make it tacked on, it’s something people have wanted for a long time, whether or not you like these people is irrelevant. People asked, they got it, plain and simple.

          • Bap

            Its not a good one. Its pandering. Instead of relying on gameplay they resort to gimmicks while Mania asked how can we improve gameplay.

          • Cometx-ing

            If this is pandering so is Mania, regardless of how good YOU think it is. What is and is not good is subjective, so don’t think your opinion is fact, I have heard at worst that the controls for the Avatar are something that needs to get used to compared to Modern Sonic, but that’s it, not that they are bad.

          • MetalGear Lamia

            Ignore that guy no clue what in the world their talking about…..

        • MetalGear Lamia

          Uh….yes clearly you didn’t read the article…

          • Bap

            Did anyone ask for a Shadow game? Yes, how’d it turn out? This is Sonic Team where talking about.

      • MetalGear Lamia

        Amen!

    • Hellt

      they explain that the custom character was not made to be slow

  • Sam Coley

    What, no info on Super Sonic being playable?

    • Abbx

      That’d be a spoiler. He wasn’t in Colors or Lost World. Feel like he might be this time as a necessity against Infinite based on that trailer we saw on how Infinite is actually faster than normal Sonic.

      • Rafael Bueno

        he was on Colors and Lost World when you collected all Red Rings

        • Felipe M.

          I really hated collecting all the Red Rings on Lost World but it meant getting more replayability out of it. xD

  • Princess_Eevee9

    Time to Force my way into the game and help myan man Sonic! It’s quite funny that people are still hating on the Create Your Character function yet none of this whining was present for when Pokémon X and Pokémon Y did it.

    • _17chan

      Dude, apples and oranges. There’s very little worth comparing to make your argument even somewhat compelling.

      • What is worth comparing or not here? How little or much the customized character is playable? I’m really curious, because for Princess_Eevee9’s basic point, I don’t see how they are apples and oranges.

        It’s character customization being included in a game where the series isn’t generally known for it.

        • Princess_Eevee9

          Thanks Puchi for the help. ~ Can just call me Princess or Eevee for short though too.

          • Anytime~. Oh, thanks! I’ll call you Princess. ^u^

      • Princess_Eevee9

        So lemme get this straight. It’s not comparable for a franchise, who before this point, used established Main Characters and they were our Avatars into the World of Pokémon and through our actions did stuff then character creation got thrown in. Versus the same exact thing but for Sonic.

        • _17chan

          Am I missing something? My issue with the avatars in Sonic isn’t the avatars themselves, it’s the gameplay BEHIND the avatars. If you could create your own character but play, let’s say, Modern Sonic’s gameplay, I wouldn’t be bothered about it.

          In Pokemon, the customization does not change the gameplay.

          Maybe I misunderstood your point, but… if the reason people are complaining about custom characters is for anything other than the reason I mentiond above, it’s something I’m unaware of and it’s not something worth complaining about in the first place.

    • The thing is; people needlessly hate the furry community and anything that looks like. So Sonic having a CYC feature? People are gonna use this chance to hate furries and be purely and entirely exasperated with them.

      The irony is, any character that would be created. . . people probably created their character and just get to use this to give them a more official appearance. But I’ll bet it still won’t be detailed enough for what some people’s characters look like.

      • Princess_Eevee9

        I know I have already resigned myself to knowing that I can’t be as super detailed for my characters but I still love the fact it’s in!

    • Fox McCloud

      That’s an asinine comparison. They’re two different franchises with entirely different goals. In Pokemon, you manipulate/care for the creature, resulting in a unique individual that will battle another. In a sense, Pokemon was always about creating your own character and XY took it to the next level. In Sonic, you move from Point A to B ASAP. Was that supposed to be a joke?

      • Princess_Eevee9

        I’m sorry but did you think this was a smart rebuttal? I was so unaware of the fact that we could create our own Pokémon, shoot I’ve been looking at the wrong franchise. Cause here I thought Pokémon was about you playing as this kid, usually 10 year’s old, and going on a sorta coming of age story with these cute creatures called Pocket Monsters but thank you for showing me the error of my ways. Also if you don’t think Pokémon is somewhat linear in that regard, then please stop talking you’re already behind. Ah forgot my main point, check two comments below I touch upon Character Creation too. Peace.

