The Spin: Polish It On The Fanbase


Disclaimer: The views in this piece may not reflect the views of TSS or other writers on the staff team. The intention of The Spin is to promote debate and discussion of an issue or something that’s happening in the fandom or the world of Sonic.

Now… I’m not saying that I’m responsible for Sega suddenly announcing that Sonic Boom Fire & Ice is delayed… despite it coming almost exactly a week after I asked ‘What is going on with Sonic Boom Fire & Ice’. I’m not saying I’m responsible, but… … … aliens!

Now then, I should be talking about based on this poll the language we use to talk about Sonic games, specifically, in that how we talk about them right now probably isn’t doing ourselves and favours. But more on that later.

Today what we’re going to talk about is Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice. Or specifically, one particular part of today’s news/reaction to it which is both puzzling to me, and in some cases making me a little annoyed. I touched on this in the last instalment of ‘The Spin’ that being this…


“It’s going to be way better than the first one”

So I asked ‘well… if it is that better, why have we not heard anything about it?’ today, we learn that the game has been delayed.

So what’s the problem? Well… quite a lot, but first, let’s get as much information out there.

What is Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice?

It’s a 3DS game which is a ‘sequel’ to Shattered Crystal, made by the same guys who made Shattered Crystal, which was also on the same platform, it’s pretty much a direct sequel to Shattered Crystal.

When was it Announced?

June 9th 2015.

When Did Development Start?

This is very difficult to say, given what was shown in the trailer, it must have been in development for a good few months, however given the ambitions for Boom, odds are it was in production either close to the end or immediately after Shattered Crystal/Rise of Lyric was released.

Talk Development to me…

Ok lets talk some development for a bit.

From a technical standpoint, Boom: Fire & Ice isn’t a ‘new’ game, not really, it’s going to be using a lot of the same assets from Shattered Crystal, those ring sound effects, they’ll be from SC, character models, might be some slight changes, but the majority will be from SC, various game code will also be used from SC, quite a lot for this game already exists, it just needs tweaking and some ‘tinkering’ done to it.

However there will obviously need to be some new development, but most of the main assets are already there.

Was an Oct/Nov 2015 release Date Unreasonable?

Hard to say but… probably not… Mmmmm it’s hard because we don’t know exactly when development started, nor do we know the full scale of the game, but… it’s probably not that unreasonable. Sanzaru Games are clearly talented enough to do it, they’ve clearly got the equipment and resources to do it. Soooo… what’s going on?

How long has The Game Been Delayed for?

We don’t know… currently, the game was due out if the fast food promotion (which is still live on their website) at some point around October-November which also ties in with some information we got during the initial announcement.

So lets call it November 25th which is the last Wednesday in November. That means this game has at least 1 month of extra development time.

But odds are it won’t come out in January, if it did, it’s 1 extra month.

But odds are it’ll be ‘early 2016’ so… probably 3 months?

Is That Enough Time To Do Anything?

If it comes out in January, No… it’s not. It’s not. You might be one of those people who think it is, but it’s not, if you think it is, you’re wrong. Yes you are. You can only do very very little things, like some aesthetic changes and maybe some small deeper level technical stuff, certainly not core gameplay changes.

If it gets an extra 3 months… not very much. In game development, this isn’t much time, you can’t do or change too much in that time since the smallest change can impact a ton of stuff, at the most you might try to play around with some memory, optimisation, graphical improvements/changes… not very much, certainly nothing like ‘yeah add another stage’ we’re talking some aesthetic changes and maybe if they have some very good programmers, some kind of performance optimization.

…But we don’t know this because we’ve not been given a release date.

Why Was the Delay Announced Today?

Now… a conspiracy theorist might claim that… today is the first day of TGS, and the announcement game around Sony’s conference at TGS, that would be a fine day to release news which you don’t want difficult questions on.

But we can’t know this for sure, but it sure is an interesting thing to point out.

So What’s The Problem?

Ok, games get delayed, I have no problem with that (although it’s annoying), my problem is this…

What does that even mean?

I’m serious, polish is normally used when you describe the visual appearance of a game, have you ever seen the slur ‘a polished turd is still a turd?’ That’s because the core gameplay is bad, it might look nice and pretty, but if the core gameplay is boring or dull, it’ll still be a dull game but it just looks nice.

