Knuckles and Silver team up in this week’s Sonic Forces comic

 

The second part of SEGA’s Sonic Forces digital comic mini series debuted today, and this week it’s catering to Knuckles fans (and Silver fans I guess). Written by Ian Flynn with art by Adam Bryce Thomas, this comic’s story is a direct prequel to the game, showing how some of the game’s characters get involved. It also…well, you’ll see on the final page, I guess.

This week’s comic pages are embedded below. If you missed last week’s comic, you can check it out here.

Aaron Webber Confirms Sonic Forces will have a “lower difficulty” mode

In a NEOGaf thread discussing Sonic Forces, Sonic Social and PR Manager Aaron Webber confirmed that the game would have a lower difficult mode. Webber confirmed this to alleviate some concerns raised over a Forces video released by GameSpot a few days ago. In this video, the custom hero’s ring count capped off at one-hundred and only lost twenty when he was hit. Webber also confirmed that the game’s regular difficulty will not have this ring cap and getting hit will still result in the loss of all rings, aside from those the player is able to recollect, like nearly every other Sonic game.

To see this mode in action, check out the video embedded below:

Sonic Spin Dashes Back into Kids Books Next July

Sonic will be returning to literature next year with two books from the Penguin Group. Written by author Kiel Phegley, both books have recently popped up on Amazon, with a scheduled release date of July 10, 2018.

The first of these books, Sonic and the Tales of Terror, appeared yesterday. According to its description, the book will feature illustrations from Ian McGinty and have Eggman and his minions trapping Sonic in three, presumably terrifying, stories. The book will have 64 pages and will be for reading age levels 7-10. The book is currently available for pre-order in both print and on Kindle for $6.99 USD.

The other book, Race Against Time, is a 32 page sticker activity book. As the name suggests, this is an activity book where readers must help Sonic recapture the Chaos Emeralds by completing the book’s puzzles and games. It is also has a reading age level of 7-10, and is currently available for pre-order in print for $7.99 USD.

The SEGA Shop is open for business

Today, months after the closure of SonicMerchandise.com, SEGA has launched its successor: the SEGA Shop. As the name implies this shop is for more than just Sonic, featuring merchandise from both Golden Axe and Shinobi franchises as well as the SEGA Genesis console. So if you’ve ever wanted a or a bar of soap shaped like a SEGA Genesis controller, you can buy it. The store is also launching with some exclusive Sonic merchandise, including a Sonic Forces shirt, pictured below:

The store is currently only open in the Americas, New Zealand and Australia.

Sonic Force’s Custom Hero Drills through Space Port, shows off rental hero & Infinite boss battle

With Sonic Force’s release now just three weeks away, SEGA is now finally showing off new parts of the game. Today’s trio of videos center around the game’s Avatar character, a boss battle and a somewhat new stage: Space Port.

I say somewhat because Space Port is technically the frozen-over Chemical Plant level we got our first screenshots of last week. It would appear the plant has been converted into launch base of some sort, with the chemicals now frozen solid in their tubes and vats. The “Rental Hero” feature allows you to rent other player’s heroes, and switch to them mid-level. SEGA also showed off a boss battle between the Avatar character and Force’s new antagonist, Infinite.

You can check out all three videos below:

SEGA Release Part One of a Sonic Forces digital comic

If the death of Archie Sonic has left a void in your heart, you won’t have to wait until IDW Sonic launches next April to fill it. SEGA has launched the first part of a four part Sonic Forces digital comic. Written by Ian Flynn, with art and lettering by Adam Bryce Thomas, it follows an unnamed member of the Resistance as he conquers his fears and aids the Chaotix in a battle against Eggman’s forces.

You can read the comic here.

IDW Confirms Ian Flynn As New Sonic Comic Lead Writer, with April 2018 Launch

It has been revealed at IDW’s Sonic Comic Town Hall panel (live-streamed by TSSZ), that Ian Flynn will be the lead writer. Fans of the later Archie Sonic comics will be pleased to see Flynn return to his role as creator of Sonic comic story lines.

While details on the comic from the panel has been sparse so far, it has been announced that the new Sonic comic will be in its own continuity and will start with a new number one with “brand new stories.” The comic will launch April 4th, 2018 with the first four issues released on a weekly basis, continuing on monthly.

