Sonic Riders/Development

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Development process

The inspiration for Sonic Riders came from Takashi Yuda's idea of Sonic using a board or some other vehicle. When considering what vehicle would look good on Sonic, his personality and characteristics naturally came about, and him being on sort of extreme-sports type of equipment[1]. Another reason for boards being chosen was because they were considered the coolest, as they conveyed a sense of speed from the sensation of gliding and cutting through the wind[2]. Making a game about boards had been an idea for a very long time prior to Riders' conception, and the game allowed them to realise such an idea[2].

When the project was started, the original concept simply wasn't about being an extreme-sports game - rather, it was about the "turbulence" mechanic, which got its name from the wake that is created when the race leader heads off, taking the form of a half-pipe that other characters can ride in like a slipstream, and after seeing that concept the team decided to move forward with extreme or snowboard/skateboard type of gameplay[1]. The reason behind this mechanic is to give every player an equal chance so that not one particular player has an advantage over the others. By riding on the turbulence, a player can move faster and can jump and reach places they wouldn't normally be able to reach, therefore have access to hidden shortcuts[1].

Fans had been requesting a new Sonic racing game prior to Riders, which had given the team a good opportunity to revisit the genre[3]. While other attempts at a Sonic racing game such as Sonic Drift and Sonic R were made in the past, Yuda wanted to create a racing game that exposes the character elements of Sonic and his friends and show the unique "Sonic" action element that no other racing game has, thus the game was designed with no connection to any previous racing game[1]. While the concept of boards is reminiscent of the boarding section of City Escape in Sonic Adventure 2, the developers did not use it as reference[3].

The decision to design the Extreme Gear around air gave the team freedom to design courses that were simply not confined to oceans (surfing) or mountains (snowboarding), allowing players to fly across routes that ordinary race cars cannot reach[3].

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Sonic Riders
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