Tom Kalinske, former CEO of SEGA of America, recently talked about the the downfall of the Sonic franchise in an interview with Game Informer. While he no longer represents SEGA, he still put forth his best defense for the downfall of the iconic character and franchise. Here is what he had to say:
“I think there is some natural up and down for any character. We’ve certainly seen it with the Marvel characters over the years. We’ve seen it with Barbie. We’ve seen it with Star Wars. We’ve seen it with G.I. Joe and Hot Wheels. All of these brands have had their cycles. I think Sonic has had a downward cycle for a while, and it’s time to have an upward cycle again for a while.”
This isn’t too unusual of a statement and certainly holds some truth, though some of lows described don’t really equate to the bottoming out of the Sonic IP. Of course, Sonic is still relevant, partially in thanks to working closer with Nintendo, and despite history telling us to temper expectations, folks are still hoping that Sonic Mania and Sonic 2017 can be really good games.
Personally, the issue to me is the lack of consistency. Every time they end up with a decent to pretty good Sonic game (and they did have one on the Wii U), they just pretend it never happened and go back to making terrible games. It’s just a really weird cycle that they can’t seem to get out of. Here, have a poll to help shed more light on this.