2022. The little hedgehog that could… did.
After multiple years of uncertainty, it finally paid off. It was a year of movies, of cartoons, of classic era re-releases, and an ambitious new 3D game that surprised everyone by actually being better than expected! As SEGA was still going strong with many non-Sonic releases, including a new mini console, a franchise starring a speedy blue hedgehog was finally showing signs of life. For SEGA as a whole, this year will mainly be remembered as one of the most important years in Sonic’s history.
It’s really hard to believe how much the state of the Sonic franchise has changed in the span of a year. But every year must come to an end, which means that it’s time to look back at what was and look forward to what will be. So, once again, I welcome you all to an annual tradition I’ve been doing for over a decade! Every New Year’s Eve, I take a moment to look back at how the year went for Sonic and SEGA as a whole. At the same time, I also look towards the future by making some predictions about what will happen in the new year. I’ve been doing this, year after year, since 2010! The site I’ve released them on has changed a couple of times since this all began, but the goal of these articles has always remained the same. You can see for yourself, if you don’t believe me. Below this paragraph is a section containing links to every single “Year In Supersonic Review” that I’ve done, as well as an article looking back at the 2010s decade as a whole.
With that all said, it is time to begin! As always, the first thing on the list is, in my opinion, what I feel are the top 10 Sonic and SEGA news stories of the year:
Top 10 Sonic/SEGA News Stories of 2022
10) Sonic Spinball On Nintendo Switch Online – Something that wasn’t really talked about much was the arrival of Sonic Spinball on Nintendo’s Switch Online + Expansion Pack SEGA Genesis library. Of course, this was probably because it’s Spinball and not, say, Sonic 3. But nevertheless, it’s a game that tends to be ignored by SEGA for the most part. Of course, fans of SEGA’s non-Sonic IPs had plenty more to cheer about. It would take a while for me to list absolutely every single SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive game that had been added to that Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack SEGA Genesis library this year. But, hey, there was something there for Sonic too!
09) Dr. Starline’s Demise – IDW Sonic has been going strong, but there was a pretty major event that took place in the world of Sonic comics this year, and its fallout received quite a reaction from the Sonic community. IDW Sonic issue 50 had, arguably, one of Eggman’s most impressive moments in Sonic history. Unfortunately, what had been a highlight for Eggman was a disaster for Dr. Starline. His apparent death would also result in an…interesting reaction from Sonic when Belle informs him what happened to Eggman’s former apprentice. Sonic fans had quite a lot to say, as well as some varying opinions, about the “big oof” heard around the world, but one thing’s for sure: Eggman fans were reminded why they’re Eggman fans.
08) Sonic Symphony On Tour – One of last year’s top stories was the Sonic 30th Anniversary Symphony that was a massive success, and it is back on the list this year. Why? Because people loved it so much that SEGA announced that it would be going on a live tour! They’ve already performed live in Brazil, but more dates and locations are expected to be announced soon.
07) Sonic Origins Launch – One of the few negative things to say about this year. There had already been some brief confusion pre-launch, due to a chart of the pre-order and bonus goodies that fans could get for Sonic Origins, but once the game launched, things didn’t get any better. It wasn’t as evident as Sonic Colours Ultimate was when it launched, but there were clearly signs that Sonic Origins was somewhat rushed. It got to a point where one of the Sonic Origins devs even commented about the matter, A patch update would eventually come out to polish most of the issues, and much of this whole thing has since been forgotten, but it is an unfortunate low-point in a year that was almost entirely positive for the blue blur.
06) Summer Game Fest 2022 – Another unfortunate thing to happen this year happened at around the same time as the launch of Sonic Origins. June featured a very weird marketing campaign for unveiling Sonic Frontiers, and Summer Game Fest was probably when the problem reached its climax. SEGA was one of the few, if not the only one, that banned game demo footage at Summer Game Fest’s Play Days event, to the point where reports came out that they were trying to use shrubbery to prevent this. An entire third of the game, the Cyberspace stages, was banned from even being discussed by the media for a couple of weeks, even though IGN had already talked about it the week before and there was nothing about this gameplay that was even a secret.
