With a decade under his belt, T-Bird is one of The Sonic Stadium's most seasoned writers, with interests in the music and merchandise of the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. T-Bird is the co-organiser for the Summer of Sonic convention.
San Diego Comic Con played host to the Sonic Mania Development team yesterday, in a panel that included Takashi Iizuka, programmers Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley, alongside lead artist Tom Fry, composer Tee Lopes and SEGA community manager Aaron Webber. Our man in the field Jason Berry was at the panel, and captured the events as they happened via The Sonic Stadium Twitter.
The following is a summary of the panel discussion:
Sonic Mania was originally named “Sonic Discovery” during it’s early development stages
When Sonic Mania was first pitched to Iizuka-san in early 2016, a working demo was already playable featuring Studiopolis Zone
Iizuka-san came up with the phrase “By the Mania, for the Mania”
Many different story narratives were discussed for Mania, including a defeated Eggman retiring, while his machines form their own gang in the Hard Boiled Heavies
The Sonic CD-like special stage was revealed, which sees the player chase a UFO
The special stage music track “Dimension Heist” was played
Sonic Mania will feature sprite cut scenes, a la Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Sonic Mania will feature an opening animation by Tyson Hesse, and will be revealed on August the 14th
Aaron Webber stated no Super Emeralds will feature in the game, following an audience question
Attendees at the panel received a free “Introduction manual”, in the style of the 32X instruction manuals, detailing game story, developer profiles and new sketch-hog art by Tyson Hesse
SEGA and IDW Publishing have today announced a partnership to continue Sonic the Hedgehog comics in a new series in 2018. The news comes a day after SEGA officially announced the end of a 24-year partnership with Archie Comics.
According to SEGA, creative teams are still being formed at IDW, with more news to come later. The news shot also hints that the writers and artists are involved in the news comics, stating they are in talks with “Sonic fan-favourite creators and new creators alike”.
SEGA and IDW are thrilled to announce a partnership to bring Sonic Comics to fans new and old. The new series arrives 2018! pic.twitter.com/neT3oAMNUE
[UPDATE] During the pre-SDCC SEGA PR stream, Aaron Webber mentioned that there are currently “discussions” regarding the release of the Sonic Mania soundtrack on other formats – most likely digital and/or CD. Those without turntables – do not despair!
Sonic fans and soundtrack collectors alike will want to mark this weekend in their calendars! Data Discs have announced that pre-orders for the Sonic Mania soundtrack, the first Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack to see a full release on vinyl, will go live this coming weekend.
The soundtrack will contain 18 tracks, and will be released in three versions:
Unlike previous releases from Data-Discs, the pre-order window will extend from 8AM BST on Saturday 22nd of July through to 12PM on Monday 24th of July, during which period anyone who pre-orders a limited edition version of the soundtrack will be guaranteed a copy, with the two other versions remaining available after this date.
The official Sonic the Hedgehog social media channels today also gave another sneak preview of the Sonic Mania soundtrack (which you can listen to below) in the from of the theme of the Hard-Boiled Heavies, entitled “Hi-Spec Robo Go!”, and another example of Tee Lopes’ work in channeling the spirit of the classic 2D title soundtracks.
As always, TSS will keep you up-to-date on all Sonic Mania news!
SEGA have announced today a wealth of events to be held at the San Diego Comic-Con! To complement the already announced “Behind the Scenes” Sonic Mania panel, the five day convention will also play host to the “Sounds of Sonic” music extravaganza, which will take place at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront, and include a suite of music performed by Shota Nakama, creator of the Video Game Orchestra, and Sonic Team composer and Crush 40 guitarist Jun Senoue.
In addition to this and many other events throughout the convention, an autograph signing session will take place on Sunday, in which Sonic Team Head Takashi Iizuka will join the Mania development team. There will also be an exclusive item for attendees to collect!
Further information can be found in this hilarious graphic below!
