Sonic Freedom is an upcoming action role-playing game developed by PlatinumGames and published by SEGA. The game follows a different continuity from the regular Sonic games and instead takes place some years after the events in the 2016 animated film. It was announced on February 18, 2017 and is scheduled for release in 2018 for the Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. On April 30th, 2017, it was announced that an animated, CGI TV series would be aired sometime during late 2020 called Sonic Rising based on the game's storyline and universe. It will follow Sonic and the Freedom Fighters' struggles against the Xorda rule.
Sonic Freedom is an action role-playing game with massive open-world environments. It contains elements of action-adventure with traditional platforming. Players take control of a party consisting of 4 playable characters and navigate through the game's open-world environment, battling against enemies, completing missions, side-quests, exploring towns and areas for collectibles as well as playing various mini-games.
Players can navigate freely through the world map primarily by foot. The world of Mobius is one single landmass divided into the Kingdom of Knothole, home to the Mobians, the United Federation of Silmorphitelia, home to the Humans and the Xorda and the Land of the Sky, home to the Echidnas. Exploration, a key element of the game, is promoted by the vast amount of areas the player can travel to, which includes islands, floating islands, forests, cities, bases and so much more, even other continents. There, players can talk to locals, who give them valuable information, side-quests or items. Completing their sidequests awards the player with items, weapons, accessories or a new playable character.
Players can collect rings, which is the main currency in Mobius, and purchase goods. Enemies found in the world are robots and soldiers of the Humans' army, monsters and creatures, Eggman's robots and Xorda. Xorda are the most powerful enemies in the game and are mostly found in the latter chapters of the game. There also exists a day and night cycle. Each area is accessed at different points during story mode.
In addition, there are action stages scattered around the world map, which have the same utility as "dungeons" in other RPG games. Action stages are usually part of the story mode and are short segments that have their own map. Guest characters frequently accompany the player there and are ending with a Boss Battle. Some of them can be accessed only once. Furthermore, Chao Gardens can be found throughout the world where players can breed Chao, similarly to the Sonic Adventure series. Chao Gardens are safe areas, where no enemies can approach. Depending on how the player breeds the Chao, it will acquire different abilities. Chao serve as accessories that can be equipped to characters that bestow to them their special abilities.
When the party approaches or attacks an enemy in the world map, combat is initiated. Battle is real-time and takes place in the world's open environment. In battle, players assume control of the party's leader. All other members of the party are controlled by AI throughout the battle. The party leader can perform a total of 7 different commands: Jump, Attack, Defend, Items, Skill, Assist and Summon. There are three buttons of attacking (O, Square and Δ) each one having the character perform a different attack equipped by the player himself. Attacks can initiate a combo when inputted in a specific order. Attacks are learned by characters as the story progresses or can be given by Chao, which serve as accessories. Moving the left analogue stick while attacking will have the character perform a different variant of the attack. Pressing two attack buttons simultaneously will have the character perform a different, stronger attack. This increases the overall number of available attacks.
Some characters can double jump by double pressing X button, while others can fly, glide, dash in mid-air or perform a homing attack. Pressing R2 when being attacked will have the character perform defend. They can follow with a parry. Items can be equipped or used in mid-battle by pressing L2. Items are picked and used real-time without interfering in battle. Skills are powerful attacks or moves unique to each character, that can be performed by pressing any of the attack buttons simultaneously while holding down L1. They deal significantly more damage than normal attacks but consume SP (skill points). The stronger a Skill, the more SP's it conumes. Furthermore, there are special Skill attacks that can be performed in combination with a partner. These can be executed by simultaneously pressing two attack buttons and an arrow while being close to that character.
Assist enables the player to give a special command to one of their teammates in mid-battle to execute. This can be either a normal attack or a Skill attack. For example, having Amy assist you either by attacking with her hammer or casting a healing spell for the whole party. Assist attacks are inputted by the three arrows of the D-pad, one representing each character of the party (4 arrows if 5 characters are in the party). Pressing any of the arrows of the D-pad while holding down L1 will have the corresponding party member perform a Skill attack instead.
Teamwork is a key element in the game. On certain occasions, a team member (controlled by CPU) may call upon the player to execute a combined attack together. If the player approaches that team mate on time, the two will perform a special attack. In addition, during battle, characters will speak to each other, either giving instructions, helping each other out or demanding assistance such as an item to heal them or remove their status ailment. Interaction during battle is, therefore, an important aspect of the gameplay.
Finally, Summons are the most powerful attacks in the game. They call upon the help of a God to deliver a massive attack on the field. There are 4 Gods: Piri'thu, Queto'ra, Azimuth and Rai-Oh, each with their own set of moves. Summons are not accessible from the start of the game. They are acquired during story mode and can only be activated by Sonic by pressing one of the arrows of the D-pad corresponding to one of the Gods after pressing the right analogue stick. They consume GPs (God points). They can only be summoned once per battle. R1 allows the player to lock-on to a target while the right analogue stick adjusts the camera.
