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Stephen Frost talks about Sonic Boom (franchise & game)


Badnik Mechanic
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Stephen Frost has done an interview and talks about Sonic Boom... 

 

http://www.seganerds.com/2015/03/17/sega-nerdcast-episode-81-with-stephen-frost/

 

The bit about Boom starts at around 1:42:00. 

 

Highlights --- Note: Some of these were written as I was listening, will probably give it a second listen then do an update on TSS for any interesting stuff. So please give the interview a listen in full.

 

Sonic Boom was a success in getting new fans/expanding Sonic's user base.

 

Sonic Boom toys were selling out in toys R Us in 24 hours.

 

License/franchise/retailers are thankful for Sonic/Boom.

 

Archie comics are thankful for Sonic Boom since it let them make a new book.

 

The voice actors appreciated Boom and trying something different, because Sticks is in it.

 

Cartoon is doing very well.

 

"I know people who have bought the toys based on the show."

 

"I was wearing a Sonic Boom T-shirt and a security guard at a school commented on it." (see notes) 

 

Considers the cartoon/game a success.

 

Admits Boom (as the franchise) could have been better. 

 

I think Boom has helped Sonic.

 

"The game could have been better" --- claims that any game could have been better. Claims that there are people who love it, compares it to new Shinobi.

 

Suggests the Boom development was short (See notes).

 

Claims that in focus tests people said that Sonic was too fast, people complained about speed. 

 

Claims that the co-op in Boom was really well done.

 

Hopes that Sonic Team will adopt co-op like Boom in the future.

 

Suggestion that the reason why Boom isn't that good is due to too many features (see notes).

 

Suggests the reasons for the lack of quality was a lack of experience with Sonic and the addition of new abilities such as enerbeam, combat etc.

 

"The main lesson for me was that being too ambitious could be bad."

 

"I worked on Crazy taxi for the PSP, I wanted online modes in it"

 

Hints that Boom was to appeal to new audiences.

 

More development time would have helped, it would have made it 'tigher' and given it 'more polish'

 

Say's if he could do it again he would have cut features, and focused more on speed.

 

Claims that fans were tired of speed

 

"The goal of Boom was to reach new people"

 

"Boom would have done better if it had more polish"

 

"As a new branch, Boom is a success"

 

"I would want to make a Sonic Adventure 3 type of game"

 

"Sonic is not strong enough to be a solo adventure"

 

"The future of Sonic is Co-Op"

 

Sonic games in the future need to be more community driven, and have that interaction.

 

Suggests that the reason Boom's release date was changed was due to a combination of factors, Nintendo's own releases, Boom TV show air date. 

 

Deny's the delay was due to Smash Bros, claims Sega never knew the release date, found out when everyone else did.

 

*Still listening, will edit later*

 

I'm not going to comment on everything just yet since there's a lot here to go on... but there are a few things which stood out for... reasons.

 

Notes:

 

1: the story about the T-Shirt. To my knowledge, and bare in mind we have a merch forum full of people who buy/post news on tons of stuff, I myself look for tons of stuff too... To my knowledge, there are no adult sized Boom shirts for sale... ANYWHERE. Unless this was a custom job, this can't be true. Not ruling out the chances that it was a custom/sega commission job, but this struck me as being very odd. Given how this incident must have happened post November, it strikes me as being very odd since no retailers sold these.

 

2: We know boom development was actually longer than claimed, the found art assets prove this.

 

3: Boom is bad because of terrible design and the fact they're trying to use cryengine 3 on the Wii U. Not because of feature overload.

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Wait.... Hold up.

 

"Boom was made to appeal to non Sonic fans/audiences"

 

Yet says that Boom was also made from focus group responses...?

 

?

 

Focus groups comprised of kids that didn't call themselves Sonic fans, obviously. I don't see what's noteworthy here tbh.

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3: Boom is bad because of terrible design and the fact they're trying to use cryengine 3 on the Wii U. Not because of feature overload.