While Flynn’s involvement as lead writer has been confirmed, no other names have been mentioned at the time of this writing.

UPDATE: IDW has released a high quality version of the Tysone Hesse teaser image alongside their press release.

Sonic Forces on Steam has Denuvo, may be co-developed by Hardlight Studios

Sonic Forces has popped up for pre-order on Steam, and with that came some new info regarding this version of the game. Like the PC version of Sonic Mania, Sonic Forces will have Denuvo, a controversial anti-piracy program that is unpopular within PC gaming circles.

Sonic Forces on PC also appears to be co-developed by Hardlight Studios, which shares a development credit with Sonic Team on the game’s listing page. Hardlight Studio is a UK developer that specializes in mobile games. It has developed a variety of Sonic mobile games, including the recently released Sonic Forces: Speed Battle.

Like the PS4 and Xbox One versions, pre-ordering the game will net you a Shadow avatar costume and the SEGA pack, which includes avatar costumes for a variety of SEGA characters including NiGHTS and Beat.

The PC version of Sonic Forces is scheduled for release on the same day as the console version of the game, November 7.

Sonic Mania: The Twitter Experience

While Sonic Mania is taking many gamers back in time to the nineties, much about the Sonic hype experience is very different to that enjoyed some twenty-plus years ago. One of the biggest changes to the gaming experience has been the emergence of social media, which allows developers, critics and fans to react and interact in a way that simply did not exist back when Sonic was rocking in 16-bit. Continue reading Sonic Mania: The Twitter Experience

Sonic Mania’s PC version delayed

Aaron Webber has announced via a Sonic Official youtube livestream that the PC version of Sonic Mania will be delayed ‘for further optimization,’ to ensure it runs on all variations of PC hardware. As an apology, anyone who’s pre-ordered the PC version of Sonic Mania will be receiving a free copy of Sonic 1 on PC. Continue reading Sonic Mania’s PC version delayed

VIDEO: Sonic Mania Opening Animation Officially Released

While today’s leak of Sonic Mania will have us dodging spoilers for the next five days, there is one upside to it: SEGA has decided to release Sonic Mania’s opening animation early! Originally scheduled for the 14th, this animation continues where the animated pre-order trailer left off. Like the pre-order trailer, this was directed by former Archie Sonic artist Tyson Hesse. Continue reading VIDEO: Sonic Mania Opening Animation Officially Released

Video: First Footage of Sonic Mania’s Competition Mode

With only one week to go until Sonic Mania’s release, SEGA has revealed the game’s competition mode! For those wondering if the mode is playable online, the Sonic twitter specifically mentions friends can be challenged “locally”, so this would appear to be an offline-only mode. Continue reading Video: First Footage of Sonic Mania’s Competition Mode

IDW Reveals the Sonic Comic’s Editor

While IDW’s new Sonic comic is still many months away, it already has an editor: Joe Hughes. As the editor, Hughes will effectively run the entire book. IDW is still on the hunt for writers and artists, and is reportedly considering both veteran Sonic talent and new faces.

Joe Hughes used to be the manager of a New York City comic book store called Forbidden Planet, before getting a job at DC Comics. Starting as a direct sales representative, he eventually became an assistant editor on DC’s Vertigo imprint. He left DC in 2012 to become the Editor-in-Chief at ComicsAlliance, a major comic book news site that closed earlier this year. He joined IDW just a month ago.

IDW’s Sonic comic is scheduled to launch at some undetermined date next year.

Source: IDW Publishing

Sonic Games on sale on Nintendo eShop

European Playstation owners aren’t the only ones getting a Sonic sale! Starting today, Nintendo fans can also get in on the action. Sonic games on both the 3DS and Wii U platforms will be on sale for up to 60 percent off in both America and Europe. The sale will last until June 29th. For a full list of games on sale, please check the list below.

Special note: Virtual Console Game Gear Games are not a part of this sale in the United States.

Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice (SEGA EUR) – €19.99/£17.49/$14.99 (normally €39.99/£34.99/$29.99)
Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (SEGA EUR) – €19.99/£17.49/$19.99 (normally €39.99/£34.99/$39.99)
Sonic Lost World (SEGA EUR) – €19.99/£17.49/$14.97 (normally €39.99/£34.99/$29.95)
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (SEGA) – €15.99/£11.99/$11.98 (normally €39.99/£29.99/$29.95)
Sonic Generations (SEGA) – €9.99/£7.99/$11.99 (normally €24.99/£19.99/$29.99)
3D Sonic The Hedgehog (SEGA) – €2.24/£2.04/$2.99 (normally €4.49/£4.09/$5.99)
3D Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (SEGA) – €2.49/£2.24/$2.99 (normally €4.49/£4.49/$5.99)
Sonic The Hedgehog: Triple Trouble (SEGA, GG VC) – €2.49/£2.24 (normally €4.49/£4.49)
Sonic Drift 2 (SEGA, GG VC) – €1.99/£1.79 (normally €3.99/£3.59)
Sonic Labyrinth (SEGA, GG VC) – €2.49/£2.24 (normally €4.49/£4.49)
Sonic Blast (SEGA, GG VC) – €2.49/£2.24 (normally €4.49/£4.49)
Sonic The Hedgehog (SEGA, GG VC) – €2.49/£2.24 (normally €4.49/£4.49)
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (SEGA, GG VC) – €2.49/£2.24 (normally €4.49/£4.49)

Sonic sale on EU PSN Store

PSN’s EU store is having a sale on all its Sonic franchise titles, starting today and ending on July 5. Every single one of Sonic’s games on the store are available for at least 50 percent off. For a full rundown on the current prices, check the list below:

Sonic 1: £1.69
Sonic 2: £1.69
Sonic the Fighters: £1.69
Sonic Unleashed £4.99
Sonic Adventure: £1.69
Sonic Adventure 2: £2.49
Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed (PS3 & Vita): £5.75
Sonic 4 Episode 1: £2.49
Sonic 4 Episode 2: £3.99
Sonic Generations: £5.79

The store also has a variety of SEGA games for sale, including Virtua Fighter 5 and Fighting Vipers.

Sonic Mania E3 Impressions: Alex’s Take

I still can’t quite believe Sonic Mania is real. It’s certainly the kind of project many Sonic fans have dreamed of: a game by the fans, for the fans, that somehow manages to capture the nostalgia of yesteryear while simultaneously adding new fresh ideas to make it an all-together new experience. This is the video game equivalent of patting one’s head and rubbing one’s stomach at the same time: possible, but difficult to pull off. And yet somehow, Sonic Mania is doing just that, and appears to be doing it flawlessly if the E3 demo is any indication. Continue reading Sonic Mania E3 Impressions: Alex’s Take

Sonic Forces on Nintendo Switch E3 Impressions


I’ve had one question in the back of my mind ever since the Nintendo Switch was unveiled: how the heck was Sonic Project 2017, which was going to be a full-on next generation Sonic title, going to run on this thing? Fairly well, as it turns out, albeit with some very noticeable compromises.

The most notable difference is that the game runs at 30 frames per second – half the rate of the competing systems. Texture and models are of lower quality, with certain effects either trimmed down or removed entirely. The lush, wavy grass from the PS4 version of Green Hill is less lush and wavy on the Switch, and far more jagged, with even shadows being effected. The shadows cast by Eggman’s Eggmobile were distinctly lower resolution, appearing jagged with inconsistent levels of darkness.

Most of these issues, outside of the frame rate, are borderline unnoticeable in portable mode. But in console mode, the flaws are very apparent.

My fellow Sonic Stadium staffer, Jason, also got to see the demo in action, and he had this to say:

Jason’s Take:

A few months back when the Switch version was announced, I’d guessed that the game would be at about half the frame rate of the HD versions and would probably suffer a little in the visual department as well – and I see this is the case.

That said, it’s not as bad as it sounds. There are still some nice effects in here that give it a next gen feel. The puddles of water are still reflective. There’s no real pop-in and you can see far out in the distance. The grass still waves around. The main difference is the lack of detail in some of the textures and the jaggy, 720P or possibly sub 720P resolution which may be due to no anti-aliasing. At least, it appears that way. 

