In January 13 2016, I wrote a blog titled, Sonic’s 25th Anniversary Is SEGA’s Last Chance To Prove To Us That The Blue Blur Ain’t Dead Yet (Gaming Wise), in which I discussed the importance of Sonic’s latest title needing to do well in order to confirm to the masses that Sonic the Hedgehog wasn’t out for the count yet. Fast forward to November 7th 2017 and Sonic Forces ended up being mediocre as hell, while Sonic Mania ended being one of the best games released in 2017. So what happened?
Sonic Forces was a game that was in development for four years, being made by the same people who gave us titles such as Colours and Generation. It was a game that was supposed to have followed an already well established blueprint and just perfect it, but instead it felt like they took what they’ve learned and just threw it out the window.
The gameplay is clunky and the level design is linear as fuck and extremely short, which begs the question, what have the Sonic Team being doing these past four years? But enough of me shitting on this game, the internet is already doing that as it is. Instead I want to look at the future of Sonic and where its heading to next.
With the success of Mania, it’s clear that Sonic still has a place in the gaming world but in the form of Classic Sonic. It’s also clear that the reason why Sonic Mania was such a huge success was because the game was left in the hands of a fan of the series. Christian Whitehead was the lead director of Sonic Mania and he made people like Sonic again, if only for a brief moment.
He was previously contracted by Sega to develop enhanced mobile ports of Genesis-era Sonic games and presented a playable prototype to Takashi Iizuka. It took a Sonic fan to create a game that reminded people just how fun and great a Sonic game can be. Which makes you wonder, what about Modern Sonic? What can be done to save him?
Well for start, its time to stop creating a game that tries to please everyone in the Sonic community. This is one of the flaws which led Sonic Forces to be mediocre. Takashi Iizuka and the Sonic Team need to bite the bullet and stick to one core gameplay design that flushes out that gameplay mechanic. Not everyone will like something and that’s fine. Sometimes, you gotta take big risks to gain big rewards. Secondly, they need to take a step back and reevaluate Modern Sonic and figure out how they can make him stand on his own two feet, without the need of gimmicks to assist him.
In my own personal experience and opinion, Sonic Team have touched on many things in the past that I feel could finally make Sonic a great game and now just need to bring those elements together. Honestly, I feel like what Sonic games need is a combination of:
1. the level designs of the day stages in Unleashed,
2. a mix gameplay mechanics of Generation & Rush (The faster you go, the more momentum you’ll gain until you’ve reached optimal speed for boost)
3. the story-telling of Forces & Heroes,
4. and finally, focusing ONLY on Modern Sonic.
Sonic isn’t over or dead, despite the internet’s reaction to Sonic Forces. Without a doubt, Sonic the Hedgehog has one of the most loyal fanbases out there. Yes, some might see it as people being delusional and blind, but I think its people knowing that Sonic has potential to be great and just needs the right director to bring him back from the depth of mediocre hell.
Which is why I am sorry to say but I personally think its time for a new lead director for Sonic team. They should do what they did for Mania, and bring someone in who fully understands how Sonic should play in 2017. But that’s just my two cents on it.
What do you think? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section below and lets discuss.