In a recent interview with Gamespot, key staff from developer Sumo Digital revealed why they chose to focus solely on Sonic characters with Team Sonic Racing, instead of having it be a crossover like the Sonic All-Stars Racing games.
According to Sumo Digital’s studio design director Derek Littlewood, the non-Sonic universe characters were dropped in order to further ground Team Sonic Racing within mainline Sonic canon. They felt that the move would allow the game to explore the Sonic universe in more detail, and provide players with a unique experience from the past titles.
The reason we [dropped non-Sonic universe characters] was so we could dive into the Sonic universe in more depth, and tell a canon Sonic universe story, with our team adventure mode. That was very important for us.
It was a difficult decision for us, but we feel like that was the right direction to go in. Because it’s allowed us to create a very new kind of unique experience for Team Sonic Racing that I think people won’t have had with the previous titles.
Ben Wilson, another designer on Team Sonic Racing, added to Littlewood’s statements with the example of character banter during races. Since the characters were all familiar with one another, it was a lot easier to write smooth and natural dialog between them, which would have been a lot more challenging had characters from other franchises been present.
“Because this game’s set in a universe with characters who have relationships already, it’s let us do a dialog system where they’re on track and they’re yelling at each other, and they have familiarity with each other and make references to history, which we wouldn’t have been able to have done really [had other franchises’ characters been present]. Or at least, not in as smooth a way. So it’s let us do some additional stuff as well.”
When asked if there was potential for All-Stars-like crossover content in the game, Littlewood replied that they had nothing planned so far. However, he also said that many of the team were “old-school Sega fans” who are open to the returning to the idea in the future.
“old-school Sega fans [who] are really keen to continue doing the All-Stars aspect of the game. There’s nothing we have to announce, or even anything that is currently on the cards. But it’s something that we would love to be able to go back to.”
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