Developer: Sonic Team
Platforms: PS4, PC, Xbox One, Switch
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Sonic Forces is the newest entry in the long running Sonic the Hedgehog series and the first 3D entry in the main series since 2013’s Sonic Lost World. While the series took a break to launch the critically panned Sonic Boom sub-series, Sonic Forces marks a return to the old ‘Boost formula’ gameplay from Sonic Generations, as well as multiple playstyles including 2D platforming from Classic Sonic as well as a new custom Avatar with its own play style.
Sonic Forces was developed by the same team at Sonic Team responsible for Sonic Colours and Sonic Generations. Beginning work shortly after the completion of Sonic Lost World, the game was revealed during a 25th anniversary event at the San Diego Comic-Con on July 22, 2016 under the working title ‘Project Sonic 2017’, revealed alongside Sonic Mania. Sonic Forces runs on an improved version of the engine used in Sonic Generations, the Hedgehog Engine 2. Happy Tree Friends writers Ken Pontac and Warren Graff returned to help pen the games English script.
Sonic Forces was one of the earliest third party titles announced for the Nintendo Switch, then known only as NX and released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 family systems, and Xbox One family platforms on November 7th, 2017. The game launched with a bonus edition which included controller skins and downloadable clothing items for the Avatar character, which highlighted other Sega owned properties like Persona 5, Puyo Puyo and Jet Set Radio. Upon release, Sonic Forces received mixed critical reception, citing short length, poor level design and uneven difficulty.
Sonic Forces story takes place following events of previous games, and links into the events of the true ending to Sonic Mania. During the ending events of that game, the Phantom Ruby, along with the power of the Chaos emeralds, transports Classic Sonic away to destinations unknown, at the time.
Upon responding to an attack by Dr. Eggman, Sonic is attacked by a recruited Shadow the Hedgehog, Metal Sonic, Chaos, Zavok and unknown newcomer Infinite. Sonic is quickly overpowered and captured. Within the space of six months, much of the world is under Eggman’s thumb, with a few pockets of resistance fighting back. One such pocket is led by Knuckles the Echidna, who recruits a new member dubbed ‘The Rookie’, which is the player created avatar.
The dimensional influence of the Phantom Ruby from Sonic Mania is responsible for Infinite’s power, as well as the involvement of Classic Sonic (along with the return of his gameplay style). During an early mission to rescue Sonic from a rebuilt Death Egg, Classic Sonic appears from his portal and rescues Tails from an attack by Chaos.
Sonic Forces divides itself into three distinct play styles across the three player characters, and while there is the occasional team up between the avatar and modern sonic happens, these moments do little more than combine both styles.
Modern Sonic gameplay should be the most immediately familiar to recent Sonic fans, taking most of its cues from Sonic Generations in terms of handing and play. Sonic will rush along a largely linear path and demand some twitch reactions from the player to stay on the higher paths and finish the level with more style. Modern Sonic can do an instant boost to speed along and destroy enemies, along with a handful of other abilities like a light speed dash, and stomp. Classic sonic brings back his 2D, momentum based platforming with a more precision focused jumping.
The newest addition is the Avatar, which has the most similar gameplay to Modern Sonic, with the addition of a bunch of customizable gadgets and Wisp abilities that allow you to tailor your exact abilities. While the full extent of the exact abilities and differences between them is out of scope for this piece and more of a fit for a guide, the Avatar is naturally agile enough to keep up with Sonic, uses wrist mounted grappling hooks and a device called a ‘Wispon’, which allows him to harness the recurring alien powers in a variety of ways, such as a flamethrower or shockwave, without causing a physical transformation.
In a piece of free side content, Episode Shadow, you can also play a brief story prequel where you take control of Shadow the Hedgehog. Playable for the first time in 12 years, Shadow controls like an enhanced version of Modern Sonic, utilizing a boost and able to chain up many sequential homing attacks to make progress.
While the gameplay itself focuses on the two Sonic’s and the avatar, Sonic Forces brings back a lot of characters from throughout the series long history to play a part in the war with The Eggman Empire. The two major sides are the Resistance and the Eggman Empire Forces
Sonic the Hedgehog is a key member of the resistance and who’s involvement alone motivates his allies to continuing the fight against impossible odds. He’s the fastest thing alive, endlessly cocky but endlessly loyal to match. The freedom fighter is captured and tortured for many months at the start of the game, but is soon broken out by the Avatar.
Meanwhile, Classic Sonic is a chubby little dude who’s not as much for words as his older counterpart, but still has the same fierce beliefs in freedom and scrambling Eggmen. Brought to Modern Sonic’s world through the portal created during the climactic battle between himself, Dr. Eggman and Phantom King over the Phantom Ruby at the end of Sonic Mania, he can’t help but want to break the mad doctor’s grip on the world.
The player created avatar was just a random citizen in Sonic’s world, until the world was turned upside down by Dr. Eggman and Infinite. He joins the resistance where he’s dubbed “The Rookie” and assists in the fight against the Eggman Empire. The sole survivor of a raid, Infinite purposely let the Avatar flee out of a sadistic pleasure in hearing his frightened screams. This backfires horribly when Sonic later inspires the Avatar to stand against him and he plays a key role in the story.
Supporting the central trio in their efforts are the menagerie of colourful friends that Sonic has gained over the years. While he is presumed dead, Knuckles the Echidna organizes one particular sect of the resistance effort, Tails bounces back once Sonic is rescued to provide mechanical and tactical support, Silver, Amy, The Chaotics members Espio, Charmy and Vector, and many others eventually show up as well.
Dr. Eggman’s ambitions have finally very nearly come to fruition through the dimensional powers of the Phantom Ruby, which he discovers just outside one of his bases one faithful day after the events of Sonic Mania send it through to that world. The mysterious gem allows him to quickly rebuild his army and recruit Infinite, as well as many other bosses from Sonic’s past to help defeat him.
Infinite is a mysterious figure who the resistance cannot make sense of at first, with speed and power that vastly outstrips that of Sonic the Hedgehog. In their first encounter, going so far as to toy with the blue blur before he gets defeated. He has total command over the powers of the Phantom Ruby, which enhances his abilities, allows him to command much of his surrounding environment, and influence or even project other beings.
It’s by Infinite and the Phantom Ruby’s influence that brings together a big bunch of bad bosses from Sonic’s past to help the good doctor take the world for his own. Shadow the Hedgehog, longtime Frienemy is somehow now decidedly enemy. Metal Sonic has been rebooted to give the Resistance a hard time and Zavok of the Deadly Six returns to finish his vendetta.
Note: This wiki will be updated once we have more information about the game.