In more than ten years of writing for The Sonic Stadium, this article has by far consumed the most time, and required the most revisions. I guess this is because sometimes it’s hard to really convey what you mean when you’re in love, and I can say without a doubt that I am already in love with Sonic Mania. Continue reading The Spin: Sonic Maniacs In The Making
While clearing out the last vestiges of what was my old room in my parent’s house a few years back, I stumbled across a big pile of fan art I’d drawn when I was about seven or eight years old. Sonic was all I would draw, and I would impress friends and classmates alike by drawing him completely from memory. Unfortunately I appear to have (thankfully) lost all evidence of Rocky: a fan character I created, well before the days in which it was trendy to post your latest creation to DeviantArt. Rocky was a green hedgehog, with upturned green spikes and a penchant for playing a flying-V guitar. I remember pleased as punch with my “original” character, however having played the game of googling [Name] the Hedgehog today, there are plenty of other Rocky the Hedgehogs out there.
SEGA have made some superb decisions with regards to the Sonic franchise recently; Sonic Mania looks absolutely fantastic, and as one of the old guard, I am filled with child-like excitement at the prospect of a game that is my opinion the true successor to the classic titles of the 16/32-bit era. SEGA have listened carefully to one of their key demographics, and are set to deliver a game by the fans, for the fans.
Equally, the decision to include an original character builder in a Sonic game could be considered an equally smart move; similar features have existed in other games for years, and with a significant parts of the fan base integrated into the many online art communities, it is almost surprising it has taken this long to have been incorporated. The response on social media from these communities to this announcement has been on the whole positive, with many excited at the prospect of a highly customisable character generator. Of course, the memes have been plentiful in the wake of the announcement, and speculation as to what level of monstrosity can be generated is fueling the imaginations of those who are handy with Photoshop.
Conversely, and predictably, there has been criticism. Ignoring the more subjective opinions on the inclusion of fan characters, there are some concerns raised that I and many others believe have merit. The most prominent of these is the fear that the gimmick takes precedence over the gameplay, something that has not only plagued the quality of past titles, but has caused games to stray from the what fans expect a Sonic game should constitute. Indeed, there is a feeling among many that recent titles featuring new characters and / or game modes have caused a detraction from valuable development time being invested in refining the more “core” aspects of these games. Many have postulated that Sonic Forces is trying to be a title that will please all; a near-impossible feat to achieve in this day and age in the video games industry. One can already see there is huge contrast in the footage shown so far; the darker theme of Park Avenue, harking back to the days of Shadow the Hedgehog/Sonic 06 seems disjointed from the jovially-themed classic Green Hill Zone. On the face of it, the game could be interpreted to be suffering from an identity crisis stemming from the “satisfy everyone” mentality. An old acquaintance of mine used to refer to clothing branded as “one size fits all” as “one size fits none”, and I feel the analogy here is appropriate; a game in which time and effort is spread too thinly across multiple modes will result in few being satisfied with any of the finished game elements.
At this juncture, it is extremely difficult to make any judgement – after all, there has been very little in the way of actual game play footage, and much of this will likely still be evolving as the game continues in its development. Undoubtedly, forums like E3 will be the trial-by-fire for this game, at which those on the ground will get a closer look at what is set to be released.
I came to a conclusion with both the Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric and Sonic Lost World titles that I was not the target demographic for these games. Admittedly there was some initial disappointment in this realisation, but in hindsight, I am perfectly fine with this. I can see the necessity for certain franchises to adapt and evolve with time, especially to keep up with evolving markets and trends. Indeed, the secret to success for many enduring series appears to be developing the gameplay in such a manner to keep it fresh and exciting, while retaining the heart and soul of what has become synonymous with said title.The Sonic franchise has seen success across multiple platforms decades apart, and as such the answer to “what makes a good Sonic game?” is heavily dependent on the age of the person you are posing the question to, or at what juncture the series really began to resonate with them.
I do not think that I am the target demographic for Sonic Forces, as much as I have the feeling the inclusion of classic Sonic is aiming to achieve that in some small capacity. The focus of the game has diverged beyond what I look for in a Sonic game. My hopes for the title are that it provides a sturdy experience for those who have craved a game featuring similar action to Sonic Generations (who have been waiting patiently for six years…where has the time gone?), with the fun addition of being able to bring your fan character to life in some incarnation, should you wish to do so.
