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Sonic Forces[13] (ソニックフォース Sonikku Fōsu?, lit. "Sonic Force") is an upcoming platform video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega. It is scheduled to be released on 7 November 2017 for PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Sonic Forces follows Sonic the Hedgehog as he joins a resistance force against Dr. Eggman, who has taken over the world with the help of his army, henchmen and a mysterious new villain known as Infinite.

The game will mark the return of the collaboration between both Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic, along with their associated gameplay styles, since the twentieth anniversary game Sonic Generations (although it is not a sequel to any previous games[14]). In addition, Sonic Forces also introduces a third gameplay mode featuring the "Avatar", the player's own created character. The game serves, along with Sonic Mania, as a “continuation” of Sonic’s 25th anniversary.[1]

Development

History

Sonic Forces has been in development since 2013, around the release of Sonic Lost World.[1] The title was first mentioned at the Tokyo Joypolis Sonic 25th party on 25 June 2016 under the name "Project Sonic 2017".[15] The subtitle "Forces" were chosen because of the themes of “power” and “army”, with two strong forces (Sonic and co. versus Eggman) facing off one another in the game.[1] The game will be developed by Sonic Team, the same team that had previously developed Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations,[16] and will be headed by Sonic series veteran Takashi Iizuka.[17]

The idea for Sonic Forces was to bring back a modern 3D Sonic made by Sonic Team themselves, who had not engaged in such a project for a while. The goal was to give players the experience of a classic 3D Sonic game while also offering as much content as possible by including old fan-favorite characters and 2D gameplay experiences. Also, because Sonic Team had gotten a lot of feedback from people who wanted to create their own characters in the Sonic universe, they decided to implement the Avatar system so fans could both create their own original character and go on adventures with Sonic through them.[18]

Promotion

The game was announced at Sega's 25th anniversary of the series at San Diego Comic-Con on 22 July 2016, where it was announced alongside Sonic Mania.[19][20][21] The presence of Classic and Modern Sonic led some journalists to believe it was a sequel to Sonic Generations,[22] but Iizuka confirmed that it was not a sequel, but a new, stand-alone title.[14] The game will be released for Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in late 2017.[23]

During the Sonic live stream that was held in Japan due to the release of Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, it was revealed that there will be a new character introduced in Sonic Forces, along with a new component of gameplay besides the regular 2D and 3D gameplay.[24][25]

SXSW 2017 announced they would be hosting a second Sonic panel for this year’s event, set to reveal news about the upcoming Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces.[26] The latest Nintendo Dream Magazine from Japan also revealed new information about Sonic Forces. The blurb stated that Dr. Eggman will be the main villain, that there will be no multiplayer features, and that the genre for the game is "adventure".[27] Soon after, it was unveiled that the game will be an evolution of Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations and features a new game engine developed for this title called "Hedgehog Engine 2".[28] An interview with Takashi Iizuka by Famitsu later revealed that "Boom Sonic" would not appear in the game and that the game's third character (who will be revealed at E3 2017) would be an "unexpected character" that plays a vital role in the story and "embodies the overall features of the game".[1] On 16 May 2017 (a month earlier than planned), this third character turned out to be a character that the player can customize to their liking.[29] At E3 2017, on 13 June 2017, Shadow the Hedgehog, Metal Sonic, Zavok, and Chaos were confirmed to return to Sonic Forces as henchmen to Dr. Eggman under the leadership of a new and mysterious villain called Infinite.[30][31] Soon after, Chao were stated not to be featured in the game, though they do make cameos as decorative gear for the Avatar.[32]

At Gamescom 2017, Sonic Forces appeared with new demos that featured a new type of level for the game called "Tag Team Stages" where Modern Sonic and the player's Avatar work together in collaborate gameplay.[33] On 31 August 2017, it was announced on the official twitter feed of Sonic that the game will arrive on 7 November 2017 on all platforms. A physical bonus edition of the game with extra features was also announced to be available for pre-order for consoles.[10]

It was later announced that Sonic Forces would be showcased on Tokyo Game Show 2017 as well, where limited game-related merchandise would be handed out to the attendies.[34][35][36] Also, on 19 September 2017, A DLC named "Episode Shadow" featuring Shadow as a playable character was announced.[37][38] At the Tokyo Game Show, it was announced that Sonic Forces would have a cross promotion with Hooters Japan.[39]

Plot

Spoiler warning: Plot, ending details or any kind of information follow.

