Don't like the new Sonic character models? Sega prototyped even wilder designs

Developers say they "went in many different directions to discover the boundary" of what Sega was comfortable with.

The new Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy character designs revealed yesterday alongside the announcement of Sonic Boom could have looked a lot different. Sega tried some "really wild designs" before settling on the images shown yesterday, developers told CVG in a new interview.

"We have reams of drawings that we explored. It was quite a journey," developer Big Red Button CEO Bob Rafei said. "That's one of the things that, as a character designer, I live and breathe."

"We went in many different directions to discover the boundary of what Sega was comfortable with, what we wanted to do for our projects," he added. "There were some really wild designs, and ultimately in the end we decided they're not well suited for the franchise, because they were just too out there."

"I'm glad that's something that Sega reined us in on, because ultimately the character would have felt a little different."

As you can see in the image above, Sonic now has long legs and wears a brown scarf, which is said to demonstrate his adventurous spirit. Meanwhile, Tails has a new utility belt and Amy wields a hammer. The most dramatic change, however, is for Knuckles, who is now depicted as a hulking heavyweight.

Sega of America producer Michael Frost stressed that the publisher did not make changes to the designs just for the sake of changing things up. "We spent a lot of time agonizing over and thinking about every single detail. There was a lot of thought, a lot of discussion, a lot of collaboration on every single aspect," he said.

Sonic Boom launches this year for Wii U and 3DS. It's not a single game, but rather a transmedia Sonic initiative that aims to breathe new life into the franchise through games, an animated TV show, a toy line, and various licensing partnerships.

You can check out the debut trailer for Sonic Boom below.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

190 comments
sakurafubaki
sakurafubaki

Am I the only one that absolutely HATES there new design. I mean, my god. What's wrong with only changing their outfits? You don't have to make them look like fugly humans. What is going to happen to the series now I wonder?


And yes, I am biased as fuck. 

Rennik_Repotsir
Rennik_Repotsir

They look... err... too human...


I don't get it, what was wrong with the Saturday morning cartoon look? Is it because kids think that playing a mature game makes them mature? Is that why they look like they grew up (badly)?

daikkenaurora12
daikkenaurora12

They look terrible.  Knuckles especially looks like a cheap version of himself.

lil_jon86
lil_jon86

Devil may cry all over again

artisticg33k23
artisticg33k23

Can someone just answer this...


Why is everyone wearing duct tape?!

BattleStarX
BattleStarX

...I almost want to see the scrapped ideas.

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

I've been a sonic fan since the early nineties.

These re-designs look great, and honestly not that different.

Frankly, I don't understand why Knuckles was always so small in the first place.

This fits, it works. Quite whining.

bouchart
bouchart

"transmedia Sonic initiative"

Did Eddie think up those buzzwords all on his own?

FBohler
FBohler

Looks really bad and... c'mon, some Crash Bandicoot developer is working on this game, how can it be good in any way?

Tzardok
Tzardok

Humm, I really liked the original Knuckles more (my favorite char from the good side). The new one is not that great, but I am biased, I am old enough to have played the original on Genesis.


Did prefer the new looks for the rest of the crew though. Let's just hope that Dr. Robotnik (aka Eggman) is still fat.

wesker741
wesker741

I don't care how they look as long as the game is fun.

tmorri603
tmorri603

They look like they have been taking steroids with Alex Rodriguez especially Knuckles. 

snakebite6x6x6
snakebite6x6x6

As someone who started playing Sonic games when the first one came out for the Sega Genesis...I really don't see what all the fuss is about the redesigns. The Sonic franchise hasn't had that strong of a showing in a really long time so perhaps a change up is what is needed....it's certainly better than rehashing the same thing year after year.


The only thing I care about is how it plays.

SilentAssassin
SilentAssassin

"We decided to go with the Sonic on steroids look cause frankly, the fat little kids playing this game could use a role model"

kye-mc
kye-mc

Good luck to the future Sonic!

Lord_ZhouYu
Lord_ZhouYu

More than anything else, I'm mostly disappointed in how they tightened Amy's dress.

rickphoenixxx
rickphoenixxx

Why is Amy the only one wearing actual clothes, and not decked out in unnecessary bandages with no pants? Pants for all or pants for none I say!

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

hideous design, an excuse to promote their own franchises... 


the changing in Sonic Adventure was necessary for the sake of the story telling, manga-scheme the game was presented. and the huge leap from the 2D platforming to an (somewhat) open-world 3D adventure game where Sonic wasn't a speechless mascot anymore. so that was excusable. and it wasn't offensive like this, it still reminded of the originals, it still had the essence. 


now this is just an insult for fans who started playing the 1st Sonic on Genesis back in the days.

Hurvl
Hurvl

"the character would have felt a little different." Only a little different? The idea of giving people long slim legs and small upper bodies is something I've seen in the Star Wars Clone Wars animated series as well. It looked odd there, but not as distracting here. Aside from the enlarged legs and Knuckles being much taller than Sonic, I have no problem with this new design.

th3onewhoknocks
th3onewhoknocks

Tis gaem is specially designed for men who like men 

korvus
korvus moderator

"Meanwhile, Tails has a new utility belt and Amy wields a hammer." Ok, so I'll admit my Sonic days were mostly during the 8-bit era but hasn't Amy always had a hammer?

