Bringing characters to life in Sonic Frontiers

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Bringing characters to life in Sonic Frontiers

Producer Sachiko Kawamura and Art Director Yoshitaka Miura share details on the character design process for the upcoming game.

Get ready to forge new frontiers and experience Sonic the Hedgehog like never before in Sonic Frontiers! Sonic’s upcoming open-zone, action-adventure platformer is set to launch November 8 and marks a massive leap forward into the future of 3D action Sonic games. 

With the return of fan-favorite characters like Sonic, Tails, and Amy, as well as the introduction of the mysterious new character, Sage, one major question comes to mind: How does Sonic Team create new characters in the Sonic universe with plans to fit them into the future of the franchise?

Sonic Frontiers Producer Sachiko Kawamura and Art Director Yoshitaka Miura answered a few of our questions about the new characters and enemies we’ve seen from the highly anticipated title so far, shedding light on the design process that goes into introducing new friends and foes to Sonic’s universe.

How does Sonic Team approach creating brand-new characters that fit into the long-running series?

Sonic Team: While Sonic has a very long history, there are differences in the themes and worlds for each title, as well as the image we have in mind for each character. From a variety of ideas, the team chooses the best character design after sketching the game’s world, making sure the new character fits with the setting and the cast we need in the game. We also want to make sure we are honoring the series’ history and core identity.

How much does Sega consider past character designs and types when creating new characters?

Sonic Team: The main rule for creating new characters is to ensure the character design does not feel out of place when it is in the same world as existing characters – even if the design style is different for each title. It’s also important to create a design that is both simple and impressive to our fans. We try to avoid combining past character aspects together to be on par with our simple and straightforward character designs.

How does the open-zone nature of the game impact character design?

Sonic Team: In past games, where Sonic races through a timed, linear stage from start to finish, players would often attack the enemies head-on, so we would prioritize how they look from the front. With the new enemies you see in Sonic Frontiers, we paid close attention to how each enemy, and their silhouettes, looked from various directions as the player can choose which direction they approach the enemy from and see them from any angle. 

In addition, with the new combat system, there are now many enemies you can’t defeat with just one homing attack. Given that it takes more effort to fight foes, we had to revise the enemy designs many times to make each battle visually appealing but functional.

Can you dive deeper into new character design/mythology details on a single character? 

Sonic Team: We can’t say much about the new character, Sage, as she is central to the mysterious story and setting. However, we did a lot of trial and error with the design of her as a young girl that was both mystical and mysterious, while adjusting her proportions to make sure she fit in to the world of Sonic. We paid attention to how she would be perceived from her design and in cutscenes, as she is on the opposing side, trying not to give her too much of a mythical or religious meaning.

Sonic Frontiers is available for pre-order now starting at $59.99 on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 consoles.

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