New Crush 40 album in the works for 2016

4563CRUSH40 fans who follow the official Johnny Gioeli facebook page will have noticed a recent surge in activity as Mr. Gioeli has become more involved its running.

During a recent Q&A post, Johnny hinted that a new Crush40 album is being worked on, and is due for launch next year. The album will be the band’s second studio album (and the first in over a decade), and would follow the band’s recent success through the release of two live albums, a “best of” and an EP in 2012.

In the wake of several live shows in the US, Japan, and Mexico, Johnny alluded to potential live shows in 2016. Although it is currently unclear as to whether or not any of the tracks featured on the new album will be connected to future Sonic the Hedgehog titles, it has lead many to speculate as to the correlation of the album release with the 25th anniversary celebrations.

Stay tuned for more information as it comes to light!

Sonic the Hedgehog: Awakening Found on Ex-Silver VA Resume

Sonic the Hedgehog Awakening Pete Capella

The Sonic Stadium has discovered a mysterious Sonic listing on the resume of former Silver the Hedgehog voice actor Pete Capella. The title is Sonic the Hedgehog: Awakening by SEGA Inc and Capella again did voice work for Silver the Hedgehog in it. Unfortunately, that’s all we know, as there don’t appear to be any other signs of the project online. Capella voiced Silver between 2006 and 2009, so it’s pretty safe to assume this title (whatever it is) is dead and buried.

If we find any more details, we’ll let you know.

Source: Pete Capella’s official website and IMDB resume

Sega to Attend Hamleys Toy Parade

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_W02eseUycM

Sega Europe’s community manager just announced via Sega Central that Sega are going to be at the Hamleys toy parade this Saturday in London.

Never heard of this event before?

Well you know how in the US there’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade? Just think that only more toy focused, Regent Street is closed for the day as various characters and mascots dance through the streets along with Father Christmas coming to spread the Christmas cheer.

And Sega is going to be there!

No details were given out as to what they will be doing, just that ‘There will be a few surprises,’ they also didn’t say which of their franchises would be getting promoted, however my money is on Sonic, simply because to my knowledge, Sega doesn’t have any other character mascots/costumes aside from Sonic, also with the Sonic Boom toyline expanding, it just seems like it can’t be anything but Sonic.

We’ll keep you updated with more information as and when we get it.

If you’re able to be in Regent Street (London) this Saturday, be sure to let us know and take lots of pics and be the hero we deserve and need.

Check Out Crush 40’s Awesome Performance at Youmacon 2015!

youmacon2k15_crush40
Hanging on the edge of tomorrow, from the works of yesterday!

Crush 40 as we know them today has been gracing our ears since “Open Your Heart” in 1998’s Sonic Adventure, and set a new standard for music throughout the following line of Sonic the Hedgehog games – nearly every main Sonic title released since the Dreamcast era has been accompanied with a memorable theme tune of some sort. Most popularly, fans of both the band and the series would immediately think of “Live and Learn” from Sonic Adventure 2, “What I’m Made Of” from the final boss battle against the Metal Overlord in Sonic Heroes, or even “Knight of the Wind” from Sonic and the Black Knight, all performed by vocalist Johnny Gioeli, and Sonic music composer-slash-guitarist Jun Senoue.

The duo have performed at a number of fan venues over the years, namely the Summer of Sonic and Sonic Boom conventions, but most recently, the pair was confirmed to perform live at the recent Youmacon in Detroit. While awesome news, a good many were understandably bummed at missing such a wonderful opportunity to see them live.

Until today!

IXI! Studios of Toronto, Canada travelled to the Detroit convention and managed to capture an hour of footage from Crush 40’s Youmacon show! Rock out to a plethora of classic Sonic tunes and miss their concert no longer through the video below!

While at Youmacon 2015, the convention-hopping IXI! Studios (who have travelled to previous MAGFests, ConBravos, and Anime Norths among others) have also managed to film the Team Four Star panel (including the premiere of the new Dragon Ball Z Abridged episode, parodying the movie Super Android 13), the two Little Kuriboh Q&As (Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged episode 65 premiere, Secret Panel), and the Elite 3 panel featuring the Pokémon ‘Bridged 23 debut.

Source: IXI! Studios

Huge selection of Sonic the Hedgehog songs now available on Spotify

Spottysonic

For those of you who make use of the digital music service Spotify, you will be pleased to know that a gargantuan selection of Sonic Soundtracks, from Sonic CD to Sonic Runners, have been added to the vast library of songs available for streaming.

As if this wasn’t enough, you can also enjoy a selection of Crush 40 songs including their “Best of title”, the 2012 “LIVE” album and the tracks from their 2012 EP.

While Spotify does not contain a complete library of Sonic the Hedgehog songs, many fans will be pleased they can now access many of their favourite songs on the go without the need to purchase songs through other services or track down physical copies of the official soundtracks.

