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Former Sega CEO Discusses Sonic’s “Downward Cycle”

It’s hard to argue that Sonic the Hedgehog is at the top of his game. Even if you are a fan of modern Sonic, it’s obvious he’s run into hard times. Former CEO of Sega America, Tom Kalinske has given his thoughts on what he dubbed Sonic’s “downward cycle”. In an interview with GameInfomer, Kalinske talked about how Sonic is due for a comeback. What do you think of Tom’s comments? Tell us below.

“I think there is some natural up and down for any character. We’ve certainly seen it with the Marvel characters over the years. We’ve seen it with Barbie. We’ve seen it with Star Wars. We’ve seen it with G.I. Joe and Hot Wheels. All of these brands have had their cycles. I think Sonic has had a downward cycle for a while, and it’s time to have an upward cycle again for a while.”

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30 thoughts on “Former Sega CEO Discusses Sonic’s “Downward Cycle””

            1. He got 55% of the American marked with Sega Mega Drive/Genesis back in the 90′. We all know it’s useless to try and take down our Great Leader Nintendo, but Kalinske did a good job in trying – not knowing it was useless. He had the determination and the willpower, justed lacked reality. Not many could have done what he did.

              He was smart enough to quit when he realised how immensenly powerful Nintendo was. Quite the wise choice.

              1. Nintendo First Order Commander Quadraxis

                ||Yes, seems like he was an outstanding leader for the Segans, no wonder I was quite busy when I was just a simple Nintendo Quad warrior…||

    1. At least Sonic X tried to make sense out of all that. Unfortunately, people discredit the series for other reasons. At least respect the concept, even if the filler and exclusive characters irk you.

          1. Sonic having a birthday in generations, even though he doesnt age.
            The whole animal/human world thing we discussed.
            GUN never being around when Eggman does stuff like in Heroes or Unleashed.
            Lots of unexplained characters and items that just went missing.
            The fact that sonic cant beat a egg scientist for good even though he’s this super fast animal. May sound like a nitpick and i know they cant just kill off eggman but still lol
            and other stuff.
            Sonic is a poorly written series.

            1. The issue is deep in sonic’s history…
              You had sega of america with their own ideas and what they wanted, and then you have sega of japan with their own ideas.
              One example is the awesome name the villein was given early on in the US.. Doctor Ivo Robotnik which sounds like a villains name… but then we have Japan who wanted a very idiotic name.. Eggman… Eggman sounds like a clown at ringling brothers & barnum and bailey’s circus..
              Ladies and gentlemen, BOYS AND GIRLS, we have a new clown for you tonight… everyone turn to your left for .. EGGMAN THE CLOWN!..
              Early on sega of america had the better ideas… sega of japan though… dear god.
              Once sega went software only and sega of japan got full control of Sonic, that’s when things started going down hill IMO… we got major crap that seemed way off.
              To me anyhow..

            2. I thought we were talking about inconsistences in Sonic X.

              As for the following you mentioned:

              -Characters don’t know about the floating timeline. Hell, for all we know, it could’ve been their own kind of anniversary.
              -Sonic X introduces the concept of Sonic and co. being from another dimension.
              -G.U.N. isn’t native to Sonic’s world. Also, not all the games are in chronological order. But still, a bulk of the recent Sonic titles are closer to Sonic’s roots (the Genesis games), in terms of settings. It’s been this way after Sonic 2006.
              -Not all Sonic characters are immediate friends of Sonic. Afterall, where are all YOUR friends and people you’ve met early on in your life. As for items, most of them we’re just stages mechanics.
              -Are you that adamant in dragging Sonic through the mud of being poorly written?

              The back and forthing between the GHZ settings and City Escape settings does get confusing. However I’ve been able to analyze a bulk of the material give to us in each game and came up with a timeline that makes sense, without contradicting too many things.

              And if that’s your attitude, we are you even here?