I find it hard to be disappointed however, especially with Sonic Mania on the horizon – this is a game that has been created with people like me in mind, and will undoubtedly cater to the massive cohort of hardcore and casual gamers longing for the halcyon days of 90s. We are fortunate to live in times where we, the fans, have multiple upcoming Sonic games to choose from!
Regardless, I will definitely give Sonic Forces a go; I doubt I will be able to resist to allure of creating a bunch of hideous characters…and maybe a certainly green fan character from my childhood, just to satisfy my inner eight year-old!
The Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account has just released an image which appears to be a portion of a piece of concept art. Following the concept art shown at SXSW back in March, this is likely to be more concept art related to Sonic Forces. The image appears to show some form of machinery, possibly in the Green Hill Zone.
The image was simply captioned with the word “tomorrow”. It is unclear at the moment as to whether tomorrow’s release will include more of the concept piece, or any more information on the title.
As always, The Sonic Stadium will keep you up to date!
I’m sure many of my fellow thirty-somethings have breathed the same sigh of relief in that as we grow ever older, cartoons have not lost their appeal; I’d even go as far to say that we are in the midst of something of a cartoon renaissance – with multiple franchises successfully walking the line between children’s entertainment and veiled adult humour garnering cult followings.
The success of these series is largely down to the creators knowing their audience, and for the writers of Sonic Boom, they have certainly done their homework. I have lost count of the number of references to the Sonic universe the show has now made, and it is wonderful that 75+ episodes in, the jokes and in-jokes show no sign of relenting. The series on the whole to date has been wonderfully self-aware, subtle enough that younger audiences can enjoy the action and slapstick, while purposefully cliché and self-referential to deliver a wink and a nudge to older audiences, or a comical reprieve for parents who probably have already had to endure unending hours of Peppa Pig.
As the second season passes its mid-way mark, this week’s episode will introduce the first in a four-part story, Robots From The Sky (sung to the tune of a popular 80’s cartoon featuring metamorphosing machines, of course). The episode introduces the characters Mighton and Bolt who feature throughout the arc, two sentient robots from a floating city who find themselves stranded on the ground after their ship crashes. In a case of mistaken motives, the two misconstrue Sonic and friends as antagonists following a bout with Eggman’s machines. The episodes each end on a cliffhanger, as the team investigate why robots all over the world have begun to turn evil, with events from the past resurfacing in a series of plot twists.
Before I go on, SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!
The quadrilogy is the first in the series with writing credit going to Sonic Boom producer Bill Freiberger (the voice of Comedy Chimp), alongside regulars Alan Denton and Greg Hahn, who once again find their stride in penning a compelling children’s story interspersed with moments of eye-rolling humour most will find themselves chuckling at (unlike Knuckles). Speaking of which, Travis Willingham continues to deliver on his portrayal of his wonderfully simple Knuckles (although I’m sure this is obfuscating stupidity) with fans cheering that seventy-plus episodes in, we get a “legs day” joke. Mike Pollock and Roger Craig Smith have created a wonderful on screen (or off-screen?) chemistry between Eggman and Sonic, to the point at which battles have become juxtaposed with casual conversation, both characters aware they are simply going through the motions.
In a change of style, the story takes on a slightly more serious tone (but only slightly) as it begins to become clear that one of the heroes has inadvertently caused the current predicament. The first episode’s cliffhanger recovers with a deus ex machina deployed as another great comic device, once again nodding to the more senior audiences. This tone makes for a refreshing change of pace in comparison to the self-contained episodes, however fans of previous Sonic shows seeking more involved story arcs will likely find no satisfaction here. Some might have grown tired of the fight scenes by this stage; for this they might be forgiven, but again in context are necessary considering the show’s primary audience and the need to keep pace. Once again, the punctuation of satire should be what mature viewers focus their attention on. The final robot showdown sees an army of mechanical counterparts created with some albeit spurious science, but provides delightfully bizarre conclusion.
