Sega recently held a party in the USA to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sonic The Hedgehog, and retro gaming fans will be particularly interested in Sonic Mania. This new 2D game celebrates Sonic’s past with redesigned versions of classic levels from Sonic’s 16-bit platform games, alongside brand new levels, enemies, bosses and the “Drop Dash” move that allows Sonic to rocket forward as soon as he hits the ground. Visually, it could pass for a lost 32X or Saturn game, with extra colour and smoother animation pushing Sonic Mania past what the Mega Drive could do, and the music is reminiscent of Sonic CD.
Green Hill Zone has received a makeover, with Batbrains lurking in an enormous new cavern section. A new boss has been added to the stage, which adds a twist to the old Robotnik wrecking ball template – the two tethered spheres can switch between being the attacker and the target, and swing from a central pivot. However, the big attraction of the first playable version is the brand new Hollywood-themed Studiopolis Zone. The level is filled with spring bumpers, launch pads and breakable windows, as well as broadcast trucks that can transmit Sonic through satellites. Better yet, it’s also packed with references to classic Sega games – we’ve seen nods to Streets Of Rage, Daytona USA and even an old Sonic popcorn machine.
Sonic Mania is being developed by Sega in collaboration with PagodaWest Games, Christian Whitehead and Headcannon Games, and has been announced for spring 2017 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. However, if you can get to Summer Of Sonic on August 6th, the game will be available in playable demo form at the show.
Additionally, Sega announced the tentatively-titled Project Sonic 2017. The next 3D game in the series is set in “the darkest of times” and appears to have a more serious tone than recent Sonic games, with players invited to “join the resistance.” You can see that below – it’s being developed by Sonic Team and it’s due for release in the holiday season of 2017 for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo NX and PC.