Ken Balough Bids Farewell to SEGA

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Chances are if you’ve kept your finger on the pulse of the Sonic community over the past half decade, you’ll have encountered this character – SEGA’s Digital Brand Manager, Ken Balough. Ken is probably best known for being one of the most prominent spokespeople representing SEGA during the promotion of both Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episodes 1 and 2, for trailblazing fan engagement with the SEGA Community team, as well as his mean sense of humour.

Yesterday, Ken announced in a statement on the SEGA forums that he would be leaving his position at SEGA to join the team at Sony Playstation.

Continue reading Ken Balough Bids Farewell to SEGA

Sonic 4: Episode I Sold Best on PS3 on Consoles

SEGA Digital Brand Manager Ken Balough has revealed at the SEGA Forums that Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I sold best on the PlayStation 3 platform on consoles. Xbox 360 came second and Wii last. The news is quite a twist when compared to retail Sonic titles, where Nintendo’s consoles usually come out on top. No information was given as to where PC and mobile platforms ranked.

Will the same happen for Episode II? Time will tell. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II is out now on Steam in the UK, and will be released later today in other territories. The PSN version will also be released later today in the US, then Europe tomorrow. The Xbox Live Arcade version is due out worldwide tomorrow.

Source: SEGA Forums

Sonic 4: Tails Could Lead in Future Patch, Ep 2 Dates Clarified

In an update to their website today, SEGA has cleared up the release dates for Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 in Europe and Australia. It appears SEGA is going to defy expectations and release the PS3 version in all territories on the same day of May 15th 2012. The Xbox 360 version will also have a simultaneous release the next day on May 16th 2012 as expected. Other formats will follow later.

More after the jump…
Continue reading Sonic 4: Tails Could Lead in Future Patch, Ep 2 Dates Clarified

Get a Sample of Tomorrow’s Sonic Talk Interview with Ken Balough. Physics Finally Fixed?

Gotta love those Miles muttonchops.

Tomorrow will see the release of the Segabits podcast, Sonic Talk: Episode 4. In it, me and Alex interview Ken Balough about all things Sonic 4:Episode 2. One thing that’s been discussed in other forums and kinda revealed lately is how the physics are shaping up and it’s all good. Here’s what Ken had to say on the new and improved Sonic 4-2 physics.

You’ll notice the changes right from the get-go. We took fan feedback and made sure he doesn’t uncurl. So now when he rolls up those hills, he’ll stay in ball-attack form. The other thing was to start having the game have more momentum style physics similar to the Genesis. In act 2 of Silvania Castle, it starts off at a big hill. So if you just put Sonic towards the edge and have him tuck and roll (not spindash) and let him roll naturally, you can put your controller down because not only will he roll down that hill, but he’ll actually pick up speed and roll off a ramp (for example) and have it similar in essence to the way it was on the Genesis.

Check out Sonic Talk 4:Episode 2 tomorrow on the Segabits website (or use the link I’ll provide later on this site) to find out more on the physics, how Sonic CD is now embedded into Sonic 4 and the Genesis trilogy, what kind of adaption will be in the Archie magazine, which versions have “transfarring” and much more!

Also, you’ll get to hear some nerds talk about Game Gear games and the Sonic Advance series so…win win!

Sega Confirms No Sonic 4-2 For Wii

Ken Balough has recently confirmed what many wondered at the end of his Gamespot interview. Sonic 4 Episode 2 will not be making an appearance on the Wii console. This makes the third Multi-platform Sonic game in a row not to see release on the Wii. Here’s what Ken had to say.

But no – the reason Episode I was on the Wii was because we wanted to bring the Sonic 4 saga to the widest possible audience. Episode II unfortunately will not be coming to the Wii – for reasons most people have probably guessed, but that doesn’t mean the SEGA isn’t supporting Nintendo platforms, we have a very strong partnership and will continue to do so.

Oh well. Here’s hoping for a disc compilation at some point.

Source [Sega Forums]

Sonic 4: Episode 2 Teaser Trailer Unveiled at GameSpot

As stated yesterday, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 has been officially announced today over at GameSpot with a teaser trailer that reveals a new playable character. Unexpected though, an interview with Ken Balough came with it revealing more details about this episode. Balough says SEGA has listened to fan feedback from Episode 1 and in response they have added a new graphics engine, a new physics engine and fixed the uncurling.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 will be released in 2012 on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Nework, iOS, Windows Phone 7 and Android devices. Yes, it doesn’t appear to be coming to any Nintendo platforms, unfortunately.

Source: GameSpot

Continue reading Sonic 4: Episode 2 Teaser Trailer Unveiled at GameSpot

Sonic 4: Episode 2 to be Announced With Trailer at Gamespot Tomorrow

Sonic fans over at the SEGA Forums have cracked SEGA Digital Brand Manager Ken Balough’s riddle, and the man himself has taken to the forums to make the answer official. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 will be announced at Gamespot tomorrow (December 29th 2011) with a trailer. Xbox 360 and PS3 owners will be able to download the trailer the next day and a few days later respectively.

