An Inside Look at the Art Direction
A bit overlooked with Friday’s media melee in the march to Sonic Unleashed’s launch was another update on IGN’s Sonic Unleashed blog.
This time, art director Sachiko Kawamura goes a bit in depth to explain how the visuals will stack up. He talks about how some of the stages extend well over ten miles in length–and how all of the background elements had to keep up:
You probably already know by know that “Sonic Unleashed” is a dual-structured game, where you get to play as Sonic the Hedgehog during the day and Sonic the Werehog at night. One of the big points of consternation for the artists who had to make the background models were the daytime action stages.
Again, as you probably already know, Sonic has always been a character whose design has been based on being able to run really fast, but Hashimoto-san, the director of “Sonic Unleashed,” wanted to make Sonic faster than ever before. What this translates to in gameplay terms is that sometimes, Sonic is moving upwards of 100 to 150 meters per second, which is magnitudes faster than we’ve ever had to take into account.
Now that Sonic is this unbelievably fast, it meant that we needed to create action stages that were well over 10 miles long in some cases. At the same time, the image quality needed to be good enough for those times when Sonic wasn’t going to just be rushing past things too fast for the player to see them. Creating a 12 mile stretch of background environment is a nightmare, let me tell you. But we had to press on!
This is an action game, and it’s also a Sonic the Hedgehog game. You’re in control of a super-fast blue hedgehog who runs side to side, backwards and forwards, and every which way. He can run along walls and ceilings just as easily as on floors. There are impossible loops and dips and turns that don’t even slow him down. The level designers didn’t hold back in the least in coming up with exciting, acrobatic terrain for the little blue guy to run around. Getting our backgrounds to fit naturally with these tricked-out stages was a big challenge for our artists.
You can read the whole entry here. Check back to TSSZ News for the latest on Sonic Unleashed.