SEGA’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Alan Pritchard, has been owning up to the fact that SEGA is “guilty of bringing too much Sonic product to market.” When he first discussed SEGA’s Sonic problem exactly two months ago, there were three Sonic games coming to market, making his words pretty contradictory. He’s back for a repeat performance and echoed that sentiment to GameInformer magazine in their December issue, announcing three more Sonic games for the “early part of the next calendar year.” How does this guy admit to “too much Sonic” with a straight face?
Pritchard said (along with new Sonic brand manager David Corless a few months back, who somehow managed to say that, “Sonic fans aren’t hard to please,” but that it’s “hard to please [them]”) to GameInformer that the last three games (Colors, Sonic 4: Episode 1 and Sonic Free Riders) each had their own specific goals, praising their individual successes by saying “very well” after every verb. “We have released Sonic 4 digitally, which has reviewed very well,” Pritchard said. “Last week, we released Sonic Free Riders on Kinect. That’s us being involved in the launch of a platform. Historically, Sega does very well in the launch timeframe of platforms. We did very well at the launch of PS3 and Wii. Free Riders was really about being a part of the launch of Kinect. Then, we have Colors, which is our pure Sonic gaming experience.”
He said later that Colors is their “pure platforming Sonic.” So, wait, Colors is the “pure platformer” and not the game entirely in 2D that’s a sequel to the classic platforming games? What does that make Sonic 4 then? “Pure shit?” SEGA does “very well” in “being involved in the launch” of new platforms? Instead of just “being involved,” how about making a good game?
Pritchard continued to bask in the glory of Colors by stating that it had “some high scores” and was “the highest pre-selling pure Sonic title we’ve had ever.”
As for the aforementioned three new Sonic games? Well, we can safely assume that Sonic 4: Episode 2 is in the mix, as well as that rumored Sonic Anniversary game. The third game? Look for a new “party” game featuring Mario & Sonic. “Where we’re trying to move now is — we have Mario & Sonic, which is our party Sonic title,” Pritchard said. Whether or not if it’s another sports-related title has yet to be determined.
SEGA will also continue redundantly releasing their past glory in the form of their Dreamcast library, which has already been releasing on XBLA/PSN over the past few months. “We are looking to bring some of the old Dreamcast games to market digitally and packaged. The titles are still to be announced. The Ultimate Genesis Collection did huge numbers on PS3 and 360, so it’s an important part of our business. We’ve already been releasing some Dreamcast games digitally; Crazy Taxi [for one].” In the age of digital distribution, you’d think these compilation discs would stop. If you just have to release a disc, at least make it an anniversary with bonuses or something.
I appreciate what SEGA’s trying to do to improve Sonic’s image, but you can’t do that with so many titles coming to retail in such a small window. I’d take one, well-done Sonic game over a handful of mediocre ones. You could tell by the end of both Colors games that the developers were starting to get stretched thin, especially Dimps. If SEGA wants to commit to brand improvement, the words have to match the product. SEGA West has been saying the opposite of what Japan has been putting out over the last year, most of it coming after the “de-listing” of games. That is not how you instill trust in your fans. SEGA West has obviously had a change in heart over their brand image, but they ultimately don’t make the games, so we’re probably going to be stuck here for a while.
Alternatively, just stop talking so much, yo. Real talk.