Today SEGA released a statement/press release about a new version of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed – one designed for touch-screen enabled laptops… or specifically Intel’s range of ‘Ultrabooks’ (that name is actually owned by Intel btw).
To be brutally honest, the press release is full of puffy crap, about how the Intel Ultrabook has completely ‘transformed’ the game. While I haven’t yet played it on an Ultrabook, I highly doubt it’s changed the way the gaming experience that much over the console or normal (non-touch screen) PC versions.
However, to clarify, the touch screen features and tilt controls will no doubt appeal to people and I do think it’s great to see these features getting support from Sumo Digital. So this is a good thing! (I just don’t appreciate the gushing press release).
And if you are wondering “Why not just play a ‘portable’ version on the PS Vita or 3DS?” Well those versions are technically inferior and with an Ultrabook version you are essentially getting the full console/PC version experience, but with the added benefit of it being mobile and the fancy touch/tilt features.
Anyway, they released a trailer a couple of days ago too (above) which will show off some of the game’s features. And below is the afforementioned statement in all its glory, maybe I’m being too harsh on it?
“Traditionally, laptops haven’t been known for providing the best gaming experience.” This was the first thought that crossed the mind of Steve Lycett, executive producer (Sumo Digital) on Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and one that was rapidly dispelled. “As soon as we received the Ultrabook device and spoke to the engineers at Intel, we realized that suddenly we were dealing with the next generation.”
Charged with bringing one of SEGA’s landmark franchise to Ultrabook devices, the team at Sumo Digital in Sheffield, England, more than rose to the challenge. Acclaimed racing game Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is the latest in the no-holds-barred series that lets players leap into the cars (which then transform into boats and planes) of world famous SEGA luminaries, from Sonic all the way to Wreck-It Ralph, fresh from his Hollywood debut. SEGA has never rested on its laurels with the series, so bringing the game to Ultrabook devices with touch screens was a next logical step.
“We tailored the game for the Ultrabook range to ensure we made the most of the hardware,” said Lycett, who worked with his team to make sure players would always have just as much touch control as they wanted. “We’ve specifically designed the user interface so touch can be used throughout. You can select modes, decide which track to play, and check out all the vehicles with a simple touch of your finger.”
There was no doubt in Lycett’s mind that he needed to bring touch to his games. Though at first glance, a PC racing title isn’t the most obvious home for a touch interface, players are becoming irreversibly accustomed to it in their games. “Users want to reach out and touch the worlds we create. It’s a natural user interface you’re taught from the day you’re born, and one that ptovides an immediate connection with instant feedback.”
Ultrabook devices bring a new level of flexibility and interaction to Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. In regular laptop configuration, players can go head-to-head with up to four controllers for chaotic split-screen racing, while a convertible device allows for play in tablet setup, making full use of both touch and tilt interfaces. Players will find a game that has been carefully optimized for play in either configuration.
But it’s not only the interface options that led Lycett and his team to so heartily embrace the Ultrabook device. “Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed on the Ultrabook platform takes advantage of the fact that we know there is a consistent set of technologies that is available to us,” said Lycett.
“The high-quality screens really let the colors pop, plus the touch screens are smooth and sensitive, and the tilt sensors give you immediate and accurate control. Tie all this together with a lot of processing and graphics power, and much more memory compared to what even the latest console has, and you’ve got a recipe for a great gaming experience.”[Source: SEGA Blog]