It’s not easy being Sonic, especially when the company controlling your existence doesn’t really know what to do with you. In a refreshingly honest interview with Eurogamer, Sega West President and CEO Mike Hayes gave some fairly straight answers when it came to the absolute deluge of bad to mediocre Sonic games in the last decade or so. “I do acknowledge that the quality of some of the earlier games was certainly not where we would have liked to have been,” admits Hayes, and although it may be possible to forgive him for the past games, what are his plans for getting the gaming public to trust Sonic again? Check after the break for actual answers from a CEO!
The main topic of the interview was the mis-targeting, or “confusion,” in Hayes’ words, of past Sonic games. Hayes freely admits that it took Sega some time to come around to the fact that Sonic’s audience has split between the gamers who want the Sonic they know from 20 years ago and those who know Sonic as an icon, but have yet to see him in a game that relates to them. On the face of it, the “confusion” regarding these audiences and the past Sonic games seems to be accurate. Having heard the Sonic series referred to as having an ‘identity crisis,’ it seems plain to see when looking at the older Sonic titles just how much Sega tried to pander to all of its disparate audiences.
What’s the good news? Sega knows what they did wrong, and they swear they’ll never do it again. It’s just not possible to please all Sonic fans with one game, so their solution is to make more Sonic games! This seems like bad news, but fret not. If the development teams for Sonic games weren’t split before, they definitely are now, with different dev teams focused on the various target audiences that Sega is shooting for. The upcoming Sonic Generations is an obvious homage to the classic Sonic games, and Hayes has high hopes for the game, saying “I think Generations, for the loyal fanbase, is going to be highly regarded.” What we’ve seen so far is promising, but only time will tell just how much we still trust Sega to give us back the Sonic we know and love.