All of this is almost invisible in portable mode outside of the locked 30 fps. I’m still considering this version and the PC version as the ports I have preference over, with the Switch offering portability and the PC for it’s eventual modding. If the Switch is your only option, it’s still a solid port – just think of it as a PC game in medium to low settings vs. ultra-high settings for the PS4 version.

E3 demos are of course usually technically inferior to the final product – something we have seen in previous years with Generations and Colors, which both contained performance issues rectified for the final game. The Switch version was never going to be the version of choice for the graphically obsessed. But for those of you who’ve always wanted to take a 3D Sonic game on the go, this looks like it’ll be a great option when it launches alongside the console and PC versions later this year.

We took a bunch of off-screen images with an actual, high quality digital camera for this article. We’re including the ones that best captured the game, with minimal motion blur, in a gallery below. While off-screen still-images are never as accurate at representing a game’s visuals as direct capture footage, these should at least give you a firm idea of the level of graphical quality in this version of the game.

Sonic Forces: Custom Hero E3 Impressions

Sonic Force’s decision to include a custom character with a very different game play style has been a decision that has polarised the fan base. It continues Sonic Team’s history to add new dimensions to bolster the established 2D and 3D platforming in order to produce a more broad appeal. Continue reading Sonic Forces: Custom Hero E3 Impressions

E3 2017: Sonic Forces Nintendo Switch footage

Have you been wondering how Sonic Forces would perform on Nintendo Switch? Well wonder no longer! While we were on the E3 show floor, we were able to record some footage directly from a Switch. While it may not be easy to tell, the game is running at a consistent 30 frames per second on the console. As a bonus, you also get some off-the-cuff commentary on the experience from Jason and I.

You can expect a more thorough run down of the Switch version’s performance from us in a video and a write-up later this week.

Sonic Forces E3 Impressions: Alex’s Take

SEGA has been frustratingly quiet about Sonic Forces since they revealed it as Sonic Project 2017 last year. It’s only been in the lead up to E3 that the game’s identity has begun to take shape publicly. While the game features shades of Sonic Generations, to call it an outright sequel (or rehash) isn’t quite right. The Forces demo is both familiar and new, if not also a little awkward.

The modern Sonic game play is essentially just a polished form of what we’ve been getting since Sonic Unleashed. Visuals aside, this game would be right at home in Sonic Generations, and there is zero learning curve for anyone who’s already played that game. The same can also be said for classic Sonic’s boss battle, which starts out as a new (if not exactly inventive) take on Eggman’s swinging ball weapon, replacing the ball with a buzz saw that cuts through platforms.

After that (easy) fight, Eggman hops into his Egg Dragoon, which first appeared in Sonic Unleashed, and starts attacking from the background. He fires a giant chain gun and chucks rocks and metallic boulders, the latter of which can be hit back to damage him. This part takes longer and is more entertaining, though the boss fight on the whole is fairly easy. The first two parts of the demo are as fun and polished as Sonic has ever been, but they do nothing outstanding or new design-wise. If all you want is more Generations (like me) than you’ll be satisfied with what’s on display for these modes in the demo.

So that’s what’s familiar, but what about the new stuff? Well, the visuals of Forces are a nice upgrade from past Sonic games. While some have complained that the new Green Hill stage looks barren compared Generations, this game looks better than any past Sonic game at an objective, technical level. The demo runs at a near silky smooth 60 frames per second, the first non-PC Sonic game to do so (Dreamcast HD ports notwithstanding). Individual blades of grass in Green Hill now move back and forth individually. In terms of pure polygons, this game is clearly pushing way more than any past Sonic game. These are the highest fidelity Sonic models I’ve ever seen.

That said, as with any E3 demo, the visuals aren’t 100 percent polished. At the end of the avatar stage, during a chase scene, the frame rate does get a little janky. But given that E3 demos typically boast notable technical issues due to their incomplete state of development, what I saw in the demo bodes well for the visuals in the final product. And speaking of the avatar stage, this brings me to what will surely be the most controversial part of this game.

I have felt uneasy about the player-made hero character since it was unveiled. While my time with the character does allay those fears somewhat, I do still have some concerns.