At the end of each battle the player is accredited depending on his performance and gains experience points. Leveling up occurs here.
Stats and Points
Characters' stats are indicated on the bottom of the screen. They include HP (health points), SP (skill points), XP (Experience points), a picture of the character's head and symbols indicating their state at battle (e.g. confused, immobilized, sleep etc). When called upon to assist, the character's face on the stats will change expression and the character will either rush to the player's side to help him or the camera will switch to them to perform a Skill attack. Players have the choice of changing between characters during battle when they successfully perform a combo with another character who is nearby. Alternatively, pressing simultaneously the right analogue stick and one of the arrows of the D-pad will change to that character.
Health Points can be replenished in battle either by health items or by a spell. Healing spells can only be performed by specific characters who possess the ability, therefore its is advisable to include such a character in the party when facing against stronger enemies. A character falls in battle when their HP reach 0. If the leader's HP fall to 0, it is Game Over and the player starts from the point they last saved. Skill Points reset every time a new battle is initiated and are replenished automatically over time. Experience points indicate the character's current level. Players level up by completing missions, side-quests or battling enemies. The higher the level, the stronger the character. Enemies also have levels. The highest level achievable is 150. Superbosses can exceed this level.
The game is centered on a base party of 8 characters. Sonic, Sally, Antoine and either Bunnie or Amy are available from the start, while the rest 3 join at a later point. During battle, up to 4 characters participate simultaneously and on certain occassions, up to 5. In addition to the main party, guests, also known as supporting characters will temporarily join the party at certain parts in story mode. Some of them are optional and can be encountered on the world map as quest givers. Upon completing their quests, they will join the party. Big the Cat is an example.
There are a total of 21 playable characters in the game. Each character uses different weapons and is oriented for different utilities in the team. For example, Amy and Dr. Finitevus possess the Cure Spell that enables them to heal all members of the party. Amy battles primarily with her hammer using close range attacks while Dr. Finitevus fights by keeping a distance from the enemy, focusing on casting spells and magic with different effects. Dr. Eggman battles either on foot or in his mech. When on foot, he is more strategic and focuses on swarming the field with devices and machines that can take control of enemies, while on mech, he excels in close combat. Some characters are faster than others on foot while others dominate in air battle. Characters can specialize in a variety of fighting styles including weapons such as swords, firearms, machineries, daggers, polearms or whips, melee attacks and close combat, item usage, magic or support.
Since the game takes place around 12 years after the events of the canon games, all characters have aged, now being young adults.
See also: Sonic Rising
The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where Humans and Mobians live in a perpetual conflict with each other over the world's last remaining resources. Following a massive bombardment of the Earth's atmosphere from gene-bombs by an alien race hundreds of years ago that left the world destroyed, a hedgehog named Sonic, and his companions discover a girl named Hope in stasis left by the Humans of the Old World. When Hope falls victim to Dr. Eggman's evil ambitions, it is up to Sonic and his friends to rescue her and prevent Dr. Eggman from unlocking the secrets of the Old World, to which Hope holds the key.
As the story unravels, Sonic discovers that he must face a greater destiny entrusted to him by the Gods of Mobius, to unite the Humans and the Mobians against their common enemy, the Xorda, who have taken away their freedom and started harvesting the planet's energy, leading to its decay and reclaim their world. Throughout the story, Sonic discovers many secrets that were left unrevealed in the previous instalment, such as the truth of what happened 1000 years ago, the coming of the existence of the Mobians, the secrets of the Old World, the mystery that surrounds Hope's origins and the elusive cube that she carries.
The game follows the same continuity as the 2016 Sonic the Hedgehog film, taking place about 12 years after the events depicted in the film. There are two events happening concurrently within the film. At some point during this decade, the alien race known as the Xorda, that was responsible for the devestation of the planet, revisited Mobius and have now subjugated Humans and Mobians alike. In the midst of this occupational axis, the Humans and the Mobians continue their everlasting, with the Humans having given their freedom away, now serving the Xorda. The game features its own mythology, upon which the story is based.
The World of Mobius
The game is set in Mobius, a post-apocalyptic world created by Eh-Ra. 1000 years ago, an event known as the Fall took place where an alien race called Xorda bombarded the Earth with gene bombs, altering the world's ecosystem and wildlife, wiping out a huge proportion of humanity. Those who survived came to be known as the Humans and struggled to rebuild humanity from the ground up. The gene-bombs mutated some of the animals, creating anthropomorphic creatures called the Mobians. The Mobians and the Humans have been in an eternal conflict with each other over who gets to own the lands of Mobius ever since the formers' creation. In addition, the gene-bombs seperated a layer from the Earth, creating the Land of the Sky, a series of floating islands which the Echidnas inhabit. It is where the Angel Island is located.
