Alex Peal has been an editor at Sonic Stadium since 2007, and has been covering events like E3, PAX, and SDCC since 2010. An avid retro gamer, he runs a monthly stream on Twitch where he explores obscure Sonic oddities, and how aspects of the franchise have evolved over the decades.
As our weeklong celebration of NiGHTS’ 25th anniversary comes to an end, it feels appropriate to end on a feature all about reflecting on moments from those twenty-five years. It didn’t feel right to run this celebration without hearing from certain people, so we decided to reach out to TRiPPY and DiGi Valentine, two prominent members of the NiGHTS community who run nightsintodreams.com, which is a superb resource for the franchise.
So here you are: four NiGHTS memories from the staff of two websites. Feel free to share your own in the comments!
Before NiGHTS into Dreams… became widely available with its HD release in 2012, many people (including myself) first encountered the series through its copious amount of cameos, largely in Sonic Team games.
I don’t think any celebration of NiGHTS would be complete without an overview of the character’s many, many cameos in other SEGA properties. This is hardly a complete list, of course, but we’re at least touching on many of the character’s more notable appearances!
Released in 1998, Sonic Adventure’s NiGHTS pinball game in Casinopolis is the franchise’s earliest cameo, and how many of us were first introduced to it. Players knock the pinball around the table, trying to collect cards which feature numerous NiGHTS characters. Collecting more then one of the same card nets a load of rings, and opens up a portal to a second, Nightmare themed pinball table.
Between the tables, cards, and two neat looking animations that showcase the NiGHTS world, this remains one of the coolest NiGHTS cameos SEGA has done.
It was also possible to create NiGHTS chao by giving them flying animals.
NiGHTS made a brief appearance as two of a multitude of capsule toys that could be collected in SEGA’s 1999 open world game, Shenmue.
NiGHTS popped up again in SEGA’s Sonic party game, Sonic Shuffle, released in 2000. When the Dreamcast’s clock was set to December 24, NiGHTS would replace Lumina as the game’s guide in multiplayer matches. Sonic Shuffle also takes place in a dream world, and Lumina herself bears some visual similarities to NiGHTS, which is probably why Hudson Soft included the easter egg.
Sonic Adventure 2
The NiGHTS cameos are way less noticeable in Sonic Adventure 2, but they are there. NiGHTS decorated a few levels, such as Radical Highway and City Escape. The game also features NiGHTS-inspired Chao like the first game.
Sonic Pinball Party
When Sonic returned to pinball in 2003 with Sonic Pinball Party for the Game Boy Advance, it was only fitting NiGHTS was brought along for the ride. Featured as one of the game’s three pinball tables, this one drew significantly more inspiration from NiGHTS into Dreams… then the table from Sonic Adventure.
This table aims to replicate NiGHTS in pinball form. The pinball needs to be hit into an ideya palace three times to dualize with NiGHTS. From there, it needs to be knocked into the ideya to get it. After all four ideya are collected, the player can then face the boss, which appears in the upper right corner of the table.
With a total of 12 table designs based on the game’s first six levels and bosses, this is one of the most extensive NiGHTS appearances outside of the franchise’s games.
Billy Hatcher & the Giant Egg
NiGHTS was one of several Sonic Team characters to appear as an “egg animal” in the developer’s 2003 platformer Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg. Like all those characters, NiGHTS is both difficult to obtain and severely overpowered. Unlocking NiGHTS requires collecting 180 “chick coins.” Once that’s done, NiGHTS can be hatched from a Sonic egg found in Giant Palace’s fourth mission.
Billy Hatcher also had an unlockable downloadable mini-game for the GBA, NiGHTS Score Attack. This game could also be downloaded from Phantasy Star Online Episodes I&II.
NiGHTS appeared in 2006’s Sonic Riders and its sequel, Zero Gravity, as a flight-type character. Unlocking NiGHTS in the first game required the completion of all missions, while getting them in the sequel only required beating all story missions. In addition to NiGHTS, Sonic Riders also had a track with an area based on NiGHTS.
SEGA Superstars/Sonic & All-Stars
SEGA Superstars, a 2004 PS2 mini game collection made for Sony’s Eyetoy camera, had a NiGHTS mini game. In this, you waved your arms around to control NiGHTS as they flew through rings. This is arguably NiGHTS’s first playable cameo.
Years later, in 2008, NiGHTS and Reala would both appear as playable characters in SEGA Superstars Tennis, along with a court based on Journey of Dreams’ Aqua Garden. In 2010, NiGHTS would appear as a flagman in Sumo Digital’s second SEGA crossover game, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. In 2012’s Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, NiGHTS and Reala appeared as playable vehicles, driven by a Nightopian and Nightmaren respectively.
Sonic Lost World
The Wii U version of Sonic Lost World came with free NiGHTS DLC in its early physical copies, labeled “The Deadly Six Edition,” and would later be included in all PC versions of the game. This DLC was essentially a boss rush, featuring all of the bosses from the first NiGHTS game (aside from Reala) teaming up with the Deadly Six to fight Sonic. There were also brief auto-running sections where Sonic could home in on blue chips and go through rings from NiGHTS.
The battles were easy, and mostly just variations of the Deadly Six’s original boss battles, but it did give us Wii U-quality HD models of all of NiGHTS into Dreams’ Nightmaren bosses for the first time, which is neat.
NiGHTS became the basis for an unlockable costume set in what is currently Sonic Team’s latest Sonic game, Sonic Forces. This set included headgear, body gear, and footwear.
