Balough Speaks to Retro About Sonic CD & Sonic 4


Sonic Retro has informed us today that Shade Vortex didn’t speak to SEGA’s Patrick Riley yesterday. The Sonic Retro and SSMB forumer was actually speaking to SEGA’s Ken Balough, as shown in the above video interview with Balough that Shade Vortex has uploaded.

The interview gives us more information about the new Sonic CD port and its importance to Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2. If you don’t have time to watch the whole video interview, Sonic Retro has gathered the main points together in text form. You can read them below.

* It’s commonly understood that Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles form what is called “The Death Egg Trilogy” because of the overarching story of Eggman’s Death Egg across the titles. Sonic CD was a self-contained adventure that hovered around that area with the most popular belief to be between Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, despite no true concrete evidence.

* Sonic 4 is trying to bridge all of them together more. It’s not trying to give Sonic CD a concrete place in the timeline, just say that “It happened prior to Sonic 4: Episode 1.” It does not mean Sonic CD is immediately before Sonic 4: Episode 1 and after Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

* The events of Sonic CD are important to Episode 2. You can see Metal Sonic in the ending. The idea is you’ll see how Metal Sonic comes back after his destruction in Sonic CD and his return. (Knuckles Chaotix unavailable for comment.)

* Sega is supportive on Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s Retro Engine, calling it “a really good piece of technology.”

* “You’ve got to work within the confines of what a publisher is and what a publisher does in order to get all the benefits as well. We as a publisher will get the benefits from working with really talented developers, and developers on the flip side get the benefits of working with a publisher and all the things and all the exposure they get and they can bring to the table, as well as working on really big brands, like Sonic.”

* On Metal Sonic: “He’s appeared in some of these [games], but we’ve never made him so integral to that continuity. We’ve had him back, but no one ever explained how he comes back after CD. He’s just there. So, we’re going make sure that we fill in some of these really nice… I almost think of it like Star Wars, right? We’re going to go back and explain this really cool era that was the Clone Wars? We’re going to go back and explain this really cool era that was the classic experience, and show you guys some really fun stuff.”

* With regards to Sonic 2 Spindash and the “HD Filter”: “Stay tuned.” He doesn’t want to confirm anything until details are more concrete. However, a filter will be present.

* On Sonic CD not being on 3DS, Vita: “We never really intended to release it yet for the Playstation Vita, or the Playstation Go, or the Nintendo 3DS… those were never really on the table. We were always talking about, ‘It was either digital console or mobile devices.’

* He’s unable to comment on why the game isn’t on WiiWare.

* The U.S. Soundtrack will not be included at this time due to licensing issues. However, there’s a couple of more surprises to be revealed later down the road.

* The trailers have nothing to do with the continuity of the games. They’re their own thing designed by Balough. The ‘detour’ talked about previously is Sonic going to the past so players can relive Sonic CD and understand its events and references in Sonic 4: Episode 2.

Source: Sonic Retro

Thanks to Sonic Retro staffer GeneHF for the heads up!


    1. I’m pretty sure 90% of people aren’t happy (exluding me) of this. Now they are going to complain because Ep2 physics are going to be like 1’s, but tweaked a little. I’m still pumped for Ep2, I can’t wait to see what new zones SEGA is bringing to us. Idc if Metal Sonic is in the game, but I just want Ep2 to be original, and not based off of any of the Sonic the Hedgehog titles. I’m hoping for Ep.2 to at least have 7 zones, no less, SEGA. If there’s more, then sweet, but for now, I’m not getting ANY hopes up. The only hope I’m getting up about, is having Tails there. Though I hope SEGA has learned, and doesn’t screw up w/Tails’s physics, and make competely new ones for him. I would sure like for Tails to have his old physics. I’m just glad SEGA/SonicTeam has learned about walking on walls, and unclurling, because for me, those were my 2 MAJOR complaints for this game. Lol.

      1. I really doubt we’ll get 7 zones in Episode 2. I know people complain about Episode 1 being short at 4 zones and a boss zone, but the episodes aren’t really supposed to be full solo games. They are pieces of a full game. If we get 3 episodes with 4 proper levels each, then we’ll have 12 levels, which is about the same as Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles.

        1. Thing is is that if they added anymore zones for ep 2 it probably wouldn’t come out for wiiware 🙁

          1. Tell this Nintendo, not Sega. This is a matter of the limitation from Nintendo for developers, which want to sell their games on Wiiware.