Heavy Rain is a great example of this, now I like Heavy Rain, but does it have great gameplay… Mmmmm not really… but as an overall product, I like it, however I know and fully understand why a lot of people don’t.

So lets go back to Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice for a moment. What exactly is being polished? I ask this, because you’ve not shown anything for months! The only thing we have had is this trailer.


The trailer is 1:54 long, the first 33 seconds does not show any footage. Then it shows some very uninspired footage which looks very similar to the original game which clearly isn’t running off native hardware but development tools. Some of the footage is CG sequences and title cards, and I’m pretty sure the trailer actually recycles some footage in the rapid montage right at the end. So in total, about 60 seconds.

It’s not a good trailer, it shows us very little about the game.

Since then… nothing.

So what exactly is being polished? An alpha build running on development tools? Yeah I would expect that to get some polish.

What’s been polished? The boxes the game will come in? Well I guess they will be getting dusty since they won’t be shipping now it’s been delayed. What’s being polished?

Then there’s this bit too which many supporters of the title are quoting like crazy to say that this is a good thing.


Focus on the quality and add polish… to what? We don’t know, because we’ve been shown nothing on the game, nobody outside of Sega/Sanzaru have played it, there’s not been any press events under ‘controlled’ conditions to play it, there has been nothing.

We don’t know if this is framerate problem, memory, optimisation, aesthetics one of the voice actors has a throat infection, we don’t know anything… because Sega have chosen to keep the game behind the curtain.

So Why are So Many People Saying This is a Good Thing?

The game was due out in just over a month, by now there should have been far more information on it, regardless of the delay, by now there should have been a lot more. Unless there was something that Sega didn’t want people to see or some reason why the game couldn’t be put out in the public even as a demo build.

Now… the decision to delay was obviously not a quick one, odds are it’s been planned for weeks if not a month or so, the problem here is that Sega have not shown a thing about the game so we can’t explain why.

Which leads me to suspect the game has either got a major problem which cannot be fixed via patching or put off as a ‘known shippable’… or there has been some major problem internally at Sanzaru with the development.

And people before say ‘what about SOA’s move?’ to that I say, Nintendo are handling publishing everywhere outside of America and even though you’re moving, you don’t stop doing a thing, especially when the project is handled externally.

I think that there’s either a major problem with the game, or internally there is a huge problem on the development team. Otherwise, would someone at Sega please explain why we have been shown nothing since announcement, especially since up until 24 hours ago, this game was targeted for November 2015?

You cannot improve gameplay in a month, in 3 months you can’t get away with radically redesigning a game, you can only make some improvements or minor alterations on a purely technical level.

So why are so many people praising this move to delay the game based off barely 60 seconds of gameplay footage and a handful of screenshots? What are you polishing from that entire 60 seconds or development hardware footage?

For people saying ‘this is a good thing’ what exactly is being ‘polished’ or changed? What are you expecting? Very little can be done in the time remaining.

Hasn’t This Happened Before?


Oh yeah… that one.

Anyone remember how this game got leaked via Partnernet beta leaked and people were horrified about the gameplay and levels, especially that minecart stage?

The game was delayed and we were told that the game would play more like a MegaDrive/Classic/Genesis title and some changes would be made to stages.

What happened?

The Minecart stage was replaced on the consoles/PC builds and I think one other level got a major change… otherwise… nothing. Other than one or two visual changes, the gameplay was exactly the same nothing like what we were promised or led to believe. The physics of the game were unchanged. Whilst the removal of the minecart level was a huge positive, the core problem with Sonic 4 was the physics and overall gameplay, not a single gimmicky level.

There is however one difference between Fire & Ice and Sonic 4… with Sonic 4 we knew what the problems were and what should be fixed, Fire & Ice however… we don’t know, it could be something like graphical improvements, framerate, memory or… anything.

So how can you be confident in Sega fixing a problem/improving a game which you have no set level of quality on?

Why Are People Worried About Their Pre-Orders?

I have seen this posted a lot by different people and… I don’t get it. Now first of all, I’m not against pre-orders, in fact I fully support it if it’s for a limited boxed run of a game (something like what Retro City Rampage recently did) or a collectors edition of a game which has something you really like the look off, though mainly if it’s for an established franchise you know you like.

