Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has confirmed that Sonic Frontiers "isn't similar at all" to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Since the game's reveal, fans have made the comparison with Nintendo's adventure due to Sonic Frontiers' lush green open setting and that hero shot of the hedgehog looking out over a wide landscape.
But in an interview with Shacknews (spotted by TheGamer), Iizuka has clarified that Sonic Team's game is more linear and - for the millionth time - open zone, not open world.
"From the development [team's] perspective, they're going out and making an action game. So when they think about Breath of the Wild, they see Breath of the Wild definitely as a role-playing game, and it's not similar at all to the action game that they're making," said Iizuka.
"You know, yeah there is the same element of freedom that has been applied to Breath of the Wild as a role-playing game, and they're taking the linear high-speed action Sonic game and implementing freedom into there.
"But when we think about, 'is it an open world game? Is it similar to Breath of the Wild?', a lot of people on the team love the Zelda series, they love Breath of the Wild, they've played it, but to them, they don't really see a similarity between the games."
Earlier in the interview, Iizuka noted that what fans want is more freedom in games, which is what inspired the open zone format.
"This open zone format has never been done before," he said. "We're trying to look out there at other titles in the market place and we couldn't find anything that had that linear platform action gameplay but in an open environment."
He continued: "Especially for Sonic, it's a high speed platform action linear game taken to this open environment and turned into something new. We really feel we're out there making something new and interesting."
All that is despite the ability to level up Sonic's abilities, though this isn't required to beat the game.
"Sonic is an action character in an action game - we're not doing a role-playing game for Sonic Frontiers," explained Iizuka. "We did want people to be able to clear the game using only the base skills that you have at island one. If you have the technical skills, the technique, you can beat the game without levelling up or improving or adding anything to your skill tree."
These ability improvements were added both to make the game a little easier for players, but also to give them something to aim for as they explore the world.
Players also won't be required to beat all the bosses to complete the game's story, so instead Iizuka said they need to be fun in their own right.
As for Shadow, he's not in Sonic Frontiers but Iizuka would like to bring him into more games and content in future.
Sonic Frontiers will launch next week on 8th November across all consoles and PC. Make sure you check out the prologue comic before you start.