SEGA is Teaming Up With Hooters to Promote Sonic Forces

Well, of all the crazy collaborations we’ve seen over the last 17 years, we can’t say there’s been anything quite like this. To market the upcoming Sonic Forces in Japan, SEGA has announced that it is partnering with titillating bar and restaurant Hooters. Yes. Hooters. That one. Continue reading SEGA is Teaming Up With Hooters to Promote Sonic Forces

Watch the London Symphony Orchestra Perform Sonic Forces’ Soundtrack

In recent years, there has been a rather nice trend with ‘Modern’ era Sonic games to include an atmospheric instrumental soundtrack, performed by a big-band orchestra. Sonic Forces will be no exception, following in the footsteps of Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colours by getting a symphony involved in the game’s recording. Enter the talented musical ‘force’ (geddit?) of the London Symphony Orchestra!
Continue reading Watch the London Symphony Orchestra Perform Sonic Forces’ Soundtrack

Sonic Forces Releases on Nov 7. US Price and Pre-Order Bonuses Detailed

 

Looks like the rumors are true! Sega has announced on the Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account that Sonic Forces will be arriving on November 7th along with a US price tag of $39.99. On top of that, folks who pre-order the game will receive a controller skin for their system of choice. Along with the controller skin comes five different skins for the avatar based on several Sega/Atlus game properties including Jet Set Radio, Persona, Puyo-Puyo, Super Monkey Ball and NiGHTS. Looks like a great price and bonus for those interested in the upcoming game.

Sonic Forces will be available for Switch, PS4, X-Box One and PC November 7th.

The Spin: The Notion of ‘A True Threat To Sonic’

[This article will contain some spoilers for Sonic Mania, so if you’re waiting for the PC version, see you next week]

You know how some people have these phrases that they use to try and articulate their feelings? Especially when it comes to Sonic games? Well today we’re going to look at one of them; this one:

“I want the villain to be ‘a true threat to Sonic”

Continue reading The Spin: The Notion of ‘A True Threat To Sonic’

Sonic On The Road: Playing Mania on Nintendo Switch

Sonic Mania has officially released on a number of home consoles, but perhaps the most interesting release has to be on Nintendo’s newly-launched Switch platform. With its home-portable hybrid design, it makes it relatively easy to play the latest Sonic platformer on the move. So, a couple of our TSS reporters went walkies with their Switches to see if the experience was any good. Some of them found a pretty blurry line between the real world and the Sonic world… be careful out there, Switch users. Continue reading Sonic On The Road: Playing Mania on Nintendo Switch

Sonic Mania’s Secret Ending! [SPOILERS]

So you’ve gathered all of the Chaos Emeralds. You’ve defeated Egg Reverie. You have screamed your way through 32 taxing Blue Sphere levels, and collected a gold medal from each of them. You’ve beaten the game with Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles… and you’ve honed your speed-running skills in Time Attack…

You might be thinking you’ve seen all that Sonic Mania has to offer…but think again! Continue reading Sonic Mania’s Secret Ending! [SPOILERS]

Sonic Mania Achievement / Trophy Guide

So Sonic Mania is out and available to download on home consoles. On PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, there are a range of Achievements and Trophies to collect and challenge yourself with. If you’re having trouble getting some of them, why not look through our Game Guide for some pointers?

NB: Spoilers inside, obviously. Continue reading Sonic Mania Achievement / Trophy Guide

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Mania

Note: This review qualifies as ‘spoiler free’, but it does contain information on stages, gameplay elements and story concepts that have already been made public by official SEGA marketing channels. Be aware, if you’ve been on a total media blackout.

