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BioWare Shares Information on Sonic RPG

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the it's-the-crazy-future dept.

Role Playing (Games) 49

Once again, it's not a strange dream: BioWare is making a Sonic the Hedgehog RPG for the Nintendo DS. Since the announcement back in June there have been precious few details. Luckily, Wired's Game|Life had the chance to speak with BioWare's CEO Ray Muzyka and President Greg Zeschuk about more than just Mass Effect. They discuss the genesis of the game, the depth of the title's story, and a bit on what gameplay will be like: "Game|Life: BioWare's previous efforts have been for the PC and the Xbox (and now the 360 with Mass Effect). What is the appeal of designing for the DS? Ray Muzyka: The handheld group at BioWare is certainly very excited about the innovation that can take place on the DS platform. We're really innovating what a BioWare RPG is with this title - we're looking forward to offering new and unique ways to enjoy a fast-paced, story-driven experience with tons of exploration, customization and progression. We're very excited by the opportunity to use all the cool features on the DS, and to make BioWare's first handheld RPG, one with a lot of action too, since it's based in the Sonic universe!"

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Um, sure. (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | about 7 years ago | (#19892901)'s based in the Sonic universe!

How interesting. To me, the fun and quality of Sonic games are inversely proportional to how many characters they've added to its universe. So, the "Sonic universe," by it's very existance, makes me sad for the franchise.

Sonic didn't take on extra story baggage nearly as elegantly as, say, Zelda, Mario, or even Jak and Daxter. And it's not something to be proud of.

I guess it was just begging for an RPG, then. But with BioWare behind it, hopefully this could have the same splash that Super Mario RPG did.

Re:Um, sure. (1)

MindStalker (22827) | about 7 years ago | (#19892955)

Definataly, just as the "pac-man" universe is meaningless to anyone older than 5 same as for sonic. Bad memories of pac-man cartoons still haunt me.

Proper Proportionality (1)

neoshroom (324937) | about 7 years ago | (#19893693)

To me, the fun and quality of Sonic games are inversely proportional to how many characters they've added to its universe. So, the "Sonic universe," by it's very existance, makes me sad for the franchise.

To me the fun and quality of Sonic games are properly proportional to how many 2d walls I get my blue spinning guy to smash through.

Re:Um, sure. (1)

Admiral Frosty (919523) | about 7 years ago | (#19893799)

For me, my fun is inversely proportanal to the amount of dialog. Really, some diabolical laughter is all I can take anymore. Stop the 'tude. Really.

And for heavens sakes, stop the interspecies pedophilia!

Re:Um, sure. (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | about 7 years ago | (#19893823)

Mario RPG succeeded, in my opinion, because of its blatant disregard of the Mario universe. It introduced new characters, new plotlines, and new ideas. It took a memorable character and surrounded him with awesome. In this regard is why I think that the Paper Mario games can't stand quite as high as their predecessor (except maybe Super Paper Mario).

Doing the same thing is the only way that a Sonic RPG can work. There are too many flat, retarded characters (Sonic included, really), little true plot (other than OMG EGGMAN IS DOING EVIL AGAIN (I liked him better as robotinik, honestly)), and a catering to a younger crowd with its infusion of CUTE and TEH AWESOME. If Bioware can throw all of that out (and I hope to God that they do), make a whole new universe with different plot and characters (Who was the most memorable of Mario RPG? Geno. He was unique to that game.), new and interesting ideas, then they might have a chance at making a decent game.

However, if they try to keep around characters like Cream and Cheese, the whole Chaotix team (Who cares about them? Seriously? Nobody cares) or even Amy Rose, it might end up sucking royally.

Re:Um, sure. (1)

Admiral Frosty (919523) | about 7 years ago | (#19893883)

You know, if you think about it, why has Mario not offended me, but just about all the Sonic games with stories and characters have? Is it that sonic takes itself more seriously, and mario tongue-in-cheek? Or is it as you suggested, one is playful and cute, the other full of prepubescent 'tude?

Re:Um, sure. (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | about 7 years ago | (#19893949)

Mario's always been able to make fun of itself, and has always been confident in its own ability to be awesome - Mario never goes overboard to try to please. Sonic, on the other hand, has had, since Sonic Adventure, what I like to call "Bad Anime Syndrome".

Sonic's dumping crap on our childhood memories (1)

LKM (227954) | about 7 years ago | (#19898417)

I think the difference is that most Mario games realize that they're somewhat stupid. I just loved the Luigi side story in one of the Paper Mario games, where he starts out complaining that Mario always gets to rescue the princess, but later gets his own princess to rescue, going through bizarro versions of Mario's adventures, crossing paths with him from time to time, and even writing books about his experiences, which you can find as items and read. Mario games realize that they're not serious.

