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Today at New York City, Sega rolled out a press conference showing off the future of the Sonic the Hedgehog brand that comprises of both a Wii U/3DS game and TV show called Sonic Boom.
This new Sonic Boom “branch” of the Sonic franchise will star a remodeled Sonic, Tails, Amy Rose and Knuckles. Sonic has varying sizes of quills along with a nifty scarf, Knuckles is much, much beefier, Amy sports a new outfit and Tails seems to put on some goggles and belts. All of the heroes seem to put on bandages around their arms, legs and shoes as well, though please enlighten me the practicality of it all.
The Sonic Boom TV show will debut this year on Cartoon Network and is a co-production between Sega of America and OuiDO! Productions. It is a CG animated comedy that’ll consist of fifty-two 11-minute episodes that will start very character driven and will escalate into a bigger adventure, which sounds much like how the first season of Sonic X rolled out. Here’s a trailer for the show:
Sonic Boom for Wii U is being developed by Big Red Button Entertainment, which was founded by former Naughty Dog devs Bob Rafei and E. Daniel Gray. It’ll be made using CryEngine 3 and will be a prequel to the show. Stages seem bigger with a more focused sense of exploration in mind, though there seems to be moments that seem ripped from Sonic Unleashed with long, fast sections for running. The console game will have a co-op focus in mind, with at least two heroes in-game at all times (even in singleplayer) and modes for two to four players, though none of the multiplayer will be online.
Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time and Sly Collection developer Sanzaru Games helms the 3DS version and will contain different locals and enemies from the Wii U version. While there wasn’t much else discussed on the handheld version, we do know that both versions will utilize an “Enerbeam tether” mechanic that takes two characters and allow them to team up for combat and exploration. From looking at it in the cartoon’s teaser, it seems it’s going to me much like the tethering from the 32X’s cult classic Knuckles Chaotix (or the cancelled Sonic game for the Sega Genesis, Sonic Crackers).
Sonic Boom is extremely Western-focused with Sonic Team or Sega’s Japanese HQ only playing a consultation role. Sega of America was even quick to say in an interview with Polygon that neither the show nor games will launch in Japan. It will release in Europe however, with the show confirmed to air on Canal J and Gulli in France. Also mentioned is that the Sonic Boom look will not replace the current Sonic series and that Sonic Team is developing their own Sonic title. Sonic Boom was also confirmed to be the third Nintendo-exclusive Sonic game in the Nintendo’s exclusivity deal with Sonic Lost World and Mario & Sonic at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
After seeing the teaser image pop up, and its very large Knuckles, I was pretty nervous on where Sega was bringing the franchise, but I have to admit that I like this look now that it’s out, despite Knux’s look and the Nathan Drake-inspired Sonic (which I’m liking more every time I see it). But it must ask the question: will the Sonic cycle start once again, where the optimism of a new Sonic game is once again crushed by its final product? With new Western studios developing a huge reboot of a popular IP like Sonic, I am hoping to see something along the lines of Rocksteady’s Batman games and less like the now-defunct Junction Studio’s Disney Epic Mickey.