Sonic Unleashed is seen as one of the biggest 3D entries in the history of Sonic. Whether you like the werehog or not, it brought a massive overhaul to the game design philosophy of Sonic working in the third dimension. The beautiful environments based on real-life locations, fast gameplay and a unique lighting engine all housed under the “Hedgehog Engine” helped achieve a major milestone for fast-paced 3D platformers. Fast forward towards the end of the downer year that is 2016, it has brought us one thing that can shed some meaningful insight on the development of Sonic Unleashed; the release of an Xbox 360 preview build.
At least, the first disk.
Forum user N!NJA released the build two days ago and already there has been several discoveries thanks to the efforts of others data mining information, uploading screenshots, videos and more. In addition the build also comes with debugging tools that highlights NPC and enemy behavior status, camera direction and gameplay control modifiers. While you can run the build on a modified Xbox 360 console, it is recommended to use a dev kit as you may run into crashes forcing you to shut down the console.
Some of the notable differences include…
- 60fps! …but not very stable, lots of screen tearing and drops
- Unused level and object layouts
- Placeholder graphics
- Old menu system seen in early E3 previews
- Old GUI, especially for the Sonic the Werehog stages
- …and more!
N!NJA promises to release builds for other Sonic titles in the near future. If you want a quick look at the preview build, hit the jump to check out some links! Stay up to date with the discoveries thread to see what all has been unearthed from the preview build thus far or take a look at the build for yourself in the discussion thread.
[Source: Sonic Retro Forums]
“On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.” – Satoru Iwata, GDC 2005
Yes, we know, this has almost nothing to do with Sonic. But Satoru Iwata was one of the most influential people in the game industry, and I don’t think there’s any executive that you could find more lovable than him. And because of how much we admire him and the games that he made possible, it would feel wrong not to honour him somehow. So instead of your irregular Monday Links, we bring you these stories about him. Directly to you.
- A ton of heartfelt tributes that were made to Iwata [NeoGAF]
- This series of incredibly interesting and entertaining interviews with the people who work at Nintendo is just one of many reasons why we loved him so much. [Iwata Asks]
- This special Game Center CX episode in which Arino chats with Iwata and plays Balloon Fight with him is a must watch [Game Center CX]
- A lengthy discussion between Itoi, Iwata and Miyamoto about the cancellation of Earthbound 64 [Yomuka!]
- Hirokazu Tanaka, the original composer for Balloon Fight, made a remix of the game’s theme as a tribute [Tanaka’s Soundcloud]
- All of the skits the Jim Henson Company made for Nintendo’s Digital Event from last E3 [Eurogamer]
- Instead of firing his staff when things got rough for the company last year, Iwata cut his own pay in half [Polygon]
- The last time Iwata did programming work was on Super Smash Bros. Melee, which he worked for three weeks on to make sure that it’d be released on time [Nintendo Life]
- That time when Iwata and Reggie fought for real but then suddenly stopped and decided to fight in Smash Bros. instead [Eurogamer]
- And last but not least, Iwata’s memorable “Heart of the Gamer” keynote from GDC 2005 [CARSLOCK]
Today, we lost a great man; and the industry will forever be brighter for his presence.
Satoru Iwata. September 6, 1956 – July 11, 2015.
Thank you for everything.
That Sonic amiibo you own isn’t useless just yet, as the upcoming Yoshi’s Woolly World for Wii U will be compatible with it. Using it will let you play as Sonic the Hedgehog Yoshi, who has Sonic’s colours and shoes. He even has green eyes!
Pretty much every amiibo, aside from Pokémon amiibo for some reason, will be compatible with the game. Each of which unlocks a new Yoshi skin based on the character. Even the original Yoshi amiibo for Super Smash Bros. will let you unlock a skin that looks like a more normal, non-yarn Yoshi.
Sonic Boom has certainly been a source of contention from many fans of the franchise, both old and new. Presented as a new branch of the Sonic series primarily led by the people at SEGA of America, it’s hard to argue the experiment has won any favors from longtime fans. While the TV show has been performing well, the 3DS game didn’t turn into anything more than a mediocre platformer. All that’s left to talk about is the Wii U game.
Unfortunately, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is the weakest element in the Boom bandwagon. The title shows off way too many glaring issues that seem as if the developers were rushing to get the game out the door in time for the TV show’s premiere, and boy, we got stuck with another unfortunate misstep for the blue blur. Plagued with infinite jump glitches, weird collision bugs, opportunities to soft lock the game and some of the worst special effects seen in the CryEngine…wait, the CryEngine 3? The same one powering performance hungry games such as the Crysis series? Indeed, the same one, only now the game is running poorly optimized for the Wii U and has some of the most awkward special effects in a modern 3D game.
I don’t doubt that the engine could work well for Sonic providing an open world environment, but that kind of experience is not delivered well here. Now, some of you arm chair experts are probably sitting there saying the game is terrible due to Sonic losing his speed, turning the game into a glorified beat-em up and changing the iconic style of the character, the plot and all the things that make Sonic work. But that couldn’t be further from the point on why exactly this game is bad.
While the verdict on Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
is pretty clear at this point, not much attention has been given to its 3DS counterpart Shattered Crystal
. Made by Sly Cooper developer Sanzaru Games, this title tries to add kinda-Metroid-like elements while having a hero switching mechanic similar to Sonic Heroes
. Unlike the Wii U version, SEGA was confident enough to put up a demo of the game on the eShop before release. And while it wasn’t particularly impressive, the sample given was pretty decent. So the question is if the full game holds up.
So here’s the deal with this Sonic game: it’s not really much like a normal Sonic game. Rather than being about trying to take the fastest path to the finish, a lot of time is spent exploring the levels as you can collect a bunch of crystal fragments and blueprints in most of them. These also take a lot longer to finish than your usual Sonic stage, as they can easily take up to 15 minutes to complete if you’re looking around for collectables. You can also switch between four characters in these stages: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and newcomer Sticks, all of whom work very differently from past games.
Want to give Sonic’s new sports-tape gift-wrapped adventure a go just before its U.S. launch next week? For those that missed Nintendo’s Direct for today, then the good news is you can! Sonic Boom: The Shattered Crystal‘s demo is now available on the 3DS eShop for the U.S. and Europe.
It was also confirmed that a Sonic Boom 3DS theme is planned for release, and a Puzzle Swap panel centered around the game will be piped in to 3DS systems very soon. Let us know what you guys think of the demo in the comments below.
(Thanks to Shigs from our sister-site SEGAbits for providing the write up! Go check them out, they’re classy people.)
Nuckles87 and I have been at odds with the Sonic Boom games at E3. While he was more forgiving of Rise of Lyric on Wii U, I found it a dull and mediocre experience overall. However, for Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal on 3DS, I really enjoyed this platformer while Nux was not as pleased. Surprisingly, I agreed with most of his complaints, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the game. So what’s in this game that makes me not only enjoy it much more than Sonic Boom on Wii U, but might be my favorite Sonic game on 3DS? Read on.