With his introduction back in 1991 on the 16-bit Sega Genesis console, Sonic the Hedgehog became both a popular mascot and brand name for Sega. Although Sonic Dash has seen great success on mobile, the same can’t be said for games like Sonic Boom, based on the Cartoon Network series, which ended up selling just under 500,000 units overall. This led company president and CEO Hajime Satomi to apologize to fans and vow to make things right for Sonic lovers.
Today, we may have seen another step toward revitalizing the Sonic brand, just in time for the series’ 25th anniversary this coming June. Speaking with TheWorldFolio, Satomi has announced a team-up between Sega and Sony Pictures that will bring the speedy hero to the big screen. “Sega Sammy Group is currently planning with Sony Pictures to create a live action and animation hybrid Sonic the Hedgehog movie scheduled for release in 2018,” he confirmed.
Very few details are known about the film at this time, aside from how its live action and CG hybrid format sounds a bit like Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Still, news of the film is a major step in rebuild not only its Sonic brand, but also Sega itself.
“The Sega brand first became famous as an arcade machine and then with the home video game consoles. The Sonic character was largely popular with those machines and consoles,” said Satomi in his interview. “Unfortunately, we eventually withdrew from the home video game console business. However, our name and brand is still out there because of the famous characters from people’s childhood. We would like to change, adjust or shift our product, brand and business with the current era to be a leader again in the future.”
Entertainment will take primary focus with the company, including movies like the upcoming Sonic feature. Games will continue to play a part in the company’s plans, as it is rumored to be hard at work on a new Sonic title for the holiday season, which will likely be revealed at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June. The show will be held during the same month as Sonic‘s 25th anniversary, Sega might take full advantage of the timing.
Sonic joins a group of forthcoming films based on video games, including three coming this year – Sony’s adaptation of Angry Birds, Gramercy Pictures’ animated Ratchet & Clank adventure, and Ubisoft’s live-action take on Assassin’s Creed, featuring Steve Jobs actor Michael Fassbender.
How fast Sonic can turn things around has yet to be seen, but here’s hoping that Sega’s new focus on entertainment and quality can help him get back up to speed.