        2. Yeah, your right. I keep thinking of Ep.2 as a seperate game from Ep.1, when they’re both 1. So ya, I guess we should all expect only 4 zones 😉 I actually think we might get 4 episodes, but who knows? Haha. It all depends how good Ep.2 will do…

  1. Another thing they can release Sonic CD for Wii. It doesn’t have to be a digital port. Just release it in a disc form

    1. That would be a waste of money for SEGA if they put in on disc, because its such a small game, and not that many people would buy it imo.

      1. Then all I can say is Dammit all to hell! I want to play it badly I’m probably the only Sonic Fan on this site that hasn’t played it! 1 level doesn’t count!

  2. Im trying to wonder how sonic 4 episode is on wii ware and sonic cd cant i mean isnt sonic cd have less file size then sonic 4?

    1. Sonic 4: Episode 1 has nowhere near as much content as Sonic CD and the CD quality soundtrack wouldn’t fit. With Sonic 4: Episode 1 they had to compress the music into MIDI files for the WiiWare version. Go on YouTube and compare Sonic 4: Episode 1’s WiiWare music to the music in the other versions. I think it would be total disrespect to Sonic CD’s soundtrack if they ever released the game with MIDI music files.

  3. I can’t remember a time where we’ve had the creative and canonical nuances of Sonic games been explained to us so transparently and thoroughly, and I gotta tell you, I really do like it! It’s nice to have this feeling that SEGA really respects the Sonic fanbase and they’re not just patronising us with vague press releases and the odd screenshot and confusing trailer. I’m also impressed at how quickly it’s been since the announcement that SEGA (or representatives of SEGA at least) have spoken up and explained this so well. It really shows how seriously they’re taking this. It’s also kind of given Sonic CD a true new lease of life and I’m interested to see how small changes like the Sonic 2 style spin dash, widescreen support and other modern-day touches are going to (hopefully) improve such a treasured classic.

    There’s one thing that I think is really important, is that even though Sonic CD is really old – part of the fabric of our childhood memories – and there’s so many people in the Sonic fanbase who, at some point in their lives, have felt like they know Sonic better than SEGA do. I think it is important we reciprocate this kind of respect SEGA is showing to us here and take everything they come up with here as the true SEGASonic canon, and not just pretend it never existed if it doesn’t come out perfect with a capital P. I have faith that SEGA are gonna do everything they can to make it as perfect as possible.

    I still do have this horrible feeling though, that Sonic 4 Episode 1 needs to be given some kind of patch or re-release. Because they’ve set my expectations quite high here, and there are just some thing in Sonic 4 episode 1 that don’t make sense any more, now that we’ve got Generations on the way and this important plot-fixer with the re-release of Sonic CD.

  4. So I guess Episode 2 is going to have a story, then.

    To me, the lack of story in Episode 1 made it feel really out of place as a sequel to Sonic 3 & Knuckles, which had one of the best stories in the series, IMO. Even Sonic 1 had a cutscene (at the end of Scrap Brain Zone Act 2), but Episode 1 had nothing. It’s good to know that won’t be the case next time. Hopefully there’ll be some original stage designs and Badniks instead of just recycled ones, too.

      1. Oh yeah, I forgot about that one. Still, that just means the story is almost on par with Sonic 1. A slight step down, since the cutscene makes no sense (good thing somebody happened to leave a space rocket primed for launch in the middle of this field!). And a massive step down from S3&K.

    1. Well, Sonic CD, even though it was released after Sonic 2, didn’t concentrate on Chaos Emeralds at all. There are the Time Stones, but the only difference between collecting them or not is the ending, that’s it. No Super transformation.

  5. at least SEGA are now seeming to look back and trying to sort out the cannon, be great if one day (i doubt it) Knuckles Chaotix was looked at for a re-release, after all it does take place straight after Sonic 3 & Knuckles right?

  6. Am I the only one that doesn’t care how the plot-free (or at least plot-light) early games slot together? Going back and trying to string them all together as if there was always some intended, overarching continuity is very George Lucas-like…

    Back when I played those games as a kid all I cared was that I was Sonic and I jumped on Robotnik’s head. That’s still all I care about now. I don’t think the Mario fanbase care about how their games slot together (at least I hope they don’t), because they’re platformers with either no plot or a standalone plot intended to get the player to the end of the game, and thrown away. That’s how I see Sonic, and to pretend there was always a masterplan when it comes to the plot seems a bit silly to me.

