The Spin: What is Going on With Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice?

spin

I think I have figured out the marketing strategy for Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice. Sega is the Wizard, Dorothy & Friends are the fans, I feel like Toto…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubIpoPjBUds

I get it Sega, you know Rise of Lyric wasn’t very good. You know fan reception of Boom has for the most part been poor, you know this, and we know this, but this is now getting silly.

What is going on with Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice?

Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice was announced on June 9th and since then there has been absolutely no information on it. Well actually that’s not ‘quite’ true. TSS managed to interview with Sanzaru games about Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice about a month later, since then, nothing.

Then last week, news of a promotional toyline for a fast food chain is announced? What? We’re getting promotional/release like adverts for the game, yet we’ve not seen or heard of anything about the game for several months now?

What’s going on?

Ok, I get it, the initial reception for Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice wasn’t that great either, I’ve seen the youtube videos, read the articles, read all the ‘nobody asked for this game’ comments, I get why Sega is being quiet, I get why they’re not promoting this thing.

The problem is that it’s not doing Sega or Sanzaru any favours at all with the eventual reception, nor is it going to do the sales of the product and favours, if anything it’s going to harm them further.

Here is the issue I have with Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice right now, Sega have said some things, Sanzaru Games have said things, then there is this old gem from the Tumblr account.

boomtumblrYes it’s funny, yes it’s great work  by the social media, yes it’s going to get people talking, yes it’s a great distraction from the bad news of last year. Hell so far it’s one of the most popular images ever on the TSS Twitter account, it’s a great use of social media.

So why are you not backing this up? I get it’s a ‘joke’, I get that it’s keeping in line with social media, especially for a videogame outlet, but whilst I can laugh at the joke, I would really like to see some kind of validity for this.

Sonic Boom Fire & Ice has not had the following.

  • A second trailer.
  • A second batch of screenshots.
  • An E3 build/demo.
  • A Gamescom Build/Demo
  • A Tokyo GameShow build/Demo (Not yet announced, but this was always unlikely).
  • Any preview events.

But despite all this, it’s believed to be out around mid October – mid November (I think), this is barely 2 months away.

sonicboomfireicecarlfastfood

How is THIS the first bit of news about a game since the announcement?

So here is my question, what is wrong with Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice? Why are you not showing it if there’s nothing wrong with it?

Yes, that is a loaded question, it’s deliberate, because if you tell me or hint ‘it’s a good/better game’ I want to see something that supports that, as I would anything I had an interest in. So why the silence? I can only assume it’s because of a lack of confidence in the product, otherwise why show it.

I know, it’s a negative stance to take, but what reason have you given me that it’ll be anything other?

Boom-3DS-05

Ok, so real even handed talk for a moment, in reality, here is my thoughts on Sonic Boom Fire & Ice.

  • 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.
  • Do I know for sure that this game will be that? No.
  • Why not? Because so far there has been nothing released to base any conclusions on.

What happens when people don’t get information about stuff? They panic, they assume the worst, very rarely do we assume the best, especially with games, especially with ones which have had a poor outing of late.

Boom-3DS-06

Can you blame us for doing this? Give me one reason why I should expect great things on a sequel to a game which at best was average and at worst was poor? What, because of a Tumblr tag? Because in one interview they said “Oh there will be less exploration” yet in the announcement press release they say that there will be “exploration” in the game?

Sorry, I don’t do this, I don’t play this ‘well it’s too early to judge’ game any more, you want my money, you want my support for this product, give me a reason to support it. Give me a reason not to assume the worst?

Frankly, odds are the game is somewhere around the ‘average/alright’ mark. Yet I don’t know that for sure, because there has been nothing to support that. All I have to go on is the engine & design of the previous game and the competency of the studio behind it, but that’s not judging the game, that’s judging an assumption, it’s a guess, I can’t do that, I need to see the game running, I need to know about it.

This wall of silence is doing nothing for me, I don’t care how good the game is, if you don’t show it, I will not buy it, if I do not have confidence in a product, I will not spend my money on it. So give me a reason to have confidence in it? Which isn’t ‘trust me, I’m a hedgehog.’

“Pay no attention to that game behind that curtain! Come back tomorrow!” 

Sorry, but I want to look behind that curtain, I want to have an idea as to what the game is like, I want to have some idea as to what we’re getting. Sega, it’s time to show off your game, regardless as to how good or bad it is, we need to know it’s actually at least playable, because right now we don’t even know that.

