In recent times, I’ve noticed that people have gotten more and more cynical towards Sonic Team, especially with their new game on the horizon. I don’t want to rekindle the same conversations that have been echoed for years at this point, but instead, I would like to tackle a singular misconception about their latest game, Sonic Forces, from a different perspective. The misconception in question is that Sonic Forces was developed by “newbies” with little experience with the series and that the reveal trailer lied when it showed that the game was being made by the team that brought us Sonic Colors and Generations. You’d be surprised how many veterans of the series were involved with Sonic Forces, not just from Colors and Generations, but even further back than that. We’re going to look at some of the members who worked on Forces individually to find out the truth. Let’s dive into it! * Note, not every game that these members took part in will be listed, just some notable ones, the full list will be in the links. The Sonic & Sega Retro are such amazing sources! Producers & Director Let’s get started with the head of Sonic Team and Sonic Series Producer of Forces himself, Mr. Takashi Iizuka. He was Senior Game Designer of Sonic 3&K, the Director of all main series Sonic games from Adventure 1 to Shadow the Hedgehog (the Sonic Adventure concept was his idea), and the Producer of all main series games from Colors onward. People use him as a way to display their distaste for the current direction of the Sonic franchise, which in my opinion is very underserved due to everything he has done for Sonic. He’s stayed with Sonic through thick and thin; even Mr. Naoto Ohshima, the original creator of Sonic’s character design, acknowledged this. I’m not saying all of this to tell anyone that Mr. Iizuka is above criticism, I’m just saying that we should criticize him and others with respect at the forefront. I mean that genuinely because prior to doing my own research, my own opinion of Mr. Iizuka was unfavorable because that is all that people would make him out to be. I have more to say in regards to the producer, but I’ll come back to it towards the end. Next up is Mr. Shun Nakamura, who was the Producer of the game. He was a Game Designer for Sonic R, Field Designer for Adventure 1, Development Support for Heroes, Director of 06 after Mr. Yuji Naka left the project, and Sonic Character Supervisor for Sonic Lost World. Those are just some of the projects from the wide variety he has worked on for the Sonic series. People tend to associate him with Sonic 06, but I feel that is doing him a disservice since he’s had a long history with Sonic. Now, onto the Director and Lead Game Designer, Mr. Morio Kishimoto. He got his start with Sonic as the Lead Game Designer of the Sonic Storybook games, and then he became the Director of the main series games from Colors to the present. I’ve noticed that since people have become tamer with blaming Mr. Iizuka, the blame has been shifted more towards Mr. Kishimoto these days. I know next to nothing about how to create a video game, but from research, I found that the director’s job is to oversee the project and make sure it fits his vision. With that in mind, I don’t think that Forces was his best work, but I believe that there are other factors that affected how the project turned out, which I’ll get back to. Gameplay & Aesthetics The descriptions from this section onwards should be briefer, so let’s go! Mr. Hiroki Tokunaga was the Lead Programmer. Previously he was part of the Gameplay Programmers of Sonic Generations and Sonic Lost World. Mr. Takayuki Okada was the Lead Planner. He was a Game Designer for Secret Rings, a Daytime Level Designer for Unleashed, and Lead Level Designer for Colors, and a Game Designer for Generations. Mr. Jyunpei Ootsu was the Lead Level Designer. Back when Forces was new, I remember people referring to him as the “guy who worked on Lost World” in the credits. However, his history with Sonic goes back further than that. He was a Game Designer for the Storybook games, a Planner for Sonic Colors, and of course, a Level Designer for Lost World. Ms. Shoko Kamiya was a Level Designer. Back when Forces was new, she was referred to as one of the two “new level designers”, but in actuality, she worked as a Game Designer on Mario & Sonic Sochi 2014 (did you know that Sonic Team themselves have developed the M&S series since the 2nd game?) prior to Forces. Mr. Daizo Kinoshita was a Field Artist. He was previously a Field Artist for Adventure 2, Heroes, and Shadow the Hedgehog. Mr. Yoshinari Amaike was a Character Artist. He was previously a Field Artist for Adventure, and an Artist for 06, Generations, and Lost World. Mr. Taro Hino was the Title Logo Designer. He did the same for Lost World and was a Lead Interface CG Artist for Secret Rings. Mr. Yuji Uekawa was a Sonic Character Supervisor. Many artistically inclined Sonic fans know his name very well since he was the Character Designer for Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 as well as Art Director for the Advance and Rush games. For the main