It also means that you don't have to take yourself seriously when playing Mario games. There's no issues with adults playing Mario games, because of the slightly ironic take that the devs and writers seem to have on most Mario concepts. Most Mario games are like a Pixar movie: Good entertainment for children, but with a lot of not-so-obvious jabs and ideas that make it enjoyable for adults, too.

Sonic, on the other hand, desperately tries to be a serious game, going as far as introducing realistically rendered human characters which have weird love relationships with Sonic. That's just disgusting, and it's dumping crap on our childhood memories.

Most recent Mario games are intelligent, fun and slightly ironic. Most recent Sonic games are just stupid, not to mention that they fail in the gameplay department, too.

Re:Um, sure. (1)

moosesocks (264553) | about 7 years ago | (#19895247)

Mario RPG was also able to very easily disregard the prior games in the franchise, because it was produced entirely by an outside developer (Square).

Personally, it's easily one of my favorite games of all time. It doesn't even pretend to take itself seriously, and has an entertaining plotline that sort of reminds me of a Pixar movie in its universal appeal.

It also managed to somehow appeal to both hardcore RPG players and "newbs". I long for more straightforward RPGs like Mario RPG, and the early Final Fantasy games (to a lesser extent of course).

I also never really got into the later games, because they tended to be released for platforms I didn't own due to Square's stupid exclusivity deals... If I'm a fan of the Mario or Zelda franchises, it's a safe bet to buy a Nintendo. But if I'm a fan of FF, it's a gamble what platform the next games going to be released under. Personally, I always felt like they "fit" best with Nintendo, but that's just me....

They can get rid of Cream... (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | about 7 years ago | (#19897429)

...but they should keep Vanilla.
And Eric Clapton.

Together. I'm writing a xover fanfic.

I'll I've got to say is (1)

bersl2 (689221) | about 7 years ago | (#19898527)


Re:Um, sure. (1)

LKM (227954) | about 7 years ago | (#19898395)

A lot of the Paper Mario ideas are very much out there, too... It doesn't respect the Mario gospel too much.

BioWare Has Really Gone Downhill (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19892915)

BG was absolutely fantastic.
BG2 was fantastic.
KOTOR was meh.
Mass Effect looks mediocre at best - ignoring the pathetic bullshots their marketing people seem to think they are fooling gamers with. Seems like every company using the UE3 engine feels the need to release bogus shots to cover the poor quality of the engine.

Re:BioWare Has Really Gone Downhill (2, Funny)

dbrecht (1111657) | about 7 years ago | (#19893113)

Yeah KOTOR only had an average critic score of ~9.3 It is a terrible game. I hardly even enjoyed the 3 times I played through it... I swear.

Yes and No (1)

ludomancer (921940) | about 7 years ago | (#19893367)

I can agree that Bioware isn't what it used to be. Too big, and I don't have much faith in them though they do turn out some nice products on occasion, just not super innovative. (I gawked at the "what a bioware rpg is" comment, they take themselves too seriously there).
Regardless, I am a developer working on the Unreal 3 Engine. This is the best licensable engine in the industry right now, period. There is no limit to the quality you can push through it aside from the hardware you're on and the talent of your team. This comes from experience and knowledge, take my word for it.
That aside, sadly 90% of the screenshots you will ever, EVER see from any media outlet or "press release" or whatever, is doctored. Every one. All publishers are shit-eating liars. That's another thing that comes from knowledge and experience (though I wish it weren't so).

Re:BioWare Has Really Gone Downhill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19893411)


Re:BioWare Has Really Gone Downhill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19893669)

I realize you're just trolling, but if the strongest criticism you can muster for a fucking RPG hinges on the graphics engine, you need to rethink your approach.

Re:BioWare Has Really Gone Downhill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19894157)

When a company focuses more on putting out absurdly fake screenshots for their RPG, YES, that is a giant red flag that something is very wrong with their priorities.

Re:BioWare Has Really Gone Downhill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19894525)

When a company focuses more on putting out absurdly fake screenshots for their RPG...

You know nothing about what they're "focusing more" on. The handful of screenshots you've seen tells you fuck-all about this. And you know it, so quit lying. Or at least try to become slightly competent at it.

Re:BioWare Has Really Gone Downhill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19894693)

BG sucked shit.
BG2 was decent.
Then they started making console games. End of story.

Guess im the only one who liked these?? (2, Interesting)

grapeape (137008) | about 7 years ago | (#19895159)

Evidently im just a Bioware fanboy, they have made some games I didnt care for but I liked Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, KOTOR and even Jade Empire. They seemed pretty consistent to me, no they usually are not necessarily innovative technology wise but they make a tight game with decent depth, storyline and replay value, which I will take over innovative and boring any day.

Re:Guess im the only one who liked these?? (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | about 7 years ago | (#19895635)

Black Isle made Icewind Dale, but it used the Infinity Engine from Bioware.