  1. Every Franchise has it’s ups and downs, doesn’t mean they’re dead or doomed forever. It also doesn’t help that people on youtube use the sonic is dead meme to cash in on views and feed the ignorance fire. Honestly Sonic isn’t going anywhere, he’s still loved by many and still has many more years to come with his stories and beloved characters

    1. And have Sonic become New Sonic the Hedgehog? No.

      Nintendo doesn’t even give Mario’s universe enough growth and expansion (outside of Mario Kart). Sega had a thing with the Adventure series. They just forgot about that and use the Dreamcast’s fate and Sonic 2006 as excuses to distance themselves from the brand. No matter how good Sonic Colors and Generations (Console) were, they’re still not what define 3D Modern Sonic.

      The sad thing is, SEGA doesn’t give Sonic fans enough options in what type of Sonic, fans can enjoy (like Nintendo does with the Mario franchise: 64, 3D, NSMB, Mario & Luigi, Mario vs Donkey Kong, Paper Mario, Kart, Party, Tennis, Golf, etc.).

      SEGA sticks to one hit-and-miss gimmick, then throws it away for another, then decides to give us a dumbed down brand, marketed to single IQ, single digit gradeschoolers, then after that, nothing for two years (three if you discredit Boom).

      If Sega is serious about the Sonic franchise, they would group Sonic by the following series:

      -Riders (ZG as the standard)
      -All-Stars Racing
      -Knuckles Chaotix (Knuckles has enough potential for a side-series)

      And I’m not talking about stand-alone games here, I mean branched out sub series’.

  2. I think this is a really interesting topic so i suppose I’ll go ahead and give my two cents. To be honest, I think Sonic definitely has the potential to make a comeback. The reason I feel confident about Sonic is because SEGA’s behavior has notably changed as of late. To give just a few examples, they took a survey a few months ago explicitly asking fans how they could make their games better. People also complained that Sonic should go back to his 2d game play format, so what did SEGA do?

    BOOM! Sonic Mania.

    Or how about the fact that they appointed Aaron Weber to oversee their social media, boosting their public relations in the process. There’s also the fact that they specifically chose to have the teams that worked on Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations work on Project Sonic 2017, both games being some of the highest rated Sonic games in the last 10 years. I guess what I’m trying to say is that SEGA is doing something we’ve never really seen them do before: adapt. They’re beginning to actively acknowledge and apologize for the mistakes they’ve made on past games and take careful steps towards fixing them, especially throughout this past year.

    To be honest, I always feel kind of bad for SEGA because they’re really the underdogs of gaming. Whenever other franchises have new games announced, people tend to get excited and speculate what they’re gonna be about. On the contrary, whenever SEGA announces a new Sonic game it immediately gets slammed and people say that it’s going to be “just as bad as the last one”. I really do wish them the best with Sonic Mania and Project Sonic 2017 and hope that they can power through the hate and release something really special for Sonic’s 25th Anniversary :)

  3. The whole Sonic debate is a bit complicated, because although his game series had quite a terrible downward spiral, there were also some gems in there that some people refuse to recognize. I’d say starting with Sonic Heroes the console games really started losing their quality, until Sonic Colors showed they were still capable of making a good console Sonic game. And most of the handheld titles in that time-frame were good.

    A lot of people think Sonic has been terrible ever since the Genesis days, but that’s not really true. And even though I think the Adventure games have aged pretty badly, they were fun back in the day. The problem is that right when Sonic started to get back on his feet, the Sonic Boom games destroyed a lot of people’s hope for Sonic (again).

    I used to be a big Sonic fan, but after Heroes I started losing interest just because of so many disappointing console games. Hopefully after Sonic Mania and Sonic 2017 (both of which seem promising), they start showing more respect towards the series and its fans, and not allowing the series to fall into mediocrity again.

  4. Doesn’t really give any insight into why the series is spiraling. Personally I’ve never been able to get into Sonic. My first Sonic game was Adventure 2 Battle for GameCube and it was awesome. With the exception of Smash Bros I probably put more time into Sonic than any other GameCube game. After that I played the original games, Adventure 1, Unleashed, 2006, Generations; I just couldn’t get into them. SA2 was the only one I ever actually completed. I would love to see another Adventure game.

    I like the idea of Sonic (running fast), I’ve just never found the execution to be spot on.

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