NiGHTS has a pretty long history of appearing in Sonic Team’s games, as well as the occasional title from SEGA’s other developers. With NiGHTS tied so closely to SEGA’s blue mascot, that could continue to keep the character around even if they never get another game. Here’s hoping they pop up in Sonic 2022!
Ever wanted a Tails plush that shakes when you hug him? Well, Kid Robot made one! A 16” HugMe Tails plush is now available for pre-order for $41.99. The plush, which runs on three AA batteries, will shake when hugged, or when it detects a clap. It’s expected to ship sometime in Q4 2021.
In addition to Tails, there is also a Sonic HugMe plush that’s been available for pre-order for a few months now, and is expected to ship in Q3 2021. You can pre-order the Tails plush here, and the Sonic plush here.
Special thanks to Bulbasquirtle85 from our Discord for the tip!
If you’re visiting this site, chances are you have a guilty pleasure or two made by Sonic Team. A game with flaws that you overlook because there is something else about it you love. I myself have enjoyed a few Sonic games that are, at best, divisive. But out of all of Sonic Team’s less critically acclaimed games, there are none that I’ve gotten more enjoyment out of than Takashi Iizuka’s NiGHTS sequel, Journey of Dreams.
My feelings on JoD have always been…mixed. But in recent years, I‘ve come to realize it shares more qualities with Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 than some of Sonic Team’s less well-thought-of games. Like the Adventure games, JoD has its flaws, and there are many parts of the game I never return to, and some areas I just don’t like. But what I enjoy, I enjoy a lot, and I’ve gotten hours of entertainment out of periodically returning to them over the years. At this point, it’s probably my favorite Sonic Team game from the post-Dreamcast, pre-Colors era. It is, in my mind, their most underappreciated game from this entire period.
Before I get into the good or the bad, I should probably layout what the game is, right?
It’s happened again. Another Sonic 30th anniversary game has popped up on French retailer SoGamely: Team Sonic Racing 30th Anniversary Edition.
The retailer has the game listed for both Nintendo Switch and PS4, with a release date of October 27. You can check it out for yourself here.
People have already begun speculating that this release might have some sort of extra content, but another listing from the website G3 Great Games hints at something somewhat more mundane: a free artbook. The website, which lists the game for €29.99, also features a shot of the box art, which features a logo detailing a Sonic 30th anniversary artbook and nothing else. You can find the box art below. You can see the listing yourself here.
As always with rumors, the information could be wrong or incomplete. It’s possible that…for whatever reason, this listing is wrong and the product doesn’t exist, although the box art and multiple website listings are pretty compelling evidence.
It’s also possible that this is real and there could be more to this then just and artbook. Finally, it’s also possible that this is an EU exclusive release, meaning that people in other regions won’t be getting it. Whatever the case, this is listed for October, so we’ll probably know soon.
Special thanks goes to Josiahblaze from our discord for the news tip!
The NiGHTS franchise may not be nearly as big as Sonic, but its had its fair share of merchandise over the years, much of which is now rare, expensive, and/or obscure. I thought it would be fun to explore some of what’s been made over the years. This is far from a complete list, but we’re at least going over some of the more interesting bits of merch NiGHTS has had in the last 25 years.
NiGHTS into Dreams UFO Plushies
NiGHTS into Dreams didn’t receive much in the way of plushies, but it did get one set of them…which were made exclusively for SEGA’s UFO Capture devices. For those unaware, these devices were claw machines, and could often be found in arcades. The NiGHTS plushies have been rare and expensive for decades, and a single one of these plushies typically commands a price of hundreds of dollars. If that sounds familiar to you Sonic fans, its because Sonic the Fighters had a plushy line that was distributed the same way, and is now just as rare and expensive.
There was also a line of Christmas SEGA plushes that includes many NiGHTS characters, as well as a line of small NiGHTS plush key chains. I think these were also for UFO Captures, but I’ve been unable to confirm that for his article. NiGHTS was also part of a 1996 SEGA keychain figure line, though I’m not sure how those were distributed.
NiGHTS into Dreams Soundtrack
Released days after the NiGHTS game on July 11, the OST was released exclusively in Japan for ¥28,000 under the PolyGram record label. Not an especially remarkable release, but it was at least enough for Sonic Team to include it amongst Christmas NiGHTS’ extras (which is where the photos for the plushes came from).
NiGHTS: Flying Through the Sky Without Wings (storybook)
In December of 1996, NiGHTS received a storybook adaptation. Published by Futabasha, the 54 page book was written by Kyoko Inukai and featured illustrations by Takumi Miyake. It’s a loose adaptation of the game’s story, though with many details changed or written out. The basic premise of Wizeman creating NiGHTS, and seeking to conquer Nightopia, remain intact. The story only features Elliot, as he learns to find the courage within himself. Outside of Reala and Wizeman, none of the other Nightmaren bosses appear. The ideya are nowhere to be found, instead replaced by a “red energy” likely inspired by the red ideya of courage.
The book would later be reprinted in 2008 and sold with the PS2 re-release of NiGHTS. The book was never translated into English, though TRiPPY over at nightsintodreams.com was able to get a fan translation done, which you can find here.
NiGHTS into Dreams… Tiger Electronics LCD Game
NiGHTS was one of the many SEGA IPs to get adapted into an LCD game by Tiger Electronics. The LCD game was released in 1997, and was also eventually re-released as part of Tiger’s “Pocket Arcade” line and as a game for their R-Zone LCD console.
