Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Calm Before The Storm...Sonic fans embrace Sonic Frontiers - will it Make Or Break Sonic Team?


As a writer / occasional reviewer of video games for quite some time now I've certainly seen my fair (and sometimes unfair) share of wacky and unusual games. But SEGA's upcoming Sonic Frontiers is the latest entry in the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise, due for releasing November 8 2022.

If you've ever had to go through a Hurricane or Cyclone, or a Tornado, for example, you know how it feels. a few days before it hits there is an unusual amount of calm. So calm, in fact, and quiet that it's eerie. That's what it currently feels like now. Sonic Frontiers releases in 6 days. That's less than 1 week.

A lot of people are hopeful and also understandably concerned about the release of this upcoming game. Will it be good, or will it be another Sonic 2006? Hands on first impressions of the game has been positive to mixed....with people praising the controls and combat to others complaining about the lack of things to do and challenging puzzles in the big open world. While the big open worlds do look nice, the stages is what i'm more interested in, however frustratingly they are a lot of stages recycled from 2011's Sonic Generations. 

Sonic Frontiers releases in 6 days. That's less than 1 week.

A lot of us often forget that Frontiers was supposed to be an anniversary game. It was supposed to be released back in June 2021 but they decided to push that back along with Netflix's upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog animated TV series, Sonic Prime (also originally scheduled for 2021). That's why there's a lot of stages from Sonic's past in the game. Yep, there's Green Hill and Chemical Plant zone once again. Yawn.

A lot of us often forget that Frontiers was supposed to be an anniversary game.

While i'm annoyed about the recycled content of stages, I really do like how open and detailed they look. I haven't played the game yet myself, this is from the short bits of video footage i've seen of a few stages on Youtube. Looks like SEGA are taking the Sonic Forces approach to the levels again, making them short and bite sized - about 1 or 2 minutes each, which is a bit lame. One of the main characters, SAGE - looks like a rehashed Infinite 2.0. It's as if SEGA are just trying Sonic Forces again but cutting out all of the custom character and Classic Sonic crap. It seems that Frontiers still has the generic 3-D to 2-D camera changing angles that made games such as Sonic Colours annoying. So i'm also concerned about that too, and hope they don't slow the levels down so much like they did to 2010's Colours.

Looks like SEGA are taking the Sonic Forces approach .... but cutting out all of the custom character and Classic Sonic crap

The Sonic Cycle

The Sonic Cycle is real and it's always been around. For those of you who don't know what that is, let me explain it to you.

  • SEGA and Sonic Team make a Sonic game and hype it up, claiming that it's going to be "the next big thing for Sonic"
  • a Hype Train follows and fans get excited about the upcoming game
  • The Sonic game launches, it turns out to be garbage and everyone is disappointed
  • SEGA and Sonic Team make another Sonic game and announce that it's going to be "Sonic's next big game"
  • The cycle continues...

This is what everybody is worried about with Sonic Frontiers. What if Sonic Frontiers is going to be good. Will this be good for us? Of course it would be. Will it be good for SEGA too? Of course it would be. But what if it's another crappy game? Then that's bad. It's bad for not only the fans, but also for SEGA and Sonic Team. Sonic Frontiers will Make or Break Sonic Team. If they make it, that will be nice. But for a long time Modern Sonic Games have been a very much hit or miss and viewed as a laughing stock, especially ever since 2010. What will SEGA do if everybody hates Sonic Frontiers? Probably nothing. 
Take a look at a recent lame collection Sonic Origins for example. That game turned out to be shit and everybody hated it, SEGA announced they would patch it. They only fixed like a few things and when Headcannon publicly criticized the game's development the future patches faded into obscurity ever since. The game is still very much broken. Same with 2021's Sonic Colours Ultimate, which also suffered a similar fate. This shouldn't be happening to games in the 2020's.

For a while modern Sonic games have been a hit or miss and viewed as a laughing stock 

Lessons To Learn

Why, a big and once reputable company such as SEGA often STILL struggle to make that one good Sonic game, good? Why do they still have to teach themselves how to make a good game from the ground up? I understand pleasing everyone is hard. But it doesn't hurt to listen to a fan base every once in a while. That's why Sonic Mania ended up being one of the most successful games of the Sonic franchise these past 10 years or more. Plus Sonic Mania was a love letter for the fans, by the fans. Sonic Frontiers feels like they're going back to the Adventure - era roots. So that's what i'm really hoping this game will be for the Adventure era fans too.

2022 has been a pretty hit or miss year for games. One of the biggest offenders was 343 Industries' Halo Infinite which was supposed to 'Re-Invent the Halo Franchise' and be 343's 'Best Halo game ever'. It has similar fashion to Sonic Frontiers. Linear open world design and straight forward stages, but the game despite delayed constantly was tarnished by not only 343's mismanagement of the game but also the introduction of microtransactions. I really hope Sonic Frontiers does not end up being the Halo Infinite of Sonic. I want it to be good, and I want it to succeed. But we never know, it just might!

Halo Infinite was supposed to re-invent the Halo franchise just like Sonic Frontiers is supposed to 're-invent' Sonic

Sonic Frontiers releases on Xbox, PS4/5, Nintendo Switch & PC globally on November 8. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive