Iizuka Confirms Second Wave of Sonic Content in 2023, Beyond Frontiers DLC

Every year, Famitsu published brief interviews with various video game developers on their hopes and plans for the coming year. This year, Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka was among the 141 devs interviewed, who hinted at what would be in store for Sonic in 2023:

“This past year was the biggest year in Sonic history, including the release of the movie sequel, new titles Sonic Origins and Sonic Frontiers, and the Netflix animation Sonic Prime. We are preparing a second wave to keep the fans happy and maintain that momentum going into 2023. We already announced additional content for Sonic Frontiers, but there is a lot more outside of that, so please look forward to it.”

So it sounds like there is a lot of unannounced Sonic stuff planned for 2023! We already know about a mobile Sonic game currently in development over at SEGA Hardlight. If anything else is coming this year, we’ll know soon enough.

Translation via Gematsu

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TSS (Mini) Review: Sonic Prime’s First Episode Sets Up a Character Driven, Action-Packed Adventure

Sonic Prime’s road to release has been excessively weird for me to experience as a Sonic Stadium writer, with an exceptionally strange advertising campaign. Yet I never for a moment thought that this show would make me watch its first episode inside a semi-official Sonic game built within a game making app. But it did, so I might as well talk about it! And my verdict on that episode?

It’s good!

The first episode, titled “Shattered,” sets up a character-driven adventure, that’s full of extremely well-animated action and is easily the most game-accurate version of the blue blur’s world ever put to screen. The writing, which is handled by Man of Action Studios, has plenty of heart, and while the humor isn’t usually laugh out loud funny, it’s also never painful. There’s solid drama and character moments to be had here, giving even non-Sonic fans something to get invested in.  Ultimately, Sonic Prime reminds me of some of MoA’s better shows, more along the lines of Ben 10: Alien Force then Ultimate Spider-man.

What I find most interesting about the episode is that it pretty explicitly sets up an arc for Sonic. Here, Sonic is arrogant and cocky, and clearly takes his friends for granted. In essence, Sonic has notable character flaws now! I’m sure some Sonic fans will take issue with this change, especially given that this is supposed to be canon to the games, but if Sonic Prime is going to work as a story focused on drama and character, it needs a way for its main character to develop! 

Prime gives this version of Sonic a way to positively grow and change as a person, without changing him so fundamentally that he doesn’t feel like Sonic anymore. And really, he does still feel like Sonic. Plenty of media in both the west and Japan has portrayed Sonic with a cocky attitude, but even now he is still incredibly confident in his abilities. Prime Sonic also still loves his friends and adventure, and has a great time kicking Eggman’s butt. Prime Sonic is still Sonic, just maybe…a little less mature. Or maybe he’s grown overconfident after years of effortlessly besting Eggman. I don’t know, my personal head canon doesn’t have much issue linking Sonic Prime with the existing games & comics canon. This doesn’t feel like whole new version of Sonic, but more like a version of game/IDW Sonic who is in a different place in his life.

Aside from Sonic himself, Tails is the clear focus of Shattered, and he is great. In fact, this is probably my favorite version of Tails ever put to screen. Prime Tails feels absolutely dead-on to his game counterpart, a fine mix of brother-in-arms and boy genius sidekick. Once we get to the dystopian universe, Tails’ counterpart “Nine” takes center stage, giving us a look at a tragic version of the character who didn’t have Sonic around to help him growing up. The juxtaposition between Tails and Nine is interesting to see, and the revelation of what happened to Nine without Sonic, and Sonic’s reaction to it, is truly heartbreaking. Tails and Sonic’s brotherly bond is the heart of this episode, and if this is how Sonic Prime will be treating Sonic’s interactions with his other friends, we are in for some truly great stuff once the full show launches tomorrow.

We don’t see much of Sonic’s other friends and enemies, but they also seem to be pretty accurate to their game counterparts, though Knuckles’ guardianship of the Master Emerald is left ambiguous. The show treats Knuckles just like Sonic’s other friends: a protector of Green Hill. Hopefully, his lore won’t be ignored once the show turns its focus to him. Dr. Eggman’s great, and anyone who was disappointed by how much more subdued he was in Frontiers will love how consistently over-the-top he is in Prime.

Shattered’s got peak mad scientist Eggman, complete with his usual “messing with powers he does not understand” schtick. And “The Council” of Eggmen we get in the dystopian universe, while not especially interesting as foils to Eggman, is at least fun. Amy and Rouge are also solid, though aside from the superb performances from their voice actors, we don’t get much.

Speaking of voice acting, this may very well be the most consistent cast we’ve ever gotten in a Sonic property since at least the days of Sonic SatAM. Devin Mack is an excellent Sonic, practically a middle ground between Roger Craig Smith and Ben Schwarz. He’s got great emotive range, which is key to some of the best moments in this show. Really, in terms of the quality of their performances, this goes for just about everybody. Ashleigh Ball’s Tails and Shannon Chan-Kent’s Amy Rose are both great, and Kazumi Evan’s Rouge may very well be the best the character has ever sounded. Vincent Tong’s Knuckles is solid, though his voice does sound a little…too deep, though I suspect I’ll get used to it as the show goes on. Top all this off with Brian Drummond’s wonderfully bombastic performance, and Sonic Prime truly feels like it has an all-star cast.

Finally…we have the animation. Wildbrain has bragged about using Sonic Prime to refine their CG animation to movie quality and…yeah, I can tell. Even through Roblox’s weird compression and color issues, this show looks great. It is a genuine shame I had to experience it for the first time this way, because a Sonic show has never looked this good before. The models are gorgeous, and the sheer fluidity of the movement of everything in this is simply superb. The body language, the expressions, the action, it all animates so beautifully in a way that we rarely see in CG animation made for TV. While it is possible that the other episodes won’t look this good, Shattered leaves a heck of a first impression.