Sonic fans, starving for some proper game footage, began a scavenger hunt for any background appearances of Frontiers. At one point, fans were receiving mixed messages on what was even going to be at Summer Game Fest in the first place! I’ll have more to say about this later in the article, but fortunately, the beginning of the game’s marketing would ultimately have no impact on how the game sold later on.
05) Yuji Naka Arrested – Yuji Naka being arrested and charged for insider trading during his time at Square Enix is still not something that I’m used to reading, let alone writing. Although he’s no longer associated with SEGA, and he hasn’t been for a long time, he’s still recognized as being a major influence from Sonic’s history. His personality has been rather infamous, but I don’t think anyone expected that he’d do something like this. It definitely shocked a lot of people.
04) SEGA Genesis Mini 2 – Sonic fans, for the most part, ignored this. But fans of SEGA’s other IPs had a lot to celebrate this year as well. Not only did the company release a lot of games, but they even released a little hardware too! The second SEGA Genesis Mini console released earlier this year, complete with another giant batch of 16-bit Genesis/Mega Drive games. It also came with SEGA CD games, including Sonic CD!
03) Sonic Prime – A trio of successful Sonic projects this year was the driving force of Sonic’s 2022, and I guess it’s no surprise that the first of the 3 I’m mentioning on this top 10 list was also the last one to be released. Sonic Prime‘s marketing certainly tried to compete with that weird June marketing for Sonic Frontiers. But just like with Sonic Frontiers, it had no impact on Sonic Prime‘s fate whatsoever. Not only was the first 8 episodes well received by Sonic fans, but it even charted in the top 5 most watched Netflix shows!
02) Sonic Movie 2 – In some ways, it feels like Sonic The Hedgehog: The Movie 2 premiered in theatres ages ago. But, believe it or not, it has only been 8 months since we got to see Knuckles on the big screen! A sequel has already been confirmed, though it isn’t known at this time who will be returning. Production is still a long ways off, but the second Sonic the Hedgehog movie would sell better than its predecessor, be more well received among Sonic fans than its predecessor, and be marketed as a whole better than its predecessor. And this was just the opening act for what would be a busy 2022 for Sonic.
01) Sonic Frontiers Sells Over 2,500,000 Copies – This, right here, is easily the #1 spot. Everything Sonic fans experienced throughout the year, and arguably in the last decade, led to this moment here. Learning that Sonic Frontiers has not only sold well, but it has done so really quickly and in such a small amount of time was nothing short of amazing. This, to me, was the icing on a delicious cake. Sonic had an amazing 2022, and this news is what cemented that view for me. When even Sonic’s video game fortunes are shining bright, there is plenty to be excited about. And with Sonic Frontiers getting multiple waves of additional content next year, including a playable Amy, Tails and Knuckles for the first time in a main 3D Sonic game in years, there’s plenty to be excited about in 2023 as well!
Honourable Mentions: Gamescom 2022, Disney’s “Ugly Sonic” Chip & Date Cameo
We’re not done looking back on the year’s news headlines just yet! No matter what year it is, you can always count on some strange things happening. Sometimes, SEGA makes a weird business decision. Other times, the community does some unusual things. The reaction is almost always a unanimous “WTF” though! So, let’s take a look at the weird side of 2022’s SEGA and Sonic headlines:
Sonic/SEGA 2022 News Story Oddities
Sonic Frontiers Marketing Begins – The marketing for Sonic Frontiers was quite an… experience. You may recall that the game was still almost completely unknown, even by late May. Then, June rolled around, and so began the strangest two weeks of marketing I’ve ever seen for a Sonic game. The unveiling of gameplay is what kicked it off. What’s odd is that it was basically IGN doing the marketing. And, with what we now know of Sonic Frontiers due to the improved marketing that soon followed and the game’s release, it can be argued that IGN… didn’t really do a good job with that.
