Sega: Sonic criticism warranted, working to improve

Sonic UnleashedSega of America vice president of marketing Sean Ratcliffe knows how people feel about the Sonic franchise. It’s been worn down over the years from its 16-bit glory days, dropping the blue speedster into many games that some (myself included) would kindly label, "sub-par."

In an interview with GameDaily, he discusses Sega’s perspective on Sonic, past criticisms of the franchise, and what the company aims to achieve with future releases.

"Some of that criticism is probably warranted. We definitely recognize that a franchise that has been going as long as Sonic, you really have to put a huge amount of effort in to make sure that you maintain that quality, and arguably a disproportionate amount of effort. However, I would say we recognize it, which is why you’re seeing us this year taking the first steps in making sure the quality is right, and we’re constantly looking at innovation. We can’t just stand still with Sonic; we’ve got to be looking at different ways to develop the character, different genres, and so on.

So your point [about quality] is a fair one, and it’s a challenge to Sega to make sure we’re pushing and making sure the quality is there with Sonic. Do we get concerned about it? Yes, of course we’re always concerned about how we’re developing that franchise. And a lot of time and effort is spent discussing how we develop Sonic."

Ratcliffe blames the less-than-impressive current-generation releases on the learning curve associated with new a set of tools and the complexity of working with advanced technology, but says that Sonic Unleashed will change that trend.

"I think the Sonic next-gen experience in terms of quality, that was relatively early in the next-gen cycle when lots of developers were just coming to grips with the technology. It’s not a huge surprise when you try to get something out for launch or thereabouts and the quality is not optimal. This time around, with Sonic Unleashed, we got a great new engine, the Hedgehog engine, and that allows us to truly deliver the Sonic experience as it arguably should have been on the next-gen – you know, blending classic 2D gameplay with 3D, beautiful landscapes, rich environments. Then with a nice innovative twist, we’re taking Sonic in a different direction, slow him down and he transforms into a ‘Werehog.’ And that changes the gameplay again. For fans of Sonic that have been looking for a next-gen experience, this is the game they’ve been waiting for." 

I have faith in Sonic. Sonic Unleashed looks like it could be a triumphant return to the top for Sega’s classic mascot. I guess we’ll just have to wait until November to find out for sure.

[via GameDaily]


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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