Sonic 3K ROM Hack ‘Hellfire Saga’ Has Been Completed After Five Years

The long-in-development gothic Sonic hack, Hellfire Saga, has finally completed development! The hack, developed by Red Miso Studio, creates a brand new Sonic game by hacking Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It utilizes significantly reworked sprites from a variety of games including multiple Castlevania & Ghost n’ Goblins titles, Splatterhouse 2, and Demon’s Crest among others.

Continue reading Sonic 3K ROM Hack ‘Hellfire Saga’ Has Been Completed After Five Years
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Sonic Colors: Ultimate Is Now Available on Steam

We’re far enough away from Frontiers now, right?

Continue reading Sonic Colors: Ultimate Is Now Available on Steam
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Sonic 2 and Jim Carrey Nominated for Nickelodeon’s 2023 Kids’ Choice Awards

Is it easier or harder to slime a CG character?

Continue reading Sonic 2 and Jim Carrey Nominated for Nickelodeon’s 2023 Kids’ Choice Awards
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Netflix Holding Sonic Prime Event In Santa Monica, CA on Saturday

We where and when and who made the poster, but we couldn’t tell you what exactly it is.

Continue reading Netflix Holding Sonic Prime Event In Santa Monica, CA on Saturday
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Kishimoto Interested In Making a Sonic Game Without Boost

Morio Kishimoto, director of the main-line Sonic series since Colors, was recently asked about the boost mechanic, and he is at least considering… well, not having it at some point.

Continue reading Kishimoto Interested In Making a Sonic Game Without Boost
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New Burger King Sonic Toy Promotion Suddenly Begins in Spain

Surprise! A new set of Sonic the Hedgehog kids meal toys have found their way to select Burger King restaurants in Spain, suggesting that a new global promotion with the fast food chain is imminent. According to reports, the Spanish promotion will run from January 24th and feature five separate toys to collect.

Continue reading New Burger King Sonic Toy Promotion Suddenly Begins in Spain
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Get Ready, More Sonic Prime Episodes Arrive Later This Year!

Sonic Prime got off to a very strong start last month, but it quickly became clear that Sonic’s multi-dimensional adventure was far from finished. If you’re looking forward to more episodes, have no fear! SEGA has confirmed that more are coming this year.

Continue reading Get Ready, More Sonic Prime Episodes Arrive Later This Year!
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Sonic & Tails Have Been Hiding in Fighting Vipers Since 1995

Some rediscovered techniques have rooted out hidden characters in the AM2 arcade fighter!

Continue reading Sonic & Tails Have Been Hiding in Fighting Vipers Since 1995
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NPD List Sonic Frontiers as 16th Best Selling Game of 2022

The open world has closed a lot of sales.

Continue reading NPD List Sonic Frontiers as 16th Best Selling Game of 2022
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Sonic 2 Movie Vinyl Goes On Sale With Exclusive Colour and Test Pressings

It only feels like last year that the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 movie graced our cinemas (editor’s note: it was last year!), but the long-awaited vinyl release of the Hollywood sequel’s soundtrack has finally gone on sale. And record label Enjoy the Ride has launched with several colourful pressings as well as a limited test pressing.

Continue reading Sonic 2 Movie Vinyl Goes On Sale With Exclusive Colour and Test Pressings
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First 4 Figures Gauges Interest in Line of Chao Statues

First 4 Figures announced on Twitter today that they are looking into doing a series of statues featuring Chao.

Continue reading First 4 Figures Gauges Interest in Line of Chao Statues
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Sonic Game Speedruns Are Making A Return To Awesome Games Done Quick

Every summer and winter, Games Done Quick holds a week-long event of video game speedruns, races and bidwars to raise money for a good cause. The winter version, Awesome Games Done Quick, has just begun today, and for Sonic fans, there’s some games scheduled later this week!

Continue reading Sonic Game Speedruns Are Making A Return To Awesome Games Done Quick
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Iizuka Confirms Second Wave of Sonic Content in 2023, Beyond Frontiers DLC

Every year, Famitsu published brief interviews with various video game developers on their hopes and plans for the coming year. This year, Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka was among the 141 devs interviewed, who hinted at what would be in store for Sonic in 2023:

“This past year was the biggest year in Sonic history, including the release of the movie sequel, new titles Sonic Origins and Sonic Frontiers, and the Netflix animation Sonic Prime. We are preparing a second wave to keep the fans happy and maintain that momentum going into 2023. We already announced additional content for Sonic Frontiers, but there is a lot more outside of that, so please look forward to it.”

