Another year has passed and once again it’s Sonic’s birthday, with 23 years having passed since the first game in the series launched on the Mega Drive. So, what has he been up to over the last year?
Firstly, there’s the games. Sonic’s big releases are currently exclusive to Nintendo following a three-game deal, one of which was the standard-issue Mario And Sonic At The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The second, which was Sonic’s first major platforming release in a couple of years, was Sonic Lost World, an interesting experimental game in which Sonic traverses cylindrical stages. With visuals that evoke the surrealist landscapes of the Mega Drive era it looks beautiful, but control issues marred the experience. We gave it 75% in issue 122. Perhaps the most surprising amongst the releases of the last year was the excellent mobile version of Sonic 2, which restored the Hidden Palace Zone, a stage cut during development:
Then there’s the fans. Although the previously-annual Summer Of Sonic fan convention won’t be taking place this year due to the organisers’ lack of availability, Sonic’s fans have been hard at work too. The technically-inclined bunch has been uncovering all kinds of things in the classic games, including an unused stage from Sonic Adventure that had previously only been sighted in screenshots and videos. Going back further, a rendition of the Marble Zone theme was found in the Master System version of the first game, suggesting that it was intended to be much closer to the Mega Drive game than it ended up being.
But the biggest news for fans of the blue blur over the past year has been the announcement of Sonic Boom, a multimedia franchise which takes in games and a TV series, which brings with it major design changes for the cast. The 3DS game Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal is being developed by Sanzaru Games, recently responsible for Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time, while the Wii U game Sonic Boom: Rise Of Lyric is in the hands of Big Red Button Entertainment, a new studio formed by ex-Naughty Dog staff. Both are due to arrive later this year, and you can see footage of the Wii U version below.
All in all it’s been a big year for Sega’s mascot, and another massive one is in store – as well as the two new games, by this time next year we should have an idea of what Sonic Team has been working on since finishing up Sonic Lost World. That’ll just about do it for our round-up – we’re off to put the Mega Drive on and celebrate properly. Let us know how you’re celebrating the spiky speedster’s birthday below!