So, I’ve had a lot of positive things to say about Sonic Prime’s first episode so far…but I do have some issues. In addition to the humor not always landing, the story makes one very odd choice: it chooses to center everything around Green Hill. Sonic doesn’t protect the world, he protects Green Hill. Eggman isn’t seeking to conquer the world, but transform Green Hill into a technological dystopia. Sonic opens the show talking about how great Green Hill is. When Sonic is transported to the dystopian universe, he realizes this by recognizing multiple Green Hill locations. Green Hill is pretty clearly the primary location where all these characters operate, which is strange considering even in the first game Sonic traveled across an entire island of locations, of which Green Hill was just one.

It seems pretty clear that Sonic Prime is trying to simplify aspects of the lore to ease in non-Sonic fans, much like the first Sonic movie did. Even so, obsessing over Green Hill as the location simply feels like an odd choice. It seems the show is trying to utilize Sonic’s emotional investment in the location to more effectively invest viewers, but that simply doesn’t seem necessary when Sonic’s friends being changed and transported into a dystopia is enough on its own.

Ultimately though, this one complaint of mine isn’t likely to ruin the show, especially given that we will still be seeing loads of different locations, pirate universe included. Honestly, it’s genuinely nice seeing Green Hill in a Sonic cartoon for the first time, and even though the lore feels simplified, this still manages to feel like an adventure straight out of the games, which is something I’ve never been able to say about a Sonic show before!

On the whole, Sonic Prime has left a very good first impression on me. I’ve watched every Sonic show to ever release since I was a kid in the 90s, but I’ve only ever enjoyed two of them: Sonic SatAM & Sonic Boom. Sonic Prime not only seems set to join that shortlist, it at least feels like it has the potential to be at the top of it. I eagerly await the first batch of episodes!

Sonic Prime’s first 8 episodes will release tomorrow, on December 15. We will have a proper review of all 8 episodes at a later date.

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Sonic Frontiers Sells 2.5 Million, Becoming One of the Fastest Selling Sonic Games of All Time

SEGA has confirmed that Sonic Frontiers has sold over 2.5 million units worldwide since its release on November 8, making it the best selling Sonic game in more then a decade, despite only being out a month. In fact, Frontiers has already managed to sell 43% of what Sonic games as a whole managed to sell during the entirety of SEGA’s previous fiscal year. What’s more impressive, Frontiers is also among the fastest selling mainline Sonic games of all time.

While old sales data can be difficult to find, it appears Sonic Frontiers is the second-fastest selling Sonic game ever, only sitting behind Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which sold 3.2 million cartridges in two weeks. At the very least, it’s up there.

With numbers like these, Sonic Frontiers is an inarguable success. The next question is whether or not the game will have legs.

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Sonic Prime’s First Episode Debuting on Roblox’s Sonic Simulator Dec 10

Sonic Prime has certainly had an…interesting media cycle since Netflix accidentally announced it early nearly two years ago. That seems set to continue with how its first episode will debut: within the Sonic Roblox game, Sonic Simulator.

The episode will premiere within the game at 10AM EST/7AM PST on December 10, in what’s been coined a “Global Virtual Premiere Event.” This announcement came via Netflix’s Twitter account.

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Sonic Frontiers Marks a Paradigm Shift in Sonic Game Storytelling

Editor’s Note: MASSIVE STORY SPOILERS are in this article.

I loved Sonic game stories when I was a kid. I loved their bigness, the way they gave the game world a sense of history and tragedy. As someone who hadn’t yet played any JRPGs, they were unlike anything I had ever experienced in a game before. It was so cool being taken into the past and seeing Knuckles’ people, the chaos emeralds and the strange creature that once protected them, the young echidna girl who befriended that creature, and the tragic way it all ended. And while Sonic Adventure 2’s story didn’t dig nearly as deep into the world’s past, I loved the tragedy of Shadow, Maria, and Gerald, the mysteriousness surrounding the Ark and its own connections to Chaos and the emeralds, and how it ended with everyone coming together and putting a stop to a sympathetic revenge plot 50 years in the making. That was then, of course.

These days, it’s much more difficult for me to enjoy those stories without rose-tinted glasses. And the stories that came after…never held the same magic for me. Heroes, Shadow, Sonic 06 were all terrible, and on the rare occasion they weren’t (such as the Rush games) they felt smaller. Maybe I was growing out of them, but I think the real answer is far simpler: Sonic’s stories never had cohesion or direction from game to game, and that ultimately caused them to fall apart. But just as Sonic games were hitting what felt like their narrative low point with Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, I was in the midst of being enthralled by Archie Sonic’s newest headwriter: Ian Flynn.

Flynn worked some absolute magic with that comic. I had been a reader since 1995, but by 2006 I had dropped the comics due to my displeasure with where the stories were going. Ian Flynn managed to impress with his very first issue, 160, and from that point on he rarely produced a dud throughout his run. Over the course of a year, he repaired years of damage done to the comic’s narrative. He recontextualized poorly written characterization, retroactively turning it into part of a character’s arc, or using it to fuel drama that simultaneously makes it feel in-character and gives it a satisfying conclusion. Sonic, Tails, and Sally were all major benefactors of this, but nearly everyone in the comic’s cast got a moment.

Archie Tails had been on the receiving end of some bad stories for a few years before this

I hadn’t seen these characters written this well in years, and I felt like I was welcoming old friends home.  “Why can’t the games be written like this?” I began to ask myself, “Why can’t they just hire Ian Flynn?” Extraordinarily, 15 years later, I have finally gotten my wish. And just as I had hoped, Ian Flynn has done the same thing for the games that he did for the comics all those years ago. Sonic and company are back. No, scratch that: they have finally arrived.

Sonic Frontiers is easily the most well-written Sonic game I’ve ever played. The dialogue has that patented Flynn charm, with solid interactions between Sonic and everyone he comes into contact with. We’ve got genuinely funny jokes, extraordinarily well-written heart-felt moments, and an overall tone that can still be light, but is often quite somber. On top of all that, every character aside from Sonic himself gets some sort of arc. 

