Producer Shun Nakamura Explains the Sonic Forces Avatar System
SEGA’s Sonic Forces is one of the most anticipated games of 2017. Other than being able to play as both Modern and Classic Sonic, one of the biggest appeals of the platformer is that players will be able to create their own custom character, which is also known as Avatar.
This week’s Weekly Famitsu magazine in Japan has an article about Sonic Forces dedicated to introducing the Avatar system. Famitsu also put up an interview with the game’s producer Shun Nakamura, which is actually taken from a bigger interview they conducted at ChinaJoy in last July. We have translated portions of the interview that discuss the Avatar system, which you can read below.
Famitsu: Please tell us the reason why you implemented Avatars in this game.
Nakamura: The Sonic series has a long history, and there are many people among the fans that imagine their own Sonic characters. For example, *** the Hedgehog. We also received emails requesting “Can you please put in this character?” We cannot put in characters created by everyone in the game, but we’d like for them to taste something that actually feels the same like that, so we created the Avatar.
Famitsu: How many variations in total would be possible on building the Avatar?
Nakamura: We cannot give you the exact number, but there are seven animal species, and if you mix them up with various faces, mouths, and costume parts, I think there may be a considerable amount of characters being born.
Famitsu: What are the motifs of those seven animal species?
Nakamura: We have a way of choosing animals specific to Sonic series, so we’re basing it on that. At first, there were things like dragons, but we wonder how a dragon [would fit] if they were to appear in Sonic. So, we focused on popular animals, and after talking with other staff, the results are that we picked these seven species. We will talk about what kind of animals they are, including their characteristics later.
[Translator’s Note: Interestingly, it seems like the list of selectable animal species has still not been made available in Japan yet. We already know about them, and you can read it right here.]
Famitsu: At the stage event in ChinaJoy you said, “We want to deepen the bonds between Sonic and the Avatar,” but are bonds going to be an important factor for the Avatar?
Nakamura: That’s right. Although the Avatar is appearing here, the real protagonist, in the end, is still the modern Sonic the Hedgehog. The setting for the Avatar is that they are normal civilians rising up from the conquered world, so the story will progress while deepening bonds between them and Sonic, and there will be many scenes in the game where you can feel those. That’s why, people who liked Sonic in the past, drew their own Sonic illustrations, and had a dream of “I’d like to go on an adventure with Sonic,” will be able to realize that dream with Sonic Forces.
Famitsu: Is the Avatar going to be involved in the story?
Nakamura: Yes, that’s right.
Famitsu: Can you change the Avatar in the middle of a stage?
Nakamura: The Avatar will stay the same from the beginning until the end. Because the point is that the character you create will depict “yourself,” and you will progress the story together with Sonic from the beginning until the end. We also had some places we want to change gameplay-wise, but for the time being, the form of the adventure is that the character you create will always stay with Sonic from the beginning until the end.
Famitsu: Is the sensation of controlling the Avatar going to be different from the usual Sonic?
Nakamura: This game is created with the concept of “three kinds of high-speed action,” so the point of enjoying high-speed gameplay will not change even when playing as the Avatar. The weapons here, which are called Wispons, also have usable movement functions in addition to attacking, and there is also quite a variety to those functions. If I had to say, Sonic would be a character that goes forward fast in a straight line. But I think you’ll be able to enjoy the Avatar’s gameplay which will be different from Sonic, where they make good use of the spacing, and obtain items while trying to move as fast as possible.
Sonic Forces will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Famitsu has also reported that this game will be releasing in Japan on November 9.