Friday, June 30, 2017

Sonic Mania races onto home consoles on August 15th


Sonic the Hedgehog has certainly had it rough over the years. Though still one of the most recognizable mascot characters in gaming, rivaled only by Mario himself, the blue blur has had a difficult time finding his footing ever since entered the three-dimensional world. Some fans enjoy this evolution in gameplay while others long for a return to the classic 2D sprite animations that made the Sonic games so popular in the first place.

With the character's 25th anniversary in 2016 and new announcements fresh out of E3 2017, classic Sonic fans are finally getting their wish.

Sonic Mania is, one of two Sonic titles to be announced last year (the other being Sonic Forces), a brand new title inspired by the Sega Genesis era complete with remastered versions of classic Sonic stages along with several new ones. The game will be released for Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows on August 15th, 2017.

What makes this title unique, compared to previous attempts at recapturing the classic games, is that a lion share of the development was split between several independent developers leaving Sega to take the publishing role. The game's lead programmer, Christian Whitehead (aka Taxman), a freelance 3D animator who originally created a fan made port of Sonic CD for the iPhone (along with the original Sonic and Sonic 2 that Sega eventually commissioned). Two additional developers were brought onto the project, Headcannon (who had helped work on the classic Sonic mobile ports) and PagodaWest Games (a prominent indie development studio), to contribute to the games art, level design, and audio.

This level of fan involvement is a huge step forward for both Sonic Team and Sega

Takashi Iizuka, the current head of Sonic Team, called the game a "passion project that was born out of our fans love for classic 2D Sonic platform games." 

This passion has been evident in not only the design but also the game's advertising. The most recent being a trailer released in May featuring hand drawn animation led by Tyson Hesse (a prominent artist for the long-running Archie Sonic Comic).

Will this be the year that puts the blue blur back on track? It is hard to say for sure. However, with all of the positive reactions coming out of E3 for this title, Sonic Mania promises to be a special game for both fans and (hopefully) the franchise going forward.

 Feel free to let us know your thoughts on the trailer and the upcoming game in the comments section below!


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