Earlier today, Dutch fansite SegaOnline posted information from an anonymous source claiming to have insider knowledge of Project Needlemouse’s development. The website ran the story as a rumour earlier today, before mysteriously disappearing from view.
Key details that were revealed to SegaOnline included the game’s name, ‘Sonic 4’; that the game will only be released on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network; and that this will be the first in a series of similar games. The website’s source claims that the game will be titled “Sonic 4: Episode 1”, but says that despite the implications, each ‘Episode’ will be a full game in its own right.
On top of this, the anonymous source has said there will be 7 Chaos Emeralds, a return of the ‘Zone’ and ‘Acts’ level structure, and that the game will begin in ‘Splash Hill Zone’ and finish in ‘E.G.G. Station Zone’.
As you might expect, this could be either a hot leak from someone within Sega (or with close ties to the company) that’s about to have the hounds set on him, or it’s part of an elaborately hilarious trolling. Either way, the SegaOnline story has since disappeared. It was originally located here – now a 404 Error page sits in its place.
This is not the first time that SegaOnline has had supposedly ‘leaked’ material removed shortly after publication – earlier this month the website had posted images from the Xbox 360 ‘Partnernet’ developer service, which detailed information on a port of Sonic Adventure DX on Xbox Live Arcade. It was suggested that Sega had sent a request to shut down the page.
UPDATE: Perhaps an elaborate trolling is in fact afoot? The story was picked up by TSSZ News, who has just recently received a request to remove the information by SegaOnline, and not Sega, and now the authenticity of the story has been thrown up into the air. TSSZ News writer Tristan Bresnen posted on the Sonic Retro forums;
“There is anger. That’s all I feel comfortable saying publicly right now about the authenticity of the story…at least until I can dig a little deeper.”
If this is all part of a game on the Sonic community at large, we tip our collective hat to you, sir/madam. Well played. Doesn’t affect us at TSS either way, but still – well played. If not, then what to make of it all? Let us know in the comments box below. In the meantime, we’ll just sit here and eat some popcorn and watch the whole thing play out.