If gamers started embracing a bit of fear over the future of the Sonic franchise due to Sega's move away from console-based titles and their focus on free-to-play mobile games and online PC games. Well, the lead designer from Sonic Team has stepped forward to calm fears and assuage the panic that some Sonic fans may have taken up after Sega's recent announcement.
Tzzsznews is reporting that in a recent interview with 4Gamer head of Sonic Team, Takashi Iizuka commented about the state of Sonic's future and whether or not we would ever see the blue hedgehog on home consoles again. According to Iizuka...
“Currently we don’t. Now this product only, select the smart phone as a friendly platform to the user’s, just say F2P and that was suitable for there. Personally, I don’t plan to stop Sonic for home-video game consoles. Don’t worry about them! And enjoy!”
That's a great way to approach the situation.
Sonic Runners is Sega's latest effort to monetize the Sonic franchise after a abysmal sales from Sonic Boom on both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. The game helped contribute to a very poor third quarter for Sega. They ended up announcing that they were shifting their studio out of San Francisco and force-retiring 300 of their employees.
A lot of fans saw it as Sega completely abandoning the hardcore market. They did mention that they would be focusing more-so on mobile titles and online PC titles. This kind of left a bit of a question mark for franchises like Football Manager, which have historically been quite popular with a certain demographic, as well as the Total War franchise from Creative Assembly. The series received a recent release called Total War: Attila. I haven't been keeping track of what people have been saying about the game but there haven't been any big campaigns that I've come across recently about the game failing to live up to its promised potential.
Sega also had quite a few other missteps with other games like Aliens: Colonial Marines not only tarnishing the publisher's name but also working a real number on the reputation of Gearbox Software.
Sega was able to recover some of their rep with Alien: Isolation, a sort of midquel between the first Alien movie and James Cameron's Aliens. The game garnered some pretty big positive feedback from gamers and critics alike. The sales of the game were pretty decent, too. However, Alien: Isolation couldn't subsidize the piss-poor sales of Sonic Boom, which was laden with bugs, glitches and poorly constructed gameplay mechanics. The sales of the game fell so far below expectations that the whole thing just had to be chucked up as a massive loss.
Despite Sonic Runners being designed for mobile titles, I actually have to admit that the game looks like a really fun title. It appears to hearken back to the day when Sonic games were all about having fun and moving fast.
Hopefully Iizuka holds to his word and we get to see more Sonic titles for the home consoles some time in the future. And hopefully the games will focus on more of the fun and immersion that the team managed to capture in titles like Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations.