SEGA seems quite happy with the success of last year’s release of Sonic Mania. Sonic Team took a risk with passionate independent developers has paid off. After it became quite possibly the best commercial iteration of 2D Sonic, SEGA thought it would be best to entice players with not just added content but also a reason for players to put it on their shelf. SEGA is giving you several ways to experience Sonic Mania Plus, the expansion for the original Sonic Mania coming out for all digital releases of the game including Steam as well as disc and cart based versions for all consoles containing the full game and the Plus content. SEGA was kind enough to give us a Nintendo Switch copy for review a week before launch.
Much of what you come to expect from Mania echoes from Neo Hazard’s review when the game originally released. A lot of it’s key points remain the same here, such as sharing significant connections with the development team that could show bias in this review. If you want to know more about the main game, you can read about those thoughts in Neo’s original review. Surprisingly the development team also saw fit to make changes to the main game to tighten up the experience in some areas which does not need the Plus expansion. This includes revised boss patterns, updated level layouts to accommodate for the new characters and making certain challenges easier to handle. Whether you’re buying into Mania for the first time or looking to check out Encore Mode with Ray and Mighty, this review will cover what’s changed and what’s new. The Plus in Sonic Mania refers to the fact that it really is just more of Sonic Mania. While there is one new level the Plus content is more of a remix of what all is available. This is ideal for those who have mastered Sonic Mania along with more features that are enticing to newcomers and the small price is like leaving a generous tip at your favorite walk-in restaurant.
It’s the nineties. While it is time for Klax, it is also time for movie adaptations of popular video game franchises. At least that would also be the case for the blue blur should the deal between SEGA, MGM Studios and Trilogy Entertainment had gone through. Luke Owen recently wrote a book called Lights, Camera, Game Over! How Video Game Movies Get Made that details the process of how video game movie deals get made, the process of their development and why they usually become far removed from what their core audience comes to expect. The details of the never-before revealed cancelled Sonic movie were put into an article on Kotaku UK which details the painfully 90’s plot of the movie as it loosely tied itself with the upcoming release of Sonic X-Treme, only for a CG animated Sonic to break into the real world teaming up with a young boy named Josh. The article goes into detail on screen writer Richard Jeffries’ plot for the movie, how SEGA of America’s and SEGA of Japan’s played a role on the movie’s development leading up to it’s ultimate demise. Adapting to new mediums was still a concept that was not usually met with critical success and translating Sonic to the big screen was not going to be easy.
This is a very crude paraphrase on the actual article itself which is definitely worth a read. Read more on the Sonic movie that was not meant to be on Kotaku UK’s website or you can check out other video game movie projects in Luke’s book.
A new E3 means a new Sonic game and this year’s major Sonic release is a pseudo-sequel to Sumo Digital’s SEGA crossover games. While the first outing had SEGA’s superstars matching together in SEGA Superstars Tennis, the remaining titles revolved around Mario Kart racer-inspired titles with the previous one featuring transforming vehicles in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. As the name implies, Team Sonic Racing calls for Sonic & Nobody Else All-Stars Team Racing. Some folks from Sonic Retro and SEGAbits, including myself had hands on playtime from SEGA’s booth at the show floor. You can either hit the jump to check out impressions from me and Neo Hazard or hop over to our sister site SEGAbits for a tertiary (or perhaps quaternary) view from SEGAbits writers Kori-maru and Dakota.
If you’re like me who wasn’t able to visit GDC this year and are hoping to find a way to watch the GDC talk on Sonic the Hedgehog. You’re in luck as GDC has begun uploading this year’s panels, along with the Sonic GDC panel, onto their website the GDC Vault. The video has been made available for free viewing on their website and may even appear on their YouTube channel. Currently the GDC Vault does not allow video embed, so you’ll have to go over to their site by clicking on the image above or one of the many convenient links like this one here.
In case you missed it, Naoto Oshima and Hirokazu Yasuhara hosted a panel talking about their perspective on the creation of the character, what made him stand out as well as the game design and art direction that brought us the Mega Drive/Genesis title. Previously we were only given a glimpse thanks to the efforts of Frank Cifaldi on Twitter. Now we are able to witness more with an edited video that presents the two speakers along with their slides for easy viewing. The Q&A session follows after the panel, plus a bonus speed drawing from both Oshima and Yasuhara.
The GDC Vault is home to plenty of talks that range from game development tactics, to important topics and postmortems of other games. Some panels will require a paid subscription for viewing. You can watch the Sonic panel or other panels from this year’s conference here.
After the success of the Sonic Hacking Contest’s 15th anniversary last year the team is retaining changes made to the rules to strengthen quality control for the Sonic Hacking Contest 2018.
This year the contest will be accepting hacks and mods for Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces for trophy eligibility. Last year these entries were denied trophies due to the short time available for development of mods and tools for these titles. Now these entries will be able to match the same levels of acceptance of other ROM hacks and mods for games such as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Game Gear, Sonic Generations, Sonic Lost World and more.
The contest week is set for Monday through Sunday, 26th of November to the 2nd of December. To learn more about the rules and trophy guidelines you can check out the thread of the announcement on our forums here. Don’t forget to check out the contest’s new website which hosts entries from previous years by visiting sonichacking.org.
After a turnaround from last year’s showing, the Sonic Hacking Contest 2017 draws to a close with the winners of this year’s showing for trophies rewarded by both Hacking Contest judges and the community. The contest celebrated big this year for it’s 15th anniversary with a brand new website, a public showing at this year’s Fan Jam and featured a game industry participant, Jon Burton of Traveller’s Tales, with Sonic 3D Blast Director’s Cut. There’s plenty to be excited for this year’s showing of ROM hacks and mods for Sonic R, Sonic Heroes, Sonic Adventure DX, Sonic Mania and Sonic Lost World. You can discuss the results of the hacking contest after the jump or via the forum here. You can also watch the first part of the results show from MegaGWolf’s Twitch channel at the top of this post. You can then watch part 2 of the show here.
This upcoming Saturday November the 18th is the return of the Sonic & SEGA Fan Jam, 2017 edition, taking place at the Embassy Suites in Savannah, Georgia. You can join Matt Mannheimer, formerly of Tails Channel, and some of his Sonic Retro and Sonic Fan Games HQ pals David the Lurker, NeoHazard, Volg Shan and your ol’ pal Bart as we discuss all things Sonic the Hedgehog. Those who are able to join us in person are also eligible for winning mystery prizes, What are they? You’ll have to come and find out for yourself when our panel starts at 4:15PM.
Those unable to attend you can watch us via a livestream of the event from this link which will go live Saturday morning. You can follow along with the day’s schedule and further updates from the event’s Twitter account here.
The stakes are going to be higher for everyone this year with the introduction of new quality control measures and newly split trophy requirements. If you are not participating, you can always hit up our forums to talk about the contest in this thread here. Are there any entries you’re excited to see? To bring you up to speed with the goings on with the contest hit the jump to check out some things to make note of. Continue Reading