Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is the Sonic Franchise dead?

I have been a huge fan of Sonic the Hedgehog throughout my life. I have literally witnessed the evolution of this franchise, so it’s only natural that I feel very concerned about where it is headed. I was always crazy about Sonic (Favorite character? Espio the Chameleon). I could gloat and reminisce about Sonic forever, but that is not the point of this post. It is quite clear that Sonic has been slowly dying, if he has not already been deemed dead by some fans.

Sonic has been titled by numerous websites and blogs as a “franchise that needs to die” because it has been struggling so much. It’s a sad thing to see, but I can understand why this is being said.

I asked several friends of mine who are also big fans of Sonic, and they can all agree: the franchise has most certainly been struggling, and the attempts of revival are not working. Sometimes you cannot help but feel bad for the blue hedgehog. Classic games such as Mario and Zelda have created quality games for years as well as maintain a strong fanbase, so did Sega drop the ball with Sonic? It’s hard to say.

Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 really did not revolutionize the Sonic Franchise like Super Mario 64 and Zelda: Ocarina of Time did. Sure, they were great games, but they did not carry on Sonic’s legacy. The concept of Sonic the Hedgehog is completely different from Mario and Zelda. Unfortunately, it is hard for these modern Sonic games to keep that concept alive, thus making these games rather lame. A friend of mine put it perfectly, “it’s one thing to evolve the adventure of Mario and Zelda games, but running, loops, and jumps don't really... evolve well.”

Perhaps not all is lost in the Sonic Franchise. Like another friend of mine explains, some of the handheld games have received quite good reception from players. The console games, however, have just plummeted. But I don’t need to tell you that, it’s quite obvious that no one really speaks of new Sonic games with a positive outlook since the early 2000s. There were some modern Sonic ideas that could have been cool, but failed completely (Silver the Hedgehog, Werewolf Sonic, etc.).

Did you know that this year is the 20th anniversary for Sonic the Hedgehog? I’ll be honest, I was completely unaware. With such a big hype about Zelda’s 25th anniversary, Sonic seemed a little overshadowed.

Nintendo is doing a great deal of awesome things to celebrate Zelda’s 25th: concerts, new CD releases, a free game on DSi Ware. And what is Sonic getting? This Kotaku article explains it quite nicely. If you are living in Belgium, you are welcome to purchase some Sonic-themed stamps in honor of Sonic’s 25th! Isn't that exciting?

Sonic is also getting a new game in honor of its 25th. Sonic Generations is the new game coming out next month that is thankfully getting fans excited. It could quite possibly be the “Best Sonic Game since Rush” (which happens to be the last Sonic game I ever purchased at this point in time). I love the idea behind Sonic Generations. They plan to set up the game by “era”: The classic era, Dreamcast era, and modern era. They also take some of the 3D games and give them a 2D version. Mixing all three of these “eras” of sonic may just be what fans need to help restore appreciation for Sonic the Hedgehog.

I hate to see one of my favorite franchises head in the direction it’s going, but perhaps this was the predestined fate for Sonic. It does hurt to see all of these other franchises being so successful and then seeing Sonic struggle so much. I will always enjoy the classics such as Sonic and Knuckles, so not all is lost. Also, I have been actively reading the Sonic comic book series for quite some time now; it’s a great read. I will not mourn the loss of a great franchise just yet – Sonic Generations is a game I am hopeful will revive this franchise for the better.


Anonymous said...

Really? Sonic is not dead. The only terrible modern Sonic games were 06 and Shadow. And even those games weren't THAT bad. Most of SOnic's games have recieved good reviews and sold quiet well. Before you automaticly say a franchice is dead, do your research on it. Just clearing things up.

Tracie said...

But.... I did do my research.
Did you even read this post? I have points that argue for both sides of the argument.

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