Sonic the Hedgehog fans of a certain age have one game near the top of their wishlists: Sonic Adventure 3, a follow-up to the beloved Sega Dreamcast games that ushered in the era of “modern Sonic.” But according to Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka, we won’t get another Sonic Adventure game any time soon.
“I hear people saying that they want Adventure 3, but the path that we’re on and ... Adventure 3, what fans want that to be, might not be an advancement of the series,” Iizuka told Polygon during a pre-Tokyo Game Show interview. So I don’t want to do an Adventure 3 and step the franchise back just to give the fans what they want.”
Dreamcast launch title Sonic Adventure and its follow-up, Sonic Adventure 2, reinvented classic 2D Sonic gameplay for a 3D space in new and unique ways. And unlike more recent Sonic titles from which the development team continues to draw inspiration, like Sonic Generations or Sonic Colors, the Adventure titles expanded the focus beyond just Sonic. Each one introduced new gameplay mechanics featuring Sonic’s friends, something that’s proven divisive over the years. Those who appreciated the experimentation, meanwhile, considered them a success.
It’s not that Iizuka isn’t on the same page, he said. It’s just that Sonic Team isn’t interested in repeating itself.
“From the developer standpoint, every Sonic game that we’re making is taking new steps and advances, furthering the game in a new direction, and that’s dictated where the Sonic series has been going,” Iizuka said.
Instead, we’re likely to see more Sonic games that try new things in much subtler ways. Recent Sonic titles, like this winter’s Sonic Forces, reinvents traditional Sonic gameplay by molding a 3D space around it, as opposed to adapting the 2D action for a 3D environment. Throw in an additional gimmick or two, like Forces’ create-your-own-character or Custom Hero stages, and you have something new yet familiar.
“If we can get the gameplay to evolve and get to a place where Adventure 3 makes sense, then you might see an Adventure 3 come out,” said Iizuka. “But we don’t want to take the entire series back to where it was just make people happy. We want to advance the idea of what a Sonic game is.”
It makes sense on the development team’s part to want to try new things. But to many Sonic players, the Adventure games remain the series’ high-water mark, at least when it comes to Sonic’s 3D escapades. It seems like that’s one chapter in the Hedgehog’s life never to be revisited.