Look just let the staff of the main Sonic sites come in for a preview day and let us post our thoughts on it, right now, there it feels like there is no confidence at all in the product, if you’re not giving us the impression you have confidence in it, how do you expect us the customer to have any?

Boom-3DS-02

The fans who buy stuff all the time regardless of quality are always going to buy/be sales, the problem right now is everybody else who is on the fence or firmly in the ‘I need more information before I buy’ won’t part ways with their money unless you give them some indication as to what they’ll expect.

Nobody has any idea as to what the game will be like, so why would they buy it? Come on, show us something, keeping silent won’t improve sales, if anything it’s going to hurt them more, look at Platinum Games, they make great stuff, yet barely ever get decent promotion, sure enough the sales suffer. I can easily list tons more here but why waste time.

Why should I list more games which have suffered through lack of information? There is a more obvious way to prove this…

That being, all the screenshots used in this article are not from Fire & Ice, but from Shattered Crystal, however I doubt many fans would have noticed that had I not pointed it out due to the lack of information. If you did notice it, well done, here is a cookie. You are a Sonic fan, should we be surprised by that? If you didn’t notice it, then don’t you think there’s a problem with brand awareness? Or in this case, game/product awareness?

What about you lot? Say Fire & Ice came out tomorrow would you actually buy it? Forget about all the Boom Baggage for just one moment, just imagine it’s a ‘Sonic game’ which got announced, had one trailer, some screens and nothing else, would you…. wait no scrap that… Imagine there was a game you knew nothing about, would you seriously drop around £34.99 on it? Or would you want some information on it first, answers in the comments.

Next Time on ‘The Spin’:

Unless something happens which prompts me to vent/write about something, just for fun, not saying the winner will be chosen but… might influence what I do, what would you like me to talk about in the next instalment of ‘The Spin?’ Go here and vote:

27 Comments

  1. Completely agree; it’s puzzling that we haven’t had any more information. I agree with each and every single thing said in this article completely and have thought as much for a while, so it’s nice to see a post about it. I’d definitely want more information before a purchase, but I had a fairly good time with the first one, so if it were on par I’d likely get it anyways. But how can I know if it’s on par if there is no information? Hopefully we get something, anything, soon.

  2. I know I’ve defended SC and F&I a couple times, but don’t confuse that for me having much investment in them or what they introduced. Fire and Ice hasn’t really changed that. Heck, its likely just a licensed game that serves as a minor improvement over the previous title. Its obviously not a main focus and there’s nothing Sega could do to inspire confidence in the title in a gaming community that has already written off Sonic Boom games as automatically crap. Heck, despite having minimal information released, people still think F&I is being shoved down our throats. The best it can really do is try to appeal to parents whose children like the show, and that’s best done through kids toys and television advertisements (which will likely be aired closer to the game’s release). Is that what I want? No, not particularly, I’d much prefer Sega to have a bit of patience and take time to make major improvements to SC. Do I think that it should be treated with the level of offense and insult which this article implies it deserves? Also no.

    To quote Shaddy from SSMB:

    “Honestly, is it really that hard to predict what it’ll be anyway? We know the full plot. We’ve seen the main villain. we can see all the major gameplay changes, and we’ve been told the non-core changes. I see shattered crystal with no medals, more and faster-paced levels, and more bosses (also that fire and ice thing but who cares about that).”

    TL,DR: There’s only so much you can say about a game like Fire and Ice without making fabrications, and its clear that its not much of a main focus for Sega right now.

    Also, before you assume that I hate this article, no, I don’t. This was an interesting read and I understand Hogfather’s frustrations, even if I feel he’s getting more angry than the situation calls for. Ooh, a poll! I have some personal experiences with SA3/True Sonic Spirit, so I’d be interested to see the Hogfather perspective on the matter.

    1. I’m not getting angry. It’s more “I don’t play this ‘trust me’ or ‘it’s too early to tell/judge game'” I need to see this game, I need information about it, being silent doesn’t win me or others over, it’s only going to hurt Sega in the long run since people don’t buy games they know virtually nothing about or that haven’t been promotion.

      Just search something like “Games which were sent to die” and you’ll find tons of examples of this.

      1. Ah I see. You come off as such, what with the Wizard of Oz quote and all. Though thinking with your response in mind, I probably just misinterpreted your frustration. Which again, I don’t blame you for.

