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Sonic Boom's New Characters designs

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Yeah, you can sort of see where the corset is under his jacket for his concept art, just like in the screenshot. Eggman has a theme of the old mad scientist mixed with the foppish, militaristic approach in his costume. Granted Eggman seems to always fare well in his re-designs. Also, I believe that his pants might have been thinned out from this design to the official final? I dunno, we still need to get better screenshots of them.

 

Also that thing on his arm is the same device that Sonic and his buddies have.

 

 

Crotch. Giggity.

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Eggman is definitely one of the better looking designs! He looks like an evil general. Dunno why they had to clip his moustache though, as it looks fine in this concept art.

 

Maybe they realized how little justice they could bring to those glorifying strands with their budget, for they could not flow freely as they should. And so; with tears in their eyes, they made the decision to trim down his mustache. To this day, that is the shame of Big Red Button. When the game fails to sell, you'll know why.

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Eggman's design is really bloody awesome. And what's more is that it really, really works. All the main cast and even the various NPCs we've seen so far look kind of rough, which the sports typeand wilder detailing. Eggman on the other hand looks very smart, military and well-kept. It's a great contrast. I genuinely love how well it sets him apart from the good guys.
 
Here's the article from GameSpot, since is hasn't been linked to yet:

Some things change; some stay the same.
by Maxwell McGee on March 15, 2014


Why is Sonic wearing a scarf? What's with all the bandages? When did Knuckles start working out? These questions and many more were on the lips of Sonic the Hedgehog fans worldwide when longtime game developer Sega unveiled Sonic Boom earlier this year. The announcement described Sonic Boom as taking place in a parallel universe to the existing Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, complete with its own cartoon series, children's toys, and two new video games for the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS, respectively. Sega was also quick to point out that Sonic Boom is not a replacement for the existing Sonic. Instead, think of it as a complement in the same way the Ultimate Marvel series complements Marvel comics, or Mega Man Legends complements Mega Man.

The announcement also included a new look for Sonic and some of his friends, a look that took the Internet completely by surprise. Love 'em or hate 'em, these new designs are what Bob Rafei and his team at developer Big Red Button have been obsessing over for the past three years. Armed with over two decades of game-making experience, Rafei has brought together a team of industry veterans hailing from the likes of Naughty Dog, Heavy Iron, and High Impact Games to tackle the Herculean undertaking. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Rafei about walking the razor's edge between paying tribute and being unique, and about giving the blue blur a fresh coat of paint.

When Sega approached Big Red Button three years ago with Sonic Boom, the young team leapt at the opportunity. According to Rafei, Big Red Button was founded specifically to create character-focused action games, and Sonic Boom was exactly the sort of high-profile project his team needed to prove itself. The idea to make it a parallel universe with a unique style was decided early on; however, the decision on how this new style would look did not come as easily. "We went pretty wide with the designs at first, and by going too wide, we lost some of the spirit of the character and had to rein it in," said Rafei. "Sonic Team and Sega were very open-minded about our approach, and accepting of a lot of things we were doing. Ultimately, because of some of our really wacky ideas, we did find the boundaries of things we could and couldn't do."

We experimented with different colors and surface features on the characters, such as fur or scales, and quickly Sonic Team came back with their discomfort of that. They were great guardrails for us to understand when we were deviating too far from the character. Without their input, the character would have been a lot more alien and different from what Sonic is known for." Discomfort may be putting things mildly, particularly in the case of Takashi Iizuka, the current head of Sega's Sonic Team in Japan. As Rafei recalled, "Early on, when we had our first review of all the crazy things we wanted to try, Iizuka-san came down to Los Angeles and looked through all the different concepts."

"I felt sorry for the guy because sometimes he couldn't actually look at the screen--it was too traumatic seeing all the crazy stuff we wanted to do. Over the course of that meeting, when we were coming up with new ideas, we had a very sincere--just two adults talking--conversation about why a character should or should not wear pants, and that was a very surreal moment in my life and my career," Rafei continued. "But it helped us understand the rules of clothing in this universe. Any small adjustment went a very long way, so we had to be very careful."

As Rafei and his team continued to refine their designs for Sonic and his friends, they were forced to ask themselves many of the same questions that have been bandied about the Internet in the weeks after Sonic Boom's announcement. With four Crash Bandicoot and four Jak and Daxter games under his belt, Rafei is confident in his ability to bring a strong group of characters to life, and feels his team did an excellent job of solving the puzzle of Sonic Boom's design. So, what were those questions the team--and consequently the entire Internet--were asking?

 

When did Knuckles start working out?