So it sounds like there is a lot of unannounced Sonic stuff planned for 2023! We already know about a mobile Sonic game currently in development over at SEGA Hardlight. If anything else is coming this year, we’ll know soon enough.

Translation via Gematsu

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Sonic Stadium Reader Survey 2022/2023 – Help Shape The Future of the Site

Happy New Year to all our readers and everyone in our community! I hope your holiday season was full of joy and good times with family and friends. January is usually the time of year where we start looking to the near future and maybe start setting some personal goals to achieve.

The Sonic Stadium had an absolutely fantastic 2022, owing to the several-punch combo of Sonic the Hedgehog merch, games and media that released last year. The interest that you all showed in our content has been insane, and the discussion in the forums has been more active than ever! However you choose to spend your time on here, we really appreciate it and want to make sure you feel even more at home over the next year.

We definitely have a few things planned for the Sonic Stadium’s development over the course of 2023 that will hopefully excite and inspire the Sonic community. More to come on all of that soon enough. In the meantime, I want to take stock of the past year on the site, and listen to feedback on what you feel we’ve done right (and what we haven’t done quite so right) over the last 12 months.

Whether you’re a dedicated ‘Stadium user who visits and posts on the forums every day, a lurker that just pops in to check out the news and chat, or a casual Sonic fan who just likes to read the latest game information, I would really appreciate it if you could spend five minutes of your time completing our special Reader Survey. Your feedback is always valuable to me, and I take on board everything when deciding on how best to take the site forward.

https://forms.gle/rStFEXvsWLjBjRXB6

Click the link above to visit the Reader Survey. It’s a Google Forms document, and you’ll need to sign into a Google account in order to complete it (don’t worry, we do not record any personal details from this survey – just your answers to the survey questions). It covers a fair range of topics that our humble site is known for, so please let us know what you think of everything.

Thank you in advance! We really take to heart the continued support from our readers and fans – it’s the reason we have been able to keep going for over 22 years! With your feedback, we will be better informed on what we’re doing right and where we need to improve.

Over the course of the next few months, you may see some strange experiments/changes take place across the Sonic News side of the site and the forums. Some may be temporary, some may be testing the waters for a more permanent fixture. Do let us know what you think of any such changes as we go on this journey together!

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Sonic Year in Review 2022: A Banner Year for a New Generation of Sonic

The end of 2022 is now upon us. And boy, what a year it has been! After spending Sonic’s 30th Anniversary mostly waiting for trailers, watching online events and experiencing strange mobile crossovers, it finally feels like this year has been the big global celebration of the blue blur that the decades-long franchise fully deserved.

Continue reading Sonic Year in Review 2022: A Banner Year for a New Generation of Sonic
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RUMOR: New Sonic LEGO Sets in 2023?

2022 was rather quiet on the LEGO Sonic front after 2021’s LEGO Ideas set, but we may be seeing more LEGO Sonic on the horizon.

Continue reading RUMOR: New Sonic LEGO Sets in 2023?
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New ‘Sonic’ Job Listing Involves Unreal Engine, Online Game Experience

SEGA Japan has posted a new game job listing, seeking a developer with Unreal Engine 4 and network gaming experience to join their ranks. Interestingly, the posting suggests that the project of focus for the new recruit would be an upcoming game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series.

Continue reading New ‘Sonic’ Job Listing Involves Unreal Engine, Online Game Experience
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Happy Holidays from The Sonic Stadium

It’s that time of year once again, where we gather with our family and/or loved ones and exchange gifts and share treasured memories with one another (or, if that’s not your bag, buy presents and make new happy memories on your lonesome instead)! Where did all the time go?! From all of us at the Sonic Stadium we wish you a very Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2023.

And what a year it has been for us Sonic fans! From the very beginning it has been simply banger after banger – from the hugely successful Sonic the Hedgehog movie sequel (thank the Gods for Idris Elba), to finally getting the classic collection on console we deserve in Sonic Origins, all the way to Sonic Frontiers’ critically-acclaimed reception and Sonic Prime’s incredible Netflix debut.

That’s to say nothing of all the incredible specials and storylines that have run through Sonic’s comic universe, thanks to the tireless work of the IDW crew. No matter what your niche is, it has been a great 12 months for the blue blur!

We hope this winning streak continues throughout 2023, with Sonic Frontiers’ DLC roadmap slowly unfurling, initial news on the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 movie, as well as potential new projects coming from SEGA and Sonic Team.

Whatever happens, as always, you can trust us to be right there with you as the news breaks! We’ll also be slowly transforming the site over the next year to make things more exciting and help continue to make Sonic Stadium the true online home for the Sonic online community. We’ve taken some small steps over the last year or two, but there’s more yet to come.

Take care of yourselves, and we’ll continue running with you all through the rest of 2022 and beyond! Happy Holidays!

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Sonic Prime Premieres at #5 in Netflix Most Watched

If you tuned in to catch the first eight episodes of Sonic Prime, you’re in good company. In the show’s premiere week, it hit #5 in Netflix’ own English TV Top 10 rankings list.

Continue reading Sonic Prime Premieres at #5 in Netflix Most Watched
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TSS (Mini) Review: Sonic Prime’s First Episode Sets Up a Character Driven, Action-Packed Adventure

Sonic Prime’s road to release has been excessively weird for me to experience as a Sonic Stadium writer, with an exceptionally strange advertising campaign. Yet I never for a moment thought that this show would make me watch its first episode inside a semi-official Sonic game built within a game making app. But it did, so I might as well talk about it! And my verdict on that episode?

It’s good!

The first episode, titled “Shattered,” sets up a character-driven adventure, that’s full of extremely well-animated action and is easily the most game-accurate version of the blue blur’s world ever put to screen. The writing, which is handled by Man of Action Studios, has plenty of heart, and while the humor isn’t usually laugh out loud funny, it’s also never painful. There’s solid drama and character moments to be had here, giving even non-Sonic fans something to get invested in.  Ultimately, Sonic Prime reminds me of some of MoA’s better shows, more along the lines of Ben 10: Alien Force then Ultimate Spider-man.

What I find most interesting about the episode is that it pretty explicitly sets up an arc for Sonic. Here, Sonic is arrogant and cocky, and clearly takes his friends for granted. In essence, Sonic has notable character flaws now! I’m sure some Sonic fans will take issue with this change, especially given that this is supposed to be canon to the games, but if Sonic Prime is going to work as a story focused on drama and character, it needs a way for its main character to develop! 

Prime gives this version of Sonic a way to positively grow and change as a person, without changing him so fundamentally that he doesn’t feel like Sonic anymore. And really, he does still feel like Sonic. Plenty of media in both the west and Japan has portrayed Sonic with a cocky attitude, but even now he is still incredibly confident in his abilities. Prime Sonic also still loves his friends and adventure, and has a great time kicking Eggman’s butt. Prime Sonic is still Sonic, just maybe…a little less mature. Or maybe he’s grown overconfident after years of effortlessly besting Eggman. I don’t know, my personal head canon doesn’t have much issue linking Sonic Prime with the existing games & comics canon. This doesn’t feel like whole new version of Sonic, but more like a version of game/IDW Sonic who is in a different place in his life.

Aside from Sonic himself, Tails is the clear focus of Shattered, and he is great. In fact, this is probably my favorite version of Tails ever put to screen. Prime Tails feels absolutely dead-on to his game counterpart, a fine mix of brother-in-arms and boy genius sidekick. Once we get to the dystopian universe, Tails’ counterpart “Nine” takes center stage, giving us a look at a tragic version of the character who didn’t have Sonic around to help him growing up. The juxtaposition between Tails and Nine is interesting to see, and the revelation of what happened to Nine without Sonic, and Sonic’s reaction to it, is truly heartbreaking. Tails and Sonic’s brotherly bond is the heart of this episode, and if this is how Sonic Prime will be treating Sonic’s interactions with his other friends, we are in for some truly great stuff once the full show launches tomorrow.

