There’s a lot of excitement and curiosity about this new racing game from SEGA. Unless a mis-direction, we know it to be a kart racer – but that’s it. As you’ve no doubt seen, I like talking ideas, with post three having recently been added of the Future of Mario Kart series. Much like ideas for a future Mario Kart game, I’m doing the same with this Sonic racer. Everything will be contained within this post, with levels, characters, and other ideas within. And no racing game is complete without the tracks to race on, so we’ll start there.
For this idea, there are eight cups of four tracks, but each cup is effectively part of an island. Each island is a hub that the tracks are accessed from, but also becomes a track itself for the final challenge. As for those islands and tracks, I have taken a level from every major Sonic game release and a number of spin-offs as well. Each section of the island [or biome as I’ll call them] is formed with two stage themes, and as such are named to easily identify those themes.
Green Coast – Green Hill / Emerald Coast / Leaf Forest / Windmill Isle
Ancient Sea – Aqua Road / Rusty Ruin / Wild Water Way / Coral Cave
Canyon City – Canyon Cruise / Megalo Station / Radical Train / Red Gate Bridge
Spooky Sands – Mirage Saloon / Mystic Mansion / Sandopolis / Skeleton Dome
Winter Forest – Iron Jungle / Press Garden / Frozen Factory / Botanic Base
Cyber Mine – Aquatic Mine / Cyber Track / Crystal Cave / Digital Dimension
Skybase – Wing Fortress / Quartz Quadrant / Altitude Limit / Egg Rocket
Galaxy Amusements – Tropical Resort / Radiant Emerald / Twinkle Park / Carnival Night
As for how this plays out – a championship starts each biome off, with the four tracks within being a cup. The winner of the cup is then challenged to a one-on-one race on each of the tracks with special challenges being active. Collecting the most rings or attacking the other racer the most, for example. Winning all four of those will net the player the ability to race the boss of the biome. Upon beating the boss, a Chaos Emerald is obtained. Once this has been done on all biomes, Galaxy Amusements is open for business. A championship still happens on Galaxy Amusements, but instead of facing off against one-on-ones on the tracks, all seven bosses will challenge the player to a race on the biome itself.
Of course, that’s just the adventure mode, but other modes I’m proposing include rivals [the one-on-one races, but with the player setting the conditions], riders [effectively the versus mode], mania [completely random settings which include racer selected, tracks chosen, and ability rules], rush [time trials], and advance [basically the same as a Grand Prix]. Yes, it’s using game names to represent the modes, but it’s just a neat little referencing.
As for the online and local multiplayer, there’s several options. For local, you can play any of the modes with two players, or riders and advance modes with four players. Yes, I’m saying you can do the adventure mode co-op. Well, competitively anyway, as the winner will be playing the one-on-ones. But the player who hasn’t got the chance to race gets to ghost, being either help or hinderance to the other player.
As for online, along with riders and rivals, there are some online-only modes available. Heroes mode groups racers into teams of three, with the objective being to have the most points by finishing in the higher positions. Whichever team gets the most points upon each race gets the point. The first team to three points wins, so it might be best in larger groups instead of randoms. Unleashed doubles the amount of racers on tracks, so instead of twelve it would be twenty-four.
Both local and online also get blast and forces. These two are more about battling than racing, with blast giving each racer three lives in a last-man-standing type battle. Forces has one player being an attacker whose job it is to turn other racers into attackers as well. If even one defender remains upon the completion of the three laps, the attackers lose.
Now, I mentioned ability rules. That’s because one idea I am proposing is to not use items in the way most other kart racers do. Instead, each track will be littered with rings to collect. These rings offer two abilities to use – attack or defend. Both abilities have three tiers. The first tier are basic abilities, such as activating a shield or using a quick burst of an element [water, fire, electric]. The second tier would be using a character’s abilities such as Sonic’s speed or Tails’ flight. The third tier would be off-limits to the top three as it includes speed boosts and invincibility bonuses. In one-on-one races, this third tier would be off-limits at all times. The reason I’m suggesting this? It makes use of a Sonic staple, which is rings to give power. Yes, usually all rings do is keeping the player alive, but think to when they’ve been currency to buy abilities or even Adventure 2’s multiplayer. That’s the thing I’m going for here.
