Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has confirmed to The Sonic Stadium that the recently-announced Mega Drive/Genesis classics compilation, Sonic Origins, won’t be a simple emulation job – opening up the possibility for games like Sonic 3 & Knuckles to include reworked visuals and gameplay features.
Sonic Origins was officially announced during SEGA’s Sonic Central livestream, and offers a selection of classic 16-bit platformers from Sonic the Hedgehog’s history: Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic CD. The trailer caught a lot of buzz for showcasing some of the games in 16:9 widescreen – suggesting that Christian Whitehead’s iOS and Android remakes of these titles will feature in the collection.
In an exclusive interview with The Sonic Stadium, Iizuka revealed that more work is going into Sonic Origins than fans might expect, when compared to past retro compilations such as Sonic Mega Collection and SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection.
“I am pleased to see the positive reaction to Sonic Origins – it exceeded my expectation. I wanted to bring back Sonic 3 & Knuckles since I personally worked on that title, so we planned to announce this title around the timing of the 30th Anniversary,” Iizuka explained.
“I’m not able to speak to the product details yet, but I can tell you that this will not be a compilation title running off emulation. We are planning on supporting a 16:9 full screen game for ease of play. For anyone that hasn’t played any of those original games, Sonic Origins will be perfect for you.”
Classic game preservation has become a hot topic in recent years, particularly with modern home consoles being unable to play certain titles from past generations. While this makes Sonic Origins (and the Sonic Colours remaster) a welcome release for today’s audience, there are also many older Sonic games locked to old hardware.
When asked about other potential candidates for SEGA to bring back – ranging from the more esoteric and rare titles such as the Sonic Advance series, SEGASonic the Hedgehog arcade or Knuckles’ Chaotix – Iizuka told The Sonic Stadium that his team is exploring options to re-introduce more games from Sonic’s back catalogue to a wider audience.
“With the huge success of the [Sonic] movie last year, we have an opportunity to get more people interested in Sonic who didn’t know him before,” Iizuka revealed. “That opportunity was the reason why we planned for Sonic Colors Ultimate and Sonic Origins, to present some legacy content to this new audience. While we haven’t locked down all our plans yet, there are so many great Sonic games from the past 30 years that can’t be played on modern hardware, so we would love to explore bringing more of those legacy titles out to entertain a new audience.”
Catch the full exclusive interview with Iizuka-san, only on The Sonic Stadium on June 23rd.