We don’t see much of Sonic’s other friends and enemies, but they also seem to be pretty accurate to their game counterparts, though Knuckles’ guardianship of the Master Emerald is left ambiguous. The show treats Knuckles just like Sonic’s other friends: a protector of Green Hill. Hopefully, his lore won’t be ignored once the show turns its focus to him. Dr. Eggman’s great, and anyone who was disappointed by how much more subdued he was in Frontiers will love how consistently over-the-top he is in Prime.

Shattered’s got peak mad scientist Eggman, complete with his usual “messing with powers he does not understand” schtick. And “The Council” of Eggmen we get in the dystopian universe, while not especially interesting as foils to Eggman, is at least fun. Amy and Rouge are also solid, though aside from the superb performances from their voice actors, we don’t get much.

Speaking of voice acting, this may very well be the most consistent cast we’ve ever gotten in a Sonic property since at least the days of Sonic SatAM. Devin Mack is an excellent Sonic, practically a middle ground between Roger Craig Smith and Ben Schwarz. He’s got great emotive range, which is key to some of the best moments in this show. Really, in terms of the quality of their performances, this goes for just about everybody. Ashleigh Ball’s Tails and Shannon Chan-Kent’s Amy Rose are both great, and Kazumi Evan’s Rouge may very well be the best the character has ever sounded. Vincent Tong’s Knuckles is solid, though his voice does sound a little…too deep, though I suspect I’ll get used to it as the show goes on. Top all this off with Brian Drummond’s wonderfully bombastic performance, and Sonic Prime truly feels like it has an all-star cast.

Finally…we have the animation. Wildbrain has bragged about using Sonic Prime to refine their CG animation to movie quality and…yeah, I can tell. Even through Roblox’s weird compression and color issues, this show looks great. It is a genuine shame I had to experience it for the first time this way, because a Sonic show has never looked this good before. The models are gorgeous, and the sheer fluidity of the movement of everything in this is simply superb. The body language, the expressions, the action, it all animates so beautifully in a way that we rarely see in CG animation made for TV. While it is possible that the other episodes won’t look this good, Shattered leaves a heck of a first impression.

So, I’ve had a lot of positive things to say about Sonic Prime’s first episode so far…but I do have some issues. In addition to the humor not always landing, the story makes one very odd choice: it chooses to center everything around Green Hill. Sonic doesn’t protect the world, he protects Green Hill. Eggman isn’t seeking to conquer the world, but transform Green Hill into a technological dystopia. Sonic opens the show talking about how great Green Hill is. When Sonic is transported to the dystopian universe, he realizes this by recognizing multiple Green Hill locations. Green Hill is pretty clearly the primary location where all these characters operate, which is strange considering even in the first game Sonic traveled across an entire island of locations, of which Green Hill was just one.

It seems pretty clear that Sonic Prime is trying to simplify aspects of the lore to ease in non-Sonic fans, much like the first Sonic movie did. Even so, obsessing over Green Hill as the location simply feels like an odd choice. It seems the show is trying to utilize Sonic’s emotional investment in the location to more effectively invest viewers, but that simply doesn’t seem necessary when Sonic’s friends being changed and transported into a dystopia is enough on its own.

Ultimately though, this one complaint of mine isn’t likely to ruin the show, especially given that we will still be seeing loads of different locations, pirate universe included. Honestly, it’s genuinely nice seeing Green Hill in a Sonic cartoon for the first time, and even though the lore feels simplified, this still manages to feel like an adventure straight out of the games, which is something I’ve never been able to say about a Sonic show before!

On the whole, Sonic Prime has left a very good first impression on me. I’ve watched every Sonic show to ever release since I was a kid in the 90s, but I’ve only ever enjoyed two of them: Sonic SatAM & Sonic Boom. Sonic Prime not only seems set to join that shortlist, it at least feels like it has the potential to be at the top of it. I eagerly await the first batch of episodes!

Sonic Prime’s first 8 episodes will release tomorrow, on December 15. We will have a proper review of all 8 episodes at a later date.

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Multiple Former Employees Cite Poor Pay Practices, Crunch Culture, and Lack of Transparency at Sonic Speed Simulator Studio Gamefam

This week, two former employees of Gamefam, the studio behind Sonic Speed Simulator on Roblox, have made public complaints about their treatment at the company while employed there and the lack of transparency in their dismissals.