    1. The Japanese versions of the classic Sonic games had plots, as the manuals came with lengthy prologues for each game, and yes, they were all connected (well… Sonic 1, 2, 3, & Knuckles were, anyway… CD had a stand-alone plot, but now it looks like it’ll be connected Sonic 4).

    2. Just because you never looked deeper into it doesn’t mean nobody else is allowed to. I grew up on the Japanese versions, so the games were always plot-heavy for me, and trying to work out where the games go to make the best sense is half the fun.

      The Mario fanbase don’t care a great deal about Mario plot because Nintendo have never cared a great deal about Mario plot. Sonic isn’t Mario. Sonic games have always had a great deal of backstory. Even the Japanese Sonic 1 manual has a good few pages of backstory on the plot, and that game has the smallest plot in the series.

      I find it ironic that there are so many comments saying “FANS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO CARE ABOUT THE PLOT” on a news post about a video of a SEGA EMPLOYEE talking about how much SEGA cares about the plot. XD

      1. If the Japanese games were plot-heavy… maybe they should let us western fans know what these plots are if they’re going to be so important?! This is the first I’ve heard of this. I trust you can see my confusion?

        My main point still stands. Nearly none of the Sonic GAMES are interconnected, so fans shouldn’t get worked up over a timeline. I can think of another similar scenario – Zelda – and look where that left them.

        1. Hm, maybe I’m getting a bit too worked up over this. My opinion remains the same, but they’re just video games. You play them your way and I’ll play them my way. Sorry.

        2. Actually, the only Sonic games Sonic Team worked on which AREN’T connected to any others are Unleashed and Colours as far as I can see. Sonic 2, 3 and Sonic & Knuckles flow seamlessly into each other, and events from them and Sonic CD are referenced in Sonic Adventure at various points. Sonic Adventure 2 is connected to Adventure in its references to Lost World and the explanation of how Tails got a Chaos Emerald, Sonic Heroes’ Dark Team story requires you to have played SA2 to understand what the heck’s going on, other teams make frequent references to older games and Metal Sonic comes back for the first time since CD. Sonic Battle references Adventure through Gamma and Chaos, and Rouge comments that Gamma looks like Omega, connecting it to Heroes. Shadow’s game makes no sense without Adventure 2 and Heroes. Advance 3 is connected to Battle through Gemerl, being Eggman’s own take on Emerl. Even Sonic 2006 is connected to Heroes, finally filling in the reason that Omega was built and left sealed up with Shadow.

          So yeah, there’s a hell of a lot of continuity. The stuff above just scratches the surface.

          1. My argument was mainly concerned with the classic games. But even with the modern games, the plots are more-or-less stand-alone (with the exception of most things involving Shadow). The rest is just minor references and hints to other games. My point was the majority of the stories in the games can be understood perfectly without any knowledge of the others (again, Shadow does complicate things, but that was an era where Sonic Team thought complex plotlines were the way to go). But my argument was about classic games.

            With the classic games, sure, Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles are essentially the same game, but the only thing (WITHIN the game) that connects Sonic 2 to the other two is the inclusion of the Death Egg. And they are two very different Death Eggs. That’s about as substantial as saying there are similar badniks in the two games.

            Anyway, I refer you to my previous post.

          2. Not exactly… Sonic 2, 3&K are all essentially one long story. Sonic blows up the Death Egg at the end of Sonic 2, it crashes down on to Angel Island, forcing it down into the water… and Sonic 3 happens. Even the English version tells us that much. This is why Sonic CD can’t happen between Sonic 2 and 3, going on the information that Sega gave us there is just no time there for it to happen.

    3. That because most of the mario games can be pieced together. Mario bros 3 flows to World, then World 2 is a prequel to Mario Bros 1. 64 is the spiritual sequel to World and Sunshine is the spiritual sequel to 64. Galaxy is the spiritual sequel to sunshine and Galaxy 2 is a direct sequel but a retecon on the first galaxy game. The only place where it get fuzzy is with mario bros 2 which japan and the US have different versions. Ironic that both Mario and Sonic have their second game being split for both regions.

  7. GOD!!! everyone is making such a big fuss over this silly thing….Get the fuck over it

  8. Seriously, choose which way works for you and take it! Not all the games have a cut and dried place. Personally, I like placing CD after Sonic 1, then repeating it between sonic 4 episodes 1 and 2, simply because of the trailer. Thatshow I like it.

