If you were thinking of wandering in to your local video game store and picking up a new copy of Sonic Vs. The Black Knight anytime soon, you might be out of luck. With the upcoming release of Sonic Colors, Sonic Free Riders and Sonic the Hedgehog 4, SEGA is doing a little house cleaning, de-listing Sonic titles that have a poor or average Metacritic standing.
SEGA’s Senior Vice President of EMEA Jurgen Post explained that this was done to help “strengthen the brand” going forward, stating that having a large number of Sonic titles on the shelves will lead to a “cannibalization” of sorts. While it isn’t unusual for a company to phase out older games in a franchise to make way for newer titles, Sonic is sort of a special case considering how many mediocre games we’ve been plagued with since this generation started.
Fortunately both Sonic Colors and Sonic 4 are looking pretty good, so maybe it’s better to sweep those old ones under the rug. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forget Sonic 2006, but what about you guys? Are the memories of old Sonic games still plaguing your thoughts?
Times are still tough, and the pinch of the economy has been especially hard on the video game industry. Unless a studio’s game has broken sales records world-wide, chances are they’ve had to let at least some part of their work force go (well, except for Infinity Ward, but that’s another story).
SEGA West is the latest company to feel the squeeze, and as such, they’ve chosen to reformat to focus on smaller-scale downloadable titles. Unfortunately, downsizing also means redundancy, so 73 people from SEGA have lost their jobs. Although SEGA West President Mike Hayes is adamant that this move is solely an initiative taken by the high-ups in the Western branches, SEGA’s parent company recently went on record with their concerns over lack-luster North American sales.
At any rate, Hayes’ section of SEGA is now focusing on the downloadable market place. Mr. Hayes mentioned that, with the performance of Super Monkey Ball on the iPhone and the upcoming release of Sonic 4, they’ve seen great feed back with regards to the re-inventing of existing intellectual properties. He goes on to say that, with the resurgence of popular SEGA IPs, the challenge is to do more than just reinvent familiar brands. He does mention that the company expects to make some new IP announcements in the coming months.
With the iPad seeing a global launch in the next few weeks, this is also a brand new market for game companies to spread into, and SEGA West is excited about the opportunities offered by the device. What do you guys think of this new move by SEGA? It sucks that people had to lose their jobs, but SEGA is a business, and they have to stay afloat. With Sonic 4 still in production, do you think they’re putting all their eggs in one basket?
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is coming out this year and, for all intents and purposes, it looks pretty good; almost a return to form for a has-been mascot that’s tried everything from swordplay to lyncanthropy to win back his fan-base. Some people are just impossible to please, though, so even a side-scrolling HD throwback game isn’t going to win over some die-hards. Take this online petition for example. These stodgy supporters of Sonic circa 1992 aren’t just going to acquiesce and buy Sonic 4, oh no. They’re planning on buying Sonic 1 when the new game gets released. Wait, what?
Now, we all know that internet boycotts are destined to bomb, but this one strikes me as possibly the least effective form of consumer backlash I’ve ever seen. All well and good if you don’t like the new Sonic, fellas, but buying Sega’s products is hardly going to get them to change their minds. Check out my favorite part of the rant:
“Either way, We will decide to finally show sega what the fans truly want. A real sonic 4, as long as sonic 4 stays the way it is, we will not buy it, we will in fact buy sonic 1 on release in protest of sonic 4”
I know we’ve highlighted some silly boycotts in the past, but I’m sure this one takes the cake. What do you guys think about this? Is there any hope for these petitioners, or will they go down as the laughing stock of the internet? My guess is on the latter.
Man, people holding preview events behind closed doors need to implement tighter security, because the guy with the camera built into his hat keeps getting through. In the grand tradition of alpha gameplay getting leaked, I now present some off-screen footage of the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1.
So, despite the shakiness, I think it gives us a good indication of where Sonic 4 is headed and that is the series’ salad days of 1994, specifically. I’m still not a fan of his running animation, but if things keep moving in this direction, I’ll pick it up for sure. How about you guys?