That was just the first day; what followed was two weeks of bizarreness. As IGN continued to provide mere bread crumbs of footage, SEGA released a new Sonic Central video that didn’t really show people anything. Summer Game Fest was held to a flurry of confusion. For a brief period, SEGA and Geoff Keighley even seemed to be providing mixed messages on what was even supposed to be shown about the damn game! Then the Summer Game Fest show floor opened and SEGA, for some reason that I still don’t understand months later, banned footage of the game demo at an event where footage as a whole was allowed. Even with the gaming media, SEGA had a thing for keeping certain parts of the game under embargo. For example, even though the Cyberspace levels were a known thing for weeks prior to its official reveal, including a mention in an IGN interview, SEGA still put an embargo in place for just about everyone else. It just seemed like SEGA wanted to show off the game without, you know, showing off the game.
The unusual marketing, SEGA’s very isolated banning of game demo footage, and a very impatient Sonic fanbase would all result in a weird weekend where people conducted a scavenger hunt of footage of the event’s show floor to see if the game was in the background in any way. It was just a mess. Thankfully, it seems that lessons have been learned from this weird time period of Sonic Frontiers marketing. A late-June Nintendo Mini Partner Direct that “revealed” the Cyberspace levels finally turned the tide with the marketing. And other than a few hiccups with game demo glitches being exploited that resulted in game footage being banned (again…), the game’s marketing got more consistent, less confusing, and more transparent. Still, the early period of Sonic Frontiers marketing is not going to be forgotten by Sonic fans any time soon.
Sonic vs. Genshin Impact – Just when I thought that the Sonic Frontiers marketing was going to be the only odd thing from this year, the Sonic fandom does Sonic fandom things and throws a curve-ball at me.
You see, The Game Awards were held earlier this month. Sonic fans were surprised to see that Sonic Frontiers really hadn’t been nominated for, well, just about anything. The only exception was the Player’s Voice category, and Sonic fans really wanted to win that. And then Genshin Impact fans wanted to win that too. And then both fanbases proceeded to get extremely toxic and hateful towards each other.
Over an award.
Accusations of using bots were flying, and things got very ugly. Genshin Impact would end up winning. But, let me just remind you one more time that this was all over an award. Needless to say, this was just as unacceptable a thing that happened this year as it was weird. The matter has, for the most part, blown over, but it’s definitely not something that should be forgotten. Sadly, unlike SEGA’s Frontiers marketing, there likely won’t be lessons learned from this. But, one can hope, I suppose.
Next up, we look back at the year’s releases, followed by an (opinionated) report card on how SEGA did this year. My “negative/mixed/positive” ratings for the year’s Sonic releases are based on the initial reception that a Sonic game receives from the fanbase and gaming media reviewers when that game releases. What the reception is now will more than likely change in a few years. I only look at the initial reception, however, as that influences a game’s sales and will ultimately dictate the direction Sonic Team decides to go for their next release. As for the ratings themselves, here’s what they mean:
Mostly Negative – The Sonic game is all but unanimously considered bad at release. Games such as Sonic 06 and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric fall into this category.
Negative – The Sonic game is considered bad by a majority at release, but there’s still a sizable minority that enjoyed the game. Games such as Sonic Forces fall into this category.
Mixed – The Sonic game has no clear consensus on what people think of its quality at release. It’s a divisive game. Games such as Sonic Lost World and Team Sonic Racing fall into this category.
Positive – The Sonic game is considered good by a majority at release, but there’s still a sizable minority that disliked the game. Games such as Sonic Colours (the original 2010 version) belong here.
Mostly Positive – The Sonic game is all but unanimously considered good at release. Games such as Sonic Mania/Sonic Mania Plus and Sonic 3 & Knuckles go here.
2022 Review For The Sonic Franchise
INITIAL CRITICAL RECEPTION: Slightly Positive
INITIAL CRITICAL RECEPTION: Positive
In case you’re wondering, if this also included movies and TV, Sonic Prime and Sonic Movie 2 would have a “Very Positive” rating.
