Well, the hedgehog is out of the bag. Yes, there will be a Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing 2, dubbed “Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed”. Back in January 2011, following the release of the first game, I ran through five things an All-Stars Racing sequel must have. Now that the sequel has been announced, let’s take a look back at what we wished for, and what SEGA and Sumo Digital now promises to deliver. You’d be surprised by how well SEGA listened to fans on this one.
A WIDER VARIETY OF TRACKS
In 2011 we said: “If there was one complaint that every SEGA fan shared of the first game, it was that the track selection was limited. VERY limited. While the environments were diverse, the variety of franchises were minimal. Of all the possible SEGA games, only a measly six were represented! If there is one major change that Sumo would need to make, it would be in this area.”
In 2012 Sumo Digital promises: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed will have twenty tracks based off of SEGA and Sonic games just as the last game did. Sixteen tracks will be new, four tracks will be revised versions of tracks from the first game. Thus far, we know three of these remixed tracks: Death Egg, Shibuya-Cho and Monkey Ball. While Sonic will have more tracks than other IPs, each one will be unique. No three Seaside Hill locations, rather we’ll see one track per zone/stage and each of those will be from different Sonic games. SEGA and Sumo Digital haven’t mentioned what Sonic tracks we’ll see, however last month listings for All-Stars Racing Meccano toy sets leaked with Sonic 1′s Green Hill, Sonic 2′s Chemical Plant and Sonic 4′s Casino Street mentioned as playsets. Could those be the Sonic tracks found in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed?
As for non-Sonic tracks, expect to see a wider variety thanks to the fact that each IP will have one track. So instead of three Billy Hatcher tracks, you’ll see one track (not to say that Billy Hatcher is in the sequel, just using him as an example). Panzer Dragoon getting its own track, however? That is confirmed. Yes, you’ll be able to fly with dragons as Shellcoof causes waves with its lasers and giant worms destroy the course. A few tracks are said to be “eyebrow raising” in terms of their obscurity. Not only will the variety of IPs be increased, but the variety of ways to race on those tracks increases thanks to the driving, flying and boating modes.
The verdict: SEGAbits guessed correctly! SEGA listened to fans and will deliver a game with tracks from more IPs as well as more varied ways to race on them.
MORE FAN FAVORITE RACERS
In 2011 we said: “With an already beefy roster, I don’t think Sumo would get much flack for going for quality over quantity when it comes to new additions. Let’s say only twelve new racers are added, however nearly each and every one of those racers are just as awesome as Ryo Hazuki? Edge of Panzer Dragoon Saga, Vyse of Skies of Arcadia, NiGHTS and Toe Jam and Earl would all make for excellent additions.”
In 2012 Sumo Digital promises: While a complete roster has yet to be revealed, early reveals included Vyse from Skies of Arcadia and Gilius Thunderhead from Golden Axe. If those are the tip of the iceberg, I can only imagine that more often requested characters will appear in the game. NiGHTS, Ristar and Joe Musashi would all make for great racers.
The verdict: While we have to wait and see, I’d say Vyse alone is proof that SEGA will deliver far cooler characters this time out.
MORE ONLINE MODES
In 2011 we said: “Anybody who has played the first game online knows that the fun begins and ends with basic races. While there were a number of options allowing players to decide how many computer controlled racers there were, turning weapons and hazards on and off and how many laps, there was nothing in terms of arena battles. Unless I invite physical people over, a good chunk of the game goes unplayed thanks to many multiplayer modes being offline only.”
In 2012 Sumo Digital promises: While SEGA has yet to talk online multiplayer too much, it will be included and arena battles will be online. Also, as gameplay has tripled, it is possible we’ll see arenas that are solely ground, sky or water. The real question is: will All-Star moves be available for online? Sumo has confirmed that this was one of the earliest things they worked on and that All-Star moves WILL be online. Hurrah!
The verdict: It’s hard to say just yet, but given how much effort has been shown in other areas, and the current state of online multiplayer, I could see SEGA pushing this area further. They’d be foolish not to.
MORE SEGA INSPIRED WEAPONS
In 2011 we said: “What were SEGA and Sumo thinking when they presented such an assortment of generic weapons? While yes, the All-Star moves were very much SEGA inspired attacks, the weapons themselves could have just as well appeared in a Capcom racer. A sequel must remedy this. Instead of a rainbow filling the opponents screen, why not have Puyo Puyo blobs drop down obscuring the players view? Instead of a generic homing rocket, have it be one of Eggman’s badniks (in fact, in early stages it WAS a badnik, resembling a fish badnik).”
In 2012 Sumo Digital promises: Unfortunately, this may be one area where things don’t change. Weapons shown at SEGA’s press preview were not SEGA themed at all. It seems they want to save SEGA specific moves for the All-Star moves and have the weapons be unique to the All-Stars Racing franchise.
The verdict: Fair enough. Given all the improvement in other areas, I can forgive this. As long as the All-Star Moves continue to be awesome. I’m talking Vyse unleashing a Cutlass Fury.
In 2011 we said: “Nothing against the Wii and DS versions of the first game, they looked great! However, I think development of a sequel could go a lot further if Sumo stuck to one HD platform and ported the game to the other HD platform. If I’m not mistaken, for the first game the PS3 was the lead platform and the 360 version was a port. By doing this, Sumo wouldn’t have to double check and see that all four platforms receive the same content. The 360 and PS3 can do so much more (I am NOT linking those last three words to a certain song) than the Wii, so why not focus on the platforms that could provide more content rather than holding back for the sake of a third console? Give a sequel more tracks, racers and online modes and the fans will follow.”
In 2012 Sumo Digital promises: While what I said back in 2011 was controversial with some readers, I stand by it. Sumo Digital should stick to as few versions of the game as possible. From what we know, the game is releasing to XBOX 360, PS3, Vita and 3DS. There is a chance that Wii U will be announced down the road and that the iOS is also getting a version. My guess is that there are two versions being developed: The HD/Vita version and the the 3DS/iOS version. The Wii is not getting any love as a Wii U release is on the horizon (again, this is speculation). So the only version that would have to be held back on would be the 3DS version, while the HD/Vita version will go all out.
The verdict: I think this just happened to work out based on where the Wii is at in its lifespan. Less versions to develop will surely mean a better game on fewer platforms.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed looks to be a huge improvement over an already awesome game, and the fan service looks to be through the roof. It’s like if the announcement of Ryo in the first game, but applied to the game itself. Kudos to SEGA for listening to fans! Bring on the Fall!