      • Cometx-ing

        Pokemon has been about creating your own character as much as Zelda has. It was only with X & Y that they actually properly made it about your own character with the ability to make a character you want and not being stuck with a single design.

        • Fox McCloud

          Is that not exactly what I said?

          • Cometx-ing

            No. My point is that is was always about you playing as someone else, no different than how you are just playing as Link in Zelda.

    • Hidden Flare

      I do feel the comparison is not that good, the custom character in pokemon is only an improvement cause you already had a character who really had no character in the series. Therefore its only a good thing.

      The thing with sonic is that it adds another character. While it isn’t taking away anything, its adding something. We are still getting modern sonic gameplay along with classic sonic. The character is obviously a bit different gameplay wise and their character is unknown. They are only being added and it is fairly unknown.

      I know some have pointed out the best comparison, but it does fit this in a marketing and basic description comparison. Its like xenoverse where your character is a big part of the story and is focused on. they don’t have much character but they do interact with its area like sonic (gameplay is different but this game has no returning gameplay seeing its a new game). The difference is that while xenoverse mostly focuses on your custom character helping the main series cast, forces has you doing that and controling the main series character too.

      The point is, forces is adding something thats a bit of a change, x y wasn’t that much of a change. Still the complaints are not valid just because its a fan character. Thats like saying all games staring miis are bad which is very much wrong.

  • EnzeruAnimeFan

    They better reveal the bear model at TGS.

  • Kyaz Mir

    So Classic Sonic is considered a character now. get f***ed Sonic Team.

    • Felipe M.

      Well, it’s a playable character.

      • Kyaz Mir

        No it isn’t. Don’t even attempt to f**king justify this bull****! At best, it’s a cop-out, because Sonic Team have zero vision for the future. Having another Sonic with lesser abilities does not a new playable character make.

        • Felipe M.

          Dude, Classic Sonic & Modern Sonic are both playable characters. Then you have the custom character as well.

          What is the problem?

          • Kyaz Mir

            Classic Sonic is not a character, he’s a pathetic marketing crutch. Any character Classic Sonic actually had has either been removed or completely forgotten about. The saddest part is Sonic Team can’t even be bothered get Classic Sonic right in terms of game-play, so as far as I’m concerned it’s just a desperate attempt to stay relevant with very little effort.

          • Felipe M.

            Fair enough.

  • Thor Mjolnirs

    “The main part of the storyline is that Eggman gathers strong enemies in the past to form an all mighty army to fight the hero army. Iizuka wanted to show that by giving a sneak peek of a mysterious strong enemy.

    Nakamura said they did so because if they just show Eggman saying “I have conquered most of the world,” it wouldn’t seem convincing enough.”

    Eggman, longtime villain who apparently has limitless resources and money, capable of building machinery ranging from simple attack drones to TWO FREAKING ORBITING STARSHIPS, cannot ever be seen as conceivably taking over the world (*cough*SonicCD*cough*).

    What the hell?

  • nemo37

    I like all three gameplay styles. My main concern, however, is that putting all three in one game might mean that neither three styles really gets a chance to shine. This was somewhat of an issue for me with Generations, where I really enjoyed playing the Classic and Modern Sonic stages, but I felt like both were somewhat too short. I really feel like Sonic Team should create three separate games for each of the three gameplay styles.

    • Kyaz Mir

      The main problem with this game is that it’s trying to please everybody which in turn will actually mean it’ll end up pleasing nobody.

  • Fox McCloud

    The moment you decide to bring back characters with established story arcs and halfway decent reputations with the fanbase for the sole purpose of bolstering the current game’s plot…is when you’ve reached a new low. I mean, reviving characters in this manner is what turned Shadow into the travesty he is now. And Infinite looks like he was ripped out of the dark, moody, pretentiously emo strain of 2005.

  • Hidden Flare

    Im glad it seems we are getting a more serious story. The last few stories just were not as interesting to me. Hope it is done well.

    I want to see more gameplay soon, while I don’t hate the gameplay of what we saw I want to see more and see if it gets better and more interesting.

    I like the army idea, it sounds cool but I do admittedly think it would of worked better if you could play as other sonic characters. Still I’m alright with the custom. Just hope they get attention in the future.