Sonic Frontiers is set to be unlike any previous game in the Blue Blur’s long history, with a bigger emphasis on combat and exploration in what Sega is describing as an “open zone” 3D action game.
New details about Sonic Frontiers come via an IGN exclusive hands-on preview, which reveals a more in-depth combat system than Sonic fans may be accustomed to. In Sonic Frontiers, Sonic will have the ability to dodge attacks with the press of a button as well as parry them. Those abilities will come in handy for some of the game’s massive new open-world boss encounters, which IGN describes as “near Shadow of the Colossus-esque in their scale.” Defeating enemies will earn Sonic EXP, which can then be used to invest points in a skill tree and unlock new abilities.
While it may be tempting to call Sonic Frontiers an open-world game in the same vein of something like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka prefers to call it “open zone.” The world of Sonic Frontiers is meant to be mysterious, as players explore and solve puzzles which in turn reveal more of the world map. One way Sonic will solve puzzles is with his new Cyloop ability, which allows Sonic to draw circles around objects to interact with them and which can also be used in combat. Along the way, Sonic can engage with classic-Sonic platforming elements like bumpers and rails sprinkled throughout the environment or battle enemies out in the open zone.
But Sonic Frontiers isn’t only its large, wide-open spaces. Hunting down bosses in the overworld will open up portals to what IGN describes as “bite-sized linear stages” more reminiscent of earlier 3D Sonic games, which each come with optional goals to complete such as collecting a certain number of red rings or completing the stage within a specific time limit. You can read more about the game in IGN’s preview.
Originally intended to release in 2021, Sonic Frontiers is now slated for a “Holiday 2022” release. When it does arrive, Sega is hoping it will review well, as high scores can make the title become a “must-buy game” and “generate synergy with sales,” according to Sega executives.