TSS Roundtable: Our Hopes and Expectations for Sonic Mania

It’s the final weekend before Sonic Mania is released, and boy has this been a game that a lot of fans have been waiting a long time for. A pure sequel to Sonic 3 & Knuckles is what a lot of people have asked for, and this collaborative effort between Christian Whitehead, HeadCannon, PagodaWest Games and SEGA aims to fulfil just that. So, with that in mind, what does our Sonic Stadium team think of the project, and what are our collective hopes and expectations for the game? Take a look, below.

Disclosure: A couple of TSS staffers have excused themselves from opining in this article due to already having played Sonic Mania and as a result are busy preparing review content. We thought if we’d included these guys, it’d be a little unfair (and we just can’t talk about review-level material just yet). Read on!

Hero of Legend

What am I looking forward to in Sonic Mania? What are my thoughts? Truth be told, I was never hugely excited for it. Sonic Forces (until recently) was my greater focus just because I prefer the 3D games (odd I know). But actually, Sonic Mania’s looking pretty good right about now. I’ve tried keeping myself in the dark, bar the early stuff or whatever pops up on sites I visit (like the special stage), but really I think I’ve only seen maybe 10% of the game, and even the music I’ve kept myself in the dark about deliberately. I mean, it’s likely a short-but-sweet-experience, so I may as well.

Overall, I’m curious and pretty interested, but not as feverishly as I know many fans are. Maybe it’ll blow my mind. I’ll have to wait and see!

Doctor MK

I can’t believe it’s been twelve long months since I first got to play the demo of Sonic Mania at Summer of Sonic 2016 – but, at last, the wait for the finished product is almost over. My excitement for Sonic games tends to come in peaks and troughs, but with Mania, I’d say I’ve been pretty consistently hyped from start to finish. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about the creative potential for a new Sonic title since Colours (a game that ironically came out the same year as Sonic 4, a retro throwback which Mania looks to supersede in almost every way).

I can’t wait to see what classic zones make a comeback, and what original twists they’ve been given to make them feel fresh. I also can’t wait to see what crazy new stages Christian Whitehead and his team have come up with – Studiopolis has already cemented itself as an instant classic. But, above all else, I think I’m just really looking forward to enjoying a true nostalgic celebration of what made Sonic the Hedgehog so iconic in the first place. After years and years of hit-and-miss quality, it’ll be nice to (hopefully) have a game that brings everyone together in universal agreement.

Everything I’ve seen so far suggests that Mania is going to be something very, very special indeed – and as the countdown nears its end, I can only hope that it lives up to the lofty expectations we’ve all set for it.

Brad

I’ll be the first to admit that my engagement with Sonic has dwindled in recent years. A lack of coherent brand identity and questionable production values of titles in years gone by make it difficult for me to distinguish what kind of identity Sonic Team want their titular mascot to have. With Forces, it seems we’re taking yet another thematic curve with plenty of questionable design choices already bubbling to the surface.

In a way, this inadvertently skyrockets my excitement for what Mania will bring to the table; a self assured video game which knows exactly what it wants to be. With reputable fans-turned-developers heading the project with a healthy portfolio (that you can search and play right now), it’s difficult not to get excited – and for once I can confidently expect an experience I know will be amazing. For a franchise with ups and downs like this one, it’s a feeling I’ll happily embrace.

Jason

When I first saw Sonic Mania, it was being announced live at the Sonic 25th Anniversary party last year. And from what had I seen and played of the early demos, my thoughts were that it could either be a great homage/sequel to the 16-bit classics, or an over-glorified fan-game with a budget. Kind of a 50/50 chance of either happening, to be honest.

Almost a year later at E3, and I was made a believer after playing the latest demo! Mirage Saloon is an absolute blast to play; and with the drip-feed of soundtrack samples and game play videos over the past few months keeping the hype alive, Tuesday really can’t come soon enough! The game looks like a love letter to the 90’s era of Sonic, only with tons of little improvements here and there. Sonic Forces looks like it’s going to be okay, but Sonic Mania is just blowing me away!

Sonic’s coming back in a way it hasn’t been seen in 20 years! Color me hyped!

VEJD-F

There’s a very strong likelihood that I’m the only staff member who doesn’t have much enthusiasm for Sonic Mania. Despite being born and having my early childhood in the correct era to be a Classic child, the only one of the classic four I actually like is Sonic 2. In comes Sonic Mania, with its overall base philosophies across the board derived primarily from Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic CD, and it just doesn’t seem an enticing prospect for me.

Coupled with the fact that what I played of Studiopolis at Summer of Sonic last year seemed rather disorganised in terms of level design, as well as that that most of the soundtrack so far hasn’t really grabbed my attention (which is a shame because I love Tee Lopes’ work usually), and the result is that… I’ve just not been pulled into the hype machine, even though SEGA is trying to reach a lot of long-time fans.

I’m sure those who are more into those games will have a good time, and it’ll probably score and review well enough, but this is one speedway I’m not riding out.

VizardJeffhog

Comical (but unfortunate) livestream tech issues aside, I can still vividly recall how I felt as the reveal trailer played out at the House of Blues last year: intrigued, as it began to walk through Sonic’s 25-year history; excited, as the footage rewound with “Checkpoint” building up the tension; floored, as my eyes grew wide in recognition of the names of Christian Whitehead, Simon Thomley and PagodaWest Games; finally, lost in a cocktail of childish glee as I shouted out in surprise and hollered in euphoric hype at the sight of old school Sonic blazing through familiar and unfamiliar territory. I also might’ve cried. Might have. Probably. Maybe. Definitely.

In any case, as someone who loved playing Sonic 3 & Knuckles on Sonic Mega Collection while growing up, adored the Taxman and Stealth remasters of the classics, and jammed to Tee Lopes’ audio gems over the years, Sonic Mania is quite possibly everything I ever could have wanted in a true return-to-form Sonic game. I can hardly wait to spend innumerable hours immersing myself in everything this game has to offer! Just a few more days!!!

Hogfather

The level design, the music, the humour, the intricate details pouring from it… Absolutely everything about Mania so far has been pretty much perfect. It has everything going for it to become a modern classic – and dare I say a serious GOTY contender?


So there you have it! A whole range of thoughts there from our Sonic Stadium team. What do you think? Do you agree with any of the above? Do you have your own thoughts and hopes for Sonic Mania? Let us know in the comments section below!

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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.

2 Comments

  1. Ive got a big fat ticket on the hype train, but reading these especially VEJD-F’s comments have made me take a bit of a step back, as Sonic 2 is definitely my favourite Sonic game as well.

    So I’m still super excited for Tuesday, but maybe with a bit more of a twinge of trepidation than I did have.

  2. Honestly for most of us, this will be game of the year, and we should be as famously vocal as ever to make sure it gets nominated

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