Character arcs have never really been a strong suit of Sonic games. While they certainly happen, they can often be poorly written and are only occasionally well-executed. That Frontiers has five of them, and that they are  mostly  well done, is certainly a feat. They each leave the characters in a different place from where they’ve been for years, or even decades.

At the start, everyone is more or less where you’d expect them to be. Amy and Tails are tagging along with Sonic, Dr. Eggman is focused purely on his next take-over-the-world scheme, and Knuckles just wants to guard the Master Emerald. Over the course of the game, through their interactions with the Koco and Sonic, Amy, Tails and Knuckles all go through a change. The Kocos, which are essentially spirits of an ancient race trapped and troubled by the struggles they faced before death, act as conduits for character development, their arcs reflecting the struggles of Sonic’s friends.

Amy, who was once long characterized by her one-sided love-affair with Sonic, is driven to help a Koco find their lost love. By the end of it, she sees a love that transcended time, and decides she needs to share her own love with the world by going on her own adventure away from Sonic. Knuckles helps an army of Kocos trying to fight “the enemy.” Upon witnessing the destruction of their civilization he makes the connection between the Koco and his own people’s tragic past. For the first time I can recall, Knuckles expresses genuine regret over his lonely lot in life as the last of his kind. Sonic pulls him out of his funk by reminding him that he’s got his friends, leading to a truly heartfelt conversation that ends in Knuckles deciding to try out Sonic’s more adventurous lifestyle. Finally, we have Tails, who’s Koco…basically experiences Tails’ story in Sonic Forces. Yeah: this game’s story decides to deal with Tails’ worst moments in the franchise.

I think it’s fair to say the games haven’t really done much with Tails since the original Sonic Adventure, which saw him overcoming his fears, facing down Eggman, and saving Station Square from him. Since then…Tails has more or less remained static, rarely leaving Sonic’s side after Sonic Adventure 2 and more or less returning to the “sidekick who follows him around” role. But then we had Forces, where we go from character stagnation to character  regression. Here, Tails “lost it” after Sonic’s defeat and Eggman’s near total takeover of the planet, something which effectively reversed one of the only bits of development Tails ever got. 

So when it came time for Frontiers to give Tails his arc, Flynn pulled the same hat trick that worked so well in Archie: he took Tails’ decades of stagnation, his low point in Forces, and the many times he came through and melded it all together into Tails’ growth into a hero. This all ends up giving him the strongest and most defined arc in the game, and the plot’s best moments. Tails’ entire arc is him dealing with the fact that despite the strides he’s taken to be his own hero, he still messes up and can still fall back into his own comfort zone. Tails essentially experiences imposter syndrome, ignoring everything he’s done to  earn  his place by Sonic’s because all he can think about are his own mistakes.

This just feels so right for Tails, a character who started out as a lonely bullied kid. It makes him feel more human and complex, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a Sonic game character before. The best and most interesting character arcs are the messy ones, the ones where characters get to mess up, regress, relearn lessons, and genuinely struggle to become the better version of themselves they want to be. With Tails’ arc put in that context, it effortlessly became the best part of Frontiers’ narrative. And what’s really wild is that this simply wouldn’t be possible without Forces’ terrible, terrible story. 

Outside of Sonic’s friends, the most well-defined arc in this game belongs to Dr. Eggman’s AI creation, Sage. While her arc is pretty thin and the weakest part of the entire game, she is able to do one thing no other Eggman companion has: bring out a different side of him. Indeed, I’d say one of Sonic Frontiers other  major accomplishments is showing us a side of Eggman we’ve only gotten brief glimpses of before within the games.

Dr. Eggman isn’t  just  a guy with designs of world conquest, after all. He is a world class genius, a man of science, history, and engineering. Sonic Frontiers lets us see this other side of him, largely through its unlockable “Egg Memos.” The Egg Memos are the best contributions any game has given to Eggman’s character: he marvels at the Ancient’s technology, figures out the Starfall Islands’ numerous technological and archeological mysteries, develops a fatherly affection for Sage, and he even gives his honest thoughts on Sonic, Amy, Knuckles and Tails. We get to hear him talk himself into accepting that Sage is alive, because of course he is smart enough to create life! He even talks about his cousin Maria, and the jealousy he felt over her being given love from his family that he was denied, despite her being gone. These memos manage to give Eggman more depth than three decades of games ever did.

What’s even better about all this is that it feels very much in character for him. He still often talks about future schemes for world conquest, laughs maniacally, has a  very  high opinion of himself, disregards the insane risks his own plans pose, and even briefly, excitedly contemplates stealing a defenseless Master Emerald before remembering he’s trapped. His affection for Sage and feelings towards Maria and his own family feel like extensions of the Eggman we briefly saw at the end of Sonic Adventure 2, when he reminisced over his Grandpa Gerald and how he inspired him to become a scientist. Eggman was never a man totally incapable of love; it’s just something the games have almost never explored before. 

Unfortunately, as I said before, Sage’s own arc is thin. She shares just three-and-a-half minutes of screentime with Eggman, leaving their relationship feeling a pretty undercooked, though throwing the memos into the mix does help. But Sage’s relationship with Sonic fares a little better, as most of her actual development comes from observing and interacting with him. Sonic has brought many former adversaries into the fold, but Sage is one of the only ones whose change felt somewhat earned by the plot. Sage is consistently surprised by Sonic’s perseverance, moved by his friendships, and over the course of the game her interactions shift from cold indifference, to curiosity, to genuine respect. Unfortunately, the bulk of Sage’s interactions with Sonic still boil down to her telling him resistance is futile and refusing to explain anything to him, which can get a bit repetitive and boring.

