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Archive for October 24th, 2008


Sonic Unleashed Developer Diary – Patrick Riley

I’m happy to report that we’ve been given access to some regular blog content from the team working on Sonic Unleashed. The first blog entry features Patrick Riley, who works right here in our SEGA offices. Take a read of the article and be sure to head over to our Flickr page to view all of the screenshots.

Be on the lookout for the next blog article, which we’ll be adding very shortly.


Hi there, my name is Patrick Riley and I am the producer of Sonic Unleashed here at Sega of America. My job is to workPatrick Riley closely with the development team out in Japan and work on the game from our US office.

The team in Japan is a fantastic team to work with and all of you will see in the next little while what incredible work they have done to bring this new Sonic game to life. Filled with incredible Sonic speed-based gameplay, stunning international-inspired environments, and your favorite blue Hedgehog, Sonic Unleashed is the game we know Sonic fans have been waiting for!

Just to give you a little background, the team has been working on the Hedgehog Engine since 2005, and on the game itself since 2006. Their goal was both to take Sonic in an interesting new direction while returning Sonic to his roots by incorporating many of the classic elements that fans loved best. So they knew that lots of speed would be key in this game being successful. To add a new flavor, they decided to invite the Werehog. I’m not going to talk about him quite yet, but stay tuned for some Werehog updates in the next couple of weeks.


The story itself is based on an alternate world similar to our own in many ways. The game starts in the middle of the action, just like a Bond film. Dr. Eggman has once again caused serious amounts of trouble – as he so loves to do – and Sonic has finally cornered him and looks on the brink of finally winning their epic struggle. But it is all a ploy and Dr. Eggman uses that moment to steal the seven Chaos Emeralds and use them to break apart the earth and wake Dark Gaia – a frighteningly huge monster. It is at that same moment that Sonic is exposed to the dark energy of those Chaos Emeralds and a beastly change takes place. Sonic is blown out of an airlock by Dr. Eggman, but survives the fall to Earth through the intervention of a strange energy source. Sonic is then left to figure out both how to bring the world back together and what this unbelievable change means for him.


Sonic’s adventure begins here. He travels the world to put together the pieces of the fragmented planet as well as those of his own life now that so much has changed. He explores beautiful environments inspired by China, Greece, Africa and speeds through them in both 3D and 2.5D gameplay.

The team faced a lot of challenges in accomplishing their vision. First and foremost, we targeted multiple platforms – PS3, 360, Wii, and PS2 – so a big challenge was making sure that the game worked well on all platforms. For example, making sure that the Wii version really took advantage of the unique control system and the next-gen versions really took advantage of the power of the systems to make the game look amazing. Also, narrowing down the locations – in a world like our where there are so many interesting places to visit, how do we choose just a few? There are just too many amazing sights in the world! Narrowing it down was quite the challenge.


Finally, making sure that we gave fans the Sonic game they were really looking for was truly number one on our mind. The team is made up of people who love Sonic, who have worked on many Sonic titles, and who felt passionate about the experience they believed Sonic could offer on any system. Creating that perfect game was something we spent a lot of time discussing- all the pros and cons of what could and couldn’t work – what fans loved and what fans hated – what we loved and hated. In the end, it came down to us. We had to ask ourselves what we felt Sonic was missing up until now and what we would want in a Sonic game. Fortunately, as Sonic fans we are extremely excited about the game you guys will be seeing soon and as the PD team, extremely proud of the game we made.

In the next few weeks, we’ll be drafting up some dev diaries for you check out to get a better ides of the Werehog and all his skills and what inspired us on that front. We’ll talk more about the background of the team itself and their role in the creation of the game. We’ll introduce you to some of the places you will visit over the course of the game. Lastly, we’ll give you a taste of some of the new moves Sonic has been given in this game and some of the control specifics we implemented for the Wii version to ensure that Wii fans were really taking advantage of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk.


I hope, by the time I’m done writing this – you guys will be a happy with the game as we are proud. But in the meantime, start training your thumbs for some serous speeding action! Stay tuned for more developer updates and introductions to the team in Japan who worked so hard to bring you this game. In the upcoming weeks we will tell you more about the new features – including the Hedgehog Engine created by the Sonic team – as well as the stunning environments, Sonic’s new moves and of course, the Werehog himself. Keep reading!