Continue reading Sonic 4: Episode 2 to be Announced With Trailer at Gamespot Tomorrow

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 “Hint” Coming Tomorrow

SEGA Digital Brand Manager Ken Balough has tonight teased that his previously mentioned Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 “hint” will be revealed tomorrow at the official SEGA Forums in this topic.

And now that Sonic CD is out of “most” systems ….. I will drop the hint, on this thread…. MAÑANA! 🙂

Link

HI Guys!

As mentioned inthe other threads – I will be dropping “The Hint” tomorrow 🙂

Link

We’ll keep our eyes peeled for the “hint” and pass it along here.

Source: SEGA Forums

Thanks to SSMB member Dreamcast for the heads up!

SEGA’s Ken Balough Teases First Sonic 4: Episode 2 Reveal

SEGA’s Sonic 4 Brand Manager Ken Balough has recently been answering queries regarding Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 at the publisher’s official forums and in his responses has teased when we can expect the first reveal for the game. In a post dated November 30th 2011, Balough says that after the new Sonic CD port launches this month, he will give a hint of where we will get the first reveal for Episode 2. In a post made today, Balough again states that once Sonic CD launches, he can give a “brief hint” about the game. Continue reading SEGA’s Ken Balough Teases First Sonic 4: Episode 2 Reveal

Sonic 4: Episode 2 Will NOT Feature 3D Support, But Will Contain All-New Music

You may have seen a report late last month from Japanese website Inside Games that many other sources roughly translated to suggest that Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 might include support for 3D TV’s. Well, SEGA’s Sonic 4 Brand Manager has informed the community via the SEGA Forums that Episode 2 will NOT feature support for 3D displays.

Let me clear this up; Episode II is not in 3-D. SEGA has made many 3-D games, THOR, Captain America, Generations, all can be viewed in 3-D if you own a 3-D TV. Episode II however, will not be offered in this format.

Cheers everyone,
Ken

Balough also revealed that Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 will contain all-new music and won’t feature any covers of tracks from past games like Sonic CD’s Sonic Boom.

Hahahah, no – that was just used for SOnic Boom – Episode II will have brand new music 🙂

Source: SEGA Forums Link 1, Link 2

Thanks to SpookyMulder at the SSMB for the heads up!

Got a news tip? Send it in to thesonicstadium@googlemail.com, shadzter@sonicstadium.org or via Twitter at @Shadzter and we’ll credit you for the find.

Balough Speaks to Retro About Sonic CD & Sonic 4

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWGJpl_xheI&feature=channel_video_title[/youtube]

Sonic Retro has informed us today that Shade Vortex didn’t speak to SEGA’s Patrick Riley yesterday. The Sonic Retro and SSMB forumer was actually speaking to SEGA’s Ken Balough, as shown in the above video interview with Balough that Shade Vortex has uploaded.

The interview gives us more information about the new Sonic CD port and its importance to Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2. If you don’t have time to watch the whole video interview, Sonic Retro has gathered the main points together in text form. You can read them below.

* It’s commonly understood that Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles form what is called “The Death Egg Trilogy” because of the overarching story of Eggman’s Death Egg across the titles. Sonic CD was a self-contained adventure that hovered around that area with the most popular belief to be between Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, despite no true concrete evidence.

* Sonic 4 is trying to bridge all of them together more. It’s not trying to give Sonic CD a concrete place in the timeline, just say that “It happened prior to Sonic 4: Episode 1.” It does not mean Sonic CD is immediately before Sonic 4: Episode 1 and after Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

* The events of Sonic CD are important to Episode 2. You can see Metal Sonic in the ending. The idea is you’ll see how Metal Sonic comes back after his destruction in Sonic CD and his return. (Knuckles Chaotix unavailable for comment.)

* Sega is supportive on Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s Retro Engine, calling it “a really good piece of technology.”

* “You’ve got to work within the confines of what a publisher is and what a publisher does in order to get all the benefits as well. We as a publisher will get the benefits from working with really talented developers, and developers on the flip side get the benefits of working with a publisher and all the things and all the exposure they get and they can bring to the table, as well as working on really big brands, like Sonic.”

* On Metal Sonic: “He’s appeared in some of these [games], but we’ve never made him so integral to that continuity. We’ve had him back, but no one ever explained how he comes back after CD. He’s just there. So, we’re going make sure that we fill in some of these really nice… I almost think of it like Star Wars, right? We’re going to go back and explain this really cool era that was the Clone Wars? We’re going to go back and explain this really cool era that was the classic experience, and show you guys some really fun stuff.”