2022 SEGA Report Card
Summary: The more I think about how SEGA’s 2022 went, the more I realize that they really didn’t do much that warrants any criticism. Sure, the launch of Sonic Origins wasn’t perfect, as well as communication in regards to the compilation’s pre-order and bonus content, but not only did the problem get resolved for the most part, it seems to have become all but forgotten. Meanwhile, SEGA did, for a little bit, try to continue to dip their toes into the NFT market a little bit more this year. But, well, NFTs seem to be in decline now. Whatever SEGA had been planning in that regard, it seems to be severely limited. It just seems like the issues SEGA had during this year kind of… sorted themselves out. And if they didn’t do that, they just ended up being nothing more than a footnote.
There’s plenty of positive news to say about SEGA though. The Sonic franchise is, for the first time in years, delivering good-quality content on all forms of media. They released a second Mini Genesis console. They confirmed that Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio, two favourite IPs among SEGA fans, are coming back.
SEGA Genesis games have been getting plenty of love on Nintendo Switch Online as well. Even Hatsune Miku fans have something to be happy about, thanks to a surprise PC port of Hatsune Miku Project Diva Mega Mix+. All things considered… SEGA had a pretty damn good year!
For the first time in over a decade, I think SEGA has done well enough to earn an “A” grade! It’s not a solid “A”, like it was in 2011, but it is the best grade I think SEGA has received from me in many years! Obviously, I don’t hand out an “A” grade easily, so when SEGA does received one from me, I think it’s a big deal and definitely worth acknowledging!
Next up is that part of the article where I address predictions. Every year, I make predictions for the coming year for Sonic and SEGA as a whole. But before I do, I always take a look back at the predictions I made last year. It’s my favorite thing to do in these articles. I don’t recommend that you expect my predictions to be accurate though. I tend to be wrong more often than not. Still, it’s a fun thing I like to do! Anyway, let’s see how I did with predicting 2022:
Reviewing Last Year’s Predictions…
Sonic – Sonic’s 2022 will be, obviously, very busy. Sometime in February or March, I expect one more Sonic Movie 2 trailer before the movie releases in April, as planned. Overall, Sonic Movie 2 will be another success and make a lot of money at the box office. As for IDW Sonic, there may be another new character or 2 added to the cast sometime in 2022. As for another miniseries, since the “Imposter Syndrome” miniseries is still going for another 2-3 months, I expect the next miniseries to be announced later in 2022 than it was in 2021, likely in the fall. So, what about Sonic Prime, Sonic Origins, and Sonic Frontiers? We’ll likely hear more about them simultaneously. I think a Sonic Central video presentation in March or April is the most likely way that SEGA will do this, with a little more info coming out during E3 week. but a SXSW appearance isn’t out of the question either. Regardless of how they do it, we will finally learn more about what features that the games included in Sonic Origins will have. Gameplay of Sonic Frontiers will finally be revealed in a new trailer, along with a more specific release date. And Sonic Prime? It depends on how far along they are in production. If it’s still going slow, we may just get screenshots and that’s it. But if they’re moving along well, I think we’ll get a little sneak preview footage from the first episode. The premiere date, again, depends on how far along they are in production. More than likely, the premiere of Sonic Prime will be in the fall. In fact, it may premiere around the same time as the release of Sonic Frontiers, which I’m expecting to launch in November. Sonic Origins will release sooner than that, in mid-2022. I think the Sonic news cycle will be dominated by Sonic Movie 2 for the first few months of the year, before it shifts to a combination of Sonic Frontiers, Sonic Origins, and Sonic Prime news for the majority of the year. Meanwhile, I think a Sonic game or 2 will be added to Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack’s SEGA Genesis library at some point in 2022.
