Following the unfulfilling story of Sonic Forces in 2017, many had been involved concerning the route of future narratives. When Sonic Frontiers was first introduced, followers had been completely happy to study that longtime Sonic the Hedgehog comics author Ian Flynn joined Sonic Group in writing the sport. Flynn has been a outstanding author throughout each the long-running Archie Comics and IDW Publishing runs of the Sonic the Hedgehog sequence, with lots of of credit to his title. Nevertheless, becoming a member of Sonic Group for a mainline entry is new territory.
“Ian has been working as a comic book author for a very long time, so I used to be very aware of his work, however after studying the IDW comics, I used to be much more impressed together with his expertise,” Sonic Group inventive officer Takashi Iizuka says. “That is why I needed to ask him to work on the story for the sport as effectively. He is aware of the characters effectively, so he introduced an important enchancment to the characters’ feelings and dialogue.”
Flynn’s longevity with the franchise, having contributed closely to each comedian sequence and even writing a few episodes of the favored Sonic Increase cartoon, impressed Sega, and some years after IDW picked up the rights to the franchise, he was invited to contribute to the narrative of Sonic Frontiers. “I’m a profession Sonic nerd, so I needed to weave a few of the sequence’ legacy into the story, ”Flynn says. “I needed to advance the characters’ private tales, even when simply by just a little bit. I additionally needed to deliver some interconnectivity to the earlier video games. There is not something that will probably be too dense for brand new followers to wade by, however simply sufficient for long-term followers to understand. “
Throughout my hands-on time with Sonic Frontiers, I witnessed a few of Flynn’s handiwork in that regard. As you are operating by the open zone of Sonic Frontiers, Sonic will make small feedback to himself. Since Sonic Frontiers’ story takes place on the final level of the Sonic timeline because it exists presently – after the occasions of Sonic Forces and Group Sonic Racing – all earlier titles are truthful sport. In a single voice line, the Blue Blur wonders if Kronos Island would make location for a Chao Backyard. We all know there are not any Chao Gardens in Sonic Frontiers, however small strains like that add to the general connectivity of Frontiers to the remainder of the Sonic the Hedgehog timeline. “These are issues Ian put in for the followers,” Iizuka says. “Together with references to different video games makes it clear that the Sonic Frontiers story is not a standalone world, however part of Sonic’s lengthy historical past.”
Whereas Sonic Forces and Generations additionally referenced a number of different Sonic video games, Frontiers seems to take action with a lighter contact. Gamers should not anticipate a wide selection of character cameos or acquainted boss battles as was seen in these video games. Sure, Eggman is within the sport, as are a small handful of Sonic’s mates, however the solid of characters is trimmed down considerably from some latest video games. “The story begins as Sonic, Amy, and Tails go to undeveloped Kronos Island and are separated by a mysterious phenomenon,” Iizuka says. “Sonic units out alone to seek out his lacking mates, however that is an undeveloped land that nobody has visited earlier than, so we can’t be seeing an enormous solid of characters.”
These acquainted faces – Eggman, Amy, Tails, and Large, to call a couple of – had been hand-selected by Sonic Group after which handed over to Flynn to additional flesh out the characters and their arcs. Whereas not everybody’s favourite characters seem in Sonic Frontiers, Flynn hints that we’d get deeper cuts talked about. “As you are operating round, take heed to what Sonic says to himself,” he says. “You may hear some names dropped that’ll shock you.”
Regardless of Sonic Group largely calling the pictures, Flynn was nonetheless capable of have some main say within the narrative overarching. “It was throughout that point when Ian Flynn offered some concepts for bringing totally different characters into the story,” director Morio Kishimoto says. “We had the event group take into consideration the way it may get built-in into the brand new open-zone format, which then prompted Ian Flynn to current much more new concepts to us, and thru that cooperative forwards and backwards, we settled on the characters that would seem within the sport. “
Sonic Group has remained largely mysterious about the best way the narrative performs out in Frontiers. Sonic, Tails, and Amy arrive following the readings of the Chaos Emeralds, however whereas I performed for greater than three hours, I nonetheless have little thought of what is going on on with the characters, the islands, or the creatures that inhabit them. This seems to be very a lot by design. “Eggman arrives on the island simply earlier than [Sonic, Tails, and Amy], however goes lacking after that, “Iizuka says.” The island seems to be uninhabited, however there are mysterious lifeforms made from stone known as Koco. Sonic’s lacking mates, the undeveloped island with historic ruins, the unusual lifeforms – all of those mysteries anticipate the participant to unravel them as they discover the world of Sonic Frontiers. “
One character that has a very mysterious presence throughout my playthrough of the primary few hours is Eggman. Sonic’s most iconic adversary seems within the first cutscene, will get absorbed into Cyber House, and I don’t see him once more till some time later in one other cutscene the place he’s making an attempt to flee from the digital jail. Out within the open zone, I encounter some Eggman tech, which even confuses Sonic. I do not know what function the mischievous mustachioed man performs in Sonic Frontiers, however Sonic Group guarantees it is a outstanding one.
“That includes Eggman within the story was one thing we selected from the early levels of issues,” Kishimoto says. “We needed Eggman to be an especially vital key determine on this story for it to achieve success; we did not need him to only be the dangerous man in our ‘good guys versus dangerous guys’ state of affairs. We needed to painting him as a flesh and blood human being within the story. “
Whereas Flynn is well-versed within the comic-writing course of, Sega has an even bigger hand in creating the story of Sonic Frontiers than it does within the creation of the comics. In reality, when Flynn writes a Sonic the Hedgehog comedian for IDW, he handles pitching the premise, characters, setting, and plot beats himself. Then, as soon as these parts are accredited, he goes page-by-page and creates a script. That is sometimes the final he sees of the work till it arrives on retailer cabinets. For Sonic Frontiers, Flynn continues to be closely concerned, however the course of is drastically totally different.
“With Sonic Frontiers, Sega supplied the plot beats, settings, and characters, so my job was primarily to fill within the particulars,” Flynn says. “I used to be capable of deliver some concepts to the desk, however this was extra of a collaborative effort. As the sport developed, new content material and revised approaches had been wanted, so I used to be concerned for for much longer than a comic book venture.”
Based on director Kishimoto, the storytelling of Sonic Frontiers takes a extra severe tone, hoping to transcend that “good guys versus dangerous guys” state of affairs he referred to that’s current in most video games within the style. “We wanted one thing dramatic to set that severe tone and foreshadow issues to ponder whereas taking part in the sport,” he says. “On the floor, our story is one thing that may be simply loved, however we additionally needed to problem ourselves to create a drama that might even be satisfying if thought of at a deeper stage. This can be a uncommon sort of expertise within the stage- clear motion sport style, but it surely was additionally vital for us to combine it in as we felt it was of crucial significance to this open-zone format. “
Flynn echoes Kishimoto’s evaluation of the story. “I’d say it’s a extra somber story general,” Flynn says. “It is about self-reflection and selecting tips on how to transfer ahead. And Sonic, being Sonic, is a optimistic reinforcement and the pressure for change that everybody wants. I hope everybody enjoys what we have put collectively.”
Sonic Frontiers involves PlayStation 5, Xbox Collection X / S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Swap, and PC later this yr. For extra on Sonic Frontiers, make sure to click on on the banner beneath to go to our unique protection hub.