Sonic Frontiers MUST learn from this popular fan game

SONIC Utopia is a Sonic the Hedgehog fan game, and the upcoming Sonic Frontiers has a lot to learn from it.

Sonic the Hedgehog has an odd modern existence, especially compared to other ’90s mascots.

Sonic Utopia fixes several fundamental issues with the series.


Sonic Utopia fixes several fundamental issues with the series.Photo credit: The Great Long

Mario is as strong as ever with Nintendo’s critically acclaimed platformers, Crash Bandicoot made a big comeback a few years ago, and even Donkey Kong is still getting great games.

If you’re looking for critical acclaim, you need to look to Sonic for the movies or its Netflix series rather than the video games.

The last great Sonic game, Sonic Forces was one of the most boring and boring games in the series to date, which the reviews reflect.

To fix this, Sonic Frontiers promises to do something new with the formula and put it in an open world.

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There was skepticism as to whether the series would work in an open-world setting, but in fact, Sonic fans have already successfully made it.

We’ll dive into why these games struggle so much with 3D and what lessons the Sonic Frontier developers were able to learn from Sonic Utopia.

The 3D problem from Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog began life as a 2D platformer with attitude, and almost every fan and critic agrees that the series worked best.

In fact, all of those folks were right in 2017 when the retro-styled Sonic Mania was released to near-universal praise.

However, when the technology for 3D gaming came along, everyone wanted a piece of the pie, and Sonic didn’t want to sit back and watch.

Mario had already proven it was possible with the all-time great Mario 64, so two years later Sonic Adventure came out, and well… it was a swing and a miss.

It was riddled with issues that the series would never quite get away from, no matter how much technology and the games’ overall design were improved.

The camera doesn’t handle speed properly, especially when traversing complex terrain, and it’s really difficult to control something that fast with simple button inputs.

This meant that a lot of compromises had to be made over the years to ensure the games were even remotely enjoyable.

It’s so common in modern Sonic games that – to keep you from screwing it up completely – the game takes away a certain amount of control from you to keep you running smoothly.

In front of each loop is a boost pad that lets Sonic run on autopilot and the camera pulls back for you to see.

The best games managed to make up for this, but at worst you could play levels for a full 30 seconds without having to touch your controller, which is death for a platformer.

Sonic Utopia’s simple solution

Sonic Utopia is a fan-made game that was released as a demo in 2016.

It was a revelation to anyone who played it. It felt slick, fun, and intuitive in a way Sonic had never felt before.

This is because everything has been carefully designed to make movement feel as seamless and satisfying as possible.

Classic Sonic obstacles like loops and corkscrews have been made wider and smoother so the camera can follow you around them.

This meant the game didn’t have to take control when you entered it, and suddenly what was usually an automatic process became a proper platforming challenge.

It also allowed Sonic’s direction to be controlled entirely by the camera. You can still use directional controls, but you don’t have to.

All you had to do was lean forward and point Sonic in the direction you wanted him to go.

It doesn’t make much of a difference on a PlayStation or Xbox controller, but when playing with a mouse it’s a satisfying feeling like no other.

What Sonic Frontiers can learn from Sonic Utopia

First, the team behind the official Sonic games needs to seriously consider overhauling the character’s controls.

The current system works, and you can still have a lot of fun with it, but there are irritating compromises that prevent the games from feeling great.

It doesn’t have to be identical to Utopia, but this game showed how brilliant it is, with Sonic gliding smoothly over angled terrain and through loops at high speed.

Secondly, Frontiers’ open world needs to shed any sense of realism and become one giant playground for fun platforming challenges.

The idea that rails and terrain perfectly shaped for Sonic’s abilities would just exist in this realistic looking open world is silly, so let’s lean in for fun.

Finally, and most importantly, bring back the short and squat Sonic. The little guy is adorable.

Written by Ryan Woodrow on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.

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