Continue reading Multiple Former Employees Cite Poor Pay Practices, Crunch Culture, and Lack of Transparency at Sonic Speed Simulator Studio Gamefam
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Sonic Frontiers Sells 2.5 Million, Becoming One of the Fastest Selling Sonic Games of All Time

SEGA has confirmed that Sonic Frontiers has sold over 2.5 million units worldwide since its release on November 8, making it the best selling Sonic game in more then a decade, despite only being out a month. In fact, Frontiers has already managed to sell 43% of what Sonic games as a whole managed to sell during the entirety of SEGA’s previous fiscal year. What’s more impressive, Frontiers is also among the fastest selling mainline Sonic games of all time.

While old sales data can be difficult to find, it appears Sonic Frontiers is the second-fastest selling Sonic game ever, only sitting behind Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which sold 3.2 million cartridges in two weeks. At the very least, it’s up there.

With numbers like these, Sonic Frontiers is an inarguable success. The next question is whether or not the game will have legs.

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New Sonic Prime Clip Features Tails’ Life Without Sonic

With Sonic Prime approaching quickly (a week from now, if you’re counting), Netflix After School has shared another clip of Sonic’s alternate reality adventures, this time focusing on a Tails that never knew Sonic.

Continue reading New Sonic Prime Clip Features Tails’ Life Without Sonic
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Sonic Prime’s First Episode Debuting on Roblox’s Sonic Simulator Dec 10

Sonic Prime has certainly had an…interesting media cycle since Netflix accidentally announced it early nearly two years ago. That seems set to continue with how its first episode will debut: within the Sonic Roblox game, Sonic Simulator.

The episode will premiere within the game at 10AM EST/7AM PST on December 10, in what’s been coined a “Global Virtual Premiere Event.” This announcement came via Netflix’s Twitter account.

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Sonic Frontiers Soundtrack “Stillness & Motion” Releases

December 7th, 2022 marks the release of the Official soundtrack to Sonic Frontiers, “Stillness & Motion”.

The soundtrack will be available as a physical release in Japan for the sum of ¥8,000, and will include a gargantuan library of 150 tracks across 6 CD package:

Additionally, the soundtrack will also be available to listen to via Spotify:

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New Characters, Story and DLC Revealed for Sonic Frontiers in 2023 Content Roadmap

SEGA has announced that Sonic Frontiers will be receiving a whole smorgasbord of new free DLC and story-based content throughout 2023, with a roadmap covering a laundry list of material from small features like photo mode to full-blown playable character arcs.

Via Sonic Twitter

The content will be broken up into three distinct updates, with the first two focusing on additional quality-of-life upgrades to the core Sonic Frontiers experience. Update 1 will consist of a Juke Box and Photo Mode features, with additional Challenge modes for seasoned players. Update 2 will celebrate Sonic’s birthday somehow, introduce new Koco creatures and add an intriguing ‘Open Zone Challenge’ feature.

It’s Content Update 3 that we’re very excited about though – this will apparently feature new playable characters as well as a new story to build upon the events of the core Sonic Frontiers game. We’re assuming this means that Tails, Knuckles and Amy will get their own playable experiences and challenges, but additional story elements are more than welcome too given the ending was one of the weaker elements of the game (per our Sonic Stadium review here).

Best of all, as already mentioned, all of this upcoming content will be free for existing players. To kick things off for the holiday season, SEGA will also be releasing a special free DLC costume pack on December 21st, with the blue blur donning a Christmas suit to rock while busting heads in Cyberspace.

Via Sonic Twitter

Seeing this level of post-release support for a Sonic the Hedgehog game is unheard of; SEGA has previously only dabbled with tiny morsels of DLC in the past, with the most significant being additional ‘Hard mode’ stage variants for Sonic 2006 and challenges for Sonic Unleashed. Sonic Forces offered Super Sonic and Episode Shadow DLC, but this roadmap for Frontiers seems to take things much further than any game before it.

We’re very excited to see what the future holds for the Starfall Islands – if you’ve not already played Sonic Frontiers and want to know what the deal is all about, check out our definitive review right here.

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SEGA’s Rolling Out A Sonic Frontiers Patch Update

It isn’t available on all platforms yet, but Sonic Frontiers is in the middle of receiving its first major patch update. There’s no new content, but there is a large number of bug fixes and performance improvements.

