‘Sonic: Lost World’ interview: Sam Mullen & Aaron Webber

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Not what we pictured when we thought of Sonic doing doughnuts.
Hold up--Sonic, are you a cop? You have to tell us if you are. 
(Sega)

Not what we pictured when we thought of Sonic doing doughnuts.
Hold up–Sonic, are you a cop? You have to tell us if you are.
(Sega)

DogBadge Writers Marshal Rosenthal
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer specializing...
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by Marshal M. Rosenthal

Gamers are a diverse group — not everyone is trying to be a soldier or blow things up in order to have fun. Take Sonic the Hedgehog as an example — his platform-based games don’t require destroying half a continent in order to succeed, but fast reflexes and strategy, yes. That’s pretty evident in Sonic Lost World, an exclusive title for Nintendo’s Wii U. We got Sega of America’s Associate Brand Manager, Aaron Webber, and Localization Producer, Sam Mullen, to fill us in on the details of the blue guy’s latest exploit.

Man Cave Daily
What’s the storyline?

Aaron Webber

Aaron Webber, Associate Brand Manager, Sega of America

Aaron Webber, Associate Brand Manager, Sega of America
(Photo: Marshal Rosenthal for Man Cave Daily)

There’s six brand new enemies — the Deadly Six — seemingly working for Sonic’s longtime nemesis, Dr. Eggman. But Eggman has sort of enslaved them. So they are biding their time waiting for their chance to exact revenge. And as it turns out, Sonic goes and gives them that chance through a miscalculation on his part. So the Deadly Six then turn against Dr. Eggman and threaten the world with the doctor’s technology. So Sonic and Dr. Eggman have to team up to take on the Deadly Six. It’s a shaky alliance for sure. And you can bet Tails isn’t happy about it.

Man Cave Daily
How does this game “play” differently than previous titles?

Aaron Webber
There are many types of levels from the point of view of the graphics — for example there are those that are fully explorable in 3D, Because of the new 3D stage design which features terrain that is traversable around all sides and any direction, the new game isn’t restricted to moving forward in a straight line, but you can also run around, over, and underneath the terrain, which isn’t something that could be done before.

Of course there are also 2D type levels for those who cut their teeth on the Genesis too. There are also stages that are all about moving fast.— it’s all about speed, with Sonic running at his fastest. So there’s levels for catering to every Sonic fan.

Man Cave Daily
And the game mechanics?

Sam Mullen

Not only can Sonic move at different speeds now, but he also has a whole new set of ‘parkour’ moves. With these new abilities, Sonic can run up, over, and across things that used to just get in his way. Sonic can scale a wall to get to new heights, or he can run down a ravine jumping from side to side. It allows not only a new style of gameplay for Sonic, but let’s players add even more flare and style into how they get through a stage.

Man Cave Daily
Is there anything new when more than one person is playing?

Aaron Webber
There’s support mode, so say you’re playing with someone very neophyte to the game, then you can help them out (a parent with their child, for example). This removes some of the frustration from not being so great at the game (or gaming in general). There’s also a competitive mode — so if you want to race with a friend and see who’s the better player, you can do that.

Sadly, there are no velociraptors here.  ...or is that what the velociraptors WANT you to think? (Sega)

Sadly, there are no velociraptors here.
…or is that what the velociraptors WANT you to think?
(Sega)

Man Cave Daily
What about the online component?

Sam Mullen
Sonic Lost World utilizes Miiverse to allow collaboration with other players. As you progress through the game, you will be rewarded with items. You can take these items and “wisp” them away into Miiverse. Your friends will receive them, and buy using them, the items you sent out may return to you powered up or even transformed.

Man Cave Daily
What else is different in this game?

Aaron Webber

Sonic steps it up

Sonic steps it up
(Sega)

It was important to create the kind of story for Sonic that his fans expected: sure that means a “wholesome” game as opposed to the violence other titles offer, but it also means allowing for room to bring in humor for both kids as well as seasoned gamers.

There’s all sorts of characters in the game and they don’t stay static but “grow” as characters as you play. Sonic is a character that knows he is fast and can run circles around his enemies. But he does have flaws and this time we’re letting those flaws show up and affect how he plays and how he’s played with — by the enemies. Sonic will have to recognize and overcome these flaws in order to get to the end of the story — which means that it’s up to the gamer. That’s something that the gamers will like as they play.

Sam Mullen
In Sonic: Lost World, the game isn’t about how fast Sonic can go but about how you can control Sonic to maneuver around obstacles to advance through the game. There are still some of those speed elements that are true to all Sonic games but what’s different about Sonic Lost World is that we’ve allowed players to fully control all of Sonic’s moves – vault over obstacles, free run up and along walls, and control his speed – something very different from past Sonic games. We hope that gamers will enjoy Sonic Lost World as we’re trying to constantly challenge ourselves to evolve the gameplay to offer a more unique experience with every Sonic game we release each year.


Silver-tongued and silver-haired--still going strong at 90.

Silver-tongued and silver-haired–still going strong at 90.

Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture. Visit his website.

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