NiGHTS into Dreams… Archie Comics
Sonic wasn’t the only SEGA series to get a comic adaptation from Archie. In late 1997, Archie Comics released a three issue NiGHTS mini series featuring writing from Dan Slott, as well as pencil breakdowns from renowned Sonic cover artist Patrick Spaziente and pencil finishes by Knuckles comic artist Manny Galan. The comics aren’t completely divorced from the game story, and does share some similarities. Just as in the games, NiGHTS was a creation of Wizeman who rebelled. Wizeman seeks to open a portal to the waking world.
It’s in the finer details where things diverge. Instead of taking any human’s dream energy, Wizeman needs the energy of specific dreamers who only come about every 100 years with “red ideya.” His initial attempt to do this, which is foiled by NiGHTS, inadvertently leads to the founding of the city of Twin Seeds, where Claris and Elliot live 100 years later.
The mini series would ultimately spawn a second three issue mini series in July of 1998, written by then Sonic writer Karl Bollers, and with pencil finishes by Sam Maxwell. After this second mini series, the NiGHTS comic was canceled. It has never been collected in a graphic novel or re-released digitally. There are, of course, ways, but you’ll need to find that for yourself.
Unsurprisingly, NiGHTS merchandise would take a break for awhile. The next bit of merch in this run down was released 9 whole years after the Archie Comics, in December of 2007. Released as part of a line of mini figurines by besidegames called PaPetch, the above figurine was released alongside NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams as a pre-order bonus in Japan.
The figurine was just a little over two inches two and based on JoD’s NiGHTS design.
NiGHTS & Reala from First4Figures
In 2015, First4Figures released a NiGHTS resin 12.5” statue as part of its SEGA All-Stars line. The statue came in both regular and “exclusive editions,” priced at $210 and $235, and limited to 1000 and 500 pieces respectively. The exclusive edition lit up.
Years later, in 2017, F4F held a vote to gauge interest in a Reala statue, which had been in production but was in danger of being canceled due to perceived lack of interest. The statue was made available for pre-order last year, and is being sold in both standard and exclusive variants for $330. As with NiGHTS, the exclusive edition lights up. Reala is scheduled to release in Q3 2021, and can still be bought here.
And the rest…
There’s more NiGHTS merch, of course. There’s promotional pillows, clothing, stickers, and probably other things I’v missed. SEGA’s US shop currently has a jigsaw puzzle, a shirt, and a Christmas ornament. My personal hope is that NiGHTS might receive something a bit more than some clothes and puzzles, but a bit less than a $200 statue. Here’s hoping we might get another plush that isn’t a super expensive collector’s item one day!
NiGHTS into Dreams… is my favorite Sonic Team game. As much as I love running around as the blue blur or slaughtering monsters online in PSO, its their purple androgynous dream jester that I keep closest to my heart. But it wasn’t always that way for me. For years, I just didn’t like it. NiGHTS’ journey to becoming one of my favorite games is a somewhat long and windy one, but something I want to share to help other people who don’t see the appeal understand why this game is so special to some of us.
Back during the Sonic 30th Anniversary Concert, Sonic 1 & 2 composer Masato Nakamura revealed that his band, Dream Come True, would release a new Green Hill remix featuring vocals written and performed by Miwa Yoshida.
Today, Dreams Come True officially released the single, “On the Green Hill,” on their Youtube channel. You can check it out below:
Though no new NiGHTS game was on the horizon by the late 90s, Sonic Team and SEGA still had plenty of love for the purple dream jester, and they demonstrated that a lot. Sonic Adventure featured an entire NiGHTS themed pinball table, which likely served as many Sonic fan’s first exposure to the character. When Dreamcast party game Sonic Shuffle’s multiplayer was played on December 24, NiGHTS replaced Lumina. Sonic Adventure 2 featured NiGHTS on numerous level assets and featured a chao based on them. The cameos continued even after the Dreamcast.
Sonic Pinball Party gave NiGHTS a second pinball table, and the character was playable in both the Sonic Riders games and SEGA Superstars, a mini game collection for the PS2’s Eyetoy. NIGHTS popped up in Billy Hatcher as a special unlockable character, and also starred in NiGHTS Score Attack, a special mini game that could be downloaded to the GBA over a link cable from both Billy Hatcher and Phantasy Star Online.
For over a decade, this was essentially how NiGHTS stuck around. It wouldn’t be until 2007, eleven years after the original game’s release, that this finally changed.
Takashi Iizuka had often talked about wanting to do a NiGHTS sequel, and finally got his chance in late 2005, after the completion of Shadow the Hedgehog. My mid-2006, NiGHTS Journey of Dreams was in full production for the Wii. Though some have speculated JoD may have been originally planned for HD consoles, Iizuka later confirmed it was built from the ground up for Nintendo’s system.
After a small delay, JoD launched in December of 2007. It would not be as well received as its predecessor, receiving mixed-to-positive reviews. The game also likely didn’t sell especially well, though sales numbers appear to be hard to confirm.
JoD kept several aspects from the original, including its 2.5 perspective, its focus on flight, the timer for NiGHTS, and the ability to link rings and blue chips together for higher scores. Unlike the previous game, players needed to chase down nightmarens riding large birds in order to collect keys to free NiGHTS, and there is no incentive to run the timer down. Instead, JoD encourages players to simply complete its stages as quickly as possible.
