Sumo Digital are returning with their third Sonic kart racing title, but with Team Sonic Racing, they’re mixing things up quite a bit. New elements are being introduced, new mechanics are going to be in play, while several ones from the older games are being dropped, as Team Sonic Racing looks to craft a new style of kart racing experience. As we look ahead to its launch on May 21st, in this feature, we’ll be taking a look at fifteen things you need to know about the game.
Characters in Team Sonic Racing will fall into one of thee categories: speed, power, or technique, with each of these three having their own characteristics and attributes. Speed class characters will, as their name suggests, be speedier, while power class characters will be able to smash and drive through obstacles on tracks. Meanwhile, technique class characters will be able to drive over rough terrain without slowing down.
Why this focus on classes, though? Well, in a big shake-up to the formula, Team Sonic Racing is putting great emphasis on co-op play. Players will be part of a team of racers, who must work together to perform better. Paying attention to the performance and actions of your teammates will be key, while mechanics such as sharing power ups with team members will also come into play.
So what’s the composition of the races in light of this focus on co-op? Each race will see twelve competitors in total, who’ll be divided into four teams of three. Any character can be in any team, while players can also choose to have three of a single character being in a single team as well- though of course, given the focus on classes and co-op play, that might not be ideal in most situations.
Here’s another way Team Sonic Racing is setting itself apart from other kart racers, which also ties in with its focus on co-op racing. Races in Team Sonic Racing won’t be won on the basis of your positioning, but rather your team’s total points. As such, working together and performing well as a team will be key to victory.
Sega and Sumo Digital have looked at quite a few games to serve as inspirations for the co-op-based gameplay of Team Sonic Racing. For starters, the idea came to them from Sonic Heroes, whose team-centric gameplay was used as a point of reference. Meanwhile, the developers have also cited the likes of Splatoon and Overwatch as inspirations.
Unlike Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, which also allowed players to take control of boats and planes, Sonic Team Racing will focus on cars, and cars only. The developers say they have done so because they felt having vehicles other than cars didn’t fit with the game’s team-based gameplay, which is something that they wanted to emphasize a lot.
ONLY SONIC CHARACTERS
But other vehicle types aren’t the only thing Team Sonic Racing is dropping. No, unlike its predecessors, Team Sonic Racing will only feature characters from Sonic, and not from other Sega franchises. So while previous Sonic kart racers have featured characters from the likes of Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio, here, it’s all about Sonic and his friends (or enemies).
As you and your teammates race through through the courses, depending on your performances, your Ultimate meter will also build up. The better you perform, or the more co-operative stuff you do – such as transferring power ups to one another – the faster it fills up. Activating the Ultimate meter gives you a burst of speed and a short burst of invincibility- if all three teammates active their Ultimate meter at the same time, it can lead to some huge benefits, as you can imagine.
So what modes will be on offer in the game? There will, of course, be the Grand Prix mode, which will see players competing against one another to achieve the highest points total. Then there’s Time Trial, which is exactly what its name suggests, while another mode, Exhibition, will allow players to race using custom rulesets.
Of course, there will also be a campaign. Dubbed Team Adventure, the campaign will serve as an introduction to the game’s mechanics. It will be divided into multiple missions, which will task players with various missions to complete. Progression in the campaign will also yield unlocks, which can be used in other modes as well.
Given its focus on co-op, it’s really no surprise at all that there will also be a variety of multiplayer options available in Team Sonic Racing. Up two twelve players will be able to compete in online races, while local multiplayer will support a total of three players. In addition, the campaign will also feature support for up to three total players.
Team Sonic Racing will boast of 21 tracks in total- these will be split across seven zones, and just as it is the case with characters, will be based on locations from Sonic titles, and Sonic titles only. Some tracks from Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed will also return.
Customization will also have a huge role to play. Playing through its variety of game modes will see players unlock several kart customization options, which will range across cosmetic – such as changing paint jobs – and otherwise. The latter can be used to customize various aspects of your karts, including handling, defense, acceleration, boost, top speed, and more.
Team Sonic Racing will see Jen Senoue composing the soundtrack, returning to the series for the first time since Sonic Generations in 2011, with the game’s theme song, “Green Light Ride”, having been performed by Senoue’s band, Crush 40. According to producer Takashi Iizuka, Senoue was chosen because, in his words, they wanted the music to sound “cool” and “exciting”.
Team Sonic Racing has been built on the same proprietary engine Sumo Digital used during the development of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed– well, a modified version of it, at any rate. According to the developers, using the engine has allowed them to achieve parity across all system versions of the game.