Update (Fri 14th Aug, 2020 01:35 BST): It's official, Aaron has taken on a new position within Sega of Japan as Director of Strategy, Studio & Community relations. Here's his full message via Twitter:
I’m excited to share that I’ve accepted a new role with SEGA of Japan as Director of Strategy, Studio & Community Relations!
Besides Sonic, this means I get to support a lot of great SEGA teams – first up is PSO2 (@play_pso2) which just launched on Steam!
Original Story (Fri 19th Jun, 2020 11:30 BST): If you know and love Sonic the Hedgehog and happen to follow Sega's Sonic YouTube Channel live streams, one name (and face) that should be familiar to you is Aaron Webber.
Since 2015, Aaron has been the guy who has appeared in the company's live streams, ran the blue blur's social channels - like the wonderful Twitter account - and handled PR for the Sega mascot. His name has even appeared in a lot of Sonic video game credits.
Now, after all this time, Aaron is moving out of this important role and into another position within Sega. Here's his goodbye:
We must say that Aaron has done a great job over the years promoting Sonic. The character has had such a resurgence that he's now even got his own live-action movie starring Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik.
We're admittedly relieved to hear Mr. Webber is still at Sega of America - although as you can see above, he doesn't mention the position he's moving into within the company. With any luck, he can continue to help make Sonic an even better mascot for future generations.
All the best, Aaron - and thanks for helping Sonic out over the past five years.
I saw this on Twitter. It is a pity. I quite liked the Sonic Twitter account over these past 5 years. Hope everything goes well for him in the future.
Little do we know he has now ascended and become CEO of Sega/jk.
Yeah this guy definitely did his job right, I'm not a huge Sonic fan but I really like(d) their twitter account
This guy made such a clear difference. Hope he enjoys his new position
@somebread it's one of the best gaming twitter accounts out there, the right mix of silliness and seriousness.
He was great. The hundreds of companies trying to copy his style .......were not.
He was the last drip of personality you would hope for in a gaming twitter. Hope he is doing well in his new position.
He was a man who truly understood the value of a gaming IP and brand, and how corporate management of it can fail to connect to their consumers.
He did what was truly necessary for Sonic to flourish, and I would say that the creative team behind the Sonic Boom comics and TV show understood this as well. They had a mutual understanding of how to approach the character and engage with their audience, and Sonic is all the better for it.
I have a feeling guys like Aaron Webber, who is a fan of Sonic, understands and respects the IP more than SEGA. This is very likely the reason why so many Sonic games like Heroes, 06, Forces, Shadow, or Boom turned out so bad. SEGA just has no respect for the IP and its fans anymore. They just throw a game out in the hopes that fans will just buy it anyway. Which to be fair worked out in their favor.
@IanC14 if it's a brand/ip account, i'm not really looking for anything but seriousness
Shame to see him go from the Twitter. I'm not a Twitter user but what I saw from gaming sites of the posts there via him have been one of the more fun aspects of the entire platform.
I do wonder what he's moving onto now. They either found a way to "fix" the problem of the renegade marketing guy but keeping him on in the "Sega Welness Program" (Toilet cleaning) in that very Japanese way of never firing anyone they fire, or he's now running Team Sonic as the only employee in the company with a clue WTF a Sonic is.
@somebread Yes, I too want seriousness and investor information when looking at a brand account for an anthropomorphic blue rodent in hi-tops.
@NEStalgia certainly not looking for awesome wacky memes from any of them
toejam and earl is the worst of it, and sonic isn't too far off. rocket league's official twitter is about the best balance i've seen in terms of community building without going too far off the edge
Who cares about that moron lol
@somebread This isn't the Sega Company Twitter, though, it's a Sonic brand/character page for a 90's style mascot character that was all about a punk attitude. Handling the twitter with the same vibe as the character, somewhat "first person" account for the fictional character actually seems sensible. There's no mascot for Rocket League to present as a personal twitter of the fictional character.
For the serious stuff there's the Sega of America and Sega Sammy accounts.
Especially when we're talking Sega, the brand that was built on it's focus on edgy/attitude, I don't fine it out of line. That's the image they cultivated 30 years ago.
Not to mention the fact that it's the Sonic fan base. A horrid group that spits nothing but bile (and NSFW fan art) all day, during a time when the brand was pretty much ready for the bin....
Props for SEGA for allowing him to experiment.
@NEStalgia I agree. If SEGA went the total serious route then Sonic Mania would have been just a dream and Sonic Forces would have killed the franchise.
@MysteryCupofJoe you mean the Sonic Forces with the Sanic shirt? the meme that the twitter used so often, like the & knuckles meme that was in Mania? that Sonic Forces is the total serious endpoint of the franchise in this alternate universe?
Sonic Forces was a straight line for 99% of the levels. My deal with SEGA is not the Twitter accounts but developers stepping back and saying, "Is this trash?" Didn't anyone step back from the Werehog stages and say, "This is slow and tedious. I want to run some more." (Or at the very least make the Werehog stages fun run levels with destructible stages). Didn't anyone step back from Sonic and the Secret Rings and Black Knight and say, "This is very constricting, let us kick out the on-the rail stages and make levels free with Sonic exploring his new powers." Is there reflection at all? I feel the developers becoming more serious on their work is more important.
@RareFan Is Sonic Heroes considered bad? I rented it a couple times and quite loved it. Of course, this is retroactively coming from a 10 year old me.
I see it as a bad game. I saw the GamegRunps playthrough of it and is a really buggy, glitchy game. Also, the voice acting is terrible. Tails sound slike he is having a running nose.
