It’s really no surprise that Sonic the Hedgehog just ain’t what it used to be. Sega’s last offering, Sonic Unleashed gave players the chance to enjoy all the fun and excitement that comes from taking a character known for his lightning speed and forcing him to walk around and talk to townspeople. But Sega says it’s on the case, and quality Sonic titles are just around the corner…and maybe down a block or two.
Speaking with IndustryGamers, vice-president of marketing for Sega of America, Sean Ratcliffe, explained:
“The quality is something that will be fixed over time. It's not something where you wake up one morning and say, 'You know what, we're going to improve our quality on this franchise,' and it magically happens. A lot of hard work goes into striving for quality.”
While no one disputes the tremendous amounts of time, energy and work goes into making solid games, Ratcliffe’s comment has the tone of a best-selling author with writer’s block trying to get another advance from his/her publisher. In terms of what Sega has in store for Sonic, that’s something that Sega has yet to figure out, although the company seems quit interested in exploring the digital download sector a bit more in the future.
“From a mobile and iPhone point of view, we've been very successful with Sonic. So we can look at XBLA and so on, and it means we can give those core fans experiences in different ways now. So that's a big part of our strategy, in terms of taking classic IP and making it available digitally, rather than spend a huge amount of money trying to re-imagine that IP on 360 and PS3; there's a lot more financial risk attached to that.”
You know why there’s a lot of risk (in addition to the standard amount of risk that every developer and publisher faces these days)? Because gamers have yet to connect with a next-gen Sonic game the way they connected with the classic Sonic games. If you succeed in doing that, then you won’t have to rely so heavily on low-risk port projects to make up for the money that’s been lost as a result of underperforming retail games.
Here’s your chance Sonic fans. Tell Sega how you’d fix the franchise, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to say that you helped restore a classic franchise to its former glory.