JoD also introduced a lot of brand new features, such as multiple missions per level, a significantly more fleshed out plot, an online multiplayer mode, and most infamously, platforming levels starring the children. It also has an area where Nightopians can be interacted with called “My Dream,” which is essentially a barebones chao garden. This open space can be filled with random objects from the game’s levels, as well as Nightopians and Nightmarens, which are sent here via paralooping.
JoD does a lot to try to modernize NiGHTS. While it has the same number of levels as its predecessor, it stretches those levels out by giving each five missions that reuse assets, including the aforementioned platforming sections. It also features loads of cutscenes and voice acting for all the characters.
JoD’s plot is essentially a reboot of the previous game, but with new kids: Helen and Will. The game features a new helper character, “Owl” who essentially serves the same purpose as Tikal and Omochao. Aside from NiGHTS, Wizeman and Reala also make a return. Everyone is sporting new, more complex designs.
There is a lot I could say about JoD, but that’s best left for another article. To this day, it continues to serve as the only other full game in the NiGHTS franchise. It would not be the last NiGHTS game released, however. The original would soon be getting a remake.
Just a few months after the launch of JoD, SEGA launched a full remake of the original NiGHTS for the PS2, exclusively in Japan in February of 2008. It featured completely remade visuals, Christmas NiGHTS, and a complete port of the Saturn original. Each copy of the game also came with a second printing of the rare NiGHTS story book. The PS2 version featured additional timed events in Christmas NiGHTS, including special summer and Halloween outfits for Claris and Elliot, and a special Halloween skin for NiGHTS. Unfortunately, the game didn’t sell particularly well, charting just over 6,000 units. The remake version of the game is also infamous for featuring somewhat slower speeds, as well as inferior (potentially 8-way directional) control instead of full analog.
This version would later become the basis for the HD remake, which as released on Xbox 360 and PS3 four years later in 2012. This remake presented NiGHTS in HD for the first time, and featured true 16:9 widescreen as opposed to the stretched 4:3 widescreen of the Saturn and PS2 games. It included all the special features of the PS2 version, as well as all the control issues. These issues would later be patched, though.
NiGHTS into Dreams… HD continues to be available for both Xbox and Steam users, and can also be played by anyone who has Game Pass or PS Now, making it far more accessible then it once was.
NiGHTS hasn’t had a single release of any sort in nine years, but as with before JoD, the character hasn’t disappeared.
NiGHTS was a playable racer in 2012’s Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and inspired a whole DLC level in 2013’s Sonic Lost World. NiGHTS, Reala and Wizeman all returned to Archie as part of their World’s Unite crossover event. They appeared as “buddies” in 2015’s Sonic Runners, and inspired a costume in 2017’s Sonic Forces. Elements from the games even popped up in Sonic’s 30th Anniversary Comic and orchestra just last month!
Finally, NiGHTS as a brand has recently made a return…as a slot machine in certain casinos. I can’t say I’m exactly happy about that, but it does show that someone somewhere still sees value in NiGHTS as a franchise.
With Iizuka expressing an interest in returning to NiGHTS yet again, there is yet hope that we’ll be seeing the purple dream jester again in a proper game. Until then, we’ve still got 25 years of games and legacy to remember them by.
That livestream from First4Figures that was announced last week ended earlier today, and with it we’ve got details on their new Shadow and Super Shadow resin statues, including prices. And no…they aren’t cheap!
Yuji Naka was traveling between America and Japan constantly to oversee Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s development. All that time spent in the air made him want to make a game about flight. Though the idea had its roots in 1992, it wouldn’t be until after Sonic & Knuckles’ completion in late 1994 that they were able to begin development for it on SEGA’s newly released SEGA Saturn.
Sonic Team’s primary goal with NiGHTS was to get away from Sonic. They wanted a long break from the character, and desired to create something new that “contradicted” what Sonic was. Early in development, they explored military themes, before eventually setting the game in a dream world.
NiGHTS into Dreams had various influences. Its character design pulled from circus characters, and was inspired by Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystére” show in particular, which Naka saw multiple times during his many trips to America. Sonic Team also did a lot of research into dream studies, as well as the work of psychoanalysts like Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Friedrich Holtz. Jung in particular was an influence, with ideas such as his “dream archetypes” and “animus and anima” becoming central to the game. Jung’s ideas are too large for the scope of this article, but Naka does briefly touch on these elements in an interview with TRiPPY, owner of the fan site nightsintodreams.com.
NiGHTS into Dreams released in Japan on July 5, 1996, with releases following in the US on August 20 and in Europe on October 7. In the US, its release was accompanied by a $10 million advertising campaign, with the usual ads one might expect from SEGA in the 90s. Many copies of the game were sold with the SEGA Saturn 3D controller, which was developed alongside the game because Sonic Team felt the standard Saturn controller with its digital pad wasn’t accurate enough for the game. Some US copies also came with a free pillow as a pre-order bonus!
Overall, the game was a success, at least by the standards of the SEGA Saturn. It was the system’s best selling game in Japan for 1996, selling 392,000 units. In the US, it was the system’s second best selling game of all time (in terms of dollar sales), second only to Madden ’97. The game was well received by critics, and currently holds an 89% average on GameRankings. It received praise for its visuals, soundtrack, and fluid flight game play, though did receive some criticism for its graphical pop-in and not being “full 3D” like Super Mario 64.
So, we’ve gone over the game’s development and release, but the question remains for anyone unfamiliar with the game: what exactly is NiGHTS? Let’s go over that!