Dr. Eggman Takes Over Sonic The Hedgehog’s Twitter

EggmanTwitter

Dr. Eggman. Evil super genius, Grammy award winner and Fuzzy Puppy gaming pro has taken over Sonic’s Twitter account. The menacing mustachioed mastermind hacked his way onto Twitter and into our hearts with several replies and tweets to Archie comics and Roger Craig Smith,  all the way to our own Adam Tuff with a shoutout to our site! So head on over to Son-er…I mean, Dr. Eggman’s Twitter account and ask him a question. He may even leave an audio reply! All hail the great Eggman Empire!!

Hee! Hee! Eggman’s burst through the image gave Tails a mustache. How apropo.

SEGA Hosting Sonic Lost World Community Party in London, UK on Hallowe’en

Sonic Lost World Logo

If you live in the UK’s capital city of London and fancy drinking to the surprise PC release of Sonic Lost World, then make sure you clear your schedule this Hallowe’en Saturday. SEGA Europe is hosting a community party in the city’s prominent gaming-themed pub, Loading Bar from 2pm.

The event will give the community a chance to see and play the game running on non-Wii U hardware for the first time before it hits Steam on November 2nd. You’ll be able to play for prizes, win goodie bags on the door (if you’re one of the first to turn up) and meet SEGA Europe’s new community manager, Dan Sheridan.

Tickets are free, but are most likely limited in number, so make sure you grab yourself one at the Eventbrite page. You’ll need to be able to get to Loading Bar (97 Stoke Newington Rd London, London N16 8BX, United Kingdom) on Saturday 31st October 2015 and be 18 years old and over (they serve alcohol there). The party starts at 14:00 and ends at 20:00.

We’re planning to make an appearance there too, so be sure to say hello to Dreadknux & Hogfather on the day too!

19 65 09 17: Yuji Naka Celebrates 50th Birthday

Yuji Naka at Tokyo Game Show 2015
Yuji Naka at Tokyo Game Show 2015

Yuji Naka, the master coder that was responsible for programming the original Sonic the Hedgehog, turned 50 years old yesterday. Doesn’t time fly!?

The former SEGA developer – left the company in 2006 to start his own independent studio, Prope – received a wave of well wishes on his social media channels. Naka-san spent the week enjoying Tokyo Games Show, where he has taken pictures of Sonic and SEGA merchandise available for sale at the event.

Although he has not been associated with the Sonic franchise for quite some time, he is regarded as one of the main ‘fathers’ of the blue blur, deftly creating a game engine in the early 1990s that allowed a character to use curved environments to reward players with bursts of speed. He became a spokesperson for the franchise during his time at SEGA, eventually leading the Sonic Team division during the Dreamcast era. For Sonic’s 20th Anniversary in 2011, he attended SEGA’s Sonic Boom event as well as the fan-organised Summer of Sonic convention.

His latest game, Rodea the Sky Soldier, is seeing a release on the Wii U later this year.

“Thank you very much for all the birthday messages,” he wrote in a message to fans. “I can feel all the love and support from my fans! I decided to be even a cool man in my 50s. I’ll do my best.”

With a seemingly undying love for Ferraris, we’re pretty sure Naka-san will continue to be cool for many years to come!

Sonic Boom Event To Return in 2016?

If anyone were still in any doubt, odds are there won’t be a Sonic Boom event this year, however, Sega have hinted on their Facebook page that the event may return in 2016 if this post is anything to go by.

boom2016

As of yet there has been no confirmation on a possible Summer of Sonic for 2016, but at least this bit of news seems to confirm that Sega are at least open to the idea of a future event.

So anyone interested in going to another Sonic Boom event, let us know in the comments.

Sonic’s 25th Anniversary Celebration to Feature ‘Heritage of the Classic Sonic Franchise’

25thanniversarylogo

Sega has been quite tight lipped on their plans for the 25th Anniversary of Sonic, whilst a logo has been leaked out of the Vegas Licensing Expo, and First 4 Figures teasing a statue for the event, very little else has been mentioned.

However we can now reveal some new details about the event. During the Vegas Licensing Expo there was a daily newsletter published which would detail news and photos from the event from various booths. Now Sega had a small section on their booth in one of the newsletters, primarilly the information was about Boom, in fact this information was later released, we even newsed it here.

However, the newsletter contains one extra detail which has since been omitted from other press material. Specifically regarding the 25th anniversary celebrations.

sonic25th

 

The article details that Sega will be planning a celebration for Sonic’s 25th anniversary, and the tiny detail comes at the end where it states the following.

SEGA is also planning to showcase the heritage of the classic “Sonic” franchise as part of its anniversary celebrations

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean the next game is focused on Classic Sonic, it may mean that merchandise and some licensing deals with be focused on Classic Sonic, however, it does seem odd to put such a focus on the Classic Sonic brand.

