Sonic Forces: Speed Battle is a 2017 online battle-racing game. It was developed by Sega Europe and Hardlight for the Android and iOS mobile devices to promote the then-upcoming Sonic Forces at the time. It was soft-launched by Sega on the App Store (and eventually Google Play) on 11 September 2017 in the Philippines and on 20 September 2017 in Canada. It was officially released worldwide on 2 November 2017 for iOS and on 15 November 2017 for Android.
Sonic Forces: Speed Battle was first in development in June 2016 after analyzing the latest capabilities of present-day phones. It began as a prototype by Hardlight, checking if synchronous gameplay would work as well as they expected. These early prototypes used existing tech and games as testing grounds for the gameplay, like Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom. The game was originally planned for the Sonic Boom franchise, using the main cast of characters from Team Sonic.
From the beginning of the project, Hardlight wanted the game to have flexible levels for more expansive gameplay. For this, they developed a modular system that allowed them to create any track piece they wanted. Hardlight also wanted, right from the start, for the game to be a skill-based, global multiplayer. While relying on the classic staples in the Sonic series, branching paths on the tracks were added to make the game more exciting and unique. Extra care was also made to ensure the levels fit the mobile environment. During development, the staff focused on making the tracks feel appropriate before polishing their design.
Hardlight pitched their idea to Sonic Team back in 2016 when the latter was looking for a mobile game. After discussing with Takashi Iizuka, the teams settled on what would become Sonic Forces: Speed Battle. Hardlight subsequently expanded their team while working on the environments and metagame. After being in development for about a year, Sonic Forces: Speed Battle received a soft launch so Hardlight could test the game and work out the remaining bugs before the global launch. The game was scheduled to have three Zones with twelve tracks for its global launch, with more Zones being planned on being developed.
The gameplay of Sonic Forces: Speed Battle is very similar to that of Sonic Dash and Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom, with a competition element from Sonic Rivals added to it. Instead of an endless runner, it is a basic runner where players each choose a character and race against each other online in real-time on one of many finite tracks selected at random. Characters are unlocked over time by reaching certain positions when completing races. During races, players can collect up to 100 Gold Rings (which serve to increase their movement speed) and dodge obstacles as they progress to reach the goal (represented by the "Phantom Ruby Prototype"). Getting hit by obstacles will cause the player to lose Rings and slow down momentarily. After a race, the players get to keep the Rings they have collected.
While racing, the playable characters are always running forward automatically. At the same time, the players can use the Spin Jump and Slide to dodge obstacles and destroy enemies. They can also interact with other paths acquired through rails. Each character has different levels of Speed, Acceleration and Strength stats, as well as a unique selection of power-ups that can be obtained from Item Boxes along the race courses. These items can be used for the players' own benefit or against their opponents.
At the end of the race, players can earn Battle Chests which grant a range of Cards to a particular character. In addition, the first and second place finishers receive a Victory Chest which can be unlocked to earn larger bonuses, such as a large number of Rings or Cards for multiple characters each. Red Star Rings are featured as premium currency which can be obtained from Free Chests or purchased using real money which can be used to purchase additional Rings, Chests or unlock Victory Chests that are already acquired.
Collecting enough cards for a character will allow the player to level it up using Gold Rings, which improves the racer's items' effects and the number of Rings they start the race with. Based on which position they finish the race in, players will then gain or lose Trophies, a numerical matchmaking ranking system akin to an Elo rating system in other competitive games. This matchmaking gameplay mechanic is part of the "Tier" system, which determines which courses the player can play on and the amount of rewards the player can earn from Chests. Daily Chests are distributed to the player every four hours, and up to two of them can be stored at a time. Players can view each others' Trophies in the online leaderboards.
Every 24 hours (starting at 8 am UTC as of version 1.1.0), every player will have a random playable character highlighted as the "Star Runner". When completing races with the Star Runner character, the player's Battle Chest rewards double which lasts for five races. This was implemented to encourage players to use a variety of characters.