ParkAvenueConceptArt

Concept artwork for Sonic Forces, featuring Sonic staring at the destruction caused by the Death Egg Robot sentinels.

Sonic Forces has the primary themes of "forces", "power", and "teamwork".[40] This time around, the unthinkable has happened: Sonic the Hedgehog has failed and Dr. Eggman has won.[13][41] While trying to stop Dr. Eggman's ambitions as usual, Sonic got caught by a mysterious enemy.[42] Eggman subsequently defeated Sonic with the aid of a giant robot army and a new power he acquired from his new right-hand man: an enigmatic and powerful being known as Infinite.[42][1]

With Sonic absent[43] in the aftermath of his defeat, and with Infinite's power, Dr. Eggman manages to conquer 99% of the planet, resulting in his army controlling that much of the world.[1] Amongst Eggman's evil group of henchmen are also the doctor's old allies: Shadow, Metal Sonic, Zavok, and Chaos. These enemies have managed to easily conquer the world on behalf of Eggman with the power provided to them, and are now ready to create more next-level panic and disorder.[42][31] Meanwhile, Infinite has joined Eggman's side as the leader of his entire army.[44] With Eggman out to crush the remaining opposition, multiple forces are now embroiled in conflict for the control of the planet.[43]

As the Eggman Empire's armies lay waste to entire cities, Sonic joins up with the “Resistance” members opposing Eggman.[1][41] Classic Sonic, Sonic's counterpart from another dimension, appears soon after, having been brought to Sonic's dimension by the same power Eggman used to conquer the world.[1][45] Also joining the Resistance is an active newcomer from a district of survivors that got attacked by Dr. Eggman’s army. This rookie has decided to fight to get the world back after meeting Sonic.[42] Now, with the aid of his friends, the resistance rookie, and Classic Sonic, Sonic embarks on a mission to save the world and end the evil reign of the diabolical doctor and his forces.[41] However, time grows short for Sonic, as the Resistance only has three days before Eggman unleashes a plan that will eradicate all his foes.[46]

Gameplay

Sonic Forces includes three playable characters. Akin to Sonic Adventure 2, the story will be told from the perspective of each of these three characters as the player plays each one of them during the storyline, and when it all is put together it will tell the overarching story.[47] The first two of these characters include Classic Sonic (Sonic's original design from the Sega Mega Drive Sonic games) and Modern Sonic (Sonic's revised form in Sonic Adventure and afterwards). Other main characters will make non-playable appearances in supporting roles, offering support and advice to Sonic via radio communication.[48]

The game's third playable character is a new character, referred to as the Avatar, whom players can modify to their liking, which is a first for the series.[49] The Avatar is created from the base of seven animal species, whose following attributes can be customized: upper headgear, middle headgear, lower headgear, gloves, shoes, accessories, bodysuit, and skin color.[29][49] While playing through the game, one can unlock hundreds of accessories and costuming options for the Avatar.[49][50] Depending on what animal species the Avatar is, they will gain a unique ability to aid in gameplay:

  • Bear: Blows away enemies with a Homing Attack[49]
  • Bird: Flies high with Double Jump abilities[49]
  • Cat: Keeps one Ring after being hit[49]
  • Dog: Restarts with five Rings after the player dies[49]
  • Hedgehog: Collects Rings when getting damaged[49]
  • Rabbit: Has longer invincible time after receiving damage[49]
  • Wolf: Automatically draws in Rings when near them[49]

The overall gameplay is relatively unchanged from previous entries in the franchise; players run at high speeds through levels filled with gimmicks, enemy robots, and other hazards on the way to the goal. Scattered around levels are Rings that serve as a form of health: rings protect players when they take damage, though they will lose their rings upon being hit. Unlike most other games in the franchise, lost Rings cannot be recollected.[51] The Wisp power-ups, which give players temporary special powers, from earlier games will also reappear.[52][6] However, Nakamura has stated that there are no Game Overs.[53]