To put it another way, we now have two completely different sources, Sega & First4Figures commenting on the 25th Anniversary stating that there will be a classic Sonic focus. First4Figures went as far as to say 

-Classic Sonic is to be the main focus (of the statue).

Speculating, this to me strongly suggests that we might see the return of Classic Sonic in some way in the foreseeable future. Whilst I don’t want to suggest a Sonic Generations 2 like experience, it does seem very odd to be promoting the classic Sonic brand and not actually reflecting that in the primary sales asset (games).

Anyway, excited at the thought of Classic Sonic returning? Think it’s a new game? Or just a merchandise promotion. Look below you, see that? That’s a comment box, let us know your thoughts Blue Believers.

Source: Global License.

 

Crush 40 to play Youmacon 2015 in Detroit

C40COKEThe juggernauts of Sonic the Hedgehog soundtracks, Crush 40, are set to play the Youmacon convention in Detroit later this year. Crush 40 have recently played at the JOYPOLIS theme park in Tokyo to promote the launch of their latest album 2 Nights 2 Remember, but have not played any shows outside of Japan since 2013.

Youmacon is a celebration of Japanese pop culture, including video games, anime and music, running across three days from Friday 29th of October until Sunday 1st of November. There is currently no information as to which day Crush 40 will be performing as of publication of this article, however we will keep you up to date as more details come to light.

Details on tickets and registration for Youmacon can be found here:
http://www.youmacon.com/registration

It’s Official, More Women Like Sonic Than Men

Well this is really interesting, because if these results are to be believed that everything we think we know about Sonic, including Sega’s own market data is completely wrong.

YouGov recently ran a poll to see which was the top 16 favourite video-games of the British public, coming in at number 1 was Candy Crush (no surprise there),with GTA coming in at number 2. Sonic manages to get on the table at number 13.

What’s more interesting is that the YouGov poll breaks down the results into percentages, and one thing is very clear…
yougovresults

Sonic is more popular with the ladies.

This is, really unexpected, for the following reason, Sega still markets and promotes Sonic as a ‘boys’ franchise. Even when Boom was announced, Sega’s own marketing material had boys as being the primary demographic for Sonic with girls as a secondary. Yet this poll shows that Sonic is nearly twice as popular with women over men.

However, there is one consideration to take with this. The poll doesn’t register the views of anyone aged under 16. Which is Sonic’s primary demographic. There is this huge lie which does the round a lot, that being, Sonic sells best on Nintendo? Erm no… Sonic sells best where the kids are. Which this poll doesn’t recognise, where-ever the kids are, that’s where you’ll find Sonic’s biggest sales.

But this is really interesting, since if it really is an accurate reflection of views worldwide it changes a lot of what was considered Sonic’s primary target demographics. Lets speculate for a moment that both this poll and Sega is correct and Sonic is more popular with boys (males aged under 16), after the age of 18, Sonic’s primary gender demographic shifts over to women. This isn’t the natural assumption to make for a character like Sonic, especially since there is little active female representation within the series (generally speaking), there is much more appeal to males.

Or.. and there is no way to independently verify this, Sonic actually has more appeal to girls than boys at all ages.

The full results of the YouGov poll can be found on their website, as well as what was the better console, the MegaDrive or the Super Nintendo, and who was a better character, Mario or Sonic… I’ll let you look that one up yourself.

Source: YouGov

Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata has passed away (1959 – 2015)

Satoru-Iwata

I can not believe what I’m typing at this second.

But it’s true, straight from Nintendo’s website via a PDF file, Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata, who was the successor to Hiroshi Yamauchi in 2002 (who also recently passed on back on September 19 2013), has passed away on July 11th after battling an illness involving a “bile duct growth”.

Last year, Iwata was found to have had a growth in his body that he underwent surgery for back over a year ago, as said on Polygon in the link from then:

“In general, it is said that a bile duct growth can be difficult-to-treat, partly because of the difficulty of detecting it early. In my case, luckily, it was detected very early and I had no symptoms,” Iwata wrote. “I was counseled that removal at an early stage would be the desirable medical option. Therefore I had surgery last week, and I came through it well, as predicted.”

This is also shocking due to Iwata having been present at the shareholders meeting just weeks ago on June 26th. As far as I knew, there was no sign of anything severe. 🙁

As for what does this have to do with Sonic? Iwata was among other things, the one who gave the world-exclusive announcement of the 3-game exclusivity deal of Sonic back on May 17th 2013 in a Nintendo Direct, a series of presentations of which he was the creator of.

Regardless, Iwata was a huge part of leading Nintendo into their greatest successes with the Nintendo DS and later the Wii, and always had a motto of putting quality and his workers above all else. He even took a personal pay cut, twice, when things were looking down.

