Sonic Frontiers was a success for SEGA and the Sonic Team, not only in terms of sales, but also in creating and securing the template for 3D Sonic games in the future. The Sonic Team spoke to Famitsu about the decision to release free content updates for Sonic Frontiers, which was a first for a 3D Sonic game. The final DLC was the most substantial of the three and, with a little more care, could have been passed off as paid DLC. Here’s what Sonic Frontiers director Morio Kishimoto and producer Sachiko Kawamura told the Japanese magazine.
Three updates were planned over the course of about a year – can you tell us about what kind of schedule you made for this?
Kishimoto: As we said, the first four weeks following launch we sold 2.5 million units, a speed that was a record for the Sonic series. Looking at that, producer Kawamura and upper management decided to update the game.
Even before launching, we had planned to update the game, but at that time we only planned seasonal updates such as Halloween. I think it is thanks to everyone’s support that we have been able to evolve the game and enrich the gameplay in a substantial way, proceeding with an ‘aggressive update’ schedule.
And this was encouraged by the strong sales, and positive feedback from those playing?
Kawamura: The biggest obstacle was whether fans would accept Sonic Frontiers, but the response was actually great. Furthermore, SEGA really values the fan community, so as a company we encourage updates as part of the meaning of that close relationship. I think it was however a big decision to make a free update of this scale.
When you actually play it, it is surprising this is a free update, and not paid DLC. Is periodically releasing big updates such as this because the company values the community and fan support so much?
Kawamura: Yes, it is. I think it is not a case of selling a game and being done, but should be responding to the fans and building a trusting relationship. Since it became possible to download patches for games, the gaming industry has rapidly changed. There is now a tendency to manage home gaming titles too. Considering that, the Sonic fan community is very big, so it is extremely important that we work to appeal and provide as much as we can.