‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ goes virtual by becoming a Vtuber

Sonic the Hedgehog in Sonic Colors Ultimate

Sega wanted to keep its fan base engaged to the franchise, so it turned Sonic the Hedgehog into a Vtuber.

This year marks as one of the biggest for Sega’s prominent mascot, Sonic. As this year marks the franchise’s 30th-anniversary celebration, there has been plenty in line-up drawing from the momentous event.

Sonic the Hedgehog Roadmap

One is a developing Sonic the Hedgehog series that is coming to Netflix next year. It is a 3D animation series that features the blue blur himself as set in multiple dimensions, dealing with variations of his arch nemesis, Robotnik. The show itself will become a part of the upcoming “Sonic Prime” for Netflix. It’s a series of kids- and family-friendly shows set for 2022, which comes as a collaboration between Sega of America and Wildbrain.

Another is two video game-related projects. Independently, they will see the iconic mascot as a DLC for Minecraft and be starring in the Sonic Colors Ultimate.

But if the aforementioned is not enough to bring back Sonic into the spotlight, Sega is taking another step further with its marketing. This time, by making the blue hedgehog active in promoting itself as a Virtual YouTuber or Vtuber.

News from Japan

Word about the initiative came from Ryokutya2089 which published a brief content insinuating the topic. It is worth noting how the content explicitly mentions of Takashi Iizuka, who is a director for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Although the source for the statement is vague at best, there’s notion that the idea might have been an extract from Famitsu. Particularly, from a column dedicated to Sonic’s 30th anniversary celebration.

Another interest of note in the said brief post is how it mentions about an upcoming Sonic theme park. Which, if anything, bears a strong commitment on the part of Sega to bring the Sonic franchise to the modern audience.

The Growing Virtual Trend

Vtubing is a fairly recent trend that originated in Japan. Coming to people’s attention during the mid-2010’s, Vtubing is characterized by an online presenter in animated form. It was pioneered by Kizuna A.I., who came up with the moniker and now has a large following across multiple YouTube channels.

While not especially popular in the West, virtual YouTubers have come into popularity in recent years. Since kicking off the trend back in 2016, there are, as of 2020, at least 10,000 VTubers across the globe.

Image used courtesy of IGN/YouTube Screenshot

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