But this has no limited run, it has no collectors edition, it’s just a standard game… of which we’ve had no information on.

Today we’ve learned that it’s been delayed for some unknown reason. So for nearly 4 months there has been no information about what the game is like, how well it performs or what you can expect from it. Yet you’ve still pre-ordered it? WHY!?

You have just said to Sega ‘it’s ok for you to not provide me with any information on a game, I don’t need to know how well a game performs or what it’s like, I’m still giving you my money.’ People like this are encouraging this business practice, it’s amazingly anti-consumer and just encourages companies to do this…


Take a stance for once, start asking them why there has been no new trailers? No demos? No screenshots? No press releases, No press events or anything which says ‘this is our game, we have confidence in it!’ And if you get something which satisfies you, go ahead pre-order, don’t just pre-order it on 60 seconds of a development hardware build and a promise it’ll be good.

Anyone remember when Sonic Generations was coming out? We had a new press assets every month, there was new material every month. That whole pre-release campaign was full of confidence.

Boom: Fire & Ice however has been… this.


You want my pre-order? You want my purchase, stop keeping the game behind that curtain, show it! If it really is as good as you’re hinting at, if you’re really improving it, show us it.

I can’t trust the words of PR anymore when it comes to games, I don’t care how great a job they’re doing on social media, when it comes to actual tangible products I need to see it to judge, especially when it comes to Sonic, I could list names, I could so easily list the names of PR people in the past who have either deliberately mislead or in some cases out rightly lied about Sonic games to try and boost sales or impressions. I’m done playing that.

Show us the game.

Next Time on The Spin

So long as nothing else happens, maybe we’ll talk about the language we use when talking about Sonic games, and maybe we’ll also come around to this true Sonic spirit thing, because boy howdie I sure have a lot to say on this ‘edge’ thing which has been doing the rounds this week.


  1. I see your point. I think you’ve handled explaining your points better here than on SSMB tbh.

    Thing is, this delay was likely planned awhile back. After all, large corporations have a pretty strong inertia and it takes awhile for major decisions like deadline shifts to get the all clear from everybody. If a complete reworking were in the works, then it would make sense to hold back on marketing materials until you have a good idea of what the reworking will entail. Yet again, it shouldn’t be too hard for Sega to simply say “hi we’re changing everything, more trailers coming after all the concepts have been finalized” or something.

    Perhaps an interview would clear things up. I doubt Sega PR would know the specifics about the state of Fire and Ice, but it could certainly tell us what’s going on with marketing. You could even use it as opportunity to criticize Sega’s handling of Fire and Ice. Of course an interview do risk lies, but at least we got our demands through.

    1. As for why people think this is a good thing, look no further than Rise of Lyric and Lost World. The former is a glitchy mess and the latter is screaming for polish, both because Sega didn’t delay them. Thus people see this and think maybe Sega did get something out of those games after all.

      Of course that isn’t necessarily true, but that’s the prevailing thought.

      1. The problem is that ROL would need a year and a complete grounds up re-design to be decent. Lost world is kinda the same but only because the issues with that are very deep in the game, but what’s build up on it isn’t so bad…

        However ROL is like Bad with bad built on it with more bad smothered on top.

        1. If RoL had more time, it would have least been as good as the Werehog stages from Unleashed. That isn’t good in its own right, but its miles more fun and playable than “bad with more bad smothered in bad”, as you so perfectly put it. Plus an extra year or so could have very well given BRB the time to retool it from the ground up.

          Ah, I should probably stop talking about what could have been and start talking about what we have here. People do tend to cite Lost World and RoL as reasons to be positive about the delay. Given how fans are still feeling the sting from those games and looking for answers as to how or if Sega is going to recover from them, I don’t blame them for thinking that way, flawed as that way of thinking may be.

          Personally, I’m taking an agnostic position on the matter until I get concrete evidence of what F&I entails.

          1. If ROL’s combat had actual combos and played like a character action game and if the puzzles weren’t button switches maybe it could had been that level of decent.

            Even if it didn’t play at a speedy pace, I would had continued to defend it had it had actual polish and real depth to it’s gameplay. Fixing up the bugs won’t change anything beyond the fact that it’ll still be mediocre at best.

