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How SEGA has abused Sonic

How SEGA has abused Sonic

How SEGA has abused Sonic
May 01
00:56 2020

SEGA’s Blue Blur, Sonic The Hedgehog, made headlines this year after his movie scored praise and broke box office records. Sonic has fallen from Mario’s number one rival to one of the biggest laughing stocks in video games thanks to SEGA’s mishandling of the character.

The SEGA and Nintendo rivalry is one for the ages and its all thanks to Sonic sticking it up to the famous Italian plumber. Sonic is heavily inspired by the decade of his inception, he was a 90s icon with a 90s “too cool for school” attitude. He was made to compete with Mario and he succeeded up until the turn of the decade. Sonic’s attitude and personality were starting to become outdated to many. They had a few good years of trying to keep Sonic on the same playing field as others, but 2006 marked the start of Sonic’s downfall and his identity crisis.

“Sonic The Hedgehog” (2006), dubbed simply “Sonic ’06,” is one the largest colossal failures in video game history. It was a shabby attempt at a reboot of the franchise that SEGA has now disavowed and doesn’t acknowledge. No one knows who gave this game a green light, but it is not a finished product no matter how you look at it. It’s riddled with glitches, the gameplay was unresponsive and awful and the story was a dumpster fire. “Sonic ’06” will forever live on in infamy for the rest of video game history and marks the sharp nose-dive off a steep cliff for Sonic’s reputation.

The years following felt like a fever dream for SEGA as they scrambled to figure out what they wanted to do with Sonic. They made a spinoff series called the “Storybook Collection” which lasted for two games where Sonic was thrown into the settings of Arabian Knights and the Tale of King Arthur. Then came “Sonic Unleashed” which featured great Sonic gameplay for about half of it. Then we were okay for a while until the second failure: “Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric” which was another attempt to reboot Sonic, which also had bad gameplay and glitches so laughably bad that you could skip the entire game with them.

The last game Sonic had before his movie was “Sonic Forces and while it’s a completed game, it’s also soulless and lazy. It can be beaten within three hours and it’s just not worth the $40 in my opinion. SEGA’s identity crisis with Sonic has fizzled to the point where it feels like the developers simply don’t want to make Sonic games anymore. Some critics have claimed Sonic has never had a clear identity due to his gameplay being based on speed-running level 1-1 in Mario or how his transformation “Super Sonic” is sort of a “Dragon Ball Z” “Super Saiyan” rip-off. We’ve just reached a point where it feels like the fans know Sonic better than his creators do.

Right before “Sonic Force’s” failure, SEGA put out “Sonic Mania,” a modern 2D Sonic game that was met with resounding praise and success. SEGA left the game’s development up to Christian Whitehead, a long-time Sonic fan who produced the mascot’s best game in years. The opening animation and accompanying animated shorts were worked on by Tyson Hesse, yet another childhood fan. Hesse is also responsible for correcting the awful initial design for Sonic in his movie.

SEGA’s done an alright job keeping Sonic alive this long. The series has had good music and SEGA deserves props for adapting to internet culture and joining in on Sonic memes, but now the people who know Sonic best, are ready and willing to work. Of the two games released in 2017, the only good one was made by longtime fans. SEGA, please let more people like Christian Whitehead make Sonic games. At the very least, hire more people who are passionate about and want to make a focused and fun Sonic game, otherwise, I’m at the point where I’d rather have Nintendo buy the hedgehog off you.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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Matthew Payne

Matthew Payne

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