HomeTechnologySonic Frontiers promises and worries

Sonic Frontiers promises and worries



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Sonic Borders It plans to release it for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X / S, Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC this holiday season. But fans discussed whether it was necessary.

Most react to the trailers, but last week I had the chance to play some of the Sonic Frontiers at the Summer Game Fest Play Days. What I tried promised. Running in an open environment with Sonic can feel free and fun. I also enjoyed a battle that managed to mix Sonic’s speed with the basics of a modern action game like combos and escape.

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But there is also room for concern. It feels good to run around the world, grind and move fast, and when you slow down, the movement becomes even more awkward. Suddenly I wanted to jump on the roof of the ruined temple. During more intense platforming like this, Sonic maneuvers can feel rough, especially when objects feel that a random collision has been detected.

As for the discovery of the blow, I also fell to the ground and died after beating a chief. Such errors are not uncommon for a game that is still in development, but Sonic has a history of such problems. is related. Basically, what I played was promising, but unpolished.

During the Summer Game Fest Play Days, I also had the opportunity to chat with Sonic Frontiers creative officer and longtime Sonic series shepherd Takashi Iizuka. I asked him if he would take Sonic in this new direction and see if the Frontiers would reach their strike target.

Fighting enemies can be surprisingly fun.
Fighting enemies can be surprisingly fun.

GamesBeat: What was the hardest thing about turning Sonic into this more open world design?

Takashi Iizuka: This really speaks to the difficulty of making these games. But both the classic Sonic games and the more modern Sonic games all had a beginning and a purpose. We put Sonic together. We know where he is going. In the meantime, we are filling this gap with the movement of many platforms. With this design, we can cover high-speed traffic and deliver Sonic to your destination while you have fun.

But now the challenge is that this huge 3D open space, the open zone game we have to create, has to cover the same high-speed platform movement we’ve ever experienced in every Sonic game, but in this big game, the big 3D format. It was a lot to make sure that the open zones still demonstrated high-speed platforming and movement, all in this new format.

GamesBeat: Is it hard to judge how fast Sonic is in such an open game?

Iizuka: If you slow down Sonic, you will miss some of Sonic’s essence. We couldn’t really slow it down. In fact, we kept it at the same high speed. We even have a strengthening feature. This is very much the same speed for Sonic, the Sonic feeling. We wanted to make sure it stayed in the game. The only way to maintain this was to expand the island. Our biggest problem was here. We had to create this really big island, because Sonic has to be fast, but he just can’t run around the island at super speed. So how big can we make the island bigger? That was the challenge.

GamesBeat: We’ve seen this grassy area of ​​the island so far. Will there be other places with different looks?

Iizuka: Sonic Frontiers occur on Starfall Islands all over the world. We now show the first island. We have these grassy, ​​rolling hills on this first island. We have waterfalls, cliffs, mountains and other areas on that island. But yes, in the Starfall Islands, yes, there will be other islands. We can’t talk about it now, but there will be islands that look and feel different.

Do not climb the towers, fight them!
Do not climb the towers, fight them!

GamesBeat: Sonic Team is looking at many other open world games for ideas or inspiration.

Iizuka: Open world games are very popular. I play many of them myself, as well as many people in the team. But the open zone game we created is not really an open world. It comes from a different world design. We wanted to take that linear platform activity format and expand it. Instead of being the starting point for completing a goal in a linear format, we wanted to make this a huge wide island and give you the freedom to go wherever you want while dealing with an action platform. Instead of trying to create a world, to create people in that world, to create all the details of this world, we wanted to expand the platform of action and create open zones on the island where the 3D platform of action can be implemented.

We know a lot of people watch videos and think, oh, this is an open world game, but the whole design element, the starting point, and the idea behind the island we created was really a linear platform movement, not a build. open world.

GamesBeat: Some Sonic games have a lot of story elements, while others don’t. Where does the border go?

Iizuka: In many of the previous games, the stories were directed directly to the player. It would always be so, Eggman came, Eggman made a mistake, now I have to do something to Eggman. It was a direct story that you would passively accept all this and then go out and do something about it.

The storytelling methods we use for borders are a little different. We wanted you to experience events as Sonic will live in a very mysterious format. You appear on the island, but why are you on the island? What are these islands? This is the mystery we want to establish, and we ask you to understand this as you explore the islands. You walk around and find more secrets. You learn more about what happened in the story. Because when you play like Sonic, you go out and you experience it. We’re developing the story, and I think at Frontiers, the story will be different from previous Sonic games.


GamesBeat: The music also looks interestingly different. Usually Sonic music is loud and energetic. It’s almost … soft and beautiful? Why the change for this game?

Iizuka: It’s kind of a story. There is Tomoya Ohtani, who has previously composed music for many Sonic games, and much of his music is really heavy rock, designed to excite, enliven, get out and have fun. He has played such music before. When he heard about the mystery and intrigue that would be conveyed to the story and the islands, he went and created music that would be very suitable for this feeling. If you have this mysterious music along with a mysterious story, it really fits. We think he did a great job of making sure that you could feel so much anxiety, that you weren’t sure what was going on, that you could feel that secret. All of this is part of the music that fits the game.

GamesBeat: Sonic fans can be quite intense, quite passionate. Sometimes it’s scary to show a new game, especially this kind of game, which is a little different?

Iizuka: I’m always interested in how the fans will react to what we announce and what we show them. They are, as you say, a very passionate group. When we look at previous games, the first generation was a side-scrolling, classic Sonic game. The second generation was a more modern game, starting with Sonic Adventure. What we are doing now is to take the next step. This is almost the third generation. We know that we are showing fans something new that is not yet meaningless to them.

But we really wanted to think about where we should take Sonic for the next 10 years. What kind of game should we start building to excite people for the future? Sonic Frontiers is the next step for the next 10 years. We hope that the fans believe in us and enjoy what we show them. We are looking forward to when they will play it and understand what it really is.

GamesBeat: We’re already seeing a lot of games, and you’re still aiming for a release this year. Are you still sure of this release window?

Iizuka: Everyone is working hard to get everything going forward for the release this year. We have a good time sitting here, but the team in Tokyo is spending really long hours to make sure we can present something amazing to the fans this year. Game development is always very difficult. We want to put more things. We want to do better. We want to make sure the fans are impressed. Everyone in Tokyo is working hard to make this happen.

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