Digging Reveals Interesting Details
How much time, effort, and money is Sega putting into at least one portion of Sonic Boom‘s success? With a little digging, we may have a good idea of the stakes. We’re referring to a March 2013 Kotaku article that cited talks from inside Boom dev BigRedButton Entertainment in its infancy. Looking back on the article’s key points, much of what’s explained fits Boom like a glove (our emphasis in bold):
As of mid-2010, Big Red Button was pitching IP “to publishers such as Sony, Konami, and Activision.” By spring of the following year, Big Red Button landed an “unannounced major project with third-party publisher,” which seems to be the title they are presently working on.
Big Red Button’s recruitment copy describes the project as a “next-gen landmark AAA console project,” and job openings hint at a cross-generation “character driven, 3rd person action” title with co-op gameplay and some sort of mobile integration. The Big Red Button copy also mentions the company is keen on “delivering authentic gaming experiences that are as fun to watch as they are to play,” so perhaps the game is not too far removed from a cinematic action-adventure title like Uncharted?
Finally, a producer at the studio says the project has a “$19.9 million budget” with an estimated “34-month” production cycle and a present studio headcount of 28 people.
If you believe this fits Sonic Boom for Wii U and 3DS, there’s plenty of information to extract–perhaps the most important one being budget. Though certainly not the hundreds of millions of dollars top-tier franchises like Grand Theft Auto command for development, it’s still a lot of money for what is only a portion of a touted cross-platform franchise spin-off, and that may not even include the 3DS version. Some peg that cost above Hedgehog-engine based Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations, but below Sega’s current top-tier franchise Yakuza. It’s still a fairly reasonable cost, but given how much the Wii U is flailing, there is still a fair bit of risk involved.
Second, the 34 month production cycle, if you believe that BigRedButton nabbed Boom in Spring 2011 as the Kotaku article states, would peg the game being done or very close to it right about now. That could give some credence to a recent report that indicated Sonic Boom games would release in May rather than later in the year. Sega PR denied that report.
Third, the Kotaku article cites mobile integration, something that was mentioned at the onset of the Sonic Boom press event in New York City two weeks ago from those in attendance, but never elaborated upon by Sega. Whether such integration remains in the cards is something we will work to find out more about.
We will continue to follow Sonic Boom developments as they come in.