Another June 23rd, another birthday for Sonic. It is still so amazing to me that Sonic has been going for 27 years. And yet, here we are. So what is the topic of discussion this year? Honestly, I don’t know. What else is there to say that I haven’t done in previous years? I guess there’s always just talking about the state of the Sonic brand right now. So, if that is okay with you, I’d like to address that.
The Sonic franchise is in a very…conflicted place. It depends on who you talk to. And it especially depends on what you think of Sonic Forces. Some think it’s great, others think it’s okay. And others think this is further evidence of a new Sonic “Dark Age”. However, Sonic Mania has complicated things. A lot of people think it is the best Sonic game in years. So, you have what many consider the best Sonic game in years releasing within a year of, perhaps, the most divisive Sonic game ever made. It doesn’t help that a Sonic movie is coming next year, and what we have been hearing so far, to put it politely, isn’t very reassuring to a lot of people. In the coming months, Sonic Mania is getting new DLC, and a new Sonic racing game is on the way. Once again, the latter depends on who you talk to. It seems strange, but Sonic Mania has been a bright beacon in a lot of questionable darkness. I say questionable because, well, no one knows what to expect. No one knows what SEGA’s next moves are. No one really expected Sonic Forces to go the route it did. But at the same time, no one ever expected Sonic Mania to be a thing. It’s a giant paradox right now.
This paradox of a brand is, understandably, showing in the Sonic fanbase as well. I’ve said in the past that the Sonic fanbase is never a dull moment, and this seems to be true in 2018 more than ever. Absolutely no one can agree on what they want from this franchise. This, combined with the Adventure generation growing up and wanting a say in matters, makes things very complicated. Not that there’s a problem with the generation that grew up with Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 speaking up. It’s just that it means that SEGA has even more fan feedback to take note of. Fortunately, they have the time to sort things out. It’s very likely that the next main series Sonic title won’t be seen for another year or so. And it doesn’t look like the general consensus of the Sonic community is going to shift anytime soon. That said, we will see what SEGA does. Feedback or not, we’ve seen how well Mania and Forces have done. SEGA is a business, and there is nothing that sends a message more than sales. I’ll talk more about SEGA and Sonic’s future at the end of the year, for obvious reasons.
In the meantime, this is a year of downtime. Sort of. Sonic Mania Plus and Team Sonic Racing are a thing, so it’s not like the Sonic brand will be quiet. There isn’t much to say about Sonic Mania Plus, though, considering it’s mainly an expansion of the base game. If you were already excited about Mania, then Mania Plus is just icing on the cake. Team Sonic Racing, on the other hand…we’ll see. SEGA is trying a new team formula for a Sonic racing game here, and we will just have to see what it’s like when the game releases.
As I write this, the Sonic Joypolis birthday party is taking place. I’m filled with so much uncertainty on things. Not because of the games, per se. So far, I’ve been satisfied. I thought Sonic Forces was fun, and Sonic Mania was pretty damn solid. But what about the fanbase? What about the mainstream gaming media? What will happen when Team Sonic Racing releases? Will people like it? Will there be more cries of “Dark Age 2”? I guess we’ll see.
That said, thank you for taking the moment to read all of this. I know it isn’t filled with feels like previous years, but it would’ve lost its charm if I just repeated them. I just want to see the Sonic brand do well. I think he will. IDW Sonic has picked up steam, and future issues are really looking to get interesting. Sonic Mania Plus is looking good. It’s just a matter of Team Sonic Racing. And that won’t be addressed for a few more months. But I’m optimistic. Whether you dislike Sonic Forces or not, one thing is certain. The era of Sonic Boom is behind us. Even though the cartoon got quite a bit of good reception, it doesn’t look like it will be returning for a third season. It is clear that we are now in a brand new era of Sonic. It is only a matter of time before we find out how it does.
For now…Happy birthday, Sonic!