To say it has been a rough century for Sega would be a bit of an understatement. The century kicked off with Sega discontinuing their very under rated system the Sega Dreamcast and exiting the console business.
This was a jarring moment for gamers. For the longest time all we knew of the console wars was Nintendo vs Sega, so having Sega drop out of the game market none of us were prepared for that.
However, in spite of Sega’s exit from consoles they still had a thriving arcade business and had plenty of software titles to offer up (mostly to the newly launched Microsoft Xbox), like porting Sonic Adventures and Adventures 2, their highly popular 2K sports series, along with Jet Grind Radio, and Shenmue.
Unfortunately for Sega this didn’t last, they sold 2K Games to Visual Concepts in 2005, effectively losing the well loved Hockey, Baseball, Football, and Basketball series, and games like Shenmue and Jet Grind never really caught on in the western markets (though we here at Clash love those franchises and miss them greatly) and then they simply relied on putting out Sonic titles for the most part, and sadly a lot of those titles felt like shovel wear.
In fact Sega has apologized for Sonic. In fact Sega’s European Marketing Director John Rook not only apologized for the Sonic series’ crappy games over the last decade or so, but tried to remind people that Sega does make more games than just Sonic. However, when your flag ship series is floundering then people won’t care about other titles you make.
It seems like Sega puts out a new 3D Sonic every year and every year critics and fans shit all over it. Outside of the original Sonic Adventures for the Dreamcast, Sonic has not fared well for me outside of the 16-Bit era, though I did enjoy 2012’s Sonic Generations, mostly because that was a call-back 2-D side scroller much like the old Genesis games.
With that in mind, last month Nintendo released Super Mario Maker for the sales disappointing Wii U. In spite of the small install base that the Wii U has, Super Mario Maker quickly sold over a million copies and by the end of September had sold 1.88 million copies. In fact if you have the Sonic amiibo (and I do) you can put Sonic in the game as a special mushroom.
Why doesn’t Sega (or at the very least ask Nintendo to do it) create a Sonic Maker game. After all they’ve ripped off Mario Kart and Mario Party to try and ride Nintendo’s coat tails, so why not do this?
Sonic, like Mario, is at his best when things are kept simple. Even when Mario jumped into the third dimension they stay trued to the Mario formula. No matter what happens in the new Mario games you’re fighting Bowser, your collecting coins and hitting blocks for power ups. Sonic’s original formula was running fast, collecting rings and chaos emeralds, and fight Doctor Eggman. In the 3D games he’s gotten laser swords, turned into a werewolf, and who knows what else (I checked out after the whole werewolf thing).
Just go back to basics Sega, that’s why Sonic Generations has been your best selling game in over a decade because it was the Sonic we all loved. Start making some new 2D Sonics release them on Xbox Live, Playstation Network, and the Nintendo Shop for $10 or $20 and if you make good games people will start coming back Sega. After all Alien Isolation was a fantastic survival horror game (one of my favorites of all time) but it’s sales, in spite of positive reviews, didn’t do well because of the monumental disaster that was Aliens: Colonial Marines.
Sega needs to earn back consumers’ trust. At one point when I saw the Sega logo on a game I knew I was in for a fantastic experience, but now when I see Sega I approach with extreme caution, shoot I didn’t give Alien Isolation a chance until it dropped below $20 new.
So what do you think dear reader? Can Sega or Sonic be saved? Let us know in the comments below.