First4Figures 25th Anniversary Statue Sneak Peak

The First4Figures Official Facebook Collectors Group has shown a sneak peak of the long-awaited 25th Anniversary Statue, which appears to be very close to the computer generated model previously shown of classic Sonic,in his trademark “figure 8” run.

Alex Davis of Firs4Figures, stated in the post alongside the image “Really hope this does well [sales-wise] – dont want this to be a swan song!”, once again reiterating that a continuation of waning sales of the Sonic series could result in the cancellation of statues planned in the future, including Modern Metal Sonic which is currently in the development stage.

Are you planning on purchasing the F4F 25th Anniversary statue? Is it what you expected? Let us know in the comments!

Sonic-Themed GLAMGLOW GRAVITYMUD Now Available In The UK

Following the launch at San Diego Comic Con last year, beauty products company GLAMGLOW have brought their Sonic the Hedgehog-themed GRAVITYMUD product to UK shores!

The GRAVITYMUD firming treatment, in an exclusive SONIC BLUE, is available from the UK site for the sum of £39, making it significantly cheaper to obtain than importing from the USA.

You can watch our friend Jay over at the Sonic Show try out the product below:

Follow the link to purchase Sonic Blue GLAMGOW GRAVITYMUD

Thanks to Sarah over at the Sonic Merch facebook group for the tip!

Official Sonic The Hedgehog 25th Anniversary art book now available for pre-order

Art aficionados Cook & Becker today announce the opening of pre-orders for their much anticipated Sonic the Hedgehog 25th anniversary art book! Each tome is set to contain more than 200 pages of artwork and interviews, with the special edition arriving in a collectors box which includes an exclusive print created by Sonic Team artist Yuji Uekawa. Continue reading Official Sonic The Hedgehog 25th Anniversary art book now available for pre-order

SEGA and Cook & Becker Will Release a Sonic 25th Anniversary Art Book in Early 2017

sonic25thartbook_hdTwenty-five years ago, a blue speedster ran his first loop-de-loop on South Island and captured our hearts. Sonic the Hedgehog made a ton of friends and foes, and has travelled through a great many locales and environments since then, ranging from the colourful and fantastic to the familiar and lifelike.

To celebrate his silver anniversary, SEGA and art dealership Cook & Becker will be releasing a commemorative art book. The book will encompass the expansive history of the franchise and include a variety of design sketches, official character illustrations, in-game art, pixel art, rare promotional art and game box art, all on top of never-before-seen art and interviews with key artists and designers who worked on the franchise over the years.

Continue reading SEGA and Cook & Becker Will Release a Sonic 25th Anniversary Art Book in Early 2017

Sonic Talk 39: Stuffed Full of Cheese

 

This podcast was (not) brought to you by Totino’s!

Alex takes over hosting duties this month as we talk about our trip to the Sonic 25th Anniversary celebration and San Diego Comic Con along with our impressions of Sonic Mania, along with our thoughts on Project 2017 and Sonic in Lego Dimensions and our thoughts on Sonic Mega Drive from Archie comics. We only focus on one major topic this week so this episode is mercifully shorter than usual. Enjoy!

Sonic Mania Hands-On Preview

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This is the Sonic game classic Sonic fans have dreamed of for at least a decade.

Well, probably. As with any game, there are a lot of boxes Sonic Mania needs to tick to ensure it lives up to its potential. What will the quality of the level design be? How much content will there be and how much will it cost? Are there any unknown game play elements that could mar the experience?

Normally, I save these sorts of cautionary warnings for the end of the preview, but I think it’s necessary to put them front and center because, at least on the surface, this has all the right elements to excite every old-school Sonic fan on the planet.

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First of all, the physics: one of the first things I did in this game was attempt the wall-stand that Sonic 4 became infamous for. I am happy to say that not only is gravity-defying traversal nearly impossible (by the standards of a classic Sonic game anyway) but many of the new areas in the demo require momentum to traverse. Without it, you aren’t going anywhere. There are no spring pads, few auto-running segments, and loads of opportunities to build momentum on hills and half-pipes to reach higher areas, or mess up and fall into lower sections. That said, the physics still aren’t quite what you may be used to from the classic Genesis titles. They feel like they fit somewhere between the Genesis titles and the slightly looser physics of Sonic CD. Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising: the stages take a lot of inspiration from Sonic CD.