        As for the promotion thing, my point was less “Its ok that this kind of stuff is happening and we should all just wait until the game comes out” and more “this is really not weird all things considered and there likely isn’t much more to say about F&I.”

  3. It’s odd that we had no information but the same with project diva DX,
    Nintendo is in charge of advertisement of sonic boom, project diva and others.
    But project diva just got its first trailer last week and the game gets released next week…
    So something going on in the advertisement department

  4. Normally when there’s little informatio about it, it’s always a bad sign. No hype, no press, no big bombastic release like the previous Boom games. So either SEGA KNOWS this game will be shit too and is focusing on damage control like last time or Sanzaru Games wants us to figure out most of it ourselves. Which, to be fair, can work; Scott Cawthon is a master at this type of advertising. But at least he gave us SOMETHING to work with. ANYTHING.

  5. I’m honestly excited for this because i do like Boom as well as Shattered Crystal. However i do agree that there should be more info on this game. maybe it’s because they want to show that Boom is not taking over the franchise, maybe it’s because people will just complain just like everything with boom so far, who knows. My thoughts, I don’t think people should be so hard to judge this game and say it’s gonna suck just because the last ones did (Honestly i didn’t think they were as terrible as people say they were, just mediocre) but i do see the reasoning of your article and you did make some good solid points

  6. ok i have a feeling that something like this will happen yeah people are not gonna buy sonic boom fire and ice because the first spin off was horrible for the sonic fans and i dont think they will want another spin off for sonic boom so technical i think some fans will be spending there money and buy this game soon as they play it they will think its crap and they will say its a bad game like sonic 06 and they will complain about SEGA saying to stop making sonic boom game because they will say its terrible i dont want SEGA to go downsize again after what happen in februay because of BigRedButton next year i hope SEGA come up with a 25th anniversary title and put it on every console maybe they will call it Sonic Origins instead of calling it sonic generations 2 and sonic colors 2 thats what fans talk about so i was thinking the best title will be sonic origins.

  7. Excellent article, Hogfather.

    I’ve been defending this game for a while, but at this point, in September… there needs to be more information. I understand why they may not be showing anything. After all, most of the fanbase is pretty…. let’s say, “ambivalent” on the matter, at best. I understand that they don’t want to further decrease the franchise’s popularity by continuously showcasing the game that fans believe is “shoved down their throats.” But…. at the same time, how are people supposed to be convinced the game is good, and that the Boom label really shouldn’t dictate its quality… if there’s nothing to show this? Yes, I personally trust Sanzaru. Yes, I believe it’ll be “eh” at worst, but good at best. Yes, I am indeed looking forward to what new stuff they have in mind, especially since it’s claimed there are higher production values…. but we need some information. We have gotten no news on the game for several months, and it’s releasing THIS year. That’s an issue.

    To answer your question, Hogfather, yes… I’d buy the game if it came out tomorrow. But that’s because it’s what I do. I buy Sonic games, good, great, awesome, outstanding, or amazing. …. Or awful. But the issue is that not everyone buys these out of fan loyalty like me. I think that it should be ME who decides if I like the game or not, so I pick it up. I don’t like reviewers doing it for me, especially in a world where reviewers are getting less and less credible. However, SEGA isn’t doing a good job in enthusing people to make them believe the game will be good either. I feel faithful that it’ll be an alright 3DS spin-off, but can we at least get some screenshots? I’d like another trailer by now.

  8. I think it’s less “we have no confidence in the product” as it is “we are moving and do not have the money to market a smaller budget game aimed at children who watch the cartoon until near release”. Let’s go over a few things here shall we?

    FACT 1 – Sega have not attended E3 or Comic Con or many other shows for ANY of their games this year. Tembo got a release date about a week before release with no advertising. A demo and trailer for the new Hatsune Miku 3DS game just went up a week or two ago and the game comes out tomorrow. Did you know Fighting Climax is coming in October? Because there certainly isn’t any advertising for that one yet either.

    Sega of America has been going through a transition phase. Not only shrinking their workforce, but moving from San Fran to Burbank. They don’t have much in the way of games to show this year, so they haven’t been out in force like previous years. As an attendee to E3 this year, I should know.