On behalf of Sonic Stadium, I thank you Satoru Iwata for helping make Nintendo what it is today, and helping bring so many great games to us, and may you rest in peace :'( I’m still in utter shock. 🙁

SEGA Admits Betraying Fans, Game Announcement at TGS

1024px-SEGA_logo

SEGA Games CEO Haruki Satomi has admitted in an interview with Japanese magazine Famitsu that he feels the company has “betrayed” the trust of their fans with several titles released, and how the focus of the company will now shift to quality releases to “win back the customers’ trust”.

Highlighting the acquisition of Atlus, Satomi discusses how they’ve learned from the Japanese developers and how their North American and European markets have in the past primarily focused on “schedules”, which leads him to the conclusion they are better to release nothing at all if they continued down that path.

“As far as the Western market goes, we learned a lot from Atlus. If we can make a title with proper quality, I believe there’s a good chance for it to do well even in the West for players that like to play Japanese games.”

“I’ve been talking to the employees about how we should start putting serious consideration into quality from this point on. Especially in North America and Europe, where it’s always been more of a focus on schedules, I believe that if we can’t maintain quality, it would be better to not release anything at all.”

Satomi follows by admitting the company has “partially betrayed” their older fans with select games.

“We did our best to build a relationship of mutual trust with older fans of Sega, but looking back, there’ve been some titles that have partially betrayed that [trust] in the past 10 years.”

Satomi could of course be partially referring the recently released Sonic Boom titles on Wii U and 3DS, which shipped just 490,000 copies combined back when we reported in February, making it the worst selling major Sonic game in history. The Wii U version’s reception was especially negative, scoring just 32 from critic aggregator Metacritic – thus making it the worst reviewed Wii U title of the year.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, as Satomi says there could be a new home console game announced at the Tokyo Game Show 2015, which is in September. Could we get our first glimpse at the 25th Anniversary title?

“Since we’re seriously considering quality, I can’t make that promise for the time being, but I believe we will announce something for home console at Tokyo Game Show,”

“Sega in the ‘90s was known for its ‘brand, but after that, we’ve lost trust, and we were left with nothing but reputation. For this reason, we’d like to win back the customers’ trust, and become a ‘brand,’ once again.”

How do you feel about the comments made by SEGA’s CEO? Would you agree with him? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Siliconera

Sega Release A Gorgeous Animation for Sonic’s 24th Birthday

Today marks 24 years since Sonic the Hedgehog was first released, to mark the occasion Sega of Japan posted something very special, roughly translated, a designer at Sonic team was tasked with “drawing Sonic,” Well not only did they draw Sonic, but they also release this rather well done animation of the process.

birthday animation

The animation was posted to Sega of Japan’s official Vine account, unfortunately it was uncredited so we don’t know who we should be thanking directly for this excellent piece of work.

TSS @ E3: Hands On Yuji Naka’s Rodea the Sky Soldier

rodea_skysoldier

As someone who covers Sonic news and previews for Sonic Stadium, this has been one of the worst E3’s ever for Sonic news. Despite Sonic Boom : Fire and Ice and Mario and Sonic at the 2016 Rio Olympics coming soon, neither of them were on the show floor. The closest things to Sonic games at E3 are Freedom Planet (a preview is available for a limited time on the Nintendo E-Shop) and Rodea the Sky Soldier. A game designed by Yuji Naka and published by NIS America.

Rodea the Sky Soldier is an action platform game that heavily involves flying. You play as Rodea, a cyborg, cat-like boy who has woken up from being asleep for 1,000 years only to find the enemy he destroyed centuries ago has returned. The game play itself is very reminiscent of NiGHTS and a little bit of Sonic Adventure which I will get into momentarily. In the game, Rodea has an arsenal of different moves at his command. The main one being a targeting lock-on that let’s Rodea fly to enemies and locals. You can also hit the “B” button to fast attack targets such as large, hovering robots.

Rodea-the-Sky-Soldier_

If you remember that in Sonic Adventure, Sonic can get special shoes that allow him to quickly grab a trail of rings that are in the air. That aspect is in Sky Soldier as well. You can target a line of yellow crystals and fly to them. This often acts as a trail to quickly get to the next floating island or set piece. When done properly, it gives the game a sort of speed-run feeling. You also use this targeting system to target enemies and boost to them for an attack or find a piece of island to land on before your flight meter runs out. Flying around these crystals, enemies and such gives the game a bit of a “NiGHTS” feeling while still being pretty original. However…

The Wii U controls are very difficult to get a good handle on. I tried the demo on two different occasions and during both times I found myself target the wrong spot and flying either into a wall or on the underside of an island before falling to my death fairly often. Both moving your character and targeting are on the same stick while the camera control is on the right, but you can’t use the camera controls if locked onto a target. It made it so I was having difficulty getting through even some of the earlier stages. Even after learning what does what and playing the game for over half an hour, I still couldn’t master it. Perhaps it’s the regular button/dual stick combo that is the problem. This game was originally meant as a Wii game only and I can see Wiimote/Nunchuck controls actually being a benefit as it feels like targeting would be much more effective by aiming with the Wiimote thus allowing your character to move while targeting. Sadly, I found out from the gentleman showing off the game that only the Wii version (which comes with the Wii U version of the game) has those kind of controls.

