Is Sonic Frontiers an open world game? Answered

Just don’t call it that.

Image via The Game Awards

Ever since Sonic Frontiers was teased, the question of whether or not it would be an open-world game was on fans’ minds. Now that we’ve seen Sonic in action in the new adventure, the answer seems obvious — but not if you ask the people behind it. Sonic Team boss Takashi Iizuka has a more specific response.

Related: Sonic Frontiers gameplay demo shows familiar elements in a new open-world setting

Is Sonic Frontiers open-world?

Speaking to IGN, Iizuka said the preferred term is “open zone,” and that phrasing does imply some differences. “Open-world games like [Breath of the Wild] fundamentally have RPG or adventure worlds,” the designer said. “For Sonic, the core here is a 3D action game. Our basic idea was to have that take place in an open space. What sets Sonic Frontiers apart is this different approach to an open game world.” It’s not hard to grasp what’s being said there. Rather than one single open map, Sonic Frontiers instead connects various biomes, or “zones,” as the series has always called its levels. So is Sonic Frontiers an open-world game? Pretty much, but Sega isn’t calling it that.

What else is new in Sonic Frontiers?

The setting is a big shift for Sonic, but it’s not the only change. Iizuka previously said Frontiers would bring Sonic “to the next level” with “new combat styles,” and what we’ve seen so far proves that. The first gameplay clip showed the blue blur taking on robot baddies with a new whirlwind attack. There was also a towering bipedal enemy which Sonic had to climb, and it could only be destroyed once he attacked its core up top.

When is the Sonic Frontiers release date?

That’s still up in the air, but a PlayStation database leak last year provided a possible release date of November 15. We’re still waiting for the official word from Sega though. In the meantime, the Sonic Origins Collection is out very soon. That’s coming to PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on June 23.