Sonic Boom’s early designs were “traumatic” for Sonic Team

By Brenna Hillier, Sunday, 16 March 2014 22:07 GMT

Sonic Boom introduces a new look for the blue hedgehog and his buddies, but it’s a much more conservative style than some of the early concepts big Red Button came up with, which gave Sonic Team boss Takashi Iizuka the willies.

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Speaking to Gamespot, Big Red Button’s Bob Rafei said his team took a while to nail down its look, starting off with some wild ideas.

“Sonic Team and Sega were very open-minded about our approach, and accepting of a lot of things we were doing. Ultimately, because of some of our really wacky ideas, we did find the boundaries of things we could and couldn’t do,” he said.

“We experimented with different colours and surface features on the characters, such as fur or scales, and quickly Sonic Team came back with their discomfort of that. They were great guardrails for us to understand when we were deviating too far from the character. Without their input, the character would have been a lot more alien and different from what Sonic is known for.”

Early in the process, Sega brought Iizuka in to look through Big Red Button’s concepts and give feedback.

“I felt sorry for the guy because sometimes he couldn’t actually look at the screen – it was too traumatic seeing all the crazy stuff we wanted to do,” Rafei said.

“Over the course of that meeting, when we were coming up with new ideas, we had a very sincere conversation about why a character should or should not wear pants, and that was a very surreal moment in my life and my career, but it helped us understand the rules of clothing in this universe.

“Any small adjustment went a very long way, so we had to be very careful.”

The full article contains some discussion of Sonic’s scarf and Knuckles’s sports tape, if you’re keen.

Sonic Boom is a transmedia franchise including 3DS and Wii U games as well as a new cartoon series. It was designed for western audiences and isn’t planned for Japanese release. Sonic Team is currently working on a new Sonic game separate from the Sonic Boom franchise.

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Big Red Button

Bob Rafei

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