On July 22nd, SEGA hosted a special party for the 25th Anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. The quality of the livestream of the event was definitely not what one would expect from a multi-million dollar company. In fact, the whole thing was, well, interesting to say the least.
Nevertheless, two big announcements came out of the event — the upcoming Sonic games. The show kicked off with the reveal of Sonic Mania, a brand-new 2D adventure. While it looks good, unfortunately it doesn’t seem like it will be coming to any Nintendo platforms, at least not yet. On the bright side, the next game will.
The announcement of “Project Sonic 2017” was left for the very end the show. It was a long wait, but it was worth it. It has been nearly three years since the last console Sonic game from Sonic Team. By the time this game releases, it would be four years. With that in mind, combined with the fact that series is on beyond unstable ground, it’s safe to say that the new game will have a lot to prove. While the trailer didn’t reveal too much, there are some interesting things to note and think about. Let’s take a look.
1 — IT’S NOT A SEQUEL
Takashi Iizuka, the leader of Sonic Team, stated right before the trailer was shown that this is a “new game, not a sequel . . . it’s a new, original story.” It was definitely a good thing that he mentioned this, because one of the most important parts about the trailer was the reveal of Classic Sonic’s return. Just like in Sonic Generations, we will have the dynamic duo of two Sonics. It will be interesting to find out exactly how these two are together again, but at least we know now that the overall circumstances will be different. And speaking of circumstances:
2 —HAS EGGMAN ALREADY WON?
Right from the very beginning, we see Sonic in a world that is surrounded by destruction and darkness, all while a trio of Death Egg Robots march around and attack him. Past Sonic reveals have shown an on-going conflict, but this one seems to indicate that the Doctor already has the upper-hand. And that point is further proved by the “Resistance”.
3 —WHAT IS THE ‘RESISTANCE’?
“Resistance” is a term that can be defined in many different ways, but the overall definition is that it means to “defy, put up a struggle against”. The end of the trailer displays the message to “Join the Resistance.” This version of “resistance”, is defined as being “a secret organization resisting authority, especially in an occupied country.” Having said that, it does seem likely that Eggman, or some evil force, is already in control of the world. Now, Sonic has quite the cast of friends, and Eggman has tried to take over the world before, but they’ve never been called “the Resistance”…. Not in the games, at least. Don’t forget that in the past, Sonic had another diverse group of friends: the Freedom Fighters.
Now regulated to the world of the ‘Archie Sonic’ comic series, these stories exist in an “alternate dimension” to that of what we see in the games. Even so, a lot of these characters are a part of Sonic’s history, so perhaps they’re being brought back to the world of the Sonic games. And speaking of “world”, which world is this?
4 —WHICH WORLD IS THIS?:
The lore of the Sonic series is pretty mismatched. Aside from the fact that comics and games are entirely independent of each other, we also have to deal with the lack of details surrounding major elements and plot-lines in the series. For instance, it’s still not entirely clear where the Chaos Emeralds come from, and why they’ve been noticeably absent from Angel Island for such a long time. But even more confusing than that is the fact that Sonic and company seem to jump between worlds without much explanation.
In the classic games, the Sonic universe was pretty much its own thing. It was a head-scratcher as to why a human scientist was battling an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog, but that’s not something that was brought up for debate very often. Somewhere down the line, though, Sonic Team decided it would be cool to somehow have Sonic come into our world. We first met Sonic running around in Green Hill, but then towards the end of the 90s, we had him sliding down the streets of San Francisco, and more importantly, interacting with other humans. This sudden transition into our world made it seem like Sonic had always been there, even though most of the locales in the past games, while realistic, didn’t exactly indicate that it was Earth. Too add to this, the series has continuously thrown humans in and out of the picture. For instance, both the Adventure games obviously take place on Earth, but then Sonic Heroes comes in and the humans are gone, but then the humans mysteriously re-appear in Shadow the Hedgehog. The closest thing we have to an explanation of Sonic and his friends world-jumping is the beginning of the Sonic X TV-series, where we see them actually leaving their world and being transported to ours.
With that said, the world that we see here in the trailer for Project Sonic 2017 is most certainly Earth. In fact, the city that Sonic’s in looks strikingly similar to that of City Escape (which is San Francisco) from Sonic Adventure 2. It may not be exactly that, but the point is, it’s a human city. Does this mean that the new game will be loosely tied to the Adventure series? Perhaps. Nevertheless, it should be interesting to see exactly how the story plays out.
No doubt, this trailer has raised a lot of questions. Aside from the ones we just considered, there’s also the need to explain why Classic and Modern Sonic are together again. And, how did Eggman manage to unleash such a massive overtaking without Sonic and his friends noticing? And speaking of which, where are his friends? AND, does the reveal of this game coming to the NX mean that the system will be capable of blast-processing?! Indeed, quite a number of striking questions. We’ll find out the answers in a year and a half.