Earlier this week, the first trailer for the new live-action Sonic was released, leading to a wave of criticism from the internet. The model of Sonic that appeared in the trailer was thought to be much worse than what had been seen in teaser posters, with the classic hedgehog looking like a weird fuzzy nightmare with human teeth.
The new trailer led to floods of memes, particularly surrounding the actor Jim Carrey, who is set to play the antagonist Eggman, saying that he will “carry the whole movie”. It also led to many artists editing the Sonic design to appear much more like his classic model from the games, leading to questions of how one artist can make a better design for a character in seemingly a few hours, when a company spent years making a monstrous design.
Well, the level of criticism seemed to reach the director, who understood what he needed to do loud and clear. Yesterday via Twitter Jeff Fowler announced that they would be changing the Sonic model to make him appear more like his classic features, which he imagines would appease fans and critics.
The announcement comes just six months before the supposed release date of the film, which excites some, but worries others, particularly artists. The media industry is rife with exploitation for artists, especially as these artists cannot unionize and advocate for themselves. The idea that they would have to change the main character’s model in just six months, with no announced push-back date, leaves the very great and dangerous possibility that these artists will be forced to work overtime for little pay in order to fix the design.
It’s not as though the artists can protest for better work conditions, either. With the media industry being so competitive, these artists can face harsh punishment for pushing back, or even get fired, and be replaced by someone willing to work the hard hours. It leaves the artists in a classic position of either doing what they’re forced to, or find themselves without a job.
The announcement to change the Sonic model comes only a week after developers and artists expose the exploitative work conditions in trying to quickly crunch out new content for the popular game Fortnite.