Sonic developer offers a gloomy forecast for pixel art | GAME3A
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Sonic developer offers a gloomy forecast for pixel art

The head of Sonic Team, Takashi Iizuka, does not believe that pixel art has a long-term future in the video game industry, despite its nostalgic char...

Bradley Russell Aug 29, 2023
Sonic developer offers a gloomy forecast for pixel art

The head of Sonic Team, Takashi Iizuka, does not believe that pixel art has a long-term future in the video game industry, despite its nostalgic charm.

While Sonic Superstars will pay tribute to the roots of the franchise, Iizuka sees it as the beginning of a transition away from pixelated designs.

Sonic Frontiers is regarded as the future of the series and will serve as the foundation for the next 10-20 years, with planned updates and DLC to enhance the game over time.

Takashi Iizuka, developer for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and head of the Sonic Team, recently pointed out that pixel art does not have a significant long-term future in the video game industry and that his team is preparing for change. Pixel art has existed as long as gaming itself, and for many who grew up with classic games from the 1970s and 1980s, it holds a certain charm. Even many younger players have developed a liking for this style, and there are still many great games with pixel art being released that one can enjoy today.

The classic Sonic the Hedgehog series started as a 2D side-scrolling game with pixel art, and although it has undergone updates in gameplay and design, it will always have a connection to its older aesthetic. Even though Sonic Frontiers will offer fans a smooth, open-world Sonic title, the upcoming Sonic Superstars will pay tribute to the pixelated roots of the franchise. However, it seems that some within the Sonic Team do not believe that this will be the ultimate future of the series.

In a recent interview with GamesRadar+, Iizuka argued that 2D pixel art would no longer be a "viable art style or presentation" in the future. While he expressed his fondness for the classic design, Iizuka also acknowledged that it would not be the foundation of Sonic games in the next decades. Previews of Sonic Superstars suggest that it will offer 2D nostalgia with some new twists and updates, and Iizuka seems to believe that this marks the beginning of a transition for the series from pixelated designs to more updates over time.

Sonic Dev Shares Grim Prediction for Pixel Art

Iizuka also emphasized that Sonic Frontiers represents the future of the series, stating that its gameplay and design are things the Sonic Team can "build upon for the next 10-20 years." Some observers have argued that the divide between modern and classic Sonic is a double-edged sword, offering both positive and negative elements. However, Iizuka seems to believe that this division is necessary for the continued success of the franchise. While games like Sonic Superstars provide something for fans of the classics, Sonic Frontiers will drive the franchise forward in the coming decades.

Earlier this summer, Update 2 for Sonic Frontiers introduced new features, and the Sonic Team seems intent on expanding the game with further improvements and DLC over time. This supports the idea that Iizuka sees this game as the future and a foundation to build upon. While players who love the classic design of older games may be disappointed to hear that pixelated art may not be the future of the industry, others will certainly be intrigued to see what new styles the developers have in store. However, those who crave a touch of 2D style and pixel art need not despair entirely. There are plenty of interesting games that embody the older aesthetic, and Sonic Superstars is expected to offer some elements of the old gameplay and design while moving away from pixelated art when it is released later this year.

Sonic Superstars will be released on October 17th for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

Source: GamesRadar+