Sonic the Hedgehog 4 has been previewed, played, reviewed, picked apart, dissected and a whole host of other actions. We’re not here today to do any of those things. This article isn’t about how Sonic 4 Episodes I & II played or the behind-the-scenes politics of how the game came about. This article is about how a few fans with too much time on their hands bothered SEGA enough about silly little details.
Way back in 2010, SEGA revealed Sonic the Hedgehog 4, and speculation ran rampant. How would it play? How would it tie to Sonic 3 & Knuckles? Could we expect a Sonic 4 Happy Meal? These and many more questions were asked. Now, six years later, many of those questions have been answered and with the upcoming Sonic Mania, fans are looking towards the future while Sonic 4 Episodes I & II remain in the past. But one little question has always gone unanswered, and that question is “What is the name of the island in Sonic 4?”. Following the game’s release, I reached out to SEGA for an answer, but I came back with just a few names of the bosses from Episode II. We tried again last year in an interview with Aaron Webber, but aside from his own head canon answer there was no apparent official name.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2
It’s the release day of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, and to remind everyone of that SEGA has released a launch trailer for the game. The trailer shows just about everything not shown yet in other officially released media except for the final zone, so those wary of spoilers may want to avoid it:
The most interesting thing about the trailer is that it says “To be concluded…” near the end, hinting at what may be a third episode in the Sonic 4 saga®.
It also shows the release dates for most of the platforms the second episode releases on. It’s already been released on Steam and it will be released later today on Playstation Network. Xbox Live Arcade and Nvidia Tegra 3-powered devices will get the game tomorrow and iOS devices will get it the day after. It seems like the game won’t be available on Android devices without Nvidia Tegra until June. Windows Phone users will be able to buy it in July.
Since the unveiling of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, Sega has been extremely careful to point out how the latest installment in the “Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Saga” has improved over its predecessor, and that they have been listening. From the physics to the art style to the implementation of new ideas, it is clear that the people behind the game are trying more than they did the first go-round. Sure, you can argue for hours on end if they have been succeeding, but regardless, there is one component of the game that has, until now, been missing from public scrutiny. I am talking, of course, about the original soundtrack to the game. There’s no need to repeat the jokes hurled at Episode 1‘s final score, but people have been wondering what sort of instrumentation the next episode would contain. Would it be a repeat of Episode 1, would it be something much closer to the classic Mega Drive sound, or would it attempt to be a bit more high definition? While bits and pieces could be heard over convention noise during the last time a playable build was available to the public, YouTube channel WounChannel have upload yet another runthrough of the beginning to Sylvania Castle, this time with no ambient noise of excited cell phone enthusiasts.
There you have it, the music to Act 1 of Sylvania Castle. While it might not be the huge change some people were hoping for, at the very least it clues us in as to how the rest of the game should be sounding.
To promote the upcoming release of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, SEGA has released a bunch of new avatar items. These include apparel your avatar can wear, like a full body Tails suit that’ll either make you look cool or creepy (320 MSP), a couple of hoodies in Sonic and Tails variants (240 MSP), a T-shirt with just the Sonic 4 Episode II logo on it (80 MSP) and last but not least, a Metal Sonic helmet.
But as the image above suggests, that’s not all of the new things available. There are a bunch of new props that would actually be pretty neat in real life your avatar can play with as well. These include a remote controlled Metal Sonic toy (240 MSP), a Drawstring Tails Plushie (240 MSP), a couple of toys based on two new badniks from Episode II (240 MSP), a Capsule toy complete with small animals (240 MSP), a game cartridge of Sonic 4 Episode II complete with a SEGA Genesis hooked up to an item monitor (240 MSP) and a half-pipe from the special stage (240 MSP). While to me this is all useless crap that costs way too much, there is actually some cool stuff in there if you’re into dressing up your Avatar. All of these items are now available on the Xbox Live Marketplace. Below are more pictures of most of the new Avatar items mentioned here.
[Via SEGA Blog]
While we have had lots of cam recorded footage of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 already, we haven’t seen any clean footage longer than 2 seconds so far. However, the Official Xbox Magazine got their hands on some for their interview with the brand manager Ken Balough, who reveals even more new details on the game. Press the image that looks like an embedded video because I can’t figure out how to actually embed it below to visit the page with the actual video:
Here Ken talks a bit more about the game’s story, like how it will have an excuse for why everything in the first episode was taken from the previous games. The upcoming Sonic Super Special #3 will also contain a small comic which explains what happens between the first and second episodes. An exclusive feature for those with both the Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360 has also been announced. The versions will support cloud saving, so if you play the game on the WP7 and save it to the cloud you’ll be able to continue the game on the Xbox 360.
I don’t know what the deal is between the press and Sonic games at events. For some reason they are terrible at playing them on camera, with Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 being no exception. Most videos released so far of people playing the game either have them not knowing what they’re supposed to do or falling into bottomless pits, so it’s nice to have a full playthrough of the first act of White Park Zone where the player actually knows how to play a videogame:
Last week SEGA held an event where they showcased all of their upcoming digital releases. From this came some new screenshots showing more of the game’s boss battles and a few interviews with Takashi Iizuka with quite a bit of new information on Episode 2 and Sonic’s future. All of this can be seen after the jump.
This week has been quite the interesting one for those looking forward to Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2. Without the teasing of weeks of teasing announcements, a playable build of the game shows up out of nowhere in Barcelona, subsequently played by people who apparently have never touched a videogame in their life. The offical English homepage of the game was updated. And of course, even though it doesn’t seem nearly as vital any longer, another round of concept art was uploaded onto Sega’s blog and Facebook page. So, without further ado, let’s jump head first into the madness.
It isn’t a secret that Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 is coming to just about everything under the sun. One particular release they have been pushing, though, is the version that will be on Android devices, specifically those with the NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 processor. After all, it was an earlier conference with NVIDIA that was originally meant to unveil the logo to Episode 2 (though that didn’t actually happen). Well, at the Mobile World Congress 2012 currently taking place in Barcelona, Spain, this cross promotion has allowed a playable build of the game to be on the show floor. And where there are playable builds of Sonic games, there are men and women with video cameras ready to capture every second!
Earlier today, Sega of Japan decided to update their website for Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2. Though the splash page teasing the unveiling of the site has been there for a bit, the doors finally opened. Yes, it does feel similar to the Episode 1 site layout, but that’s more then likely intentional. With badniks and rings floating in the background, you can take a gander at Sylvania Castle and White Park all you want!