Headcannon studio developer Simon Thomley (aka Stealth) has expressed dissatisfaction with his experience working with SEGA on the recently-released Sonic Origins, claiming that the publisher made modifications to his work that led to the existence of bugs and glitches in the game.
“This is frustrating. I won’t lie and say that there weren’t issues in what we gave to Sega, but what is in Origins is also not what we turned in,” Thomley wrote in an extensive Twitter thread. “Integration introduced some wild bugs that conventional logic would have one believe were our responsibility- a lot of them aren’t.
“Regarding Origins, we were outsiders creating a separate project that was then wrangled into something entirely different. We knew going in that there would be a major time crunch and we worked ourselves into the ground to meet it just so this would even be made and released.
“Again, I can take responsibility for my and my team’s mistakes, and there were some. Some actual mistakes, some overlooking, some rushjobs, some stuff we noticed but weren’t allowed to correct near the end. It’s absolutely not perfect and some of it is from us. It’s complicated.
“I’m extremely proud of my team for their performance under such pressure, but every one of us is very unhappy about the state of Origins and even the Sonic 3 component. We weren’t too thrilled about its pre-submission state either but a lot was beyond our control.
“We asked to do major fixes near submission but weren’t allowed due to submission and approval rules. We asked about delays early and repeatedly but were told they weren’t possible. We offered to come back for post-release fixes and updates- we do not yet know if this is happening.”
Thomley’s studio was contracted to develop a new version of Sonic 3 & Knuckles using the Retro Engine for Sonic Origins. SEGA’s internal studio was responsible for the rest of the compilation’s development, licensing the Retro Engine from Whitehead’s Evening Star studio and modifying it to create new content and features in Sonic 1, 2 and CD such as the drop dash and Mission Modes.
But according to Thomley, SEGA’s involvement also included reworking Sonic 3 & Knuckles builds submitted to them by Headcannon, which left the door open to gameplay changes. “[SEGA] made major modifications to the build we did submit, Some Origins-related, some not. It affected some of our work… [the] changes to our submission changed how it performed.”
Sonic Origins was released on Thursday and is an anniversary package containing enhanced versions of Sonic the Hedgehog’s major 16-bit adventures – Sonic 1, Sonic CD, Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It received a pretty positive critical reception – including from The Sonic Stadium.
However, a pocket of dedicated fans have taken to chronicling the glitches they have experienced in the compilation since it launched (you can see a thread about this on Sonic Retro, here), so it is possible that Thomley made the statement in response to a lot of this kind of feedback.
So far there has been no response from SEGA on the matter, although it is worth noting that a Day 1 patch was issued for Sonic Origins (at least on PlayStation consoles), although it is difficult to ascertain what it fixed. Hopefully there are more patches coming from the team in the future.
Editor’s Note: During The Sonic Stadium’s time with the game for review, which was based on the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 version, we encountered no game-breaking bugs or significant glitches that hampered the play experience – this experience, which we acknowledge is not shared by others, was the basis for our 5-Star score.