 

Because they were giving Sonic a new look, Rafei knew they would be attracting people who had possibly never heard of--or knew little about--Sonic the Hedgehog. With that in mind, there was one thing above all others that was most important about these designs: the silhouettes. "It's really important for me to make sure when you have an ensemble of characters that they all have distinct shapes so you can quickly [internalize] the variety between them. With that comes a quick understanding on who these characters are. That's why, for instance, we requested to beef up Knuckles, to make him look more like the bruiser he is."

 

What's the deal with all the sports tape?

 

"From my perspective, it was important the characters have a practical heroism to them and not vanity, which is more fitting for villains. The arm and leg wraps were inspired by fighters and American football players--two groups who don't really care what they look like so long as the end result is that they kick ass at what they do. That was something I wanted associated with these characters. The sports tape is meant to show the characters are not vain; it's just a part of their daily routine. When the world is in jeopardy, you don't have time to worry about what you look like. It's a more grounded approach for the characters.

"This is in contrast to Eggman and his very formal, military-esque attire. That's a very conscious design choice because his character is more vain and is very concerned with what his robots look like and what he looks like. Hopefully you can see the thought that went into this and not just something we threw out for the sake of it."

Why is Sonic wearing a scarf?

"The bandanna also raised a lot of eyebrows, and for me this is another action adventure trope. It comes from the lone ranger, the cowboy, even the snowboarder archetypes--it's all practical as a requirement against the elements. It's kind of ingrained now in our consciousness what an action adventure character should wear, and we experimented with different items, and the bandanna really resonated with us. It comes down to a practical need of the character adventuring and not vanity."
Is Sonic Boom anything like classic Sonic?

"Ultimately, we wanted to make sure [sonic Boom] didn't conflict with what was in canon; we wanted to reinforce it. For example, my inspiration, along with the rest of the art team's, comes from a lot of Miyazaki, Disney, and Pixar films, so we wanted to dive into some archetypal things for the environment--specifically nature versus industry. When you see more of the village and of the environments we've built, you'll see their lushness and organic quality, and that's really important to establish early on. Not only is it canon, but subliminally you want to protect that [natural beauty]. Then, when you see the robots and machinery associated with the villains, it becomes a very archetypal conflict that just fits right into the Sonic universe."

Doctor Eggman's formal attire was designed to play up his vanity, as opposed to the more practical garb of Sonic and friends.

"When you go with a stylized game the silhouette is so important, and legacy Sonic has such a recognizable silhouette that we didn't want to mess with it too much."

As the video game industry gets older, these sorts of updates and redesigns are inevitable. Styles change, techniques are refined, and what's in vogue today could be gone tomorrow. However, as Rafei noted, if you approach this challenge with the right attitude, it doesn't have to be a negative thing. "Change just for the sake of change is not a worthy goal by itself and not as impactful as change that serves a greater purpose. For Sonic Boom, this revision was based on enhancing the epic adventure story. We want Sonic fans new and old to instantly recognize the team's individual [strengths], and we didn't want Tails, Knuckles, and Amy to feel subordinate to Sonic, either in visual appeal, personality, or, most importantly, gameplay.

"No other entertainment medium evolves as fast as the gaming industry. The very platforms where games are experienced can look radically different in 10 years or less. This rapid evolution really lends itself to experimentation with classic and iconic titles. Legacy characters--especially ones that are generational--are natural candidates for this varied, stylistic approach. How many shades of Batman have we seen in the 75 years?" And, for that matter, how many different shades of Sonic--from classic to modern to werehog--have we seen since his initial debut back in the early 90's? The fact that this speedy hedgehog still warrants such attention after so many years is a testament to the support and dedication of his fans, and that's something to be celebrated, even if Knuckles had to get a lot bulkier along the way.

 

Heh, appears I was right on the money with what I just said about Eggman's contrasting military look biggrin.png

 

Also, one of the levels is called Tunnel Canyon. I believe this was mentioned in one of the earliest reprts as well, but seems to have gone under the radar.

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You know what? I am curious to hell what the rejected designs for all of the characters were. It makes a girl like me wonder if we might have them for an unlockable art gallery in the game or as a DVD extra.

 

Especially Eggman. I want to know how many changes they did with him before they finally settled on the mad scientist/military mash-up we have now.

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You know what? I am curious to hell what the rejected designs for all of the characters were. It makes a girl like me wonder if we might have them for an unlockable art gallery in the game or as a DVD extra.

 

Especially Eggman. I want to know how many changes they did with him before they finally settled on the mad scientist/military mash-up we have now.

 

Well, we at least know that Knuckles was given trousers earlier on, and Tails was seemingly given a sleeveless jacket and shorts as well. You can see them in some of the concept art for levels (both pics are thumbnails):

12778984614_2989e08a24_n.jpg 12778982784_c2623fb0d0_n.jpg

An art book containing all manner of conceptual pieces would be really, really interesting to see. I'd prefer that to just an in-game gallery, but either or would be stellar.