Sonic Frontiers is, in many ways, the Sonic game story I’ve been waiting for for decades. It’s got the lore building of the Sonic Adventure games, the quality vocal performances expected of a modern game, and the writing of Flynn-era Archie and IDW comics. It’s still not entirely where I want it to be: Sage’s story is a bit weak, the tone of the story overshoots and is a little too serious and somber, and the lack of a larger cast leaves the world feeling empty. Future games will need to be willing to have longer cutscenes that give non-player characters like Eggman and Sage the screen time they need. They need to more effectively balance darker, more serious scenes with lighter moments and humor. Finally, future games  need  to have a larger cast, with more supporting and secondary characters in a livelier, more populated world. 

Despite these issues, Sonic Frontiers truly feels like the start of a golden era of Sonic game storytelling. The potential this game opens up for future stories has me genuinely excited! Just stick with Ian Flynn, SEGA, and maybe bring other IDW writers like Stanley and Barnes into the mix too. Give Sonic Team the budget to realize a story with even greater scope. Let what’s been built here flourish and grow, and most importantly, follow through on what this game sets up and let these characters change! 

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Netflix Shows a Little More Sonic Prime in New Trailer

We’ve got a new trailer for Netflix’s upcoming Sonic cartoon, Sonic Prime! This one shows even more alternate dimensions, and gives us some more hints at the exact nature of the story. We also get to hear a little more from the new cast!

Check it out below:

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Sonic Frontiers To Receive Multiple Free Content Updates Into 2023

Sonic Frontiers’ Monster Hunter DLC pack will be the first of several free downloadable content packs for the game. This news comes via a German language press release from PLAION, the PR firm that works for SEGA Europe, which confirmed that these DLC releases will continue into 2023.

The exact nature of these content updates have not been clarified, but the Japanese version of the game has already received downloadable content that includes a collaboration with Hololive Vtuber Inugami Korone and an emote animation that lets Sonic pretend to play football with the Koco.

You can find the full press release here.

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SEGA Hiring For Sonic Game Development

Just a week after the release of Sonic Frontiers, SEGA’s looking to hire new developers to work on future games in the franchise.

SEGA of Japan’s Twitter account made the announcement yesterday, saying it was “looking for people to work on the Sonic the Hedgehog series,” before linking to a job listing.

Whether this is an expansion of existing development capability, or filling in existing positions, is currently unknown.

via Twitter

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Sonic Frontiers Monster Hunter DLC Out Now

The Monster Hunter DLC for Sonic Frontiers is now available across all platforms! The DLC is free, and contains the Rathalos and Felyne Rathalos armor, as well as a meat cooking mini game. The mini game can be accessed via Big the Cat’s fishing spots.

Check out some video footage below:

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What I Want From Sonic Frontiers DLC

Sonic as a franchise has always been…strangely averse to DLC. In an era where a lot of single-player games can get loads of post-launch content, SEGA has remained rather stingy when it comes to Sonic. Maybe we get some level packs reusing in-game assets, or cosmetics, or if we’re really lucky, some new characters or a couple brand new levels, but we’ve never really gotten anything substantial, even when you’d think a game was built for it. I mean, who wouldn’t have wanted more classic levels re-imagined in Sonic Generations or Sonic Mania?

Continue reading What I Want From Sonic Frontiers DLC
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How Sonic Frontiers (Mostly) Gets Sonic Combat Right

Sonic has a…messy history with combat. Starting with Sonic Heroes, the franchise has made multiple attempts to make Sonic work in more combat-oriented games, often with disastrous results. Theoretically, having the player stop to fight enemies during a stage could be an effective way to add some variety to the gameplay while also extending playtime. In practice, however, focus on combat has served to do little more than break the pace of of any game they’re in, by forcing the player to stop and fight hordes of enemies with underbaked combat mechanics before they can progress. 

Sonic Frontiers is the first mainline Sonic game in more than a decade to have a focus on combat. Starting with Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Team (wisely) began to excise combat from Sonic’s platforming stages. By Sonic Colors, nary an enemy lifebar could be found outside of boss encounters, and that was how Sonic Team kept it until, well, now. As Sonic Frontiers seeks to yet again redefine what a Sonic game is, combat has again taken center stage, and for the first time ever…it is genuinely satisfying.

Sonic Frontiers gets a lot right in its combat: it’s polished, discourages button mashing, has solid defensive options, makes use of Sonic’s speed, let’s Sonic feel powerful, looks cool, and most importantly it feels good to play. At its most basic, mashing the X-button for Sonic’s basic combo gets the job done, at least for the easiest enemies. But as enemies become more complex in their capabilities and moves, that very quickly becomes not enough.

Aside from the basic combo, I personally like to divide Sonic’s combat options into four categories: offensive, defensive, ranged, and flashy. “Flashy” moves generally just add some visual variety and power to Sonic’s basic combo, such as the phantom rush (which happens automatically when the combo bar fills up) and wild rush. Ranged moves, like sonic boom, are good for hitting enemies from a distance while staying out of range of some of their attacks, and is good against enemies with area attack moves. 

The cyloop is the game’s offensive move: it allows you to quickly tear down enemy defenses, or delivery damage to multiple enemies without needing to hit them. It’s required for certain, defensive-centric enemies. Later, you can unlock an “auto-cyloop” which lets you pull off cyloops in the middle of combos to quickly take down a single enemy’s defense. Finally, we have the defensive moves: the dodge and the parry. The parry is easy to pull off, and can even be done in mid-air: just hold L1 & R1 and when the enemy attacks you’ll deflect them automatically. Dodges, meanwhile, let you avoid attacks all together, and when timed correctly, allow Sonic to dodge an attack, and move in quickly to deliver a combo attack. While there are certain situations which require these moves, the way you use these moves can also effect your overall playstyle.

