In late 2014 there was nervous chatter around teases of a new title from the Sonic Team, and it was revealed to be a mobile title. It was a relatively bold move, as previous mobile titles featuring the Blue Blur (including ports) had been handled by other teams, but here was an effort tagged as coming from the series' core studio.
While Sonic Dash and its sequel have a camera angle behind our hero with swipe controls, Sonic Runners has 2D gameplay in which you tap to jump. It seems it's failed to meet SEGA's expectations, though, as the game is being shut down on 27th July.
NOTIFICATION OF CLOSURE OF SERVICE
Thank you for your continued support of SONIC RUNNERS.
Since launch, the Sonic Runners Team has done its best to provide our users with the most
enjoyable play experience possible. It is with great regret that we announce the closure of Sonic Runners, effective from the dates below.
We would like express out most sincere thanks to all our users for their patronage and support.
The Sonic Runners team hopes that you enjoyed the journey as much as we did.
5/27, 9AM (UTC): Red Star Ring sales end.
7/27, 9AM (UTC): Closure of service.
Any Red Star Rings purchased prior to 5/27, 9AM (UTC) will not be useable or redeemable after closure of service so please use all Red Star Rings by 7/27, 9AM (UTC).
Thank you for playing SONIC RUNNERS.
It's still possible to download the game - we have done so in order to try it out - but the shutdown in July will seemingly make it completely unplayable, as it's a game that requires a constant online connection. We'll see in good time whether SEGA issues an update to make it playable offline, albeit without the leaderboards and currency incentives that currently drive the experience.
It's proof that brand power alone isn't always enough to guarantee success, and is certain to be a chastening decision for Sonic Team, which has evidently struggled to make the transition to producing a lucrative smart device game.
Closures like this are a reminder for companies like Nintendo, too - if the gameplay and in-game economy balance isn't right, no amount of recognisable characters is enough to save the day.