It was reported earlier this week that Sega has a new Sonic title in the works, scheduled for 2015. The company quickly responded with a statement that those reports were incorrect. In spite of this, Sega has today unveiled Sonic Boom, a new direction for the franchise which will encompass at least one new game, a TV series and “extensive” merchandising. This new push offers a redesign of the classic characters, though only Knuckles is markedly different, but you can check that out for yourself in the video embedded below.
The new game will feature Sonic, Knuckles, Tails and Amy, acting as a prequel to the TV series and focussing on co-operative gameplay while containing the speed, combat and exploration that fans have come to expect from the franchise over the years. Contrary to the earlier report, Sonic Boom will be the third title of Sega’s exclusivity agreement with Nintendo, being made available only on the Wii U and 3DS. For the first time, development duties have been handed off to Western studios with the console version created by Big Red Button Entertainment — an independent and unproven studio founded by former members of Naughty Dog and Activision Publishing. Their website states that they have been working for two years on the title. The 3DS version is being crafted by Sanzaru Games, the studio behind Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time.
Speaking to Polygon, veteran Sonic designer, Takashi Iiazuka, said that the decision to outsource Sonic Boom was inspired by the desire to “make sure it was developed best for Western audiences primarily“. He brought up Sonic X which was inspired by anime and designed to appeal to Japanese audiences and mentioned that Boom is a kind of counterpoint to that. However, he also mentioned that the core Sonic Team in Japan is still working on other titles in the franchise, though refused to comment on whether they would be available on the PS4 and XBO as per the poster uncovered earlier this week.