Sonic the Hedgehog (2020 video game) (Johnsonverse)

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Sonic 2020 game cover.png
Writer(s): Tim Johnson
Patrick Casey
Josh Miller
Producer(s): Shun Nakamura
Executive producer(s): Tim Johnson
Designer(s): Takashi Iizuka
Composer(s): Jun Senoue
Tom Holkenborg (music from original movie)
Artist(s): ‎Yoshitaka Miura
Sachiko Kawamura
Genre: Platformer
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Xbox One
PlayStation 5
Xbox Series X
Nintendo Switch
Release Date: October 1, 2020
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Paramount Digital Entertainment
Game Engine: Hedgehog Engine
Franchise: Sonic the Hedgehog
Previous Game: Team Sonic Racing (2019, by release)
Next Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022, upcoming)

Sonic the Hedgehog is a 2020 platform game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega and Paramount Digital Entertainment, based on the movie of the same name, which in turn is based on the video game franchise of the same name. It follows the plot of the movie closely, with Sonic teaming up with Green Hills sheriff Tom Wachowski to stop the evil mad scientist and government agent Dr. Robotnik from capturing Sonic. It uses an enhanced version of Sonic Team's Hedgehog Engine.

The first Sonic game since the acquisition of Sega Sammy Holdings by Johnson Industries on July 31, 2019, the game was released on October 2, 2020 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC, Macintosh, Linux, Mandatum, and Chromebook. It was critically acclaimed for its voice acting, music, graphics, faithfulness to the movie, and gameplay, which was touted as an improvement over previous Sonic games such as Sonic Forces (2017). It has also been praised for its anti-piracy features, one of which involves the infamous design of Sonic from the film's original trailer that was released in April 2019 replacing the standard in-game model.


Premise and setting

Sonic the Hedgehog is a platforming game about Sonic teaming up with Tom to recover his bag of portal rings in San Francisco while evading Dr. Robotnik. Each Zone is split into three acts: one in which Sonic is played, one with Tom, and a boss battle in which both of them are played. There are exceptions, such as a Sonic-exclusive level called "Sonic's World", which acts as a tutorial for controlling Sonic, and "Green Hills, Montana", which acts as a tutorial for controlling Tom. There are also boss battles in which Sonic and/or Tom must fight Robotnik's machines that occur throughout the game.

Sonic and Tom's styles, despite both being set in a third-person perspective, are completely different: Sonic's style is a high-speed, action-packed platformer similar to modern Sonic games, while Tom's style is a more realistic open-world style, as he sprints slower, has a sprint meter, and uses weapons such as his tranquilizer gun.


In this mode, multiple players each play as Sonic, with their name above the character. Players can also start their own custom session, being able to invite up to 200 players.


Having been forced out of his home planet as a baby by a tribe of echidnas who wanted to use his power to take over his world, a blue alien hedgehog named Sonic, who now lives on Earth, must recover his bag of portal rings from the top of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, California. He teams up with Green Hills Sheriff Tom Wachowski and his wife Maddie to go to San Francisco. Meanwhile, an evil scientist named Dr. Ivo Robotnik has been sent by the United States government to capture Sonic, who had accidentally caused an EMP blast that knocked out all power across the Pacific Northwest, and Sonic, Tom, and Maddie must stop the evil doctor from capturing him.


Development began on August 1, 2019, one day after Johnson acquired Sega. Tim himself wanted the game to "feel like you're playing the daytime stages in Sonic Unleashed by themselves", as one of his biggest criticisms with recent 3D Sonic games was that "they just weren't all that fun", pointing to then-recent games like Sonic Forces as an example. Tim also personally oversaw the game's development to ensure it would be well-received by fans. In addition, it was decided to base the gameplay on Sonic's stages on the day stages from Sonic Unleashed (2008), as well as Tom's stages using weapons, though the team made sure to only use normally harmless weapons.


For cutscenes that are pre-rendered, the animation is provided by Marza Animation Planet, and for in-game cutscenes, the human characters were motion-captured, while Sonic, Longclaw, and the echidna tribe were freely animated (Sonic's facial expressions notwithstanding).


The composer, Jun Senoue, has worked on many Sonic titles in the past. He was told by Tim to incorporate "many elements that people expect from a Sonic game while adding a slightly realistic touch". The music for the results screen, a remix of the song that plays in the Competition results screen in Sonic Mania, was reused from Team Sonic Racing, as Tim liked that particular cue, albeit remixed even further. The song "Gotta Go Fast" by Chizzy Stephens, which had been considered for the movie but was rejected in favor of "Speed Me Up", was used in the credits, while two separate instrumental versions of "Speed Me Up" were used in the title screen and main menu. Several tracks from the movie composed by Tom Holkenborg were used in several levels.

Voice acting

Ben Schwartz, who voiced Sonic in the film, reprised his role in the game. Tom was voiced by Troy Baker, and Mike Pollock reprised his role as Dr. Robotnik from the original games, with Lee Majdoub reprising his role as Robotnik's sidekick Agent Stone, Adam Pally reprising his role as Tom's friend Wade Whipple, Neal McDonough as Major Bennington, and Tika Sumpter as Tom's wife Maddie. Likewise, Benjamin L. Valic reprises his role as Sonic as a baby, and Donna Jay Fulks reprises her role as Longclaw. Colleen O'Shaughnessey reprises her role as Tails, who is only shown through his voice. The Japanese-language voices include Jun'ichi Kanemaru and Kotaro Nakamura reprising their roles as Sonic and Dr. Eggman, respectively, along with Yuichi Nakamura reprising his role as Tom from the Japanese dub.

Anti-piracy and anti-crack protections

In an interview, Tim stated that the game features measures detecting pirated copies or cracking attempts. Most notably, if the game detects it's a pirated copy, the model of Sonic is replaced with a model of his infamous original design shown in the trailer released on April 30, 2019.


The game received acclaim from critics and fans. On IGN, it received a


Sales for the game were