Sonic Generations was a pretty solid Sonic game on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and it managed to combine both 3D Sonic and 2D Sonic albeit 3D on rails. Talking to VGC, the Head of the Sonic Team, Takashi Iizuka, has said that he doesn’t feel that merging both 2D Sonic and 3D Sonic really works and has hinted that in the future the games will be split between 2D Sonic games and 3D Sonic games. This is basically what we are getting this year with the 2D Sonic Origins collection and the 3D open zone, Sonic Frontiers. One thing that is also interesting is that Mr. Iizuka makes the assumption in the interview that younger children prefer to play the 2D Sonic games over the 3D Sonic games, though that could be due to the quality of the camera and level design etc on past 3D Sonic games. Here’s what he says:
How challenging is it to make a game that appeals to both old and new fans, especially since the most engaged audience seems to have a very specific idea of what they expect from a Sonic game?
From my perspective, it’s not so much about old and new fans, it’s really more about the game genre and the types of games that people like. I see a core fanbase of people who really like the 2D side-scrolling format, and people who really like the 3D action format. Trying to put those both together to make everyone happy doesn’t really work.
Young kids are going to be more into the 2D side-scrolling format, and they’re not going to want the 3D action games. So I see things not really about old and new, but more about the different game genres people are attached to. For me, the only way to make those fans happy is to deliver the game formats that people want.
2017 was one of those examples, where we delivered Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces to the two different fan types in the same year, and everyone was happy. So moving forwards, we want to make sure we’re making the genres that are hitting these audiences.