With a decade under his belt, Adam is one of The Sonic Stadium's most seasoned writers, with interests in the music and merchandise of the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. Adam is the co-organiser for the Summer of Sonic convention.
If you aren’t already feeling ancient at the prospect of Sonic the Hedgehog turning 28 next month, here’s a fact that’ll age you; it’s been 7 years since SEGA Sound Director Jun Senoue led the creation of a Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack (Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, for those who can’t remember!).
Senoue’s absence has been by no means a sabbatical, having been involved in several other SEGA titles – as well as peripherally with most Sonic games – and regularly performing with a multitude of live acts across four continents. Those who have taken the reigns in the meantime have accomplished some phenomenal feats, particularly Sonic Mania composer Tee Lopes who pulled a rabbit out of a hat with a perfectly blended score of old and new material, while simultaneously tipping the hat to the synonymous tones of the 90s titles. But with the classic itch well-and-truly scratched, many have longed for the return of Senoue and his trademark rock sound, in the context of a modern Sonic game.
As such, the anticipation for MAXIMUM OVERDIRVE, the Team Sonic Racing Original Soundtrack, reached fever pitch. Expectations have flown high based on the calibre of the tracks that had been drip-fed to us via Sonic the Hedgehog’s social media channels over the last few months. Now that the full OST has been released, we can firmly say that it does not disappoint.
In an interview with Gaming Bible on Team Sonic Racing this week, Sonic Pillar head Takashi Iizuka also spoke briefly about SEGA’s involvement in the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie by Paramount Pictures.
Sumo Digital has been a close partner of SEGA’s for many years, ever since the Sheffield-based studio worked on a console port of OutRun2 back in 2003. But in recent years, the developer has worked on several racing games featuring Sonic the Hedgehog – Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, which were released to critical acclaim.
For the third outing, the company’s new Nottingham studio has taken a brand new direction with the series, focusing on Sonic’s friends and co-operative teamwork. We caught up with Derek Littlewood and Ben Wilson to find out more about the creative process that went into making Team Sonic Racing! Continue reading TSS Interview: Sumo Digital on Team Sonic Racing
We were invited this month to attend SEGA’s Team Sonic Racing Preview Event, hosted deep in the heart of London’s Shoreditch, and get our hands on the game’s latest build! What happened was an action-packed day filled with tournaments, time trials and a LOT of gameplay impressions. So, let’s get right to it!
Sonic 2 Prototypes and Betas have become the stuff of legend and folklore, with numerous tales of lost and stolen versions circulating amongst the community for years alongside of nearly 10 versions which have been discovered to date.
Even now – 27 years after the game’s debut – new and unseen development material is still surfacing, and this time courtascy of a chance meeting at a garage sale!
Alongside the release of “MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE”, the 130-track soundtrack to the soon-to-be-released Team Sonic Racing, comes Sonic Sound Team Director Jun Senoue‘s third installment of “The Works” compilation album series.
Although we, the dwellers of the internet, are yet to see any footage from the up-and-coming Sonic the Hedgehog movie starring James Marsden and Jim Carrey, twitter has been buzzing with news coming from those attending the event and the two teaser-trailers shown there.
With New York Toy Fair in full swing this weekend, the news on new Sonic the Hedgehog toys has come thick and fast – and it looks like the new JAKKS Pacific toy line up will include the first ever official Ray and Mighty figures!
JAKKS Pacific, the children’s toy company behind such toy lines such as WWE and World of Nintendo action figures, have today announced that it has commenced a global toy licensing deal with SEGA of America to produce Sonic the Hedgehog branded toys in a multi-year contract.
Happy birthday to Sonic the Hedgehog 3, which turns 25 years old today! As Sonic the Hedgehog mania reached fever pitch in February 1994 with playgrounds across the plane buzzing with Sonic 3 hype, with plentiful promotions abound (but the less we talk about that Right Said Fred single, the better!)
To coincide with the launch of the game in the US, branches of the fast food restaurant McDonalds launched their Sonic the Hedgehog Happy Meal promotion, with millions of Sonic the Hedgehog toys ready to be given away from Friday the 4th of February, alongside a sweepstake in which participants could win one of 10,000 copies of Sonic 3.
Team Sonic Racing’s soundtrack certainly seems to be shaping up as one of the most rock-centric OSTs to feature in a Sonic the hedgehog title for many years, and this insight into the recording process doesn’t let up at all!
Check out the video below to see Sonic Sound Director Jun Senoue, accompanied by long-time Sonic soundtrack bassist Takeshi Taneda, and Act. on percussion putting down tracks for “Market Street”, “Frozen Junkyard” and the game’s theme song “Green Light Ride” in the recording studio…
Time to get metal! SEGA today release the first of five remixes featured in the Sonic Mania Adventure cartoon series, commencing with a guitar-driven version of the “Big Arms” theme from Sonic 3 / Sonic & Knuckles, rearranged and performed by Sonic Sound Director Jun Senoue and Sonic Mania composer TeeLopes.Continue reading Rock Out to the Sonic Mania Adventure Remix of Big Arms
Sonic Adventure celebrates it’s 20th anniversary today after hitting screens in Japan way back in 1998.
