2013: Good or Bad year for Sonic?

According to TSSZ News 55% of respondents said that 2013 was a bad year for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, compared to 61% of respondents saying that 2012 was a good year for Sonic.

The good news about Sonic the Hedgehog (in my view) in 2013 was the smartphone and tablet game Sonic Dash, as well as the remastered versions of classic Sonic games, as well as Nintendo 3DS version of the original Sonic game of 1991 released in Japan to coincide with the 25th Anniversary of the Sega Mega Drive’s (Sega Genesis in North America) Japanese release. I also say that Sonic’s appearance in the new Super Smash Bros. game was OK, even though his design for that game looked ugly to me.

The bad news was the commercial flop of Sonic Lost World and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. We have rarely wrote many posts on Sonic Lost World, but did write some of the latter (M&S2014). It seems that we probably wrote less posts on those games possibly because I knew that those new Sonic games looked boring. Also another bad news is the upcoming animated series Sonic Boom first teased by Dave Polsky at a My Little Pony fan convention in Columbus, Ohio and first announced by Sega of America on its blog on 7 October 2013. The show is due to premiere in Autumn/Fall 2014 on Cartoon Network in the US, and Canal J and Gulli in France. The show has been criticised by Sonic fans for its redesigns of Sonic and Knuckles.

Another bad news for me was the worldwide partnership between Nintendo and Sega for the Sonic franchise back in May 2013. Nintendo was originally going publish Sonic Lost World in Europe, but ended being Sega publishing the game in Europe by the end. 

According to many Sonic fans, they say that most of the new Sonic games were aimed at Nintendo/Mario type fans or Kids CGI animated film fans and to do this, SEGA has managed to semi-kill off from the new Sonic titles, Shadow, Rouge and some fan-favourites (except for Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Dr. Eggman and Metal Sonic) from Sonic the Hedgehog, other than Mario and Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, in which Shadow, Rouge and some other similar fan favourites did appear in.

They also criticise Ken Pontac (writer for Sonic games), Warren Graff and Takashi Iizuka (the so-called head of the Sonic franchise) for having no idea on the Sonic franchise. Takashi Iizuka said in a interview with a website that the reason he wanted to make Sonic games different to what fans wanted the games to look like is due to the fact, because he thinks that “fans should need a more different Sonic game”.

The Sonic fan convention in the US, Sonic Boom had low attendance according to Sonic fan Darkminer. The Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed game’s DLCs (updates) were only available for PC users. Plus Sonic fansites have been shutting down probably fact that due to many were finding Sonic boring, according to a comment posted on a Sonic Boom TV series article on TSSZ News, and British gaming website Metro already called Sonic Lost World, one of the worst videogames, due to copycatting Super Mario Galaxy, even Takashi Iizuka noticed that. Even Sonic Wrecks turned itself from a Sonic website into a general gaming website, due to Kevin ArchAngelUK falling out of love of Sonic the Hedgehog and SEGA.

SEGA’s plans for Sonic as a brand in the future

A gaming website told two SEGA executives in an interview about how SEGA was going and how it sees the console market right now. In that interview, they stated the future of the Sonic brand. The first answer to the interview (via The Sonic Stadium) said:

Ethan Einhorn: We’re taking, on the console side, more of a pillar approach. We’re doing some very exciting things with Sonic as a brand in the near future. We’re also very heavily focused on strategy, as you’ve seen with our pickup of [Company of Heroes developer] Relic, as well as what we’re doing with [Total War developer] Creative Assembly. Of course, we’re continuing to do core titles like Aliens: Colonial Marines.

The second answer, is the different demographics of two SEGA franchises, Sonic the Hedgehog and House of the Dead.

Evans: Absolutely. We have games that service all different types and sets of consumers. Some [intellectual properties] lend themselves to maybe a younger audience. Some IPs are more classic in their stance; some maybe appeal to a more mature audience. We have titles like House of the Dead. That’s probably an example of a mature game. Then Sonic, which has been kind of reinvented. We’re bringing that to the Android platform. That’s an example of something which might skew slightly younger, as well as have this more classic base.

Einhorn: Sonic Dash, which is popular right now on the top charts, is another great example of appealing to a more casual demographic. But again, within that same ecosystem we have Kingdom Conquest II, which is extremely core. Both of those comfortably coexist at the same publisher.

Then it talks about the Sonic franchise marketing and the oppontunities with 7-11 year old gamers, as well the ‘nostalgic’ older gamer.

Einhorn: I think what that creates for us with Sonic is a great opportunity. First and foremost, I am a father who grew up with the Sonic games. I was in high school when it came out. I have a 6-year-old now, and one of the great pleasures for me is to be able to share something I loved with my kids. So you have that father-child dynamic.

Kids also respond very strongly to Sonic on their own, without any parental support. I think part of that is that he’s like a superhero. He’s fast. He’s blue. He’s easy to understand. There’s a broad range, as you know, of people who love Sonic, but the age of 7 to 11 is absolutely the strongest in terms of loving Sonic. But then, as you said, we also have the older gamer who’s nostalgic, and that’s why we have products like Sonic Generations that are designed specifically for them. It gives us more opportunities to capitalize on the strengths of an iconic franchise.

[Source: Gamesbeat, via Sonic Stadium]

Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing launches on Mac

Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing has now been relased on the Mac App Store for $24.99 in North America, €21.99 in Eurozone countries (inc. VAT) and £17.49 in the UK (inc. VAT). This would see the début of Sonic the Hedgehog on a Macintosh computer. Sonic had début on Windows since 1996 with the PC version of Sonic CD.

System Requirements call for a 1.8GHz Intel Mac with at least 4.0GB RAM, 256MB or better graphics card and Mac OS 10.8.3 or later. The following graphics cards are not supported: ATI X1xxx series, ATI HD2xxx series, Intel GMA series and NVIDIA 7xxx series.