Continue reading SEGA’s Rolling Out A Sonic Frontiers Patch Update
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Sonic Frontiers Marks a Paradigm Shift in Sonic Game Storytelling

Editor’s Note: MASSIVE STORY SPOILERS are in this article.

I loved Sonic game stories when I was a kid. I loved their bigness, the way they gave the game world a sense of history and tragedy. As someone who hadn’t yet played any JRPGs, they were unlike anything I had ever experienced in a game before. It was so cool being taken into the past and seeing Knuckles’ people, the chaos emeralds and the strange creature that once protected them, the young echidna girl who befriended that creature, and the tragic way it all ended. And while Sonic Adventure 2’s story didn’t dig nearly as deep into the world’s past, I loved the tragedy of Shadow, Maria, and Gerald, the mysteriousness surrounding the Ark and its own connections to Chaos and the emeralds, and how it ended with everyone coming together and putting a stop to a sympathetic revenge plot 50 years in the making. That was then, of course.

These days, it’s much more difficult for me to enjoy those stories without rose-tinted glasses. And the stories that came after…never held the same magic for me. Heroes, Shadow, Sonic 06 were all terrible, and on the rare occasion they weren’t (such as the Rush games) they felt smaller. Maybe I was growing out of them, but I think the real answer is far simpler: Sonic’s stories never had cohesion or direction from game to game, and that ultimately caused them to fall apart. But just as Sonic games were hitting what felt like their narrative low point with Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, I was in the midst of being enthralled by Archie Sonic’s newest headwriter: Ian Flynn.

Flynn worked some absolute magic with that comic. I had been a reader since 1995, but by 2006 I had dropped the comics due to my displeasure with where the stories were going. Ian Flynn managed to impress with his very first issue, 160, and from that point on he rarely produced a dud throughout his run. Over the course of a year, he repaired years of damage done to the comic’s narrative. He recontextualized poorly written characterization, retroactively turning it into part of a character’s arc, or using it to fuel drama that simultaneously makes it feel in-character and gives it a satisfying conclusion. Sonic, Tails, and Sally were all major benefactors of this, but nearly everyone in the comic’s cast got a moment.

Archie Tails had been on the receiving end of some bad stories for a few years before this

I hadn’t seen these characters written this well in years, and I felt like I was welcoming old friends home.  “Why can’t the games be written like this?” I began to ask myself, “Why can’t they just hire Ian Flynn?” Extraordinarily, 15 years later, I have finally gotten my wish. And just as I had hoped, Ian Flynn has done the same thing for the games that he did for the comics all those years ago. Sonic and company are back. No, scratch that: they have finally arrived.

Sonic Frontiers is easily the most well-written Sonic game I’ve ever played. The dialogue has that patented Flynn charm, with solid interactions between Sonic and everyone he comes into contact with. We’ve got genuinely funny jokes, extraordinarily well-written heart-felt moments, and an overall tone that can still be light, but is often quite somber. On top of all that, every character aside from Sonic himself gets some sort of arc. 

Character arcs have never really been a strong suit of Sonic games. While they certainly happen, they can often be poorly written and are only occasionally well-executed. That Frontiers has five of them, and that they are  mostly  well done, is certainly a feat. They each leave the characters in a different place from where they’ve been for years, or even decades.

At the start, everyone is more or less where you’d expect them to be. Amy and Tails are tagging along with Sonic, Dr. Eggman is focused purely on his next take-over-the-world scheme, and Knuckles just wants to guard the Master Emerald. Over the course of the game, through their interactions with the Koco and Sonic, Amy, Tails and Knuckles all go through a change. The Kocos, which are essentially spirits of an ancient race trapped and troubled by the struggles they faced before death, act as conduits for character development, their arcs reflecting the struggles of Sonic’s friends.

Amy, who was once long characterized by her one-sided love-affair with Sonic, is driven to help a Koco find their lost love. By the end of it, she sees a love that transcended time, and decides she needs to share her own love with the world by going on her own adventure away from Sonic. Knuckles helps an army of Kocos trying to fight “the enemy.” Upon witnessing the destruction of their civilization he makes the connection between the Koco and his own people’s tragic past. For the first time I can recall, Knuckles expresses genuine regret over his lonely lot in life as the last of his kind. Sonic pulls him out of his funk by reminding him that he’s got his friends, leading to a truly heartfelt conversation that ends in Knuckles deciding to try out Sonic’s more adventurous lifestyle. Finally, we have Tails, who’s Koco…basically experiences Tails’ story in Sonic Forces. Yeah: this game’s story decides to deal with Tails’ worst moments in the franchise.

