Sega Team, the game designer company behind the classic Sonic The Hedgehog video game series, is bringing the blue speedster into line with the 21st century.
How? By making the backstory resemble real world problems.
“Gone are the days when you could just have a simple sprite of an animal or an Italian plumber jump on things for some coins or rings,” says Tom Tanaka, executive vice-president of public relations at Sega Team.
Sega Team is taking a leaf from the other dominant force in geek culture – superheroes – to make Sonic more relevant. The new game series, to be released for Nintendo Switch, will be darker and grittier.
For one, the story is that Sonic’s former nemesis and now ally Knuckles The Echidna will be held kidnapped in a warehouse after being sexually assaulted and tortured by Dr Eggman’s goons.
“We can’t have an evil-doer just float around in a metal machine imprisoning cute little birds and bunnies,” says Mr Tanaka. “Those days are gone. In the world now we have increasing incidences of violent organized crime, human trafficking and terrorism.”
In one of the most controversial aspects of the game, Sonic must face a choice between saving his friends or a group of innocent animals, perhaps inspired by Zack Snyder’s DC films.
Sonic The Hedgehog: Vengeance is to be released this Christmas.