Sonic Boom (2014 video games)
|Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal
|Developer(s)||Big Red Button Entertainment (Wii U)
Sanzaru Games (3DS)
|Series||Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Engine||CryEngine 3 (Wii U)|
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric and Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal, known in Japan as Sonic Toon (ソニックトゥーン Sonikku Tūn?), are two upcoming action-adventure video games published by Sega, respectively developed by Big Red Button for the Wii U (Rise of Lyric) and Sanzaru Games for the Nintendo 3DS (Shattered Crystal). The games are a spin-off of Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and serve as a prequel to the upcoming Sonic Boom animated television series. The two games together form the third and final part in Sega's exclusivity agreement with Nintendo, following Sonic Lost World and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games back in 2013. The games are planned for release in North America and Europe in November 2014, and in Japan in Q4 2014.
As in the television series of the same name, the games follow Sonic the Hedgehog and his companions; Miles "Tails" Prower, Knuckles the Echidna, Amy Rose, and new character Sticks the Jungle Badger, as they do battle against the nefarious schemes of Doctor Eggman. In Rise of Lyric, Sonic and his friends attempt to stop the evil Lyric from raising his robot army and taking over the world, whilst Shattered Crystal sees Amy kidnapped by Lyric, forcing Sonic and co. to rescue her.
Sonic Boom is an action-adventure game with a stronger emphasis on exploration and combat compared to previous Sonic the Hedgehog installments, featuring four main characters whom players control. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are playable in both games, whilst Amy and Sticks are exclusive to the Wii U and 3DS versions respectively. Each character has their own unique abilities and gameplay mechanics: Sonic can use his speed and homing attacks, Tails can fly and use various gadgets, Knuckles can burrow underground and climb on walls, Amy can use her hammer to swing on poles, and Sticks can throw a boomerang that can be controlled mid-flight. Each character also possesses a whip-like weapon called the EnerBeam, which allows them to perform various actions such as hanging from speeding rails, removing enemy shields, and solving puzzles. There is also a focus on collaboration, with player's switching control between multiple characters and using their abilities to progress. The Wii U version of the game will support local co-operative multiplayer for two players, with additional modes for up to four players locally. Story elements and level design will differ between the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game.
Rise of Lyric is divided into at least three main gameplay styles: speedy platforming stages akin to main-series Sonic games like Sonic Generations, exploration stages, and boss battles. Shattered Crystal, however, is a 2D platformer in the style of the early Sega Genesis titles, with elements of puzzle-solving, but with larger stages than the Genesis games'.
On May 17, 2013, Sega announced a worldwide agreement with Nintendo for the next three games in Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series to be developed exclusively for Nintendo devices. This included Sonic Lost World and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. On February 6, 2014, Sega announced Sonic Boom as the official title for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. The game ties in with Sega's upcoming Sonic Boom franchise, which includes a television series and other merchandise, and will be the third release in Sega's exclusivity agreement with Nintendo. The franchise is designed for Western audiences and will serve as a prequel to the television series. Sega announced the game to feature Sonic's traditional speed alongside a new exploratory game mechanic called "Enerbeam". Sega of America's marketing director Marchello Churchill explained that the new franchise was not designed to "replace modern Sonic". The Western developer's CEO explained that Sonic Boom's Sonic is "very different ... both in tone and art direction".
Los Angeles game studio Big Red Button and San Francisco game studio Sanzaru Games are the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS developers, respectively, in concert with Sonic Team and Sonic game designer Takashi Iizuka. The Wii U game is built on CryEngine 3 and is centered on "combat and exploration". The two versions are not identical, particularly in their environments and enemies. Sega outsourced the game to Western developers in order to increase the game's appeal in Western markets, culminating in a separate Westernized Sonic franchise. The video game concept came after the television series plan. Big Red Button was chosen due to the studio's adventure game portfolio and leader, Bob Rafei of the Crash Bandicoot, Uncharted and Jak and Daxter series. The game will remain a separate continuity to the main series, and was originally not intended to be released in Japan. However, it was later revealed that the games would be released in Japan, under the name Sonic Toon (ソニックトゥーン Sonikku Tūn?),[unreliable source?] same as the title of the Japanese dub of the TV series, which was confirmed for Japanese release simultaneously.
Destructoid nominated Rise of Lyric for "Best Platformer" and "Best Nintendo Exclusive" for their "Best of E3" awards. Metro was more critical in their preview and deemed Sonic Boom the worst game of Nintendo's E3 line-up, claiming "the very worst game in the line-up was Sega’s Sonic Boom, which was so unspeakably awful we couldn’t even force ourselves to play through the whole demo. However, due to Stephen Frost's confirmation that the E3 demo was actually meant to show of the differences of the game compared to past Sonic games and did not fully represent the final product, pre-release reception is questionable. 
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