I think it’s fair to say the games haven’t really done much with Tails since the original Sonic Adventure, which saw him overcoming his fears, facing down Eggman, and saving Station Square from him. Since then…Tails has more or less remained static, rarely leaving Sonic’s side after Sonic Adventure 2 and more or less returning to the “sidekick who follows him around” role. But then we had Forces, where we go from character stagnation to character  regression. Here, Tails “lost it” after Sonic’s defeat and Eggman’s near total takeover of the planet, something which effectively reversed one of the only bits of development Tails ever got. 

So when it came time for Frontiers to give Tails his arc, Flynn pulled the same hat trick that worked so well in Archie: he took Tails’ decades of stagnation, his low point in Forces, and the many times he came through and melded it all together into Tails’ growth into a hero. This all ends up giving him the strongest and most defined arc in the game, and the plot’s best moments. Tails’ entire arc is him dealing with the fact that despite the strides he’s taken to be his own hero, he still messes up and can still fall back into his own comfort zone. Tails essentially experiences imposter syndrome, ignoring everything he’s done to  earn  his place by Sonic’s because all he can think about are his own mistakes.

This just feels so right for Tails, a character who started out as a lonely bullied kid. It makes him feel more human and complex, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a Sonic game character before. The best and most interesting character arcs are the messy ones, the ones where characters get to mess up, regress, relearn lessons, and genuinely struggle to become the better version of themselves they want to be. With Tails’ arc put in that context, it effortlessly became the best part of Frontiers’ narrative. And what’s really wild is that this simply wouldn’t be possible without Forces’ terrible, terrible story. 

Outside of Sonic’s friends, the most well-defined arc in this game belongs to Dr. Eggman’s AI creation, Sage. While her arc is pretty thin and the weakest part of the entire game, she is able to do one thing no other Eggman companion has: bring out a different side of him. Indeed, I’d say one of Sonic Frontiers other  major accomplishments is showing us a side of Eggman we’ve only gotten brief glimpses of before within the games.

Dr. Eggman isn’t  just  a guy with designs of world conquest, after all. He is a world class genius, a man of science, history, and engineering. Sonic Frontiers lets us see this other side of him, largely through its unlockable “Egg Memos.” The Egg Memos are the best contributions any game has given to Eggman’s character: he marvels at the Ancient’s technology, figures out the Starfall Islands’ numerous technological and archeological mysteries, develops a fatherly affection for Sage, and he even gives his honest thoughts on Sonic, Amy, Knuckles and Tails. We get to hear him talk himself into accepting that Sage is alive, because of course he is smart enough to create life! He even talks about his cousin Maria, and the jealousy he felt over her being given love from his family that he was denied, despite her being gone. These memos manage to give Eggman more depth than three decades of games ever did.

What’s even better about all this is that it feels very much in character for him. He still often talks about future schemes for world conquest, laughs maniacally, has a  very  high opinion of himself, disregards the insane risks his own plans pose, and even briefly, excitedly contemplates stealing a defenseless Master Emerald before remembering he’s trapped. His affection for Sage and feelings towards Maria and his own family feel like extensions of the Eggman we briefly saw at the end of Sonic Adventure 2, when he reminisced over his Grandpa Gerald and how he inspired him to become a scientist. Eggman was never a man totally incapable of love; it’s just something the games have almost never explored before. 

Unfortunately, as I said before, Sage’s own arc is thin. She shares just three-and-a-half minutes of screentime with Eggman, leaving their relationship feeling a pretty undercooked, though throwing the memos into the mix does help. But Sage’s relationship with Sonic fares a little better, as most of her actual development comes from observing and interacting with him. Sonic has brought many former adversaries into the fold, but Sage is one of the only ones whose change felt somewhat earned by the plot. Sage is consistently surprised by Sonic’s perseverance, moved by his friendships, and over the course of the game her interactions shift from cold indifference, to curiosity, to genuine respect. Unfortunately, the bulk of Sage’s interactions with Sonic still boil down to her telling him resistance is futile and refusing to explain anything to him, which can get a bit repetitive and boring.