The game had two levels on display: the remade Act 1 of Green Hill Zone and the all-new Studiopolis Zone.

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At first glance, Green Hill hasn’t changed much. If you just run through it as you normally do, chances are it may feel just like the original stage with some slight tweaks. But that’s because you didn’t look hard enough: when I played the level, I decided to explore, and I eventually made my way to a completely new area that runs directly over much of the level.

The design for these new areas feels reminiscent of Sonic CD stages, with loads of pipes, mobius strips, and areas that let you really move in a way old-school Green Hill never quite allowed. There are also hidden secrets, including a bubble shield and a fire shield. The level ended with a boss that was simultaneously reminiscent and new, putting a new spin on Eggman’s ball-swinging egg mobile from the original game. In this case, the two balls took turns swinging from one another, with one vulnerable to attack and the other dangerous to the touch. If this boss is any indication, we will probably see a return of the mid-level sub bosses from Sonic 3 & Knuckles in Sonic Mania.

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The Sonic CD inspirations are even more evident in the second level on display: Studiopolis. The stage is sprawling, loaded with different routes and secrets to find, as well as plenty of hills, ramps and other types of terrain that make use of the game’s physics. One key difference between this stage the levels in Sonic CD seems to be level cohesion: I’ve always felt most of the the level design in Sonic CD was a bit of a mess. Here, everything seems to be placed a little more intelligently, making the level itself a little easier to navigate and memorize. Of course, I’m sure Sonic CD fans will completely disagree with me on that point, but they should love this level nonetheless.

Both levels rewarded exploration in a way no other modern Sonic game does. Since I knew my time with the game would be limited, I decided to take my time and explore both stages, and there was a lot to see. Backtracking and trying to reach higher areas that I had missed on my initial pass was how I discovered that one entirely new portion of Green Hill. Backtracking in Studiopolis revealed a spring that sent me careening towards the right of the screen, and further exploration revealed an absolutely massive stage that I simply didn’t have time to fully explore during the demo. This is the sort of level design I’ve been wanting from my sidescrolling Sonic titles for awhile: large levels that reward people who do more than press right and take the easiest and most straightforward paths. Exploration not only revealed hidden paths, but also power ups (including the aforementioned shields) and the outlines of giant rings that weren’t accessible in the demo. While nothing about them has been confirmed, it seems pretty likely that they lead to Mania’s special stages.

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While there wasn’t much genuinely new game play mechanics to find in the game, there was one thing that could drastically change how people play the game: the drop dash. Anyone who’s seen the trailer should have an idea of what the drop dash is, but let me elaborate on it: you activate the drop dash by holding the jump button as Sonic jumps through the air. The higher up you are, the more you can charge the drop dash, and when you hit the ground you immediately spin dash in whatever direction your trying to go. It’s a fun move that looks like it should be useful for hardcore players, since it isn’t exactly the easiest move to use.

I tried using it as often as I could throughout one of my playthroughs, and discovered it was only really useful in areas when Sonic could both gain a lot of air, and had a place to spin dash through once he landed. This neat little move is a little more interesting than other attempts at giving 2D Sonic an extra move, such as the insta-shield and homing attack that have been utilized in previous titles. The move won’t always be available though: when Sonic has an elemental shield, it is replaced by that shield’s special move.

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Graphically, the game seems to answer the question, “what would a real Sonic game on the 32X have looked like?” Studiopolis is a gorgeous level, full of color and neat details, including a cute little 1930s inspired dancing Eggman animation. It’s loaded with different shades of blues and purples, with some oranges and yellows thrown in for good measure. It actually kind of reminds me of this old Sonic folder I had when I was a kid. Overall, the level just oozes with 90s nostalgia.