    FACT 2 – Sonic Boom is not SegaSonic. It is a spinoff franchise based on a cartoon show. THIS IS NOT IN ANY WAY A MAJOR SONIC TITLE. It has more in common with a Spongebob Squarepants or Pac-Man in the Ghostly Adventures game than it does something like Sonic Rush. It’s a low-budget game meant to be sold more to kids who love the show than old-school Sonic fans. It’s for a different demographic that usually doesn’t have major advertising. It’s meant to be a fun, little platformer for pushing the Sonic Boom brand. Not be the next Sonic Generations.

    And yet, it’s still getting a Carl’s Jr./Hardees kids meal promotion with toys attached because as I said before, KIDS DEMOGRAPHIC. That alone is a bigger marketing push than any other their other titles are getting this year. It WILL get trailers closer to release I’m sure and maybe even a demo the week or two before the game.

    There is no controversy here. None of Sega’s game this year have gotten a marketing push until near release and this game is no different. Do I think this is gonna be the best Sonic 3DS game? No, it’ll probably be just above average at best. But I’m expecting average at most.

    I hated hunting down items through large maps and the stop and go experience of last years Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal, but I thought the game engine was decent and the Rival races were fun. If they are fixing those major two problems with the last game, I think it can still be a solid title.

    In the meantime….HAVE SOME DANG PATIENCE! Lots of games don’t get any marketing until a few weeks before release. Why should this game be any different?

    1. One other thing.

      Sonic Runners is a much bigger Sonic game this year than Fire and Ice and we didn’t even know of it’s existence until about 2 months before it’s soft launch. Even then, we didn’t get a worldwide release date until mere DAYS before they released it! And your surprised Fire and Ice hasn’t gotten a mention since E3? Really?

      1. Yeah, because Runners is a digital only free to play game which costs a fraction of what F&I costs, packaging, worldwide distribution, voice actor fees etc etc.

        Where is the promotion for it?

        Unlike Runners which has a tiny cost therefore can afford to be handled this way, a 3DS game like this can’t, it needs to show itself in order to try and make some money back on development costs.

        Not to mention it’s an outsourced project, Sanzaru are probably equally frustrated about the lack of exposure on the title just because it’s work they’re doing which is being ignored or not being promoted by anyone.

        1. Like most other mobile games, Runners has the opportunity to be far more profitable. You think Fire and Ice costs more to make than Runners? I doubt that. Fire and Ice is going of last years Shattered Crystal engine and working from that, where Sonic Runners is all new, has a ton of new music from Ohtani, has servers up and running for connections to the game and monthly events. Fire and Ice’s biggest expense is probably the voice acting for cutscenes.

          Sanzaru is more famous for Sly Cooper 4 than this game. Try Game Freak. The developers of Pokemon games work on something new and Sega hardly pushes it. As I said before, Sega’s only been pushing their games very close to release and Fire and Ice is no exception.

  9. I know this a bit tangent from the the main topic, but given that I don’t really give a damn about Sonic Steam, My focus was on that Platinum statement about their lack of advertising: I totally agree that Platinum should advertise a lot more and that could of helped with titles like Wonderful 101 or Anarchy Reigns. But I’m not sure that their lack of advertising has to do with ONLY a lack of a marketing budget. After all, when they where with SEGA, they advertised the hell out of Bayoneta and Metal Gear Rising had a decent marketing push.

    Consider the games that they make: hardcore, twitch heavy, difficult action games with a very Japanese taste in mind. Not exactly the same audience that swallows the load from EA, Activision and Ubisoft these days. Western tastes has changed since the days of the PS2 and so fewer Eastern companies (outside of Nintendo) don’t market their games as much anymore. Platinum has instead used their reputation and word of mouth advertising to target their loyal fans to buy their games and attract like minded people. I mean, they still raise awareness through social media and game announcements, but other than for licensed games like Korra and the new Transformers game, I’m not sure Platinum is going out of their way to connect with new and general audiences. They seem to be doing just fine just targeting their niche for the time being.

    1. I was really sad when they didn’t advertise The Wonderful 101 more… I rather enjoyed the game, but it was quickly forgotten by gaming news media and general Nintendo fans.

  10. Even with all the confident in the world and having a nice magic trick up their sleeves, the old negative reception will effect this Game’s first impression. This is a hard decision. Saying anything could be bad move. I know the PR probably known this. At this point, minimizing damage is the best strategy….. for now.

  11. Regardless of what SEGA does or doesn’t do the “Sonic fans” will hate it simply for not being a remake of Sonic 2 or Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

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