Tracks and Tiers
|Name||Tier no.||Required no. of Trophies||Tracks unlocked||Tracks in this Tier|
Each character can be upgraded a total of sixteen times. The rarity of a character determines how many Cards and Rings will be required to upgrade it to the next level. The amount of XP awarded is also determined by the character's level and rarity.
|Lv.||Outcome||Cards Required||Rings Required||Player XP|
|Common||Rare||Super Rare||Common||Rare||Super Rare||Common||Rare||Super Rare|
|2||Boost time extended||30||10||6||100||200||400||10||20||40|
|3||Starting Rings: 5||50||20||8||400||900||2500||20||40||80|
|4||Mine effect upgraded||90||40||12||900||1,800||5,000||30||60||120|
|5||Starting Rings: 10||140||70||20||1,600||3,700||9,000||40||60||160|
Offensive attack upgraded
|7||Starting Rings: 15||300||200||60||3,600||9,000||24,000||70||140||280|
|8||Boost time extended||450||300||80||5,000||12,700||32,000||90||180||360|
|9||Starting Rings: 20||650||400||100||6,600||18,700||50,000||110||220||440|
|10||Mine effect upgraded||900||500||130||8,600||26,200||70,000||130||260||520|
|11||Starting Rings: 25||1,300||600||160||11,300||33,700||85,000||150||300||600|
|12||Offensive attack upgraded|
Fireball, Moto-Bug, and Whirlwind: Chance to pick up three
Lightning: Increased stun duration
Ice Wave: Covers all lanes and increased freeze effect
Steal: Increases level of stolen items
|13||Starting Rings: 30||2,250||800||240||18,600||48,700||130,000||200||400||800|
|14||Boost time extended||2,950||900||23,300||60,000||240||480||960|
|15||Starting Rings: 35||3,700||1,000||28,000||75,000||280||560||1,120|
|16||Mine effect upgraded||4,600||1,100||33,300||90,000||320||640||1,280|
Gimmicks and obstacles
|Metal Sonic||Super Rare||
Since two weeks after its launch period, the iOS version of Sonic Forces: Speed Battle has 2 million downloads.
- Version 0.0.1 (12 September 2017) - Initial soft-launched release of the game.
- Version 0.0.2 (15 September 2017) - Implemented bug fixes and gameplay refinements.
- Version 0.0.3 (17 September 2017) - The update brought some changes and fixes including:
- Matchmaking - fixed a lock up on loading screen after returning from a disconnection
- In-game Rail Grinding – fixed an issue with teleporting players after landing on a rail
- Fixed an issue with Dash Panels appearing submerged on inclines for Green Hill Zone
- Account Login – fixed an issue with device account changes not being detected on next login
- And many other bug fixes and refinements
- Version 0.0.4 (25 September 2017) - The update brought the following changes:
- Android performance improvements
- Fixed Lightning item-related crashes that could cause all players to drop out of a race
- Boosts and Shields now have a cooldown before the player can pick up a new item in that slot
- Destroying Badniks now awards the player Gold Rings.
- The Red Star Ring cost for chest unlocking will now reduce over time
- Made balance adjustments to the Trophies awarded in the higher tiers
- And many other bug fixes and refinements
- Version 0.0.5 (28 September 2017) - Fixed an issue where some player will have experienced a pause at the beginning of matches, and an issue where some ads did not close properly.
- Version 0.1.0 (12 October 2017) - The update brought the following changes:
- Reduced the height of the wind effect on the Tornado trap to show that it can be jumped over.
- New info dialogue explaining the Star Runner.
- Android builds now support screen ratios up to 2:1, the Galaxy S8 and similar devices are now supported correctly
- Bug fixes and optimisations
- Version 1.0.0 (25 October 2017) - The update brought the following changes:
- A new introduction to the battle races during loading times. These displays the course being played, all players' names, their chosen character, Trophies and their player and character levels.
- Lots of gameplay and balance improvements
- The Item slots now properly display multiple Fireballs, Tornados and Moto-Bugs Items if they were picked up.
- The Tier level Trophy thresholds have been increased for the following Tiers: Fighter (200 → 300), Specialist (400 → 600), Veteran (700 → 1000), Leader (1000 → 1500) and Hero (1500 → 2100).
- The Power stat has now been renamed as the Strength stat.
- The following characters have their stat values adjusted: Shadow (Speed: 10/10 → 9/10), Rouge (Speed: 9/10 → 8/10 and Strength: 6/10 → 5/10), Omega (Speed: 5/10 → 7/10), Vector (Speed: 7/10 → 5/10), Espio (Speed: 6/10 → 7/10) and Charmy (Acceleration: 10/10 → 9/10).
- Players can now only collect up to 100 Rings (top running speed is still capped at having 100 Rings).
- Lightning now damages and takes Rings away from hit opponents. It also has a new visual effect.
- Omega's Invincibility has now been replaced by the Electro Boost.
- Fixed an issue that caused all items to be set to the level of the player using them rather than the level of the character they belong to.
