Sumo Digital Talks SEGA Superstars Tennis

Nearly 10 years after Nintendo began cashing in on their vast wealth of characters in sports spin-offs, SEGA finally realized that they’ve got a pretty good library of characters for that sort of thing, too.

And so it came to be that they would find themselves partnered with Sumo Digital to produce a tennis game across five platforms this March, each with its own unique attributes and full of classic SEGA goodness.

The NGamer Staff at CVG got a chance to sit down and chat about the title, and what can be expected from SEGA’s foray away from the Virtua style of sporting– specifically, the Wii version of the title, of course.

Whereas the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions will sport online play, the Wii version is going to cater a little more closely to the strengths of Nintendo’s white-hot seller by utilizing motion controls. In describing how they work, Sumo had this to say:

“We take the Wii remote’s speed and direction and use this to determine the shot you get. But of course, as with real tennis, the better your timing, the better the shot you’ll do.

Hit it too early or too late, and you’ll wind up pushing the ball out to the sides of the court. We also see which way the Wii remote is going, so let’s say you do a quick upwards move at just the right time, you’ll see this get translated in game to a sharp lob shot.”

In addition to regular, or perhaps even irregular, rounds of tennis, there will also be mini-games. One of these is based on the SEGA classic Space Harrier, wherein you have to serve up some destruction for the enemies of said game while avoiding enemy fire. And then in the Puyo Pop Fever-themed mini-game, you have to clear a wall of Puyos. They note that either single or multiplayer can be used in these games “on the Wii too,” leading one to wonder if that means it may not be an option for the other versions.

The game’s equivalent of super moves, known as Superstar Powers, works off a meter that fills by way of successful returns or won points, and when unleashed, charges your character into a Superstar state:

“Depending on who you are playing as, this then give you unique abilities. Let’s take Sonic as an example, he transforms into Super Sonic. While he’s powered up, you can run faster, hit shots harder – when your opponent returns Super Sonic’s shots, they get pushed back out of the court!”

As one might expect, the different characters should each have their own signature moves and abilities based on their original games.

Speaking of characters, Sumo reveals that Sonic, Ulala, Amigo, AiAi, Tails, NiGHTS, Shadow, Reala, Beat, and Gum are in the title, though Wikipedia shows off a more exhaustive list.

And finally, the soundtrack should be pure, classic SEGA, as Sumo has been allowed access to their archives for music and sounds, as well as the services of one Richard Jacques, who will revisit certain themes to update them, in addition to adding his own music, clocking in at over 80 songs.