For instance, if you like to play offensively and risky, like I do, you can use the cyloop a lot to not just take down enemy defenses, but keep them vulnerable to combos while delivering damage. However, using the cyloop can leave you vulnerable to attack, which can make a fight harder if you make a mistake. Cyloops can also interrupted by uneven terrain, or by area attacks, making it difficult or impractical in certain situations. Likewise, focusing on dodging and parrying, and only pulling off cyloops or combos when an enemy gives you an opening, can be easier, but also slower.

What I appreciate about Frontiers’ combat is that it gives you a decent amount of variety. It forces you to use all of its required moves, while also leaving you room for variety and strategy in how you approach any given enemy encounter. It feels like, for the first time ever, Sonic Team has genuinely put a lot of thought into how Sonic should fight. Even better: the encounters with the non-boss enemies are often quite short, once you rise above the base levels, meaning that combat rarely feels like a slog. And since it’s mostly optional, with none of the infamous enemy rooms of past games, you are largely free to set your own pace.

So the combat has variety, some amount of depth, and FEELS GOOD. So why do I say “mostly?” Well…much like Frontiers as a whole, while the combat is a lot of fun, it also feels like the foundation for something better. While I’m not a huge fan of the Unleashed werehog, it does get one thing right about its combat: it maps two separate kinds of attacks to different buttons, which can be used for a multitude of combos. I don’t really think Frontiers needs anything on the level of the werehog, but somewhere between that and where it is now would be a good sweet spot for the game’s combat, I think. More depth, to keep things from getting repetitive, but not so much so that the combat becomes too dense for people who are here for the platforming action and open world. It seems pretty clear that one goal with the combat was accessibility, since there’s even an unlockable autocombo option for more casual players.

As it stands, Frontiers has the most enthralling combat system I’ve ever experienced in a Sonic game. It blew away my (admittedly low) expectations, and I look forward to seeing what future Sonic games do with these mechanics. While I do think there is some value in keeping the combat more simplistic then, say, Bayonetta (this game doesn’t need to be an outright brawler), I do hope Sonic Team expands on this game’s combat with new moves and more complex combos in the future. Good on you, Sonic Team, you finally made Sonic combat fun! I will no longer look upon an enemy lifebar with dread.

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Kishimoto Confirms Sonic Frontiers Development Has Been Completed

The director of the upcoming Sonic Frontiers has announced on Twitter that the game has officially gone gold, with development now completed across all platforms.

Continue reading Kishimoto Confirms Sonic Frontiers Development Has Been Completed
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TSS Fan Game Review: Sonic Triple Trouble 16-bit is a Triumph

If you’re reading this, chances are you know that Sonic has a long, storied history in fan games. So much so, that the Sonic community has managed to keep an online event devoted to them – the Sonic Amateur Game Expo, or “SAGE” – going for more than two decades. That event, which is currently ongoing as of this review’s publication, has played host to some absolute bangers over the decades.

Continue reading TSS Fan Game Review: Sonic Triple Trouble 16-bit is a Triumph
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Numskull to Release the Ultimate Duckform: Shadow and Amy TUBBZ Collectible Rubber Duckies Incoming!

Well, if you like those TUBBZ collectible rubber duckies from Numskull, I’ve got some good news: they’re making more!

Both Shadow and Amy are being brought into the TUBBZ-verse, with Shadow holding a chaos emerald and Amy wielding her trusty hammer.

Check out images of both below:

Both hedgeducks (duckhogs?) are being listed for $29.99 over at Fun.com, with a release date of December 15, 2022. Though its possible either of these could be placeholders.

via Sonic Merch News

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Sonic Frontiers’ Ending Theme Revealed: “Vandalize” by One Ok Rock

Music has famously always been a high point for Sonic, with even the worst games often having solid soundtracks. As more of Sonic Frontiers has been revealed, SEGA has been stingy with the music, often even removing it from game play videos, leaving fans with only the odd taste from a trailer or clip. That is, until today.

SEGA has finally revealed a full track from the game, ”Vandalize” by the Japanese rock band One Ok Rock. While SEGA only posted a one-minute tease on the Sonic twitter, One Ok Rock has posted both the Japanese and English versions of the song on Youtube.

Some have already noted that the Japanese version of the song drops an f-bomb. This appears to have been replaced with ”freaking” in the English version. So no, this doesn’t mean Sonic Frontiers is going to get a T or M rating or anything.

Check out both versions of the song below:

The band also did an interview, which as translated into English by SEGA Asia. Nothing newsworthy is said, but you can still check it out below:

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SAGE 2022 Starts Today!

SAGE 2022, Sonic Fan Game HQ’s long running Sonic fan game expo, starts today! You can check out all of this year’s games, including non-Sonic fan games and original indie games, at SAGE’s website.

We will be doing SAGE coverage all week, including hands-on previews/reviews, YouTube videos, and streams on our Twitch channel. Be sure to check our Twitter for streaming announcements!!

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First Images of Wave 10 of Jakks Pacific 4” Toys Released, including Vector & Ray

The next wave of Jakks Pacific’s 4” figures come out next month, and we’ve finally got some images!

This wave has some of Sonic’s less popular friends. Amongst the modern characters, we’ve got Amy Rose and Vector the Crocodile, and for the classic characters we have yet another Classic Sonic, and…Ray the Flying Squirrel!

Merch for both Vector and Ray tend to be quite rare. I’m fairly certain this is the first time Ray has ever gotten an action figure, while this is only Vector’s second action figure ever.

Check out images of the toys below:

via Entertainment Earth

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Sonic Frontiers to Have Pre-Order Bonus, Will Have Denuvo on Steam

A whole bunch of info came out about Sonic Frontiers today, and it’s not just what we got in the trailer. A pre-order bonus, an ”Adventurer’s Treasure Box,” will be available for anyone who pre-orders. Check out the image below:

In addition to this, the game’s Steam page has also confirmed that it will be using the infamous Denuvo anti-piracy software.

Finally, it appears anyone who signs up for the Sonic Frontiers newsletter will receive codes for free in-game content. You can sign up here.

