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Sonic Frontiers is an open-world video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise released on November 8th, 2022. It is the first open-world Sonic game. It was officially announced in May 2021 during Sonic Central's 30th-anniversary stream and a gameplay teaser was released in May 2022. The game received mostly positive reception upon release, garnering a 72/100 critic score on Metacritic.
On May 27th, 2021, the "Sonic Central 30th Anniversary" live stream took place, where several new Sonic projects were announced. At the 11:46 minute mark, a new game called Sonic Frontiers was teased in a trailer showing Sonic running through the woods (shown below, left). On December 9th, the Sonic the Hedgehog YouTube channel released a second teaser for the game, gaining over 2.4 million views in six months (shown below, right).
On May 31st, 2022, another teaser for Sonic Frontiers was released on the Sonic the Hedgehog YouTube channel, showcasing gameplay for the first time. The trailer shows Sonic roaming through an open-world and running on a large wheel, seemingly to reveal sections of the map. It also shows Sonic grinding on rails, climbing a large mech and circling around enemies to attack them (shown below). The trailer gained over 1.2 million views in a day.
IGN World Premiere Gameplay
On June 1st, 2022, IGN posted 7-minute long video to YouTube showcasing gameplay from Sonic Frontiers, gaining over 693,000 views in four hours (shown below). The video shows Sonic roaming around the open-world environment, climbing a tower and traversing around the world using setpieces including grind rails and boost rings. The video ends with Sonic solving a puzzle and running in a large wheel.
On August 23rd, 2022, the Sonic the Hedgehog YouTube channel released a story trailer for the game, showing off new gameplay footage and elements of the game's plot, garnering over 19,000 views in roughly two hours (shown below).
Release / Reception
On November 8th, 2022, Sonic Frontiers was released across consoles. The game received generally positive reviews, with a 72/100 critic score and 8.3/10 user score on Metacritic after its first week. IGN gave the game a 7/10 in their review, which gained over 941,000 views in a week (shown below). The game's performance and graphics on the Switch were criticized by some, particularly for the decrease in draw distance and effects. The day before the game's release, a thread was posted to /r/Games collecting reviews of the game.
The teasers for Sonic Frontiers inspired discussions about the game and fan art. On December 10th, 2021, Deviant Art user blueseamoon posted art based on one of the teasers, gaining over 150 favorites in six months (shown below, left). On March 10th, 2022, Redditor Sir_di3l posted art based on the teaser to /r/SonicTheHedgehog, gaining over 130 upvotes in three months (shown below, right).
Gameplay Teaser Reactions
The May 31st, 2022 gameplay teaser inspired discussion across social media. On that day, Redditor realXViteal posted a meme to /r/SonictheHedgehog criticizing Sonic's incorrect animation during a section of the trailer where he performers a finisher move on an enemy, gaining over 1,700 upvotes in a day (shown below).
On the same day, Redditor PhobiusofMobius posted a meme to /r/SonicTheHedgehog wishing for the game to have a Chao garden, gaining over 1,900 upvotes in a day (shown below, left). Redditor Black-dragon4129 posted a meme to /r/SonicTheHedgehog sharing enthusiasm for the game's soundtrack and disregarding the criticized frames of animation, gaining over 160 upvotes in a day (shown below, right).
VideoGameDunkey Review Backlash
On November 14th, 2022, YouTuber VideoGameDunkey posted a negative review of the game where he shows off various glitches and annoyances he came across while playing. The video gained over 2.9 million views in four days (shown below).
The video inspired backlash from Sonic fans, who criticized Dunkey for making the game seem glitchier than it is and possibly discouraging people from buying it with his review. Following the video, the Metacritic score for Sonic Frontiers was seemingly review bombed as users gave it low ratings, some with account names that mentioned Dunkey by name (examples shown below).
Dunkey responded to the criticism on Twitter that day blaming Sonic fans for writing the reviews to make him look bad, writing, "Sonic fans are review bombing their own favorite game to make my fans look bad." He also wrote, "I just wanted to make an entertaining video on a game I didn't really like, and I was shocked by the user scores so I included it. I can't be alone in feeling crazy when seeing them."
Following the release of the game, people began increasingly posting memes about it. On November 9th, Twitter user @FimInfinito posted a meme about the game reminding them of older 3D Sonic games, garnering over 32,000 likes in nine days (shown below, left). On November 11th, Twitter user @MationMiss posted a meme about the game that garnered over 7,600 likes in a week (shown below, right).
Sonic Frontiers Status refers to a series of bait-and-switch videos that end with the song "I'm Here" by Tomoya Ohtani and a scene from Sonic Frontiers to serve as a nonsensical punchline. The meme is inspired by other "X Status" memes like shitpost status and Reveangance Status and became popular on YouTube in November 2022 following the release of the game.