    1. hell they might as well say, cd came after s3&k and then went to sonic 4 and the return of metal sonic….and do people really ask how metal sonic was brought back??? EASY- Robotnik rebuild him, plane and simple

  9. Like I said in an earlier post… people are having waaaaay to much time and less a life… it is a silly game, why making a religion out of it? Just play the stupid game and be happy! Honestly, this is insane.

  10. random here.. yes. But i just watched a sonic generation interview where when asked the platforms, accidentally said pc first, then stopped, and said um..ps3, like thats what he was trying to say. I think it’ll be announced for pc soon, with some crazy extra feature

      1. wat the heck?l.. its not up anymore and its only been like 10 hours… im gonna try looking around for it

        1. I lol’d so hard.

          “The platforms it will be are pc-PS3! and Xbox 360.”

          Hardcore Fail. XD

  11. Soo if that Picnic screenshot *WAS* for the 3DS then Silver and Shadow Might not have appeared because they were sucked up by the time eater which means In the 3DS version they might add Sweet Mountain and boss fight Silver and lol if its a Rush game you already know the boss is Blaze and lets see *IF they decide to put in a stage from Sonic Adventure 2 for the 3DS then im counting on Radical Highway>Speed Highway and boss as Shadow to keep up the bosses for both versions at least

  12. I`m loving this connection between Sonic 4 and CD Sega is making, it makes Sonic 4 look more integrated with the original storyline. Also, i found it very creative. And there`s still Generations coming out this year. As a Sonic fan I`m incredibly excited for the series!

    1. I totally agree. I think people are taking episode 1 too seriously as its just a return to form setting up for the main plot. Im totally stoked on episode 2 and I think it will blow everyone away. I also love how they are tying it in with CD.

  13. I gotta say, aside from some funky Sonic 4 physics which upset some people… Generations, Colours, the ‘good half’ of Unleashed, and now Sonic CD is coming back, and being given a sequel and worked properly into the timeline? Sonic rocks again!

  14. The main reason CD is being brought back is for new generations to play it and what better way to make them play it then connect it to Sonic 4 that the new generations are probly playing, New generations hate most old games so this is a way to make them play it, its like Classic films there re-released in cinemas to get new generations to watch them hence why The Lion king is coming back with Digtial 3D this october.

  15. Take that! now the US track has license Issues! I love this! The US Track was never a track, as it didn’t even had the past versions! the past versions in the US track were clearly the Japanese Past tracks untouched. Meaning the US version had nothing on the Japanese track and was a rush job. The Japanese track was how the game was supposed to be seen or in this case “heard”. The USA track was a fake! im glad they treated it how it should’ve been treated! heck the US manual called Amy “princess Sally” in the manual that’s how bullsh*t the USA version was!


  16. Sonic CD isn’t available for download on Wii ware because it exceeds the data limit (due to the cd quality sound, it had a high memory count

  17. People need to realize that its Sega is not to blame for it not coming out on Wii and also realize that their only big next gen console has LIMITATIONS and SAVE UP for an Xbox 360 or PS3. They have gone majorly down in price, the Wii and 360 have both been out for like 5 years.
    People have had five years to save up.
    If you want THE BEST gaming experience, get the console with THE LEAST limitations.
    The Wii, is no powerhouse, people should of expected things like this.
    I am both a Xbox and Wii lover, so I am not ripping on Wii.

  18. Surely when he says prequel. He means precursor.

    Because Prequel implies Sonic CD was made after Sonic 4 but set before Sonic 4. Which is just not true.

    Whereas Precursor says that Sonic CD was made before Sonic and set before Sonic 4.

    Not his fault of course.

  19. Sorry for the mix-up, guys. Won’t happen again. And yeah, he shouldn’t be saying prequel, but rather predecessor or precursor. That’s what had me partly confused, in the first place! Good thing I got him to clear this up for Retro (and you guys, as well).

  20. Of course. They HAVE to make a reference to Star Wars. It’s not like the whole DEATH EGG saga was referencing the entire series. XD

  21. Sonic CD obviously takes place before the “Death Egg saga” i.e. Sonic 2, 3 & Knuckles. The ending of Sonic 2 you see Super Sonic and Tails flying over the ocean, only to later end up on Angel Island and get ambushed by Knuckles right at the start of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. So it makes no sense to fit Sonic CD between those games. Most likely after Sonic 1 during the time Sonic was still going solo. Why is this hard?

  22. My money is on the idea that SEGA will add Super Sonic to this new Sonic CD! Stardust Speedway as Super? O.o

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