The joke starts out in typical goofball Twitter fashion: a pun. Bear with me on this one, folks.
“Presenting the new hit sequel to Sonic Forces,” it reads, accompanied by an unforgettable image.
Presenting the new hit sequel to Sonic Forces: pic.twitter.com/WQm3NMN5Sj— Sonic the Hedgehog (@sonic_hedgehog) November 10, 2017
But, shockingly, this wordplay crime is not the entire joke. There’s a threaded reply to this tweet, and it’s vicious.
“*Please note Sonic Horses is actually just a series of RNG lockboxes,” reads the follow-up. Each lockbox has 1 of 200 possible tiny horses inside. You can customize your tiny horses with additional tiny accessory RNG lockboxes. Lockboxes awarded after 200 hours of gameplay or for $50 in Sonicbuxx™.”
“Lockboxes” — or, more commonly, loot crates or boxes — have been a pain point for consumers this fall. We’ve seen a seeming uptick in microtransaction-heavy releases over the past few months, so much so that aggregators like OpenCritic are decrying random loot drops. The consensus is that additional paid content that has an actual impact on gameplay or progression is hostile to players who have already forked over $60 for a new release.
The most recent examples of this discouraging trend include Star Wars Battlefront 2, which launches Nov. 17. The game’s already mired in controversy because of its loot crate system, which ties multiplayer campaign benefits to real-world spending. Last week’s new Call of Duty game even has loot boxes literally drop from the sky.
Sonic is attacking all these targets all the same time, making it clear that the only group that loses more than Sonic Forces owners is the game industry itself.