Sonic Frontiers Takes the Blue Speedster to Open-World Gameplay

Sonic Frontiers is the newest adventure for the little blue speedster coming our way. Even though there have been numerous spin-offs, sequels, and reimaginings for this beloved franchise, everything has been rather hit or miss. A short trailer teased something that many fans of the racing hedgehog have been wanting for years. Which is an open-world Sonic the Hedgehog game. It appears that this new installment is going to deliver exactly that. Now, many fans of Sonic have been denied such an ambitious step from this IP most likely due to the restriction of hardware. Having a supersonic marsupial blazing across the map will require tons of memory and other technological factors. Before this, it is a safe assumption to think that the developers would have considered an open-world infeasible due to the size and speed factor that would have made the world feel “too small.”

Whatever the case, we’re finally getting a true blue open-world Sonic game. It is exciting to think about. The story centers around Dr. Robotnik trying to resurrect an ancient technology that can decimate the planet. Of course, Sonic is tasked with stopping this by rescuing his captured friends and investigating what this technology is all about. There is more than what meets the eye and Sonic will have an epic mystery to solve during this new adventure. There is a lot to unravel here. Despite that Sonic and company are going to foray into the open-world format, the core gameplay seems to be intact. This is going to be a very different experience from other titles like Sonic Colors and certainly Sonic Unleashed.

Blazing a New Blue Trail

When it comes to the story, Sonic Boom scribe Ian Flynn is writing the narrative. This makes this newest installment a little more hopeful for fans out there. As far as gameplay is concerned, Sonic Frontiers could be a slightly different animal from its predecessors. Now, even though this new adventure is technically “open-world,” Sega is coining it as an “open-zone” game. The map will be laid out with different biomes which will be rather immense in size and fully explorable. This entire area will be called “Starfall Islands” which will be broken up into vastly different regions. Evidently, there is a  new threat that is enclosing around Starfall Islands that goes far beyond the plans of the bumbling, yet surprisingly tenacious Dr. Robotnik.

What this enemy is currently under wraps, but apparently Dr. Robotnik tried using his custom-made hacking software called, “SAGE” to take control of this mysterious tech. Of course, this woke up this menace and now the entire world is in danger. This is briefly showcased in the trailer. They appear to be cybernetic foes of some kind that do not only have the ability to fly, but also burrow underground. It looks like Sonic has his work cut out for him. This new enemy will obviously give him a run for this money and overcoming them won’t be easy. They seem to be just as quick as the blue blur and it looks like they have the ability to home in on him. Sonic will have all of his signature moves, of course. Thus, there will be some new surprises up his sleeve to accommodate this new format. This game will be a very different experience from other incarnations and it is going to be an interesting experiment for all parties involved.

Pace and Race Yourself

Even though the map is custom-made for Sonic to zoom through, there will also be slower-paced areas that will encourage exploration. The footage shown in the trailer teases this, a little bit. Crumbling ruins, mysterious monoliths, erected sierras, dense forests, flowery fields, and extraterrestrial fortresses will be at players’ fingertips. There looks like there will be carved out pathways to race through, but Sonic will be able to break away from his speeding mindset to poke around and find things. There is a good bet that this will have side-quests and challenges which are synonymous with other open-world games out there. Hopefully, Sega will provide reasons for players to look around and be enticed to discover hidden secrets. Whether or not the Choas Emeralds, gold rings, or power-ups will be an element to the gameplay is unknown.

Plus, it is not entirely clear if Sonic Frontiers will be a stand-alone adventure or if it will have some connective tissue to other installments. The design of the overworld is going for a more grounded and Earthy look, which is a stark contrast to the whimsical, checkered layout of past installments. The world in this game is more akin to titles like The Witcher and maybe even Event Horizon. The landscape looks pretty barren right now, but this is a given since this title is in early development. There will be more to learn in the coming months. If nothing else, the trailer lets gamers gain their bearings and get a general sense of what to expect. Sega has been opening themselves up to their fans over the years and they are taking their criticism to heart. The outcry of Sonic’s design from the early trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog movie is only a part of it. There have been many fanmade open-world Sonic games and mods in which Sega took notice which undoubtedly inspired them to make this title.

Own The Zone

Hopefully, Sega will finally craft the quintessential next-gen Sonic game that fans have been begging for 20 years. Maybe, with today’s specs, Sega will be able to hit all the right notes regarding what fans will want with an open-world Sonic game. There is still a lot of work to be done and until some gameplay footage is shown, everything is just a guessing game at this point. Other characters making an appearance isn’t even concrete, but it has become a tradition at this point. At the very least, Tails and Knuckles could show up to lend a helping hand. Sonic Frontiers is scheduled to be released during the holiday season of 2022 for PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.

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