Developer: Sonic Team |
Publisher: Nintendo
Players: 1 Player Game |
Genre: Platform

Release Date: TBA

For years, gamers have been wanting a good Sonic game that brings back their favorite hedgehog back from the Genesis, Saturn, and DreamCast eras. Sega has tried, and failed, on countless occasions to successfully weave the magic of past titles for new console generations. Now, through a renewed partnership with former their former console foe, Nintendo, Sega attempts to recreate the legend with Sonic Lost World. 

How do you go about making an old hedgehog relevant with today’s gameplay mechanics? You look at someone else who has done it and “borrow” ideas to make your title stronger. Sega looked to Miyamoto and what he, and his team, did with the Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 titles. There, Mario had 2D and 3D gameplay blended together to create some of the best Mario titles ever seen on a television.

Sonic Lost World hopes to mirror this experience. In the few levels shown, Sonic is freed from the necessity of always being on the ground. Players will now find themselves able to jump to floating areas, fly over the side of walls, run fully around tunnels, explore fully open-ended level design, and into gameplay setup in both 3D and 2D dimensions. Okay, so it is true that past Sonic titles has tried to emulate some of these ideas. But Like Super Mario Galaxy, the Sonic team are taking multiple forms of gameplay ideas, control schemes, and freeing them from what Sonic has been in the past. Though it is still early and we haven’t seen a lot, this could very well be a new beginning for the franchise, a breakout hit, and one of the best Sonic games ever made.

For example, past Sonic titles, that utilized only a single control mechanism and core gameplay principles could have a tunnel you could run around. But not only do obstacles like this exist, in Sonic Lost World, but Sonic can then use his speed to tackle a complex twisting maze of roads like what the Sonic Adventure series brought to the table. All of these elements work together to create levels that are fully open to explore and give the player freedom to tackle with Sonic’s full arsenal of abilities at his disposal.

Another departure, for Sonic, is the lack of Eggman–his adversary. In its place, Sonic encounters the Lost Hex. This is a mysterious floating island where Sonic encounters his newest foes: The Deadly Six. You can see them in the screenshots attached to this article. Like in the past, Sonic will rescue animals and they will help him unlock content along with Red Star Rings. Sadly, for fans of Sonics pals, like Tails, only Sonic is playable in Lost World. 

Control is of the utmost importance in creating this new Sonic adventure. Producer Iizuka and his team are trying to ensure the player is always in full control of Sonic despite the high speeds he can get up to. Iizuka admitted this has been a struggle for the team and they continue to work at keeping Sonic’s speed but making sure the player feels like they have control over where he goes.  This is something past Sonic teams have attempted. Most of these titles have failed or have been so watered down that you either had control or speed but very seldom both. To accomplish this, Sonic doesn’t automatically go into “full speed” when you move the analog stick all the way over. You have to hit a trigger, on the GamePad, in order to get Sonic running. If you want full speed Sonic, both triggers will have to be hit. This degree of control over Sonic’s speed should greatly increase what players can do with the character on screen.

Okay, you say. You have control over speed–great. What about hitting obstacles? In Sonic games, even at full speed, if you hit something, Sonic comes grinding to a halt. This isn’t fun. Iizuka and his team are fully aware of the limitations from past Sonic titles. To alleviate obstacles, they can hit the run button to keep running around, over, or even through what would normally ground Sonic. This does come at a cost and can put Sonic in danger so players will have to weigh their surroundings to see if “full speed” is the best course of action. 

The GamePad will be used to help a player while the second player controls sonic with a Wii Remote and Nunchuck. This allows the GamePad, when used by a second player, to help locate secrets in the world. No word is known if the game is fully playable on the GamePad.

As mentioned before, Sonic Lost World is being built with the knowledge of failed Sonic games of the past. This is giving the team inspiration to create a Sonic game unlike any other Sonic game before. Like Super Mario Galaxy reinvented the Mario gameplay, Sonic Lost World looks to do the same. This may be a Wii U, and also a Nintendo 3DS, title worth buying a system for. For Nintendo, hopefully this will be one of many to help drive users to their newest console.

By Kaleb Rutherford – 05/29/13

Screenshots for Pre-E3 Sonic Lost World First Look