We take a look back at what made this game one of the most enduring Sonic the Hedgehog titles, and why SA1 was such a trailblazing title in not only the series, but in video game history.
SEGA of the 90’s certainly knew how to pull out all of the stops when it came to generating a buzz around the next Sonic game, and the anticipation of what was in store brought kids and grown-ups alike to fever pitch…and the announcement of Sonic Adventure was no different.
On the 22nd of August 1998, a few thousand lucky punters were invited to attend the first presentation of Sonic Adventure at the Tokyo International Forum – an event that was luckily recorded for posterity (which you can watch below). The first foray into the world of 128-bit high speed action was introduced by Yuji Naka, entering the stage in Rock star fashion by emerging from a balloon to a face-melting guitar riff.
The event also showcased a “Making of Sonic Adventure” semi-documentary presented in a light-hearted manor, in which Sonic Team embarked on a fact-finding trip to central America to visit the Tulum Ruins, the Caribbean Sea, the Tikal Ruins of Guatemala, and Machu Pichu amongst other locations – all of which influenced stages in the game.
Some members of the Team even became ill on their research trip from altitude sickness – talk about dedication to the cause!
Sonic has undergone several redesigns in his 27 ½ year history (we won’t mention the most recent!), but most fans regard the Sonic Adventure iteration of the neon protagonists to be one of the most successful. Characters traded their pot-bellies in for coloured irises and longer limbs, allowing for some incredibly elastic posturing that would become Yuji Uekawa’s instantly recognisable stylisation which remains the norm for modern Sonic artwork to this day. While the classic design of Sonic has since been translated to 3D, the modern Sonic style allowed for a much easier transition to the medium.
Dr Eggman was given a particularly significant redesign, along with both western and eastern franchises aligning on the Japanese name (although Robotnik would be kept as the name for his grandfather in the sequel).
The story mode
Story was not an element that featured heavily in Sonic the Hedgehog games until Sonic Adventure; in fact, one of the initial ideas while the game was on the development bench was to in fact create a Sonic RPG. For Sonic Adventure to include cut scenes and a narrative was a significant change to the game, and novel in that it in itself was derived from the intertwining stories of six different protagonists (one in fact executed in very few other video games at the time).
The seventh and final story in the game, and the true conclusion only accessible once all six main stories were completed, crescendos in the final showdown with Chaos with the player taking the controls of Super Sonic – something undoubtedly cemented as one of the most memorable video game conclusions for many Sonic fans.
Sonic Adventure was also the first Sonic the hedgehog game to include voice acting (besides SEGASonic Arcade) – and while the jury might still be out on the quality of the dialogue, SA1 is definitely one of the most quotable!
Hum the Green Hill Zone theme and just about any video game fan will tell you that its from a Sonic game – indeed, the soundtrack has always been a core component of what makes a Sonic game so, well, Sonical!
While Sonic Adventure is not the first video game to include vocal tracks (Sonic CD was doing that five years before) it is one of the first to have a fully-fledged album-like feel, complete with a swathe of character themes and a main anthem Open Your Heart, performed Crush 40, that is unparalleled in magnitude. The intro FMV undoubtedly still brings goose bumps to many!
The shift to a rock-centric soundtrack, a decision made by first-time Sonic Sound Director Jun Senoue, was a bold move; the music for the original trinity of Sonic games were after all composed by Masato Nakamura of Dreams Come True (and most likely Michael Jackson), resulting in a prolific pop influence. However, the move would prove highly successful and would be followed up with the equally popular Live & Learn in the sequel.
The magic of the soundtrack however derives from a brilliant use of multiple genres – rock, pop, rap, electronic, and jazz to name a few all feature throughout.
The game’s soundtrack has endured long enough that it has been celebrated since with the Sonic Adventure Music Experience, which saw Senoue-san and company re-record and perform key songs from the game and its sequel.
The Dreamcast was the very first games console to provide a connection to the internet as standard, and as such, Sonic Adventure is the very first game in history to include downloadable content! This came in the form of the Sonic Adventure Christmas download, which was only available for the first few days of release (it was no longer available after Christmas day). While this content only included Christmas trees in station square which played played music and gave a seasonal message when interacted with, it was another example of how SEGA and Sonic games were well ahead of the curb.
Happy birthday Sonic Adventure!
What makes Sonic Adventure special to you? Let us know in the comments!
It’s that festive time of year again! As always, we at TSS won’t be able to sleep on Christmas eve as we are too excited thinking about the Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise Santa will be bringing us in his sleigh! We must have been particularly good this year (we’ve only been completing hero missions), as Europe and the UK now has it’s very own dedicated SEGA Shop crammed with new and exclusive merchandise.
We take a sneaky peak at some of the great Sonic gear on offer right now…
Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste‘s newest album, Hollywood Africans, has a pleasant surprise hidden amongst it’s classical and jazz pieces; a pleasant paino-lead arrangement of Sonic the Hedgehog 1’s Green Hill Zone theme music!
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