* With regards to Sonic 2 Spindash and the “HD Filter”: “Stay tuned.” He doesn’t want to confirm anything until details are more concrete. However, a filter will be present.

* On Sonic CD not being on 3DS, Vita: “We never really intended to release it yet for the Playstation Vita, or the Playstation Go, or the Nintendo 3DS… those were never really on the table. We were always talking about, ‘It was either digital console or mobile devices.’

* He’s unable to comment on why the game isn’t on WiiWare.

* The U.S. Soundtrack will not be included at this time due to licensing issues. However, there’s a couple of more surprises to be revealed later down the road.

* The trailers have nothing to do with the continuity of the games. They’re their own thing designed by Balough. The ‘detour’ talked about previously is Sonic going to the past so players can relive Sonic CD and understand its events and references in Sonic 4: Episode 2.

Source: Sonic Retro

Thanks to Sonic Retro staffer GeneHF for the heads up!

SEGA’s Ken Balough Clears Up Sonic CD Timeline Confusion

In a post at the SEGA Forums, SEGA Brand Manager Ken Balough has cleared up the confusion regarding where Sonic CD happens in the Sonic timeline and it turns out that SEGA is NOT placing the game between Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, or anywhere else either. Balough explains that while they’re not moving Sonic CD, the game’s events are very important to Sonic the Hedgehog 4, and that’s why they’re giving fans the chance to play it for the first time with this new port.

Hi Everyone!!

Ok so I’m at PAx right now showing off Sonic CD to every lucky person who’s attending the show (by the way if you are here – it’s at the MSFT booth.)

But I have a few minutes and I’ve seen some confusion about Sonic CD being a prequel – and it is!! Just as you imagined it.
which is basically my way of saying – allow me to illuminate the situation.

Remember back during Ep 1, I was saying we had outlined a great story for the Sonic 4 Saga? It all come back to that Cliffhanger at the end – where we brought back Metal Sonic. Sonic CD was never really tied to the numberical Sonics in any significant way back in the 90′s. Sonic 4 is going to change that, and bridge these adventures together in a meaningful way.
While we are not taking away “when CD happened” in relationship to the numerical versions, we can tell you that the events in CD are very important to 4 (as you can imagine from us bringing Metal Sonic back)

So before we take you to Ep 2, we’re gonna give all you fans a chance to experiance CD for the first time in years – and with a terrific presentation in wide screen. And yes the physics are fine!

So as you can see from the Trailer we created – Sonic took a slight detour into “The Past”, and later will be propelled back into the future to resume the Sonic 4 Saga

And if your at PAX come say Hi!

Cheers,
Ken

Source: SEGA Forum (via Sonic Retro)

Sonic 4: Episode 2 Confirmed, In Early Stages of Development

Here’s something that seems to have escaped many people’s notice. Over at the SEGA Forums SEGA’s Sonic 4 Brand Manager Ken Balough has confirmed work is officially underway on Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2. That may be a given, since the game is episodic, but this is the first we’ve heard from anyone at SEGA. Looking through a Sonic 4: Episode 2 topic at SEGA’s forum shows Balough has been doing some Q&A for over 2 weeks there, and we’ve picked some choice posts out below.

Not much information is revealed, but here’s the main points:
– Episode 2 is in the early development stages
– SOA and SOE are both giving feedback and input on Episode 2
– Episode 1 sold well for SEGA commercially, meaning a bigger budget is likely for Episode 2
– Balough knows how many Episodes Sonic 4 will have, but can’t comment right now. Amount was decided during Episode 1’s development.
– Balough states that some elements of Episode 1 could have been better and says Episode 2 gives the opportunity to address them.
– Episode 2 is not a Sonic CD remake. Idea is to bring new zones with things you haven’t seen before.

Episode II is in early development now. We already had some ideas fleshed out on development for Episode I in fact. No, you definetly wont have to wait years and years a la Duke Nukem Forever.

Link

SoA and SoE are both giving feedback and input on Episode II. Episode I did very well for SEGA commercially, and thanks to everyone’s support, we definetly have a lot of traction going into Epsiode II. This usually means better budgets, etc.

That said – I see a lot of really great ideas going into the next installment.

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I know how many [episodes] there will be – but I can;t comment on that just yet We had determined the amount during the development of Episode I.

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Hi There! Sorry for not posting earlier 🙂

I honestly don’t know about the puzzles yet – I have not seen the full level design layouts. But I can certainly pass the feedback along 🙂

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I certainly cannot deny there were some elements that could have been done better – and I could say that about most games I’ve worked on. That’s why Episode II gives us that opportunity to address them (or as much as possible)

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I can tell you that Ep II is not a Sonic CD remake. I can’t comment really on anything else – but I can tell you you are going to see new zones that look really cool.

Re-hash kind of depends on how you look at the topography. I mean; we’ve gone to a lot of areas – Underground mines in Sonic 2, Deserts, Lush green hills, Jungle, Cities, etc.

