Sonic Frontiers might actually be Sonic Adventure 3

By Lee Brady,

A recent Sonic Frontiers promo has revealed Sega's latest PS5 and PS4 title has more Sonic Adventure links than fans might have anticipated, and the case is starting to mount that Frontiers really is Sonic Adventure 3.

Sonic Frontiers has released a Knuckles-centric promotional animation to set the scene for the latest Sonic game's launch next week on PS5 and PS4 — a video that eagle-eyed fans will note contains more than a few massive references to the original Sonic Adventure. In fact, with its Big the Cat fishing minigames, the return of Sonic Adventure 2's SOAP shoes, and a bunch of other choice hints, we're fairly convinced Sonic Frontiers might actually be the real Sonic Adventure 3 after all.

Sonic Frontiers Adventure 3Plenty of Sonic Adventure callbacks in Sonic Frontiers.

The many links between Sonic Frontiers and the Sonic Adventure series

The Sonic the Hedgehog Youtube channel uploaded Sonic Frontiers Prologue: Divergence (embedded below), an animated adventure depicting how Knuckles ended up trapped on the game's mysterious Starfall Islands setting. Aside from giving us a beautiful animated short — in which Knuckles spectacularly and hilariously utters the word "funeral" — we also get a straight-up flashback to events and characters from the original Sonic Adventure.

We've argued before that there can never really be such a thing as a Sonic Adventure 3. That said, when Sega releases Sonic Frontiers promotional material that references the long-absent Tikal the Echidna, the Chao, the missing Echidna tribe, and even Sonic Adventure's final boss Chaos (via some very pointed puddle ripples) — well, it sure looks like they want us to think Sonic Frontiers is Sonic Adventure 3.

In the prologue, we're given a hint that the Koco — the delightful looking Korok-looking creatures hanging around Starfall Islands — are in some way connected to the Chao, as one of the Chao desperately tries to pick up the wears around one of the creature's... err, let's say "masks" and avoid saying "degloved slice of face." We know Sonic Frontiers will be teaming up with Monster Hunter again, but we should preserve the idea that the Chao are not the real monsters for as long as we can.

That's all the lore implications we have so far, but there are plenty of other hints that suggest Sonic Team had Sonic Adventure very much in mind when plotting out Sonic Frontiers. In an interview with IGN, the original Sonic Adventure director referred to Frontier's "Open-Zone" structure as an evolution of Sonic's first 3D game's Adventure Field segments. Sonic Frontiers introduces Sonic's first proper skill tree, echoing the modular skill upgrades introduced in the Sonic Adventure series, and don't be surprised if Frontiers' "Chaos Island" setting features a number of Adventure references.

Sonic Frontiers Adventure 3There's also an iconic Sonic Adventure reference in this Frontiers prequel comic.

We also saw via Sonic Frontier leaks that the plot kicks off because Dr Eggman messed around with an ancient civilization's power, though in fairness, this is also the plot to Sonic Unleashed, Sonic the Hedgehog '06, Sonic Generations, Sonic Mania to some extent; the list goes on. We have to draw the line at connections to Sonic Adventure somewhere — at least until we've played the game ourselves.

All we're saying is don't be too surprised if it turns out that, after the cacophonous mess that was the plot of Sonic Forces, particularly in the shadow of the successful Sonic the Hedgehog movies, perhaps Sonic Team had a good long think about how to get people reinvested in the plot of a Sonic game. Will that rethink automatically put Sonic Frontiers atop the best Sonic games on PlayStation list? We'll venture a 'not likely,' but if you disagree with any of it, be sure to let us know down in the comments below!
Lee Brady
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee loves to write about classic PS1 games on PS Plus, examining the game design of upcoming PS5 games like Marvel's Spider-Man 2 and Like a Dragon Ishin, and his shameless love of Sonic, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts games. He's also your resident PlayStation Stars guy.
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