Ken Pontac Heavily Implies Being Done With Writing Sonic Games

It’s looking like we’re not done talking about departures from the world of Sonic just yet, although this one has been rumored for a while now. it’s also looking very likely that the next Sonic game is even going to have some new writers.

Ken Pontac and Warren Graff have been writing Sonic games since Sonic Colors, but remarks by Pontac in an interview with RebelTaxi make it sound like they’re done. In fact, although Pontac outright never says “we’re done”, he does say “we had a good run” around 48 minutes into the interview, and they had been talking about their memories with SEGA and Sonic at that point in the interview.

It’s not the first time this topic has surfaced either. Last year, fans discovered Pontac and Graff’s Linkedin pages no longer mention that they’re working for SEGA Of America. Pontac’s page says he finished in 2019, and Graff says he has been done since October of 2019.

So, what does this all mean? It’s hard to say. It obviously means there’s not going to be anymore “Baldy McNosehair” or “BBBE (Best Boss Beating Ever)” jokes, but the change in writing direction is going to depend on what SEGA wants, and what the writers they hire wish to do.

Regardless of what happens, the last couple of days have been pretty big for Sonic fans. Roger Craig Smith is done voicing Sonic, and now it’s all but certain that Pontac and Graff are done writing for Sonic. Whatever the next Sonic game is, it’s not going to be what we’ve become used to seeing from Sonic for the past decade.

Via YouTube

Published by

SSF1991

SSF1991 has been in the Sonic community since 2008 with an unhealthy obsession with pinball, especially Spinball. Despite requests to shut up, he continues to write things anyway and tweets at https://twitter.com/SSF1991

20 Comments

  1. I can’t say I liked the Sonic work of Pontac or Graff, but my sympathies out to anyone losing work in the current state of the world. It’s probably worth reminding that Pontac was not the sole writer for the series, and was often just tasked to localize the story Sonic Team already decided on. If you don’t care for his jokes, yeah, they were a bit grating and aimed pretty young. If you’re upset that you don’t get stories like Sonic Adventure 2 anymore, that’s not really on him.
    I know people didn’t like his work, I am among them, but I want us to at least be the best Sonic fan community we can be. We can be critical, we can be thoughtful, but above all, we can be respectful.
    I wish him luck in all his current and future writing opportunities.

  2. That’s probably a good thing.
    Sonic colors and generations were like the only good 3d Sonic games to come out since SA2. And colors is best after you unlock super sonic and don’t have to use the gimmicky wisps. But to be fair those had nothing to do with the writing (which might have always been bad even in sonic adventure)

  3. I doubt this can be characterized as “losing work”. Looking at Pontac’s resume, he very often wrote few episodes for many existing franchises. This doesn’t seem to be permanent job, just numerous contracts for specified projects.
    I mean, since 2010, we had Colors, Generations, Lost World… and Forces. 4 games during 10 years where he wrote or localized. And lets be frank, those are not very story rich AAA game titles. Those are mostly very short, linear and straightforward games. Without personally checking any details, I severely doubt that one can spend 10 years writing only for those games. Or getting paid livable wage solely by writing for such games during those 10 years.

  4. Considering these 2 had no understanding of the Sonic franchise and the games they wrote made it seem like they honestly didn’t care, I’m glad they’re not going to be involved with Sonic anymore. If Forces was supposed to be the best they could come up with (where no one was in character) then it just shows they had no care or passion for the work. I really hope the next writers will focus on character depth and development and put the storyline back on track that Sonic is a teenager saving the world with his friends. Eggman wants to rule the world but is still loveable, expand on these things with storyline, not just “here’s robot” “boop dead” “egg puns”

  5. Hopefully we get some more mature writing that is aimed more at teens and less at young children. Like adventure era stuff

  6. This is the best week of Sonic news. Sega is taking the right steps. I have a lot of hope for my favorite series now. Thank you, Sega.