First, the positives: the “wispons”, wisp fuelled weapons that can be used for both attacking and traversal, fit surprisingly well with the flow of game play. During my playthrough, I used what was effectively a lightning whip. It let my character lightspeed dash across trails of rings, reverse the direction of my jump in mid-air, briefly boost forward, and attack and destroy horizontal rows of enemies. Overall, the wispon actually positively benefited the flow of play, and didn’t feel nearly as awkward as it looked.

On the negative side, there’s a learning curve to controlling the character. The character cannot roll, jump dash, or perform any of Sonic’s other moves. The way the character jumps feels different, and potentially awkward. I was missing a lot of jumps in my initial play through as a result, but whether this was because I was used to Sonic’s jumping mechanics and need to simply get used to the custom-hero character, or if the character’s controls simply aren’t very good, I can’t say without spending more time with the game.

Sonic Forces doesn’t look like it’ll be a groundbreaking title, but it ought to be a very fun one. While the hero character is a potential chink in the armor, it doesn’t look like the disaster I thought it might be either.

There will be additional game play impressions later this week, as well as a more in-depth impression of how the hero character plays.

Sonic Forces & Mania Demo Footage Showcased on Twitch Stream

SEGA Community Manager Aaron Webber appeared on the E3 Pre-Event Twitch stream along with members of the Sonic Mania development team to, among other Sonic-related things, show off the Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania E3 demos. The Forces demo consists of three parts: a modern Sonic 3D stage, a classic Sonic boss battle, and an “Avatar stage”, which demonstrates the fan-created “hero” character. The Sonic Mania demo showed off the second Green Hill stage and boss. Continue reading Sonic Forces & Mania Demo Footage Showcased on Twitch Stream

New Sonic Forces Footage Revealed in Nintendo Direct

If you’re hungry for a few seconds of new Sonic Forces footage, Nintendo has you covered. The company showcased the game in today’s Nintendo Direct, giving us our first glimpse of classic Sonic game play. The level appears to be themed after Green Hill. The Direct also teased the game’s “unexpected character,” confirming it will be a “new ally”.

While it was technically teasing the Switch version, it is currently unknown if this footage was running on Switch or another console. Regardless, this seems to confirm that the Switch will be getting the same version of the game as Xbox and Playstation.

Check out the footage for yourself in the video below:

Rumour: Sonic Runners Adventure info detailed in FAQ

As we reported earlier today, news of a new Sonic mobile game from Gameloft, Sonic Runners Adventure, appears to have been leaked. Amongst the leaks was a support page on Gameloft’s website detailing much of the gameplay which, if true, suggests this new Runners game will bring some significant changes to the original game’s formula.

As we mentioned in our news article earlier today, this game will only need to be connected to the internet once, when it is launched for the first time on a device – surely welcome news for anyone who has poor internet signal or commutes on the subway. The original Sonic Runners was free-to-play, but included a premium currency in the form of red rings which were used to unlock special characters, continue after death, and to play a roulette mini game that could be used to win characters or items; Sonic Runners Adventure instead employs a system in which everything within the game is purchased with normal rings, which can be collected in levels or earned by completing achievements. The roulette mini game, the source of much contention in the first title, is not mentioned in the FAQ.

Sonic Runners included a feature in which friends could send gifts and be competed against via leaderboards; this currently appears to have been dropped for Runners Adventure. The story and timed modes look to have been retained, although the way progression works in story mode will be different, with new chapters unlocked through earning stars, which can beobtained by completing missions in each level.

The FAQ also details three different types of levels, each of which will have their own means of completion:

  • Finite levels can only be beaten by crossing a finish line and any stars earned in them can only be kept if the level is beaten
  • Looped levels can only be beaten by completing a certain number of laps around a short stage
  • Infinite levels go on indefinitely until all mission goals in that level are completed, or until the player dies or runs out of time

In addition to these three level types, there are also bonus levels that can only be accessed by collecting a bonus item and beating the stage; in these stages the player flies around and collects rings. The controls are simple: hold or tap the screen to go up, release to go down. These levels have no enemies or obstacles.

