Sega looks to the past and future to celebrate the blue hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary.
2016 marks the 25th Anniversary of Sega’s beloved Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. The blue hedgehog is one of very few survivors of the 1990’s “mascot era”, standing beside the likes of Nintendo’s Mario Bros. over 2 decades later. Though the two companies have since made peace, Sonic was originally pushed as a product-antagonist against Nintendo, as many advertisements threw shade at Nintendo’s lack of “blast-processing” and characters that lacked visual personality. Living off of that rebellious 90’s attitude, several Sonic the Hedgehog and Sega Genesis commercials featured the infamous tagline “Genesis does what Nintendon’t”.
Sega held a live-stream event to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the blue hedgehog this weekend. During the broadcast, two new titles were announced, though neither will release this year. Sonic Mania and the unofficially titled “Project Sonic” commemorate the past and future of the series, calling back to the original Genesis games and the recent Sonic Generations. Co-developed by Sega of America, PagodaWest Games and coders Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley, Sonic Mania will be a new 2D adventure featuring a plethora of new zones and re-imagined stages from Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Knuckles (the cartridge-stacked combination of Sonic and Knuckles and Sonic 3), and Sonic CD. As seen in the debut trailer below, Sonic Mania will add a new “Drop Dash” technique, allowing players to instantly perform a spin-dash when landing on a platform.
Little is known about Project Sonic, however the new title is in development by Sonic Team, the development team behind Sonic Colors, Sonic Generations, and the original Sega Genesis titles. Sega has not confirmed if Project Sonic is a direct sequel to Sonic Generations, however the teaser trailer may suggest the game takes place in a timeline where Dr. Robotnik/Eggman succeeds at world domination.
Though unrelated to Sega’s Anniversary announcements, Sonic will also appear in what may be the largest property cross-over yet, LEGO Dimensions. Scheduled to arrive this Fall, Sonic will have his own LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack, complete with a new level based on Green Hill Zone, and LEGO figures based on the The Tornado biplane and the Sonic Speedster from Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing.
Sonic Mania will release in Spring 2017 for PC, Xbox One and PS4, followed by Project Sonic in Holiday 2017 for PC, Xbox One, PS4 and the Nintendo NX.
Project Sonic is the third officially announced title for the NX, after The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Just Dance 2017.
Image courtesy of Sega