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It feels good to be right about it having a theme of machinery vs nature.

I would have liked if that interview had ended with "the game will be playable at gdc" but hey I guess i will suck on the tiny nugget of info till e3

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Bob Rafei is one of my idols in illustration and I have full confidence in his character designs and landscape pitches, probably why I am most excited about seeing more of these designs pop up.

 

Forget a digital art book, give me a full-blown physical book of the art book, please.

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Hmm, the new character designs...

 

Really, I have little to no problems with it, it will take more getting used to than anything for the new brance universe.

 

Sonic is great, he looks cool as always. I'll admit, I was a little skeptical with his arms at first, but decided I wasn't going to be like the fans who flipped out like what Sonic's eyes turned green (lol). Really, I don't mind it though, I always thought it was just a matter of time before they went blue, even though it is an alternate universe. The extra quills are interesting, but also kinda cool. It gives me the idea that Sonic doesn't "brush his quills" when he gets out of bed in the morning, nor does he really care. The scarf is really cool too, I think SEGA hit it on the button when they were aiming for the whole "adventurer" kind of looks, it really suits him well and compliments his blue with the red, kind of like how his red shoes complimented his blue legs, same now with his arms and scarf.

 

Knuckles...kinda iffy a little bit. Of course, I have to bring up his bulking biceps (MLP reference, lol). At first I was a little unhappy with it, but I came to realize that SEGA is trying to let the newer generation of Sonic fans know that Knuckles is a power character (I guess instead of making a sequel to Sonic Heroes, right? That was my first Sonic game, I think it brought the message to me very well). And honestly, I think it gives Knuckles more of a guardian look, so I'm not completely against Knuckles' redesign. I guess it was just more of a surprise for me at first, haha.

 

Out of everyone, I think Tails has to be my favorite redesign, although Sonic is my all time absolute favorite. I guess maybe because Tails' design seems more simple (besides Amy's, did they even do anything with her? I'm joking, of course) because all they really did is add the belt and goggles, which I dig his new look. It really shows off his intelligence and capabilities more, I think, because having his tool belt always with him shows me that he's ready and willing to work on anything to help his friends reach a new goal. Same with the goggles, I guess, because he is the team's pilot (derp), but this will make it a hundred times easier for newer fans to realize that without having to really look into his character.

 

Amy changed...right? I kidd, I kidd. Although Amy didn't change much, she did a little. I like how they kinda updated her outfit, totally ditching the skirt like thing. Especially how they bring out her hammer in promotional art, something I can't really remember them doing before. It's good, showing that she may use her hammer more often than she has been lately, very cool. I still hate her voice though, the whole "Minnie Mouse" thing is just terrible, in my opinion. Bring back Lisa Ortiz, please?

 

Completely looking forward to Boom!

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"From my perspective, it was important the characters have a practical heroism to them and not vanity, which is more fitting for villains. The arm and leg wraps were inspired by fighters and American football players--two groups who don't really care what they look like so long as the end result is that they kick ass at what they do. That was something I wanted associated with these characters. The sports tape is meant to show the characters are not vain; it's just a part of their daily routine. When the world is in jeopardy, you don't have time to worry about what you look like. It's a more grounded approach for the characters."

 

These are qualities which I associate with Sonic as a character :| he is vain. Sonic knows that he kicks ass AND looks good whilst doing it. He's got the time to worry about how he looks because he's super fast. Hell, in Unleashed he has time to get an ice cream in Apotos when the world is broken apart.

 

I have to admit that I do pick up some conflicting statements from BRB. They don't want to mess with what's canon and stray too far away, yet to me at least it doesn't look like they really get Sonic as a thing. I don't think anybody who comes in and proposes colour changes, real fur and scales as part of the character design really knows a lot about Sonic. It seems they did want to change what was canon, up until SEGA pulled them back in and had to tell them about the franchise.

 

As for Eggman, I do really love his outfit, it's an awesome jacket, but I still don't like his physical design. His weight has always been one of his defining physical features (along with his mustache). He's fat, he looks like an egg, he's the EGGman. Now he looks like Mr.Incredible :/. I think it could've been amusing to see his bulging belly clearly trying to stay in his really tight military jacket, you could make a joke out of it as one of his buttons always flies off his jacket because he's far too big for it. 

 

Maybe I'm just bitter over blue arms and Buffles.

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Any idea what that thing on his right arm is?

 

It could be referencing SatAM Robotnik's robotic arm.

Maybe I'm just bitter over blue arms and Buffles.

 

So much this. I actually don't mind Buffles that much, because he at least has the right coloring. I'm glad I'm not the only one who's pretty annoyed over blue arms. If they made his arms the right color, I would have no problems.

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