Game News, Opinion

Sonic Central Happens, IGN Keeps Talking Sonic

Last year, the folks over at Sonic’s social media team rolled out the first Sonic Central, a short digital presentation talking about upcoming projects featuring the blue blur. Giving the impression it would become a somewhat regular feature, the second installment has finally happened. Has this concentrated burst of news been worth the year long wait?

Well, it’s not like there hasn’t been anything said about Sonic since May of 2021…

After seeing Ivo Gerscovich and Takashi Iizuka introduce everything while sitting in some comfortable looking chairs, we get a brand new Sonic Origins trailer, put together by StrategyGuidePR (a group featuring some familiar faces in the Sonic community!). In it, we get our first look at the Competition Mode in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, which has been sized up from the original version back on the Mega Drive. After some Roblox and Sonic Dash news, we get the briefest taste of Sonic Prime, Shadow the Hedgehog rolling far and wide over a Green Hill-esque landscape. We get some merch news, and learn about an upcoming tour featuring the music of the Sonic Symphony before we get another look at Sonic Frontiers, reminding us to check out IGN for more. Then Ivo smiles at us again.

That was. I mean.

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve had a bit of a hard time writing an article about this. That’s not to say that any one piece of news was underwhelming, or that it was poorly put together, or that the trailers shown didn’t look nice. I might personally have some misgivings about how Sonic 3‘s competition mode looks in Anniversary Mode (and hope the original look is maintained in Classic Mode), but that doesn’t deter my excitement for the compilation. I might not be someone who drinks a lot of GFuel, but I know there are people who are exciting to drink something with Knuckles’ face on it. And that Jakks Pacific figure of Eggman in his Eggmobile? With all the attachments? Not gonna lie, I want it.

But as a whole, the Sonic Central feels like it was missing something. In the previous one, we did get three game announcements. Not that we needed three, or even one, game announcement for Sonic Central 2022 to feel complete. Perhaps it is as simple as Sega allowing their Frontiers coverage to be cannibalized. Heck, Sonic Central premiered at the same time as IGN’s hands-on impressions video of Frontiers! How weird is that?

Imagine, for a second, that IGN hadn’t yet given us 13 minutes of Sonic Frontiers footage. That Sonic Central was announced, promising us the first proper look at the game. We get a trailer featuring footage of Sonic exploring, fighting enemies, going up against one of those huge bosses. Then, we see Mitchell Saltzman sitting across from Iizuka-san, or Morio Kishimoto, having a brief interview. From there, we get the promise of more on IGN, since we’d still want the Sonic Central to not go on for hours. Could even get videos on Frontiers later that day! Instead, it feels like everything was done out of order.

Saltzman’s piece on Frontiers, plus the footage of the game in the Central, have made things look and sound a bit better than the two previous clips, I will give it that. We now have context for what’s going on, including the first inklings of a premise – Sonic, Tails, and Amy have fallen in a portal, Sonic waking up to find himself alone in this beautiful, somber, mysterious place. It’s not the first time Sonic has fallen in a portal, but even that small tidbit makes me curious about the story. With the announcement of Sonic Frontiers Prologue, an animated short focusing on Knuckles before the events of the game, I think Ian is going to earn his paycheck with what’s coming.

I think it’s also worth pointing out Mitchell Saltzman’s twitter thread following the hands-on video, focusing on the structure of the game. According to him. the promise of something good is there. Perhaps the bigger question is “Can Sonic Team pull this off?” I hope so, even if I have my reservations. Sonic working in an open world setting is something I’ve been skeptical about long before Frontiers was announced, but maybe there is something to it, after all. Guess we won’t really know until the game is out.

Overall, I want to be excited about what’s coming next for Sonic. Sonic Central just didn’t hit the mark the way it should have, and Frontiers is still one big question mark hanging over everything. But hey, that Sonic the Hedgehog Symphony tour should be pretty snazzy.

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