The title character, NiGHTS, is an androgynous being created by the game’s villain, Wizeman the Wicked. Wizeman rules the dimension known as Nightmare. He wishes to destroy Nightopia, the world of dreams, and steal the ideya (human dream energy) of dreamers in order to gather energy and open a portal to the waking world. To carry this out, he created the Nightmarens, with NiGHTS and Reala being his most powerful. But while Reala served dutifully, NiGHTS was mischievous and didn’t like taking orders or agree with Wizeman’s plans, so they rebelled. Wizeman captured NiGHTS, and imprisoned them in a structure called an ideya palace.
Notably, NiGHTS was created specifically by Sonic Team to be genderless, though he/him pronouns have historically been used. The game’s director, Takashi Iizuka, says NiGHTS’ gender is up to the player to interpret, so we’ll be using they/them for this article.
In addition to NIGHTS, the game also stars two children, Claris and Elliot. They’re having nightmares over recent real life fears, and suddenly find themselves in Nightopia, where all their ideya, save for their red ideya of courage, are stolen. This is when they meet NiGHTS, trapped inside the ideya palace. Thanks to the red ideya, which only Claris and Elliot possess, they are able to enter the ideya palace and merge with NiGHTS, freeing them for a limited time. The two children then work with NiGHTS to get their ideya back and defeat the nightmaren boss of each world.
I’ve seen people call NiGHTS everything from a platformer to a flight game, but anyone going in with those expectations will probably be confused. NIGHTS into Dreams is a essentially a side-scrolling score-attack collectathon. Each level in NiGHTS has four courses (or “mares”), each of which have an ideya to collect from something called an “ideya capture.”
To get the ideya, NiGHTS must collect 20 blue chips, fly into the ideya capture to destroy it, and then bring the ideya back to the ideya palace, which serves as the start and end of each course. Each ideya must be collected within two minutes. If the player runs out of time, NiGHTS is sent back to the ideya palace and the kid must make it back there on their own. If they are caught by the alarm egg, a large floating clock, they get a game over. Once each ideya is collected, NiGHTS then faces the level boss, which also has a two minute timer. To deal with bosses as well as smaller enemies, NiGHTS has two attacks: the drill dash and the paraloop. The drill dash sends NiGHTS drilling into enemies, while the paraloop has NiGHTS flying around an enemy and forming a “loop” with the sparkles that trail them, destroying any smaller enemies caught inside and damaging bosses.
But there’s more to this game than just gathering the ideya and killing enemies. As I said before, NiGHTS is also a score attack game. Doing the bare minimum won’t even be enough to complete the game, since players need a grade of C in all six levels to unlock the seventh level. To do that, one must understand the game’s scoring system.
Nearly everything in this game contributes to player score. Collecting blue chips, flying through rings, killing enemies, and pulling off trick combos after flying through a power ring will all get you points. You can start “links” by linking the collecting of blue chips and rings together, though you have to be fast as links are broken if NiGHTS goes a few seconds without collecting either. Destroying ideya captures quickly also nets NiGHTS a heap of points, though it is after this that the real scoring starts.
To get high scores in this game, players need to lap a course repeatedly after getting the ideya, netting every point possible until the very last second. Run out of time, and players not only lose NiGHTS, but all of their points, typically leaving them with an F grade for the course. This lends the system a certain risk/reward quality. For people like myself, this is where the game really shines.
Alongside all of this, the game also features an “a-life” system, which is essentially a precursor to chao. All of the levels in NiGHTS are populated by friendly Nightopians, who can be interacted with in limited ways. Both NiGHTS and the kids can hatch them from eggs, and NiGHTS can also hurt them with a drill dash or kill them with a paraloop. Obviously, hurting or killing them will make them fearful or angry with NiGHTS. Meanwhile, killing Nightmarens and hatching eggs will make them happy, causing them to reproduce and increase their population. Aside from giving them different behaviors, this system also changes the in-game music, which changes based on their mood. There are also some special kinds of Nightopians.
Nightopian/Nightmaren hybrids called “Mepians” can also be created when Nightmarens are knocked into Nightopians by NiGHTS. This is very hard to do on purpose, so the couple I’ve created over the years (one of which is in the above gallery) were created by accident. These Mepians will also breed, creating other Mepians as well as, eventually, King Pians (pictured above). King Pians appear purely by chance, and will construct a permanent castle within the level once created. They’ll also attack Nightmarens and any Mepians that attack Nightopians. Overall, a fairly complex system for what can effectively just be background creatures!
After its release, NiGHTS did stick around as a SEGA IP for a time. The franchise received a now-rare line of plushies, which were distributed exclusively in SEGA’s UFO Catchers, as well as a line of keychain plushies. In December of 1996, a NiGHTS story book was published exclusively in Japan, and in late 1997 the game received a six-issue series from Archie Comics featuring art from Patrick Spaziente.
The most notable NiGHTS thing to come in this period, however, was Christmas NiGHTS. Given away for free as a “sampler,” it’s probably one of the most elaborate demo discs ever made. The demo implemented a cut idea from the main game: time activated events. During most of the year, the game is just a vanilla demo of a single level, Spring Valley, but come November 26 it transforms into a Christmas-themed sequel to the original game.
Christmas NiGHTS has narrated opening and closing cutscenes, fully reskins Spring Valley into a Christmas level, introduces brand new courses in that level, and is full of presents that can be unlocked throughout the Christmas season. Everything from playable Sonic to a score attack mode to karaoke can be unlocked, as well as loads of game art and photos of merchandise. Outside of the Christmas season, it also includes winter skins for Claris and Elliot from November through to February, playable Reala on April 1, and other minor differences in the level for certain holidays.