I guess it is in a sense, but not for this reasoning. Moreso, its because they tried using Cryengine 3 for a platforming/beat 'em up game... which also had co-op, requiring them to modify the Cryengine to get it working. Cryengine 3 on Wii U hasn't been done officially, though that could affect it somewhat because there's no backing to go on. But regardless, specifically Cryengine 3 on Wii U wasn't the problem, its everything else they tried to do as well... probably even moreso than the fact they did it on Wii U.

 

 

Isn't Frost no longer with SEGA? Yet he's still playing PR for them? (Granted, he's still under NDA even though he's no longer with the company, but still...)

 

 

Unless he was re-hired or something and I missed it, and I kinda doubt that's the case.

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I think this was just a retrospective of his time at SEGA. If he was rehired all of a sudden he would of said something about it.

 

Anyway, I don't know why people are getting bent out of shape over the words of a man who has nothing to do with Sonic anymore. It's not like any of this is going to change anything.

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While RoL may have been bad, Shattered Crystal was pretty ok and the TV show and comic are really good. So I can agree that Boom could've been better atleast the games. But I don't think Sonic being co-op is the best idea, granted people are getting of Solo Sonic games, most of them sold pretty decently. But I wouldn't mind playing as Tails or Knux, outside of the mobile games of course. I don't have any other complaints.

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Here's the thing about co-op in a Sonic game.

 

You ever tried it in Sonic 2? You know, being able to play as Tails with the second controller? Shit barely works. Over half the time, player two won't even be on the screen not just because of the difficulties keeping up, but because coordinating two people on a single screen is borderline fucking impossible. Even if you compromised and made it splitscreen, it would still defeat the point of two players being in the same game because they would almost never, ever see each other, much less actually cooperate with one another.

 

The only other compromise that exists is forcibly tethering the second player to the first. And this has never been fun. In Chaotix you are liable to screw up even simple, basic jumps if both players don't do it at almost the exact same time, and the tugging mechanics make both players a burden on each other even if they're performing relatively well. Colours had some stupid mechanic in which the trailing player could snap back the leading player, not only screeching the flow to an obnoxious halt but potentially killing either of the players involved in the process. Don't even fucking get me started with Sonic 4 Ep2. And while I haven't played Boom personally, don't the other players occasionally get warped around for no discernible reason? I swear I remember seeing that at some point.

 

Honestly, even competitive multiplayer is more viable than a co-op focus, and I think that's saying a lot.

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Should I just go hide in an underground bunker? Because I sense hell is about to break loose within the community.

 

I think it already broke lose when Rise of Lyric came out 

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Should I just go hide in an underground bunker? Because I sense hell is about to break loose within the community.

 

Thing is, I actually thing some of the stuff he said is right and I kinda agree with. 

 

Boom probably has been a success in terms of a franchise, though the comic is floundering a bit right now, not sure how well them merch is selling, but the show is doing great. 

 

The stuff about Sonic alone probably has some truth to it too, though it depends on the style of the game. Specifically 2D Vs 3D, and for a 3D Sonic stage you will need a ton of assets for a solo Sonic game unless you do some very clever tricks with the programming/level generation.

 

But at the same time, if you have focus groups telling you Sonic is too fast, why are you even trying to appeal to that demographic? Sonic is a fast character, he's supposed to run fast and be fast, you don't take his speed down to a crawl.

 

I'm kinda tempted to do an instalment of 'The Spin' on it because there are things which are correct. COD is in a decline in terms of numbers, most long running franchises need some way to boost their appeal/audience base. Sonic's no exception to this. But the direction Boom (games) took was totally wrong.

 

 

 

Edit: 

 

Oh...

 

https://twitter.com/frostman007/status/578408446921314305

 

Well there you go.

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It's very disgusting that seeing frost's self rationalization. Sonic Boom shipped 490k copies, which is far less than their expectation. Tv show has been just mediocre since this TV show starts. Comic book sales is not bad at first time. But sales has been decreased. we don't know how much toys has been sold. I doubt toy sells a lot and save the franchise, though.

I do wonder why stephen said ridicluous. Is he won't fired by sega?.. I was relieved when stephen is impacted on structural reform because It seems he takes the responsibility as producer of Sonic Boom.

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