The Sonic Franchise is in a ditch. I think that everyone who know the blue hedgehog well could conclude that Sonic just wasn't the same since his transition to 3D. His games are now targets for GT and GameSpot to ridicule, pan and beat to the ground.
So what did SEGA do wrong this time? What does it need to do in order to return to the level of games from Mario and Legend of Zelda. That's why I am writing this opinion piece. I think that I could give good advice to Sonic Team Board Room so that the Blue Hedgehog can rise again.
Now you might think "There you go again. An outsider who has no background on Sonic yapping out advice". But I've come prepared. I've done an awful lot of research and even had some hands-on experiences with the Blue Blazer. I think that my advice could, no matter how small, make a positive difference.
But before coming to the top 3 things on SEGA's To-do list, here are the solutions to improve the Sonic franchise which I DON'T agree with.
1. Overhauling the Sonic cast
There are a lot of fans for Tails (I am a Tails fan), Knuckles, Shadow (especially) and Silver. Losing those guys would probably create an uprising within Sonic fans. It's especially painful if the new characters aren't received by those fans and are also uninteresting, resulting in an indifferent gaming public and a bitter fan-base. Not a winning formula.
2. Overhauling the voice-cast
I've heard constant complaint about the 4-Kids dub, and I could understand (especially in Sonic 360). But even if the game had the best voice team in the world, it won't create a difference in gameplay. In fact, some people think that Jason Griffith who voiced Sonic is improving. I think people need to be patient with the guys. Remember, the fundamentals of Sonic games are top priority. Voice-acting comes way behind that.
3. Overhauling/ Giving up on Gimmicks
Some people are talking about getting back to basics: Stick Sonic back into 2D world, Emerald Hill Zone, and take on Dr. Eggman (or Robotnik) and save little animals. However, this theory has its flaws. How? Think of this:
In the early days of Gaming, there was Space Wars and Pong. Those were very popular in their time.
But do we like those games now? Probably not. They're way too old and out of fashion compared to games today. That's the main reason behind the flaw of returning to fundamentals. I'll explain my argument later on, but just remember that formulas that worked in the past might not work nowadays.
4. Giving up on Sonic, Shut Down the Sonic Franchise
That is an ABSOLUTE NO-NO! Thanks alot, freakin' Gametrailers. They kept referring Sonic as being in life-support, but I totally disagree with that. The franchise frankly bounced back from its poor start (from Sonic 360) and had some mild success. NOT overwhelming success, but success nevertheless.
Sonic and the Secret Rings was a good game to most critics, so was Sonic Chronicles, so that means that Sonic Team (and BioWare for Sonic Chronicles) were at least doing SOMETHING right. They didn't exactly epic-failed in every aspect of gaming. They just need to look above mediocrity and aim for the skies.
Also, failure isn't a final destination, but just a pathway to success. I think that this goes for nearly everything, including video games, including Sonic the Hedgehog.
OK, so I've outlined the things which I don't want to see from SEGA, and I hope they are reading this. I have hope that in my lifetime, I would see Sonic become glorious once again and be compared to gaming legends like Mario, Legend of Zelda, and maybe even Final Fantasy (albeit for different reasons).
All Sonic teams need to do is follow steps that I would write about later on. Then before they know it, they are back on the track to stardom.
Coming Soon: The First Step to Fixing Sonic. What is it going to be? You're going to have to wait to find out...