Roger Craig Smith departs Sonic the Hedgehog voice role after ten years

Sonic voice actor quit Roger craig smith

There aren’t many characters more iconic in gaming than Sonic the Hedgehog. SEGA’s long running legendary mascot has led the Japanese tech giant through four console generations. And throughout those generations he has had many different voices. But it’s Roger Craig Smith who’s responsible for the voice we know best.

After ten years of voice acting Sonic, Smith is calling it a day. The talented voice actor described his time working for SEGA in a positive light. Smith states that he had an “amazing run,” and felt it was an “honour,” to voice Sonic.

The voice of Roger Craig Smith

Sonic Roger craig smith picture

Smith has taken on a ton of iconic roles over his fifteen-year career. Whilst he is probably best known for voicing Sonic in just about every major release since 2010, his CV is not limited to just talking hedgehogs. Some of his other significant roles include Ezio Auditore and Chris Redfield.

The Michigan born voice actor has also lent his voice to other media. Anime fans in particular might be familiar with his portrayals of Deidara from Naruto and Shinji Hirako from Bleach. And his portfolio doesn’t stop there. Roger Craig Smith has also contributed to several western productions with his most notable role being Captain America in several Marvel films.

Whoever has to fill his boots is in for a hard job. SEGA has yet to confirm a replacement with auditions presumably still being planned out. The only hint to a successor we have is that Panamount’s Sonic film saw the blue hedgehog voiced by Ben Schwartz.

It’s possible Schwartz will pivot into the full-time video game-oriented role too. Although unlike Roger Craig Smith, Schwartz has next to no voice acting experience in the games industry. Due to this I think it’s more likely SEGA will seek out a different long-term replacement.

A second Sonic the Hedgehog movie is in the works

sonic film

That’s right, the Sonic the Hedgehog live action movie is getting a sequel. According to Variety, Paramount Pictures have given the greenlight for a second film. This follows the movies surprising success in cinemas last February. It’s all-time Box Office figures currently sit at over $300 million.

That’s by no means anything to scoff by in the film industry. For comparison, the only other film to make more money in 2020 is Sony’s Bad Boys for Life. Every other popular film including Dolittle, Birds of Prey, and The Invisible Man fell short of the blue hedgehog.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

second SonicVariety expects that the core team behind the first film will be making a return. This includes Jeff Fowler, Pat Casey, and Josh Miller. As for the cast, we have no details on what to expect. However, we can take a guess at what the plotline will be thanks to the first movie’s ending scene.

The first Sonic movie gave a cameo to Miles ‘Tails’ Prowler as he entered the human world in pursuit of Sonic. Fans were pleased to see that the flying fox both looked good and seems to have kept his original voice actor, Lainie Frasier.

You have to give Paramount credit for turning things around. When it was first announced in 2019, the Sonic the Hedgehog movie was slammed by fans and critics alike. Instead of looking like his usual self, Sonic had mutated into a freakish humanoid form. An insulting sight to fans of the retro games.

To turn things around Paramount decided to go back to the drawing board and start again. The downside is this caused the Sonic movie to be delayed several months, a risky business decision all things considered. That’s several months more that you have to pay staff and rent. Regardless, few will disagree now that it was the right choice.

Sonic the Hedgehog Needs a Reboot

In this age, everything is either rebooted or sequelized to death until they stop making money, and no one knows that better than our favorite blue hedgehog. For what is now 24 years, Sonic has been speeding through the video game world and largely disappointing people since around 2003. With declining sales and a misguided and rushed spin-off in Sonic Boom, it really seems like it’s the right time for a reboot of the franchise.

Sonic is also no stranger to reboots, getting one in the late 90’s with the Sonic Adventure series and another attempted reboot in 2006. The Adventure series was successful, spawning a sequel and upgraded re-releases for the Gamecube, and set the tone and basic mechanics for every game after that up to around Sonic Unleashed. The 2006 attempt was a bit more problematic to say the least. The game is riddled with bugs, glitches, and all the evidence of a rushed development cycle. It’s a shame that was the case, because Sonic 06 actually had the foundations of a fun game, and it could’ve lived up to that if it was given the proper time for development and QA.

Now that Sega’s deal with Nintendo for exclusive Sonic games is about to end, there’s no better time then now to reboot the series, especially since Boom left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. The strange thing is that new cartoon series based on Boom is actually really solid. However, while the cartoon works, that doesn’t necessarily mean it should be reused for a video game, even though it is with the upcoming Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice. There’s nothing wrong with having different branches of the brand. The games should continue the direction that Sonic Generations started, a fast paced mix between 2D and 3D platforming, and the cartoon should do its own thing.

I’m stoked to see where the Sonic franchise goes from here since I’ve been following it since I was a child. Say what you will about the series, but it’s hard to ignore that it constantly tries to innovate and change, which is hard to say about most franchises. As long as care and time are given and provided to the development team, we are in for a fun reboot of Sonic for this new generation of consoles.

2D-3D, Gaming’s Greatest Challenge


We live in an age of gaming where we have near photo realistic graphics, gigantic open worlds modeled off of real, and fictional places, and for the most part we have conquered the third dimension. 3D gaming continues to improve, and we as gamers have evolved to the point where we can navigate a virtual 3D space relatively unhindered. The real challenge games developers face, and have always faced, is transitioning old 2D games, into new 3D ones.