rodea

 

One other minor negative is that the graphics haven’t really gotten much of an HD upgrade from the Wii version. It’s definitely a higher resolution, but the low polygon count and bland textures remain. Even the CGI cutscenes are still fairly low res. The biggest highlight here is the 2-D artwork looks very high-res and sharp on the Wii U version. However, since the graphics aren’t a major upgrade, it may give me a good reason to stick with the Wii version included.

 

Which is a shame since this game shows a ton of potential and originality. It’s the most…”Yuji Naka” of Yuji Naka’s Prope Studio games. It feels fresh while still having feature reminiscent of NiGHTS and Sonic Adventure. However, it also feels like a game from those times as well. It’s controls are archaic and the game itself seems about ten years behind the times. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing more on Rodea the Sky Soldier and hoping the full version proves my fears wrong.

Rodea the Sky Soldier will release on Wii U (with Wii version included) and 3DS in North America on October 13th and in Europe on October 16th.

 

 

Sonic’s Heading to the Orchestra with Game Symphony Japan

Ever wanted to hear some classic SEGA tracks with a full orchestra?

0604_01_02

Game Symphony Japan is being held on October 10th, and on this night it’s a SEGA-themed special event! Guests like Takashi Iizuka and Jun Senoue will be in attendance to oversee this celebration of SEGA’s legacy of music. Part one of the full program is dedicated entirely to Sonic, and the current lineup for it is listed below;

Sonic the Hedgehog: Green Hill Zone.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Chemical Plant Zone.
Sonic and Knuckles: Sky Sanctuary Zone.
Sonic Adventure: Emerald Coast Zone.
Sonic Adventure 2: City Escape and Live & Learn (both instrumental versions).

Parts 2 and 3 are full of other well-remembered SEGA icons such as Segagaga, Space Channel 5, Fantasy Zone and much more! If you happen to be in Tokyo, here’s the key informations for getting in;

October 10th 2015 (Saturday)
Doors open 15:45, show starts 16:30
Venue is Tokyo Metropolitan Arts Theatre Concert Hall.
Ticket prices: S Seat is 8500 yen, A seat is 7500 yen, B seat is 6500 yen.
Tickets go on sale June 20th.

There’s a dedicated page for the event you can visit for reference too. It’s sure to be a blast to the past (and hopefully not a blast to the ears)! Full programme below:

Act 1

Sonic the Hedgehog: Title, Green Hill Zone
Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Chemical Plant Zone
Sonic & Knuckles: Sky Sanctuary Zone, Title
Sonic Adventure: Emerald Coast
Sonic Adventure 2: City Escape, Live & Learn (Instrumental)

Act 2

SEGAGAGA: Segagaga March
Space Channel 5: Mexican Flyer, Ulala’s Swinging Report Show, Spaceport: Introducing Ulala!!
ニュールーマニア ポロリ青春: ハロハロナリヤンス音頭 (I don’t understand, either)
Sakura Wars: 檄!帝国華撃団
Fantasy Zone: OPA-OPA!
Virtua Fighter 2: Beginning, Akira, Lion, Kage
Daytona USA: Let’s Go Away
Virtual On Force: Conquista Ciela
Feel the Magic XX/XY: Feel the Magic (Full Version)
The Rub Rabbits: Heaven & Hell (Full Version)
Burning Rangers: Burning Hearts

Act 3

NiGHTS Into Dreams…
Fragmented Nights
Gate of Your Dream
Paternal Horn
Gloom of The N.H.C.
Suburban Museum
The Amazing Water
Take The Snow Train
Under Construction
The Dragon Gave A Loud Scream
She Had Long Ears
Deep It Lies
E-LE-KI Sparkle
The Mantle
NiGHTS and Reala
Growing Wings
D’Force Master
Peaceful Moment
NiGHTS, Forever in Our Heart
Sowing Seeds
Dreams Dreams
Fragmented Nights: Epilogue Version

2015-game-symphony-art1

Taken by Yuji Naka (https://www.facebook.com/nakayuji/posts/1195265177167279)
Taken by Yuji Naka (https://www.facebook.com/nakayuji/posts/1195265177167279)
Taken by Yuji Naka (https://www.facebook.com/nakayuji/posts/1195265177167279)
Taken by Yuji Naka (https://www.facebook.com/nakayuji/posts/1195265177167279)

Source: Sonic Channel

A Thank You to the SEGA of America Community Team

SOACrewWith the current relocation of SEGA of America’s HQ, we have in the past few days said goodbye to many long-standing employees of SoA, including Kellie Parker and Julian Mehlfeld from the Community Team.

One of the most vivid memories I have in dealing with the SEGA social team was during a trip out to Los Angeles for E3 and the very first Sonic Boom event back in 2011. What struck us was the dedication of the team whom over the course of the week seemed indefatigable, not only working tirelessly manning the gargantuan stand in the main convention centre, but who tangentially assembled another monster event down the street. I’m sure tired didn’t begin to describe their state during that week, yet I don’t think I remember a moment they didn’t all have huge beaming smiles across their faces, or were laughing at the end of the day with a well-earned beverage. Kellie has written a parting post on the SEGA blog where she has stated “we laughed hard, and we worked harder” – I can’t think of anything more appropriate to describe what I saw during my brief insight into the team’s operation.

This is but one of countless examples of what the community team were involved in, and similarly, I’m sure everyone who has had any interaction with the SoA social and community team over the past decade will agree that the hallmark has, and likely always will be, a penchant for excellence, and a drive to go far beyond the call of duty. An inordinate amount of what is has now become the face of the Sonic the Hedgehog community, both online and in real life, is in part of wholly due to the fantastic team that has been at SoA.

I’d love to be able to write down the extensive résumé of the team’s accomplishments to date, but I’d fear it would fail to be a comprehensive summary of the entirety of great things they have managed. Instead, we at TSS would like to invite you all to share the stories you might have of any memories of your interactions with the social team in the comments below.

You can read Julian and Kellie‘s parting blog entries on the SEGA blog.

While we sadly bid farewell to some, we welcome back others!

TSS would like to welcome back to the SoA fold Aaron Webber, who will be taking up the social media and community reins once more for our favourite hedgehog! Many of you will remember Aaron from his previous roles at SEGA, and as host of the Sonic Boom fan event from 2011 to 2014.

We wish all the community and social team members the very best in the future, and that they will always be a very special part of the Sonic the Hedgehog community.

 

Meet Knack the Hedgehog(?) in Terra Battle

Knack

In a follow-up to the story of Naoto Oshima creating new characters for a Daily Quest in Mistwalker’s Terra Battle for mobile devices, we now have clean high-res grabs of the artwork of the characters, and our not-Sonic the Hedgehog (the quest is called “Hedgehog Hullabaloo”, so I assume he is a Hedgehog himself?) is named Knack. No, not that Knack.

Here are the other three characters:

Viscount O'eylKatWukong

The Chaos-like character is named Viscount O’eyl (looking behind him, has he been playing Splatoon?), the purple cat is, well, Kat, and finally is the other Sonic-like monkey, known as none other than Wukong, named and designed after Sun Wukong, the main character in the legendary Chinese novel Journey to the West, and what’s EXTRA special, is that said novel was adapted into a very familiar property, you’re probably familiar with this name; Dragon Ball!

So we have Dragon Ball, then comes Sonic who shares a lot of similarities with characters, objects, and certain transformations, NOW we have Oshima himself giving the world his own actual adaptation of the character that was Goku’s main inspiration (notice how Goku has all of his letters in the name Wukong backwards?). Full circle much?

Major thanks to duckroll at NeoGAF for taking all of the screenshots above. 🙂

Naoto Oshima designs guest characters in Terra Battle, someone looks familiar

GLpbilL

iaZLLar

Wait a minute, you’re not Sonic, this is impossible!

Well that looks like Sonic because those characters above were designed by Naoto Oshima, known as the original character designer of Sonic, Eggman, and others from Sonic 1, all the way to his departure from Sega to form Artoon (and its successor Arzest where he now resides) in 1999 after Sonic Adventure was released.

This is for a game called Terra Battle, which is by Mistwalker for mobile devices, created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy. Arzest even contributed to the game earlier, credited for “Illustration and graphic design for monsters, scenery, etc”. Oshima contributed these guest character designs for a Daily Quest in the game as shown, which will start its rotation next Friday.

What I can’t help but wonder, is why these look so similar to Yuji Uekawa’s artwork, especially in the original Sonic Adventure. What do you folks think about this?

Sega will not have their own booth at E3 this year

E3-logoWell now. As was heavily speculated not long ago, Sega have confirmed to GameInformer that they will not have their own booth, but say they will be “collaborating with our various business partners for this year’s E3 show”.

Full quote below:

“Over the next months, SEGA of America will be focusing on the restructure and relocation to Southern California, and we have decided to not attend E3 with our own booth this year,” a representative told us via email. “With the majority of our bigger titles launching later in 2015/2016, particularly those from our AAA studios Relic Entertainment, Sports Interactive and Creative Assembly, we are concentrating our efforts for some of these major announcements after our relocation. Instead, we will be collaborating with our various business partners for this year’s E3 show.”

