Sonic Frontiers' presence at Gamescom has arguably brought more relevant news to future players than the entirety of the drip feed back in June. Fans not only got a great look at two of the five Starfall Islands that they'll explore in the next Sonic game, but they were also treated to more defined Cyber Space stage gameplay, as well as a worldwide release date reveal. Not all the news was well received, though, as Sonic loyalists were quick to notice that some Cyber Space stages re-used previous level layouts from older titles.
Once the similarities were spotted, Sonic fan site The Sonic Stadium brought up the aesthetics found in Sonic Frontiers in an interview with Takashi Iizuka, the leader of Sonic Team, at Gamescom. When asked about the design of the Starfall Islands and the Cyber Space levels, Iizuka revealed that the re-used level designs are meant to represent how the digital zones are made from fragments of Sonic's memories.
Sonic Stadium originally asked Iizuka about the areas shown in the recent Gamescom trailer for Frontiers while pointing out that the Starfall Islands look more realistic, yet the Cyber Space levels are rather similar to what fans expect from Sonic stages. The head of Sonic Team responded that this approach to the two different areas players can explore was a deliberate choice to make the Starfall Islands feel more mysterious and new as the Sonic cast has never visited the Islands before.
However, when it came to the Cyber Space stages, the direction that Sonic Team went with was to give the illusion of places Sonic's been to before being digitally re-created in an "unreal way" through his own memories. Memories are typically unreliable sometimes, which ends up being a perfect reason as to why old level designs are re-used. Sonic might be recalling the right area with the wrong layout, or Cyber Space itself might be condensing multiple memories together.
This adds an interesting layer to Sonic Frontiers' story that has yet to be fully specified or explored. While players have known through previous gameplay showcases that they need to be gathering the memories of friends like Amy Rose throughout the game, Cyber Space relying on Sonic's memories may imply that the blue hedgehog might have lost his memory as well, or at the very least, might have them get jumbled up at the start of the game.
Even though some fans have spoken out about not liking that old level designs are re-used, there's a reason for it that ties the story of the game deeply with its gameplay, something Sonic games have neglected to do in recent years, such as Sonic Colors. How exactly Cyber Space using Sonic's memories ties into the plot will need to be seen in detail once the game hits shelves.
Sonic Frontiers will launch on November 8 for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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