Sonic Frontiers lead Takashi Iizuka talks open-zone level design & player freedom

During a recent interview, Sonic Team lead Takashi Iizuka shared the dev team's philosophy on catering to player freedom in Sonic Frontiers' gameplay.


Sonic Frontiers has shaped up to be a much different Sonic the Hedgehog game than anything fans of the series have seen before. Between its sheer openness of exploration, as well as clean and speedy stylishness in its gameplay, it looks like it will bring what players love about Sonic together with some new and exciting elements. In fact, we recently got to sit down with Sonic Team lead Takashi Iizuka to talk about how these elements are coming together and what Sega has been going for with this new generation of Sonic games.

Iizuka tells us that one of the main priorities of Sonic Frontiers is creating a sense of freedom for the player. It’s not so much an open-world game and Sonic Team has stressed that in the past. Rather, the open-zone level gameplay is about allowing players to pursue a certain degree of choice and direction. Of course, they don’t want the players just meandering about. It’s not like Breath of the Wild at all. It’s still an action game and they still want to convey a sense of high-speed and adrenaline in the gameplay loop.

A part of that is also in making enemies and bosses that are compelling. Players can do battles against bosses or Guardians and other activities that will allow them to progress through the story. However, because the bosses can sometimes be optional, and you don’t need to defeat them to progress, the team put special consideration into how to make the bosses fun, compelling, and rewarding to engage. Whether it’s in the skill tree abilities you can unlock or in the special ways you can engage with the bosses, the team strived to make these Guardians enemies that players will want to fight.

Want more videos like this Sonic Frontiers interview? Be sure to check out our Shacknews and GamerHubTV YouTube channels where you’ll find our latest interviews, gameplay, unboxing, reviews, and more on the latest video games, technology, and toys.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
Hello, Meet Lola