The Sonic-devoted publication Sonic Stadium has reported that in a December 14 Investor Q&A, which has been translated to English from Japanese, Sega representatives said they originally scheduled Sonic Frontiers to be launched by the end of 2021 in order to coincide with Sonic's 30th anniversary. However, this was delayed to the next holiday season for quality assurance purposes.
In other words, it wanted to give Sonic Team more time to improve the quality of the game by testing it per external feedback instead of rushing the developers as it had done in years past. "Originally it was planned to be released on this year, the 30th anniversary of Sonic, but we have postponed the release for a year in order to further brush up the quality," a Sega rep said.
"Not only for this title, but during the development phase, we have been steadily conducting analysis to improve the quality of the title before release, such as introducing game testing based on external evaluations, and I have a feeling that it will become a good game and have high expectations for it."
With better quality comes better value. Previous Sonic games have been sold in the ballpark of $40 or $50 at launch because they came out on a near-annual basis, whether they were mainline or spin-off titles. Now Sega is focused on making Sonic Frontiers something that players will see as value for money.
"For the pricing strategy, we feel that we are at a point where we need to rethink. For example, for the new Sonic game, as we are focusing on quality and spending certain amount of money on development, we think it is important to maintain the price by maintaining the value of the IP at high level, rather than simply lowering the price at early stage to increase the number of unit sales," the representative said.
It seems that Sega has learned from the mistakes it made with Sonic '06, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (which was developed by Big Red Button and gave birth to a very good TV show on Cartoon Network), and its last mainline Sonic title, Sonic Forces, and is striving to make Sonic Frontiers better than them. The last time the release date for a Sonic game was delayed due to quality purposes was Sonic Heroes — by almost two weeks in Japan — and even then Takashi Iizuka designed the levels working almost 24/7.
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