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The Truth About Sonic 06's Troubled Development

2006's Sonic the Hedgehog, a.k.a. Sonic 06, is an infamous title in the iconic blue hedgehog's library that will never be forgotten. Contained in this game were an assortment of technical bugs, a broken physics engine, a god awful story, and overall terrible gameplay. With so many problems plaguing this title, it's a miracle Sonic was even able to come out on the other side of this disaster of a game.

There was a lot riding on Sonic 06 at the time. After the failure of Sega's Dreamcast in the early 2000s, the only trump card the company had in its hand was its beloved mascot. Knowing that they needed to create a Sonic game that would stand out, hard work on a title that would revamp the series began in 2004. Ideally, this new entry would be released for the series' 15 year anniversary in 2006.

Despite this careful planning, Sonic fans were given what is often referred to as the worst game in the series. With such a disaster release, many wonder what exactly went wrong during the game's development. How did Sega and Sonic Team drop the ball so hard?

A split development caused massive problems

Sonic 06 was originally set to come out on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. Initially, the game was shaping up to be an entry that would totally reimagine the entire Sonic series. The trailer for the game featured Sonic running at mach speed in highly-detailed 3D environments that surpassed the visuals of the game's previous Sonic Adventure series. The game looked good and the hype for it only grew, adding more pressure on the development team.

At the time, Sonic Team was working hard on implementing motion controls into the title so it could run on the Wii. However, Sega wanted Sonic 06 to come out in time for the PlayStation 3. In order to meet deadlines, Sega split Sonic Team, with one half of the team working on Sonic 06, and the other working on Sonic and the Secret Rings, a 2007 title that would release exclusively for Wii. 

As a result of this decision, the Wii version of Sonic 06 was canceled and the game's development was rushed for the holiday season. The game was released for Xbox 360 in November 2006, with the PlayStation 3 version arriving a month later.

An everlasting legacy

Sonic 06 is what happens when game developers are understaffed and under pressure. If they had been given more time, perhaps Sonic Team would've been able to create the series-changing title that they had envisioned. Instead they were forced to give birth to a shotty title that gamers would never forget for years to come.

The other half of the Sonic Team that worked on the Sonic and the Secret Rings didn't have it any easier. While they did get some extra time to work with the Wii's mechanics, they were still under the same amount of pressure as the Sonic 06 team. The result of this labor would be another horrid entry in the Sonic series that would be received slightly better than Sonic 06, but still plagued with issues.

Since this dark era in Sonic history, the blue hedgehog has had a shaky journey. Future entries in the Sonic series would be both celebrated, and hated. Sonic Forces was created in commemoration for Sonic's 25th anniversary, but that game also didn't do so hot with critics. Maybe Sonic will have better luck for his 30 year anniversary.