Sonic Frontiers Ends 20 Years Of Poor Sales In Japan, Best Selling Entry Since Sonic Adventure 2
Sega has managed to shake off Sonic's more than 20-year curse in Japan, with Sonic Frontiers making the sales charts on three different platforms this week. While not enough to beat the likes of God of War: Ragnarok and Splatoon 3, it does put the Blue Blur in the best position he's been in the region for two decades, becoming the fastest-selling game in the series since Sonic Adventure 2.
This comes after Sega made a conscious effort to have Sonic Frontiers appeal to a Japanese audience. This included rewriting all of the dialogue and giving the game a much more sombre tone than it had in the west, as it was felt that Japanese fans weren't big on the cartoony and goofy direction the series has taken in more recent games. The experiment has paid off, with Sonic Frontiers selling 46,276 units on Switch and PlayStation alone.
Sonic hasn't fared well in Japan in recent years. Before Sonic Frontiers, Forces was a flop in the country. In its first week, it only managed to shift a little over 10,000 across Switch and PlayStation. This means that Frontiers has quadrupled its sales in a similar timeframe, with even more copies being sold on Xbox Series X/S and PC.
According to Sonic Stadium, who were among the first to report the news of Frontiers' Japanese success, even the more popular Sonic games such as Generations failed to impress in the region. Generations actually even failed to make the sales charts, with Forces actually performing better.
Sonic Frontiers' success in Japan likely isn't just down to the change in tone and dialogue, however. Before anyone picked up the game, Sega had to convince a sceptical audience that this time would be different, and it's clear that many of Frontiers' promotional events were made to appear in Japan. The Monster Hunter crossover might be the most obvious example of this. Then there's the fact that Japanese rock band One Ok Rock was commissioned to create a song for the game, giving us the banger that is Vandalize. The Japanese version of the song also has some pretty naughty lyrics. I'm sure that has nothing to do with the sales, but it's fun to think about.
However, not all of the changes have been well received. According to Japanese fans, the altered dialogue is often awkward and much more toned down than its western counterpart. In a thread breaking down the changes, it becomes clear that Ian Flynn's writing was changed entirely, and apparently not always for the better.
Whatever the case, this puts Sega in a much better position for the next Sonic game – whenever that might be. Right now, it seems that Sonic Team has plans for further Frontiers updates, so we might not get any news about the next instalment for some time.
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