Sonic Frontiers is, in many ways, the Sonic game story I’ve been waiting for for decades. It’s got the lore building of the Sonic Adventure games, the quality vocal performances expected of a modern game, and the writing of Flynn-era Archie and IDW comics. It’s still not entirely where I want it to be: Sage’s story is a bit weak, the tone of the story overshoots and is a little too serious and somber, and the lack of a larger cast leaves the world feeling empty. Future games will need to be willing to have longer cutscenes that give non-player characters like Eggman and Sage the screen time they need. They need to more effectively balance darker, more serious scenes with lighter moments and humor. Finally, future games  need  to have a larger cast, with more supporting and secondary characters in a livelier, more populated world. 

Despite these issues, Sonic Frontiers truly feels like the start of a golden era of Sonic game storytelling. The potential this game opens up for future stories has me genuinely excited! Just stick with Ian Flynn, SEGA, and maybe bring other IDW writers like Stanley and Barnes into the mix too. Give Sonic Team the budget to realize a story with even greater scope. Let what’s been built here flourish and grow, and most importantly, follow through on what this game sets up and let these characters change! 

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Yuji Naka Has Been Arrested For Insider Trading – Updated Dec. 7

Fuji News Network is reporting that Yuji Naka, former Sonic Team head, has been arrested for insider trading in relation to his time working at Square Enix.

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Sonic Frontiers Is Big, But It Isn’t Very “Open”

I wandered Kronos Island for about three hours, defeating bosses, grinding on rails, and plucking collectables from the map. I periodically stopped at the Elder and the Hermit to convert my stash into gains, then popped over to an Amy or Sage point to get a few lines of characters self-reflecting. When I defeated the Titan of the region, I had to acknowledge a feeling that had been nagging me the whole time: “Is that all there is?”

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Netflix Shows a Little More Sonic Prime in New Trailer

We’ve got a new trailer for Netflix’s upcoming Sonic cartoon, Sonic Prime! This one shows even more alternate dimensions, and gives us some more hints at the exact nature of the story. We also get to hear a little more from the new cast!

Check it out below:

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Japan Charts: Sonic Frontiers Becomes Fastest-Selling Mainline Game in 20 Years

Sonic Frontiers has smashed series sales records in Japan, with today’s Famitsu charts reporting that the blue blur’s latest adventure has racked up a total of 46,276 unit sales across all platforms. It’s the highest a Sonic game has ever sold in its opening week since Sonic Adventure 2’s original release on the Dreamcast.

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Sonic Frontiers To Receive Multiple Free Content Updates Into 2023

Sonic Frontiers’ Monster Hunter DLC pack will be the first of several free downloadable content packs for the game. This news comes via a German language press release from PLAION, the PR firm that works for SEGA Europe, which confirmed that these DLC releases will continue into 2023.

The exact nature of these content updates have not been clarified, but the Japanese version of the game has already received downloadable content that includes a collaboration with Hololive Vtuber Inugami Korone and an emote animation that lets Sonic pretend to play football with the Koco.

You can find the full press release here.

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Digital Foundry Tests the Performance of EVERY Version of Sonic Frontiers

Digital Foundry, the internet’s prominent game graphics and performance testing site, recently went hands on with every major console version of Sonic Frontiers, including the Switch and each major hardware step of the Playstation 4/5 and Xbox X/S/One.

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Sonic Frontiers Smashes Series Record for Concurrent Players on Steam

Boy, it seems like people were really eager to play Sonic Frontiers! The game has reportedly smashed the record for most concurrent players for a Sonic the Hedgehog game on PC platform Steam.

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What I Want From Sonic Frontiers DLC

Sonic as a franchise has always been…strangely averse to DLC. In an era where a lot of single-player games can get loads of post-launch content, SEGA has remained rather stingy when it comes to Sonic. Maybe we get some level packs reusing in-game assets, or cosmetics, or if we’re really lucky, some new characters or a couple brand new levels, but we’ve never really gotten anything substantial, even when you’d think a game was built for it. I mean, who wouldn’t have wanted more classic levels re-imagined in Sonic Generations or Sonic Mania?

Continue reading What I Want From Sonic Frontiers DLC
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