After a year spent celebrating the 30th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega and Sonic Team are preparing to continue those celebrations throughout 2022. Fans of the blue blur are set to get a little spoiled through the course of this year, as the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 film and the ambitious Sonic Frontiers are scheduled to release at different points. After various moments of disappointment over the last fifteen or so years, 2022 looks like it could be Sonic's best year in a long time.
Sonic Frontiers is proving to be one of the most highly anticipated Sonic projects in recent memory, given its open-world design reminiscent of games like Breath of the Wild. Hopeful fans were treated to a trailer detailing various locations in the game at the 2021 Game Awards, and there already seems to be a lot of potential for this new approach to the Sonic formula. One detail that Sega hasn't been quite as forthcoming with, however, is what kind of antagonist Sonic will have to take down. Given the rocky history of Sonic antagonists, it would be wise of Sega and Sonic Team to think very carefully about this narrative decision.
Sonic's Inconsistent Antagonist History
Like many other popular video game mascots, Sonic has become irrevocably linked to a handful of villains over the years. Dr. Eggman is the one that comes to mind for most gamers, given the character's consistent status as Sonic's arch-nemesis, but the Sonic franchise has attempted to introduce other adversaries in the past. Unfortunately, not all of these villains have been received as well as Dr. Eggman, with many of them being forgettable or downright terrible.
One of the first Sonic antagonists to be introduced after Eggman was Metal Sonic, a robotic version of the beloved hedgehog that is determined to prove that he is the real Sonic. Metal Sonic is often considered to be one of the better Sonic villains alongside Dr. Eggman, but the level of quality drops off significantly from there. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is in the infamous Sonic the Hedgehog from 2006, where Solaris is the overarching antagonist. Not only was the game itself a technical and narrative mess, but the villainous character was one of the most convoluted in series history and is not remembered fondly by many fans.
How Sonic Frontiers Can Choose A Good Antagonist
When approaching the primary antagonist for Sonic Frontiers, Sega and Sonic Team are going to have a lot of options. The safest choice would likely be to involve Dr. Eggman somehow, but it would have to be in a way that is fresh and interesting in order to avoid the same tired depictions. It would likely be in the game's best interest if it didn't try to dig up villains that most fans never cared much for, such as Lyric or Infinite, as they could create an unfavorable association to their respective games. And if Sonic Frontiers decides to introduce an original antagonist, it will have to learn from the many mistakes that have been made in the past.
There aren't any significant story details available for Sonic Frontiers just yet, but a lot of fans are still counting on it to lead a Sonic revival of sorts. The open environments of Sonic Frontiers seem like a step in the right direction when it comes to diversifying gameplay, but the game will also have to place significant importance on its story and accompanying antagonist. Whether it's a familiar face or someone new, hopefully they'll be able to add a layer of depth that will make Sonic Frontiers into an overall success.
Sonic Frontiers is scheduled to releases during the holiday season of 2022 for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
While the latest trailer for Sonic Frontiers gave fans a glimpse of what's coming next, official pages and press releases have given more info.