Team Sonic endeavoured to make the mechanics and usability of its latest Sonic title, Sonic: Lost World, more streamlined and challenging for players to use, game designer Takashi Iizuka told Polygon.
As part of this plan Lost World's controls have been given an overhaul "from the ground up" with a new parkour system and three rates of movement: walk, run and super dash.
"It is far easier for usability but it also gives players the ability to use the special actions better," Iizuka explained. "So for example, when Sonic is leaping over a wall, you could just let him leap normally over a wall, but if you time the jump button press correctly, then he'll make an extra dash forward. So there is ease of use but it also but there is also depth where you can anticipate what you are going to do and make those moves even faster."
Iizuka says that game's new parkour system is a component of the redone controls, "Part of the thinking of parkour system from the beginning was kind of reduce the frustration of running along with Sonic and running into a wall you come to a complete stop. So it is there to help players out."
For instance with the new system, Sonic will automatically jump over a wall, run up walls running and jump from wall to wall to avoid different things. it is similar to other game's parkour system and, as Iizuka says, "will add a little bit of spice to the gameplay and will allow users to find their own style."
Each level in Lost World consists of a myriad of different possible paths to use and, according to Iizuka, that was always a goal in development. For instance, one track was a cylinder with objects — tall hedges, enemies, water — wrapped along its surface, giving players several options to complete a level, which gives a "feeling of freedom" and replayability.
"With the past games — Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colours and Sonic Generation — we've had side view and forward view and with this gameplay we wanted to take a step forward and do some new things and kind of add new challenges," Iizuka said "We've always wanted to add that replayabity path and people see things and wonder 'Ahh! How do I get over there?' It kind of gives you motivation to go back and explore."
According to Iizuka, there are wide range of colour power-ups that give players the ability to explore alternate paths that may have been previously out of reach in earlier play throughs. One laser colour power-up transforms Sonic into light and shoots him through the level as a laser beam. Or you could take out enemies or you can do a laser rebound up to somewhere that you weren't able to access before. There are also crystals that shoot Sonic into light fibres to move him quickly into other areas.
Lost World features three different difficulty levels. What is considered the easy level offers levels populated with more platforms to scale. The perspective is forward facing and offers the greater parkour-centric experience out of all of the levels.
The second difficulty is in a 2D perspective and players are treated to a fast paced side-scrolling platformed. The hardest level is a forward facing perspective and caters to players who want to flash around the levels as fast as possible. It isn't populated with nearly as many platforms as the easiest level, opening up the track to an uninterrupted fast game-flow.
Team Sonics' Sonic: Lost World is set to hit the 3DS and Wii U. The Wii U version will support local multiplayer, where the second player will be able to help out the first. Sega weren't commenting at this stage about what capacity the second player will help. The 3DS version supports up to four player online multiplayer. A trailer of the 3DS version can be viewed below.