Sonic Team, the producers of the upcoming 2.5D Sonic Superstars, claimed that pixel art won’t be viable for gamers in a decade or two. On an unrelated note, indie smash hit Sea of Stars has sold 100k copies at launch and just happens to be an RPG with pixel art.
Takashi Iizuka, the lead producer of Sonic Superstars, recently spoke with GamesRadar about the upcoming 2.5D platformer. With SEGA promising more 2D Sonic games in the same vein as Superstars, that apparently means moving away from pixel art.
“We look at the pixel art—it’s great—but when we think about 10-20 years in the future, we don’t think it’s going to be a viable art style or presentation for our players,” said Iizuka. “And in order to advance and really step things up, we did want to make sure that we’re presenting something that 10-20 years down the road we’re still evolving and creating new content for.”
Although Iizuka is entitled to his own opinion, acting like pixel art won’t be viable in the next few years seems close-minded. There are dozens of acclaimed indie games that use pixel art to perfection, with Shovel Knight and Hyper Light Drifter being notable examples.
Obviously, the most relevant example of pixel art being viable is the recently released Sea of Stars. In one day, the RPG sold 100,000 copies because fans wanted an RPG with pixel art. We gave the indie RPG a well-earned 8 out of 10 for its gorgeous visuals and fun combat system.
It’s not just the indies who’ve benefitted from pixel art, as SEGA and Sonic Team made plenty of money with Sonic Mania. Developed by long-time Sonic fans like Christian Whitehead, many consider this to be the best 2D Sonic game. Sonic Team released Sonic Forces in the same year and that was inferior to Mania in every way.
SEGA also released the Sonic Origins collection last year, with help from the Sonic Mania team. Considering how that flawed collection ended up being a success, that goes to show just how much fans love pixel art Sonic.
Fans of 2D pixel art and 3D polygons can pick up Sonic Superstars on October 17 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Sea of Stars is available on all of the aforementioned consoles right now.