This might seem like a cheap shot at an easy target, but look at Sonic. The moment Sonic stepped into the realms of 3D the quality of his games have dropped, heck some are unplayable. Needless to say, the transition has not been smooth for the hedgehog, but he is not the only one to have suffered. Megaman, Bomberman, Castlevania, they all tried to Tardis over, and they all failed. Megaman X7/8 were so bad, even the 2D sections suffered. Castlevania N64 titles were mind blowing in their shoddiness and continued to fester into the PS2 era. Bomberman failed so badly I am not even sure he exists anymore. The list of failed attempts to “innovate” is nearly endless.

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But then you have to insert the exception to the rule, or something I like to call: The Nintendo Factor. Where others failed, Nintendo somehow managed to make hit, after hit. Some of these newly 3D games are still considered masterpieces to this day. Mario, Link and Donkey Kong all made it through the rift during the N64 days. The gamecube brought Metroid through and pretty much created its own subgenre of FPS. Pit got his makeover into 3D on the 3DS after his last title was on the NES! Simply put, Nintendo know what they are doing. I don’t want to fan the fan-fires, but would it really be so bad if Nintendo took over the reigns for someone like Sonic? A few generations ago having Sonic on a Nintendo console would have been blasphemy, we now have  dozen games where both Mario and Sonic star. Would it be such a stretch nowadays? Lets face it, Sonic games are not going to get any better without some intervention.


Of course Nintendo are not the only company able to bridge the gap. I mentioned Castlevania earlier, with the Lords of Shadow series we finally got a good 3D Castlevania. We even got a sequel, and a 2.5D prequel to said sequel! Metal Gear is another biggy. I might be pushing the boat a little far on this one, but even Bioware managed the transition. Baldurs Gate into Dragon Age was a technological leap I did not think possible. 2D-3D is achievable, proof is literally everywhere. It has just taken a fair amount of casualties to get to this point.

Should Sonic Retire?


Sonic, the ultra fast blue hedgehog, Sega’s answer to Mario. Everyone knows who Sonic is, and back in his hayday, Sonic was considered a contender to Nintendo’s platforming throne. He was marketed as this “hip” and “cool” character, lightning fast, wearing sneakers and a wicked set of spines protruding from his head. His games managed to deliver, and for the most part, garnered some critical acclaim. However, as Mario revolutionized gaming as we know it with Mario 64… well… didn’t.

Sonic’s early foray into the 3rd dimension was disastrous. But why? The reason Sonic has not transcended, is purely because Sega does not have faith in their concept. It may sound strange, but Sega do not believe Sonic can support a game based on his merits alone, so they bog their games down with, despite my love of Sonic, crap. Once again bringing Mario into the mix, his 3d games are open, expansive, relatively plotless, and focus entirely on the gameplay. You always fight Bowser, you always save the Princess. Lets take Sonic: Unleashed as an example of how things were done wrong. Super fast, albeit restrictive, Sonic sections that are done decently bogged down by slow, tedious brawling, abysmal platforming and an awful plot that literally does everything to get in your way. The pattern continues with Sonic Boom, Segas latest attempt. Despite it being a buggy cesspit of awful, the actual gameplay has fast, on rail sections smothered by monotonous combat, hilariously bad plot and a dire open world full of nothing. I wont even get started on Sonic 06, or Sonic’s medieval adventures…we don’t speak of them…

Simply put, Sonic games are full of gimmicks. You have the core, on-rail sections and a bunch of gimmicks and things to distract you. Let us not forget Sonic’s cast of cuddly friends. All of which are generic, pointless, bland, and not Sonic. We buy a game to play as Sonic, not to listen to the constant babble from his paper thin mates, and heaven  forbid we actually play as them. The only thing worse than his allies are his enemies. Once upon a time there was Eggman, a fat red man with a tash (remind you of anyone?) now we have quite possibly the longest list of antagonists to ever walk the earth. All of them are forgettable, accompanied by a terrible story, and none of them ever reach the heights of Eggman.

I will admit, I am laying into the blue hedgehog pretty hard here, but it is not all doom and gloom. There ARE some good games. Sonic: Lost World was a massive step in the right direction. Essentially a Mario Galaxy clone with paint slapped over it, the game was great. Fun to play, controlled well, and was pretty to look at. Whilst it was still burdened with a plot, Sega looked liked they were heading in the right direction. it Generations was a great mix of new and old, and even lightened up on the oppressive plot. The problem is, every game that game post Lost World, or post Generations was nothing like its predecessor. Sega reinvent Sonic with every new game he stars in, removing what we liked, keeping what we don’t and releasing more and more crap with only a few diamonds. It is a sad day when you realize the best games  has starred in recently are apart of the Smash series…

Should it go away peacefully? Honestly, yes. it’s time has passed. Sega has no faith in the Hedgehog, and any good that has come from him is vastly overshadowed by the tosh surrounding it. Sonic, we all love you, so please, just stop. No more chilliedogs, no more anthropomorphic allies, no more lame stories. Just go to your grave with your head held high. You tried my friend, but ultimately, going fast is not really going to save you.