My take? I don’t recall much with Sony other than Yakuza 5, and nothing that I can recall with Microsoft. Nintendo is the only one of the three I can see them working with, especially if Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games happens or not. Hell even GameInformer speculates about “Sonic hanging with Nintendo”. I mean we already have his amiibo outfit in Mario Kart 8 to start the year, so who knows.

Will SEGA appear at E3 2015?

E3-logo

What could possibly spell bad news for Sonic the Hedgehog fans expecting a mainline Sonic title this year. SEGA has oddly not registered to show at E3 on the showfloor, and the deadline is fast approaching.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo announced their list of exhibitors who will be appearing to show off their latest titles – however, SEGA is nowhere to be found. The expo is commonly used for big announcements in the industry and giving journalists their first chance to try out some developing or announced video games.

Image from Sonic Boom's E3 2014 booth.
Image from Sonic Boom’s E3 2014 booth.

With the very real possibility SEGA’s absence, it could be seen that Sonic Runners, the recently released mobile only game developed by Sonic Team, could be our only Sonic title this year. Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has confirmed that Sonic will still be coming to home consoles, but nothing has been revealed as of yet.

What do you think of these developments? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks to Ogilvie over at SSMB for the heads up!

Sonic the Hedgehog Hot Air Balloon to Fly Again?

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The Sonic The Hedgehog hot air balloon (originally created to coincide with the launch of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in Europe, and not to be confused with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon) could be taking to the skies again for the first time in over 15 years.

The news has been tipped to us by SonicHAB over at SSMB, who has stated that:

Sonic has undergone some cosmetic surgery and is planned to be flying at the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta this October as his first free flight since 1999. 

This would not only be the balloon’s first proper flight since the 90s, but also the balloon’s first appearance stateside.

The balloon itself has been around for years, and had its maiden flight way back in 1993 when it attended a hot air balloon fiesta in Switzerland, then appearing at several different gatherings all over Europe (I even got to see it fly for a few years when it visited the Bristol Balloon Fiesta a few times).

Whilst the balloon’s flight certificate expired back in 1999, the company looking after it (Irish Balloon flights) has brought the balloon out of storage several times in the past to make appearances as an attraction at numerous country shows and festivals as a non-flying balloon.

See some footage of the balloon on one of its outings here:

http://youtu.be/zcAxzjnFEsU

Also… Gotta love the registration on it… G-SEGA. Brilliant.

Sega: Sonic will be reinforced to generate stable profits

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I have decided to post this as a separate update because being a Sonic fansite I know the vast majority of people are instantly going to think ‘how does this affect Sonic.’ I am not one of those people since in a situation like this you have to look at the whole picture and not part of it. But for the sake of those people here you are.

Today’s news that Sega of America is to downsize and 300 jobs are to go will impact the entire business, but with regards to Sonic, here is what Sega had to say.

Local organizations managing packaged game software in Western markets will be streamlined. In the U.S., Sega of America, Inc. based in San Francisco will be relocated to Southern California by this summer and its existing office in San Francisco will be closed thereafter, which results in reducing fixed expenses, mainly in corporate functions. In addition, the Sonic and merchandising businesses will be reinforced to establish a structure which can generate stable profits.

Sonic will be reinforced to establish a structure which can generate stable profits… what does that mean you ask?

Well, it can mean a number of things. Here are a number of my own thoughts.

  • As it stands right now, Sonic is not profitable in every region, it’s likely that Sonic products will be cut in some regions.
  • Greater focus on digital download titles.
  • Greater focus on a certain type of game.
  • Greater focus on non game products.
  • PC only franchise.

Basically it could mean absolutely anything… however, the key here is that they have said ‘stable profits.’ To me, this suggests that they are going to be VERY careful in the future with the Sonic brand, I think it’s safe to say that the days of exclusive deals are well and truly over, you are not going to see another Boom announcement/relaunch/master plan for a very long time. I doubt that there will even be much of a 25th anniversary next year either (I hope I am wrong with that).

Basically, they are going to be very careful with Sonic from now on, stable profits are the future, games like Sonic Jump and Sonic Dash generate stable profits, and with Sonic Runners on the way, that very well could be the future of the brand.

Sega to Focus On Digital/PC, Relocating to South California, 300 jobs to go

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When I woke up this morning, I was kinda hoping for some Sonic Runners news, I was not expecting this.

Sega of America has announced that it will close and move from it’s San Francisco headquarters Southern California, in addition to this, Sega of America will also be downsized, this move is to begin effective immediately and will continue for most of early 2015.

Japan is also affected by the restructuring, however this is mainly in it’s arcade/amusement division.

Europe is largely unaffected by the announcement.

However, at least 300 jobs are to be made redundant, staff in affected positions will be offered early retirement/voluntary redundancy packages. As part of the restructuring, Sega will focus on digital titles for Smartphone devices and PC.

