Team Sonic Racing has now hurtled onto the track. STACK spoke with the head of SEGA’s Sonic Team, Takashi Iizuka, to learn a little more about what to expect from the shiny new kart racer.
Most racing games pit each player against everybody else, winner takes all. However, Team Sonic Racing takes a different approach. So, just how will this focus on teamplay work?
“Team Sonic Racing will offer several team mechanics that can be utilised to gain an edge each race,” Iizuka-san tells us. “With moves like skim boost, slingshot, rescue and item transfer, players will be able to work together to fill up their ‘Team Ultimate’. Once full, the team will have the ability to unleash a massive speed boost that will help them secure the victory.”
This is quite the break with tradition for racing games – including the two previous outings of Sonic and friends. As such, we can’t help but wonder, why this change of focus for Team Sonic Racing?
“When playing racing games with friends, there was always one person who was winning and having a great time, while the other players not near the lead were losing and not having as much fun. Have you ever experienced that?” asks Iizuka-san. “I witness this sort of thing happening when I watch my son play with his friends, and it sometimes makes the whole game time an unpleasant experience. I wanted to make a racing game where everyone could enjoy playing and winning together, which fed into the idea behind Team Sonic Racing.”
“I wanted to make a racing game where everyone could enjoy playing and winning together”
OK, multiplayer is sorted then. But what of the solo gamer? Will they get anything from Team Sonic Racing? According to Iizuka-san, they’re catered for too.
“Team Sonic Racing will offer a variety of modes that players can experience solo if desired. Not only is there a full ‘Adventure Mode’, but players will also have the option to participate in a ‘Standard Race’ that follows an ‘every man for himself’ ruleset.”
Unlike those previous Sonic kart racers, Team Sonic Racing doesn’t feature characters outside of Sonic the Hedgehog’s universe – but it does see the racing debuts of some new faces.
Says Iizuka-san, “A few new characters like E-123 Omega, Chao and Zavok will be making their racing debut in this game.”
Very cool, but how about meme superstar Sanic Hegehog? Will he get in on the action? Iizuka-san tells us, “Sanic has hung up his racing gloves and won’t be making his way into Team Sonic Racing.”
Having a man who has worked with Sonic for some 25 years now in our presence, we had to ask Iizuka-san a couple of questions that many have pondered for years. Well, at the very least, we have. So, is it “Dr. Robotnik” or “Dr. Eggman”?
“His name is Dr. Eggman,” Iizuka-san states for us definitively. “He used to be called ‘Dr. Robotnik’, but now he is called by his nickname, ‘Dr. Eggman’, by everybody – including himself.”
Finally, the big one. Without meaning to sound cheeky, we had to ask: “If Sonic’s so fast by foot, why does he even need to get in a car?” Iizuka-san’s answer brought us much joy.
“Sonic’s much faster than a kart on foot, so within karts Sonic and his friends can all race on an even setting to see who is the fastest!”
Team Sonic Racing is available now for PS4, Xbox One and Switch. Read our review here.