You know, there are some well respected scientists who are convinced that there exists a bunch of parallel universes in which things are similar to our own, but have some slight differences. Let’s imagine for a while we live in one of those universes, the one where Boom the game isn’t terrible.
There are around 22 hours left of 2014 by the time I post this. Cast your mind back to nearly a year ago, when this happened. Exciting wasn’t it?
Now, let’s address one thing which I know a certain class of people will say “Well Sega never said that publicly!” and “They never intended for that to come out!” That really doesn’t work as a defence or as a counter claim for the following reasons.
1: That was a piece of official documentation given to the press, every single member of the press was more than free to say ‘Year of Sonic’ following the embargo date. That is an official document from Sega stating that they see 2014 as being ‘The Year of Sonic.’
2: It did come out. It came out 24 hours prior to the intended date, but it so easily could have come out 24 hours after the event, at which point there would be none of this ‘Sega didn’t intend it to come out.’
So then, 2014, the year of Sonic. How did you all enjoy it?
Let’s get right to it. Sonic Boom has set back Sonic’s reputation by nearly a decade. After the disaster to Sonic, Sonic Team and Sega’s reputation which was Sonic 06, we are right back there again. If you were not around back in the time of 2006. Congratulations, you now know how it feels. The only difference is that the vast majority of people saw what Boom was and was prepared for a catastrophe, the only horror was how the game was even lower than the majority of negative expectations.
Anyway, let’s pretend for a moment that didn’t happen. That Boom was somewhere around Generations level of quality, e.g. a good-great game. How was it? Actually… let me put it another way.
Imagine Boom was a good-great game and you lived outside of the United States how was the year of Sonic?
It would still have been kinda naff.
The year of Sonic 2014 is in my opinion, especially if you live outside of the US was a complete non starter. Even if Boom the game was a success, the Year of Sonic was a doomed to fail concept which never saw any life.
Why? Well let’s look at it. Boom is supposed to have three main support pillars. Game, TV Show and Merchandise. How many regions have all three?
So far, only the United States.
How many countries have two? Just One, France.
Everywhere else has just the game or none at all. Put aside the fact that Sega have all but doomed the future reception of Boom in those other nations thanks to the quality of their first product for just a moment and think about it.
How can this be a year of Sonic when it’s no different than previous years, had less impact and less substance?
Now before there’s a flood of ‘EUROPE GETS EVERYTHING’ or “AMERICA GET’S EVERYTHING!” comments which normally follow stuff like this. First of all, grow up. Not every nation can get every single announcement or idea, there’s always going to be some things specific to a region.
However this one is different. Sega announced that this would be ‘The Year of Sonic.’ They then went onto their blog and relayed all the exciting information. There was no ‘it’ll be coming to the UK or other regions by the end of 2015,’ it was 2014 is the year of Sonic.
Following on from other ‘Year of’ Such as Luigi who saw a huge worldwide promotion of him as a character and from other so called ‘year of’ promotions in other media which saw an equal share of promotion worldwide. Sega knew exactly what it was doing with this one. In fact I wouldn’t doubt it if it were someone in a marketing meeting said ‘Well Nintendo just did Year of Luigi!’ without thinking about having content to back that up.
Some people might be thinking ‘well the merchandise will come when the TV Show does. How I wish I shared your belief, outside of America, especially in Europe, video game merchandise is in shockingly short supply except if your game is called Minecraft.
Despite a strong showing at various toy and merchandise shows, video game merchandise, especially Sonic merch in Europe seems to get a very poor showing. Jazwares is a grand example of this, despite having their own UK office and promoting new distribution partners in the UK, what was release was painfully small compared to the US.
Should Tomy decide to release their Boom toys in Europe, I will be very surprised if it’s the entire range shown so far in the United States is released in Europe, it has never happened before and I very much doubt it will happen for a long time.
But aside from that. Only one nation got all three of the main pillars, so why should anyone else care or feel that this year was any different even if Boom were any good?
For that matter, even if you live in the United States, even if Boom were good, there seems to be major lack of what was promised.
Skip to 1:40 in this video.
40 licenses… and growing… On The Sonic Stadium Message Board, we have been trying to keep track of these 40 licenses. Here are the ones we know of…
- Tomy – toys
- Archie – Comics/books.
- T-Shirts – Kohls
- Icee – Slush Drink
- Dog Tags – Bulls-i-toy.
And that’s about it. Nothing else has been released and nothing else has been announced. So about that other 35? And no, the games do not count since they are commissioned by Sega not directly licensed out/Sega does not have to put a bid in to get a license for what it already owns.
Then again, look at the language used in that initiation. “2014 will mark a renaissance for Sonic the Hedgehog.” Ok stop right there… The Renaissance is seen by many as the time when mankind started to put more focus and spread more ideas about all kinds of culture ranging from art to science. A rebirth of ideology for a new world… Anyone feel like Sonic has done that, in a good way?
But wait, I hear someone, the comics! The comics are good! Yeah… I imagine the minority of fans who have access to them will be thrilled. Nobody outside the fandom reads them, and it’s a minority spin off within the fandom who has access to them and again, their availability is very limited. But really? Comics? I love comics, don’t get me wrong, but this isn’t what I would say gives your character or franchise a ‘year of’ status. Otherwise every year would be the year of Resident Evil, Silent Hill and we’d also have had a Year of Resistance Fall of Man.
Nearly 12 months ago, during such a pomp and bombastic show, the worlds media at an invite only event with a huge announcement that followed along with such claims and promises. Such little has been delivered.
In a parallel universe, they have Boom the game, they have the cartoon, they have the toys and life is good, but in this universe, they have the same stuff we do, and some are thinking “When does the Year of Sonic actually start?” We’re still waiting for ours, even if the game had been good, 2014 certainly didn’t feel like it marked “a renaissance for Sonic the Hedgehog.”
Well, less than 24 hours to go and 2015 will be here, maybe the Year of Sonic will begin then… … … … Sonic Team are making mobile phone games now.