Needlemouse Campaign “Built Around Destroying the Sonic Cycle,” Says SOA’s Webber

Needlemouse Campaign “Built Around Destroying the Sonic Cycle,” Says SOA’s Webber

by January 5, 2011

“It was an important step towards destroying [….] mainstream perception”

The Project Needlemouse promotion campaign, which was 2009’s precursor to the formal announcement of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I and lasted more than four months, was an effort to dispel persistent negative perceptions of the Sonic franchise and its fans–perceptions best summarized in the well known Sonic Cycle.

That’s according to Sega of America Community Manager Aaron Webber, who made the remarks in response to criticism of it on the Sega forums today.

“The Needlemouse campaign created a ton of awesome stuff – from the involvement of getting fans active again to the fantastic Badnik fan art – and was built around destroying the “Sonic Cycle” that so many people used to harp on,” Webber explained.

In his remarks, Webber stated his own opinion on the well circulated cycle: that its tenets shouldn’t supersede an individual game’s quality.  That acted as a springboard for the Needlemouse campaign’s two pronged approach.  In his words, it was meant to break the opinions of those basing them on the Cycle, and get them and other fans more involved in the process:

While I personally don’t think the old cycle, or the points within it, matter as much as simply having good game quality, it was an important step towards destroying the mainstream perception that Sonic had fallen into a rut he could never escape from. With it, we were able to not only get Sonic back in the public gamer’s eye in a positive way, but also show them that, even if step-by-step, we had started a process of listening to fans and their feedback that has and will continue to prove immensely important as we go forward.

What Webber and others couldn’t predict, however, was the first test of fans’ trust following in short order with the leak of Episode I to Microsoft’s PartnerNET.  It caused a lot of strife among more discriminating fans and within Sega while attempting damage control.  The company may have been listening from the start; whether it is doing anything in response will be the big test of Episode 2.  But for the moment, in hindsight, do you think the Needlemouse campaign was successful in the context of Webber’s vision?  Tell us in the comments section.