Sonic Frontiers is boldly launching on November 8, so we broke down eight details you need to know before purchasing the new open zone take on Sonic the Hedgehog. Let’s get right to it!
#8 – It’s Available Everywhere
In a time where major companies are fighting over exclusivity rights, it’s refreshing that one game won’t be subject to player division. Sonic Frontiers is launching for every current platform, including PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. It will cost $59.99 at launch, and if you pre-order the game, you will get in-game items, such as gloves and shoes for Sonic, a digital artbook, and a 25-track soundtrack.
#7 – Time to Beat
Everyone wants to know if games will be too long or too short before they buy them. Sonic Frontiers seems right in the middle, taking 20 – 30 hours to complete the campaign. Since the game takes our blue hedgehog into five open zones with collectibles and side activities, players can expect to spend about 100 hours if they want to complete everything. Sonic Frontiers follows the traditional open-world formula regarding the time of completion, making the main campaign average length while giving players a bevy of exploration and side activity options.
#6 – The Story
First and foremost, Ian Flynn, writer for the Archie comic series and IDW’s Sonic the Hedgehog series, helped write Sonic Frontiers. Even though Sega wrote most of the script, Flynn still had a say in narrative beats and dialogue, which is good news since Flynn intimately knows Sonic and has experience writing for him. As for the overarching tone, the director Morio Kishimoto said fans should expect something more serious and melancholy than previous Sonic titles. The story will go deeper than the rudimentary hero vs. villain theme.
We don’t know much about the story beats themselves except that Sonic, Tails, and Amy travel to an island to find out why the Chaos Emeralds, powerful gems that predominate the Sonic series, disappeared. However, after falling through a wormhole, Sonic is separated from his friends and must explore the island with the help of a mysterious AI. Longtime fans might be wondering if classic villain, Dr. Eggman will make an appearance. Well, the mustache menace will be in the game, though we expect him to take a more nuanced role than usual.
#5 – The Setting
Sonic Frontiers will take place on the Starfall islands, an archipelago of five geographically different islands. We’ve seen the grassy lands of Kronos island extensively, but Sonic Frontiers will also have deserts, forests, beaches, and ancient structures to explore. The islands are mostly abandoned, but there are remains of a highly civilized society, which serve as both platforming and puzzle sequences for Sonic. The thought of these islands once being filled with life, with only destroyed ruins left behind, is both eerie and melancholy. Sonic won’t be all alone though. The islands are inhabited by the Koco, small stone creatures with leaves growing from their head and cute, circular eyes.
#4 – The Enemies
We’ve seen Sonic fight various evil robots in the trailers and gameplay, and even though we don’t know their origins, we know some of their abilities. The banger is a red wheel that charges at Sonic when he is in range, and the bubble is a cluster of spheres that can emit electrical shockwaves. There is also the cyclone, a set of spinning blades that shoot electrical cyclones at sonic, and lastly, the soldier is a humanoid robot that uses melee attacks. Most interestingly, Sonic will face towering bosses, known as Titans, that match the size of Colossi from Shadow of the Colossus. Just like the classic PlayStation game, Sonic must climb up, or rather, run up these massive robots during the fight.
#3 – Combat
The classic move set returns, including the drop dash, homing attack, and stomp, however, you must unlock more advanced skills to have any chance against tougher enemies. Sonic Frontiers is the first game in the series to have a skill tree, and you can find skill points by destroying enemies or breaking objects, according to a recent trailer. Once you have enough skill points, you can buy abilities like the phantom dash, a series of fast albeit powerful attacks that give the impression of multiple sonics attacking at once, and the Sonic Boom, a ranged shockwave attack. As well as several attacks, Sonic can also perform the cyloop, by running around enemies to disarm their defenses and a parry that redirects enemy attacks.
#2 – Super Sonic
Super Sonic was first introduced in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 and is essentially a massive power boost gained from collecting the seven chaos emeralds. The form gives Sonic infinite power and turns his blue fur bright yellow. Thanks to a recent trailer, we know that the form will make a return in Sonic Frontiers, and it will be essential for beating certain bosses. Apparently, some bosses in the world can’t be scratched until Sonic achieves this immense power-up.
#1 – Cyberspace Stages
Fans were perplexed by glimpses of historic levels from the Sonic franchise in Sonic Frontiers trailers. These stages happen in Cyberspace, a dimension that holds linear platforming stages in places like the Green Hill Zone. Speaking of the Green Hill Zone, an individual who played the game at Gamescom claimed that the tutorial section of Sonic Frontiers is in the Green Hill Zone, but it copies the game design from the Sonic Unleashed tutorial. Gamers are not usually a fan of reused game design and animations, so we’ll have to see what the wider response is. Zooming out a bit, these cyberspace stages will take up one-third of the entire game, which may be disappointing for nostalgic folks, but Sega wants to prioritize the open zone gameplay of Sonic Frontiers. Still, Cyberspace should serve as a fun fan-service-fueled detour.