SEGA – SEGA’s 2022 will be somewhat quieter, but not by much. A new Yakuza game will be announced, and I can see Atlus releasing a new game. I think Company of Heroes 3 and Two-Point Campus will release in 2022, as planned. I expect SEGA to announce a game for an IP that will be a remaster, and I think SEGA will also announce a couple of more mobile games too. Something related to Persona will happen, but it will likely be via crossover content in another game. Unfortunately, I’m also gearing up for SEGA to continue to look into NFTs, and there may even be an announcement related to the matter in 2022. And, yes, I expect that this, understandably, won’t go well with SEGA fans at all. NFTs or not, I think SEGA will have a decent E3, and a packed Tokyo Game Show. I also think SEGA will give their non-Sonic IPs a little more marketing and promotional PR now that Sonic’s anniversary is done.
Well, I definitely got the time period right for the final Sonic Movie 2 trailer. It released in March! And, yes, I accurately predicted that the movie would be another sales success. IDW Sonic wasn’t that far off either. I did predict another miniseries this year and that did, indeed happen. However, Scrapnik Island was announced in July and not in the fall. Origins, Frontiers and Sonic Prime were all given their time in the spotlight at different times. And, although there was a Sonic Central presentation, not only did it not really reveal anything new, but it didn’t happen until June. SEGA didn’t really do anything for SXSW, and E3 was cancelled this year, so that didn’t help either. Nevertheless, I did accurately predict that. when more info would come on Sonic Origins, we’d find out more on the features it would have. On the other hand, I expected gameplay of Frontiers to be revealed in a trailer. And, well… I don’t think I need to say what happened with that again. A more specific release date didn’t come until Gamescom, and not when I expected the gameplay reveal to happen, so there’s another failed prediction. As for Sonic Prime, I don’t even know where to start with this. If I had known that Sonic Prime was going to be influenced by Netflix marketing that was non-existent for the majority of the year, I’d have made much different predictions. But, well, I didn’t. So, I was wrong about everything. Well, almost everything. Sonic Prime kind of premiered around the same time as Sonic Frontiers. Kind of. It was off by a month, but still. But hey, I did manage to accurately predict that Sonic Frontiers would release in November! I accurately predicted Sonic Origins would release in mid-2022 too! I nailed the Sonic news cycle too. I even got the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack additions right! We did, indeed, get a Sonic game added to the Genesis library, and that was Sonic Spinball. All in all? I did okay. But it’s an understatement to say that SEGA and Netflix’s Sonic marketing completely threw me off. Oh well, perfection is not something I ever expect.
Anyway, on to SEGA as a whole. A new Yakuza game was announced, kind of. It was a spin-off called Like a Dragon: Ishin. Oh, and Soul Hackers 2 was released by Atlas in August, so I accurately predicted this too! And then I was half right with Company of Heroes 3 and Two-Point Campus. The latter did, indeed release this year as planned. However, the former got delayed to February 2023. There wasn’t really a specific IP getting a remake, though SEGA did confirm reboots for Jet Set Radio and Crazy Taxi, and no mobile games were announced either. Persona did get something, but it wasn’t crossover content. It was the reveal of Nintendo Switch ports that are releasing next month! As for the NFTs thing, they kind of continued to look into it, but that’s really all we’ve heard about the matter. No announcements, nothing. E3 was cancelled, but Tokyo Game Show was a solid showing from SEGA. And, indeed, SEGA gave their non-Sonic IPs a little more attention this year. Of course, Sonic still ended up being the main event because of, well, the many different things released and premiered this year. But that didn’t mean SEGA ignored their other IPs. We frequently saw their games in Nintendo Directs. In fact, that happened more than usual! Overall, I think I did better with my SEGA predictions, but in all fairness, that’s not saying much. I don’t predict quite as much with SEGA as a whole because it’s much more difficult to predict the status of a million different IPs. I do try to do so anyway, though!
So, what about next year? It’s time to make some new predictions!