As for the tracks themselves, I won’t say that all of them need to be point-to-point, but having different areas to go to each lap would make the tracks themselves stand out. Take Press Garden for example. The starting line would be within the factory, with the first lap being mostly outside. The second lap would be fully inside the factory, needing to avoid the pressing machines as they work. The third lap would take the racers up a level, through a window to get outside, then complete the circuit. It gives variety, especially for those like Windmill Isle or Tropical Resort where structures are similar. For those where stage themes change with levels – Quartz Quadrant being the obvious one – a point-to-point would effectively show them off. Unlike with Mario Kart, I’d expect the difference between the two styles of races to be 50/50. That doesn’t include the biome tracks, as they are adventure-exclusive.
Now is the fun part. Characters. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. Shadow, Rouge, and Omega. Amy, Cream, and Big. Espio, Vector, and Charmy. The Heroes Majority, as I call them. Since most of these have pretty much been the core cast [with only Cream and Big having dropped off] since Heroes released in 2003. Bringing those two back just for this game wouldn’t hurt or affect the cast list. In terms of other characters, seven are the bosses of the biomes. Silver is boss of Green Coast. Marine is the boss of Aquatic Sea. Bean is the boss of Canyon City. Fang is the boss of Spooky Sands. Bark is the boss of Winter Forest. Mighty is the boss of Cybermine. Ray is the boss of Skybase. Each boss is unlocked upon first completion of the adventure mode.
As for other characters, Eggman is a must, as is Metal Sonic. Orbot and Cubot take a vehicle for themselves, and repping the Hard Boiled Heavies is Heavy Rider – since the motobug it’s riding is already a vehicle. Zavok and Zik team up in a vehicle, with Jet, Storm, and Wave of the Babylon Rogues each getting a position in the list. That leaves Blaze, Tikal, and Chaos 0 to round out the list to thirty racers. If I wanted to push it a bit further, I’d put Infinite in the list, along with classic versions of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. Zazz and Zor would be together, along with a group of Wisps. Pushing it even further, a Hero and Dark Chao together in the same vehicle. The GUN Commander. A group of the animal friends from the original games [so Ricky, Pocky, Flicky, Rocky, Cucky, Pecky, and Picky] within the same vehicle. And the one villain sure to get up everyone’s nerves if he’s does get in – Mephiles.
Overall, I can see most of this being possible in some form. Of course, if this is a kart racer, then all of what I’ve just stated will work. If this is an on-foot racer, some changes need to be made. All the modes will stay the same, but the biomes and stages will be catered to make use of on foot racing mechanics. The roster would be reduced to allow such a set-up to work. The Heroes Majority would stay, as would the Babylon Rogues, Silver, Blaze, Marine, Mighty, Ray, Bean, Bark, and Fang. Metal Sonic would be the only villain to stay on. That’s twenty-four racers. Still a sizable amount. Abilities would still work the same, but each character would also fit into one of three categories that give them extra field abilities. Speed, power, and fly. For the Heroes Majority it’s easy, as Heroes already put them into distinct categories for the team mechanic. Fitting the rest of the characters in proves easy for some, and hard for others.
Speed – Sonic / Shadow / Amy / Espio / Jet / Blaze / Metal Sonic / Mighty
Power – Knuckles / Omega / Big / Vector / Storm / Fang / Bark / Marine
Fly – Tails / Rouge / Cream / Charmy / Wave / Ray / Bean / Silver
The Babylon Rogues easily fit within the speed-power-fly dynamic of teams, having been designed that way thanks to Riders using the same classifications. Metal Sonic has been built to be as fast as Sonic, so choosing the speed class is easy. Mighty was designed from the concepts of Sonic – which included an armadillo – so he also gets into speed. Ray is a flying squirrel, so that choice is easy as well. Bark is a large polar bear, so gets into power. Bean is a bird, making that an easy choice as well. Fang is difficult to place, as are Marine and Silver. Silver has been shown to use his psychokinesis powers for flight, so he gets put into there. Marine has some sort of energy blast she can use with her fists, so power is the best place for her, and with Blaze being a speed character – the only position for Fang if we were to keep these classifications equal would be power. He uses weapons to attack, so it’s not a stretch to imagine him using explosives or the like.
A new mode is added just for this type of game. Colours restricts character choice to one of the three classes. It might seem a bit unfair to do so but keeps everyone on an even playing field. Per race, the class changes, meaning selecting a character per race is needed.
I’m hoping at least some ideas can make it into the actual game, but it should be a good one no matter what. Sumo Digital are hopefully behind it again, and really, the only way I can see the game being even further from Mario Kart than what I’ve suggested is if it was basically the Sonic version of Forza Horizon. When this finally gets its full reveal, it’s going to be interesting to see how it compares with Mario Kart.