In the middle of Sonic Mania’s main adventure mode, Sonic is warped to the Little Planet and finds himself in a spectacularly familiar place. Golden speakers line a series of curvy narrow chutes that catapult our blue hero into the sky, against a starlit backdrop. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Mania

Sonic Mania Collector’s Edition & vinyl soundtrack back in stock; new t-shirts

Sonic Mania is out now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and set to release on Tuesday 29th August on Windows PC. Here’s all you need to know about getting a hold of the game on your system of choice, and all the merch we know of!
Continue reading Sonic Mania Collector’s Edition & vinyl soundtrack back in stock; new t-shirts

TSS Roundtable: Our Hopes and Expectations for Sonic Mania

It’s the final weekend before Sonic Mania is released, and boy has this been a game that a lot of fans have been waiting a long time for. A pure sequel to Sonic 3 & Knuckles is what a lot of people have asked for, and this collaborative effort between Christian Whitehead, HeadCannon, PagodaWest Games and SEGA aims to fulfil just that. So, with that in mind, what does our Sonic Stadium team think of the project, and what are our collective hopes and expectations for the game? Take a look, below. Continue reading TSS Roundtable: Our Hopes and Expectations for Sonic Mania

SONIC MANIA WEEK: Your One-Stop Shop for Mania News and Info!

Welcome to ‘Mania Week’ on The Sonic Stadium! To celebrate the upcoming release of the SEGA/Whitehead/HeadCannon/PagodaWest collaboration project, we will be spending the next week producing a whole heap of awesome content – all about the Mania! This post will house links to all of the stuff we have planned, in one easy location, so keep this page bookmarked and come back often! Continue reading SONIC MANIA WEEK: Your One-Stop Shop for Mania News and Info!

VIDEO: Sonic Mania Opening Animation Officially Released

While today’s leak of Sonic Mania will have us dodging spoilers for the next five days, there is one upside to it: SEGA has decided to release Sonic Mania’s opening animation early! Originally scheduled for the 14th, this animation continues where the animated pre-order trailer left off. Like the pre-order trailer, this was directed by former Archie Sonic artist Tyson Hesse. Continue reading VIDEO: Sonic Mania Opening Animation Officially Released

Video: First Footage of Sonic Mania’s Competition Mode

With only one week to go until Sonic Mania’s release, SEGA has revealed the game’s competition mode! For those wondering if the mode is playable online, the Sonic twitter specifically mentions friends can be challenged “locally”, so this would appear to be an offline-only mode. Continue reading Video: First Footage of Sonic Mania’s Competition Mode

Data Discs Releasing Sonic Mania Vinyl LP

Heads up, Sonic Maniacs! If you’ve been enjoying the aural pleasures of Tee Lopes’ Sonic Mania soundtrack until now, then it’s probably a good idea to sit down. Data Discs, the UK-based vinyl company that has a good track record (heh) of releasing retro SEGA soundtracks, is preparing a vinyl release of the upcoming 2D platformer’s OST. Continue reading Data Discs Releasing Sonic Mania Vinyl LP

Sonic Forces: Soundtrack Style Is Character Dependent

During a recent interview with Playstation at E3, SEGA Community Manager Aaron Webber revealed that each character in Sonic Forces (Modern Sonic, Classic Sonic and “the Rookie”) will have their own unique soundtrack style. Continue reading Sonic Forces: Soundtrack Style Is Character Dependent

Sonic Forces E3 Impressions: Jason’s Take

At the front of Sega’s booth at E3, there were two different lines; one queue was for Sonic Mania, while the other, about half the length, was Sonic Forces. The crowds definitely seemed more excited for one over the other. Have Sonic’s recent flops affected fan’s love for modern Sonic titles, or is there enough love for both the modern era and a fun romp through the golden age? More importantly, has Sonic Team learned from the mistakes of it’s past?

First off, it should be noted that this game doesn’t try to experiment with new game types – it’s a back-to-basics formula of what worked in Sonic Generations and Sonic Colors (the better received 3-D Sonic games since SA2) and building on that. For the first time in a long time, Sega is playing it safe. Do you want me to tell you how modern Sonic plays? He plays EXACTLY like modern Sonic. Do you want to hear how classic Sonic plays? He plays EXACTLY like classic Sonic. If there are any slight differences, I didn’t notice them myself.

