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Big Red Button Entertainment

Sonic Boom is more than a game. In addition to the Wii U and 3DS titles, SEGA is also planning a TV show and even a line of toys.

Big Red Button CEO Bob Rafei recently explained to Siliconera how the games tie into the TV show. He told the site:

“The whole point of the Sonic Boom approach is to have a consistent brand and a consistent approach for the transmedia play. The transmedia play is the toy series, the games 3DS and Wii U, and the TV shows. From a character approach, from a writing approach they are the same characters living in the same universe. This world that has a backstory with the ancients and the main villain which we will introduce at E3, that is where the TV show also lives in. In terms of how they relate to each other, the villain starts to process and introduces the TV show.”

“The TV show is a situational comedy. They have a different format for the medium. They have, I think it is, 52 different eleven minute episodes where the world has to reset because when it’s played in syndication you don’t know which order they will be played in.”

“[Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric] is a classic adventure storyline which has a beginning where something is the inciting incident that sets them on their adventure and they progressively go through the world and the stakes are raised until they defeat the villain at the end. That kind of format is very difficult to tell in an eleven minute episode especially when the priorities are the humor. For us, it was gameplay, character mechanics, and then narrative. For them it was narrative as primary, the jokes as primary and secondary is action.”


Siliconera recently caught up with Bob Rafei, creative director and CEO of Big Red Button. Rafei discussed the various character characters in Sonic Boom, how Sonic Team reacted to the game, and more.

You can find a few excerpts from the interview below. The full thing can be read over at Siliconera.

SEGA and Nintendo partner to launch the highly anticipated Sonic Boom videogames exclusively for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS across Europe and in Australia

2nd June 2014 – An all-new Sonic the Hedgehog will be unleashed at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles with the debut of playable versions of new titles exclusively for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS and 2DS systems. Nintendo of Europe will be responsible for the sales, marketing and distribution of the games throughout European territories and Australia, with SEGA remaining as publisher. The new games Sonic Boom™: Rise of Lyric for Wii U, developed by Los Angeles-based Big Red Button, and Sonic Boom™: Shattered Crystal for Nintendo 3DS, from San Francisco-based Sanzaru Games, will introduce new gameplay and the most vile and formidable villain in Sonic history — Lyric.

In both games, Sonic and friends – Tails, Knuckles, Amy, and the newest member of the team, Sticks, will work together as they face their most powerful enemy yet. Lyric is a giant and monstrous snake-like creature from an ancient race. An extremely tech-savvy mastermind who uses a sophisticated robotic body of armour to carry out his own nefarious deeds, he is a formidable enemy and a force to be reckoned with. With a strong emphasis on collaboration, the roles of Tails, Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks, will be elevated in gameplay that capitalises on each character’s unique talents and abilities. The goal is to prevent Lyric from powering his army of robots and carrying out his plan to destroy the world. The stakes have never been higher, and the only chance to overcome Lyric is to band together and work as a team.

While speaking Kotaku, Big Red Button’s CEO and creative director Bob Rafe touched on Sonic’s new look, the public reaction, and what the character means to the studio. Head past the break for a roundup of Rafe’s comments.

A whole bunch of Sonic Boom details have come in from new press previews. You can find a roundup of the latest information below.

– Demo broken up into different selectable sections
– Level from the campaign, Doctor Eggman boss fight, on-rails level to zoom through
– Each played differently
– Zoomy level had several paths to take
– Each one leads to more or less rings
– Combo system assigns letter grades based on performance
– This seems to be based on number of hits and not variation of moves
– Also in play is some sort of collectible currency (apart from rings) that go toward what might be an upgrade system
– Puzzles are mixed in with combat and exploration
– Eggman fight features him in a giant suit and he shoots rockets which either crash into Sonic and/or Knuckles, or come to rest on the ground
– Need to pick up the undetonated ones and use the EnerBeam to fling them back at the evil doctor

“If you’re a classic Sonic gamer, a 2D fan, you have an appreciation for the platforming. This game has quite a bit of that classic platforming. I think these levels inspire some of that feeling for the old places that Sonic went back in the day.” – Steve Frost

– Game has some hub world interactions
– Most levels will feature a branching path that only one specific character (you’re presented with a choice of two per level) can take
– Select characters on the GamePad
– Hub worlds and speed levels will make use of Sonic Boom’s full roster
– When two local players are in the same game and the time comes to split up, player one runs a character with the GamePad on its screen and player two uses a Wii Remote or Pro controller for their character on the television
– Big Red Button Entertainment thought hard about adding split-screen local multiplayer — either to bring more human players to the game, or to let the Wii U Gamepad perform other functions for them

“We had, for a long time, considered split-screen play. And it just didn’t feel as special. If we’re out in real life, and we’re off exploring, we have our cell phones and cameras out, we’re calling each other and saying, ‘Hey, you should see what I’m seeing.’ We wanted to have that sharing.

“Split screen doesn’t really do that because you’re constantly staring at the other person’s screen. That sense of wonder, of what the other person is doing, is gone.”

– Sonic and his cohort are exploring an ancient, unknown island
– Eggman has sought to exploit an ancient evil being named Lyric,
– It’s turned out to be more than he can handle
– Eggman isn’t supposed to be a bumbler — “he’s still got that fun personality, but his presence overall is more formidable”
– Sonic’s principal concern is exploring the surface and neo-Atlantean ruins and beating up the danger lurking within
– Knuckles can climb rock walls in sections specific to him
– Tails can hover on air currents and ride them to his goal
– Each character comes equipped with an “enerbeam”
– This lets you grapple and move pieces in puzzle levels
– With it, you can also lasso and toss foes into one another
– This will be required in some battles
– Previews mention that the camera isn’t up to snuff
– 3DS version is more of a traditional 2D, scrolling platformer
– No multiplayer in the 3DS version
– Can swap characters on the 3DS touch screen and solve multiple platforming puzzles
– Sonic Boom on 3DS features its own story and another entry point into the canon
– Sega’s strategy is that wherever someone’s interest might be piqued they may find something different in the other two.

“The thought is, we can only show you X amount of the world, and the others can show you even more. By virtue of the cartoon, the toys and the games, you can see this big cohesive world.”

Source 1, Source 2

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