Similar to the first game, characters are divided into three types: speed, flying, and power. However, the characters no longer have “personality” types, but instead are designated a team: Hero, Chaotix, and Dark. Each team has a unique skill that can be temporarily activated after 300 rings are collected:

  • Team Heroes has invincibility and magnetic abilities
  • Team Chaotix can turn 30 percent of their rings into 10x rings
  • Team Dark can turn their enemies into golden enemies, which count for two enemies each.

A team screen can be used to purchase and equip “buddies”, purchase and equip boosters, purchase characters, and find out character attributes. The number of equippable boosters goes up as more characters in a given team are unlocked and much like the original game, that number tops out at three.

Characters level up over the course of the game, with the character level determining the duration of the booster item’s effect; the maximum level a character can reach is level 5.

Finally, the game makes mention of a “camera angle” that will shift when a character is performing certain stunts and cannot be controlled. This particular detail is rather unusual, given that the original Sonic Runners was a sidescrolling game and didn’t have camera angles. This would seem to suggest that Sonic Runners Adventure might have some sort of 3D polygonal component, though this is pure speculation.

It’s pretty rare for a new Sonic game to get an info dump the day it is announced, let alone before its announced. Stay tuned to Sonic Stadium for more information as it comes!

Sonic games 75% off on Steam for 24 hours

Anyone who’s ever wanted to own every Sonic game on Steam is in luck today: from now until 1 p.m. EST/6 p.m. BST tomorrow, every Sonic game on the service will be on sale for 75 percent off.

For those of you who have never bought a Sonic game on the service before, Steam has an even better deal for you: a bundle that not only includes Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, but also gives you Sonic Generations and its Casino Nights DLC completely free.

The Sonic Games Collection Steam bundle is currently going $28.24/£19.49. The Collection usually goes for $112.99/£77.99. You can check out the bundle and individual games here.

Sonic Boom Cast and Crew holding Twitter Q&A Today

The men and women behind the Sonic Boom TV show will be available to answer all your burning questions on Twitter today. They will be live tweeting at 6 p.m. eastern time, during this week’s episode, “Give Bees a Chance,” which was written by Cindy Robinson, the voice actor for Amy Rose. To send them a tweet, just use the hashtag “#AskSonicBoomCrew”. For a countdown timer and links to the twitter profiles of everyone participating, check out Mike Pollock’s website.

Below is a list of everyone who will be participating in the Q&A:

Sonic – Roger Craig Smith

Dr. Eggman – Mike Pollock

Tails – Colleen Villard

Knuckles – Travis Willingham

Episode Writer and Amy Rose – Cindy Robinson

Sticks – Nika Futterman

Orbot – Kirk Thornton​

Cubot – Wally Wingert

Exec. Producer, Comedy Chimp & Lady Walrus – Bill Freiberger

Staff Writer and Story Editor Alan Denton

Staff Writer and Story Editor Greg Hahn

Staff Writer and Editor Sam Freiberger

IGN Eyes-on impressions hints at Sonic Forces’ tone

Going by what little we’ve seen of Sonic Forces, the game looks a little grim. But according to IGN, which was one of several major gaming media outlets to be given a more extensive eyes-on of the game, SEGA told them the level we’ve been seeing was “one of the more aesthetically grim parts of the game”. So Sonic Forces may not be as dark and apocalyptic as footage of the game has suggested.

IGN went on to explain the game play on display, saying it clearly shared lineage with Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations. It also featured alternative paths with “verticality”.

Check out the complete preview here.

UPDATE: Sonic Forces’ Theme Song Has Already Been uploaded

UPDATE: SEGA has later uploaded the theme via the official Sonic YouTube channel! Original story follows below.


The SXSW Sonic panel ended with a sneak preview of the Sonic Forces theme. The theme was composed by Tomoya Ohtani, who served as Sound Director for Sonic 2006, Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors. While this version of the theme is strictly instrumental, the final version of the theme will have vocals.

Check out the theme song in the embedded video below, courtesy of Blue Paradox:

Sonic Mania Delayed To Summer 2017

This just in from the SXSW Sonic panel: Sonic Mania has been delayed from Spring 2017 to Summer 2017! Still no exact date revealed. According to the panel, the devs need more time to make sure the game is as good as it can be.

They said SEGA doesn’t want to disappoint its fans, and is making sure it is taking the time needed to make a high quality game. “Quality is our number one priority.”