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Sonic 2 Movie Soundtrack is Now Available on Cassette Tapes via Limited Printing, Sonic 1 Movie vinyl available

Well, for anyone who’s ever wanted to listen to the Sonic 2 movie soundtrack through their dad’s vintage audio cassette tape player…now you can! Well, a few of you can. Enjoy the Ride Records is selling an extremely limited number of these cassette tapes through their website for just $14.99. If you want a copy, you’d best get on it, because only 250 copies are being sold, and they are already 50% sold out.

You can buy it here. You can check out photos below.

The Sonic 1 movie vinyl is also back in stock. It’s available in two colors, Tricolor SWIRL (Red, White and Blue) and Golden Ring.

You can buy it here. You can check out photos below:

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Sonic Frontiers Merch Leaked, DLC and Release Date Potentially Confirmed

Well, we’ve got another Sonic Frontiers leak, this time via what appears to be a flier for merch. It’s hard to tell, since everything is either in Chinese or Japanese and translation tools aren’t much help.

Bare minimum, the image below gives us a new, low res look at some character art from the game. Sonic, Tails, Amy, Knuckles, and the kocos are all featured, and there appear to be two silhouettes with question marks, which may be pointing towards to other yet-to-be-revealed characters for the game. These appear to be prizes for something.

The merch has a release date of November 15, which could point towards a release date of the game itself. Sonic games usually hit around this time of year, so it wouldn’t be especially surprising. The flier also makes mention of DLC, which could confirm that Sonic Frontiers will have some.

Check out the flier below:

The flier came from a Taiwanese website. You can find it here.

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King Ice Selling Collector’s Edition Super Sonic Necklace Today

King Ice has revealed on their twitter that they will be selling a collector’s edition Super Sonic necklace on their site today, at 1PM EST/10AM PST. It will be limited to 200 pieces. You can check out a photo below:

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Gamescom to Debut a World Premiere New Look at Sonic Frontiers

Geoff Keighley has announced that Sonic Frontiers will be receiving a world premiere neww look during Gamescom Opening Night Live!, which will run on August 23 at 7PM BST/2PM EST/11AM PST. Little else is currently known about this, though it will presumably show off some never-before-seen stuff from the game.

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Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Hits DVD and Blu-ray Today

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has finally released physically today, over four months after it initially hit theaters.

Amongst the physical versions are DVD, Blu-ray, 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray editions, and a bundle that includes that Sonic 1 and 2 blu-rays. There are also a few retail exclusive editions, including a Best Buy-exclusive steelbook version that replicates the Sonic 2 game packaging, and a Walmart-exclusive edition that includes the IDW Pre-quill comic.

You can find Sonic 2 anywhere DVDs and blu-rays are sold, including Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, mostly between $17.99 and $30.

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Paramount Reveals Theatrical Release Date for Sonic the Hedgehog 3

Paramount has gone ahead and announced the release date for the Sonic 3 movie: it’s going to hit theaters on December 20, 2024. I imagine there will be some variation in release dates between regions, but regardless: Sonic 3 is officially going to be a holiday season movie!

This will mark the first time a Sonic movie has been scheduled to come out during a highly competitive time for movies. It shares a date with James Cameron’s Avatar 3, and the holiday season as a whole is always populated by major movie releases. This would seem to demonstrate that Paramount has a lot of confidence in this franchise!

This also means that Sonic 3 will be coming out more then two and a half years after Sonic 2, a bigger gap then between Sonic 1 and 2, though we will be getting the Knuckles TV series next year.

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New Sonic 2 Movie Concept Art For Its After Credits Scene Released

As is typically the practice of movies these days, Sonic 2 contained a major tease for its sequel in its end credits: the reveal of Shadow the Hedgehog. Beyond Shadow being imprisoned in a stasis tube in a black site for 50 years, nothing else was revealed in that scene. The concept art for that scene has now been released, however, and it contains some interesting tidbits, including something that may have implications on Sonic 3 if it’s followed up on. The concept art was created by Michal Kus, who posted them on his ArtStation page.

First, we’ve got some images that give us a better look at what Shadow’s stasis tube may look like:

Next up, we’ve got something more interesting, a look at the other side of the room. And…is that Professor Gerald?

This is concept art, and these details didn’t make it into the final movie, so they aren’t canon. We are not guaranteed to find Shadow rooming with a skeleton. Nevertheless, it is interesting seeing Sonic 2 concept art going this dark. We’ll know soon enough if this’ll be followed up on in the next movie.

via ArtStation

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Noah Copeland’s Sonic Triple Trouble Remake is Finished and Released

Sonic Triple Trouble 16-bit, a fan-made remake of one of Sonic’s Game Gear releases, is officially finished and available for everyone to play! Download it here.

The fangame, has been in development for roughly five years, and completely remakes the Game Gear adventure with brand new levels, remade music, brand new bosses and special stages, a plot that recontextualizes the game as a follow up to Sonic & Knuckles, and even a fully fleshed out multiplayer mode with multiple game play types and a campaign! The game also has it’s share of brand new surprises for anyone familiar with the Game Gear original.

We’ve already had a few days with the game, and while our review is forthcoming, I can confirm here and now that the game is superb. We’ve previewed both of the game’s demos over the last few years, which you can check out here and here. We also interviewed Copeland a few years ago, which you can find here.

You can expect some articles, videos and streams of the game from us over the next few days.

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New “Narrative Driven” Mobile Sonic Game in Development at SEGA Hardlight

It looks like we’ve got a new mobile Sonic game incoming from SEGA Hardlight, if a new job listing on Gameindustry.biz’s jobs board is any indication. The job listing is for a lead artist, who will work on a “new Sonic game,” who will, among other things, need to be ready to “push the limits mobile gaming to near-console levels.” While not technically an official confirmation, it might as well be.