The Sonic Boom TV show has successfully created own its personality and carved its own niche in the Sonic universe; it is pleasing to see the progression in its evolution that prevents the concept from going stale. For many, including myself, the show continues to be the highlight of the Sonic Boom franchise – and I hope it continues to provide entertainment, for young and old, for many more episodes to come.
Robots From The Sky Part 1 is billed to air at 6pm ET on Saturday, 6th of May 2017 on Boomerang in the United States.
The First4Figures Official Facebook Collectors Group has shown a sneak peak of the long-awaited 25th Anniversary Statue, which appears to be very close to the computer generated model previously shown of classic Sonic,in his trademark “figure 8” run.
Alex Davis of Firs4Figures, stated in the post alongside the image “Really hope this does well [sales-wise] – dont want this to be a swan song!”, once again reiterating that a continuation of waning sales of the Sonic series could result in the cancellation of statues planned in the future, including Modern Metal Sonic which is currently in the development stage.
Are you planning on purchasing the F4F 25th Anniversary statue? Is it what you expected? Let us know in the comments!
While not 100% confirmed, it was put to the audience at SXSW today by SoA Sonic Community Manager Aaron Webber to whether fans would be interested in owning the Sonic Mania soundtrack on vinyl! At the moment this appears to be a WIP, but we will keep you up to date on whether or not this item makes it to production! Continue reading Sonic Mania OST to be released on vinyl?
Archie’s fastest selling Sonic the Hedgehog comic is due to make its way to trade paperback format in the Summer following the release of the third and final installment in the arc, Mega Drive: Overdrive. Many fans who have had difficulty in obtaining the sold-out first issue will be pleased, and probably not surprised these comics will be making their way to this format. Continue reading Summer 2017 Release for Archie Sonic: Mega Drive Trade Paperback
Happy New Year! To celebrate the ushering in of a fresh 12 months of Sonic the Hedgehog goodness, we decided to club together and create our very first merchandise review video. Join Adam, Kieran, Mark and Lewis as we unbox some of the brand new kidrobot Sonic blind bag figures! Continue reading TSS Merchandise Review: Kidrobot Blind Box Figures
The Sonic Stadium spent last Wednesday night enjoying a spot of high society, quaffing champagne, dining on hors d’oeuvres and indulging in the opening night of the Castle Art Gallery’s Sonic the Hedgehog 25th anniversary art exhibition. And, while we were initially apprehensive of what we might find, we left the gallery discovering some fantastic and inspiring art featuring our favourite hedgehog. Continue reading TSS Review: Castle Fine Art Sonic the Hedgehog Gallery Opening
The Summer of Sonic 2016 roster of guests continues to grow, with the announcement today of Sonic the Comic artists Nigel Dobbyn and RichardElson to be in attendance at the event. Dobbyn has been a frequent guest at previous Summer of Sonic events, contributing to the special edition of Sonic the Comic given away in 2013. This year sees the first appearance of Richard Elson at the event, having also attended Sonic the Comic Con in 2014.
A large proportion of the fan base to this day cite the Sonic Adventure series as being the pinnacle of the Sonic the Hedgehog gaming experience; on the most part, the games were their first jaunt into the Sonic Universe, and have defined what they come to expect from titles to this day. Being one of the more senior fans, Sonic Adventure was an exciting revival of my favourite video game franchise, after several years of stagnation and the glory days of the Megadrive now a distant echo. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Adventure Music Experience 2016, Tokyo
Sonic Revolution 2016 has announced the attendance of two more special guests to their event roster.
Co-executive producer on the Sonic Boom TV series, Bill Freiberger, will be in attendance. In addition to his production role, Bill also provides the voices of Comedy Chimp and Lady Walrus, and was one of the writers on the Sonic Boom comics during their run.
Accompanying Bill is Alan Denton, Creative consultant and writer for the Sonic Boom TV series, accredited with penning such classic episodes as “Battle of the Boybands” and “Cowbot”.