During the 12-year gap between the events depicted in the movie and the series, the Xorda revisited Mobius after 1000 years of absence and subjugated all life on the planet. Their goal is to empower themselves and become the strongest life forms in the universe by harvesting planet Mobius' energy. With their unrivalled technology they use the earth and the water, leaving Mobius a dying planet for which nor the Humans nor the Mobians are concerned.
The World of Mobius is geographically divided into the Land of Darkness and the Land of the Sky. The Land of Darkness is the planet's old surface, home to Mobians and Humans. The Land of the Sky is the land which was detached from Mobius' surface during the Fall. It consists of a series of floating continents and is home to the Echidnas. The Land of Darkness is governed mainly by two forces, the Kingdom of Acorn and the Federated States of Silmorphitelia. The Kingdom of Acorn is ruled by King Maximillian Acorn, who resides in the Kingdom's capitol, Knothole, home of the Mobians. Aldurin is the capitol city of the Federated States of Silmorphitelia, and is the largest and most technologically advanced city Humans have built. The United Federation of Silmorphitelia has incorprated the Eggman Empire, which was lost by Dr. Eggman following his defeat by Sonic and the Freedom Fighters. The Federation has been subjugated to the Xorda rule, leaving the Kingdom of Acorn currently the only kingdom with some degree of autonomy.
There have been many attempts to defeat the Xorda, but all of them have failed. Hope in defeating them is nowhere to be found. The Chaos Emeralds have been lost ever since the Freedom Fighters, led by Sonic, faced Dr. Eggman in an epic battle against his most powerful robot army ever created. He possessed 6 of the 7 Chaos Emeralds and had almost succeeded in conquering the world. The Freedom Fighters barely managed to defeat him and with great casualties. Tails was severely injured and has been in coma ever since. Eggman has not been seen or heard of ever since that day and the Eggman Empire fell into the hands of the Humans. It marked the end of the war against Eggman, after years of fighting him. He is no longer of concern to the Mobians but Sonic still cannot forgive him for what he did to Tails. It is believed that he is hiding behind the face of the Grimer, one of his henchmen and current president of RobotnikCorp.
Without the Chaos Emeralds, defeating the Xorda seems almost like a fairy-tale; most people believe that the Xorda cannot be defeated and have therefore given up their freedom deliberately to purchase some safety. The Echidna elders who reside in Angel Island are of no exception to this. The Xorda have thus manipulated some of their most trusted followers, establishing an elite force known as the Emissaries that impose their bidding on Mobius, since the Xorda themselves do not communicate through speech. As such, the efforts of the Freedom Fighters are stranded.
Shadow has been presumed dead after he led a failed attack against the Xorda in the Battle of the ARK some years ago. He remains in the minds of many as the only one who succeeded in uniting Humans and Mobians against their common enemy in the name of freedom. All of them, including Shadow, were sacrificed trying to protect the ARK, which was taken over by the Xorda and now serves as one of their many bases of operation that oversees the entire planet. Omega was the only survivor. Shadow has not been seen since then and battling the Xorda without him has been an enormous struggle. Because his body could not be retrieved, a tombstone with his name symbolically stands in Knothole Graveyard. Sonic visits it every day in token of their friendship.
- Main article: Sonic Freedom/ Story
The story begins with a tale from Mobian mythology on how the world was created by the Gods and how the Mobians came to existence. The first chapter of the game opens with Sonic and the Freedom Fighters' raid in Grimer's base to rescue Nedymus, a Mobian seer with the ability to forsee the future. Upon freeing him, Nedymus reveals a prophecy that the Xorda will fall when in the night sky appears a shower of shooting stars.
- Main article: Sonic Freedom/ Characters
These are the characters that comprise the main party. The player starts with Sonic, Bunnie and Antoine in Chapter 1 and is joined by Sally and Amy in chapters 2 and 3. The rest join later as the story unravels.
- Sonic the Hedgehog - The legendary hero of Mobius, de-facto leader of the Freedom Fighters and the game's protagonist.
- Sally Acorn - Princess of Acorn, a skilled tactitian in battle and leader of the Freedom Fighters. Serves as the deuteragonist.
- Miles "Tails" Prower - Sonic's closest friend and the team's mechanic.
- Bunnie Rabbot - A semi-robotic rabbit girl, victim of Dr. Eggman's robotization process.
- Antoine D'Coolette - A cowardly, yet kind-hearted prince from Bivalidur, serves as the royal family's bodyguard..
- Knuckles the Echidna - Guardian of the Master Emerald in the Land of the Sky and one of Sonic's allies.
