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Nakamura interview on Sonic Forces' premise, decisions for playable characters, porting to the Switch, and more

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Highlights from the interview underlined below:

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

http://nintendoeverything.com/sonic-forces-devs-on-the-custom-character-and-story-plus-more-brief-talk-about-sonic-mania/

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So a interview recently went up regarding Forces 

http://nintendoeverything.com/sonic-forces-devs-on-the-custom-character-and-story-plus-more-brief-talk-about-sonic-mania/

best piece of info from this?

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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.

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First of all

b49.gif

 

Second is that we are in not in a cycle. We are in a limbo. A Sonic Limbo.

Those people don't want to get better, they think that "good" is good enough, and that's not good.

We are stuck with the boost

We are stuck with only Sonic playable

We are stuck with simple level design with no physics

We are stuck with medicore gameplay and controls

 

Instead of thinking of how to get better, they are instead expecting us to eat whatever they want us to.

Unless they change their minds...

Sonic Team is not going anywhere any time soon.

 

 

PS: This is coming from someone who is excited for Forces.

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"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."

 

Sonic Generations 2 then....

 

So, in other words Classic Sonic will be souped-up just like in Gens to make it feel fast without having any of the natural good momentum-physics/gameplay of the classics & Mania.

As for Avatar gameplay being high-speed based. Looks way too stop-start/sloppy to be fluid let-alone "high-speed".

Image result for ehh no gif

 

Their ideas of how to make good high-seed gameplay are really really bad.

 

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Topics were made pretty close together so I just merged them.

 

 

As for my thoughts, as annoying as stuff concerning the use of playable characters is... it's really not surprising anymore and I don't feel like making myself blue in the face complaining about it anymore. If they can't think of an actual story to connect a bunch of nostalgia levels or make use of Sonic's allies without making them helpless victims and cheerleaders in the last anniversary title, and the first thing they wanted to show off was classic Sonic in this new one, I really shouldn't expect much. Though from my understanding of this article, it seems like Classic Sonic was more of an afterthought this time around. As much as I dislike the avatar concept (it's freaking dumb, I'm sorry), had it been Sonic and the avatar, I'd be a bit accepting, especially since then they're only focusing on one gameplay style with some variation, as well as removing the redundancy of the all-2D classic Sonic when modern and avatar switch viewpoints throughout their levels. Kinda bummed that Forces mostly looks like the kind of game I want and has a cool concept and yet it's anchored down by questionable decisions.

Sonic Team is dumb, water is wet, and I see an article in the sidebar about 18 minutes of off-screen footage of Xenoblade 2 I will watch in the morning.

 

EDIT: I suppose it's not all bad though. The story, antagonist, and what they might be able to do with that has grabbed me so far, so hopefully this isn't more wasted potential.

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12 minutes ago, The Deleter said:

One thing to note that a lot of people have skipped over is that the interview states that Eggman is collecting strong enemies "in" the past. Probably the best way to handwave any plot issues that would come with them, but at the same time, it's the same thing Generations did, as well...

I wouldn't take that wording too literally; it's mentioned so casually that it's almost certainly just a wonky translation for something more like "enemies from the past" or "past enemies," i.e. previous villains.

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16 minutes ago, ChikaBoing said:

...is that the same interview. either way no new info for me, as google translate is pretty readable...

 

Hmm, seems to be a reiteration for English readers, yeah. Still has a few details that weren't in that one or were as clear as they are now, so idk. Guess it's technically not a new interview anymore, though. Ah well.

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Iizuka & co. speak in very simplistic terms most of the time. So Google Translate is not viable everytime, but in the case of here, yeah.

BTW people talk about momentum being important in Sonic, but I don't think that came out out anyone's mouth who ever been involved in Sonic. Platforming is a topic that isn't even brough often. Just "speed". The most they talk about intricacies  of Sonic level design, is platforming in the case of Iizuka (that it needs to have it, ever since 4 and Colors). I read that Yasuhara had something like a pinball in mind in the Mega Drive collected works book, but that is all I can find.

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4 hours ago, KHCast said:

Love how the interview ends with referring the readers to Mania and getting excited for that

Even better, it takes up to 10 paragraphs of rambling trying to justify and convince you about Forces' bad decisions, than comes Mania in 5 lines: it's gonna be great, buy it.

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So when can I expect Sonic Mania 3D by the creators of Sonic Utopia?

Imagine them taking over as the new Sonic Team, so that Nakamura and Iizuka can work on something else under a new team name(Maybe if they're finally allowed to work on something they're passionate about like Nights they can finally reignite their burnt out flame of motivation).

At this point it's just sad how they continue to just not have any faith in their own series.

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This is an awful interview. I don't think anyone involved knows why this game should exist.

I'm pretty bummed. I think Forces is probably going to end up being the worst mainline game since 06. Nowhere near as terrible is that, but probably the most soulless game since then.

Unleashed, Colors, Generations were all charming Sonic games despite their respective issues. Even Lost World felt like Sonic Team was trying to do something new and exciting. There's parts of that game that I absolutely love, I just wish it was a better experience overall.

I was initially optimistic about Forces but I don't feel that way at all anymore. I really hope we see some more footage of the levels soon. I'm hoping parts of it will at least be fun to play.

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uhh.gif

...So, uh...

Nope, for once I've got nothing to say/add...

Okay then, other members have me covered.

You guys shut me up for once by saying everything I could say.

I bow to all of you.

Sonic Team hate? Check.

Custom Avatar hate? Check.

Playable Character frustration? Check.

Plot issues? Check.

And... Check to whatever else. Kudos.

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Just browsing through the Nakamura interview, and wow it just really proves how they just don't have any understanding of Sonic at all. They're pretty much just floundering around trying to stay relevant but are so out of it that even the most basic of ideas is ridiculously hard for them to comprehend. Yeesh...

Like seriously, that interview just made my head hurt...

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I want to know WHY the FUCK he picked Classic FUCKING Sonic for this. Does he know a superior version of this character is coming out this very year? Does he know the fatigue induced by the lack of other playable characters? And why is Zavok in? Was the custom character originally literally a third Sonic? Will the Wisps finally leave after this?

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14 minutes ago, SenEDDtor Missile said:

Just browsing through the Nakamura interview, and wow it just really proves how they just don't have any understanding of Sonic at all. They're pretty much just floundering around trying to stay relevant but are so out of it that even the most basic of ideas is ridiculously hard for them to comprehend. Yeesh...

Like seriously, that interview just made my head hurt...

Not at all. It's probably one of the most depressing interviews I've seen come out of the dev team in years.

The saddest part is that I don't think making Sonic relevant is anywhere as difficult as the people in charge of this property act. It's a franchise with so much potential in the right hands, as Mania proves, and yet we end up with games like Forces.

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I don't believe the "I decided to pick Classic Sonic" statement for a second.

What actually happened was, making the game marketable to mass audiences was more important to SEGA than actually appealing to Sonic fans, and Classic Sonic is viewed by gaming masses and critics as the only good way to make Sonic games, so Classic Sonic has to be in there no matter what.

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