A member from the SEGA Forums has managed to talk to Panovation Studios, who are apparently working on an online game of Sonic the Hedgehog.
SEGA Forums member “Mondo-Cool” secured an online interview with Mark Greig, “Head Founder” of Panovation Studios, and the result is a confirmation from a incredibly unknown developer that they are legitimately creating an online Sonic title. Greig made distinct comments on the project – which could mean the game is well in development – including the notion that it will be an “Online Sonic RPG”, and not a “Sonic MMORPG”. Bizarre in itself. A small portion of what Mark said is below:
“The ORPG has no name for it yet, but it is codenamed Project Mobius. There is an in-depth storyline which takes place on Mobius and the twin moons. The storyline isn’t focused on the Sonic Adventure series, and to know more about the story you will have to wait and see… The way you play the game is different then standard MMORPG’s, or ORPG’s out there.
One of the big parts about this game is that it isn’t all about leveling up and becoming the strongest. Granted it is something fun to do, though there are so many exciting features that will occupy time with pleasure. There are over 70 mini-games to unlock at Arcades, the Gamegear Plus, and other secret areas. There are many 3D games along side of that such as Sonic Pinball, a very addicting game, side quests / missions, trading, also the trading card game, and the return of Chao raising / battle / racing.”
You can read the rest of the posted interview at the SSMB Forums.
It has been amongst many rumours that SEGA and Sonic Team may be thinking about an online pitch for Sonic the Hedgehog. Takashi Iizuka even said in a recent interview that Sonic Team may be thinking about an online Sonic title. But it seems most strange that such a title has not been announced by SEGA or “anyone official” themselves. Panovation Studios claim to have been granted the use of the Sonic the Hedgehog license for this development, and although costs of the game has been said to be expensive, the Sonic fan will apprarently not be paying anything to get the game, or play it online.
Whether the fact that “Robotropolis” and the dropping of the name “Dr. Eggman” in favour of “Dr. Robotnik” is an indication that the online project could be based on cartoon favourite, Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) has yet to be revealed.
Panovation Studios, it is worth mentioning, are the same people who half-created the “Official Fansite” with big promise, The Blue Hedgehog Network – a project that boasted official ties but did not even launch, let alone deliver. Talks of this Sonic Online project being ‘unofficial’ has been snubbed by Greig, but doubts can be found amongst the excited.
SSMB forum member “Sonic™” despairs over a possible SatAM game tie-in, while Psychobob questions:
“What concerns me most is how rumours of this game began circulation, two months ago, on a message board that is inferior to most fan made boards. Why did TSS or Sonic news not report this? Why did GHZ, SOST, Sonic HQ, Sonic United, Sonic classic, Sonic CULT, have no information on this game?”
Conspiracies aside, SONIC NEWS has contacted SEGA for comment. Expect any response from them to be updated to this news article. In the meantime, think of an online RPG (not MMORPG) with the Sonic license, add an Animal Crossing “house-keeping” element, throw in lots of Chao and a possible SatAM bearing, and you might be on the right tracks as to what to expect.
Do you like the sound of this game concept? Let us know in the Comments Section right here, or the SSMB Forums. TSS will not be adding this project to the Game Archive until SEGA/Sonic Team officially confirm it themselves. Picky buggers, aren’t we?
UPDATE: [8th June 2005]
Amidst talk of whether the game is real or not, SEGA have denied the existence of the production of the game at sources such as Computer&Video Games etc, and SONIC NEWS spoke to SEGA today and recieved a “No Comment”.
Funnily enough, website backbiting and swelling egos attempt to swamp the Sonic Community, with websites emphasising the phony nature of the story almost ridiculing those sites who did report on the news in the first place. Despite the fact that websites such as SONIC NEWS who reported on the story did so with ultimate objectivity (as all good news sources should), with no hints to the sites belieiving the project to be TRUE specifically, but merely reporting on the existence of the rumour and the potential of said project. SONIC NEWS hopes other sites will be more professional in understanding this critical aspect of news reporting.
Arms are up in the air as to whether the project itself, however, IS alive, dead or never existed in the first place. SEGA may have said “No” and the company is quick to deny and remove all information and speculation regarding upcoming games. But the simple “no” quote is very vague – an actual statement along the lines of “We are not producing an online Sonic the Hedgehog game at this time” would have eased lots more minds. What this “no” means regarding Panovation is entirely a matter of context. SEGA’s context. Indeed, there are suggestions that Panovation may have broken an embargo, or that the small studio are actually exaggerating what could be a fangame and passing it off as an “official title”.
Again, SONIC NEWS stresses that until SEGA or SONICTEAM comment fully on the situation, the actual validity of Panovation’s project should be taken with a barrel of salt.
As always, you will find intelligent Sonic fan discussion on this matter in our SSMB Forums. Feel free to post your opinion there (linked to this topic on the left hand side) or in the comments page in SONIC NEWS.