Sonic No Longer Has a Brand Manager in the West
This is, by our own admission, a Better Late than Never type story that, despite the tardiness, still needs to be known, especially in the climate fermenting and about to evolve with the wild reactions ahead of Sonic Boom‘s game launch tomorrow. While most of our attention has been spent there, an important change slid under the community radar–that change being the ship of the Sonic brand, undergoing one of the most important transformations in years, has been without a rudder for months.
That rudder since 2010 was David Corless, who was Sonic’s Global Brand Director. We have not heard from him about Boom since the February unveiling, and with good reason: Corless left Sega after more than seven and a half years with the company in June. Corless had a significant role in the Boom initiative–he says on his LinkedIn page he helped establish the TV series, met with very positive fan reaction so far–but it’s been near deafening silence from him and, for that matter, much of the Sega West establishment in Europe, since. Now, we know why.
TSSZ actually first learned of Corless’s departure through some casual conversations at Sonic Boom NYC last month, with information suggesting much of his responsibilities transferred over to Sega of America as the Boom initiative evolved. To this point, we’ve not been able to research and verify the details. With the above LinkedIn profile, and now this July article from GamesIndustry.biz, we can; Corless is now a VP at Virtual Reality developer nDreams where, interestingly enough, another Sega alum is hard at work:
This is the second high profile appointment at nDreams in the last few months as the company repositions itself as a VR-focused studio – the other being former Sega CEO Mike Hayes, who was added to the board of directors in April. nDreams announced its first VR game, The Assembly, at E3 this year.
As we continue to learn how good or bad Boom is as a game, a television series, and a franchise, a key departure like this is worth considering. To be fair, we will never know for sure the reasons behind Corless’s departure or, of what fans are about to learn soon, he could have known months ago. But if the general consensus is that the initiative failed and Sonic is now a mess again, it won’t be for no good reason; much like when Yuji Naka left ahead of Sonic 2006’s release, the entire brand is again without leadership.