The job listing also includes another interesting detail: this new mobile title will be apparently be an “ambitious” narrative driven platforming game. This would be new for a Sonic mobile game, which typically focus on very arcade-y game play (such as autorunners or racing games), that only occasionally have a story mode, and have never tackled traditional platforming. Beyond this detail, little else is currently known about the project.

You can find the job listing here.

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Sonic Origins Patch In the Works

Weeks after Sonic Origins’ release, a patch for the game has finally been confirmed to be underway. In a response to a fan on Twitter, Sonic Social Media Manager Katie Chrzanowski revealed that one is in the works:

“Hey! Thanks for the patience! The team’s been listening and is working on fixing a variety of issues right now. We’ll make sure to get some more official messaging out once we have more info for everyone. 🙂

Glitches in the game have ranged from common ones, such as Tails being unable to respawn near Sonic in Sonic 2, to seemingly random glitches that can do everything from random freezes to broken scripted sequences, to the water in Sonic 3 remaining white after a character jumps in with the electric shield.

We should note that, aside from the Tails spawning glitch (which appears to be a universal issues), we at Sonic Stadium have largely had very glitch-free experiences with the game. I had a scripted sequence break once, our top streamer GX experienced the game briefly forgetting he had the super emeralds during his 9-hour story mode stream, and site boss Dreadknux didn’t encounter anything while he was playing the game for his review.

Nevertheless, prominent people in the Sonic community have encountered and recorded the above glitches, and the issues were prevalent enough to get a response from Headcannon’s Simon Thomley.

Stay tuned to Sonic Stadium for further details on the patch, and Sonic Origins as a whole!

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Sonic 2 Movie Getting Exclusive Walmart Bundle that Includes IDW Comic

In addition to the standard and steelbook variations of the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 2 blu ray, Walmart is also getting a third, exclusive version bundled with IDW’s one-shot tie-in comic.

The bundle is currently available for pre-order for $22.96 from Walmart.com. Given that the regular blu ray version is being sold for the same price, people who buy the bundle are essentially getting a $7 comic for free.

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E-102 Gamma Now Available in Sonic Forces Mobile, Paladin Amy Also Revealed

E-102 Gamma is now the latest character to arrive in Sonic Forces Mobile, via the event ”Operation: Gamma. The event is set to run until July 19, and like other SFM events, has players completing missions to earn cards towards unlocking the charater.

Gamma can be unlocked with just 30 cards, and has been categorized as a ”super rare” character, meaning it will be possible to unlock him and level him up with character cards after the event concludes. Gamma has a speed rating of 8, an acceleration rating of 8, and a strength speed of 6. His items include two originals, ”missile launch” and ”laser blaster,” and one move derived from other robot characters, ”electro boost.”

Missile Launch fires a steady stream of missiles down the track, and can be interrupted if you are attacked. Laster Blaster can lock onto another character and attack them from above, and can be upgraded to target multiple enemies. Electro Boost is speed boost that also attracts rings and zaps opponents.

SEGA Hardlight also revealed Paladin Amy, though its currently unknown when she will be available. Bluwolf has datamined the game and gotten Paladin Amy’s model. You can download it in the tweet below:

We’ve also gone ahead and posted the images Paladin Amy’s model as well:

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Sonic Darts Past Uncharted, Sonic 2 Becomes 4th Highest Grossing Video Game Movie With Almost $401 Million

Just days after Sonic 2 surpassed the $400 million milestone, it has now passed another: it has now surpassed Uncharted’s $400,636,000 global box office, with a $400,924,000 gross as of this weekend. This means Sonic 2 is now the fourth highest grossing video game movie of all time globally, putting it behind only Rampage ($428 million), Detective Pikachu ($433 million), and Warcraft ($439 million). Of course, its important to note that these movies achieved these numbers with releases in major box office markets like Japan and China, places Sonic 2 has yet to release in.

Sonic 2 reaches this milestone even as it has continued to disappear from US theaters. Surprisingly, however, it isn’t entirely gone yet. Sonic 2 is still in 234 theaters as of this weekend. A mere five percent of where it started, but still enough to bring in more than $100,000 this week. Between this and Sonic 2’s continued global presence, its total box office will probably continue to inch higher in the coming weeks.

Nevertheless…this is the end of these articles, at least for now. Sonic 2 is still expected to hit Hong Kong later this year, and is also expected to release in Japan on August 19. Japan can be a major box office market, but it’s an open question whether or not a Sonic movie will do well there. The first movie released in the midst of Japan’s COVID lockdowns and grossed only $1.5 million, so this will be the series’ first real shot at the country’s box office. We’ll see soon enough!

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Sonic Origins is Now Available to Download and Play

Over a year after its announcement, Sonic Origins is finally available to play as of June 23, 12AM EST. It can be purchased on Xbox, Playstation, and Switch platforms for $40, or $45 for the deluxe version that comes with $8 of DLC (including music from other Sonic games and additional animations in the menu).

We’ve been covering this game for the last few days. You can check out our review here, and find a bunch of footage from the game here.

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As Sonic Mania at the Movies Comes to an End, Sonic 2 Surpasses $400 Million

It happened a little later than I’d hoped, but it finally happened: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has surpassed $400 million, putting it amongst a rare breed of video game movies to surpass that milestone. Only four other movies hav reached that number: Uncharted ($401 mill), Rampage ($422 mill), Detective Pikachu ($433.4 mill), and Warcraft ($439 mill). It will almost certainly surpass Uncharted, potentially as early as this weekend, but as it stands it is now the fifth most profitable video game movie of all time, and the only one of the 5 to achieve that number without being released in Japan or China.

It’s US numbers now sit at $190,564 million, with it typically making well under $100k daily. Internationally, it’s now at $209,450 million, bring its total box office to $400,015,448.

It’s been interesting charting Sonic 2’s box office success, and seeing it persist in theaters for this long. I have to say, I wasn’t actually sure it could hit this number. Paramount has got to be happy with this. It’s easy to see why they bet big on this franchise before this movie even came out.