Despite its success, Sonic Team did not immediately begin working on a sequel. Instead, they began work on another game that utilized a more advanced version of the NiGHTS engine: Burning Rangers. After finishing that game, Sonic Team would also begin developing what would eventually become Sonic Adventure. At one point, they did begin work on “Air NiGHTS,” a potential NiGHTS sequel for the Dreamcast that would have utilized motion controls, but nothing ever came of it.
Nearly two years ago, we reported that SEGA had registered a trademark for something called “Nights Dream Wheel.” We speculated that it could be a new NiGHTS game. Now, we finally know what it is, and well…we were half right!
A few weeks ago, on June 24, San Manuel Casino, which is a Highland, California casino, posted a tweet about their newest slot machine, NiGHTS Dream Wheel. The slot machine operates in one cent denominations, with a 5 cent minimum and $5 maximum. It features art and branding from the NiGHTS sequel, Journey of Dreams.
We only just learned about it while researching for this week’s 7 Days of NiGHTS articles. Certainly not what we were expecting (or hoping for) but it’s…interesting to see NiGHTS branding being utilized at all, so long after the release of the last game.
We’re running NiGHTS articles all week to celebrate its 25th anniversary, which you can read about here.
Sonic isn’t the only game franchise with an anniversary this year! His other, less popular younger sibling has one too! Twenty-five years ago on July 5, 1996, Sonic Team’s NiGHTS into Dreams… launched for the SEGA Saturn, and we’re celebrating that all week with a series of seven articles, 7 Days of NiGHTS. These articles will explore various aspects of the NiGHTS franchise, as well as my own personal experience with it.
In addition to articles, we will also be running NiGHTS streams at 5PM EST on our Twitch all week, running daily NiGHTS tweets on our Twitter, and we’ll be featuring a bunch NiGHTS track or two on this week’s SEGASonic Radio.
NiGHTS is a character that has long had connections to Sonic via cameos and easter eggs, so if you’ve ever been curious about the games behind it all, we hope you’ll enjoy this!
Sonic’s legacy in comics is almost as old as his legacy in games. From 1991 onward, Sonic’s stories have been depicted in sequential art, from one-shots to decades-spanning series. From a little promo comic to IDW, and with three different series from three different companies running at the franchise’s height of popularity in the 90s, the breadth and length of Sonic’s comic legacy is nearly unmatched in the video game space.
Back in the 90s, when Sonic was the newest, hottest video game property on the block, having a cartoon was always a telltale sign that a game series had truly made it. Mario had a series of them, Legend of Zelda had one, Earthworm Jim had one, and even Bubsy almosthad one.
We now know when Super Sonic will be heading to Sonic Forces Mobile, and it looks like it’ll be a birthday gift for blue blur: the character will be hitting the mobile racer on June 23.
This new character will mostly have the same power ups as vanilla Sonic, ice mine and fireball. But in place of the speed shoes, Super Sonic will instead have “Super Sonic form,” which appears to suggest that the character won’t be Super Sonic all the time, just while this ability is active. What’s interesting about this ability, however, is that it seems you earn it by collecting rings, not through item boxes. The exact amount isn’t specified, though 50 rings is probably a safe assumption.
Like previous Sonic Forces characters, Super Sonic will need to be unlocked via character cards. Gold rings will also be earned through battle chests throughout the event.
The Super Sonic event will run from June 23 to July 5, so players will have plenty of time to unlock the racer. Once we’ve got him we’ll try to provide video, so stay tuned!
The Sonic Colors content just keeps on coming! Earlier today, SEGA released the new remix for Aquarium Park Act 1’s soundtrack. The remix was done by Tomoya Ohtani, who also worked on music for the original Sonic Colors. Check it out below:
Some new footage from Sonic Colors Ultimate also appears to reveal something else: new dialogue for Tails. Tails appears to talk at times throughout the game, such as at 0:49 into the below video. Take a look:
Special thanks to Bulbasquirtle over on our Discord for the news tip!
SPOILER WARNING: Don’t read if you don’t want to be spoiled, you have been warned!
In new footage just leaked over Twitter, we have what is definitely a spoiler for the Sonic 2 movie: Sonic crashing Tom and Maddie’s Hawaii honeymoon, with what appears to be Tails and bad weather in tow. Well, specifically, he appears to be talking to Tails over some sort of radio. If I had to guess, this is from the start of the movie’s third act, and the point at which Tom and Maddie re-enter the plot.
It’s hard to make out exactly what is being said, but it seems that Sonic is “in trouble” with Tom (presumably something to do with the snow), Sonic is explaining that Robotnik is back, and as we said earlier, is talking to Tails over a radio.
We’ll work on getting our own recording in case this tweet gets deleted, but for now, here it is:
UPDATE: It appears the video was removed by Paramount. So it seems we’ve reached the limit of what media they’ll let float around! Of course, content like this is difficult to scrub from the internet (even we grabbed it, though we’re not posting it right now), so it’s probably still possible to find if you dig around for it.
We might attempt to update this post with a transcription, but for now we’ve at least got a screenshot from the video. It shows Tom and Maddie stumbling through the snow, right before Tom yells at Sonic and Sonic delivers his info dump:
If you ever wanted some jewel-encrusted 14k gold Sonic head necklaces, they are now yours to pre-order.