The sprite animations themselves have more inbetween frames then you’d normally see in a Genesis title. The sprites also sometimes have interesting little touches, like the orbinaut badnik becoming more desperate as you destroy the little orbiting balls that protect it from your attacks. Studiopolis updates the graphics just enough to make them look great by today’s standards, without completely losing that Genesis feel. They don’t completely make the jump to the more advanced 2D graphics you might find on systems like the Saturn, but the Genesis certainly wouldn’t have been able to handle them.

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The Studiopolis theme was also some really great stuff. It’s fusion of jazz and midi sounds like something ripped from the best of 90s SEGA soundtracks. It’s definitely got a Sonic Team flavoring to it, and would fit in fine with not just any Sonic game, but even NiGHTS into Dreams stuff. If the rest of this game’s soundtrack is as fine as this, it ought to find its way into any Sonic fan’s playlist.

This has the potential to be Sonic’s best game since the Genesis era. Better than already great stuff like Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations. Better than the Sonic Boom mediocrity we’ve gotten over the last few years. Better than SEGA’s 2D Sonic console game, Sonic 4. I just hope the rest of the game lives up to what I played at that party.

ESP×SONIC SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 25th Anniversary & SHADOW THE HEDGEHOG 15th Anniversary Guitars Announced

Guitar aficionados rejoice, as Japanese guitar producers ESP announce a brand new range of Sonic the Hedgehog themed guitars! The designs, SONIC-II and SHADOW-II are both based on the signature guitar played by Crush 40 and Sonic Team guitarist and composer Jun Senoue, which have been used at a number of performances around the world. Continue reading ESP×SONIC SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 25th Anniversary & SHADOW THE HEDGEHOG 15th Anniversary Guitars Announced

Take a Look Inside Sega’s 2016 Vegas Licensing Expo Booth

Las Vegas is hosting the annual Licensing Expo, as usual Sega are in attendance and someone actually took photos of the booth for once!

It’s certainly a different design to the usual, we’ve had a close look at the photos but we don’t see any clues or hints at anything new game wise, there might be the odd one or two new pieces of merch in there somewhere.

Anyway, enjoy the pics in their full size in the gallery.

Source: First4Figures Facebook

Iizuka: We are Developing a Completely new [Sonic] Game

In an interview with Famitsu, the head of Sonic Team Takashi Iizuka has confirmed that sonic team are developing a new Sonic game.

Famitsu: Finally, our last question – please tell us about Sonic’s future.

Iizuka: We at Sonic Team – are developing a completely new game, as well as developing a full movie, actively done by Sony Pictures, and animation on Sonic Boom. We are also ready to improve sponsor ties.
The most important thing is not the fact the series survived for 25 years, but how many games was developed.
Our goal – add something new and overcome any potential hardships.

Are you as shocked as we are? That a new Sonic game is in development! Well… yeah cynical response aside, what’s interesting is the use of words here, specifically ‘completely new game’ suggesting it’s not a direct sequel or might actually be something new that we’ve not seen before.

Source: Famitsu Via SoahCityfamitsu interview

Sonic 25th Anniversary CD/DVD Revealed & Detailed

You might remember that a few weeks ago a listing was discovered for a Sonic 25th Anniversary CD/DVD combo, well Sega have published a number of images of the CD including it’s cover artwork, interior and event the contents of the DVD.

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There will be a total of 50 tracks spread out over 2 CD’s covering the entire 25 year history, even Sonic Runners is included, check out the source for the full track list as it’s huge.sonic25thcd3

The DVD on the other-hand contains various cut scenes from previous games as well as trailers and other cinematic’s from previous games.

Source: Sonic Channel

 

Sonic 25th Anniversary Coin & Merchandise Revealed!

In both the Summer of Sonic Kickstarter and mentioned in the Sonic Boom event page, there has been talk of a special limited edition Sonic 25th Anniversary coin, well, Sega have just released images of the coin and it looks stunning.

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As well as the limited coins, Sega also revealed that the following products would be available at Joypolis’ Sonic 25th Anniversary Party.

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Now… which one of you wants to buy me all those things?

Source: Sonic Channel

Sonic 25th Anniversary Joypolis Party To Be Live-streamed!

Can’t make it to Joypolis for their Sonic 25th Anniversary party? Well don’t worry because Sega has you covered! