Sonic the Hedgehog games are not remembered for their great stories, but it seems like Sonic Team is attempting to change this with Sonic Frontiers' story.
Speaking with Game Informer, Sonic Team creative officer Takashi Iizuka and game director Morio Kishimoto commented on Sonic Frontiers' story, starting from the involvement of Ian Flynn, who has worked on Sonic the Hedgehog comics for Archie Comics and IDW Publishing. It was the comics published by IDW Publishing, in particular, that impressed Takashi Iizuka.
"Ian has been working as a comic writer for a long time, so I was very familiar with his work, but after reading the IDW comics, I was even more impressed with his talent. That's why I wanted to ask him to work on the story for the game as well. He knows the characters well, so he brought a great improvement to the characters' emotions and dialogue."
Ian Flynn's involvement in the creation of the Sonic Frontiers' story also brought interconnectivity
with previous entries in the series, although it won't be major, as confirmed by the man himself.
"I'm a career Sonic nerd, so I wanted to weave some of the series' legacy into the story. I wanted to advance the characters' personal stories, even if just by a little bit. I also wanted to bring some interconnectivity to the previous games. There isn't anything that will be too dense for new fans to wade through, but just enough for long-term fans to appreciate."
Sonic Frontiers will also feature the return of iconic villain Dr. Eggman, and he will be a key figure in the story. Interestingly enough, he will not be just the bad guy, and he will feature slightly more depth than usual, as detailed by game director Miorio Kishimoto.
"Featuring Eggman in the story was something we decided on from the early stages of things. We wanted Eggman to be an extremely important key figure in this story for it to be successful; we didn't want him to just be the bad guy in our 'good guys versus bad guys' scenario. We wanted to portray him as a flesh and blood human being in the story."
The fact that Eggman will be something more than a simple mustache-twirling villain in Sonic Frontiers also highlights how the entire story will go beyond the usual "good guys versus bad guys" scenario that most platform games features. The story, according to Morio Kishimoto, will have a more serious tone and more depth.
"We needed something dramatic to set that serious tone and foreshadow things to ponder while playing the game. On the surface, our story is something that can be easily enjoyed, but we also wanted to challenge ourselves to create a drama that would also be enjoyable if thought about at a deeper level. This is a rare type of experience in the stage-clear action game genre, but it was also important for us to integrate it in as we felt it was of critical importance to this open-zone format."
Sonic Frontiers launches on PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch this year. A precise release date has yet to be confirmed.