Sega are “committed” to a reboot of their mascot.
Sega are reportedly looking to better monetize Sonic the Hedgehog, considering a complete reboot of the franchise
For many Sonic the Hedgehog fans, they’re beginning to feel the blue hedgehog is getting back on his faster-than-sound feet. News today, then, could be alarming: Sega is considering a total reboot of the franchise, though this news came before Sega announced their mass layoffs.
In the report, from TSSZ News, who previously leaked information about Sonic Generations and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II that turned out to be true, the site says that Sega are looking for more ways to monetize the franchise for a new audience.
That audience is the younger generation. For a little while now, Sega have been pushing games out that appeal to the ‘older’ and ‘younger’ fans. In 2010, Sonic Colours was aimed at the younger audience (with more colourful environments and light-hearted dialogue) while Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I was pitched as bringing Sonic back into the 2D world. Sonic Colours turned out to be the hit, surprisingly.
The report says that Sega are focused on maintaining the three pillars of Sonic gameplay: speed, platforming and “surreal environments” will remain. Sonic and Dr Eggman will remain as rivals, though both could go under a redesign (though considerinbg realistic environments are not returning to the franchise, I expect similar designs to what we have now).
The source says everything is under review, including long-time sidekick Tails. Sonic may also explore a new universe and meet new friends. New gameplay methods and gimmicks are being tested, also.
Regarding younger audiences, Sega intends to offer collectibles for players to purchase. These could mean unlocking characters such as Knuckles or “classic” versions of characters (which renders the design pointless).
I feel this would be a disaster for the franchise. Sonic Team is only just developing good games with the formula, so do they realistically expect to go in a completely new gameplay direction and get it right first time? I don’t. We’ve seen through three games – Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colours and Sonic Generations – how the team can develop a game given time. Give Sonic Team that time, and avoid this “reboot,” and Sonic the Hedgehog will continue to improve.