The extended gameplay footage has arrived for Sega’s upcoming Sonic Frontiers.
Originally announced at The Game Awards last year with a first-look teaser, the initial sweeping shots of grass-covered landscapes struck many as Sega’s own riff on Nintendo’s Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Although Sega has stopped short of calling the game “open world,” instead opting for the phrase “open-zone,” it is clear that at least the general aesthetic and music of the game arguably took inspiration from the 2017 fantasy title.
On Tuesday, we got the first initial preview of the blue blur actually interacting in the world, with IGN announcing an extended trailer would drop the following day. Fan reactions to that preview were a bit mixed, as some said we did not have enough information to rule out quality assurance issues that have plagued previous Sonic games.
Even in the extended trailer, which is seven minutes long, it’s still not entirely clear what the nature of the “open-zone” concept is all about. It could easily be just a synonym for “open world.” Or perhaps Sega’s reluctance to call it “open world” means we are looking at more of a large sandbox gameplay situation, not unlike Super Mario 64 turned up to 11. Or maybe the final result will be something in between: an interconnected world of multiple sandboxes.
However, even doing a sandbox approach to Sonic would be somewhat new to the franchise, as previous games have unambiguously been on rails most times, besides occasion hub world sections.
What is clear is that the game will have lots of open space containing ancient-looking relics, rely on new mechanics such as circling around enemies for some kind of attack, light puzzle-solving, running in a fixed wheel-thingie to unlock what looks like a local scan of the area, and of course, it will contain those old staples, running really fast and grinding on rails.
Sonic Frontiers is expected for release for the 2022 holiday season on most major game consoles, including Xbox Series X/S, Playstation 5, Nintendo Switch and PC.