Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, like Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing before it, contained a number of characters from outside the Sonic universe. Wreck-It Ralph, Football Manager Man, and others all battled for racing supremacy with the titular blue hedgehog and his friends, but the next game in the series, Team Sonic Racing, eschews these supplementary characters.
“The reason we [dropped non-Sonic universe characters],” explains Sumo Digital’s studio design director, Derek Littlewood, “was so we could dive into the Sonic universe in more depth, and tell a canon Sonic universe story, with our team adventure mode. That was very important for us.
“It was a difficult decision for us, but we feel like that was the right direction to go in. Because it’s allowed us to create a very new kind of unique experience for Team Sonic Racing that I think people won’t have had with the previous titles.”
The move has other advantages, too. Ben Wilson, designer on Team Sonic Racing, says it has made team interaction more viable: “Because this game’s set in a universe with characters who have relationships already, it’s let us do a dialog system where they’re on track and they’re yelling at each other, and they have familiarity with each other and make references to history, which we wouldn’t have been able to have done really [had other franchises’ characters been present]. Or at least, not in as smooth a way. So it’s let us do some additional stuff as well.”
Later in the interview, Littlewood says many members of the Sumo team are “old-school Sega fans [who] are really keen to continue doing the All-Stars aspect of the game.” When pressed by GameSpot on whether there’s more All-Stars content in the pipeline, Littlewood was coy: “There’s nothing we have to announce, or even anything that is currently on the cards. But it’s something that we would love to be able to go back to.”
Team Sonic Racing launches for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on May 21. For more, check out our feature on how, with Crash Team Racing and Mario Kart Tour also on the way, kart racers are making a comeback. You might also be interested in the new Sonic the Hedgehog live-action movie trailer.