Since the 90’s, speculation as to the future of Sonic the Hedgehog has always been a lively, if sometimes wild, topic of conversation. Fortunately for us, the future looks a little bit clearer as of today. After the double punch of Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces, people have been clamoring for a taste of what’s to come next, which is why all eyes turned to the “Gotta Go Fast” panel at this year’s SXSW.
Once again, Aaron Webber led the proceedings of what has become a yearly function for the crew over at SEGA. Joined by Austin Keys, Tyson Hesse, Jasmin Hernandez, and Sonic Team’s own Takashi Iizuka, the panel spent the next hour going across all aspects of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Some jokes were had, some things were teased, and some pretty swell announcements were made.
Yes folks, Mighty the Armadillo is back.
One of the big reveals at the panel was the announcement of Sonic Mania Plus, an updated version of the original. Two characters familiar to the Sonic enthusiast have been returned to the fold, Mighty and Ray the Flying Squirrel, who had previously featured in the 1993 arcade game Segasonic the Hedgehog. While Mighty got one more shot in Chaotix, both have been missing for over 20 years, so it’s nice to see them back in the fold. While we still have to wait to see gameplay footage of these vintage stars, they did show off their official Mania art renditions, which is always nice to see. Ray has never looked so happy.
The updates don’t stop there. You like to replay Mania over and over again? Give it another shot in “Encore Mode,” where things have been mixed up and visually altered to give you a fresh take on familiar ground. Have a lot of friends? The 4-player Competition Mode will allow more of them to get in on the action.
All of this is wrapped up in some delightful new packaging. That’s right, no longer is the game exclusively digital. The demand was heard, and the game will be released in physical form for the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch. With a reversible holographic cover, you can proudly place that game next to your Genesis classics. It also comes with a 32-page artbook, which should interest anyone who has delighted in the visuals of Mania. The game is slated to be released in Summer of this year, with a retail price of $29.99.
What’s that? You need more Mania-themed media in your life? Along with the deluxe version of the game, Tyson and Jasmin were on call to announce a new series of animated shorts called Sonic Mania Adventures. Using the character designs from the animated Mania opening, the shorts pick up right after Classic Sonic returns from his adventure in Forces. Five in total are being produced, with the first coming within the next month, and the others coming each month after. Mighty and Ray were also teased to possibly being part of these animations, but we’ll have to wait and see if they actually make it in.
Though Mania news dominated the panel, there were also some smaller announcements. Sonic-themed Puma shoes. A new level in the mobile title Sonic Forces: Speed Battle. A new variant cover for the upcoming IDW comic book series. Even a healthy dose of plugs for the Sonic merch store that SEGA runs. But, with boyish glee upon his face, Iizuka ended the panel by revealing a teaser video for the next game to feature Sonic. With a vague image of a car and some revving up sounds, not even the name was revealed, instead just a familiar “R” adorning the silhouetted logo. No other details were shared, but keen-eyed Sonic fans will recognize the style of letter as coming from Sonic R. Close up of car parts, a logo used in a racing game? I don’t think it’s teasing a Sonic Schoolhouse trilogy…
So there we go, a wrap up of what’s what. If you want to watch the stream for yourself, go ahead and click here to see an archive of the Twitch feed. One thing is for certain, the year is shaping up to be something pretty fancy for Sonic fans!
oh heck if classic sonic from generations is the same from mania and forces so wait what’s the timeline again