Sonic Frontiers won't be delayed as a result of negative fan response, Sonic Team has insisted. Takashi Iizuka, the studio's head, says the team is convinced that "people will like" the game, despite many fans responding poorly to gameplay footage released recently.
Why has the Sonic Frontiers fan response been negative?
Last week, IGN gave us a first look at Sonic Frontiers gameplay, and what we saw was...kinda rough, actually. The game's so-called "open-zone" gameplay looked awkward and weirdly animated, with the world feeling strangely empty and devoid of character. It's a little worrying for a game that supposedly missed Sonic's anniversary celebrations to ensure quality (although it is arguably par for the course in modern 3D Sonic games), and many fans were quick to deride what they saw as low-quality gameplay.
In many ways, the response was the opposite of the original reaction to the Sonic the Hedgehog movie trailer. There, fans reacted poorly to Sonic's design, but here, his design seems to be the least of Sonic Team's worries. "Sonic is so fast he's outrunning the graphics card", quipped one YouTube commenter. Another described the game as looking "fan-made", while a third said it looked like something that had been constructed in Media Molecule's Dreams. Despite this negative reaction, Sonic Team's Takashi Iizuka isn't worried. The studio won't be delaying the game as a result of fan response, despite the #DelaySonicFrontiers hashtag emerging recently, he says.
Speaking to VGC, Iizuka said that fans are reacting poorly to the gameplay trailers because they "don't understand what this new gameplay is". According to Iizuka, once people start playing the game, they'll better understand what it's trying to accomplish. When asked whether #DelaySonicFrontiers would result in any kind of pushback on the game's release date, Iizuka said that Sonic Frontiers testers are telling them the game would get "like an 80 or 90 point score out of 100" in testing. For that reason, Iizuka says that only "something that actually prohibits us" from being able to launch Sonic Frontiers on time would cause a delay. It doesn't look like he or his team are fazed at all by fans' reaction to the trailers.
What is Sonic Frontiers?
Sonic Frontiers is the latest 3D Sonic the Hedgehog title from long-running developer Sonic Team. Described as an "open-zone" game by Iizuka and his team, Sonic Frontiers takes traditional 3D Sonic gameplay into an open-world space, but it will feature linear sequences within that environment as well. Originally leaked back in December 2021, then officially announced during that year's Game Awards, Frontiers will see Sonic guided towards the Chaos Emeralds by an AI after he's sucked into a wormhole along with his friend's Tails and Amy.
We're currently expecting Sonic Frontiers to launch for PC and consoles later this year, barring any kind of delay to the game. Whether Sonic Frontiers bucks the recent trend of pretty awful 3D Sonic games or whether it manages to break the curse remains to be seen, but we're not particularly optimistic given that its early trailers are looking a little wonky. We'll bring you more on this game, including a concrete release date, as soon as we get it, so stay tuned for more info.