Aaron Webber: “Sonic 4’s Physics Not to Have Too Many Massive Changes”

Aaron Webber: “Sonic 4’s Physics Not to Have Too Many Massive Changes”

Aaron Webber just wrote a post over at the Sonic Retro forums regarding the amount of changes that will be made to Sonic the Hedgehog 4’s physics for the final game.

There are some minor changes to music, most notably being one act that has actually had its music revamped completely. We’ll reveal which act this is as part of our S4 Update Blogs.

Physics in general are not going to see too many massive changes, though know that I did push months ago to see how much would be possible. The biggest hurdle here was the level design, and the many ways that even small physics changes require updating almost every stage. It is never as easy as many might think, but I did ask and made sure it was brought to certain people’s attention.

Our biggest focus with the updates has been to make a game that people can have fun playing. When you play Sonic 4, whether you’re an old fan or a new fan, that you can enjoy the levels and not have any moments that are too frustrating or difficult, or that make you want to stop playing. No moments where a random gimmick forces you to lose the fun factor that the game had. This is why Lost Lab Act II saw major updates from the original design, and why other parts of the game are also being polished, including another big level update I think you guys will be glad to hear of.

In addition to the big stuff, and though physics won’t be changed to the extent I know some people here would like, we have thrown in a number of small but important updates to other minor parts of the game. They are things that I doubt most reviewers will ever take note of, but that you guys as fans will hopefully appreciate. Some of these will also be revealed in our next S4 Update blog coming this month.

Though it’s impossible to fulfill every request,I hope that the changes we have made will prove that our claims to have been listening are founded solidly, and that while we can’t make every single person happy, we are doing what we can to make the game more enjoyable for everyone.

Aaron Webber is a member of SEGA’s Community Team and has been their main liaison between Sonic 4 and the fans for awhile.

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Nuckles87 has been an editor at Sonic Stadium since 2007, and has been covering events like E3, PAX, and SDCC since 2010. An avid retro gamer, he runs a monthly stream on Twitch where he explores obscure Sonic oddities, and how aspects of the franchise have evolved over the decades.


  1. I honestly had no problem with the physics, from what i played at SoS, it handles really nicely 🙂

  2. I’m not fussed personally. I had fun with it at SoS and I’m sure the final will be at least a little better. As long as it’s still fun, then I’m not fussed about the physics not being perfect. I wonder if the different music in the Wii E3 demo we saw in the recent PAX video is what RubyEclipse is referring to?

  3. O hope it’s Casion Street Zone 2. I seen the 100,000 pinball challenge. It’s fun but it gets a little boring after awhile. I hope it’s that one. So far favorite music thus far is Lost labyrinth 1: Ancient Maze of Mystery.

  4. @ Shadzter: Basically, yeah. The game isn’t the complete failure many try to make it out to be. It’s honestly a lot of fun and has many of the same design sensibilities, it’s just the physics where done completely differently. Anyone who’s ever liked Sonic should like this in my opinion, and probably would if it wasn’t called “Sonic 4”.

    That said, it’s dissapointing that they won’t be able to please many of the die hard fans. I think it shows how out of touch Dimps is with the retro fanbase. I mean, it’s not like the fans haven’t done a deep study into what MAKES Sonic physics. Given the time and resources they could probably make the game they want themselves.

  5. I think the reason everyone’s bashing Sonic 4 is because It’s named SONIC 4. Most of the classic fans that survived the genesis Era(I wasn’t one of them) expects Sonic 4 to be up to standards of Sonic 3 and Knux, or even surpass it. Most are dissapointed about nit-picky details like wanting a classic Sonic model, and therefore are bashing the game to the extreme of putting up an online petition against it.

    But that’s just my guess. The physics don’t have to be perfect, but they could cater to the classics on Episode 2.

  6. You know, This is only ‘Episode 1’ So, yeah…maybe, in Episode 2, they will change the physics, like fans want them? It’s a possibilty.

  7. Whoops, just caught that they said a piece of “act” music was replaced.

    That being the case, I hope it’s either Act 2 or 3 of Lost Labyrinth.

  8. Still sounds ace to me. Minor things like physics don’t bother me. As long as it’s playable I’ll be satisfied.

  9. I find it funny how one of the biggest things people complained about when the gameplay leaked is the thing that isn’t getting much attention. I don’t know how the newest build played so I can’t say much right now.

  10. As long as the game plays well, I don’t mind that it’s not identical to Sonic 1-3. Also, they’ve worked on what I think was one of the biggest problems with the Advance series (aside from level design), which is Sonic’s walking speed and animations. Now instead of having a lame strolling animation, he looks like he’s hustling to get to max speed ASAP (a la the original Sonic games).

