SEGA and the Sonic Team confirmed some interesting — albeit rather obvious — news yesterday: a brand new Sonic the Hedgehog game is currently in the works.
The news came straight from game director Takashi Iizuka in an interview with Famitsu, and later translated by Sonic the Hedgehog fan site Soah City as he discussed the future of SEGA's iconic blue speedster.
"We at Sonic Team are developing a completely new game, as well as developing a full movie actively done by Sony Pictures, and animation on Sonic Boom," he said.
"The most important thing is not the fact that the series survived for 25 years, but how many games [were] developed. Our goal [is to] add something new and overcome any potential hardships."
As mentioned before, the news that a new Sonic the Hedgehog game is in the works is hardly surprising. First of all, yesterday marked Sonic's 25th anniversary, and SEGA has set a precedent of releasing anniversary titles to celebrate — Sonic the Hedgehog in 2006 and Sonic Generations in 2011. Furthermore, last month, the Sonic Twitter account strongly suggested that there was a new game in the works.
However, while this news could have easily been seen a mile away, what the game will actually turn out to be is less obvious.
Sonic the Hegehog games have come in many different forms over the years, with many of the associated titles being better-liked than others. For example, you have the classic games, i.e. Sonic the Hedgehog 1 to 3, which are generally accepted as among the best the series has to offer, while Sonic '06 is typically viewed as the worst in the series by a large margin.
Under usual circumstances, this wouldn't be an issue, as every series has its ups and downs. The problem in Sonic's case is that these ups and downs are terribly erratic and come completely out of nowhere. For example, after the classic Sonic games, next came Sonic 3D Blast, and then the Adventure sub-series, which looked it would be the future of the entire series. However, right after that came Sonic Heroes and the aforementioned Sonic '06, which somehow managed to have the same core mechanics as Adventure 1 and 2, yet be substantially worse than both.
From that point on, things became even more erratic, with the series only really having two solid entries in the main series (Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations) within the span of 10 years. Throughout that time period, there have been several Sonic games of questionable execution in some areas and others that completely fell flat.
It is for that reason that, while the announcement of a new game is exciting, it's also scary. The Sonic Team has illustrated that it is more than willing to switch up a winning formula and produce a new one that winds up being poorly received for little reason. The next Sonic game could easily incorporate mechanics seen in Generations and likely be a success, or it could do something else entirely and fail as a result. So, in the end, it's hard to say exactly what direction the Sonic Team plans to go in, and it's equally hard to get overly excited due to fear of the game disappointing again.
Regardless of what it is, however, fans might not have to wait too long to see it, as the Sonic Team could show off the new game at its 25th anniversary party in San Diego at Comic-Con this summer, where attendees will get an "exclusive first look at the future of Sonic."