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GameInformer How A Zoom Drinking Party Led To Sonic Superstars


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In 2017, Sonic Mania brought the series back to its 2D roots in a way not seen in decades. While handheld titles, the poorly received Sonic the Hedgehog 4, and other games like Sonic Generations and Sonic Colors contained 2D gameplay, Sonic Mania felt like the true successor to the beloved titles that appeared on Genesis and Sega CD throughout the 1990s. A sequel felt all but inevitable, but when Sega and Sonic Mania mastermind Christian Whitehead decided to amicably go in creatively different directions (read the full story here), Sonic Team creative officer Takashi Iizuka still wanted to build on the success experienced with Sonic Mania.

"During Sonic Mania's development, I didn't expect this level of fan reaction or success," Iizuka says. "That success created the opportunity to think about the next generation of Classic Sonic and led to Sonic Superstars. Sonic Mania helped us realize that fans still wanted and enjoyed the Classic series."

The road to Sonic Superstars began during the COVID-19 lockdown. Iizuka received a message from Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator and president of Japanese development studio Arzest Naoto Ohshima. Ohshima, who had worked for Sega from 1987 to 1999 and created the original character designs for both Sonic and Dr. Eggman, wanted to have a call with Iizuka. But this wasn't a business pitch or some kind of meeting request. Instead, it was an invitation to do what many of us did during the locked-down months.

"Ohshima-san said, 'Hey, Iizuka-san, we should get on Zoom and have a drinking party together," Iizuka recalls. "We did, and we started drinking and chatting and had the conversation of, 'Hey, we want to bring back a Classic Sonic game,' and in that drinking party, Ohshima-san said, 'I really, really want to get involved. Let's get together and make this happen,' and that's how it all kicked off."

Another great article to read by GameInformer on Sonic Superstars.

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