That was informationless (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19893085)

According to the article, BioWare is going to be creating a Sonic RPG.

And, well, that's it. I think I got that much from the title.

They're not ready to talk details. They're not ready to explain what the gameplay will be like. They're not ready to talk about what characters are going to be in it.

All they really said is that it'll be an RPG, it'll be on the Nintendo DS, and it will take place in the Sonic universe.

Good to know, I guess, but that's exactly what the first article said. This offers nothing new! Unless someone can point to something I missed.

Why Bioware is doing this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19903995)

Bioware has discussed moving onto a mobile platform for a long time, and given the success of the DS, it is a very easy move to make.

So why is Bioware doing this? Well, you have a choice of either developing your game engine on your own dime and releasing it to take it's chances on the market... or you can use someone else's IP, have them pay you to create the game, you create YOUR game engine on THEIR dime... and you don't have to really be concerned with whether the game succeeds or fails, since they will be assuming the bulk of the risk (and thus the profits).

BUT... most importantly... you get to create your own DS game engine virtually for free. And, nothing is really preventing you from working on a game using your own IP (and that game engine) at the same time.

It will be great! (2, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 7 years ago | (#19893097) long as all the characters are made of Paper.

What's that? They'll be 3D models in the Sonic Team "Universe" that sports about 3 billion more characters than common sense?

Um, nevermind then.

Re:Paper? Nah, but still 2D (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19895967)

Make it a 2D platformer where you control a pink hedgehog... sort of a "Sister Sonic". I don't even think you have to come up with a new game, you could just take some Falcom created game and change the sprites around.

I mean it worked for Youme Koujou Doki Doki Panic.

Please let me play as Sonic! (2, Insightful)

Maul (83993) | about 7 years ago | (#19893335)

One of the reasons I enjoyed Sonic and the Secret Rings is because you
the entire game.

Limit the other characters to Tails, Knuckles, and MAYBE Amy Rose (being generous here) and leave the other characters out of the story.


If Shadow even so much as shows up....

Re:Please let me play as Sonic! (2, Funny)

Admiral Frosty (919523) | about 7 years ago | (#19893923)

What? You mean you DON'T want to play a dry-as-dirt rails shooter for a forth of the game?

Just what we needed... (1)

superbus1929 (1069292) | about 7 years ago | (#19893519)

Sonic's own platform games haven't been done right in years, what the hell is an RPG going to do? I don't care WHO'S making it, it's basically a Furry Fest as it is.

Re:Just what we needed... (3, Interesting)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | about 7 years ago | (#19893675)

Have you played the Sonic Advance games, or their sequel on the DS, Sonic Rush? Or how about Sonic and the Secret Rings for the Wii? All of those are excellent games, and the first two (well, 5, because there's 4 sonic advance games) are in the same vein as the old sonic games.

Re:Just what we needed... (1)

superbus1929 (1069292) | about 7 years ago | (#19893839)

Sonic Advance/Rush were good games; they were exceptions to the norm.

As for Sonic and the Secret Rings, no, I haven't played it, don't have a Wii.

Re:Just what we needed... (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | about 7 years ago | (#19893925)

Allright, good. I agree with your original point, Sonic Team just CAN'T make a good 3-D game (well, secret rings was good, but it's not a platformer, it's something new entirely). And they can't write dialog. And their voice actors are all annoying. Really, when I complain about a camera angle being worse than Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry, there's a problem with your camera angles. And the clipping! They never got 3D clipping working quite right. Your characters feel boxy and jerky and you can get stuck on levels easily. They should just sell the franchise to Nintendo or something - those guys know how to make a 3D platformer!

Re:Just what we needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19893845)

I got Sonic Rush because it was so highly praised but it made me realize something. I never really liked the Sonic series to begin with.

The graphics are nice enough and some of the loops and stuff are kind of neat but I felt like I wasn't really doing all that much except avoiding bumping into the occasional enemy. The boss fights were mostly kind of dull as well.

And I realized that all of the 2d Sonic games have been pretty much like this and that I seem to be incompatible with Sonic games. Is there something in these games that I'm failing to properly appreciate?

Re:Just what we needed... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 7 years ago | (#19893975)

I think it was just the usually "OMG graphics" amazement back in the Megadrive era when fast scrolling was unheard of. The games make for nice speedruns but playing through them isn't all that great. That being said Sonic Rush was still fun and the amount of manually controlled time vs. just watching Sonic move through something akin to The Incredible Machine goes down as the game progresses (though Altitude Limit is an awful, AWFUL stage).

Re:Just what we needed... (1)

LKM (227954) | about 7 years ago | (#19898479)

The interesting thing is that the first Sonic game wasn't a particularly fast game. There are parts of the game where you go fast, but for large parts, it plays similarly to early Mario games, with lots of enemies, and jumping from platform to platform. Later Sonic games started to emphasize "Fast!" more and more.