This news caught me a little off guard, as international numbers are usually only posted on Sunday, but I guess Paramount wanted to get these numbers out early, given the milestone. This might be the last box office article, at least until Sonic 2 releases in Japan on August 19. If it manages to surpass Uncharted before then, I’m sure that’ll warrant one more. Hope ya’ll enjoyed my game references, I’ve got just three left after this.

via Box Office Mojo

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Sonic Origins Origins PSN Trophies Revealed

A list of Sonic Origins’ trophies has finally been released, and its a pretty sizable list. We’ve got bronze, silver, and gold trophies, as well as a single platinum trophy for completing everything. You can check out the list below:

  • Complete Clear (Platinum) – Get All the Trophies!
  • Welcome to Sonic the Hedgehog (Bronze) – Watch the Opening for Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Welcome to Sonic CD (Bronze) – Watch the Opening for Sonic CD
  • Welcome to Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Bronze) – Watch the Opening for Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Welcome to Sonic 3 & Knuckles (Bronze) – Watch the Opening for Sonic 3 & Knuckles
  • Beware Moto Bugs! (Bronze) – Defeat 10 Motobugs in Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Bubbly Breath (Bronze) – Use air bubbles in Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Time Traveller (Bronze) – Travel to the past or future in Sonic CD
  • Shut Down Metal Sonic (Bronze) – Win a race against Metal Sonic in Sonic CD
  • Beware Stingers! (Bronze) – Defeat 10 Stingers in Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Lucky Hedgehog (Bronze) – Get the Jackpot in Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Beware Rhinobots! (Bronze) – Defeat 10 Rhinobots in Sonic 3 and Knuckles
  • Easy Peasy with Shields! (Bronze) – Collect all three types of shields in Sonic 3 and Knuckles
  • Ring Collector (Bronze) – Collect a total of 1000 Rings
  • Gallant Spin Dash (Bronze) – Defeat 30 Enemies with the Spin Dash
  • Newbie Hero (Bronze) – Defeat a total of 50 Enemies
  • Museum Time (Bronze) – View a Premium Collection item from the Museum 
  • Very First Mission Clear (Bronze) – Clear 1 Mission
  • Knuckles the Echidna (Bronze) – Glide as Knuckles
  • Miles ‘Tails’ Prower (Bronze) – Fly as Tails
  • Boss Rush Attempt (Bronze) – Try the boss rush from any of the titles
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Mission Master (Silver) – Clear 10 Sonic the Hedgehog Missions with a S Rank
  • Sonic CD Mission Master (Silver) – Clear 10 Sonic CD missions with a S Rank
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Mission Master (Silver) – Clear 10 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 missions with a S Rank
  • S3 & K Mission Master (Silver) – Clear 10 Sonic 3 and Knuckles missions with a S Rank
  • To the Mirror World (Silver) – Play Mirror Mode
  • Movie Maniac (Silver) – Unlock 6 movie collection items with coins 
  • Sound Savant (Silver) – Unlock 10 sound collection items with coins
  • Art Appreciator (Silver) – Unlock 30 art collection items with coins 
  • Everyone’s Hero (Silver) – Defeat a total of 200 enemies
  • Super Sonic (Silver) – Turn into Super Sonic
  • Cleared Sonic the Hedgehog (Gold) – Clear Sonic the Hedgehog in either anniversary or classic mode
  • Cleared Sonic CD (Gold) – Clear Sonic CD in either anniversary or classic mode
  • Cleared Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Gold) – Clear Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in either anniversary or classic mode
  • Cleared Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles (Gold) – Clear Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles in either anniversary or classic mode
  • All Clear! (Gold) – Clear all 4 titles!

Source: Exophase via SSMB

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Sonic Frontiers is 20-30 Hours Long, Will Have Different Difficulty Curve From Past Games

In an interview with IGN, Sonic Frontiers Director Morio Kishimoto talked about the game’s length and difficulty curve.

In terms of length, Kishimoto confirmed that the game would be around 20-30 hours, with full competition taking roughly double the time. Kishimoto stated that the game’s length was part of the reason they decided to make Sonic upgradeable throughout the adventure, in order to keep players invested.

Kishimoto also talked about the differences in the difficulty curve between Frontiers and past Sonic games. Specifically, Kishimoto mentioned how Sonic games typically become more difficult as they progress, and how such a curve was no longer necessary with Frontiers:

“In previous Sonic titles, we had to gradually make the stages more difficult in order to reach an amount of play time that would satisfy players. It is natural for level-based platformers to become more difficult as you progress. However, for Sonic games the problem has always been that higher difficulty can get in the way of the game’s sense of speed. In Sonic Frontiers, the Open Zone offers a lot of content already, so raising the difficulty in order to increase the play time was no longer necessary. From start to finish, we were able to maintain a sense of speed with ideal level design for a Sonic game.”

For the full interview, check out the source below.

via IGN

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Sonic Frontiers Work Started in Late 2017, Has Been Developed Remotely Since 2020

In an interview with Axios, Takashi Iizuka confirmed that the team has been working on Sonic Frontiers remotely since the COVID-19 pandemic forced Japan into lockdown in 2020.

Iizuka had positive things to say about the team working remotely, noting that developers benefited from a safe working environment and that the ease of digital communication actually accelerated much of their work. Sonic Team has continued to work remotely ever since.

Iizuka has noted one negative impact of remote work, however: it’s difficult for everyone on the team to see the big picture. “If you’re just on the team, you’re kind of doing your own work,” said Iizuka, “And you don’t get to look over your shoulder at the other group doing the other work, so not everyone on the team shares the whole vision of what the game is.”

Iizuka also confirmed that development of Frontiers began as early as late 2017, as the team sought fresh ideas after hitting a wall with the old Sonic format.

Check out Iizuka’s full interview with Axios in the source below.

via Axios

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