The new game mode is played with the avatar, a character you create and referred to as “the rookie” throughout the game. You decide how the character looks and what species he/she is. I believe you buy extra gear for your character through both common gold and red star rings, thus giving a reason for you to replay levels and giving the game a whole “carrot on a stick” feel (although I’m guessing this seeing as how you can no longer regain any rings you lose). This makes some boss battles more challenging as me and Alex watched one poor soul who just couldn’t seem to beat Eggman during the classic Sonic boss fight.

During our play through of the demo, our avatar was generated completely at random; sometimes I’d get a purple cat, other times a black bunny, and there are videos on youtube of some playing as the red wolf from the trailer. Before you enter the level, you’re given the choice between two different “Wispons”, a wisp-powered weapon. A flamethrower Wispon allows you to use the burst wisps to project your character higher into the air, while the other weapon, a lightning whip, allows the player to execute the light speed dash and quickly follow a trail of rings. There were two different stages in the demo depending on the system: the Nintendo Switch got a level very similar to modern Sonic’s stage, in which you eventually travel a slightly different path, and I found this level to be the most fun level in the demo. He/she can use their grappling hook to swing up to higher paths or attack robots via a homing attack. Alternatively, you can also use your Wispon to bring down a whole group of robots all at once. The Switch level was fast, visceral and overall, fun. This was mainly due to going through the levels a breakneck speeds only stopping to attack your enemies, with no real emphasis on platforming.

…And that’s where the PS4 level comes in to play. Oh boy.

The level sees the player racing down the Green Hill zone as it appears to be undergoing industrialization, while being chased down by a giant robot crab while smaller robot crabs try to squash you along the way. This level is entire 2-D and requires precise platforming to get through – if you read Alex’s take on the avatar character, you’ll have some appreciation for why this is a bad thing. The physics while jumping with the avatar doesn’t feel right, and it is almost impossible to turn in mid air; small platforms throughout the stage make playing the level a bit of a chore rather than fun. However if this issue can be remedied for release, then the Avatar mode could be the best new gimmick yet avatar controls much like Sonic. Personally, I don’t want to fish, I don’t want to brawl, I don’t want to pilot a mech. I want my extra character to control like Sonic as I think that is what works best in a Sonic title! It seems that Sonic Team are really investing in the avatar stages, embellished with vocal songs that are only present in their stages. These stages have the potential to be the best stages on the Switch version of the game, and if they can nail the physics, this is looking like it could be a top-tier 3-D Sonic game.

I managed to play the demo on all 3 systems, and one thing I noticed was that PS4 version of the demon was playing on the PS4 Pro…and it showed. The 1080P graphics looked incredible, and were of similar caliber to Sonic Generations on the PC with ultra-high settings. The XBox One version looked to have been running at 720P as it seemed lower resolution; this might be due to anti-aliasing and as Alex mentioned in his article. The Switch version, while still very detailed, appeared to suffer the most graphically and seemed to be at 720 or sub-720P with jagged edges due to no anti-aliasing.

Physics aside, Sonic Forces is looking to be a solid, above average Sonic title. I think Sonic Team have made the right choice to stick to proven game styles, with the new gimmick being pretty much “Sonic with weapons”. I doubt it will beat Sonic Mania in reviews or sales, but still, it appears we are getting two great Sonic games in one year.