The Sonic the Hedgehog x King Ice necklaces that were revealed last year are now available on on the King Ice website for $150 a pop. Sonic, Knuckles, Shadow and Tails are all available. They are scheduled to ship between July 26 and July 30.
Have you ever wanted to own a Funko Pop version of Sonic from the western Sonic 2 box art for some reason? Well, good news, because that is now a thing. Funko revealed the new GameStop exclusive Pop! figurine on their social media today:
As of this article’s publication, the listing is not yet live, though you can check out the link Funko posted here.
Last year, SEGA sold their Joypolis amusement business to the China Animation Cultural Technology Group. Now CA Joypolis, the company created by that sale, is exploring expanding the SEGA-branded indoor park into overseas markets. The news comes from YouTuber and former Sonic Stadium staffer Dave “Badnik Mechanic” Luty.
According to a report CA Joypolis released, “the Group has entered a [memorandum of understanding] with another international partner to select a location for launching theme park in the UK within approximately half a year and explore the possibility to launch theme parks in Europe, North America and elsewhere.”
At the moment, there are three Joypolis locations, all in Asia, with a fourth now planned to open in South China. It’s been a long time since western markets have seen a proper SEGA theme park, with the only serious attempt SEGAWorld, which launched in the UK and Australia back in the 90s, and only lasted a few years. Sonic’s presence at the current Joypolis locations doesn’t tend to be that large, due to the character’s lack of popularity in Asia. One wonders whether or not a UK version of the park would feature the character more prominently.
We may have a better idea of whether a UK Joypolis location will happen, and perhaps what form it will take, by the end of the year.
The official Sonic 30th anniversary website has now launched, and it looks to be everyone’s one stop hub for all info regarding events, merchandise, and games coming out this year.
The website has a list of recent and impending events, including yesterday’s Sonic Central stream, the upcoming Sonic symphony on June 23, and something called a “Ring series,” which appears to be a series of videos focusing on both Sonic fans and creators. The Ring series doesn’t currently have a date.
The website also has sections devoted to Sonic Colors Ultimate, merchandise, his mobile games and game tie-ins, and a download gallery with a few wallpapers.
The Sonic Colors Ultimate website has a whole lot of screenshots for you to check out. One thing’s for sure: this is not just a straight port. Many assets appear to have been outright replaced. Check them out in the gallery below:
We’ve got some more info on Sonic Colors Ultimate, specifically on its developer, price, and a few other things.
It is being developed by Blind Squirrel Entertainment, a development studio more recently known for its work on BioShock: The Collection, Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced Edition, and Mass Effect Legendary Edition. So they have a lot of experience with this kind of project!
The game will also launch both physically and digital for $39.99. We already knew about the keychain for the physical version, but the digital version will come with its own bits of exclusive content: a Sonic “movie boost” that adds the electric sparks from the Sonic movie, and “exclusive player icons,” which are supposed to help you “stand out in a crowd,” though I’m not really sure what they actually are. Maybe those icons you could stick on your save files in the original?
There will also be a “Digital Deluxe Edition” for $44.99. This version includes “early access” which makes the game playable four days early, MORE exclusive player icons, an “ultimate cosmetic pack” which basically just gives Sonic silver or gold gloves, and an “ultimate music pack” that contains three exclusive original game remixes.
Finally, I’ve got some bad news for PC gamers who aren’t active users of the Epic Store: the PC version will be Epic Store exclusive, at least for the time being. Hopefully, it’ll hit other storefronts at a later date, but anyone who wants for PC on launch day will need to deal with the Epic storefront.
The latest Sonic animated short, “Rise of the Wisps,” will center around the world of Sonic Colors! This short will be the first of some new shorts that will feature full voice acting from the Sonic game cast. This two-part Sonic Colors short will see Sonic and Tails traveling to Sweet Mountain, where they will meet a new wisp, the “Jade Ghost wisp,” which will help them free wisps that have been captured by Dr. Eggman.
The first part of this short will debut this summer. Check out the trailer below!
The retail incentive covers for IDW’s “Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary Special” have been revealed, and they’ll mark the return of a legend: Patrick “Spaz” Spaziente, once one of the most prolific Sonic artists around, is returning! The cover is reminiscent to Spaziente’s Sonic Archives covers:
Spaziente isn’t the only legend doing a cover though, as Tyson Hesse is doing the special’s other retail incentive cover:
According to Ian Flynn, longtime writer of the Sonic comics, Spaz’s return “just the tip of the iceberg,” for IDW’s 30th anniversary plans. Yesterday, IDW itself revealed that they had a major announcement in store early next month.
News is great, ain’t it? We‘ve got a lot of that today. As the headline says: IDW has something “big” to reveal early next month. The reveal came via a tweet, in response to Sonic trending in the aftermath of the announcement of Thursday’s Sonic Central event.
Given the company already regularly does Sonic mini series, Sonic annuals, and has already revealed their upcoming Free Comic Book Day and Sonic 30th Anniversary issues…something “big” would probably need to be something beyond all that.
Given how scant the news is, I’ll venture to speculate…that something “big” would likely be a new monthly series, or a new mini series/limited series that goes beyond the scope of the previous mini series. I hesitate to speculate much further than that, lest I get people’s hopes up, but I would personally love to see them revisit previous Sonic comic continuities, though I certainly wouldn’t bet on this.
Early June is less than a week away, so we’ll know soon enough.
Remember that retro SEGA-themed picross game announced last year? Well, we just got an update on it from its developer, Jupiter: it’s still alive! That may seem like an odd update to give, but Jupiter has been oddly silent about the project for sometime now, leading many to wonder if the project was dead.
