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SEGA's Creative Officer talks Sonic Frontiers and creating an 'open zone' game

The decision to use an open zone format presented some unique challenges for the Sonic Frontiers developers.

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Sonic Frontiers is the next major entry in the fabled franchise and the blue blur looks to be going on an entirely different type of adventure. Most players will be used to more linear levels, where it’s one track to the finish line, but Frontiers is being marketed as an “open zone” game. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Takashi Iizuka, the Creative Officer at Sonic Team, and chat about Sonic Frontiers and what exactly the team means by “open zone”.

For most people, a look at Sonic Frontiers makes them think of an open world game. There are vast fields, places to explore, and certainly no one path through to the end. But Iizuka was quite specific about calling it an open zone game. According to Iizuka, there are many islands for players to explore with a vast collection of unique environments. It sounds as if each island is the “zone” that he speaks of and is created in a more open world manner.

The reason the team went for this open style is that it posed a considerable challenge. Typically, things like paths and single routes can be used to create a sense of speed. When you’re in the middle of a field, there are no reference points for how fast you’re moving. This also contributed to how the team designed Sonic’s new moves, like the one where he can circle a foe, connecting to his wake and destroying them.

Sonic Frontiers is certainly turning a lot of heads with players eagerly awaiting a chance to get their hands on the final product. The game is slated to release some time in 2022 across Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC. Take a look at our 2022 video game release date calendar for more information and head over to the GamerHubTV YouTube channel for more exclusive developer interviews.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

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