Confirmed: Needlemouse.com Website Not Legit

Confirmed: Needlemouse.com Website Not Legit

If you’ve been checking out TSS this morning or discussing various things on the SSMB today, you’ll probably have noticed that there’s a new Sonic game announced that’s getting more attention than any in recent times. But what’s caught the attention of some fans, even more than the impressive teaser trailer, is the mysterious appearance of a website at http://www.needlemouse.com/

needlemouse-possible-concept

Featuring nothing but a black page and the above image (labelled as ‘concept artwork’ within the page’s source code), the safe assumption is that we’re seeing a bunch of early renders for a Green Hill-esque stage in the new 2010 ‘Needlemouse’ project. But, is it a real legit SEGA website?

A few forum members on the SSMB have dug up WHOIS information and have found that, while the domain name was registered back on the 21st August 2009, the nameservers link to one ‘dreamhost.com’ – obviously, this isn’t exactly the sort of host you’d expect to see an official SEGA website on. The fact that SEGA are usually so protective of leaked images, and hardly ever release concept artwork, suggest that this webpage could either be a clever hoax or a lead-up to some sort of fan project.

Having said that, nothing solid has been proven against the validity of the needlemouse.com website – this could all be a clever grassroots viral campaign, lead by a development team that isn’t as protective as Sonic Team. Indeed, we’re not even told if Sonic Team are even involved in this project at all.

The only sure way to find out is to obtain comment from SEGA — the Sega America official blog does not mention the needlemouse.com domain at all (where you would imagine that it would get some sort of acknowledgement) and our calls to SEGA directly about the matter has been met with the response; “I’ve asked”. Sounds a bit ominous if you ask us.

We’ll update you guys on SEGA’s official response on whether what you’re seeing is the real deal. Stay tuned.

EDIT: Apparently TSSZ has been in touch with a Sega America representative who told them that the site “is not connected to our Project Needlemouse”. Regardless, we’re holding out until we hear some sort of confirmation ourselves. But the prospect isn’t looking too good is it?

UPDATE: IGN has now gotten word from the Sega America Community Team about the non-relation to Project Needlemouse. So that settles that, then. If you didn’t like the fan-created Green Hill Zone then your prayers have been answered. If you did like it though, perhaps the real thing might turn out better. Who knows.

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Dreadknux

Sexy founder of The Sonic Stadium, and creator and co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic fan convention. By day, I'm a super-fantastic games journalist, el professionale. By night, I'm the mother-loving Sonical Batman. I keep the site ticking, look after the TSS Network, and get all excited about Sonic games so that you can too. May contain nuts.

66 Comments

  1. This all seems very ominous doesn’t it? If it is not official stuff, I think that SEGA should be getting in contact with the designer to employ them! Fitting for a game “built from the ground up” to show the ground first though, isn’t it?

  2. Call me crazy, but are those shapes supposed to spell something? In a way, they kinda look like letters. Maybe I’m just looking too deep into it.

  3. Whether it’s real or a hoax doesn’t matter because it’s still a plus for marketing. If they want to get the game in the air and hype it up then any attempt should be welcome.

    In the end, when SEGA releases a more revealing teaser we’ll find out what was true and what wasn’t.

  4. When I reported on the site at TSS I did some home work on it; and the August 21st registration date was enough for me. It wasn’t created after the very fresh announcement, and it seemed to relate very strongly with an HD side scrolling project meant to go back to Sonic’s roots. It seemed too coincidental.

    This seems too coincidental to be fake. It shares not only the name of a very well protected, unknown project, registered before the announcement, and it features concept art of some side scrolling classic looking level.

    I suppose I may have made the wrong call. It seems viral to me.

  5. Funnily enough IGN seems to be rolling with the idea it is real as well. They featured it in their IGN Daily Fix video for today: 9/9/09.

  6. A member of the Sega community team just posted on NeoGAF that needlemouse.com was not related to Project Needlemouse, and its not a Sega owned website.

  7. @nuckles: Hey, the website was still worth reporting, don’t sweat it. ๐Ÿ™‚ At least in reporting it originally, we were able to be the first to question its validity and delve more into it.

  8. So that’s not what Sonic 2010 will look like…. THANK GOD, I thought thous level designs looked horibal, they look more like a Worms game rather than a Sonic game….

  9. Thank the f(1-UP)in’ lord…that GHZ ripoff looked like something you might see in The Nightmare Before Christmas…at least to me.

  10. From IGN:
    “The site above [www.needlemouse.com] has been confirmed by a SEGA Community Team member as unrelated to the project: “There’s not a lot I can say about Needlemouse right now, but I can confirm for everyone that Needlemouse.com is not official or related to the official project, and the art there is all fan-made.”