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SXSW not streaming Sonic panel. Here’s how you can watch it!

SXSW revealed yesterday that they would not be livestreaming their panels tomorrow, including their Sonic panel. Luckily, Tails Channel is streaming it! You can watch it in the embedded video below: Continue reading SXSW not streaming Sonic panel. Here’s how you can watch it!

Sonic Mania will will launch same day across all platforms, at the same price

According to a new interview with Sonic Community Manager Aaron Webber, no platforms will be getting any preferential treatment from Sonic Mania when it finally hits. According to the interview, conducted by Nintendo World Report, the game will be hitting the Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC at the same time and at the same price, although no further details were given on what the release date and price will be. Continue reading Sonic Mania will will launch same day across all platforms, at the same price

Archie delays upcoming Sonic comics again, doesn’t solicit Sonic for May

Fans of Archie’s Sonic comic series will be waiting awhile longer to get their next Sonic comic fix. According to the website Previewsworld, which posts solicitations for upcoming comic books, the next issues of both Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Universe have been delayed again to April and beyond.

Sonic the Hedgehog #291, originally scheduled for late January before being delayed to March 1, then March 22, is now arriving in stores April 26. Sonic Universe #95 will be shipping on April 12, three whole months after the last issue. Of course, these delays have also affected subsequent issues, with Sonic #292 shipping on May 24 and Sonic Universe #96 shipping on May 10.  The solicitations for the remaining issues have yet to be altered, but they will no doubt be changed eventually to reflect these delays.

Today, it seems even these dates may not be set in stone; while in the past Archie has re-solicited delayed comics, their recently released May solicits did not feature any Sonic comics, new or old.

Things have been rocky for Archie’s Sonic comics these last few months. In addition to these delays, subscriptions for the comics became (and remain) unavailable, which we first reported back in January. The exact cause of all this remains unclear, as Archie staff have remained mum throughout all of this.

Sources: Comic Vine, Previews World

F4F’s Silver statue now available for pre-order, details of day one edition unveiled

First 4 Figure’s Silver the Hedgehog statue is now available for pre-order. As we reported last week, those who order the “Exclusive Edition” version of the statue in the first 24 hours will receive a special “Day One” edition, which the company detailed in the hour before the pre-orders went live today. Continue reading F4F’s Silver statue now available for pre-order, details of day one edition unveiled

Sonic Mania Hands-On Preview

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This is the Sonic game classic Sonic fans have dreamed of for at least a decade.

Well, probably. As with any game, there are a lot of boxes Sonic Mania needs to tick to ensure it lives up to its potential. What will the quality of the level design be? How much content will there be and how much will it cost? Are there any unknown game play elements that could mar the experience?

Normally, I save these sorts of cautionary warnings for the end of the preview, but I think it’s necessary to put them front and center because, at least on the surface, this has all the right elements to excite every old-school Sonic fan on the planet.

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First of all, the physics: one of the first things I did in this game was attempt the wall-stand that Sonic 4 became infamous for. I am happy to say that not only is gravity-defying traversal nearly impossible (by the standards of a classic Sonic game anyway) but many of the new areas in the demo require momentum to traverse. Without it, you aren’t going anywhere. There are no spring pads, few auto-running segments, and loads of opportunities to build momentum on hills and half-pipes to reach higher areas, or mess up and fall into lower sections. That said, the physics still aren’t quite what you may be used to from the classic Genesis titles. They feel like they fit somewhere between the Genesis titles and the slightly looser physics of Sonic CD. Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising: the stages take a lot of inspiration from Sonic CD.

The game had two levels on display: the remade Act 1 of Green Hill Zone and the all-new Studiopolis Zone.

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At first glance, Green Hill hasn’t changed much. If you just run through it as you normally do, chances are it may feel just like the original stage with some slight tweaks. But that’s because you didn’t look hard enough: when I played the level, I decided to explore, and I eventually made my way to a completely new area that runs directly over much of the level.