          2. My point, however, was that its better to be mediocre than bad. Its easier to move on from mediocre. Werehog was mediocre, we moved on from that once Colors came out. Heroes was mediocre, we moved on from that once 06 came out. Sonic 06 was outright bad, and some fans still talk like it was released yesterday. Rise of Lyric was outright bad, and fans tend to talk like it represents the entirety of Boom as a result. If Rise of Lyric had been merely mediocre, we could have moved on a lot quicker and the other parts of Boom would not be as burdened by it as they are now.

  2. “I’m serious, polish is normally used when you describe the visual appearance of a game”

    No it isn’t.

        1. Very much so. “Polish” is not just graphics and sound, but testing out and tweaking the gameplay to make improvements and fix bugs.

          “For people saying ‘this is a good thing’ what exactly is being ‘polished’ or changed? What are you expecting? Very little can be done in the time remaining.”

          You have no clue how much time they added to fix or polish up things so how the heck do you know very little can be done?

          1. Because I know/have a really good idea how game development works.

            You can’t get a lot done in a 1 month period, you certainly can’t change core gameplay mechanics in a 3 month period.

          2. I think his point was that we don’t know if there is going to be a three month period at all. Yes, it is true that you can’t change core mechanics in three months, however, we don’t even have any evidence that the game will be released within three months besides “Well, Sega did something like that three years ago”. Or, for that matter, any evidence that the hypothetical core gameplay changes weren’t being made before this announcement– its very likely, after all, that the delay was planned long before the announcement. Heck, we don’t even know if these hypothetical core gameplay changes are being planned at all.

            There’s just so much we don’t know that its hard to say either way. Its not a bad thing to speculate, but speculation does not necessarily entail cold hard truth. Its also not a bad thing to demand more information about the game, but we need to be careful not to assume certain truths about the game until the demanded information is received (for example, how long the delay is or what is being changed).

          3. @Hogfather

            You don’t even need to have a good grasp on how video game development of this scale generally goes to know that 3 months is not enough to change core aspects of the game.
            But remember how they patched Lost World a few times and addressed pretty big complaints with the game? 100 rings doesn’t give you lives, and the Wisps controls. That is polishing a game, 3 months is plenty of time to do that and more.

            Also, don’t mistake this for me defending the game, I’m just dropping my two cents. Fire & Ice is gonna suck regardless of if they delay it or not.

      1. Im pretty sure the term polish is also used to fix glitches, slight adjustments to physics, and things like that as well.

  3. I’m pretty sure they meant polish towards gameplay. In several reviews, articles, and interviews today… polish is a term used to ensure quality. “Stones aren’t unturned” is what the term means in these cases. I don’t see the big issue.

    As for why the delay is said to be good thing, well…. Why not? I say it’s a good thing not because I think the game looks bad, but because in general, it’s just more time for them to make it better, whether we know if its flaws or not. I wish we knew more on the game, I really do, but there’s nothing wrong with delaying the game if Sanzaru sees problems with it. We (at least those who are actually looking at gameplay and not just calling this a turd for it being “Sonic Boom”) don’t see anything necessarily bad about 60 seconds of gameplay, but they do, and they don’t want us to have a crappy launch. It doesn’t really harm anything to delay it when people aren’t that excited for it at all. That, however, goes into the advertising for it. I just want the game to be advertised… having news every once in a while. It’s been months. Delaying it is how they can add more to it, so I don’t see how it couldn’t be a good thing.

  4. Far as development time goes there isn’t an exact date however we do know its been in development well before ROL and Shattered Crystal’s release.


    I don’t see why this would be a bad thing (concerning the delay) Polish can extend to anything really, we now know progress has begun before ROL and Shattered Crystal’s release and that’s great but you can’t set a release date when there isn’t one, this is all speculation/up in the air at this point.

    Sega’s blog post goes onto stating it wont just be this Sonic title but all future titles moving forward and went on claiming how important that is to Sega now, given how Sega’s CEO is aiming to make Sega a better more respectable brand, you may recall this statement *”I believe that if we can’t maintain quality, it would be better to not release anything at all.”* Might also recall At this point they want to make that message clear, I think this is a good stepping stone for the future, Obviously we can’t know for sure but I for one rather be hopeful and hold them to what they say rather than being so pessimistic towards the whole thing.