Sonic Mania E3 Impressions: Alex’s Take

I still can’t quite believe Sonic Mania is real. It’s certainly the kind of project many Sonic fans have dreamed of: a game by the fans, for the fans, that somehow manages to capture the nostalgia of yesteryear while simultaneously adding new fresh ideas to make it an all-together new experience. This is the video game equivalent of patting one’s head and rubbing one’s stomach at the same time: possible, but difficult to pull off. And yet somehow, Sonic Mania is doing just that, and appears to be doing it flawlessly if the E3 demo is any indication. Continue reading Sonic Mania E3 Impressions: Alex’s Take

Sonic Forces on Nintendo Switch E3 Impressions


I’ve had one question in the back of my mind ever since the Nintendo Switch was unveiled: how the heck was Sonic Project 2017, which was going to be a full-on next generation Sonic title, going to run on this thing? Fairly well, as it turns out, albeit with some very noticeable compromises.

The most notable difference is that the game runs at 30 frames per second – half the rate of the competing systems. Texture and models are of lower quality, with certain effects either trimmed down or removed entirely. The lush, wavy grass from the PS4 version of Green Hill is less lush and wavy on the Switch, and far more jagged, with even shadows being effected. The shadows cast by Eggman’s Eggmobile were distinctly lower resolution, appearing jagged with inconsistent levels of darkness.

Most of these issues, outside of the frame rate, are borderline unnoticeable in portable mode. But in console mode, the flaws are very apparent.

My fellow Sonic Stadium staffer, Jason, also got to see the demo in action, and he had this to say:

Jason’s Take:

A few months back when the Switch version was announced, I’d guessed that the game would be at about half the frame rate of the HD versions and would probably suffer a little in the visual department as well – and I see this is the case.

That said, it’s not as bad as it sounds. There are still some nice effects in here that give it a next gen feel. The puddles of water are still reflective. There’s no real pop-in and you can see far out in the distance. The grass still waves around. The main difference is the lack of detail in some of the textures and the jaggy, 720P or possibly sub 720P resolution which may be due to no anti-aliasing. At least, it appears that way. 

All of this is almost invisible in portable mode outside of the locked 30 fps. I’m still considering this version and the PC version as the ports I have preference over, with the Switch offering portability and the PC for it’s eventual modding. If the Switch is your only option, it’s still a solid port – just think of it as a PC game in medium to low settings vs. ultra-high settings for the PS4 version.

E3 demos are of course usually technically inferior to the final product – something we have seen in previous years with Generations and Colors, which both contained performance issues rectified for the final game. The Switch version was never going to be the version of choice for the graphically obsessed. But for those of you who’ve always wanted to take a 3D Sonic game on the go, this looks like it’ll be a great option when it launches alongside the console and PC versions later this year.

We took a bunch of off-screen images with an actual, high quality digital camera for this article. We’re including the ones that best captured the game, with minimal motion blur, in a gallery below. While off-screen still-images are never as accurate at representing a game’s visuals as direct capture footage, these should at least give you a firm idea of the level of graphical quality in this version of the game.

Sonic Forces: Custom Hero E3 Impressions

Sonic Force’s decision to include a custom character with a very different game play style has been a decision that has polarised the fan base. It continues Sonic Team’s history to add new dimensions to bolster the established 2D and 3D platforming in order to produce a more broad appeal. Continue reading Sonic Forces: Custom Hero E3 Impressions

Sonic Mania E3 Impressions: Jason’s Take

I have a confession to make. I was never a huge fan of Sonic Retro. I’d lurk on their forums from time to time and I thought they tended to act a bit arrogant and cocky at times. They’d say that they could make a much better Sonic game than Sega. “Right!” I thought to myself. “A bunch of amateurs make a better game than veteran programmers? Bah!” However, Sonic Mania, lead by Christian “Taxman” Whitehead, is proof that it wasn’t arrogance, but the truth. Continue reading Sonic Mania E3 Impressions: Jason’s Take

E3 2017: Sonic Forces Nintendo Switch footage

Have you been wondering how Sonic Forces would perform on Nintendo Switch? Well wonder no longer! While we were on the E3 show floor, we were able to record some footage directly from a Switch. While it may not be easy to tell, the game is running at a consistent 30 frames per second on the console. As a bonus, you also get some off-the-cuff commentary on the experience from Jason and I.

