Sonic Team says they won’t incorporate elements from the movies in their games
The Sonic movie universe has become something that (almost) everyone has enjoyed and is invested in seeing where it winds up next – MCU style, baby. It’s also a project that (almost) everyone assumed would fail. When that horrifying original trailer hit the internet, the writing seemed to be on the wall; this would be yet another soulless Hollywood cash-in made by hacks who didn’t understand the source material. Now, post-redesign and two faithful-to-the-games entries in, those fears have largely been quashed. Be it financially – Sonic 2 is now the highest-grossing video game movie of all time – or in terms of fan response, they’ve gone down about as well as one could hope for. And a damn sight better than the Bob Hoskins Mario outing, eh?
With all this success, then, you’d think that Sonic’s primary medium, video games, would sit up and take notice. Many fans pointed out the absence of any tie-in games for the movies, and speculated that elements of the films’ lore might find their way into the games, so as to more smoothly bridge the gap between the different areas of the franchise for newcomers. It’s not an unreasonable assumption, and you can think of some aspects that would work quite well in this manner; Sonic’s mentor Longclaw would be a pretty seamless addition. However, in a recent interview, studio head Takashi Iizuka has made it very clear new games will be ignoring the movie canon.
Two worlds, one Sonic
Per Video Games Chronicle, Iizuka said “he would rather keep ‘game Sonic’ as the core of the video games, and attempt to expand on the series in order to appeal to a broader audience.” It’s so surreal that we now have to draw a distinction between ‘game Sonic’ and other Sonics. “Because the movie Sonic came from where the game started, trying to take the movie qualities and stick it back into the games doesn’t really work well,” Iizuka continued. “What I want to do is stay faithful to our game Sonic and really expand on the game Sonic to incorporate new ideas that are going to get people excited about new games.”
There have been exceptions to this rule though, as Iizuka notes. “In our mobile games, we do have ‘Movie Sonic’ appearing as a guest character, and that kind of collaboration feels really good because there are people who saw the movie and only understand the character through that. But the game Sonic is really the core essence of the character, so instead of trying to take the movie and put it inside of the game, I really wanted to expand on the game to make it appealing to everyone.”
This isn’t to say that Schwartz Sonic (my personal moniker for him) won’t ever be cameoing in game projects, Iizuka clarifies: “I think having Movie Sonic as a guest character is viable and certainly something that we’re going to do, but keeping the essence and core of Sonic in the games and then expanding out is probably what I’d prefer to do, rather than try to shoehorn in [the movie].” You know what? Respect for trying to maintain the integrity of the existing Sonicverse. For once.
“Commenting on the movies’ success,” Iizuka certainly didn’t shy from acknowledging that it “presented a welcome challenge for Sonic Team because it now has a broader audience to satisfy with its game releases.”
Blessed with success
“Because of the success of the movies, we’re finding that we’re reaching into this wider audience of people who maybe never played the game before, or don’t play them that much,” he said. “It’s this wider group of fans who we need to start now making content for. Honestly, it makes us all very happy, because we have more people now that we can bring content to. It is a challenge though, because we have maybe new gamers or people who haven’t played previous Sonic games, so we don’t think we can go out there with on single game that will make the entire audience excited.”
In a nutshell, Iizuka’s attitude seems to be: movies were great advertising, mates, but we’re focusing on what we know best. Whether or not that’s a good thing is entirely subjective, and I guess we’ll have to wait and see how these factors, if any, inform Sonic Frontiers. Stay tuned to all our usual channels as the game approaches.
What’s your take on Iizuka’s comments? Let us know!
Via, Video Games Chronicle.