sdcc 2016

Sega Unveils New Retro-Style Game Sonic Mania

by Brian Shea on Jul 22, 2016 at 07:10 PM

During Sega's party celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog series tonight, a new Sonic game was unveiled and made playable for fans on-hand. Sonic Mania is being developed as a collaboration between Sonic Team and indie developer Pagoda West.

Sonic Mania is a retro style game that Sega and Sonic Team hope will satisfy fans of old-school Sonic. The nostalgia-driven pixel-style art and core gameplay harkens back to the glory days of the franchise. "We're really taking the 'What if?' scenario of 'What if Sonic Team was still making the classic Sonic games that you and I grew up with on Sega Genesis? And they kept making them on Sega Saturn and beyond?'" Austin Keys, director of product development at Sega of America tells us. "It's this kind of newer classic Sonic game. It's going to have the pixel graphics and all the 2D gameplay we remember from Sega Genesis with Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Knuckles, and Sonic CD as well."

As players dive into the game, those who enjoyed the classic games in the series may notice some familiar locales, including zones and acts from Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic CD, and Sonic 3 and Knuckles. "Some of the levels may be familiar to the classic players, but they're all going to have new twists and some changes to them, so it's not just like you're going to be playing through Sonic the Hedgehog 1's Green Hill Zone; this is going to be a reinterpretation of Green Hill Zone that people are going to be experiencing," Keys says. "We'll also have a couple brand new zones that nobody has ever seen before that hopefully they'll be excited for. It's really a new classic Sonic game that's going to be made up of some familiar content as well as some brand new content. It'll be something that if you grew up playing Sonic the Hedgehog, hopefully you'll be very interested in purchasing and playing."

Head of Sonic Team Takashi Iizuka echoes the sentiment that this new title strives to capture the magic of the classic games that appeared on consoles like Genesis and Sega CD. "One of the core qualities that we want to keep intact this time is having the same kind of look and feel of the classic Sonic franchise without really even modernizing it, just keeping it close to the classic games that all the fans seem to really like," he says. "That goes down to the gameplay as well - the physics... everything."

According to Ivo Gerscovich, the concept of Sonic Mania actually came about through unconventional means. "The social media team that works very closely with the fans forwarded this idea of doing something very different and fresh to reward the fans and that's how this idea sparked," he says. "We talked to Iizuka-san about it and it snowballed from there and it's become this really fun indie-infused project."

"Sonic Mania was born out of our fans' love of the classic Sonic 2D platform games," Iizuka says. "This type of collaboration is a first for Sega and we hope everyone will be both surprised and delighted by this title. Sonic Mania has been a passion project for the entire team and we look forward to sharing more details about it later this year."

Sonic Mania is scheduled to launch spring 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Sonic Team also announced that it is working on another untitled Sonic game, which will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo's NX holiday 2017.