If it worked for comics, it's gonna work for video games … eventually. It's hard to make a good video game movie when many of those classics—think Mario or Pac-Man—have about two sentences' worth of story. Meanwhile, many newer games are so cinematic that making a movie based off them would be pointless. The 1990s icon of gaming attitude, Sonic the Hedgehog, has both those types of stories in many of his outings. You could make a Sonic movie as simple or as expansive as you want, given all the characters and zones within its universe.
Very few actors and characters have yet to be confirmed. It's not even clear if we'll get to see Sonic's other friends on the big screen, as this movie takes place in the real world. The synopsis describes a buddy-cop movie where Sonic befriends a small-town sheriff played by James Marsden, which is an entirely new character created for the movie. It sounds very reminiscent of other live-action adaptations, where Neil Patrick Harris befriends the Smurfs, or Jason Lee befriends Alvin and the Chipmunks, or James Marsden himself befriends the Easter Bunny (in 2011's Hop).
Fans of the video games, including myself and many others whom I know, were baffled and made this clear all over social media. While the redesign is too dark to fully make out, the body structure raises a lot of questions. Why take the cartoony tube-limbed character and add a more realistic human or ape-like anatomy? Yes, this movie is live-action, but other live-action/CG hybrid movies starred cartoon characters that looked, well, cartoony. Case in point: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Smurfs, Space Jam, Alvin and the Chipmunks. This Sonic movie, from what we can tell, is a bit like if the Smurf movies featured a group of human actors dipped into a vat of blue paint.
Judging by the shaded figure, Sonic the Hedgehog looks more like Sonic the Blue Ape in Ruby-Red Puma Sneakers.
If this Sonic movie took the same old designs and added fur, fans might have been more welcoming of this first look. Then again, the 2013 Sonic fan film from Blue Core Studios did just that. Fans were not welcoming of that at all, but maybe if the film's team had softened up the fur effect, it could have looked a lot better. Dumb ideas can be saved by good execution.
Change is always jarring, but that doesn't mean it's bad. Sonic has always been redesigned through the years. Perhaps if we see the designs unobscured and in motion through a trailer, it'll win us over. Maybe Sonic's some sort of Big Foot-type creature in this interpretation. Maybe the design will still be bad, but the movie itself will manage to redeem it. Who knows what to expect? Given the Hollywood track record for video-game movies, I can't expect much—but I will go in with an open mind come next November. After all, I did like Rampage.