The design for these new areas feels reminiscent of Sonic CD stages, with loads of pipes, mobius strips, and areas that let you really move in a way old-school Green Hill never quite allowed. There are also hidden secrets, including a bubble shield and a fire shield. The level ended with a boss that was simultaneously reminiscent and new, putting a new spin on Eggman’s ball-swinging egg mobile from the original game. In this case, the two balls took turns swinging from one another, with one vulnerable to attack and the other dangerous to the touch. If this boss is any indication, we will probably see a return of the mid-level sub bosses from Sonic 3 & Knuckles in Sonic Mania.

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The Sonic CD inspirations are even more evident in the second level on display: Studiopolis. The stage is sprawling, loaded with different routes and secrets to find, as well as plenty of hills, ramps and other types of terrain that make use of the game’s physics. One key difference between this stage the levels in Sonic CD seems to be level cohesion: I’ve always felt most of the the level design in Sonic CD was a bit of a mess. Here, everything seems to be placed a little more intelligently, making the level itself a little easier to navigate and memorize. Of course, I’m sure Sonic CD fans will completely disagree with me on that point, but they should love this level nonetheless.

Both levels rewarded exploration in a way no other modern Sonic game does. Since I knew my time with the game would be limited, I decided to take my time and explore both stages, and there was a lot to see. Backtracking and trying to reach higher areas that I had missed on my initial pass was how I discovered that one entirely new portion of Green Hill. Backtracking in Studiopolis revealed a spring that sent me careening towards the right of the screen, and further exploration revealed an absolutely massive stage that I simply didn’t have time to fully explore during the demo. This is the sort of level design I’ve been wanting from my sidescrolling Sonic titles for awhile: large levels that reward people who do more than press right and take the easiest and most straightforward paths. Exploration not only revealed hidden paths, but also power ups (including the aforementioned shields) and the outlines of giant rings that weren’t accessible in the demo. While nothing about them has been confirmed, it seems pretty likely that they lead to Mania’s special stages.

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While there wasn’t much genuinely new game play mechanics to find in the game, there was one thing that could drastically change how people play the game: the drop dash. Anyone who’s seen the trailer should have an idea of what the drop dash is, but let me elaborate on it: you activate the drop dash by holding the jump button as Sonic jumps through the air. The higher up you are, the more you can charge the drop dash, and when you hit the ground you immediately spin dash in whatever direction your trying to go. It’s a fun move that looks like it should be useful for hardcore players, since it isn’t exactly the easiest move to use.

I tried using it as often as I could throughout one of my playthroughs, and discovered it was only really useful in areas when Sonic could both gain a lot of air, and had a place to spin dash through once he landed. This neat little move is a little more interesting than other attempts at giving 2D Sonic an extra move, such as the insta-shield and homing attack that have been utilized in previous titles. The move won’t always be available though: when Sonic has an elemental shield, it is replaced by that shield’s special move.

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Graphically, the game seems to answer the question, “what would a real Sonic game on the 32X have looked like?” Studiopolis is a gorgeous level, full of color and neat details, including a cute little 1930s inspired dancing Eggman animation. It’s loaded with different shades of blues and purples, with some oranges and yellows thrown in for good measure. It actually kind of reminds me of this old Sonic folder I had when I was a kid. Overall, the level just oozes with 90s nostalgia.

The sprite animations themselves have more inbetween frames then you’d normally see in a Genesis title. The sprites also sometimes have interesting little touches, like the orbinaut badnik becoming more desperate as you destroy the little orbiting balls that protect it from your attacks. Studiopolis updates the graphics just enough to make them look great by today’s standards, without completely losing that Genesis feel. They don’t completely make the jump to the more advanced 2D graphics you might find on systems like the Saturn, but the Genesis certainly wouldn’t have been able to handle them.

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The Studiopolis theme was also some really great stuff. It’s fusion of jazz and midi sounds like something ripped from the best of 90s SEGA soundtracks. It’s definitely got a Sonic Team flavoring to it, and would fit in fine with not just any Sonic game, but even NiGHTS into Dreams stuff. If the rest of this game’s soundtrack is as fine as this, it ought to find its way into any Sonic fan’s playlist.

This has the potential to be Sonic’s best game since the Genesis era. Better than already great stuff like Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations. Better than the Sonic Boom mediocrity we’ve gotten over the last few years. Better than SEGA’s 2D Sonic console game, Sonic 4. I just hope the rest of the game lives up to what I played at that party.