    Sega has a lot to prove, this might be their last chance to be that game changer.

    only time will tell.

  5. I think people are mostly positive because they consider it symbolic.
    “Hooray, Sega finally cares about quality that they’re willing to delay.”
    Like it’s to emphasize the promises the new CEO has made.
    That it’s Fire and Ice, one of the least anticipated Sonic game in it’s history is beside the point, it’s symbolic.
    So more “Sega finally changed.” rather then “This game will be good.”

    Also, not sure if Heavy Rain is a good example of your point, since story/ emotion telling is the focus and gameplay is merely there to enhance the story rather then be a true game.
    In that game’s case, I would consider graphic polishing way more important then for a straight platform game or arcade game where the enjoyment is entirely relying on gameplay mechanics.

    1. [I]”Emotion telling is the focus and gameplay is merely there to enhance the story rather than be a true game”[/I]

      But… you just agreed with me lol. How can it have good gameplay when gameplay isn’t the focus?

      1. Oh right, I read you wrong.
        You needed a nice clean universal example of a game where gameplay polish is irrelevant, and that’s hard to do with a platformer.
        Hence a more apples versus oranges example.
        Okay, never mind my comment then.

  6. Again, I don’t think anybody was saying the game will be good because of the delay. A lot of people are pleased with the fact that Sega went ahead and delay a game. If they stay true to their word and apply this to future games then it’s a good sign.

    No offense but people preordering the game isn’t really worth getting your blood boiled. I understand your points as to why your against it but … What else can we do about it?

  7. I said it before and I’ll say it again.

    This is classic, classic Sonic fandom responses to any game that is not a remake of Sonic 2/S3&K. The game will suck, SEGA is clueless morons, fans know beter, blah blah blah.

    I “love” how nearly everyone here is utterly convinced the game is going to suck based on 60 seconds of gameplay in an early build demo, that just a real touch of class coming from not the fans but writers who claim to be impartial. Takes me back to the days of Sonic 4 episode one and how a mere five seconds of game footage from the first trailer was enough to label it a turd in the making.

    No wonder SEGA and Sonicteam is busy looking for new fans these days.

    1. You know… comments like this really piss me off, if you want to see if you have support for whatever agenda you clearly have, head over to the forums and make a topic as to why people hate everything and all we want is a remake of *insert game here* and see how quickly your argument is destroyed.

      What in the article says that the game is going to absolutely suck? In fact if you actually want to take the time to read the last article I wrote regarding Sonic Boom Fire & Ice I said this…

      “Do I believe this game will be a masterpiece? Probably not.
      Do I believe this game will be the worst thing every released? Don’t be stupid, of course not.
      Do I think this game will be somewhere between an ok and an average game? Odds are, yeah most likely.”

      Here’s the link if you can’t be bothered to go search yourself:

      Did you actually read any of this article? Only I fail to see why the that remake line has anything to do with what’s said here, the content of this update is about the delay and why it’s probably not good news for the title given the lack of information about it and the fact that if it were not delayed there should be tons out by now. How people pre-ordering this game are encoruraging a bad business practice given there is nothing to justify their faith at all given how secretive Sega have been with regards to the product.

      Also that looking for new fans these days, oh get a life.

    2. “This is classic, classic Sonic fandom responses to any game that is not a remake of Sonic 2/S3&K.”

      This is classic strawman against anyone who dares to point out the flaws of any Sonic game from 1995 onward. No one is asking for a remake of those games because they’re perfect as is and video game remakes in general are pointless and unnecessary. Also, this remark has nothing to do with the article.

      “The game will suck, SEGA is clueless morons, fans know better, blah blah blah.”

      Considering all the stupid stunts SEGA has pulled for the last two decades are so, how can that not be anyone’s first thoughts.

      “Takes me back to the days of Sonic 4 episode one and how a mere five seconds of game footage from the first trailer was enough to label it a turd in the making.”

      And yet when the game came out, it was the turd everyone had called it all along. Go figure.

      “No wonder SEGA and Sonicteam is busy looking for new fans these days.”

      Too bad the age group they keep targeting are too busy screaming obscenities to each other on “mature and edgy” games like CoD and GTA to ever notice a “lame baby game” like Sonic.