series, he’s been a Sonic Character Supervisor since Sonic Colors. Ms. Sachiko Kawamura was the Senior Art Director. Not only did she create the Chao along with Sonic Unleashed director Mr. Yoshihisa Hashimoto, but she is also responsible for the design Sonic has had in 3D since Unleashed. She’s been the Art Director of every main series Sonic game since then. Hedgehog Engine Programmers Mr. Yoshitaka Kawabata was a Programmer for the Adventure games, 06, and Colors. Mr. Kouji Ogino was a Field Programmer for the Adventure games and 06. As well as a Programmer for the original Hedgehog Engine for Unleashed. Story Mr. Eitaro Toyada wrote the story for Sonic Forces. He was an Event Scene Editor for Adventure, Level Designer for Heroes, and Boss Game Designer for Unleashed. Since Sonic Colors he has served as Sonic Character Supervisor along with Mr. Uekawa and Mr. Iizuka, and he also created the story and art for the 25th Anniversary comics for Sonic Channel. Personally, the story for Sonic Forces was okay and serviceable, especially compared to the previous game. I think that the real problem was how it was localized in English. The way the localizers spiced up the script wasn’t that great to me. Animation Mr. Hiroyuki Abe was a Character Animator. He was previously an Animator for the first two M&S games as well as Lost World. Mr. Kou Ishitoya was a Character Animator. He was previously a Character Animator from every main series Sonic game from Unleashed onwards. Mr. Takashi Nakashima was a Movie Director from Marza Animation. Previously, he was a Director for the Sonic Unleashed short, Night of the Werehog. Mr. Yoshihiro Hanada was a Modeling Artist from Marza Animation. He returned from doing the same role for Sonic Generations and being a Layout Artist for Night of the Werehog. Conclusion The whole point of what I just did was to show just a part of the sheer amount of Sonic Team veterans who worked on Forces. There was someone from basically every main series Sonic game doing something on the team. Also, all of this is not to defend Forces, I’ve played the game and I did not enjoy it much, but this was more in response to anyone who says that it was a new, different team that made Forces. Of course, I won’t deny that there were new people, but quite a lot of them were veterans, not just for Sonic, but Sega games in general. Now, in the case of Mr. Iizuka. One detail that's brushed upon is that he relocated to America during Forces development in 2016 to oversee the Sonic-related projects from Sega of America and make it the hub of the franchise. Hence, Sonic Studio. It’s basically not much different from when Mr. Iizuka moved to the US along with some Sonic Team members who worked on Sonic Adventure to form Sonic Team USA (later renamed Sega Studios USA) to develop Adventure 2, Heroes, and Shadow the Hedgehog. I’d theorize that the move would’ve taken time for Sonic Team in Japan, and especially the director of Sonic Forces, to adjust to. I’m also honestly impressed that Sonic Forces even turned out to be decent and playable, especially since the development of the actual game took a year and concurrently with the Hedgehog Engine 2. I believe that Sonic Team is perfectly talented as they are to develop the next Sonic game. If most of the people who worked on Forces are working on the 2022 game along with some new talent, I think they’ll be golden. The Hedgehog Engine 2 has been used for other Sega games for a few years now, and Sonic Team has had years to assimilate to the hub for Sonic being at Sonic Studio in the US. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have faith in them to do a good job. One more thing, I don't believe that any member of Sonic Team is lazy or should be called such. Regardless of how I feel about any of the games they've released over the years, I know from research that game development is a very strenuous task. Especially when reading about incidents like this. So what do you guys think, do you have confidence in Sonic Team? Sources Sonic & Sega Retro MobyGames Imbd EDIT: I just want to clarify, especially after seeing some of the replies: I'm neither defending Sonic Forces nor saying that anyone is inclined to like the game because --- worked on it. There were two main points I wanted to get across with this post: Sonic Forces WAS made by the team the made Colors and Generations. The team is even more expansive than that. If the team could make Sonic Forces functional with little development time and franchise changes going on simultaneously, imagine what they could do with 5 years, a finished graphics engine that has had years of exposure, and probably more Western influence. Example: Mr. Toyada wrote a (debatably) ok story for Forces, a game that doesn't seem to have a clear vision and obviously had a troubled development cycle, but maybe he could write a better story in the future (if he's involved) if the game has a sharper vision and a smoother development cycle? I can't assume because I don't know anything going on behind the scenes, but that seems like an advantage to me. Maybe Sonic Team can pull it off?