You all remember Sonic Chronicles right? No? Too bad, because it happened!
I was thinking about it just now and I’ve thought about this topic before about what Sega could’ve done differently for Sonic’s grand debut in the RPG genre, so now I think it’s a good time to talk about it and brainstorm some ideas!
First, we have Sonic Chronicles, a game most would love to forget, this was developed by Bioware on the DS. Honestly the first question on anyone’s mind should be… why, why Bioware of all developers? This is a team that specializes in AAA console RPGs like Mass Effect, not to mention that Sonic Chronicles was their sole handheld project. I see nothing that makes them a fit for an RPG starring a blue talking Hedgehog personally. I don’t know what went through Sega’s mind when they were tossing around ideas of who would take on the “Sonic RPG” project.
Well as we’ve seen the game ended up being not so good for a variety of reasons. But we’re not going into those today.
What we’re here today is to basically picture us at Sega, and we’ve been given the opportunity to make another Sonic RPG, now what can we do in this situation? I’ve got some ideas.
Let’s start with I think would be the easiest pick, they are a group inside Sega, made a JRPG on the DS, that’s a pretty good starting point in my book, and the same director is on a 3DS JRPG as we speak, err, type.
The Phantasy Star 0 team at Sonic Team/Sega.
Yeah, Sega did make a Phantasy Star game on the DS, AND localized it, unheard of!
As I mentioned the director of PS0 is also on a 3DS JRPG, that person is Masayuki Kawabata, and that 3DS JRPG is 7th Dragon III: Code VFD:
So I say that person is a great candidate to direct a Sonic RPG at Sega as one choice. Note that the 7th Dragon series was developed by Imageepoch and they closed down a few months ago with Stella Glow for 3DS (coming to NA by Atlus and EU by NISA) being their swan song after they sold the game and IP to Sega last November.
Speaking of, they’d be a pick also (if they were still around)!
The team no longer with us that created games such as Sands of Destruction on DS (with Sega), Luminous Arc on DS, Arc Rise Fantasia on Wii, Time & Eternity on PS3, and 7th Dragon on DS and as mentioned Stella Glow on 3DS (again both also with Sega) which went on to have two sequels on PSP called 7th Dragon 2020 and 2020-II, likely considered to be two halves of one game hence 7th Dragon III. This pick is more of a “what could have been”, since there’s little to no chance of seeing such a thing happening bar a reassembling of the team (some assume Sega took some people in to work on 7th Dragon III, but no one knows for sure yet). This example can be seen as one that could’ve replaced Bioware back then, or if the project was greenlit back around 2012 or 2013.
We can also look at another team close to home, they’re much more likely now since Sega owns them. I’m talking of course, about:
One example I have in mind specifically is the Etrian Odyssey team which is very experienced on Nintendo handhelds, and their latest game Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold has gotten very high marks, with many calling it the best in the series yet. The same team also did Persona Q on 3DS alongside P Studio (the Persona team). Though EO is more of a first-person dungeon crawler, it could maybe work for Sonic if there’s room for experimentation. Funny enough, 7th Dragon was created by the creator of EO, Kazuya Niinou and that series is very similar (only instead of first-person dungeon crawling, you freely explore areas in 3rd-person, but both feature first-person battles).
Another team who I’d think would be perfect for a Wii U or NX Sonic RPG on the other hand, is a team-up of Atlus and Nintendo, I’m of course referring to the team-up working on what is most commonly known as Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem on Wii U.
The game does look amazing so far, check out Nintendo Treehouse’s look at the game at E3 2015 for a better look. Just the way the colors pop out would really work well with Sonic, and I’m down for a J-Pop flare in Sonic for once, anyone else?
I don’t want Sega to just make the series stuck in the current style, I want them to try and experiment and give Sonic more of a Japanese influence, as he is what he is; a Japanese creation. Yes he got his popularity in the west (his games sell extremely low in Japan over the last decade, no matter the game on any console), but I think this can change. Hell it didn’t help also that Sonic X was clearly animated by members of TMS who worked on Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, Ducktales, etc, it looked really awkward to me as TMS to me is synonymous with American animation. I personally felt that Sonic Adventure and Sonic Heroes really retained a Japanese feel and style when you got down to it (notice how anime-looking the faces of those uber-low poly humans are in SA?), and Heroes is a giant explosion of color that in my opinion hasn’t been seen since. Seriously, that game is full of bright saturated colors from the get go (you’ve seen that menu?).
Those are just a few examples of folks I’d be interested in seeing tackle a Sonic RPG, but maybe you folks have other ideas and choices? Let us know in the comments!