  8. Hogfather seriously needs to start acting like a goddamn ADULT.

    “I think Sega’s doing the right thing for once–” “WAAH WAAH SHOW US SOME SCREENSHOTS!!!”
    “But what about the material they showed at PAX–” “LA LA LA NOT LISTENING RIGHTEOUS FURY!!!”
    “But don’t you think that this is an improvement over–” “WHY ISN’T ANYBODY ELSE SCREAMING?!?!?!”
    “I think you might be overreacting–” “I THINK YOU’RE UNDER-REACTING. :-(”

    If you weren’t a mod, they would have kicked you off the forums years ago for acting like that. The fact that you continue to write these hit pieces disguised as “Spins” only accentuates this.

    1. Yeah because this kind of criticism about the article totally isn’t childish and an exaggeration. Also would you mind pointing out where I’ve insulted people who think the delay is a good thing? I take it you are going to do that since you’ve accused me of doing that on your tumblr blog so… wanna point that out?

    2. I don’t agree with all of Hogfathers views, but you are being highly disrespectful. He does think through what he posts and he has demonstrated good knowledge of how video games and the video game industry works. Here he seems more frustrated than whiny.

      Plus the staff at SSMB has called him out on any mistragressions he’s made in regard to this incident and others. He’s not getting special treatment because he writes things for the website, believe me.

      1. The only real issue here which I admit I could be wrong with, is my definition of the word ‘polish’ when applied to gaming.

        And the reason for this is simple. Language for describing games, especially development isn’t really defined, for instance, if I criticised a game by saying ‘this game needs more polish’ which in itself is a poor way to describe a game, that could be interpreted in a whole manner of ways, whereas ‘the controls need ‘tightening’, would suggest that there is an issue with ‘sloppy’ controls, or that it’s not as responsive… or two responsive.

        See the problem? We use these metaphors to describe problems with game development instead of the actual problem.

        For example, there is a screen teering issue, this is a specific problem which we can identify and understand, or the character’s Y & Z axis speed reduction is too low, we can probably guess that the character doesn’t slow down as we would expect it too, or that there is a control problem which needs more investigation.

        Now with the ‘polish’ thing, I for one have worked in environments where that word is used to describe aesthetics/graphical elements. However, as these comments have shown, others tend to use it for more general or a wider selection of issues with a game.

        The reason being is that we don’t have a clear defined agreed on language to describe games, we tend to use metaphor and similie, but none of this has ever been agreed, you might find some random online dictionaries who say ‘this is what it means’ but the reality is that none of these words or terminology has been fully agreed upon.

        In the past some developers have tried to tie down a language or terms which can be universally applied, but the issue is similar to the problem with HTML5, the guys who can influence who it should be used don’t all agree on the terms.

        1. I’m glad that you admitted that. I agree that a word’s connotation and by extension meaning can be very difficult to discern. Though not quite as contested as, say, the meaning of art, polish has a lot of definitions floating around that we should be conscious of.

          If anything, I understand the confusion here, since Sega never elaborates on what exactly is receiving polish in Firs and Ice. It had better elaborate soon though…

          I’m guessing this is going to get a mention on the new language for Sonic thing?

          1. “Firs and Ice”

            Oh MC, why must you make typos like that? Now I’m imaging Boom Sonic and friends running around a forest in Washington State…

            I can’t wait to read the language article though.

    3. 4.5/10
      Troll harder and incorporate “Sanic” somewhere.

      Also, you’re username is “NervousWreck96”. Makes it too obvious.

  9. Hogfather, I absolutely agree. Sonic fans must demand more of SEGA of America and the PR team than they are currently being given.

    Unfortunately, SEGA of America is pretty bad at acknowledging fan feedback if it points out flaws.

    They’re like that kid who wants input on their project but will only validate or acknowledge it if people say it’s perfect just the way it is in an effort to boost the kid’s ego.

    It’s a policy of ignore it until it goes away; of short-term gain and long term loss. Always a losing strategy. I understand that they, as a whole, are kept on a pretty short leash when it comes to SEGA of Japan, but that is no excuse for their deliberate ignorance.

    What do you think would be a solution on the fandom’s part for dealing with a company that doesn’t want to hear valid criticism? Demand stellar games and don’t give them a dime until they deliver in full?

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