SAGE 2014: Sonic Worlds Delta Developer Techokami Interview Part 2by Michael Westgarth February 26, 2014
In the second part of our interview with the man behind Sonic Worlds Delta, Techokami talks about his favourite obscure Sonic characters, SAGE 2014 Act 1, Sonic Boom and more.
If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 of our interview with Techokami where he tells us about Sonic Worlds Delta, community feedback and the upcoming 1.4.4/1.5.0 update!
TSSZ: Bugfixes and other tweaks are important for obvious reasons, but it seems users can’t get enough of new playable characters. Are more characters in the works?
Techokami: Unfortunately, no. Instead, the existing characters are for end users to study and use as a basis to implement their own characters. I’ve seen one project adding Metal Sonic as a playable character, and another adding Mighty!
The main reason Amy was implemented was to showcase how to use a different action button to perform different moves. Since Amy uses another button to swing her hammer to defeat enemies, she was the perfect choice.
TSSZ: Is there any obscure Sonic (or non-Sonic!) character you’d like to see pop up in a Sonic Worlds-based fan game?
Techokami: I want to see a return of the Battle Kukku Armada, from Tails Adventure. They were an interesting villain group that has only recently started getting recognition again – in the form of their appearances in the Archie Sonic comic books – and it would be nice to see villains [who are not] Eggman every now and then.
As for non-Sonic, that’s already being taken care of in the original indie game project Freedom Planet, which uses Sonic Worlds as a base!
TSSZ: Freedom Planet is shaping up to be quite the Sonic-esque indie game indeed. And are the Kukku those weird bird people?
Techokami: Yes, they are the evil birds that Tails fights in Tails Adventure.
TSSZ: As the lead maintainer of Sonic Worlds Delta, how do you feel about all the Sonic Worlds-based fan games that’ll be shown off at SAGE 2014?
Techokami: I feel quite happy to see people using my hard work to create fun and innovative fangames, which will hopefully lead them into the games industry, creating new and original games for all platforms.
This actually happened to the previous maintainer, LarkSS; he left because he now works for an undisclosed game studio on a new title for Android, using Unity.
TSSZ: Are there any fan games in particular that you’re interested in playing come SAGE time?
Techokami: Well, obviously I’d like to see what Sonic Time Twisted is up to. I’d also like to see if a project that was shown at Nintendo Fan Games Convention 2013, “Sonic Hexical”, will be present with some improvements I’ve suggested to the project maintainer.
I don’t think Emerald Ties will be showing up, though – that’s one project I’ve had some involvement in – along with the defunct Sonic Zero, which was taken apart and auctioned off. Though I did obtain most of Sonic Zero‘s assets for Sonic Edge.
What I really want to see at SAGE is something that takes me by surprise, in a good way.
I play every game at SAGE, creating a feature on my website called “The Silly Awards”, which is then crossposted onto SFGHQ and Sonic United. Hopefully, I’ll find something fun and fresh, which is what makes me enjoy the fangaming scene so much.
TSSZ: Many would say that Sega’s PR and community engagement efforts have waned in recent years. Is this something you’ve experienced?
Techokami: You’d think that, but then you look at the new annual get-togethers Sega holds in the United States to mirror the events held in London. It would be nice if it was more closer to home for me, as I can’t fly out to Los Angeles to attend, nor can I fly out to London for Summer of Sonic.
TSSZ: So you’re not worried about the dreaded “Cease & Desist” email? That Sega will shut down Sonic Worlds Delta and the games it has spawned?
Techokami: No, I am not worried. As long as Sonic Worlds Delta, and the fangame scene in general, keep themselves as non-profits, Sega doesn’t have a need to hurt its fanbase.
As an example, Nintendo is very well aware of sites like Mario Fan Gaming Galaxy, but won’t shut it down because it would cause too much negative PR. Capcom is actually a lot more receptive of fangame projects, and even canonized Street Fighter X Mega Man!
TSSZ: What about Sonic Lost World? It’s a very divisive title among Sonic fans. Have you played it, and what are your thoughts on its gameplay and tone?
Techokami: Sonic Lost World is a unique title that does some things in an excellent manner, such as the art direction, but falters in aspects like gameplay and level design. If they had kept the Sonic Unleashed/ Colors/ Generations formula, but without the boost and with [the Sonic Lost World] art direction, fans would have been much more receptive to it.
TSSZ: Do you think there’s an issue with pleasing Sonic fans? Is it that Sega can never get it right, or are fans just too difficult to please?
Techokami: A little of both.
Sega does need to listen to the fanbase more closely, including the smaller niche sections of the fanbase like at Sonic Retro and SFGHQ. But at the same time, the Sonic community is full of very loud people that don’t like any changes at all, and they drown out the more sensible people in the community.
TSSZ: That brings me neatly onto the topic of Sonic Boom. Some fans are okay with the redesigns, some fans hate it. What are your thoughts on the new character redesigns and the whole Sonic Boom TV/videogame project in general?
Techokami: In my honest opinion, Sonic does need a sort of reboot to remove some of the cruft that has built up over the years, and give new players a level field to join in on. But completely eliminating iconic designs isn’t the smartest way to do it, and to target a narrow audience is just foolish.
Sonic is supposed to appeal to all genders and all ages. Iconic elements like his shoes should be retained. And Eggman needs to be fat. Yes, I am in the “BLUE ARMS!!” crowd, but I tend to try and keep it to myself. At least Tails and Amy look great!
TSSZ: You’re entitled to your opinion, but do you think worrying about the colour of Sonic’s arms is an over reaction?
Techokami: It’s part of the iconic design aspect. Sonic’s arms have been peach since day one, which is over 22 years ago. Changing it suddenly makes people go nuts. The reasons range from people viewing it as a common fanart fail, to actual character and graphical designers pointing out that blue arms is a bad idea, since peach arms are better because of color theory and such.
TSSZ: What else are you up to that TSSZ readers might be interested in?
Techokami: Well, I am working on an original game that I hope to release on Steam and Nintendo eShop on the Wii U in the future. I sadly don’t have much to show at this moment, as it is still very early in the design phase.
The title is going to be “Super Relic Hunter”, but I may change it to “Touchstone’s Quest 2” in Europe due to how hard it is to name things in Europe.
TSSZ: Where can TSSZ readers find you?
TSSZ: Your user name is usually Techokami on those forums?
Techokami: Yes it is. I don’t go by other names.
TSSZ: Is there anything else you wanted to bring up for the interview?
Techokami: Yes, why does TSSZ’s editor [Tristan, lol] tend to misspell my name in articles on the site? He keeps calling me “Technokami” which is wrong.
Also, do you know what exactly happened to the Sonic’s shoe-styled slippers that Sega once showcased as merch that was being worked on one time in Europe?
TSSZ: I have no idea, but perhaps a reader will know!
Many thanks to Techokami for talking with us. Be sure to download Sonic Worlds Delta 1.4.3 from its SAGE 2014 Act 1 booth. And if anyone knows what happened to those Sonic slippers, let us know by dropping a comment below!