Sonic’s 25th anniversary

January 11, 2016


So recently Sega have been teasing a potential announcement for Sonic’s 25th anniversary this year, so we’re going to have a meandering speculation post! Similar to my previous Zelda Wii u one.

sonic 25

The 25th image so far just seems like a compilation of existing promo material.

For Sonic’s 20th we got exactly what the fans wanted and then some. Generations was a great game chock ablock with fan service and plenty of old school gameplay. Say what you will about the physics, it’s the closest Sonic team have managed in ever.

sonic bundle

I was so hype for the generations bundle I had to get a french edition! sold out everywhere else.

The first thought that comes to mind when seeing the 25th artwork is possibly a remake of Sonic 1.

Now, there’s a lot of frightening variables here. How accurate a remake would it be? Would they remix the levels to make them more contemporary?

marble zone

I cant imagine many people care for the momentum killer that is marble zone.

Sonic Team have shown they simply aren’t capable of remaking the original physics 1:1 so would we have the old levels in glorious HD but with slightly off controls to bog down the experience? Instead of even attempting it, they may be better off slightly remixing the levels (ala Sonic Generations) and using their own control setup.

I think its a safe bet that Sonic Team would go for 3D visuals. (or a 2.5D setup like Sonic 4 episode 2) They’re clearly most comfortable working in that style (see the gorgeous lighting of the hedgehog engine, the animation quality of generations etc) and I would rather they stay away form attempting 2D themselves. Not after the butchering that was Sonic 4 episode 1`s visuals.

wayforward sprites

Outsourcing is always an option.

The possibility of all of Sonic 1`s levels remade in the style of Generations would be a sight to behold. The abstract and varied aesthetics of the original still hold up well today.

However, Sonic Team really should be making strides to get back in touch with their 2D roots. (especially given Sega’s renewed focus on budgets) I’ve talked before about the amazing Sonic 2 HD fangame project. My dream scenario would be for a Sonic 1 remake in this style. Insanely high resolution art, stupidly smooth animation and a faithful yet high fidelity remake of the soundtrack.

Check out their development blog for more info!

A unusual middle ground could be a fusion of Retro aesthetics and newer visual technology. I’ve talked about Neo-Retroism before and I would totally dig a Sonic 1 interpretation of that. As cool as it would be, maybe a little too similar to the original?

WayForward Technologies, Yacht Club Games or First Party Nintendo could be capable of tackling the style. Although after the disaster that was Sonic Boom I imagine Sega are a little cautious of loaning their mascot out to an external developer anytime soon.

Musically Sonic 1 was and still is incredible. Every level is catchy and perfectly fits the theme. (maybe labyrinth zone is the one derpy outcast) The melodies are fantastic obviously, but the songs are extremely short and could use some new additions similar to how Generations soundtrack added in entirely new verses.

A risky decision, but having the classic version of the song also available alleviated any worries.

If they choose to go with a butt rock modem interpretation (which would be awesome) I could totally get behind that. Just so long as they resist the urge to put vocals in, and keep Jun Senoue far away from synth keyboards and solely on guitars.

For a more neutral sound (modern, but not overly rockish) Tomoya Ohtani is a good pick also. He works really with Jun, and the Sonic Runners soundtrack is a thing of beauty.

I feel this is a really elegant blend of classic melodies and modern instrumentation. He`s been doing excellent work ever since Unleashed.

If we were never exposed to the travesty that was the Sonic 4 soundtrack I may have given some thought to a retro themed soundtrack. The Sonic 4 soundtrack was good in premise. They limited melodies to 8 note melodies to be as similar to the classics as possible, but Jun just cant pull it off. Maybe Tomoya Ohtani can, but I’d rather they play it safe and give us some butt rock.

One even more urgent issue with the soundtrack is the license agreements. Masato Nakamura, bassist and songwriter of the J-pop band Dreams Come True (And composer of the Sonic 1 OST) has been rumored to be very strident when it comes to copyright fees. It would explain why there were so few retro levels in generations, and why Sonic The Dark Brotherhood had such a slapdash mess of a soundtrack. (rumored to have initially been classic remixes before Sega informed Bioware of the situation)

Obviously this is all just speculation, but it would go some way to explaining why we’ve never seen remakes of the classics up until now. Sega are not shy about cashing in on their legacy, humongous fee’s would be a likely factor.