- Version 1.0.1 (1 November 2017) - The update brought the following changes:
- The game's app icon has been changed.
- Current players can refer the game to new players to earn additional reward chests.
- Chaos, Classic Sonic, Metal Sonic, Silver and Zavok have been added as playable characters.
- The Tier level Trophy thresholds have been increased for the following Tiers: Fighter (300 → 500), Specialist (500 → 1000), Veteran (1000 → 1500), Leader (1500 → 2250) and Hero (2100 → 3000).
- The Trophy system was re-engineered to provide effective matchmaking between players, capping all players to have 3000 Trophies. Players who had over 3000 Trophies that were affected by the loss of Trophies were given an exclusive Chest as compensation.
- Version 1.0.3 (3 November 2017) - Implemented bug fixes and refinements including:
- All Victory Chests have their unlock times increased. (Silver: 2 hours → 3 hours, Gold: 4 hours → 8 hours, Platinum: 8 hours → 12 hours, Diamond: 12 hours → 1 day/24 hours)
- Lowered number of Gold Rings required to upgrade Common and Rare characters.
- The amount of XP required to raise the player's level have increased for all levels.
- Adjusted stat values of the following characters: Omega (Strength: 9/10 → 7/10), Shadow (Speed: 9/10 → 10/10), Espio (Strength: 7/10 → 6/10), Vector (Strength: 10/10 → 9/10).
- Version 1.1.0 (15 November 2017) - This version also marked the global release of the game in Google Play. Google Play version owners were treated to an exclusive Welcome Bundle of rewards (consisting of a Tier 1 Diamond Chest, 10000 Gold Rings and 150 Red Star Rings) and also made the following changes:
- Achievements have been added.
- The daily Battle Chest count limit now resets everyday at the same time as with the Star Runner character (8am UTC).
- All Chests in the game have new designs.
- The Diamond Chest has been replaced by the Emerald Chest (The Emerald Chest still provides identical rewards to that of the Diamond Chest but its unlock time is 12 hours and its maximum Red Star Ring cost is 240. The player will still retain any Diamond Chests they have acquired prior to the update and can be unlocked as normal).
- The maximum Red Star Ring cost of unlocking Victory Chests have been increased. (Silver: 20 → 30, Gold: 40 → 80, Platinum: 80 → 120)
- Players that finish a race in second place now also obtain Victory Chests (previously only first place finishers can earn them).
- Version 1.1.1 (21 November 2017) - Implemented bug fixes and refinements
- Version 1.1.3 (23 November 2017) - Implemented bug fixes and refinements
- Version 1.1.4 (28 November 2017) - Implemented bug fixes and refinements
- Version 1.2.0 (6 December 2017) - The update has brought the following changes:
- The app icon has been changed.
- The Home and initial loading screens' backgrounds have been changed to a Christmas theme.
- The News feed has been updated and is now part of the Home screen (previously it was one of the bottom screen panels).
- A “remove adverts” button is added to the Home screen (which takes the player over to the Red Star Rings section of the Store screen.
- The leaderboards is now separate from the Progress screen and is relegated to a newly added Rankings screen.
- The player can now only change their in-game name once for free. For subsequent name changes, the player must spend 100 Red Star Rings to do so.
- All tracks in the game have received winter-themed makeovers for the season.
- The Lightning Item has been adjusted so that it can now be avoided.
- Booby Trap Item's visual effect when affected has been changed.
- Implemented bug fixes and refinements.
- Version 1.2.1 (7 December 2017) - Implemented bug fixes and refinements.
- Version 1.2.2 (11 December 2017) - Implemented bug fixes and refinements.
- Version 1.3.0 (4 January 2018) - Winter themes have been removed.
- Version 1.3.0 (10 January 2018) - Implemented bug fixes and refinements.
- Version 1.3.1 (11 January 2018) - Implemented bug fixes and refinements.
- Version 1.4.0 (17 January 2018) - The update has brought the following changes:
|You're too slow!||Win 10 Battles||5 pts|
|You think you can keep up with me?||Win 50 Battles||10 pts|
|You think you can beat me?||Win 250 Battles||25 pts|
|The ultimate lifeform||Win 1000 Battles||50 pts|
|Long time no see||Unlock 5 Runners||10 pts|
|Welcome to the next level||Unlock 10 Runners||25 pts|
|Now we're talking!||Unlock 15 Runners||50 pts|
|Get a load of this!||Perform 10 Runner Upgrades||25 pts|
|The more the merrier||Perform 50 Runner Upgrades||50 pts|
|All systems, full power!||Perform 150 Runner Upgrades||100 pts|
|We can do this!||Reach Tier 3||5 pts|
|This is happenin'!||Reach Tier 4||10 pts|
|You've got this Sonic!||Reach Tier 5||25 pts|
|One more last fist bump||Reach Tier 6||50 pts|
|Reach for the stars||Reach Tier 7||100 pts|
- Prior to version 1.0.1, the game files as well as a teaser image posted in the in-game's news bulletin hinted that Silver, Classic Sonic, Metal Sonic, Zavok, and Chaos were going to be added as playable characters at a future date.