You can expect a more thorough run down of the Switch version’s performance from us in a video and a write-up later this week.

Sonic Forces E3 Impressions: Alex’s Take

SEGA has been frustratingly quiet about Sonic Forces since they revealed it as Sonic Project 2017 last year. It’s only been in the lead up to E3 that the game’s identity has begun to take shape publicly. While the game features shades of Sonic Generations, to call it an outright sequel (or rehash) isn’t quite right. The Forces demo is both familiar and new, if not also a little awkward.

The modern Sonic game play is essentially just a polished form of what we’ve been getting since Sonic Unleashed. Visuals aside, this game would be right at home in Sonic Generations, and there is zero learning curve for anyone who’s already played that game. The same can also be said for classic Sonic’s boss battle, which starts out as a new (if not exactly inventive) take on Eggman’s swinging ball weapon, replacing the ball with a buzz saw that cuts through platforms.

After that (easy) fight, Eggman hops into his Egg Dragoon, which first appeared in Sonic Unleashed, and starts attacking from the background. He fires a giant chain gun and chucks rocks and metallic boulders, the latter of which can be hit back to damage him. This part takes longer and is more entertaining, though the boss fight on the whole is fairly easy. The first two parts of the demo are as fun and polished as Sonic has ever been, but they do nothing outstanding or new design-wise. If all you want is more Generations (like me) than you’ll be satisfied with what’s on display for these modes in the demo.

So that’s what’s familiar, but what about the new stuff? Well, the visuals of Forces are a nice upgrade from past Sonic games. While some have complained that the new Green Hill stage looks barren compared Generations, this game looks better than any past Sonic game at an objective, technical level. The demo runs at a near silky smooth 60 frames per second, the first non-PC Sonic game to do so (Dreamcast HD ports notwithstanding). Individual blades of grass in Green Hill now move back and forth individually. In terms of pure polygons, this game is clearly pushing way more than any past Sonic game. These are the highest fidelity Sonic models I’ve ever seen.

That said, as with any E3 demo, the visuals aren’t 100 percent polished. At the end of the avatar stage, during a chase scene, the frame rate does get a little janky. But given that E3 demos typically boast notable technical issues due to their incomplete state of development, what I saw in the demo bodes well for the visuals in the final product. And speaking of the avatar stage, this brings me to what will surely be the most controversial part of this game.

I have felt uneasy about the player-made hero character since it was unveiled. While my time with the character does allay those fears somewhat, I do still have some concerns.

First, the positives: the “wispons”, wisp fuelled weapons that can be used for both attacking and traversal, fit surprisingly well with the flow of game play. During my playthrough, I used what was effectively a lightning whip. It let my character lightspeed dash across trails of rings, reverse the direction of my jump in mid-air, briefly boost forward, and attack and destroy horizontal rows of enemies. Overall, the wispon actually positively benefited the flow of play, and didn’t feel nearly as awkward as it looked.

On the negative side, there’s a learning curve to controlling the character. The character cannot roll, jump dash, or perform any of Sonic’s other moves. The way the character jumps feels different, and potentially awkward. I was missing a lot of jumps in my initial play through as a result, but whether this was because I was used to Sonic’s jumping mechanics and need to simply get used to the custom-hero character, or if the character’s controls simply aren’t very good, I can’t say without spending more time with the game.

Sonic Forces doesn’t look like it’ll be a groundbreaking title, but it ought to be a very fun one. While the hero character is a potential chink in the armor, it doesn’t look like the disaster I thought it might be either.

There will be additional game play impressions later this week, as well as a more in-depth impression of how the hero character plays.

UPDATE: Sonic Forces E3 Trailer Reveals New Villains

Sega have just released a new trailer for Sonic Forces and it shows us our villains gallery including what appears to be a new enemy for Sonic to fight.

Looks like that Sonic will be facing off against Eggman, Shadow, Chaos, Zavok, Metal Sonic and a ‘mysterious new villain’.