Bellum_Sacrum
Bellum_Sacrum

Sonic died decades ago, when they gave him green eyes and a voice.

zeracool2k
zeracool2k

@artisticg33k23 Sega has been through hard times... they couldn't afford to buy new clothes for Sonic & Co., so they just duct-taped the old ones.

ksdlass
ksdlass

@artisticg33k23  Well for Knuckles it's supposed to be Boxing Tape, but I'm not sure about Sonic.

Sl4cka
Sl4cka

@BattleStarX That's the only reason I clicked on the article.... so disappointed.

chev7758
chev7758

@VenkmanPHD  By any chance are you talking to the people that have been complaining about how Sonic "hasn't been good since the Genesis days"? Because those people are here complaining about this game. 

rarerichz
rarerichz

@FBohler dude stfu you dont know what your saying just go sit in a corner somewhere

spike6958
spike6958

@Tzardok  I'm with you on that. The new designs for Sonic, Tails and Amy actually look pretty cool. But Knuckles IDK, I think he'd look OK if his head was more properly proportioned to the rest of his body, but as it is, it's just weird.

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

@Ahiru-San  I'm not mega off the wall about the design changes, but from looking at them I'm not hating it either. It's simple but fresh. I also like how it sorta gives them more character, especially Knuckles. He's always been the fist first fighter of the pack, I'm not against the roid rage look xD


th3onewhoknocks
th3onewhoknocks

@Ahiru-San beuty is in the eye of the beholder, I think the desing is onw of the best I have ever seen in the history of human making beaings

snxx
snxx

@Korvus85 You're admitting it wrong: even though there were versions of Sonic for 8bit consoles like Master System and Game Gear, it was a game developed at the 16bit era. The first Sonic was released on 1991, right in the middle of the fourth consoles generation.

thekazumalord
thekazumalord

@Korvus85  don't think she had one in her first appearance, but as far as I know, amy has become iconic for pulling a hammer out of thin air to hit things with... it's what she's known for.. well that an having a stalker crush on sonic.

korvus
korvus moderator

@Bellum_Sacrum  I'm curious to know why is that, for so many people, characters or franchises "die" when they change. I understand that you probably grew up with a specific character looking/acting a certain way but doesn't it get tiring to deal with a never-changing character?

I'm not saying you're wrong, just wanting to know your reasons. I liked the new Dante, the new Thundercats, and I don't really mind the new "Sonic and the gang", even though they look like they're in the middle of an awkward teenager growth spurt.

Karlinel
Karlinel

@spike6958 @Tzardok  Tails and Amy gain some glimpses of a "personal/unique" design, and god knows they needed it, Sonic's new look isn't really too shocking (even though bandages on sneakers seem an odd addition), Knuckles in the other hand...I get where they are coming from, watching him punch walls, arm-suspending from ceilings etc, it's "logical" that he's developed some muscles, but I don't understand why the change had to be so massive.

korvus
korvus moderator

@snxx I know if was made for Mega Drive, but all I had was a Master System, so to me it was still the 8-bit era XD

korvus
korvus moderator

@thekazumalord Right; that's what I meant. Even if she didn't start with one, it's nothing that they have come up with for Sonic Boom, either.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Korvus85 @Bellum_SacrumLol, the new Thundercats look like something from an anime studio which is oddly predictable, but I like it.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Korvus85 @Ahiru-SanWhy get back on topic, this "hijacked thread" is great reading material :P? To answer your question, though, I think it's about expectations (people thinking "New design? That's not what *I* would pick as a new design"), tradition and not knowing what you want/what the audience wants. We might all say that we're tired of the same old, same old, but when you change something it's really hard to get appraisal. Some thinks it's too different, that the changes took away and/or added bad, unnecessary things, some are traditonalists and some say they wanted "different", but actually don't want any changes at all.

On the internet it's "survival of the loudest" and it's often when you get upset about something that you decide to tell it to the whole world and with big letters. The ones who didn't mind or slightly liked the changes don't say that on the internet or are drowned beneath the raging mob.

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

@Korvus85 @Ahiru-San sure, some changes are for the better (I didn't get into specifics in my comment, I didn't watch the new Thundercats), not sure about TMNT though... however I did enjoy how Sonic Adventure had some changes - it had to, for the whole new game design, the whole new transition. it was a fresh start, the very first 3D game and all...


I loved Adventure and Generations, specially the latter for bringing the (until then) "new" and the old, but this newer design is just... 


Devs must be afraid to release new IPs these days, I guess..

korvus
korvus moderator

@Ahiru-San Thundercats was one of my favourite shows when I was a kid and I was more than happy to see them making a return so I just got the "nostalgia vibes" while looking at it as a new show, without trying to draw parallels with the old show every 10 seconds. To me it was better than no Thundercats at all, or more of the same; which is why I asked the question to begin with. Why are people so willing to give up on characters/storylines they like when they get changed?

Not saying all the changes are improvements but surely they can't all be downgrades. Sonic games for example (and to get back into topic); my favourites are still the 8-bit ones, but I enjoyed the first 3D ones, and enjoyed the mix in Generations. If 22 years later I was still playing the same old Sonic I wouldn't bother anymore...

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

@Korvus85 @Hurvl  if they wanted a fresh new look, they should make a new IP. old fans will scream the loudest, and the creators of the show/game/etc should think of it first instead of trying to catch the new guys who were born last decade... figure of speech...


korvus
korvus moderator

@Hurvl A lot of people were upset about the new looks and refused to watch the show on "that's not how they look like!" argument alone. The show got cancelled even before it reached the end of the first season...sad =/