  11. That’s what baffled me about the site. The trailer claimed it was 2D, and the images appear to be 2.5D. I may be wrong, but I’d assume that claiming it as 2D so directly would mean proper 2D. Or maybe that’s just me hoping.

  12. @Tristan: We have to be careful as to who we believe with sources, that’s all. IGN has now verified the article in question, so all is well.

    Cheers,
    Svend.

  13. So…you didn’t want to make the call when I contacted the SoA rep and published who that rep was, but you did when IGN, which has shown a clear bias against the franchise and this community, in all likelihood contacted the same rep?

    All right…

    -T

  14. And there we have it XD. Ah well. I’ll need to be more cautious in the future when the SEGA logo isn’t clearly visible.

  15. @Tristan: It’s nothing to do with ‘favourites’. Stop getting melodramatic. If it were IGN who ‘confirmed’ this first we’d have waited until at least one other outlet validated that confirmation, be it TSSZ or not. As Sega Europe weren’t answering our calls, this was the safest course of action.

    If you want to act butthurt though, that’s your choice. Good luck to you.

  16. Seeing as I’m the one who got it correct in the first place by not doing a story talking about the faux website one way or the other until talking to someone official, I don’t think I’m the butthurt one here.

    -T

  17. @Tristan
    How is Dread coming across butthurt to you?
    Dread and the rest of us here don’t care if we’re first with a story or not or if an article we write about a suspicious site does turn out to be fake in the end. Dread even questioned wether its authentic or not in the article before it was confirmed fake.

  18. Check the site again, they JUST updated it.

    “You may think you’re looking at a sample of the upcoming Sega game, which according to recent speculation is called Project Needlemouse. What you’ve stumbled on is actually a fan-created game that weโ€™ve been calling Needlemouse: The Emerald Hills since we began working on it a few months ago.”

    What a coincidence

  19. I’m glad. I didn’t like those bendy tree trunk Green Hill renders. Hopefully we’ll get these classic style levels though and they’ll not try to do a Mega Drive orientated HD Sonic Rush.. ie: “new Sonic”
    Sonic Advance got it spot on. Go with those kinds of ideas (and speed!) into HD graphics and you’ve got one hell of a start for the new decade for Sonic.

  20. uhhh, what is with you guys? you want a lame looking 2d sonic game!? why remake a game that doesnt need to be remade? why not make a cool 3d HD sonic game that playes like a 2d game with 2d controls, you want sprites? just because megaman did it doesnt mean sega has to take a step backwards. i think the game should look as appealing as possible along with the 2d elements. maybe not bendy tree trunks for a green hill, but why do you want the exact same thing?

  21. Aha! I was pretty much sure they’d use the hedgehog engine for this one too. I mean, 6 years of work on an engine just for one game? nah. And that render didn’t seem to use global illumination. Also the grass texture was pretty bad. Anyway I’m very hyped for this one. Just when I thought I was loosing interest on the blue guy =P

  22. Should have figured, Sega technically does not have the rights to Green Hill, which is why there’s no official remix or recreation of Green Hill past SA2, or at least not the music. Sega Super Stars Tennis & Sambe De Amigo (Wii), I don’t know if they count.

    PS: Nothing towards you Dread. This is more or less me sharing facts & talking to myself.

  23. HOLAS: ™

    “which is why thereโ€™s no official remix or recreation of Green Hill past SA2”

    wait wait wait…… sonic advance 3 came before sonic adventure 2???? O_O

  24. @Tristan: I linked the stories because you are, for one reason or another, attacking me for writing ‘unconfirmed’ stories before such details have been confirmed. Which TSSZ does on a more-than-regular basis. What I do on TSS isn’t the issue, because the point is your irony in your last statement. Your argument, in response, is simply changing the subject? Well done.

    Nice try to get a rise out me – the fact that you even bothered to whine that I didn’t grovel at your feet on my website shows how insecure you are, and how you feel people should massage your ego. I’m afraid however, that I cannot oblige. I was correct in the publication of this article, and that’s all that stands. If you want to run around the gardens spouting nonsense about inconsequential things that’s your call, but I’ll have to remind you that you are breaking the rules of TSS/SSMB by trolling in this thread.

    I will have to take appropriate action if you continue this farce, because you’ve managed to get away with it this far and anyone else would have been banned by now. Take a moment to consider how you conduct yourself in the future, because frankly you’re embarrassing yourself.

