#DelaySonicFrontiers was briefly trending on Twitter earlier this month, after many Sonic fans took to the social media platform to vent their disappointment over the first videos showing the game in action.
As part of an upcoming VGC interview, Iizuka was asked what he thought of the mixed reaction to the gameplay footage.
“It’s not really that surprising,” Iizuka replied. “We do realise everyone is just kind of reacting to the videos that they saw, and because they don’t understand what this new gameplay is they’re kind of comparing it to other games that they already know.
“So we do see a lot of people saying, ‘oh, it’s kind of like this, it’s kind of like that, but it’s not like this, it’s not like that’. And really, the team is going out and creating this new game format for Sonic, and we’re calling it an ‘open zone’ format.
“And this new game system itself is something that doesn’t really exist in any other comparable titles, so we really hope that from here until launch we can really explain what open zone gameplay is.”
He added: “If people come to Gamescom or Tokyo Game Show, [they can] get that hands-on experience to play the game and understand what the game is. Because right now we’re just kind of watching videos of people reacting to what they believe the game to be.”
We asked Iizuka what he felt about the recent #DelaySonicFrontiers hashtag on social media, and whether he was actually in a position to delay the game if he wasn’t entirely happy with it.
However, Iizuka claimed that this wasn’t an issue, because the development team are happy with the game as it stands.
“Frontiers is in development now, and actually we’ve been doing a lot of playtesting with our target audience, who would be in that demographic of someone who’d play a Sonic game and enjoy it,” he replied.
“From our playtesting results we have been iterating, we have been listening to the comments that come back, but we’ve also been getting a lot of great feedback from people who rate the game and are like, ‘I had a lot of fun playing this game, I’d give it like an 80 or 90 point score out of 100’.
“So we do feel that we’re getting to the point where this game is done, and people will like it, and we do want to get that game into our fans’ hands as soon as possible.”
He added: “We really feel confident in the playtest results that we’re getting. A lot of people are saying they had a lot of fun, they really enjoyed the game.
“So we realise a lot of people are watching the videos online and making assumptions, but we do feel confident based on the playtest results from the target demographic that are coming in and playing the game start to finish, they really like the game and we’re confident that we’re making a game that will be satisfying.
“So if our development team all gets coronavirus, or they’re all hospitalised, or there’s something that actually prohibits us from being able to deliver the game on time, we will need more time.
“But we’re working right now with our team in Japan who are working really hard to make sure this holiday people can buy the game, pick it up, take it home and have a fun experience with it.”