The game will feature four different styles of gameplay. Two of these include the gameplay styles of Modern Sonic and Classic Sonic respectively as seen in Sonic Generations, with both of them having different sets of abilities.[28] Some stages involve simply reaching the goal, while others will require a stage to be beaten under a time limit. Modern Sonic's stages are based around three-dimensional movement like that of Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors, with Modern Sonic having his standard Spin Jump, Double Jump, Jump Dash, Homing Attack, Quick Step and Stomp maneuvers, along with a reworked Air Boost and Boost.[6][52] Classic Sonic's stages meanwhile, focuses on 2.5D side-scrolling stages reminiscent of the Sega Mega Drive-era of games, except this time they will feature a “twist”,[1] and Classic Sonic will have maneuvers like the signature Spin Dash and the new Drop Dash from Sonic Mania. There is also a Rank system installed in the game that is given at each end of the level based on the player's performance in the said level.[54]

The third gameplay style features the Avatar. It has a similar gameplay style to Modern Sonic, but utilizes a grappling hook as a means of platforming.[49] The Avatar also makes use of new unique gadgets called Wispons, a weapon that harnesses Color Powers in new ways, that can be used for both attacking and traversal.[49] Before a level, the player can choose different Wispons to customize how the Avatar controls, thereby allowing access to different parts of the levels.[55]

The fourth gameplay features a tag team mechanic that involves Modern Sonic and the Avatar. The player will wield both characters to navigate through the level, with the leader automatically switching to Sonic when boosting and the Avatar when using the Wispon. Also included is a new move called the "Double Boost",[56] which is a faster version of the Boost that is triggered when the player engages in an automatic Real-Time Interaction.

Objects

Items

Gimmicks and obstacles

Characters

Playable characters

SFgame pc pic 02

Sonic the Hedgehog, Classic Sonic and the Avatar (wolf form).

Non-playable characters

Enemies

Bosses

Misc.

Stages

Downloadable content

Episode Shadow

EpisodeShadowCoverV2

"Episode Shadow" DLC cover.

Episode Shadow is a free add-on pack for anyone who owns Sonic Forces. It focuses on Shadow the Hedgehog and will serve as a prequel to the main storyline of Sonic Forces. It will be available with Sonic Forces Digital Bonus Edition and also in the normal packs of the game on 7 November 2017 (the launch date of Sonic Forces).[37][64]

"Episode Shadow" will explore Shadow's allegiance, the fate of Team Dark, and the origin of the mysterious villain, Infinite. The player assumes control over Shadow the Hedgehog as a playable character, who handles similar to Modern Sonic, but with his own exclusive abilities as well. The DLC will also feature three Shadow-exclusive stages, and will allow to play as him through over ten Modern Sonic stages.[37][38]

Music

The game's soundtrack is being composed by Sonic series sound director, Tomoya Ohtani,[7] and composer, Naofumi Hataya.[6] Kenichi Tokoi also contributed with a remix of the US version of Stardust Speedway for Metal Sonic's boss battle. The game's theme song, "Fist Bump", features lyrics written and performed by Douglas Robb, vocalist of the American rock band Hoobastank.[65]

Promotion

Sonic Forces Preorder Bonus XBOX

Sonic Forces Bonus Edition for the Xbox One.

On 31 August 2017, Sonic the Hedgehog's official Twitter account announced the official release date of Sonic Forces, along with a physical bonus edition of the game available for pre-ordering for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch. The bonus edition consists of a Sonic and Infinite-themed controller skin for the game's respective console and the "Sega/Atlus Pack DLC" which contain outfits for the Avatar. The latter of these include the following:[10]

The UK and AUS version of the Bonus Edition comes with four exclusive Art Cards.[66][67] Those preordering the game would also receive a costume of Shadow the Hedgehog for the Avatar.[68]

For the appearance of Sonic Forces on Tokyo Game Show 2017, limited merchandise related to the game will be handed out to the attendees. These include Sonic Forces posters, Sonic Forces-themed t-shirts, Sonic Mania-themed chopsticks, and Sonic Forces and Mania-themed keychains.[34][35][36] Also, on 12 September 2017, a racing mobile game tie-in to Sonic Forces entitled Sonic Forces: Speed Battle received a soft launch for iOS and Android.