Jupiter’s update didn’t contain any additional info, such as a release date or screenshots, but at least we know the project itself is still kicking! To reiterate what we already know: it will have puzzles from 59 Mega Drive/Genesis & Mark III/Master System games, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Alex Kidd, and Phantasy Star.
SPOILER WARNING: If you don’t want to know anything about the Sonic 2 movie plot, stop reading now! Don’t complain in the comments! You have been warned!
A plot summary for the next Sonic movie has been released by the United States Copyright Office, and it puts some of the things we’ve seen in perspective. Check it out below:
After settling in Green Hills, Sonic is ready for more freedom, and Tom and Maddie agree to leave him home while they go on vacation. But, no sooner are they gone, when Dr. Robotnik comes back, this time with a new partner, Knuckles, in search for an emerald that has the power to both build and destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails, and together they embark on a journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands. Being directed by Jeff Fowler, and starring Jim Carrey, James Marsden, and Ben Schwartz.
So, in many ways, this sounds like a stripped down adaptation of Sonic 2 and 3, combined. Knuckles is still working with Robotnik, Tails is now partnered with Sonic, and a chaos emerald is the focal point of the plot.
That chaos emeralds are even being introduced is pretty huge, and them only introducing one is about the only thing I asked for in my article a few months ago that this movie appears to have. It’s not much, but I’ll take it!
Another interesting thing about this article is that it appears to be writing Tom and Maddie out of the central plot, though it’s probably fairly likely we’ll get at least a few scenes of them on vacation (presumably in Hawaii), if not a substantial B-plot. CGI is expensive, after all, it can’t be in every shot!
Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which began filming nearly two months ago on March 15, has officially wrapped up production in the area. Director Jeffrey Fowler posted a tweet thanking the local crew members who worked on the production. The tweet had him posing in front of something not included in any of the leaked images, mushroom props presumably from the mushroom planet. It’s probably safe to assume those scenes were filmed indoors on a sound stage.
Check out the tweet below:
Fowler did not say this was the end of shooting, however. The film is due to shoot in Hawaii as well, so that’s probably the production’s next stop. One wonders if the leaks will come just as easily from there as they did from Vancouver.
It sounds like the long wait for the next Sonic game announcement may soon be over, if a statement by SEGA Chief Strategy Officer Shuji Utsumi is any indication. In a recent interview with Famitsu Magazine, he talked about SEGA and its upcoming software limit. On the subject of Sonic, he said the new an announcement for a new game “might be coming soon.” Noncommittal language aside, there are a few reasons to expect it will happen soon, since both E3 and Sonic’s anniversary are next month month, and Sonic Colors Ultimate was leaked roughly a month ago now.
In that same interview, Utsumi also commented on people pointing out that SEGA was releasing more mobile games then console games. According to him, the company has been going through an organizational shift, and that there will be more console games starting from 2022 onwards.
It’s been a long while since the last Sonic console game, Team Sonic Racing, was announced. It’s been even longer since the last console Sonic game was released. Whether its with a Sonic Colors remake, or something else, that appears likely to end soon. What are you hoping for this year? Let us know in the comments!
E3’s Twitter account finally confirmed a bunch of companies for their digital event, including SEGA. As things stand, we currently know nothing about SEGA’s E3 presence, but their presence does mean they should have something to show from one of their many franchises. Will it be Sonic? Who knows. But that’s at least a possibility now. It should be noted that SEGA’s presence is never a sure thing: they skipped E3 2015.
As usual, we should be on hand to cover it. We’ve qualified as press for every E3 since 2010, so assuming that streak holds, you can tune into us for whatever digital press-only coverage E3 will be providing this year.
Looks like we’ve got more Sonic plushes coming from Great Eastern Entertainment, the same company that released an Infinite plush last year. Their website recently listed a bunch of new plushes of various Sonic characters, including Emerl, Mephiles the Dark, and Whisper. While this is the first time all three characters have been made into toys, Whisper’s inclusion is especially notable, as she is the first IDW creation to receive merchandise outside of some minor collectible like pins. Both the Whisper and Emerl plushes are also listed as being 10 inches tall.
Currently, none of these plushes have a release date, price, or even an image, though it seems likely we’ll get news soon. Stay tuned for more info!
UPDATE: Thanks to Ali Ahmed in the comments, we now know of another source that’s leaked info. French online game retailer Sogamely has Sonic Colors listed for Switch, PS4 and Xbox One for €35 each. Given how game prices tend to work that’d translate to $35 USD. The games are called “Sonic Colors Ultimate – Limited Edition.” If accurate, this would appear to suggest that the remaster would getting some sort of physical release as well.
Unfortunately, linking to it directly doesn’t seem to work, but you can find it yourself by going to the Sogamely link we provided and searching “Sonic Colors.”
German dubbing studio iksample has potentially leaked a Sonic game: a remaster of Sonic Colors. The company lists it among their upcoming projects (albeit with a Sonic Boom graphic). This would be a pretty odd thing to list by mistake, but as always: this isn’t a confirmed project, so treat it as such.
If true, this suggests the game is getting a German dub, something the original game didn’t have. A “remaster” can mean a variety of things in today’s game industry, but the creation of a new dub suggests something a bit better than “Sonic Colors but in HD.” Though it hardly points towards a completely remade game either.
If this is real, we’ll likely be hearing about it soon. Stay tuned for further updates!
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