Sega of America's marketing boss, Sean Ratcliffe, has admitted that Sonic games after the initial few releases weren't up to standard, and says the company is working hard to make sure future releases return the blue hedgehog to his former glory.

Speaking of gamers' bad reception of later Sonic games, Ratcliffe said: "Some of that criticism is probably warranted", and added that the company was taking the "first steps in making sure the quality is right" this year, with new console title Sonic Unleashed, and BioWare's Sonic Chronicles on Nintendo DS.

"We definitely recognise that a franchise that has been going as long as Sonic, you really have to put a huge amount of effort in to make sure that you maintain that quality, and arguably a disproportionate amount of effort," he said.

"We're constantly looking at innovation. We can't just stand still with Sonic; we've got to be looking at different ways to develop the character, different genres, and so on," Ratcliffe added.

From the buzz on the internet though, it seems that the focus on "innovation" is exactly where gamers think Sonic went wrong in the first place. We'll have to see if they got it right in the upcoming Sonic titles this year.