    This is the first game that Dimps has developed that I feel confident in. The level layout resembles the old Genesis stages I loved so much. I can’t wait to play through the game, then go back and compete for the best times on the leaderboards. 🙂

  11. Yes, the physics are the biggest problem, but I’m tired of people complaining about them, because at this point they can’t be fixed. Episode 2 cannot have completely different physics than episode 1, and upon release, they can’t have episode 2 change the physics of the already released episode 1. It’s too late to fix them.
    Stop. Put it to rest, people.

    Everything else about this game looks like a damn good time.

  12. My absolute biggest gripe with the core gameplay is how they handle Sonic rolling up a steep incline and into the air. Typically Sonic would stay rolled up in a ball, get to the peak of his height, then drop and you could land on a badnik and kill it like that. In Sonic 4 Episode 1, as soon as he leaves the ground of the incline, his animation changes to a vulnerable, arms and legs spread-eagle pose. It looks ridiculous and is a big change to a core gameplay mechanic. 00:59 – 1:02 in this video is a perfect example of what I am talking about (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyREvf6Yv5I). That, seriously, is the thing that probably ticks me off the most. I really was hoping that this would get changed but I guess it is too late to hope for now. There are other things, too, (physics while walking up an incline, the floatiness of the jumping, the excessive dust cloud, etc.) but I just wanted to talk about the one that gets me the most.

  13. Poor Aaron, he has a tough job and he’s such a nice guy and all.

    I don’t honestly care what the game turns out like, it’s the likes of forum goers at Retro and similar sites who are complaining about every single detail of the game since it was announced are to blame.
    It’s not supposed to be a rehash of the classics, it’s meant to appeal to old and NEW fans. Sega ARE listening and they will never be able to please the fanbase on a whole, but they are trying their best so give them a break.
    I hope it does well and I am looking forward to it regardless.

  14. I’m a little disappointed if we still have that silly star jump.
    Other than that I can’t bloody wait =D

    Like PC the hedgehog said, I hope they re-do the first past boss music, sounds more like a happy carnival than a dangerous Eggman boss.

  15. Oh you people and the release date, geez. xD

    Anyhoo, I think the game looks nice. ^^ I just wanna play it. 🙂

  16. @Raphiel

    If we get a release date it’s likely going to be tomorrow in America since right now it’s still 9/8/10. Well, I guess I better prepare myself for some serious Dreamcast tomorrow…

  17. @ Edge

    wait…wait are you sure? I hope so! I’m starting to think this game is more of a fantasy than a reality.

  18. The ONLY things I dislike about the physics:

    1. He doesn’t speed up when rolling down a hill (or has that been fixed?).
    2. The uncurling. I don’t mind the animation, but I don’t like that you can’t bop an enemy that way.

    About the music, I think it could be Splash Hill Act 1, unfortunately. Because Senoue mentioned SEGA not being happy with it…

  19. It would make since to get the update tomorrow. Aaron said we would get it in the early portion of September, and updates are generally on Thursdays. Lets hope we get some more details tomorrow.

  20. Today is the first anniversary when Project Needlemouse is announced(and also the 11th anniversary of the Dreamcast)!

    So I’m guessing their going to update more news today.

  21. Honestly if they tried to comply with every single nit picky complaint and kept updating and updating, do you know what that would turn into? Another certain game that is taking “Forever” to come out.

  22. @ Inferno the Fox

    Well it would thus be Sega’s fault for naming it Sonic 4 now wouldn’t it? If they didn’t want the huge amount of pressure then they wouldn’t have stated they were making a sequel to one of gamings most treasured franchises. Putting an online petition against it is going a bit too far though as what I played at SOS’10 was a reasonably enjoyable game.

    Still the people who played it then and say the physics are fine are kidding themselves. While not awful Sonic felt very sluggish and momentum was lost far too easily which meant loops and hills were often hard to scale. I’ll wait for the finished product but I’m still expecting at least an enjoyable game.

  23. With any luck they lengthened the music. Every stage looped WAY too fast. Especially the 2nd phase boss music. Playing the final boss attack got REALLY annoying. The boss fights leading to the “big boy” were fun… But the 5 to 10 second looping drove my ears crazy.

    I was hoping for a Sonic 2 boss theme remix for the 1st phase boss music instead of that unused carnival boss music from Sonic 3D.

    There was a REASON you left it unused SEGA.

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