2023 SEGA/Sonic Predictions
Sonic – Sonic’s 2023 will be busy, but slightly less busy than 2022. SEGA has already announced that Sonic Frontiers will be getting 3 parts of additional content post-launch, so I’m predicting that we will get part 1 around February or March, part 2 in June, and part 3 by November. Meanwhile, I expect Sonic Prime‘s next 8 episodes will release in the first half of the year, followed by the season’s remaining 8 episodes in the second half of the year. I think IDW Sonic will see another miniseries announced in mid-2023, as well as the confirmation of a new character or two. As for Sonic Movie 3, I don’t expect to hear anything about it, as it is currently planned for a premiere two years from now. However, I do expect that we’ll learn more about that Knuckles series by April, including a trailer or sneak preview. I could also see a November or December premiere, similar to what happened with Sonic Prime this year. And as for any potential video games? I think Sonic Colours Ultimate will finally be ported to Steam, and that will get a mid-2023 release. Other than that though, I don’t expect any new games announced. The best-case scenario I can see is a new Mario & Sonic Olympics game, but with Sonic Frontiers still getting support and just about every other form of media still seeing new content releasing, I think a spin-off Sonic game won’t happen next year. I do, however, obviously expect more in-game events to happen in the Sonic mobile games. As for the Sonic news cycle, I’m expecting the main headlines to frequently switch between Frontiers and Sonic Prime throughout the year. I also expect a Sonic game to be added to Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack’s SEGA Genesis library, and I think the most likely candidate is Sonic 3D Blast.
SEGA – With Sonic going strong but not quite as busy as this year was, I expect SEGA’s non-Sonic IPs to get even more time in the spotlight in 2023. Company of Heroes 3 and Like a Dragon: Ishin’s remake will release in February as planned. The upcoming Nintendo Switch Persona ports will also release as planned. I’m also predicting that we’ll hear some more about this “Super Game Initiative” that SEGA Sammy keep teasing. Part of that initiative is apparently rebooting old IPs. I already mentioned that Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio are getting that treatment, and I think the second half of the year is when SEGA might tease something about it. Football Manager 2024 will be a thing, of course, and release in late-2023. I could see SEGA announcing the next Total War game as well. Overall, regardless of how busy the Sonic franchise ends up being in 2023, I think SEGA will be busy in general anyway, due to their non-Sonic IPs.
Well, that’s everything! Another article is in the books, and so is another year. I won’t lie…seeing this little blue hedgehog succeeding once more has been a joy to see as it is. And seeing this franchise currently succeeding in all forms of media is even more impressive, something that I’m still amazed to witness. But, really, SEGA as a whole is currently doing very well. As good as Sonic has been this year, I really cannot stress enough that SEGA is more than just Sonic. They’ve released a lot of content for a lot of their IPs, and there’s very little to complain about. I certainly hope the momentum continues into 2023, but we’ll see!
In the meantime, I just want to thank you all for taking the time to read all of this. I also want to thank you all for all of your support this year. When I was recovering from my elbow injury, there was seriously a point where I questioned if I’d even be able to recover in time to be able to write this. But, thankfully, I was able to!
This has, personally speaking, not been a good year for me at all. My elbow injury was just one of many reasons for that. But one thing I could always count on this year is that I could look to you all for encouragement and support, so please let me say, once again: thank you. Your support is so greatly appreciated, and to be honest, I’ve needed it. It has been a huge help to me, both emotionally/mentally and even physically. Knowing that I have so many people on here cheering me on and being so supportive helps me push my depression aside and find the motivation to get out of bed. It keeps me going. And nothing shuts up the depressed voices in my head more than people drowning it out with words of encouragement, support, and appreciation for what I do. So… again… thank you. Thank you so much! I hope I continue to have the honour of your support in 2023, because I’m not going anywhere. I love doing this, and I’m going to continue doing it. I hope you’ll be a part of that. =)
That all said, I don’t know if there will still be a Twitter this time next year, but whether there is or not, as I said, I’ll still be around to cover Sonic/SEGA news. And, of course, 12 months from now, I’ll be back to review the year once more! I hope you all have had a fantastic 2022, and here’s to a great 2023.
Happy New Year!