All we know about the villain is that he has a ‘strange new ability’ and his name is Infinite.

Also released was this key art piece.

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

Sonic Forces & Mania Demo Footage Showcased on Twitch Stream

SEGA Community Manager Aaron Webber appeared on the E3 Pre-Event Twitch stream along with members of the Sonic Mania development team to, among other Sonic-related things, show off the Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania E3 demos. The Forces demo consists of three parts: a modern Sonic 3D stage, a classic Sonic boss battle, and an “Avatar stage”, which demonstrates the fan-created “hero” character. The Sonic Mania demo showed off the second Green Hill stage and boss. Continue reading Sonic Forces & Mania Demo Footage Showcased on Twitch Stream

Sonic Talk 44: Schrodinger’s Sonic

Right now, Archie Sonic is much like Schrodinger’s Cat. Until we get an official confirmation, he is both cancelled and not-cancelled. In this week’s Sonic Talk, we discuss Sonic’s apparent comic cancellation and what this means for the future of non-game Sonic media. We also discuss what recent games we’ve been playing and the flat level design of the Green Hill Zone in Sonic Forces. All that, and more so stay tuned! Sadly, this was recorded just before the news broke about the third character. Continue reading Sonic Talk 44: Schrodinger’s Sonic

Sonic Mania is Now ESRB-Certified for All Platforms Except Nintendo Switch

Receiving news about a delay for a video game is a bittersweet occasion. On one hand, it means having to wait all the longer for a game’s already highly anticipated release as its launch is pushed further ahead, but on the other hand, one can’t really complain about extra polish to ensure greater quality from the final product. Continue reading Sonic Mania is Now ESRB-Certified for All Platforms Except Nintendo Switch

UPDATE: Amazon Points to ‘September’ Release Date for Sonic Mania

It looks like we might have an idea as to when Sonic Mania may be released – and for those of you banking on a ‘Summer’ window as described by SEGA America recently, you may want to try asking Father Time to re-adjust the seasons so that Summer also includes September 4. Continue reading UPDATE: Amazon Points to ‘September’ Release Date for Sonic Mania

New Sonic Forces Footage Revealed in Nintendo Direct

If you’re hungry for a few seconds of new Sonic Forces footage, Nintendo has you covered. The company showcased the game in today’s Nintendo Direct, giving us our first glimpse of classic Sonic game play. The level appears to be themed after Green Hill. The Direct also teased the game’s “unexpected character,” confirming it will be a “new ally”.

While it was technically teasing the Switch version, it is currently unknown if this footage was running on Switch or another console. Regardless, this seems to confirm that the Switch will be getting the same version of the game as Xbox and Playstation.

Check out the footage for yourself in the video below:

First Images of New Sonic Character In Sonic Forces

Today’s Nintendo Direct Live Stream revealed more footage from Sonic Forces today, but more interestingly gave a glimpse of a “new ally”, very likely connected to the third style of game play heavily alluded to in previous announcements. Continue reading First Images of New Sonic Character In Sonic Forces

Morio Kishimoto is Directing Sonic Forces, No Boom Sonic, Will Be At E3

The director behind Sonic Colors and Sonic Lost World will be taking the helm once more for Sonic Forces, it has been revealed – and if you were hoping for that ‘third playable character’ to be Boom-universe Sonic, prepare to be disappointed. Continue reading Morio Kishimoto is Directing Sonic Forces, No Boom Sonic, Will Be At E3

Sonic Mania Will Feature Levels Inspired By Scrapped Mega Drive Stages

SEGA has revealed that the team working on Sonic Mania has been given access to a wealth of scrapped levels from past 2D Sonic games, opening the possibility of seeing levels like Dust Hill Zone and Genocide City in a completed form for the first time. Continue reading Sonic Mania Will Feature Levels Inspired By Scrapped Mega Drive Stages