One point of contention which gamers and Sonic fans alike have had with Sonic Team is the simple fact that they won’t let Sonic run. That was basically what he did in the old days, without turning things over to werehog forms and gun-toting mechs, and that’s what people still seem to want. When Sonic Unleashed was first revealed, people thought for a split second that maybe Sonic Team had finally conceded to their wishes. Then came the images, screens, and videos of the Blue Blur’s “other half.”
As it turns out, Sonic Team… how do I put this lightly? Let’s just say that when it comes to simply running, they don’t have the endurance their character does:
I asked one of the developers at TGS, you know I was like, come on everybody just wants Sonic running, like what’s up with the werehog? And he was like, well, here’s the deal… he runs at this miles per hour, kilometers per hour, and he laid out all of the statistics on how fast this hedgehog goes, and he was like In order to make a game where Sonic is running and everybody enjoys the whole thing we’d have to design this many miles of level, and it was some ungodly number. And he’s like and that would be like maybe a three hour game and I was like wow, well that kinda stinks and he’s like yeah, so we gotta do this other stuff.” — David Clayman, on the IGN Three Red Lights podcast, via Indoor Heroes
This is a bit of a conundrum. Even the classic Sonic titles were unlikely to keep one playing for too long, except maybe the first time out. And would anyone pay the sort of money a Sonic game asks for upon release for a three-hour tour?
A three-hour tour.
Highly unlikely. And one imagines that the graphics, as nice as they are, don’t come cheap.
So would the answer be to make a shorter Sonic game for less money? Would that even balance out the way they would need it to?
And yet, somehow the portable Sonic games seem to manage fine. Perhaps it’s time Sonic Team takes another good look at that whole “downloadable Sonic 4” idea inspired by Mega Man 9. At least then, if fans of the franchise are getting those here and there, they may be less likely to curse the big-time Sonic games when they start adding werehogs and things.