Aside from being a straight up remake of 1, we might see another generations style game. I would be happy with more content in the same style, the original’s level roster felt lacking. There are plenty of unique environments from the series’s history to draw from. Can you even visualize what a Chaotix level would look like? Or how epic angel island zone act 1 & 2 would be? Personally I would love to have Hydrocity with modern gameplay and next generation water visuals.

sonic black knight

One worry is that they may pluck inspiration from the less favorable titles.

Generations was the perfect platform to deliver level DLC, but the levels themselves are rumored to be extremely expensive to develop, so I guess this quality of product is an infrequent treat just for special birthdays.

If another Generations title is abound there’s one alarming issue that needs touched upon.

Boom Sonic.

We all have our own thoughts on the character design. that aside, I don’t feel this western re-interrelation/spinoff of the franchise is quite worthy yet to be included in a 25th anniversary title. Worst case scenario, we get a Generations 2 with 3 Sonics to play as.


Juicy info courtesy of The Sonic Stadium.

Sonic team were rumored at one point to have 3 Sonics in Generations. And even to have a voice for classic sonic!

One of the most likely scenarios is that we’re being hyped up for the impending Sonic movie. I bet you forgot all about that didn’t you!

sonic movie OVA

The Sonic OVA is still really enjoyable. Would be cool to see Metal Sonic make a big screen HD return.

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard anything regarding it. Sony have hopefully been hard at work creating something half decent. If it’s anything similar to the opening of Sonic Unleashed (they have the same animation studio as consultants after all) I think it could be quite good. The writers on board are professed lifelong Sonic fans which does instill some confidence.

Speaking of sonic fans. On the 8th of January, The Sonic social media accounts tweeted out this image.

gay grumps sonic

Yes, that’s Egoraptor and his game grumps cohort.

Does this hint at an actual involvement in the games themselves? I could get behind him being a voice actor especially given the series’s newfound focus on humor. But most intriguing are those numbers at the bottom of the image. I have zero clue what they could mean, I’m looking forward to seeing all the Sonic forums going berserk over it however.

One thing that fans have been clamoring for, for years is a new entry in the divisive Adventure series. How well these titles have aged is a debate for another day. But after sinking literally hundreds of hours into the Gamecube ports, I wouldn’t pass up a third entry. Albeit with the same tight design that Colours and Generations had. Sonic 2006 and Unleashed were arguably meant to be Adventure 3 just not in name. But it seems people would really like to play as Sonic’s stupid friends again.


If they could get the Tails and Knuckles gameplay as good as generation Sonic’s, then that would be great.

The possibility of there being a Adventure 3 title is more likely when you consider the source of the 25th anniversary game rumors. Lead singer of Crush 40 Johnny Gioeli spilled the beans and then quickly deleted the post. Juicy rumor indeed!

The facebook post is now removed, but the hype train is now in motion. A adventure 3 game with another Jun/Johnny soundtrack would be amazing. I cant pick what would be better, that or Sonic 1 HD.

sonic generations 2

Speaking of Facebook. The official account revealed this beauty on the 11th of Jan. They just cant stop teasing us!

But looking at what Sonic Team have actually been doing, It may be wise to keep our hype levels in check. They’ve had a lot of success with their mobile free to play title Sonic Runners and It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume they’d do the same again. After all, Sonic dash reached over 100 million downloads. That’s nothing to scoff at.

If this were the case, they may as well not give us a 25th game at all. Sonic runners is your typical mobile experience. It shoves adverts in your face every chance it gets, and constantly asks you to spend money on circumventing cooldown limits and to buy gems, rings of whatever e-currency they’re trying to scam you with. It could be the best Mobile game on the planet, but at the end of the day. It’s still just a mobile game.

There’s a great game buried in here underneath the mobile centric design.

With the profits their mobile titles have been seeing, This is one of the more likely options. Sega lately slashed their yearly estimated profts by 90% So a expensive HD console experience is a bit too much to ask sadly.

Hopefully with Sega’s renewed focus on merchandise and reinforcing their intellectual properties they will get back on track. Sonic Boom toys are a big hit with kids and the Sonic movie might also attract a noticeable audience. Mobile games are doing well, and the Sonic Boom TV series was also a success. Like Nintendo, Sega are coming to realize they cant rely on their Videogame efforts alone. The industry is an expensive place as of late.

There’s literally nothing Sonic related on the horizon at the moment bar these rumours. We’re all clamoring for more information on this mysterious 25th project.

Fingers crossed we don’t get a Sonic Boom 2.


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