A recent trend in Sonic games seems to be the increasing outreach to the online Sonic community, with today’s Sonic Team no longer the closed in studio it once was. There have been some good throwbacks to past games before – Sonic Heroes was a mish-mash of both classic and modern gameplay, with Chaotix (minus Mighty) making a welcome return. But Sonic Chronicles on the Nintendo DS marked the first time SEGA were willing to stretch a hand towards the community in terms of a game’s development.
BioWare produced a pretty sweet fan service in general in Sonic Chronicles’ dialogue, story and impressive knowledge of lore/filling in the blanks. The cherry on the cake was the studio allowing the online community to name an alien race in the game. On the back of that success, Sonic Team seem to have taken futher steps, by including easter eggs in Sonic Unleashed in the hidden Dreamcast, and acknowledging the chilidog as Sonic’s official favourite snack.
The Japanese studio took another step with Sonic and the Black Knight, but it’s more than the obvious. SEGA held a contest around the world to include some pieces of fan artwork into the latest Wii adventure. The result is an awesome set of slideshows that feature a bunch of American, European and Japanese work. Even the outcome of a discrepency in one of the European entries resulted in a fair and responsive reaction from ArchAngelUK, which really just adds to how far SEGA and Sonic Team are willing to go to put things right. Continue reading Reaching Out To The Fans – The Black Knight Story