As The Sonic Stadium is to be covering E3 2005 almost from the inside out, SONIC NEWS has made room for a TSS article to collate everything that’s already been said, what’s been confirmed, what’s been rumoured. E3 can be a very confusing and somewhat dangerous place for those who haven’t been catching up, so allow this article to hand you all the current information we have, so you get some background knowledge on what Sonic Team has and might be offering.
First of all, let’s base things on SEGA’s Official E3 Lineup. On the Sonic Team side, you have two titles; Phantasy Star Universe and Shadow the Hedgehog.
Phantasy Star Universe is, as the name suggests, the true sequel to Phantasy Star Online. It’s the “next generation” of PSO games. Sonic Team first revealed ‘PSU’ at E3 2004, but raised more questions than answers. It appeared back then that Sonic Team weren’t sure whether to continue the PSO style of gameplay or revert back to a 3D form of the classic Phantasy Star games of yore. It appears PSU, as it stands, will be a mixture of both styles, offering the same online ability and freedom as PSO while information states that battle won’t be real-time. Whether this will mean we get turn-based battles akin to PSO Episode III is hard to tell, as Sonic Team are being pretty vague about it. And with good reason, E3’s only just around the corner. Characters will be even more customiseable than before, with your average bloke clearly satisfied with being able to adjust the size of female character’s breasts. PSU is only slated for a PC and PlayStation2 release at present.
Shadow the Hedgehog, on the other hand, is a game fans know plenty about by now. When it was notoriously announced at the Walk of Game celebration, many fans didn’t take kindly to it. Even TSS went on the defensive, believing this to be the next game in the Sonic series. As it stands, Shadow is a mere spinoff title, but it simply plays similar. As time has gone on, the game has gotten to be quite interesting, with several unique abilities open to Shadow. The plot’s been milked more than a cow farmer’s wife, but if you ignore that you have a game with multiple endings, based entirely on your actions during the game. Shadow can use Chaos Control abilities to do massive DragonBall Z style explosions and zoom past treacherous space, but the most controversial aspect of play to this day is the ability to weild “real life” weapons and shoot the crap from unfamiliar enemies. GUN makes a return, what a surprise, never saw that one coming either. One to watch, whether you intend on getting it or not. Confirmed for all major console formats.
The most interesting aspect of the SEGA Press Release is the line: “…on the first day of E3, SEGA will announce two new additions to the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise“. Depending on which raving fansite you believe, these two new games are going to be titles that have not so much as been talked about by official sources. Message Boards and other Sonic sites are rife with guesses which they believe to be “dead certs” or big fat definites.
The truth is, nobody really knows. If you put it into context, two of the most popular vague guesses, “Sonic Gems Collection” and “Sonic Rush” (details on these below), haven’t had so much as a real official word from SEGA nor Sonic Team. The best we’ve had is the odd Iizuka and Ogawa quip, but you know how much Sonic Team love to play with our minds – just cast your minds back to the Tokyo Game Show some years back, where a release schedule mentioned NiGHTS 2 in it’s timeframe.