Sega Confirms Sonic Frontiers Won’t Be Delayed, Says Fans “Don’t Understand” It – Nintendo Life

“Don’t understand” is really poor phrasing because it sounds patronising. I assume this is a translation/second language/cultural subtlties problem, but from reading the full thing, I totally understand what he means. Its hard to show off the game in a small section, and its genuinely a different gaming experience to other Sonic games, AND other similar looking open world games… which has not been clear so far from the marketing. The “open zone” thing makes a lot more sense after reading the following from the Eurogamer article:

“Okay, we’re gonna make an island. We’re gonna put Sonic on there. He’s gonna run, it’s gonna be great. But it doesn’t feel Sonic enough. It doesn’t feel true to a Sonic game. And so we needed to put platforming elements into the game. All right, if we just make this a hot mess of platforming all over the place, you’re gonna walk in there and it’ll be like I don’t even know what’s going on. We had to do a lot of balance and figuring out how we get the platforming in there but not have it be overwhelming.

“The answer that came to was, as you’re playing the game, the world opens up as you complete things, and new rails come in so you get to experience the island kind of transforming into this bigger and bigger playground which does feel really Sonic-y and it’s our way of showing people this open zone format.”

That makes a huge amount of sense to me. Start the world empty, so that you learn the controls, the freedom, and (for the story) you feel the isolation/loneliness. Then you find sporadic platform and puzzle elements, starting with simple ones, and you learn the mechanics of springs, rails, mechanics etc. The puzzles and challenges add more of the “Sonic-like” elements back to the world. As you progress, the barren empty island turns more and more into a “Sonic” feeling area.

I can definitely see that if you started with a huge open world but everywhere you look was FULL of springs, rails, platforms etc like a normal more linear 3d Sonic zone, it would be very overwhelming, confusing and hard to keep track of which little platforming bits you’d done, whereas unlocking them a handful at a time could work very well. Starting with an empty world and restoring it to a normal Sonic-like zone (presumably adding more characters along the way to fill out the story) actually sounds pretty great, and defintely very different to something like BOTW or Skyrim or whatever.

However, ALL OF THIS could have been very easily shown and explained in a well edited trailer, not just showing individual elements and the starting point. So yeah, interesting idea for a game, terrible execution in marketing it. The reaction its getting is the fault of whoever decided this was the best way to present it to the world. But I’m optimistic for the game.