Story is still breaking so we might get some more details later. But the long and short of it is. Sega of America is closing and relocating, 300 jobs are to go, Sega will focus more on digital/Smartphone/PC games.

Very very sad day, especially for all our friends at Sega who are likely affected by this announcement.

Sources: BusinessWireMVCGameSpot

Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax is Coming to the west *It has a Sonic stage in it*

Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax

Way back in August of last year, we brought you news that Sega’s Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax would feature a Sonic themed stage. One year on I’m amazed to say that Sega are in fact now going to localise the game for western audiences!

Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax — Announcement Trailer | PS3, Vita

Announced on the Playstation youtube channel just a few moments ago. Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax is due to be released on the PS3 and Vita in the summer of this year.

Yes the Sonic stage is playable. So if you fancied this game for your collection, no need to import now. Since the impossible appears to be happening today, can we please get a trophy patch for Valkyria Chronicles now?

Ex-Sonic Team Artist Hiroshi Nishiyama Now Working at SEGA Networks

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The Sonic Stadium has discovered that ex-Sonic Team environment artist Hiroshi Nishiyama is now employed at SEGA Networks. Nishiyama put in 4 years at Sonic Team Japan initially working on NiGHTS into Dreams and Sonic Adventure among others before moving on to Sonic Team U.S.A for nearly 9 years. At Sonic Team U.S.A he designed environments for Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog and NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams.

Since leaving SEGA, Nishiyama has been employed with Namco Bandai Games and GREE and as of September 2014 he has now returned to SEGA at their mobile gaming division SEGA Networks. Could he be working on the recently announced Sonic Runners coming from Sonic Team and SEGA Networks?

Sources: LinkedIn, Facebook

Chikao Ohtsuka, JP voice of Eggman, has passed away at 85

EggmanWe are very sad to report that Chikao Ohtsuka, the Japanese voice of Dr. Eggman since Sonic Adventure, first released in Japan in 1998 has passed away at the age of 85 due a Ischemic Heart Disorder.

Chikao Ohtsuka is now the third known voice actor to play as Dr. Eggman to have passed away, after Deem Bristow (English voice from Sonic Adventure to Sonic Advance 3) and Long John Baldry (English voice in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog TV show).

It remains to be seen who will become his successor as Eggman in the Japanese version of the series.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. Rest in Peace Chikao Ohtsuka. :(

AFD 2014: Sonic the Hedgehog Film Script Leaked

A few weeks ago we were contacted by an individual who claimed to be involved with a “Project at Sony Pictures.” After a number of emails back and forth, a skype conversation and several identity verifications, we then asked him to send us what he had… today a script arrived. Continue reading AFD 2014: Sonic the Hedgehog Film Script Leaked

TSS REVIEW: SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection

It’s always hard to judge games like SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection in a review, because the only thing you can really gauge is the offering itself and whether the presentation offers value for money. With the Wii’s Virtual Console providing a lot of classic entertainment at varying prices each, and the Xbox Live Arcade doing the same for certain cult favourites, it seems fitting that SEGA would jump in and provide an outlet for gamers to experience all of their past titles as well. Of course, a Mega Drive Collection is nothing new; the publisher has been supporting the console on Nintendo’s hardware for the longest time, and as recent as 2006 we all saw a Mega Drive Collection released for the PlayStation 2 and PSP. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection

Sonic Visits Nintendo Offices for ‘First Day At Work’

Sonic the Hedgehog, reporting in for his first day of work… at Nintendo! Yeah, we thought this bit of PR was a little wacky ourselves, but it’s all in good fun. Nintendo’s official website covered the initiation of SEGA’s mascot, which featured the two characters shaking hands and having a great time. Apparently Sonic is also fast at magazine cover turnarounds too. Continue reading Sonic Visits Nintendo Offices for ‘First Day At Work’

Unofficial SEGA Magazine: Issue #1

A Sonic Stadium Exclusive! SEGA has been a motivator in the games industry ever since the master system came out all those years ago. SEGA has always done what not other game company has. Since their recent decision to go multi-platform, news about them has been scarce and many fans have been disappointed. The purpose for this unofficial magazine is to help aid those lost SEGA lovers with a something new that can represent SEGA by the fans. This is SEGA Magazine: 100% Unofficial. 100% Free. Continue reading Unofficial SEGA Magazine: Issue #1

Yuji Naka Plans to ‘Discuss’ NiGHTS, Burning Rangers Sequels Soon

Sonic Team has certainly been coy about the cult success of its non-Sonic IP, such as SEGA Saturn classics NiGHTS into Dreams and Burning Rangers. But if a new interview with Famitsu is anything to go by, it seems like studio head Yuji Naka is keen to explore the potential to create some sequels. Continue reading Yuji Naka Plans to ‘Discuss’ NiGHTS, Burning Rangers Sequels Soon