- Amy Rose - Sonic's self-proclaimed girlfriend. She is new to the Freedom Fighters.
- Shadow the Hedgehog - An old adversary-turned friend of Sonic, presumably killed in a failed attempt to protect the ARK from the Xorda.
Also known as Guests, these are characters encountered during Story Mode that temporarily join the party as playable characters. Some of them can be encountered in the open world where they will give sidequests for the player to complete. Upon completing all their sidequests, these characters will become playable and join the party. While some appear only in specific chapters, all of them join the party in the final story.
- Big the Cat - A fat and friendly cat originally from the Mystic Ruins. His sidequests revolve around finding Froggy.
- Julie-Su the Echidna - Knuckles' friend and trusted sidekick; she is a capable fighter and a strong-willed woman.
- Dr. Eggman - Sonic's old arch-nemesis who puts into action the game's events by abducting Hope to uncover the secrets she holds the key to.
- E-123 Omega - Shadow's closest friend who fought alongside him in the Battle of the ARK.
- Rouge the Bat - A top-secret operative working for Lialda, convicted of high treason by the Mobians.
- Elias Acorn - Sally's older brother and heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Acorn. He has a hostility towards Humans.
- Espio the Chameleon - A ninja warrior, member of the Chaotix Detective Agency.
- Charmy Bee - A pilot-aspiring youth and member of the Chaotix Detective Agency.
- Vector the Crocodile - The money-loving head of the Chaotix Detective Agency.
- Fang the Sniper - A bounty hunter from Calicornia who reluctantly helps Sonic and the team.
- Dr. Finitevus - A powerful Echidna sorcerer and scientist with a mysterious past.
- Cream the Rabbit - Amy's childhood friend. She takes care of Chaos, which she uses in battle.
- Metal Sonic - A robot replica of Sonic, created by Dr. Eggman.
These characters are not playable. Their role is either to give sidequests to the player, like Dr. Quack or Mina, or serve as story elements, like the Emissary or Pythagoras.
- Hope - A mysterious Human girl discovered in stasis by Sonic in the Forest of Um. She holds the key to defeating the Xorda.
- Grimer - Dr. Eggman' frontman and current president of RobotnikCorp. Serves as Eggman's right-hand man.
- Rotor Walrus - A former member of the Freedom Fighters and member of the Council of Acorn; provides support to the party.
- Mina Mongoose - A Mobian girl from Knothole who aspires to become a singer. She has an infatuation with Sonic.
- The Emissary- An Emissary of the Xorda, tasked with executing their orders over Mobius. Serves as the game's main antagonist.
- Lialda - A high-rank official in charge of the military operations of the Humans. He is a Mobian cheetah and an antagonist.
- Infinite - A former mercenary and adversary of Sonic employed by the Xorda, now serving as a commander of the Human army.
- King Maximilian Acorn - King of the Kingdom of Acorn. Dies at the end of the first chapter and is succeeded by his son Elias Acorn.
- General Trusk - A loud-mouthed warhog general who commands the Mobian army.
- Mighty the Armadillo - A former member of the Chaotix and avid traveller. His missions award the player with useful items.
- Nedymus - A Mobian seer with the ability to forsee the future.
- Dr. Electric - The Humans' engineer, responsible for mass producing the Xorda's war machines.
- Pythagoras - The first Mobian who led his people to a rebel against the Humans 1000 years ago.
- Dr. Quack - Knothole's doctor. He overlooks Tails' condition. His sidequests award the player with useful recovery items.
- Chao - Benevolent creatures that serve as accessories and power-ups to the player. They can be found in Chao Gardens and bred.
- Ixis Naugus - An ancient demonic entity that is the embodiment of all evil on Mobius. Fought against the Gods in the mythological era.
- Eh-Ra - The God who created Mobius and the Mobians. He is extensively featured in the Mobian mythology but only mentioned in-game.
It has been announced that Crush 40 will not be returning for the game's music production. Instead, in-game score and songs will be written by Thomas Bergersen and Nick Phoenix from Two Steps from Hell.
The game's theme is freedom. Other important themes of the game include virtue, justice and death. It also tackles with the issue of a self-imposed establishment, depicted as the Xorda creating a New World Order over the world of Mobius. Another pivotal theme will be man's inner conflict with himself, portrayed as Sonic questioning his nature, whether he is an animal or a human. The cross-shaped letter "I" in the game's title resembles a sword in a stone, which symbolizes war, a major part of the game's storyline. It is a symbolism from Homer's Iliad, from which the game is influenced. The first chapters of the game convey a feeling of nostalgia while the last chapters have an atmosphere of hopelesness and despair. It is to be the most dark Sonic title to date.
Below is an image gallery of the game's concept art. It is mostly open-world environments inspired by the paintings of visionary painter Albert Bierstadt.