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Sonic Frontiers dev tells fans with negative criticism that they “don’t understand” the game

As sure as the inexorable sands of time tick onward; as sure as the sun rises in the East, and sets in the West; and as sure as New Year diets are violated by the 10th of January, there will be divisive reactions to any new Sonic the Hedgehog project. I’m quite certain it’s one of the ten gaming commandments, alongside such time-honoured maxims as “if thou art a mascot racer, thou shalt rip off Mario Kart.” Such has been the case with the recent spate of footage of Sonic Frontiers.

As gamers the world over get their first look at the ambitious new open-world adventure, responses have been thoroughly middle-of-the-road. While some have praised the visual panache on display, and the very idea of placing Sonic in such a large world, others have (quite justifiably) drawn attention to a series of technical imperfections, including janky physics and odd handling of draw distance. Many have passed their comments on to SEGA themselves, clearly in the hope they’ll be listened to.

Sonic Team boss speak out

Well, here’s one of those good news, bad news situations. The comments have been listened to. But they’re being soundly dismissed. Per Kotaku, in a recent interview, Sonic head honcho Takashi Iizuka addressed the fan comments, claiming that the people complaining simply “don’t understand” the radical new direction Frontiers is taking. In fairness, it’s a significant departure from what we’ve gotten used to from the series; Iizuka thinks “fans online just don’t understand what the game is or what the team has made,” suggesting people are “comparing it to other games they know,” (my, I just let out a cough which sounded uncannily like me saying ‘Breath of the Wild‘) which he claims is “leading to incorrect assumptions about Frontiers.”

Sonic Frontiers gameplay
Tedious rail corkscrew, or impossible-to-time leap into the dash rings? Choices!

“It’s not really that surprising,” Iizuka goes on. “We do realize everyone is just kind of reacting to the videos that they saw, and because they don’t understand what this new gameplay is, they’re kind of comparing it to other games that they already know. So we do see a lot of people saying, ‘oh, it’s kind of like this, it’s kind of like that, but it’s not like this, it’s not like that’.” Tell it like it is, Takashi, I guess (?)

A new Frontier

He went on to further explain his belief that the switched-up gameplay style has thrown perceptions for a loop. “And this new game system itself is something that doesn’t really exist in any other comparable titles,” clarified Iizuka. “So we really hope that from here until launch we can really explain what its open-zone gameplay is.” He apparently has the statistics to back his optimism up: based on internal playtesting, they “feel really confident that the game is shaping up to be an experience that people will enjoy”. He claims that “when people actually play the game from start to finish, they have a great time and when asked, give it like an 80 or 90 point score out of 100.” Gotta aim high, eh? Presumably IGN were not among the attendees.

And as for those rumours concerning a supposed delay of Frontiers? Not happening, according to Iizuka. “Unless the team all get COVID and are suddenly hospitalized,” he dramatically mentions, “or something similarly bad and sudden happens, Sonic Frontiers will be finished and released this year.” You heard it here, folks. Get those Christmas wishlists ready. It’s like 2006 all over again.

How do you feel about this? Do you agree with Iizuka’s comments? Let us know!

Via, Kotaku.

Bobby Mills

Motor-mouthed Brit with a decades long - well, two decades, at least - passion for gaming. Writer, filmmaker, avid lover of birthdays. Still remembers the glory days of ONM. May it rest in peace.
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