As footage has been drip-fed to us over the not-E3 season, the reaction to Sonic Frontiers has been mixed. But whether you're hyped or disappointed, you've probably compared it to a fair amount of other games. Breath of the Wild, Sonic Generations, Mario Odysee, hell, even Skyrim have been named as games that Frontiers seems to take inspiration from. But according to Sonic Team, you shouldn't be doing this at all.
Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has said in an interview that what they're doing with Frontiers "doesn’t really exist in any other comparable titles". This was in response to the backlash some of the footage has received from fans, with Iizuka being confident that this comes from misunderstanding, and players will change their tune once they get their hands on the game.
Talking to VGC, Iizuka explains why he believes some fans were disappointed by gameplay reveals for Sonic Frontiers.
"Because they don’t understand what this new gameplay is, they’re kind of comparing it to other games that they already know", says Iizuka. "And really, the team is going out and creating this new game format for Sonic, and we’re calling it an ‘open zone’ format.
"And this new game system itself is something that doesn’t really exist in any other comparable titles, so we really hope that from here until launch we can really explain what open zone gameplay is."
Sega has consistently insisted on the open zone description, whatever that means. Back when we got the initial reveal last December, I asked Sega if it was accurate to call the game "open world" in our coverage, but the team instead said it should be called open zone. Again, it's not totally clear what the distinction is, but there will be a distinction, so temper those Breath of the Wild dreams for now.
Sonic Frontiers is set to launch holiday 2022. It will be available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
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