Earlier this year, during SEGA’s first Sonic Central event, the company announced a new upcoming entry in the 3D Sonic series, and speculation immediately began that it could be a new entry in the Sonic Adventure series – and inevitably, thoughts of what a Chao garden might look like in 2022. Although the trailer was only a teaser, lasting just around 30 seconds, the speculation already had fertile ground.
While there isn’t yet any hard evidence to suggest this upcoming title will be part of the Sonic Adventure series, even if this mystery game isn’t actually Sonic Adventure 3, there are still core aspects of the series that could be implemented to help bring lapsed fans back into the fold and to increase player retention.
Specifically, if done well, the reintroduction of the Chao Garden could help boost players’ interest and desire to stay invested in the 3D Sonic series long-term, which the franchise needs considering the poor reception to most of the 3D games over the past decade. Although some subsequent Sonic games have had versions of the Chao Garden, none have been as well-loved as in Sonic Adventure 2, which is why returning to those core roots may help with the blue hedgehog’s revitalization.
Unlike 2001, when Sonic Adventure 2 launched, the ease with which developers can update games after launch would give a modern Chao Garden the potential for a stream of new features. As fun as it was, the Chao Garden in Sonic Adventure 2 never had any new content, and if the player had exploited all the evolutions and tricks while breeding Chaos, there wasn’t much more to do. Now, however, the SEGA team could introduce events and new items, even new types of Chaos, over the course of a few years to keep players engaged. It wouldn’t need to be anything extreme, such as keeping a live service game like Fortnite or Destiny updated with new seasons, but it could help bring players back into the game every few months.
With the option of online connectivity comes a whole new set of ideas for a modern-day Chao Garden, too. For example, while the Chao minigames aren’t really that competitive since Sonic Adventure is primarily a single-player game, maybe the developers could introduce a feature similar to Pokémon contests, allowing players to show off their best Chaos and receive in-game awards.
Of course, this is all speculation, but with the announcement of a new 3D Sonic game coming next year and with very little official information thus far, the possibilities seem endless. For all fans know, it could just be Sonic Forces 2 and have nothing to do with the Sonic Adventure series, but at least the dream of a Sonic Adventure comeback remains alive for just a little longer.