During the holiday season of 1991, the Sega Genesis was already two years old. Jumpstarting the 16-bit era, its sales still paled in comparison to the Nintendo Entertainment System, and with the Super Nintendo finally coming out in the United States, it might have been a safe bet to think Nintendo would continue its dominance in the market. But SEGA had an ace up their sleeve, something that could directly compete with Super Mario World – Sonic the Hedgehog. Suddenly, that safe bet was called into question. Come January ‘92, SEGA had done the impossible – market share in the U.S. for the home console market was split down the middle, with SEGA just ever so slightly having the edge.
Aggressive marketing, mall tours, a character design that instantly encapsulated everything that was hip and cool in the new decade. There was no doubt “Sonic Mania” was just beginning. It’s easy to look back and go “of course Sonic would succeed.” But what was it like to have lived in that moment? Not even as a kid who got a Genesis for Christmas, but as someone who picked up Sonic the moment it came out? Imagine being one of the SEGA faithful, having already bought a Sega Genesis, playing Thunder Force II and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker late into the night. Waiting impatiently for that one game that would prove without a doubt the system was here to stay.
Imagine being one of the first to experience Sonic the Hedgehog. Walking into an Electronics Boutique, and seeing Sonic’s self-assured smirk on the shelves. Finger pointed, a rendition of the Green Hill Zone teasing the obstacles that would block their way to saving South Island. Did they know they were buying a piece of history as the clerk rung them up? Or was it not until they went home, sliding that cart into their Genesis, flipping the switch, and running through that first checkered loop? So filled with excitement, they just needed to tell someone about how great this new game was. Rushing to their computer, firing up that blistering 14.4 kbps modem, sharing with the world what they had experienced. No doubt, June 11th, 1991 became a date they would not soon forget.
Last year, the folks over at Sonic’s social media team rolled out the first Sonic Central, a short digital presentation talking about upcoming projects featuring the blue blur. Giving the impression it would become a somewhat regular feature, the second installment has finally happened. Has this concentrated burst of news been worth the year long wait?
Well, it’s not like there hasn’t been anything said about Sonic since May of 2021…
What’s that? There’s more Sonic news? Seems like yesterday there was absolutely nothing to talk about. Yet here we are, with more Frontiers footage, a closer look at Sonic Origins, and even the reappearance of the original Sonic CD in an unexpected place. So without further ado, let’s jump in.
In May of 2021, we were teased with the existence of the next 3D Sonic the Hedgehog title. Seven months later, we were teased with the existence of the next 3D Sonic the Hedgehog title, now with a title – Sonic Frontiers. Yesterday, we were teased with the existence of Sonic Frontiers by seeing thirty seconds of gameplay footage where Sonic ran, jumped, and spun in the air around enemies.
Today, we were teased with the first seven minutes of proper gameplay footage.
Over at Sonic Retro’s sister site SEGAbits (say that ten times fast) I host an interview show called The SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show, which has existed for over a dozen years. The latest shows are of interest to Sonic fans so I thought I’d cross post them here. First up, Kiel Phegley talks about how he became the go-to Sonic movie novelization writer, the process of creating a novelization for both Sonic movies, and his work with IDW on the prequel comic for Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Next up, Sonic Retro’s own David the Lurker joins me to talk about the ins and outs of the Sonic video game timeline and canon. We will discuss the split that Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces introduced, how the Archie Comics and IDW canons interact with the games and answer viewer questions. You can watch Kiel’s video up top and the timeline discussion after the break!
Once upon a time, the very idea of a Sonic the Hedgehog movie seemed frightening. After all, the track record of videogame adaptations had not been particularly stellar, what reason was there to assume that anyone would get Sonic right? Yet here we are, on the cusp of a Sonic cinematic universe. Before Sonic the Hedgehog 2 hit theaters, Paramount announced a third movie plus a series starring Idris Elba as Knuckles the Echidna. Clearly their confidence wasn’t misplaced. As of this article, Sonic 2 has gone on to become the highest grossing film based on a videogame in the United States, and has made over $320 million worldwide. Quite a feat!
If you’ve lived in the UK, it has been a month since the movie premiered. So it’s long overdue that we give you another round of the Retro Roundtable: four mini-reviews about the latest film to star the blue blur.
In the wee hours of the morning, the official Sonic the Hedgehog social media account woke up and went “hey, let’s talk about Sonic Origins.” After eleven months of near radio silence, they posted a trailer complete with Hyper Potions music, the English and Japanese websites went live, and everyone suddenly woke up to talk about it.
So, what do we now know about Sonic Origins? Let’s go through it after the jump. Continue Reading
Original April 18th: It’s been just short of 11 months since we first learned of Sonic Origins in 2021’s Sonic Central broadcast, and since then news has been incredibly sparse. While there’s been no official announcement of further details just yet, there have been a couple of quick developments to kick this week off. Last night it was discovered that the game had been given a ratings classification in South Korea. While there isn’t much to gleam from the rating itself, generally such classifications in the past have surfaced online not long before a game’s planned release.
Less than a month before Knuckles’ theatrical debut comes an early document from SEGA Technical Institute dated April 12, 1993. The document, which was shared on a private Sonic the Hedgehog collectors group, was meant to introduce the new antagonist to staffers of SEGA’s American development team. Given Sonic the Hedgehog 3 released on February 2, 1994, this document was seen nearly a full year before making it one of the earliest glimpses of the character.
The document is chock full of interesting tidbits, including a humorous placeholder for his name which is literally “(Name)”. Also, it is stated that Knuckles crates a whirlwind to knock down walls. Of course, in the final game he just sort of walks into walls and “punches” them. But this ability DOES appear in the Sonic 3 Happy Meal which has the Knuckles toy spinning in a dust cloud. Also, Espio does eventually have such abilities.
On this SEGA Talk, we put on some sports tape and discuss the flagship video game for the Sonic Boom multimedia project: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric! What were the project’s origins? Why was it a Wii U exclusive? And we settle the debate once and for all: which was worse? Rise of Lyric or Sonic 2006? Included in this discussion are new production details from Sonic Boom TV series writer Alan Denton.
If you want to give us feedback, suggest a topic for the next podcast or want to ask a question for us to answer on the next episode you can add them as a comment below or send theme directly to our email. Make sure you use subject line ‘SEGA Talk’ and as always, thanks for listening!