On 19 September 2017, pre-orders for a digital bonus edition of the game titled Sonic Forces Digital Bonus Edition was made available. This bundle includes the full Sonic Forces game, the Shadow costume, the "Sega/Atlus" Pack, and the "Episode Shadow" DLC.[64]

On 22 September 2017 during the Tokyo Game Show event for Sega, they announced there will be a Sonic Forces promotional collab at Hooter restaurants in Tokyo during the month of October leading to the games release [69]

Reception

The International Business Times praised Sega's approach of announcing and releasing the duo of Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania in the same year, stating that catering to the new fans with Forces while catering to the old-school fans with Mania could help repair the series's poor reputation with more recent releases, and in turn lead to a "Sonic Renaissance" era.[70]

Reception following the game's showing at the E3 2017 has been mixed to favorable. Heather Alexandra from Kotaku praised the game's three gameplays and the Egg Dragoon boss battle, though she felt that the platforming side of it was in need of some tweaking.[51] James Galizio from TechRaptor also praised the Egg Dragoon battle, calling it a "very interesting Boss Battle", but remarked that there were some slow-downs in the demo for the Nintendo Switch's handheld mode.[71] Ed McGlone from Twinfinite found the Avatar's gameplay clunky; expressing the feeling that the gravity was not so prepared in the demo, and the Avatar would instantly be pulled onto the ground after a jump. However, he found Modern Sonic's gameplay a smoother version of Sonic Generations, with the Boosting mechanic being more refined while also praising the storyline's direction.[72] Alex Olney of NintendoLife was more critical, thinking that the demo version of the game lacked focus and direction while also calling Modern Sonic's gameplay "dry and boring", and the Avatar stages an "afterthought".[73] Sonic Forces also earned the nomination award for Peoples Choice at Gamescom 2017 by IGN. At the end, it came in at 2nd place.[74]

The Nintendo Switch's version of the demo has a couple of issues reported compared to other consoles. This includes a lower FPS, lower-quality texture, effects and models, and lowered resolutions.[75]

Trivia

  • This is one of the first games to be announced for the Nintendo Switch, as well as the second third-party title announced for the system.
  • This will be the first 3D Sonic title to be released for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and the Nintendo Switch.
  • This will be the first Sonic title to be released in China since a compilation of four games including Sonic R, Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Sonic & Knuckles Collection and Sonic 3D Blast, which was released in 2001 by now-defunct Matrix Interactive in China and following a long game console ban imposed in the country (which was lifted in 2015).
  • This will be the second Sonic title to run at 4K resolution (Xbox One X only) after Sonic Mania.
  • This is the first Sonic title since Sonic Colors to have a main vocal theme song.
  • This is the first Sonic title since Sonic Generations to feature vocal themes on stages, and the first game since Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity to feature vocal themes for characters.
  • Similarly to Sonic Adventure 2, each playable character has a unique genre for their stages' music.[citation needed]
  • This is the first Sonic title to feature the Red Wisp and Ivory Wisp on home consoles.
  • This is the third Sonic title to feature the playable character spinning vertically when jumping on a Spring since Sonic CD.
  • This is the second Sonic​ title to include Denuvo Anti-tamper.
  • This is the first 3D Sonic title with the Boost mechanic to feature playable characters who are not a version of Sonic (Sonic the Werehog and Classic Sonic in Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations respectively).
  • This the first main series title to feature Shadow as a playable character (albeit in a DLC) since Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).

Videos

Project Sonic 2017 Debut Trailer01:20

Project Sonic 2017 Debut Trailer

Sonic Forces - Reveal Trailer01:19

Sonic Forces - Reveal Trailer

Sonic Forces - First Classic Sonic Gameplay! (Nintendo Direct Overview)01:00

Sonic Forces - First Classic Sonic Gameplay! (Nintendo Direct Overview)

Sonic Forces Custom Hero Trailer-001:37

Sonic Forces Custom Hero Trailer-0

Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania Developer Interview & Gameplay07:51

Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania Developer Interview & Gameplay

Sonic Forces - E3 Trailer01:41

Sonic Forces - E3 Trailer

Sonic Forces - Enter Infinite01:03

Sonic Forces - Enter Infinite

レジスタンス軍からの緊急通信00:28

レジスタンス軍からの緊急通信

Sonic Forces - Story Trailer01:41

Sonic Forces - Story Trailer

Dr01:18

Dr.エッグマンの降伏勧告

Sonic Forces - Episode Shadow Gameplay00:58

Sonic Forces - Episode Shadow Gameplay


References

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External links

Sonic the Hedgehog console main series games