If you’ve been bouncing around internet rumours the past few weeks, you may have heard of a company called ‘Panovation Studios’, a brand new games developer that was reportedly creating an “online Sonic the Hedgehog RPG”.
But the confusion is finally cleared, as Panovation Studios have shut down their online website – the “unofficial-but-official” Sonic the Hedgehog online RPG was never in development.
The Sonic Stadium contacted Mark Greig, chairman of Panovation, for a statement after noticing the studio website had been taken completely offline for several days. According to Greig, the Sonic Online RPG was a complete fabrication by “somebody” that has yet to be caught. It would appear that whoever started these mass rumours played on the studio’s history to make it sound more believeable.
“A long time ago I started TBHN [The Blue Hedgehog Network] as an approved fan-site which was nothing more then just an advanced website and message boards which ultimately grew to boredom. At the time I even planned out a MMORPG fan-game which in the end of planning was really a bad idea because how in the world could one be capable of funding the servers legally? More recently there has been what I call “corporate terrorism” where somebody and we still don’t know who, but somebody took my ideas and started spreading it off the internet.” Greig explains, providing us with a startling explanation of the messup.
The interview with the SEGA Board member never took place, and it appeared that either an insider or a hacker of some sort managed to take advantage of Panovation’s past to get fans’ hopes up about an online Sonic game: “while we had no intentions of releasing our website before the 23rd, that person uploaded some nasty stuff and it could have been either a hacker or an insider. There were no interview with me and I would of never have released that much information if such project existed.”
Greig further explains, “I found out that there were these rumors spreading along when I received this nasty letter from Sega last week with some attachments from gamespot.com. I still don’t know who spread that false information, and the bigger question is “why!?” As soon as I found out that our name was all over the internet and was getting tens of thousands of hits it really was getting a pain on how in the world we are going to explain to the world this thing without people getting too upset or
We were told that SEGA and Panovation are co-operatively looking into whoever made the damaging lies, as such news was said to have hurt the two companies considerably. The now infamous “Panovation Website” snapshot that was “leaked” (which included an image of Eggman and the words “Guess Who?” across it) was modified from an early version of the website, which adds more weight to the theory that it could have been an inside job.
Greig warns those out there that anyone that has recieved an email from Panovation before June 23rd is very likely to contain false information – indeed, TSS recieved a bogus email from the chairman some weeks ago claiming the “leaker” will recieve a special bonus item from the game.
SEGA were unavailable for comment, but if they say anything expect it to be added. As for Panovation’s future, after this ordeal the company is taking a very low profile to let this whole situation blow over – the studio has no plans to announce or comment on anything publically for the time being, but will bounce back soon.
“It would have been a great game no doubt however I seriously doubt that Sega will earn interest on creating a Sonic MMO… Panovation Studios is an awesome innovative software company and though it may have started out very rough you will get the chance to experience a whole new light in games, and who knows perhaps one day Sega will give the okay to make such a game a reality!”
We wish Panovation Studios all the best for their future projects, and hope they don’t get pressed on by too many misinformed fans. The Sonic ORPG was never real, end of.