It's no great secret that the Sonic the Hedgehog fanbase is exuberant about their chosen blue idol. For many, their love of the Blue Blur goes all the way back to the halcyon days of the Sega Genesis and the franchise's first entry, Sonic the Hedgehog. That game, as well as its follow-ups -- Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and the addon cart Sonic & Knuckles -- fundamentally changed the platformer genre with their sense of speed and divergent level design. But to be a Sonic fan is also to suffer by acknowledging that, for the most part, the franchise's quality took a serious dive after these initial four games. Now, with the emergence of teasers for the upcoming movie Sonic the Hedgehog, it looks to many fans that the iconic hedgehog's big screen debut will continue that depressing trajectory.
The evidence at hand is a pair of swole blue legs included in a motion poster advertising the film. Those legs are, of course, attached to none other than the titular Sonic, who has been redesigned to sport his most human physique ever, rather than his iconic, noodley blue limbs from the games. Unsurprisingly, the core Sonic fanbase has been having none of it, filling the poster's comments section (as well as its snarky follow-up post) with lewd Photoshops and brief messages akin to affronted mourning.
Online fandoms have been reacting poorly to redesigns for as long as they've existed. Look no further than the past 10 years of Michael Bay-directed Transformers movies or any Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot if you want a glimpse into the world of spirited online discussion regarding the appearance of cartoon anthropomorphs. Sometimes the frustration is warranted, though often the anger stems from the irrational feeling that one's nostalgic recollections have been unduly violated. In the case of Sonic, though, there might actually be something there.
Fans are likely so irritated at the Sonic movie design because the character is just coming off Sonic Mania (2017), a game that finally did the thing many Sonic adherents have been urging Sega to do for ages: Just bring Sonic back to his roots. And that's exactly what Sonic Mania did by remixing old levels with new twists, then using those preexisting templates to create wholly new, oftentimes bonkers levels from scratch, all with a slavish attention to detail when it comes to the look, feel and pacing of those old Sonic games. The result? Sonic Mania is the best and most critically acclaimed Sonic game since the original, 2D quartet of speed-based platformers.