Sega has shared a first look at Sonic's new "open-zone" adventure Sonic Frontiers over the past few weeks via an exclusive deal with IGN.
These previews have raised a number of concerns about the current state of the game, but fans of the blue blur have now been urged to calm down. In case you missed it, IGN's latest round of Sonic footage revealed how the gameplay in the "hands-on" preview is in fact from an early build.
IGN's senior editorial producer Mitchell Saltzman elaborated on this briefly throughout a new eight-minute clip - starting by making reference to the Sonic Adventure song 'Open Your Heart' by the Japanese-American rock band, Crush 40:
"If you're worried about how the blue blur will fare in this unfamiliar genre, I think Crush 40 put it best - open your heart, it's gonna be alright."
Later on, in the same preview, Saltzman confirmed the footage is from an "early build" while at the same time admitting there's a bit of a clash between objects (including how they just "pop in") and the very naturalistic art style - with hopes it can be improved in the final version of the game and "beyond":
"...of course, it's worth emphasising that this gameplay and the version that I played were from an early build."
Despite some issues, IGN believes Sonic Team has "hit upon a winning formula" and while there's still apparently "work to be done" before its holiday release later this year, the outlet is confident Sonic can make the move across to an open-world experience:
'Ultimately, my time with this early build answered the one question I had on my mind - will Sonic's one-of-a-kind gameplay translate into open-world? The answer is a resounding absolutely."
In a tweet, Saltzman also clarified a few things - explaining how IGN wasn't provided footage for certain parts of the game, and going on to highlight a point from his own written preview about how much the gameplay structure in Frontiers "excites" him:
"Sonic must hunt down and defeat these bosses in order to collect portal gears, which open up portals that lead to bite-sized linear stages, done in the style of previous Sonic games, giving Sonic Frontiers a nice mix of both old and new styles. These classic levels each come with a handful of optional goals, like beating the level under a certain time, collecting all the red rings, and so on, with each goal rewarding you with a vault key, which are needed to unlock the coveted Chaos Emeralds."
And in some follow-up tweets, he further details the flow of the game:
"The flow of the game is basically: Explore open world > solve puzzles to open up map > find collectibles to improve stats > fight world bosses to earn portal gears > use portal gears to unlock linear Sonic levels > complete linear Sonic levels to unlock chaos emeralds
"From what I've played so far, it's a very solid gameplay loop. There's obviously a lot of work to be done, as I talk about in the preview, but I think structure-wise, Sonic Team has something with Frontiers. It just needs a lot of polishing up."
What are your own impressions so far of the Sonic Frontiers' previews? How are you feeling knowing that this footage is from an "early build"? Are you expecting more from the final build, or are you prepared to hold back on any serious judgment until Sega reveals more about Sonic's new 3D adventure?
Leave your thoughts down below.