The Sonic the Hedgehog series hasn't been in the best place over the last decade. The so-called meta era of the franchise has been controversial. It's known for simple level designs, short games lacking in content, the infamous boost gameplay and, of course, the flanderization of the entire cast of once-beloved characters.
Despite this, fans' goodwill for the series remains strong, and hope persists that the Blue Blur will be able to get back on track soon. With the series about to celebrate its 30th birthday, now is the perfect time for Sega to announce its ace in the hole. This is a project that would not only garner immense hype from its mere announcement, but would feature many Sonic elements that fans want to see return. It's time for Sonic Adventure 3.
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The first aspect of the series that a Sonic Adventure 3 could improve upon is the story and tone. Recent entries in the franchise have featured basic plots that portray all its characters as one-dimensional. The Adventure games are well-known for their narrative focus, and Sonic Adventure 2 in particular is considered to have one of the franchise's best stories. Dialogue in the modern games has been limited to groan-inducing one-liners or simple exposition.
A new Adventure title with a strong plot is the perfect remedy. It should use the main cast in the correct way, portraying them as the characters fans have come to love, not the watered-down versions of the meta era. Fans have also been bemoaning the lack of other playable characters in recent installments. So, an Adventure game that not only treats those characters with respect but also grants some of them their own storylines would make players incredibly happy.
Recent Sonic games, Sonic Forces in particular, have incredibly short levels that essentially amount to straight lines the player must run down while holding the boost button. Levels can be completed in two to three minutes and have little to no replay value. Sonic Adventure was always the opposite of this. Stages were greater in length, but very few were so long that they could wear out their welcome. Each level featured multiple missions to encourage repeat playthroughs and hidden upgrades to encourage exploration.
Adventure 3 should learn from its predecessors in this respect. On top of replayability, extra content could exist in the form of the first Adventure game's adventure stages - hub areas that can be explored at the player's leisure. The other staple of the duology is the Chao Garden, which allowed the player to raise and compete with Chao, upgrading them with Chaos Drives and animals obtained from stages. The iconic game mode has been sorely missed and would help bolster the content an Adventure 3.
Sonic Adventure 2 also featured a competitive multiplayer suite allowing players to hunt for jewels, have a gunfight, or race each other, which is what the mode was best remembered for. A third entry should revisit this idea, adding extra characters and stages to flesh out the mode. Sega could even keep players interested with new post-launch content drops. The effectiveness of such an idea has been proven with Sonic's many profitable mobile outings.
The potential for further monetization of such a mode is also apparent. While players would understandably be soured by the concept, it would be just another potential reason for Sega to give a third title a shot. Adventure 3 would undoubtedly be a sales juggernaut from the get-go, and Sega would obviously want to maximize the revenue from such an important title.
There are many reasons that the Adventure titles are still remembered so fondly despite the many games released since. Sonic has arguably never been better in 3D, and more recent entries seem to present themselves as everything that the Adventure games were not. Their focus on a more serious story, multiple playable characters and longer stages were once considered by Sega to be the opposite of where the series should head. But, fans have made it clear for many years that a third title in the series is exactly what they want.
The 30th anniversary of the blue hedgehog would be the perfect time for such a sequel to be announced, celebrating the lineage of the franchise with a return to its most iconic 3D games. Sega has promised multiple new game releases to coincide with the event, and for the first time in a long time, an Adventure sequel actually feels like a realistic prospect for fans.
Freelance gaming writer for CBR. Passionate about pop-culture in all its forms, with an emphasis on comics, television, film and, of course, gaming.