Why Is Sonic Struggling With 3D Games?

Sonic has been in a rough spot throughout the 3D era of consoles.

Sonic games are usually well received, but these games have been struggling to transition from 2D to 3D graphics. Most of the 3D Sonic games are low rated from an average of 3 to 5 out of 10. The series has been a rollercoaster of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) to the wonders of Sonic Colors and then back downhill with Sonic Boom.

The main reason for Sonic struggling to find a place in the 3D franchise is because SEGA is experimenting too much with Sonic’s formula. Fans have to transition from a free roam game to a fast-paced game which is a bit frustrating. The “Boost Formula” — where Sonic speeds through the stage by having a “Boost Gauge” is the most popular out of all the formulas that SEGA has made. However, SEGA is still struggling to find a perfect formula for Sonic as each can cause other problems for the games.

Rushing games to hit the deadline is another problem that has plagues Sonic games. This can lead the game to have mediocre gameplay, be unpolished and feel unfinished. Sonic Forces, a game that was over hyped and disappointing, felt unsatisfying to finish. Another example is Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). The game has many bugs and the gameplay doesn’t feel natural. It seems as though the developers worked on the cut-scenes more than the gameplay.

SEGA likes to try different things with Sonic that fans are confused about. Once they wanted to amplify the hedgehog’s combat prowess and gave us a weird elastic “werehog,” They wanted to make a teen rated game called, Shadow the Hedgehog that gave us Gunplay, and Sonic and the Black Knight that makes Sonic interact with a talking sword.

SEGA can’t find a voice for the blue blur. Although they are staying with Roger Craig Smith who is the current voice for Sonic, fans are unsatisfied. They seem to have enjoyed Jason Griffith, the last voice actor more. The problem is Smith’s voice doesn’t work well with Sonic’s personality.

Redesigns of the characters can be a good or a bad thing. The majority of Sonic redesigns have been negatively taken by fans. The redesigns for Sonic Boom were mocked over with his blue arms, his scarf and the overuse of athletic tape. When Takashi Lizuka who was not even involved with the Sonic Boom development, was asked about the designs, he laughed and put a palm on his face saying, “There were a lot of heated discussions and passionate debate between ‘This is what we want to do’ and ‘This isn’t right’ and trying to make sure that SEGA of America had this idea of what they wanted to do.” He also stated, “It wasn’t good for the fans because when it did come out, a lot of people were upset with the Sonic experience that they got from Sonic Boom.”

Sonic has no place in the 3D franchise right now, but there is still hope for Sonic as recently the SEGA team has been doing better by extending deadlines and focusing on what the fan base likes. Fans are no doubt holding out hope that Sonic will make a breakthrough soon.

Image: SEGA / Neko Productions

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