  7. Sonic Colors was quite good imo, though some of the jokes certainly still missed. Generations was fine. But the rest of their writing was pretty lackluster. I can’t say that I’ll miss them right now, but who knows what the next game will bring.

  8. Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t mind more emphasis on comedy in future Sonic projects, be it games, movies or animated series.

  9. Can’t say I’m sad, I’m honestly being more “meh” at the moment, but I do hope the best for them.

    Sounds like we’re entering the “fifth era” of Sonic (in terms of mainline games and their stories atleast). The first four being the classic era, the Dreamcast era (SA1 & 2), the modern era that arguably started with Heroes, and the nostalgia era that began with Generations and (hopefully) ended with Forces.

  10. As long as we don’t get anymore western millennial dialog from our characters.

    Even Ian Flynn (despite being a more competent writer) is guilty of this.

    I don’t bring Sonic Adventure 2 just for nostalgia glory. The Adventure games knew how each character was supposed to sound like. Not corny and exaggerated like Heroes, Riders, the storybook games, and the Pontaff games. Not fanfic-esque like Sonic 2006, where characters tried too hard at melodrama or ship-teasing).

    Back when I first played Sonic Adventure 2, each cutscene always reminded me of the Toonami promos/indent from the early-2000’s, when Tom became the host of the block, as well as Playstation games I’ve played demos of or other people owned, like Tomba, Brave Fencer Musashi, or Ape Escape.

    I want Sonic games to give me those feelings again, instead of dreck that reminds me of Ratchet & Clank, the post-Twinsanity era of Crash Bandicoot, or CGI Dreamworks shows on Nickelodeon/Netflix, like The Penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Monsters vs. Aliens, and All Hail King Julien.

    Sonic was never supposed to be that corny! Does anyone here even get what I’m taking about?

  11. I think I have an idea of what you’re saying. You’re saying how you feel that the writing has been overly corny and exaggerated after the Adventure games and heavily influenced by western trends and comparing it to other series that have had similar treatment in the years since. I could agree with the latter to be honest cause Sonic is supposed to mix up the best aspects of both western and Eastern trends as is evident in its design, lore and overall storytelling. I’m not so sure about the corny and overexaggerated/western millenial part though, specifically for the games you mentioned before the Ken Pontac era.

    I say this because being a series born in and heavily influenced by the 90’s it would be very hard for Sonic not to be a millenial franchise or at the very least, keep in with current trends to remain relevant. That aside, the change in writing between the Adventure games or anything in the 2000’s era is minimal at best and that melodramatic, corny, over-exaggerated tone has been present from the get-go. A large part of the series places the machinery vs nature thematics up front and they are designed to make you feel a certain way. The characters in the Adventure games up until probably Black Knight tend to go through arcs and development that is often pretty exaggerated but hits home nonetheless.

    As with anything though there are hits and misses in the writing. As you pointed out, 06 has some writing inconsistencies which are more of a problem from an overall narrative standpoint than how the characters are written, aside from Sonic himself. There’s also a noticeable throughline of world ending disasters, gods and monsters, talking solves everything and the power of friendship, in a good number of those games. That said, it could be argued that those are what make up the DNA of the series, even those these tropes do exist, if you’ve written around them cleverly enough then they become more of a service to your story than a hindrance.

    Honestly though, I get what you’re saying. If you’re not a fan of the dialogue and the changes it’s gone through since the adventure games then I genuinely hope this show and the games going forward are more towards what you like.

  12. H A L L E L U J A H ! ! I remember recoiling in extreme discomfort the first time I heard Sonic say “Baldy McNosehair” and who can forget Tails’ “True dat!”? I have actually stopped mentioning that I am a fan of Sonic anywhere due to these writers making him and Tails annoying jerks. That and the fact that the movie has become the only thing regular people know about Sonic. But anyway I’M SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS!

    I want Dreamcast/Shonen anime style stories, but anything will be better than sassy, sarcastic, and totally unaffected asshole Sonic.

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