Being part of the Sonic franchise is an 'honor' - Roger Craig Smith
We chat to the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog
He’s one the most-loved video game characters in history, with a global franchise spanning across multiple platforms and industries – of course, we’re talking about Sonic the Hedgehog.
Codenamed as ‘Mr Needlemouse’ by his creator, Naoto Ohshima, this blue hedgehog became SEGA’s favorite son – resulting in over 25 years of entertaining games, TV shows, comic books and merchandise. From the SEGA Genesis to current platforms, Sonic has a long-standing history and doesn’t look like slowing down, quite literally.
So, what’s it like to be part of history? To be, in a way, part of Sonic’s life?
In an exclusive chat with Fanatical, we caught up with Roger Craig Smith – the English-speaking voice of Sonic the Hedgehog in the TV and video game series since 2010 – about the classic SEGA character.
“I’m thrilled to have another Sonic game hit the shelves,” says Roger. “It’s always nice to see what becomes of the finished product, since the recording of voices for the game tends to happen early in the process and I don’t get to see much, if anything, of what they have planned.
“This one’s ( Sonic Forces) got it all, side-scrolling platforming for the old-school fan and plenty of 3D for folks who enjoy that. And, truly, this particular storyline is a little more serious than what we’ve done in recent games.
“There’s a lot more at stake for Sonic and his pals this game. Eggman is playing for keeps this time!”
Roger – whose voice acting resume includes Batman in Arkham Origins and Ezio Auditore da Firenze in Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed Revelations, as well as Chris Redfield in Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil 6 – has been proud to represent the voice of Sonic for the past seven years.
“Being a part of this franchise is an honor, plain and simple,” he said. “This character is an international icon of gaming as we know it. Getting a chance even just ONCE to voice a character of that relevance is amazing, let alone having the opportunity to have done so for over seven years now. It never gets old!”
Despite the occasional alteration, whether it’s adding new attire like rail-grinding shoes in Sonic Adventure or a fetching new scarf in Sonic Boom, our blue-colored hero has mainly stayed true to his roots.
But, would Roger change anything about Sonic if given the chance?
“Does one wish to change the Mona Lisa?!... change the pyramids?... CHANGE SONIC?... Never!” states Roger. “He’s perfect. That being said, I’d do away with the white gloves. His dry-cleaning bill must be ridiculous for how crisp and clean he keeps those things…”
From racing through Emerald Hill to transforming into Super Sonic and battling a huge monster in space, it’s fair to say that Sonic has seen some adventures over the years – with many fans and critics asking where he can go next.
We asked Roger where he sees Sonic and the franchise going.
“I’m not really sure where I can imagine the games going next,” says Roger. “They’ve been a part of so many different genres already. Racing, fighting, sports… Sonic’s done ‘em all.
“So, that’s a tough one. I just hope to keep being a part of whatever SEGA has in store for this character and I’m always excited to get that phone call when they’ve got another project in the works.”
With over 100 Sonic Boom episodes under his belt, we asked Roger whether he approaches voice acting for the games in a different way to the TV show.
“Actually, each episode and each game are always a little bit of a different approach when it comes to a performance,” says Roger. “You’ve got different writers for each, so there’s always a slight tonal shift you might need to make from performance to performance. That being said, Sonic Forces is a different Sonic from Boom Sonic.
“Boom is about having fun. It’s a comedy-action series, whereas Sonic Forces is all about the action. There are some laughs here and there in Forces, but it’s a different flavor altogether from the Boom series.
“More is at stake, so this is a more grounded Sonic than the playful Sonic from Boom."