Whoops! I’d say I neglected some of these questions again but really I only forgot to answer one (the other I just received), so this one will be a two-fer.
Anonymous asked you:
Do you have any thoughts on the upcoming Wii U? Do you think the price is reasonable?
I am not one of these crazy people stomping around the internet having a meltdown about the Wii U and what Nintendo is doing to “hardcore gaming”. Regardless of success or failure, it’ll be interesting to see where the Wii U “goes”. Having that much room on a tablet for drawing could be really interesting, and having comparable controls to regular game consoles could really help in the long run. The problem is horsepower - Nintendo made bank on the Wii for choosing to stick with less powerful hardware, and while there are rumors that the jump from PS3 to PS4 won’t be as massive as PS2 to PS3, I think the pressure is on Sony and Microsoft to do something - anything - to throw a wrench in to Nintendo’s gears. Whatever they can do to prevent developers from back-porting PS4/Xbox 720 games to the Wii U, because it would be in their best interest to create another scenario where the Wii U becomes a dumping ground for watered-down ports made by D-list teams.
That’s actually kind of what the tablet is doing, when you think about it. That’s the Wii U’s gambit; unless Sony and Microsoft also launch with comparable tablets (and I don’t mean Xbox Smartglass, which is a stupid idea), there might be Wii U games that just don’t work as well on the PS4/Xbox 720. On top of that, with the Wii U having the horse power it does have, that’s pushing Sony and Microsoft harder in the direction of going cutting-edge again, and that’s a really, REALLY bad idea for them. Both Sony and Microsoft flushed TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars down the toilet in the first 3-5 years of their respective consoles because they were selling them at a loss. I don’t know if either company can afford to sink so much money in to being cutting-edge again, even if companies like Epic and Crytek are begging for bleeding-edge PC specs. But Nintendo has put them in a position where they kind of HAVE to lose a ton of money, otherwise they’re probably going to get dominated by the Wii U. Hell, even with how lame the Wii could be sometimes, Sony and Microsoft were STILL technically dominated by it anyway, so it might not even matter what they do.
I think the price is more or less fine, though it was $50 higher than I anticipated. I was expecting $250 for “Basic” and $300 for “Deluxe”. If I’m not mistaken, that still puts the Xbox 360 as a cheaper alternative to the Wii U despite comparable graphical specs; but given all the stories about Wii U pre-orders selling out, maybe that doesn’t matter.
gottaspeedkeed asked you:
How come Sonic 06 didn’t end up like that video on the internet with him running through the field and he becomes Super Sonic against all those robots? Do you know what I’m talking about? Also, would Sonic 06 have to be overhauled completely to be good or is there not hope for that game?
There is no concrete answer for this, since we don’t really know everything that went on behind the scenes. The way it looked to me is that Sonic 2006 was planned to be a very big, very complex game - maybe even open world. A true expansion of the “Sonic Adventure” concept, with deeper RPG elements, bigger areas to explore, and a day/night cycle.
But one of the facts we do know is that Sonic 2006 was originally planned to be an Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii game. That last one is important, because Sonic Team was planning a Sonic 2006 Wii port before anybody even knew what the Wii actually was. Sonic Team just assumed it would be another regular game console like the 360 and PS3. When they were shown what the Wii actually was (they were reportedly one of the first third party developers to know), one of the project leads on Sonic 2006 (Yojiro Ogawa) decided they would have to create a completely unique Wii game separate from Sonic 2006.
To make this happen, he reportedly split the Sonic 2006 dev team in half - one half would continue to work on the 360/PS3 game, and the other half would go with him and start making the Wii game - codename “Hypersonic”, later renamed “Sonic Wildfire”, until finally they decided on the name “Sonic & The Secret Rings”. Whatever big plans they had for Sonic 2006 had to be seriously scaled down or removed altogether. Depending on how far along in development the game was, that would’ve been a serious headache for the Sonic 2006 team. Despite what you might believe, removing a feature from a game can actually be more complicated and time consuming than adding one, because removing something can break hundreds of other, seemingly unrelated things that depend on that feature in order to operate.
It was also in an era where a lot of developers, especially Japanese developers, were struggling with next-generation hardware. Sonic Team was ill-equipped to deal with the increased complexity, and on top of that, they were understaffed on a game concept that was out of their depth. To make matters worse, they had painted themselves in to a corner by declaring Sonic 2006 to be the game that lead the “15th Anniversary” charge. They now had a hard, immovable deadline. Christmas 2006 or bust.
And they busted.