Sonic Frontiers Was Once a 2021 Title, and Other Investor Q&A Revelations

SEGA says quality beats discounts with Frontiers.

It might surprise you to hear that Sonic Frontier’s Holiday 2022 release window wasn’t the original plan. Rather, SEGA delayed the game for quality reasons, as they lay out in their December 14 Investor Q&A:

Originally it was planned to be released on this year, the 30th anniversary of Sonic, but we have postponed the release for a year in order to further brush up the quality. Not only for this title, but during the development phase, we have been steadily conducting analysis to improve the quality of the title before release, such as introducing game testing based on external evaluations, and I have a feeling that it will become a good game and have high expectations for it.

Dec. 14 2021 SEGASammy Investor Q&A (English), page 1

Considering the controversies surrounding the release of Sonic ’06, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, and even the recent Sonic Colors: Ultimate, SEGA has not shown a consistent willingness to delay games for quality control in the past. Either this philosophy is shifting, or Sonic Frontiers is being treated as a truly pivotal release. In response to a question on repeat sales, SEGA is looking to make Frontiers a game worthy of its value, rather than launching it at a discounted price like many recent Sonic games:

For the pricing strategy, we feel that we are at a point where we need to rethink. For example, for the new Sonic game, as we are focusing on quality and spending certain amount of money on development, we think it is important to maintain the price by maintaining the value of the IP at high level, rather than simply lowering the price at early stage to increase the number of unit sales.

Page 3

Sonic was an important topic throughout the Q&A, with another investor asking about SEGA’s monetization strategy for the franchise. SEGA noted that the games remain at the forefront, with the movie bridging the gap between generations and bringing millions of people to the Sonic IP. Sonic merchandise licensing continues strong in North America and Europe, but has proven difficult in Japan. SEGA expects to continue pushing other franchises like Persona and Project Sekai (the new Hatsune Miku mobile game), but neither are expected to reach an audience at the scale of the Sonic franchise. Monkey Ball’s recent success also puts it under consideration for merchandising opportunities.

Here are some other non-Sonic highlights from the Q&A:

  • SEGA continues to look into what they can do with NFTs and Play-to-Earn models. They know people hate it, but they still want to figure out what permutation of it people (and Japanese regulators) will be willing to accept.
  • SEGA is looking to acquire further IPs and studios as is reasonable, and would rather look to build partnerships with others in regard to new technologies (with NFTs being the listed example) than to tackle new technology on their own.
  • When asked to define Metaverse, SEGA believes it to be some form of digital community for players to gather, usually needing an audience larger than 10,000 players. They note that Phantasy Star Online 2 has some of those elements, but they see quality game development as a priority over strictly building a metaverse experience.
  • Creative Assembly is still working on a shooter, but they can’t say much more than that.

Published by

GX

A podcaster since 2008, GX originally founded The Spindash podcast, until joining Sonic Stadium's monthly Sonic Talk. He currently co-hosts the show and runs weekly streams on Stadium's Twitch channel at https://www.twitch.tv/sonicstadium

9 Comments

  1. Delaying a game is never a bad thing. In fact I applaud them for not trying to push it out for his 30th (though we did have Colors this year). Seeing a bit more hype than usual for this game. Really hope we can have a game that everyone loves again.

  2. Obligatory: I mean, isn’t Forces also a rushed game? If it falls in the well-developed ones, then ouch. Terrible level design, no attention to details (static enemies, playable character etc.), failed to deliver on what the trailers promised (no Chaos boss, serious tone goes the other way by making characters say ridiculous lines) the whole concept of a war against Eggman is dumb considering that by the next game everything will shift in a different direction. It only makes sense if the character is a one-shot (Black Doom, Mephiles/Solaris)

    Hopefully this extra effort goes towards 06 types of ambition and not another cookie-cutter title like Colors and Forces.

    I’d like to see more old titles become available again.
    Shadow and 06 are two big releases that are mostly locked to three or four console generations ago. Knuckles’ Chaotix. The Sonic Advance series deserves a Whitehead-type of treatment, just to give some ideas. Instead we’re getting Sonic 1-2-3 re-released for the 50th time.

    1. My thoughts exactly! I really don’t want 06 and Shadow to be lost to time, but I really worry the negative reputation of those games means no future rereleases. Sure those games aren’t great, but it would be pretty inconvenient if, years from now, the only way to experience them is by buying old consoles or emulation.

  3. Very concerning read. Sega should stay as far away from NFTs and the blockchain as possible, as should everyone else. And “acquiring” new IPs is not really something I want from Sega either. Developing new ones or revitalizing their many, many neglected old ones is much more appealing to me than just hearing, I don’t know, Pocky & Rocky or Cubivore or something got bought by Sega.

    And while it’s nice to hear they have high hopes for the new Sonic game and were even willing to miss an anniversary to improve it, I am still tremendously skeptical. The leak from a while back didn’t sound great, and the environment shown in the newest trailer looked uninspired. As always, I hope I’m wrong and it blows my mind though.

  4. I’m going to have to take the delay of Frontiers with a huge grain of salt. Sure, it could mean that Sega wants to get Sonic Frontiers right, but then it could also mean that development is in huge trouble. Open world is a mostly untested paradigm for the Sonic franchise, and the reveal trailer made Frontiers look to me like a weird attempt to cash in on the success behind the look and feel of Breath of the Wild. It all sort of gave me Sonic ’06 vibes because it feels like Sega is on the brink of being too ambitious and is also trying to pivot the franchise a little too hard. So I’m going to have to see far more Frontiers gameplay before I decide whether the delay is a good thing or not.

    Other than that:

    – Sega needs to stop chasing every tech buzzword they read online. NFTs are a scam, and the NFT bubble will burst eventually. The “metaverse” is even worse because (depending on the interpretation of the term) it’s either a marketing buzzword that describes something that already exists, or it’s this dystopian future where one megacorp completely monopolizes the internet.
    – I have a bad feeling about the pricing discussion. I hope it’s not a sign that Sega is wanting to jump on the “next gen pricing” bandwagon that’s all the rage these days with companies who are looking to hike their prices.
    – I don’t want to see Sega buy other IPs. They have a hard enough time maintaining their own franchises. It would be better if they resurrected/remastered their own obscure IPs like Billy Hatcher, Skies of Arcadia, Burning Rangers, Alien Syndrome, etc, etc.

  5. Hey SEGA, have you got more news on Sonic Origins (which includes Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic CD) which is due to be released this year?

    1. Yes, I, Dr. Jonathan Service Games, have much news on the announced collection. They’re all NFTs now. You can play Ice Cap Zone, but only if you’ve bought it on an approved marketplace.

  6. Interesting read.

    I’m excited for Frontiers, but not for optimism or pessimism sake.

    I’m excited because it’s something NEW.

    Something AMBITIOUS.

    So much more room to BREATHE.

    Whatever this game ends up being, it will certainly be new, and that’s all I need personally.

  7. Sonic Frontiers must have got trademarked by SEGA. I also take it that Sonic Origins must have also been trademarked by SEGA as well, even in Japan IMO.

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