@MysteryCupofJoe I think the problem is the actual creators of Sonic are long since uninvolved, and the new people don't have their own ideas of what Sonic is, and the original concepts that made Sonic work are outdated 2D concepts that don't translate into a flagship franchise of the 3D era. Instead their product is cultivated for them by a checklist of sales points and focus tested fan picks for "important characteristics" by a board room, and the product is manufactured to specifications that meet those actionable items lists.
It comes out dull, uninspired and formulaic, which the business guys making the checklists actually wanted, without understanding why that can't work. And there's no counterpoint made by the devs because they don't really understand Sonic, themselves and don't have a vision for it. They should really bring Naka back into the fold, but his ideas are also dated and not much of an AAA flagship.
The Mania team understands Sonic, but the problem is what makes "old" Sonic work, is only enough for an indie game today. Not a $60 AAA brand focus game. Mario has been made into a big open world exploration game, but Mario was always about slow pacing so the translation works. How you make a fast paced game based on fragmented level design that's mostly inspired by a pinball machine, and translate that into a modern franchise isn't an easy task. They tried slowing it down into a "world", which didn't work for the brand. They tried speeding it up with on-rails racers which didn't work for the brand.
I think to really fix Sonic they do have to cast aside the old fans (even if it's to win them back), they have to reinvent everything Sonic is and give him a new purpose. Pinball stages can't work as an AAA game. I want them to, but they can't. Sonic RPG wouldn't feel like Sonic. It needs the creativity of a new gameplay system and a thorough Miyamoto-level upending of the tea table to work. Sonic goes fast. but he's not a race car. Level design should be focused on time trial type things without feeling like a list of time trials. In a sense I think Jak & Daxter 1 and Assassin's Creed 1 could serve as good templates to think of a new Sonic in. A bigger, more open world, where navigating the landscape quickly to fulfill goals rather than "make it to the end" might be functional. But that design can get annoying too.
@NEStalgia Right on. I have two suggestions for Sonic.
1. Go back to the Sonic Heroes template. That template translated the 2D to 3D idea so well. Just don't focus on so many teams or there will not be a chance to refine the system. Sonic Heroes is not perfect but it can be refined with less teams.
2. Open world like you said. Have Sonic be able to run around but not necessarily boost all the time to skip out on exploration. Maybe include Tails and Knuckles as playable characters to help Sonic fly and dig around. This would mean less Sonic games due to focus on creativity but that is better than having a lackluster Sonic game every year.
@Chlocean I would say it is a good template for a Sonic game. @Rarefan is correct in saying it is glitchy but that is because there is no refinement due to the many teams they had to put in.
@RareFan I'm also watching the Grumps play it, and it only further makes me want to play it! Looks just as fun as I remember.
@Chlocean Also watching.
I play Heroes on Wii all the time, like most 3D Sonics the more you play the more skills you learn the easier and smoother the playing becomes. It's an amazingly technical game that Forces/Colors/Insert boost-to-win here wishes it could be.
That's why Arin doesn't stand a chance playing this blind, but I just think if he were blazing through each level his perception of the game would be that it's boring, the game's already pretty generous with the A ranks. The gameplay is also consistent unlike SA/SA2.
There's also the fact that he's playing on an emulator that's clearly not 100% compatible with the game and it's the most inferior port, with only half the frame rate and missing effects everywhere.
@MysteryCupofJoe yeah, and when you think about it, sonic was open world before it was cool. The large vertical level design where to never saw all of it in one tin through was kind of the 90s platformer idea if open world platform.
@AlienX @RareFan why would he not play on Dolphin? Why would he use a ps2 emulator instead? Oh right to make Sonic look bad. Same reason he play Wii version of Unleashed instead of the X360 or ps3 version.
So much hate against Sega here. I personally think they are one of the very few big companies that kept a specific vibe instead of just becoming a brandname.
I also really like how much they put out on Switch. Especially the Ages series and the very good (japanese only so far) 2020 Olympics game.
From all the AAA companies, they have the most interesting IPs in my opinion with things like REZ, Phantasy Star, Jet Set Radio ...
Just please stop making vague announcement teasers that make me think Virtua Fighter 6 is coming.
Entrusting Sonic’s social media account to a sassy, savvy, meme-addicted teenager was one of the the best marketing decisions SEGA has ever made.
God speed Aaron. God speeeeeed.
I don't see his comedy routine as anything special, it started happening around the time of Boom/Forces/mobile games galore, literally anything they could've pulled couldn't possibly bring the series to a lower point.
I am still puzzled about the strategy with showering the gamegrumps with gifts, if anything this newfound hate for the older games makes it less likely for SEGA to re-release them in some form, as many of them are stuck on consoles from generations ago.
It seemed to me like a step backwards and still is. It's Sonic, millions of kids love the series for different reasons, be it games or tv shows, it doesn't need memes to survive.
Never heard of him nor care
Living the dream, working in Japan for a gaming company!
This site seriously needs a "dislike" button for articles. I get pissed off just from seeing them in the feed.
@somebread Ah, well. ToeJam and Earl is my favourite account that I follow on Twitter. XD Each to their own.
Wait, Sonic has different games?!? My sources tell me that the company is named Sega. I did not know that either.
@RupeeClock Sonic Boom had comics? I loved that show! Yeah, I'm gonna go find those right now...
Sounds like he's getting a big promotion, even if his new job will be a little less directly interacting with the audience than a Twitter feed.
Hopefully he keeps up the good work (even if different work) in the new role.
Too bad it's been this guy's job along with MANY others of Saga to slander the name of a very good friend of mine because they don't like that she had a brain tumor when she was a child!
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