Sonic Team Head Says Pixel Art Will Not Be A “Viable Art Style” In The Near Future

The comment spells disaster for potential Sonic entries in the future.

Story Highlights

  • The head of the Sonic team Takashi Iizuka recently appeared in an interview at the Gamescom event and said that the pixel art style will not be a viable art style for the franchise in the near future.
  • Takashi Iizuka also discussed the future of the series and to focus on 2D and 3D titles together in the future. He said that the series needs a 3D modern game as its defining entry.
  • The art style of the 2D games in the series will change a lot in the next 10 to 20 years. Sonic Superstars already features 3D character models and a non-pixelated art style, which will continue in the future.
  • We will also see a sequel to Sonic Frontiers. It will feature a much bigger budget because of the profits generated by the recent release.

The Sonic franchise has grown tremendously over the last two decades, and a new change is about to spell a significant shift in its art style for future endeavors. The head of the Sonic team, Takashi Iizuka, recently appeared in an interview with GamesRadar at the Gamescom event and discussed that the pixel art style — while it is great and all —  will not remain a viable choice for the flagship Sega franchise in the next decade. 

We look at the pixel art – it’s great – but when we think about 10-20 years in the future, we don’t think it’s going to be a viable art style or presentation for our players. And in order to advance and really step things up, we did want to make sure that we’re presenting something that 10-20 years down the road we’re still evolving and creating new content for,” said Sonic team head.

The team head did not explain the reason behind the drastic decision. It implies that we can say goodbye to the thoughts of titles like Sonic Mania 2. Iizuka also talked about the future of the series and wanting to focus on 2D and 3D titles together in the future. He said that the series needs a 3D modern title as its defining entry — referring to Sonic Frontiers — and the 2D lineup will see a change in art style in the future.

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When we talk about the brand, we definitely need to have a modern Sonic 3D game. We also feel we need to have a classic Sonic 2D game. Those are our fundamental pillars that we need to have. We’re expanding into movies and TV, but we still need to have both the 3D and the 2D line up for our gaming audience,” he clarified further.

Sonic Frontiers has designated the future direction of the 3D entries in the series, with its innovative open zone feature embedded in the realm of three dimensions. It has been pitched as something the devs can build on for the next 10-20 years “to continue bringing new gameplay experiences to players.”

[Sonic Frontiers] was really the evolution of where the 3D Sonic space was going, and we feel very proud in what the team was able to deliver.”

On the other hand, 2D games have already started shifting towards a specific art style. Sega’s Sonic Superstars, the latest venture, has an appealing art style but does not reflect the pixelated goodness we are used to because of the 3D character models. It was dubbed as an “evolution of the 2D Sonic gameplay,” further implying that Sega is moving the series away from the pixel art style.

Sega has already clarified in the past that the next Sonic Frontiers sequel will have a much bigger budget because of the astounding success of the devs’ biggest 3D entry.

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Shameer Sarfaraz is a Senior News Writer on eXputer who loves to keep up with the gaming and entertainment industries devoutly. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and several years of experience reporting on games. Besides his passion for breaking news stories, Shahmeer loves spending his leisure time farming away in Stardew Valley. VGC, IGN, GameSpot, Game Rant, TheGamer, GamingBolt, The Verge, NME, Metro, Dot Esports, GameByte, Kotaku Australia, PC Gamer, and more have cited his articles.

Experience: 4+ Years || Education: Bachelor in Computer Science.

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