SEGA’s Takashi Iizuka talks open-zone in new Sonic Frontiers interview

“What sets Sonic Frontiers apart is this different approach to an open game world.”

The development of Sonic Frontiers’ tone, direction and inspiration were among the topics mentioned by SEGA’s Takashi Iizuka in a new interview with IGN.


The Sonic creative officer and series veteran relayed details about the “open zone” game and what fans can expect from it.

Here’s what you need to know

  • After working on Sonic Forces, Iizuka felt that the team was somewhat restricted by the linearity Sonic games usually present. This time, they wanted to do something that gave the player more freedom.
  • He later added that there was “little room for evolution on a traditional 3D Sonic game”, and felt that the team would only be able to make games that players have already seen before.
  • When talking about the story for the upcoming game, the creative officer said that they usually go along the premise that “something bad happened,” and Sonic must “fix it.” However, Frontiers is about a mystery that Sonic and the player will solve together.
  • The soundtrack for Frontiers has less focus on upbeat tracks that match a given stage. The music is focused on creating a mysterious feeling surrounding the islands.
  • While Frontiers will be focused on an open zone adventure, Iizuka has reassured fans that Frontiers will have content made for those who enjoy the traditional linear 3D experience.

Balancing open-zone and traditional levels

When asked about having open zone and traditional levels in the same game, Iizuka had the following to say:

Fans of traditional modern Sonic 3D action should enjoy these. They’ll be able to use the techniques and actions they’ve learned to beat them. By merging these open zones and traditional 3D action stages into the same islands, players will be able to enjoy a broad variety of 3D action than before.

Takashi Iizuka, Sonic Studio creative officer

Sonic Adventure series and connections to Sonic Frontiers

  • Iizuka commented that Frontiers had some resemblance to Sonic Adventure, in the way how Adventure had smaller open spaces known as Adventure Fields. The team has used what they learned with those areas in the first Adventure title, and applied it to some level in Sonic Frontiers.
  • Though he made clear that he doesn’t know what the next game will be about, he expressed a desire to return to return to the Sonic Adventure series.
  • The creative officer also said that it would be “nice” if the team used what they learned from Frontiers for a hypothetical Sonic Adventure installment.

Sonic Frontiers is expected to be released Holiday 2022 for current and next-generation PlayStation and Xbox platforms, Nintendo Switch, and on PC via Epic Games Store and Steam.

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