In a recent interview, Eurogamer spoke to Sonic Mania director Christian Whitehead to learn what really turns something into a Sonic game.
Whitehead says going fast and the freedom of gameplay is what attracts him as a Sonic fan. Here are his full comments:
It’s something interesting with Sonic. There are a lot of different fans, and they all have different feelings about what Sonic is for them. So I can only use my own feelings about what Sonic is and will always be for me … Obviously Sonic has a striking design, it’s an icon. When it comes to gameplay, there are many inspirations of pinball – all those external elements – almost make it skateboarding, with the idea of picking up speed as you roll down the hills. They are all those physical interactions.
The core of the game is really simple – you just get to the end of the game and win – but there are many different ways you interact with the levels, increasing speed at certain angles and jumping from them. It has a great feeling of playground. Going fast feels great – and in the era of Mega Drive it was a very impressive technical component – but also the freedom of gameplay, it’s what attracts me as a Sonic fan.
The director also said he loves 3D games in general, and hopes to work on a 3D game in the future.
Speaking of games in general, I love 3D. I have personally worked with my own technology in 3D, but not for Sonic. 3D is very interesting to me as a game developer. It presents a totally different world of design challenges. The reason why I started with retro aesthetics was that I was younger and it was easier to develop in 2D, because I only had to have the computer that my family had. But to make a game in 3D you need a bigger team, something in which I am personally interested. I am wishing it.