Sonic Frontiers designed to be ‘cornerstone of future Sonic games,’ says Takashi Iizuka

The next evolution of the blue hedgehog's 3D adventures.

Image via Sonic Team

While the release date for the upcoming Sonic Frontiers remains elusive, further details from the developers at Sonic Team point toward the game’s heavy burden to deliver to hardcore Sonic fans.

While speaking with Game Informer about the project, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka admitted the hope from the start would be to “create a game that would be the cornerstone of future Sonic games”. That is only if Sonic Frontiers’ new open-world formula proves to be a hit.

3D has proven to be a difficult environment for the Sonic franchise to find success in previously, as made clear by the very diverse reactions to the two Sonic releases of 2017: Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania. The latter hearkened back to the franchise’s 2D platforming origins and resonated with both fans and critics alike, while the new approach to 3D taken by Sonic Forces left more to be desired.

“Whenever we work on the concept of a new game, we always refer to the reaction to the previous games and user feedback,” Iizuka explained.

With the diversions that Sonic Frontiers is taking from the classic formula, it’s fair to see why the developers are waiting to see fan reactions to the full release before adopting the open zones, RPG mechanics, and greater focus on combat in future Sonic titles. But that doesn’t change the fact that Sonic Frontiers was designed, from the start, to be a foundation from which to build.

Whether that foundation proves to be a revitalizing boost to Sonic‘s recent trend of mixed reception remains to be seen, but Iizuka appears confident in the direction the team has taken to the 3D environment and the focus on “freedom” Frontiers has compared to previous releases.

“With previous 3D Sonic games, it was difficult to give the players freedom. That’s because you need a path to provide a high-speed experience, and you could only play on that path. The open-zone concept gets rid of that path and provides an action experience with freedom.”

Sonic Frontiers remains slated for a holiday 2022 release, but it is still missing a specific release date.