Oh boy, where do I even begin with this one? Announced at the end of the San Diego 25th Anniversary party and set for a Holiday 2017 release on PS4, XB1, PC and Nintendo NX, the tentatively titled Project Sonic 2017 is a change in trend for Sonic game announcements. Most Sonic games come out within a couple of months of being announced; Sonic 2017 isn’t due for another year and a half, (hence why it doesn’t even have a proper title). And without any concrete details to go off of, Sonic fans will be in crazy speculation mode for at least the next few months. So I’m gonna look at the few details we do have, and try to give my opinions.
Before the trailer for the game was even shown, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka prefaced it by saying that the game is not a sequel to any previous installment in the series, and would be a completely new experience. The trailer itself was pretty standard teaser trailer affair. It was completely cg, (though Marza Planet’s animation is still gorgeous), and full of flashy buzz words like “join the Resistance” and “the world needs a hero”. It opened by saying the game is developed by the team that brought us Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, followed by a shot of a destroyed city alit with flames, and three enormous, Death Egg inspired robots. The trailer then cuts to an angry, but determined looking Sonic jumping from a high building and dashing into action. As Sonic is running, sliding and dodging debris, the words ‘but even heroes need help” flash across the screen, followed by Classic Sonic saving his Modern big brother from danger. The two Sonics smile at each other, and continue deeper into the burning city, narrowly avoiding a laser attack from the robots. The trailer ends with a suggestion to “join the Resistance” in Holiday 2017.
The first thing of note is the fact that Classic Sonic is returning to assist his Modern counterpart once again, despite the claims that the Sonic Generations setup would be a one time affair for the 20th Anniversary. This immediately made everyone assume that Sonic 2017 is going to be Generations 2, which briefly trended on Twitter following the announcement trailer. But Iizuka made a point to stress that Sonic 2017 is not a sequel. While it may not be a sequel in name, it is without a doubt a sequel in spirit. But will the game see the return of the Boost formula for Modern Sonic? The only main series Sonic game that has come out since Generations is Sonic Lost World, which featured a completely new gameplay formula and was not very well received. So it wouldn’t be too crazy to expect Sega and Sonic Team to go back to the last thing that worked for Modern Sonic, especially if they want to build Sonic’s reputation back up after the reception of Lost World and the pair of 2014 Sonic Boom games. But again, Iizuka stressed that this game would be an all new experience, so we’ll just have to wait for gameplay details to see what that means.
As far as Classic Sonic’s return, I’m pretty mixed. I’m not disappointed to see him again, (I mean just look at how adorable he is), it just doesn’t feel as special this time around. It feels like they’re using him as a crutch for Modern Sonic, almost like they don’t feel like he can stand on his own two feet. The Sonic series is currently separated into three different branches: 2d side-scrolling Classic, 3d Modern and adventure, comedy based Boom. Classic is getting his time in the spotlight with Sonic Mania and tons of 25th Anniversary merchandise, and Boom is very well represented by the tv show, the merchandise and the upcoming Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice. Both of these branches of Sonic are able to survive without help from the others, so why can’t Modern? Sure, he’s getting plenty of anniversary related merchandise as well, but what about games? He should have a game all to himself, especially if Sonic Team is going back to the Boost formula, which is already a proven concept that is still ripe for refinement. I’m sure Classic Sonic is going to be enjoyable in Sonic 2017, it just really feels like Modern Sonic and his fans are getting the short end compared to Classic and Boom.
Let’s talk about the story. Since 2010’s Sonic Colors, Sonic games have featured pretty simple stories. The stakes are lower, the villains are less serious and there are plenty of funny jokes and one-liners, kinda like a Saturday morning cartoon. Sonic 2017 looks to be taking things in a more serious direction. Now when I say serious, I’m not saying the story is going to be super dark or edgy or anything like that, only that there will be a greater emphasis on high stakes this time around, similar to past games like Sonic Unleashed and Sonic and the Black Knight. Personally, I’m excited about this. I really enjoy the story in games like Colors, but I absolutely love the story in Unleashed. While not perfect by any means, Unleashed had a story that took itself seriously, but also had plenty of light-hearted moments to break up the tension. I’m of the mind that a Sonic story that is along the lines of the ones found in the Ratchet & Clank games would be awesome. They have serious stories, but they’re never too melodramatic, and the villains are always funny and entertaining while still being a legitimate threat. I wanna see Sonic face high-stakes and great danger, but I also want to see that iconic wise-cracking, cocky attitude that I know and love. The Sonic series currently has an excellent and well-rounded voice cast, and I’d be so down for combining them with a well-written and executed story.
Lastly, let’s talk about that whole “join the Resistance” line that I’ve already mentioned half a dozen times at this point, as well as how Classic Sonic is in the game in the first place. Time travel will obviously be involved in the story in some capacity, which explains Classic Sonic’s appearance and the fact that Eggman was able to conquer and ravage the world without being stopped by Sonic and co. The story is likely a “bad future” scenario for Sonic’s world, and the aim for Sonic will be to set right what went wrong. We already know that he’ll be assisted by his younger, rounder self, but who else will be along for the ride? I’m sure Tails and Knuckles will be involved, but what about other characters like Shadow, Blaze or Silver? The fact that they stated that Sonic would need help this time around, as well as the fact that the game features a “Resistance” could lead credence to notion that more characters will be involved in the story. Now whether or not these additional characters will be playable or involved in some new gameplay gimmick is a different story, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
This ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated. Sonic Mania is a game that we know plenty about, but I somehow managed to say way more about a game that had a completely cg trailer, and no gameplay details. Anyways, we’re likely months away from seeing any real gameplay for Sonic 2017, but I’ll be right here to talk about it when we do. Overall, I’m feeling pretty optimistic about the game. Over the past year, Sega has continually reiterated a desire to bring Sonic games back up to a high quality, as evidenced by how awesome Sonic Mania looks, and the fact that they delayed Fire & Ice a whole year to improve the game based on fan feedback. I have reason to believe that Sonic 2017 will be a good game, but only time will tell.
Will you be joining the Resistance? Are you excited about the premise of Classic and Modern Sonic teaming up again? Well let me know in the comments, and be sure to follow me on Twitter to stay updated on all the latest posts. Thanks for reading, and be sure to have an awesome day!