Re:Just what we needed... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 7 years ago | (#19904127)

I tend to think of the fast parts as cutscenes. Sure, if you know the levels by heart you can hit jump at the right time to go on a secret path but most of the time you just sit and watch while Sonic moves through the fast part. However, cutscenes do impress people.

Re:Just what we needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19894045)

And I realized that all of the 2d Sonic games have been pretty much like this and that I seem to be incompatible with Sonic games. Is there something in these games that I'm failing to properly appreciate?

Blast processing.

Re:Just what we needed... (1)

drsquare (530038) | about 7 years ago | (#19897085)

Sonic Rush is just Sonic 1 with less interesting levels. You hold down the direction button and occasionally fall off cliffs.

I Disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19893593)

There was no real information in that interview. I think the headline is misleading. It was just PR BS. "Come play our game! We promise it won't suck! It's innoviative, exciting and FAST-PACED!!!"

The Parasitic Genius of BioWare (3, Insightful)

LKM (227954) | about 7 years ago | (#19893645)

N'Gai Croal has an interesting take on why Bioware would develop something like this. [] Here's the gist of it:

The answer, we believe, can be found in BioWare's past; specifically, the company's careful and considered evolution from being primarily a developer-for-hire to the creator of its own original IP, soaking up as much knowledge as it could along the way, then fold that knowledge into brand new concepts

So we can probably not only look forward to an awesome Sonic RPG, but also to a second, yet unanounced DS RPG from Bioware. Makes a lot of sense to me.

The GENESIS of the game (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | about 7 years ago | (#19893891)

Oh boy, the Genesis! Heh. That's funny. You see, because they linked it in to a Sega reference while still being grammatically correct! Boy oh boy, I'm still laughing from that one. Yeah. Not.

Re:The GENESIS of the game (1)

KoldKompress (1034414) | about 7 years ago | (#19898311)

You go girl. You like so totally showed them.


The desert of ideas (0, Troll)

nerdup (523587) | about 7 years ago | (#19893899)

Is there really such a lack of worthwhile ideas in the world that somebody thought a *Sonic the Hedgehog* RPG was a good idea? Why are videogame producers so terrified of working on original ideas, set in original settings, with original characters? Sonic the Hedgehog as a concept is so light on story, the whole idea is ridiculous. This is such blatant cashing-in it's laughable.

Re:The desert of ideas (1)

Mathonwy (160184) | about 7 years ago | (#19895433)

Normally I'd agree, but, to be fair...

Last time an established maker of RPGs took a licensed character from another company's platforming franchise (that I can think of, at least) the world was blessed with Super Mario RPG. Which ruled.

So I'm prepared to cut them some slack on the idea, since it's already been proven to me that platformers reimagined as RPGs don't HAVE to suck...

I can't be the only one to notice... (1)

Khaed (544779) | about 7 years ago | (#19894119)

They discuss the genesis of the game,

Very punny...

Archie Comics characters? (1)

RyoShin (610051) | about 7 years ago | (#19894249)

While Sega seems to have some insane fixation with introducing a new and soon-to-be-forgotten character in each Sonic game, no matter how close it is to the basic Sonic platforming game, they still seem to be lacking in the massive amount of characters that now make up RPGs, both playable and NPC. Perhaps it's fanboyish, but I've been a fan of Archie Comic's Sonic the Hedgehog [] , collecting them since I was 12 or so (about a decade now). In that time, Archie has branched out the Sonic universe immensely, giving BioWare more than enough characters to choose from or adapt, as well as many locations and scenarios.

Even without that, the "critically-acclaimed" Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon [] from early '90s Saturday mornings has a smaller (although similar) cast of characters.

If they don't want to pull exclusively from the U.S., they could always look to Fleetway's Sonic the Comic [] from the UK, which I'm not as familiar with.

What I'm getting at here is that if BioWare just makes up a bunch of shit characters instead of pulling from a large pool of already-established characters in the Sonic universe, I will be one very pissed off fan.

Re:Archie Comics characters? (1)

bersl2 (689221) | about 7 years ago | (#19894505)

There has always been more potential for good story coming from the SatAM/Archie line, precisely because stories are what it was created for.

It also depends on how much juvenileness BioWare is willing to give up. Sega has always tried to become more sophisticated without trying to grow up, and one only need look at the 3D games to see this. The other line has always had an adult feel to it. All it needs is some elimination of some extraneous deus ex machina.

ouch! (1)

MrBallistic (88770) | about 7 years ago | (#19894893)

"They discuss the genesis of the game..."


Anyone get the joke? (1)

kornkid606 (1076023) | about 7 years ago | (#19894939)

They discuss the genesis of the game
Genesis... get it?
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