The developer behind Sega’s upcoming Sonic Boom has admitted that its Western-friendly designs for the game were tough for Sonic Team to stomach.
The game, developed by Western studio Big Red Button, was revealed last month and drew immediate criticism for the way in which it had adapted the look of key characters such as Sonic, Tails and Knuckles.
"We went pretty wide with the designs at first, and by going too wide, we lost some of the spirit of the character and had to rein it in," Big Red Button’s Bob Rafei told GameSpot.
"Early on, when we had our first review of all the crazy things we wanted to try, [Sonic Team director] Iizuka-san came down to Los Angeles and looked through all the different concepts. 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.
"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.
Over the course of that meeting, when we were coming up with new ideas, we had a very sincere – just two adults talking – 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.
"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.”