With the game arriving in less than a week, developers at Sega are holding forth on Sage, a new Sonic Frontiers character. A new interview on the PlayStation Blog involved Sonic Frontiers Producer Sachiko Kawamura and Art Director Yoshitaka Miura sharing more about the character design process and Sage’s role in the game.
On character design, Kawamura and Miura said that thanks to the long history of the Sonic series, the “main rule” for creating new characters is to “ensure the character design does not feel out of place in the same world as existing characters.” This sense of preserving the series’ identity and honoring its history is held to, even when design and aesthetic styles differ from game to game. That includes Sage, a Sonic Frontiers character who plays a major role in the narrative.
They said that targeting a “simple and impressive” design works best for the series. Rather than just combining the traits of past characters, they try for something that’s straightforward and easily identified. When it came to enemies, the team also had to ensure that characters looked good from multiple angles, as the more free-roaming game structure meant that players could approach enemies from more angles than usual for the previous, more linear Sonic games.
When speaking about Sage in Sonic Frontiers, the team demurred from revealing too much about her place in the story. They did, however mention her centrality to the mysteries of the game’s setting and storytelling. They aimed to create the impression of a young girl that’s “both mystical and mysterious.” Special attention was paid to her proportions, to make sure she fits in the world of Sonic the Hedgehog. As she’s something of an antagonist, they also paid attention to how players would perceive her. Care was also taken not to excessively evoke notions of “mythic or religious meaning”.
Sage’s Sonic Frontiers character design channels a bit of sci-fi flair, with the shadows of her sleeves and dress obscured by almost wire-frame like red energy that permeates her being. The energy even appears to bisect parts of her head, like glitches in a character model.
Sonic Frontiers launches on November 8, 2022 for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. A prologue video featuring Knuckles is available to watch.