With the 25th anniversary coming up, it’s only fitting that Archie would do something special for the Sonic the Hedgehog comic. Today, through Comic Book Resource, Archie announced a new Sonic comic based around “Classic Sonic.” Dubbed Sonic: Mega Drive, the one-shot comic is written by Ian Flynn, with illustrations from Tyson Hesse and will be released on July 6th, 2016. The story is planned to be set after Sonic and Knuckles, with Tails, Knuckles and Amy starring alongside Sonic. Hit the jump for Archie’s disclosure of the comic.
As you might have noticed, on one of the boards at Tomy’s booth at Toy Fair 2016 a “History of Sonic” panel that’ll be held at SXSW was mentioned. And it turns out that the SXSW event schedule website includes details about who’ll be there and what it’s about. The panel will be held on March 19th at Austin Convention Center, and it’ll have some very interesting presenters.
According to the website, the presenters are:
- Aaron Webber – Sonic Social Media Manager
- Austin Keys – Sega Prod Dev Dir
- Mike Pollock – Voice of Dr Eggman
- Roger Craig Smith – Voice of Sonic the Hedgehog
- Takashi Iizuka – Head of Sonic Team
- Yuji Naka – Sonic Original Creator
Like the name of the panel suggests, it’ll focus mainly on the history of Sonic through the evolution of gaming, the rise of online (oh geez) and mobile, and multiple TV series. They will “celebrate the past and look to the future”, and with those presenters it definitely seems like it’ll be worth attending.
Because SEGA decided that they’re no longer releasing new Sonic games annually to give developers more time to properly finish the games, there hasn’t been a big new Sonic game in the past year. The Sonic fanbase doesn’t seem to be used to not having a new game to
complain about play for longer than a year, meaning that they’re desperate for news. So desperate that they’d even look for info at the Toy Fair.
That being said: we’re part of that Sonic fanbase, and we also happen to be just as desperate, so time to look for new info at the Toy Fair. Thanks to the Flickr of Paul Nicholasi of Idle Hands, we know all the new details from the Tomy booth at the event. And it turns out that there’s quite a bit of new stuff to know about, though nothing about the new big 25th anniversary game everyone wants to know about.
Sonic fan games typically set the bar pretty high for themselves. Before Sonic 4 was the Sonic 4 we all know and acknowledge as existing today, plenty of fans tried to fill the gap, touting their game as the next title in the original trilogy. It wasn’t until more recent years that we’ve seen fan games reach completion with more frequency. Titles like Sonic Classic, Sonic Before (And After) the Sequel, and Sonic Axiom are just a few of the games that did the impossible and actually gave us complete games.
With the Sonic series getting older, it’s also becoming harder to find copies of prototypes of both released and unreleased games in the series. Aside from old video game companies not having put enough effort into archiving their work, game cartridges and arcade boards don’t last forever and will probably start to decay in a decade or two. Meaning that the sooner they’re found and archived the better.
So it’s a good thing that arcade board collector ShouTime found a copy of a long lost unreleased Sonic arcade game that none of us even knew about. The game in question here is SegaSonic Bros., a puzzle game similar to Cleopatra Fortune which would have been the last game for which Fukio Mitsuji would have been credited as designer. Mitsuji was most famous for designing the classic Puzzle Bobble. (also known as Bust-A-Move in North America.)
While most of you have probably never heard about the game until the past few days, it turns out that details about it were actually already posted online two years ago. Back in December of 2013, Kohji Kenjoh (who happens to be the mind behind Custom Robo) wrote about playing the game on SEGA’s own social media website it-tells. And half a year later he asked SEGA producer Yosuke Okunari about the game on Twitter, who responded and even posted a photo of the game.
I’m sure a lot of you will probably want to try the game out. Thankfully ShouTime isn’t one of those collectors who wants to keep their collection precious and special by not sharing any of it with the world. He’s helped dump both released and unreleased arcade games in the past. This includes SegaSonic Popcorn Shop, which he helped dump in the October of last year. So he’ll probably share SegaSonic Bros. online as well at some point, meaning that you’ll be able to play the game using MAME.
We have no idea when the game will be dumped, but in the meantime you should keep an eye on ShouTime’s Tumblr as he has been updating it with photos of the game as well as of other arcade games that he’s been collecting. You can also read Kohji Kenjoh’s description of the game, translated by forum member RyogaMasaki, below.
In part of a presentation highlighting the company’s strongest performers, Sonic Runners is ranked as a failure. The game generates a little between ¥30 million [$256,563 USD] to ¥50 million [$427,588 USD] a month.
It should come as little surprise to anyone following industry news that the mobile market is a veritable shark tank, fighting with many others for a limited pool of money and attention spans. SEGA is part of those never ending digital meat grinding, and is touting their successes in the market. Sonic Runners isn’t so fortunate.
These numbers appear under the Domestic Market section, likely indicating they are Japan specific, but the fact Runners fails to even show up in the Overseas section doesn’t bode well. In fact, the game is no longer available for download on the U.S. Google Play Store and hasn’t been since Nov. 2015.
This shouldn’t come as a shock given the negative reception that surrounded Runners. Since officially going global Summer 2015, the game was constantly criticized for performance issues, glitches, and microtransaction practices that for all intents and purposes amount to under-aged gambling for new characters. If anything, it was a fine endless runner at its core drowned by countless terrible design decisions.
Most of these came to a head with the recent 2.0 update that added death walls to runs, offered more performance issues and overheating devices, and did little to improve the character unlock structure to make it less like a gamble.
One thing to note though is Sonic Dash 2 (referred to as Sonic Dash Boom and Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom) is expected to meet continued successes overseas with pushes to continue expanding its market presence.