The hashtag #DelaySonicFrontiers has been trending following the game's first gameplay reveal.
First unveiled at the end of last year, fans have been desperate to see gameplay of Sonic Frontiers ever since. Two videos have now been released exclusively to IGN, showcasing the game's open world design and its combat.
But so far fans are unhappy with the direction of the game and - just as with Sonic's redesign for the film series - are calling for a delay.
The first video shows off traversal and the open world, with Sonic speeding across a verdant island, climbing monoliths, and solving puzzles. The second video is focused on combat as Sonic spin jumps and kicks robotic enemies in flashy animations.
The wide open areas certainly allow Sonic to pick up some speed, running across water and up walls, but it does feel a little odd to see a blue hedgehog running around such a realistic world - although that's exactly what the films manage. The world does also seem a little empty, at least in this slice of footage.
Yet the reaction from fans online has been extreme as many demand a delay.
The most common concerns include stiff animations, a lack of momentum, and a world that doesn't feel like Sonic without hills, loops and ramps.
A number of comments also claim the game looks like an unreal fan-made tech demo.
"You can't convince me this isn't a glorified tech demo. It's so soulless," reads a comment on the combat video.
"My biggest gripe with this showcase is easily the animations," reads another. "Sonic just looks way too stiff and unnatural. It's especially evident while he runs around the enemies, he just stares forward soullessly as if nothing is happening. Making Sonic appear smoother and interactive with his surroundings would definitely give this game more charm."
Over on Twitter, the sentiment is overwhelmingly negative.
This looks like ASS.
stiff and clunky as fuck. This is Boom levels of incomplete.
This is embarrassing. How is Sonic Team this incompetent?
Why did they feel this was ready to show off? it looks like a tech demo or a fan game.
Please #DelaySonicFrontiers https://t.co/LIOVaBHUI5
— Matches Malone (@cell_0801)
#DelaySonicFrontiers If anyone thinks delaying this game even another 5 years is going to fix it, you're in for a rude awakening.
Here's the hashtag you should be using: #ReplaceSonicTeam
You're expecting a dog to learn how to drive a truck and think it simply needs more time.
— NicoCW (@NicoCVV)
Fans want to enjoy an increase in polished game offerings, like you enjoyed increased business offers and sales.
It was a FAN that lead the movie redesign that helped you achieve that success.
It's time to raise OUR bar. Not SEGA's.#DelaySonicFrontiers #SonicFrontiers pic.twitter.com/w40Fze1gNQ
— Evan (@Mardiculous)
The furore is testament to the passion of the Sonic fanbase - and its power with the film character redesign - as well as years of disappointing 3D Sonic games. Many fans were hoping Sonic Frontiers would be the next-gen Sonic experience.
However Svend Joscelyne, founder of fan site Sonic Stadium and global publishing director at IGN, believes the game won't be delayed.
"#DelaySonicFrontiers won't work because, for me, main concern is about its entire concept & gameplay approach; a delay to kill bugs & add content isn't going to address that," he wrote on Twitter.
In the thread, he does still admit "It's just not the Sonic game I was hoping for in 2022."
#SonicFrontiers appears to want to be a hyper-realistic, combat-focused Sonic game that draws from the movies… that leans on Sonic’s athleticism rather than physics/momentum based play. And that’s fine if that’s the goal. It’s just not the Sonic game I was hoping for in 2022.
— Svend (@Dreadknux)
You can watch both gameplay videos for yourself below. The game is still set for a release later this year across all consoles and PC.