How is Sonic design backlash related to UX? Read on.

The trailer of Sonic the Hedgehog released a few months back and as you must have known it received a huge backlash due to the unrealistic portrayal of the iconic Sonic. The fans made their opinions heard in various mediums. They particularly were not pleased with the teeth and legs of Sonic in the trailer. They complained that the legs of Sonic were long and very much human-like. Sonic also had a full set of teeth and it looked much more like human rather than that of a hedgehog.

People were used to the Sonic design in the very popular game ’Sonic Dash’ and they expected something more like that.

Sonic's human like teeth in the movie trailer
Sonic's human like teeth in the movie trailer

Fans also made their own fan edits of how Sonic would look like if it didn’t have human like legs and proper Sonic eyes.

Sonic Design Fan Edit
Sonic Design Fan Edit

Jeff Howler, fortunately, heard the voice of the crowd and he announced on Twitter that he and his team would make changes to Sonic’s designs and they would give Sonic the best makeover possible.

Everyone was worried whether such a massive overhaul of the movie was possible since the entire post-production of the movie was completed by the time they released the trailer. Any changes in the new design meant massive changes in the film which would not have been possible within the announced release date.

Jeff Howler again put these worries to rest by announcing that the release date of the movie will be pushed to February 14, 2020 (Hmm, Valentine’s Day) to give them time to work on the new design of Sonic.

Tim Miller, the executive producer of the movie, announced in his interview to Variety that this delay to push the movie’s release date has been worth it. These are his exact words:

“Look, I was with fans and so was Jeff,” Miller recalls. “When the s–t hit the fan, I went over there and said, ‘The most important thing to do, man, is say, ‘I f–ked up.’ He’d already sent a tweet out an hour before I got there. He’s a good man. It was exactly the right way to handle that. The fans have a voice in this too. There’s a right way to listen.”

Miller also said he’s seen the redesign and thinks “the fans will be pleased.”

Anyhow, the fans are happy that their voices were heard and are eagerly waiting for the redesign.

Now, what does this tell you about meeting User Expectations even when designing products?

When the users are used to something very much, you should not just attempt changing everything without proper research and feedback. For example, the universal icon for ‘Home’ is —icon— . Now if you assume yourself that you’re doing something radically good and change the home icon to look like this —icon—, how would it be? Do you think the users would be able to relate to this?