Sonic has been around for a very long time since his debut in video game form in 1991. The Sonic franchise has sold over 140 million video game products over the years making Sonic one of the most recognizable icons in video game history. Now Sega is rebooting Sonic as “Sonic Boom“. Sonic Boom is to be the new title for the Sonic franchise as Sega tries to keep the Sonic brand and cast of characters fresh and appealing for younger generations of gamers.
Sega’s current thoughts on the Sonic brand now far extend far beyond the limitations of mere video games alone. Sega’s focus is now on multiple media devices and licensing deals with toy companies to extend Sonic’s reach to new audiences. With Sega’s chosen demographic now being children, Sonic is now to communicate to a whole new audience. Sega’s thoughts for Sonic Boom are ambitious but will they work in making Sonic relevant to modern audiences?
First off there will be three tiers to Sega’s Sonic Boom reboot which will include games, TV and toys. All are to be linked together to get maximum exposure for the audience and surely to sell more copies of Sonic Boom merchandise. Sonic Boom the game will see a familiar sonic but one that is slightly different than usual for young gamer’s to play with. In a comment about the new reboot and Sonic’s new look Hiroyuki Miyazaki from Sega said “The various pieces of the Sonic Boom project, such as its unique look, mix of comedy, and action and its focus on the whole ensemble with Sonic as the star, offer another exciting part of that universe for people to explore and enjoy. It will be at once familiar but also new”.
The video games are currently being developed by Big Red Button Entertainment for the Wii U version and Sanzaru games for the Nintendo 3DS version. The game sounds interestingly placed as a prequel to the television series which will allow players to get to know the new Sonic before they delve into the TV series. Gameplay is also said to be different this time around in Sonic Boom as it’s going to be featuring much more collaborative gameplay as its core experience. There will still be the mix of speed and other traditional and recognizable Sonic elements but collaboration will be the main focus. Playable locations will be unlockable and there is a new gameplay feature known as the “enerbeam tether mechanic” which is yet to be detailed.
What’s also interesting about the game is that Big Red Button Entertainment is made up of old Naughty Dog employees and being from Naughty Dog, it’s actually very good news because they would know this type of game very well, platforming is there thing and their specialization. Being exclusive to the Wii U and 3DS the games are also designed to take full advantage of both Nintendo systems features.
The second tier of the Sonic Boom reboot strategy will be the Sonic Boom TV series. I don’t know if anyone remembers the older Sonic animated series that used to be shown, but I watched all of them. Some of them are a bit outdated now, but I do have good memories of the shows when they were on. The new TV series for Sonic is also interesting as well because it will also be the first CG animated TV series for Sonic. It’s surprising I know, but all of them in the past were all animated. This one I actually think will go much better as a tie in with the video games as the characters all look the same as in the game. So transferring between the two will definitely be much easier. Not like when I used to watch it during the 90’s and the video games and the TV series looked completely different.
I think that it’s actually very good that they are going to have some consistency between the TV series and the Video game relaunches. It definitely will make playing the game and watching the show much more exciting if they were linked together. The TV series is going to be produced by Sega of America and OuiDO! productions and will then air on cartoon network sometime during 2014 and continue through to 2015. There will be 52 episodes of the TV series all with a length of 11 minutes each. At first thought though, I do not like 11 minute animated show’s. This is the only thing I am really disappointed on (other than how knuckles looks), but 11 minutes is short. I really would have liked a 20 minute or 21 minute show on cartoon network so I can really get into the characters.
But there isn’t really much to worry about though as the show seems to be something similar to Looney Tunes shorts, or so I think it will be. The stories will be small character driven stories that quickly progress into chaos and danger where Sonic and his friends like Knuckles, Tails and Amy needing to save the world and battle all sorts of things like robots and of course Doctor Robotnik. Recently there was a trailer released for the show by Sega and it looks promising and funny.
Sonic Boom TV Series Trailer
In terms of the new characters and how they look for this reboot to me they are all familiar. Maybe I’ve just played way to many Sonic games and watched too many episodes of the TV series when it was on. But as a fan of Sonic I would say that everything in this reboot looks good. The only character that looks a bit different to me is Knuckles but honestly it’s not the biggest deal ever that he looks like a brute. I also think that this new scarf that Sonic is wearing now, looks much better. He did look very plain in recent times. Also the animations in both the video game and the TV series all look great. Everything looks very fresh and new. Some of the recent Sonic games I feel looked the same as they have been looking since the Dreamcast era and not much change. But this looks all fresh and new.
From looking at some of the video’s and images I would say that this refresh of Sonic is very welcome and I’m hoping that it’s good and not poorly made in the end. I do hope they have paid attention to the quality of both the game and the TV series as it will pay off for Sega with their third tier strategy of licensing the toys to companies like Tomy. Making sure that the game and the TV series is monetized through toys though though is difficult, because it relies on how well the games and TV shows are perceived when they are released. But if Sega can deliver on a good quality game and a good quality show then surely there will be an increase in the demand for Sonic Boom merchandise.
It will remain to be seen how well received this reboot is but so far it looks good, I know I’m not the demographic for this but to me it seems that this may be something that will work. Hopefully it is for Sega and for Sonic because as a fan of Sonic since I started playing games on my Sega Mega drive in the early 1990’s I would like to see the quality return to the franchise that has been missing for so long. I’m hoping this goes well although I am worried about the roboot, considering that recent games haven’t been the best for Sonic. Maybe this generation of gaming will be the one where Sonic takes back some spotlight. I guess we’ll have to just wait and see……
What are your thoughts on this Sonic reboot? What’s your favourite Sonic memory? Do you think this three tier strategy will be a success for Sega?