- This is the first Sonic Dash-based game to not to be an endless runner title.
- The initial main cast of the game (except for the inclusion of Amy) is the same as Sonic Runners Adventure, another mobile game released the same year.
- The music for the levels, provided by Tomoya Ohtani, is an alternate instrumental remix of "Fist Bump", the main theme of Sonic Forces, which also plays during the Lost Valley stage in the said game.
- This is the first game since Sonic Battle in which Chaos is a playable character.
- The titles of the game's achievements are references to known phrases in the Sonic series.
- "You're too slow" is one of Sonic's catchphrases in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- "You think you can keep up with me?" is one of Dr. Robotnik's lines of dialogue when racing against Tails in Speed Highway from Sonic Adventure.
- "You think you can beat me?" is derived from one of Robotnik's phrases, "Do you think you can beat me?" when playing in two-player mode in Sonic Adventure 2.
- "The ultimate lifeform" is a title that belongs to Shadow the Hedgehog.
- "Long time no see" is a phrase that has been constantly used throughout the series, namely Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity.
- "Welcome to the next level" is a throwback to the tagline used in Sega commercials between 1992-1994.
- Sonic also said this line in Shadow the Hedgehog.
- "Now we're talking!" is a line stated by Sonic upon seeing the Black Bull in Shadow the Hedgehog.
- "Get a load of this!" is one of the lines used by Robotnik in the Egg Walker and Egg Viper boss battles from Sonic Adventure.
- "The more the merrier" is derived from Eggman's lines of dialogue, "You know what they say... The more the merrier!", during his boss battle in Mad Matrix from Shadow the Hedgehog.
- "All systems, full power!" is one of the phrases Robotnik states during his boss battle in Sonic Adventure.
- "This is happenin'!" is derived from Sonic's first line of dialogue in Sonic Adventure, "Ah, yeah! This is happenin'!"
- "You've got this Sonic!" is a line spoken by Shadow in Sonic Generations when cheering him on to fight against the Time Eater.
- "One more last fist bump" is a line from the song "Fist Bump".
- "Reach for the stars" is the name of the theme song from Sonic Colors.
- On 12 January 2018, a teaser image was posted on the official Sonic Forces: Speed Battle social media featuring a single distorted silhouette of a potential new character that will be added in a future update. The character was revealed to be Blaze the Cat on 17 January 2018.
- With this, Blaze is the only character in Sonic Forces: Speed Battle to not make a full appearance in Sonic Forces.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Sonic Forces: Speed Battle. iTunes Preview. Sega. Retrieved on 12 September 2017.
- ↑ Jenni (2 November 2017). Sonic Forces: Speed Battle Runs To iOS Devices. Siliconera. Retrieved on 3 November 2017.
- ↑ Sega Europe on Twitter (3 November 2017). Retrieved on 3 November 2017. “Have you played #SonicForces Speed Battle yet? You can get it FREE on iOS at http://sega.vg/DLXU30g7hlZ . (Android version coming Nov.16)”
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 WHO’S GOING TO RUN THE FASTEST?. Sega. SEGA HARDlight (20 September 2017). Retrieved on 22 September 2017.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Behind the Screens: Episode One. YouTube. Sega Europe (13 October 2017). Retrieved on 14 October 2017.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Behind the Screens: Episode Two. YouTube. Sega Europe (20 October 2017). Retrieved on 20 October 2017.
- ↑ Sonic Forces: Speed Battle - Behind the Screens: Ep - 4. YouTube. Sega Europe (1 November 2017). Retrieved on 1 November 2017.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Tasos Lazarides (16 November 2017). 'Sonic Forces: Speed Battle' Launches on Android Today, iOS Version Had 2 Million Downloads in 2 Weeks. Touch Arcade. Retrieved on 17 November 2017.
- ↑ Gameplay FAQ. Sega. Retrieved on 2 November 2017.
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