Sonic The Hedgehog Creator Reveals Why Sonic Can’t Swim

Sonic the Hedgehog creator Yuji Naka explains that the Blue Blur can’t swim due to a misconception the development team had about real hedgehogs.

One of Sonic The Hedgehog‘s most notable weaknesses is his inability to swim, and franchise creator Yuji Naka recently explained that this was due to a misconception on his part regarding real-life hedgehogs. Throughout countless games over the past 30 years, Sonic The Hedgehog and his equally anthropomorphic band of sidekicks have raced across various colorful environments in their efforts to thwart the schemes of the evil Dr. Eggman – jumping across molten lava pits, snowboarding down icy slopes, and even flying through the vast void of space. However, one obstacle has remained the bane of the Blue Blur’s existence throughout the Sonic franchise: water. While Sonic is shown to swim reasonably well enough in spin-off titles like Mario and Sonic At The Olympic Games, in his main series the famous hedgehog hero stumbles into trouble whenever a body of water deeper than a puddle crosses his path.


Ever since the very first Sonic The Hedgehog game in 1991, players have come across at least one designated water level that proves to be one of the more difficult stages due to Sonic sinking like a stone if he tries to move across water at anything slower than his top running speed. Instead of swimming, poor Sonic is stuck moving at a much slower pace than usual while submerged, and these water levels often have the Blue Blur drown if he does not collect a floating air bubble in time – a mechanic that has players listening to the dreaded Sonic The Hedgehog drowning music as they desperately scramble to reach some life-saving oxygen. Some Sonic adaptations like Sonic X even go as far as to portray Sonic as hydrophobic due to his trouble swimming in the games, but it turns out real-life hedgehogs aren’t as averse to water as players have been led to believe.

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Earlier this week, Sonic The Hedgehog creator Yuji Naka took to Twitter to explain that the reason Sonic can’t swim is that he and his development team initially thought that real hedgehogs couldn’t when they were conceptualizing the character. He eventually learned otherwise after visiting a hedgehog shelter in Germany, but Naka decided to have Sonic not be able to swim anyway because he thought it would be better to have his extremely brave, hyper-fast hedgehog hero have a weakness of some kind, something that “he is not good at as a character” – though some fans in the comments section have pointed out that this is a moot point as long as Sonic is running at top speed.

Sonic Can’t Swim Because Of A Misconception

Sonic could face his fear of the water in the upcoming Sonic Frontiers, which will see the Blue Blur race across an open-world island landscape on a mission to rescue his friends from a group of sinister robots and uncover the lost secrets of this strange new environment. Previous gameplay trailers for Sonic Frontiers have shown off Sonic’s new transversal and combat skills, and the titular hedgehog could finally add swimming to his repertoire after nearly drowning for 30 years.

In the meantime, it’s interesting to learn just how Sonic the Hedgehog gained his trademark aversion to water – and ironic that it stemmed from Yuji Naka not understanding the cute real-life animal that he modeled his most famous creation after. Perhaps someday Sonic will be able to swim like his real-world brethren, but for now the great lakes of the world continue to be his greatest weakness.

Source: Yuji Naka/Twitter

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