But yeah – the idea is to introduce new zones with things you haven’t seen.

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It appears SEGA may be ready to start talking about Episode 2 properly soon, but with the game in the early stages of development, we may not see the game released until the later part of this year rather than closer to Sonic’s big 20th Birthday in June, if it’s released this year at all.

Source: Sonic Zone

NintendoLife Interviews Ken Balough, Episode 2 Info in 2011

Nintendo specialist website NintendoLife has posted up an interview they held with SEGA’s Digital Brand Manager Ken Balough to chat about Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. Not much is revealed that we don’t already know, but there are plenty of teases made about Episode 2.

Balough reaffirms that the story for the whole series is already written and says we can probably expect details about Episode 2 in 2011:

I can tell you we’ve written the story for the whole saga, but we have not announced the amount of episodes yet. That said, you can probably expect to hear more about Episode II in 2011. (He smiles)

Those who would like to see the episodes lock-on in a similar fashion to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, may be in luck with Balough’s next vague teaser, but he can’t reveal what may be carried over right now:

The Episodes will definitely make up a larger game. After completing them all, you’ll have experienced a larger overall story arc that lives up to the epic nature of earlier Sonics. As for what carries over – you’ll have to wait and see!

Fans purchasing the game for Wii need not worry about the game being less of an experience due to the WiiWare file size limit. Balough explains that the game is near-enough the same:

It was definitely a challenge because there was less room to work with, but the team was super committed to bringing their full vision to the Wii.

Ultimately the content is identical. The Team was really committed to making sure everyone got a great Sonic 4 experience, so the graphics and the motion controls on the Special Stages are the only real differences on the Wii version.

When asked if there is anything he would like to say to gamers who have been waiting for Sonic’s return to classic 2D, Balough expresses the teams passion for this new entry to the series:

I’ll like to let everyone know that we at SEGA definitely understand the desire Sonic fans have had for return of a 2D game. The entire team are Genesis Sonic fans and we’re all proud to be bringing back Sonic with Sonic the Hedgehog 4. This is the game we’ve all wanted to play since we were kids, and we really hope everyone out there shares our passion and enjoys playing this game as much as we did making it!

Check out the full interview at NintendoLife.

E3: Sonic Colours World Map & 4 Full Stage Sonic 4 Videos

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tbOX-qnKpY[/youtube]

NintendoDifference have managed to get a recording of the Sonic Colours title screen and more importantly the World Map where we can see 9 areas and Eggman’s rocket ship of which 8 have locks on including Eggman’s Rocket suggesting that will be a final 10th level with the inevitable last battle with Eggman. The planet’s all look like they have quite a variety of things going on and the top right one even looks a little like Metal Sonic, speculate away as to what you think each planet might hold in the comments.

Thanks to Woun at the SSMB for sending me the find and upscaled title screen and World Map pics!

In other news Gametrailers have uploaded 4 videos of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, 2 each covering a full Act from Splash Hill Zone and the final one showcasing the boss battle with Eggman where we also see Sonic’s looking up screen scrolling animation. A tidbit yes but cool nonetheless. You can view them all at the links below –

Act 1

Act 2

Act 3

Boss

We’ve also come across another Sonic 4 video interview from The Review Crew with SEGA of America’s Ken Balough where he reveals there won’t be big lengths of time between releasing episodes. Check it out below –
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yok32EoJ5Q&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Gamespot’s E3 Sonic 4 Interview With Gameplay Footage

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oobVTAz_0U[/youtube]

E3 2010 is getting closer and some of the media are already kicking off their coverage including Gamespot who yesterday posted up the above Sonic 4 interview with Ken Balough who’s role is Associate Digital Brand Manager at SEGA. Ken reveals all 3 Act’s of Splash Hill Zone will be playable at E3 including the boss battle, he says they’ve taken the Special Stages(where motion control’s will now be optional) out of the demo to keep the queue moving so everyone can get to play the game.

Alot of the info gained from the interview we already know from past interviews but the footage shown is new in the sense that we can just barely see some of the changes already implemented such as a fix to Sonic’s speed momentum and accelleration meaning Spin Dash is more useful, tweaks to the jump appear to have also been made so it’s less floaty. Ken says you won’t see all of the changes made in the E3 demo so we’ll have to wait until a later date to see those. Judge for yourself from the footage and see if you notice any changes then let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source: Gamespot
Thanks to Sykotech at the SSMB for the heads up and thanks to Phos there for the YouTube coversion of the video.

TSS Staffer nuckles87 and new member of the team Jason the Jackass will be attending E3 to bring readers of The Sonic Stadium exclusive coverage of all things Sonic aswell as bringing SEGA Bits exclusive coverage of SEGA’s other titles on the show floor so stick with us for all of your E3 Sonic needs.