  25. @ imarafan:
    I don’t know about Sonic Battle, I just heard somewhere that Sega technically does not have the rights to Green Hills music. I think it is because it was created by Dreams Come True, but I don’t know. Would someone care to check, I’m too lazy livin in paradise.

  26. I knew it was fake. It had too many retro sounds and the original SEGA jingle. It’s just some stupid fake trailer made by a fan who wants 2D Sonic to come back. I prefer the 3-D games.

  27. @STULF: You are partially correct. The songs/music from the first 2 Sonic games were done by Masatao (sp?) “King Masa” Nakamura, so they would have to clear it up with him. Dreams Come True is the performance group for Nakamura, Nakamura makes the songs and DCT performs them. Get it, got it, good.

  28. @ bmhedgehog:

    Thank you for the clearafication. It’s kinda funny that for games such as Sega Super Stars Tennis & Black Knight had that sort of issue when some of the games musical artists wanted to to do a Green Hill Remix and they couldn’t do so because Sega does not have the rights (repeatition is fun). Would you know if Sega has the rights to Green Hill Zone as a level?

  29. did anyone went on the fake site and played the “game”
    yeah sega i WILL kill if it is like that
    ahh and to all guys the look will be 2.5d like in unleashed the 2d scenes and i loved them
    in the interview in gamespot the seag dude said it wouldn’t be like Mega man 9 and HD
    i just hope for more stages than 14 like in rush

  30. @STULF:

    I would think so. Seeing that Graphics and Music are totally 2 different departments in a videogame company. I could be wrong on that.

    @anyone who is arguing about the graphics for project needlemouse:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Sonic Team goes in the same direction as Capcom did with Mega Man, look at Mega Man Powered Up and Maverick Hunter X for the PSP 3-D graphics, 2-D game play and 2-D controls, epic win. I wouldn’t mind playing a Sonic game with that kind of capability.

  31. @ bmhedgehog:
    I just recall that the person who made the graphics for Green Hill left Sega, I don’t know when or why, and I think he took the rights with him. I’m not entirely sure about that either. I wouldn’t mind seeing Green Hill Zone again.

    Graphics wise, as long as it works, I really don’t care a whole lot. For me it’s sort of like the TV news being in HD, I don’t care if I can see the reporters pimples or not. In fact, I probably don’t want to see them, considering all that make up has to do something to them. Reporter’s pimples = Sonic’s individual quills. That might be an exagration (?), but you get the idea. Also, this could be similar to Paper Mario or the old Final Fantasy games considering that they just mention that it’s in 2D. In other words, there could be some walking around to select things in a 3Dimensional play, but that would seem pointless really. Does this make any sense?

  32. HOLAS: ™

    err….. my internet blowed up so…. i’m lost now

    anyways…. i don’t think they just have to do “green hill zone”…. i mean, they could make another of those “slighty similar” levels like they did with the advance series (and sonic 2)….. but i would preefer something new =/

    i now is a retro game, but it doesn’t have to be sonic 1 HD…. sonic 4 would be nice ๐Ÿ™‚ (with other name, SEGA should never do sonic 4, because the expectatives would be to high)…

  33. Well the game probably isn’t fake, but I know it’s not made by SEGA. It would look more professional and actually show Sonic and have him say something like “see ya around!”

  34. @ Hudson:
    I think you’re giving them way too much credit, just look at Unleashed’s teaser. It was practically the same thing other than the game and content revealed.

  35. @ Hudson

    The point of the trailer was to get long time fans like myself excited who’ve been playing the games since the first one came out back in ’90/’91. That’s why it’s full of retro Sonic sounds!

    And it worked!

    Even my m8s who gave up on Sonic long ago are buzzing with excitement at this.

  36. Well of course it’s fake. I’m actually surprised it required research for this. It was obvious from the first trailer that came out
    “A game built from the ground up” I would imagine that after the undeniable awesomeness of the Hedgehog Engine, that they’d decide to stick with that for a bit. The engine made the day stages about as great as anyone could’ve expected them (at least, given the cynicism). It’d be a poor choice, not just business-wire but design and efficiency wise to just make another one so soon.

  37. HOLAS: ™

    @Twi: err…… the game is real….. the site is fake…..

    i mean… AAUK posted it in the blog…. and we can trust in AAUK right?…..

    ……….

    RIGHT!?

  38. I’m indifferent, other than getting a game.

    READ! CAN’T YOU PEOPLE READ! >:'( “Needlemouse” is real, this site has no affiliation (?) with the actually game, and the site is actually for a fan game coincindentally entitled the same thing. I’m sorry for the outburst, but it’s simply annoying!

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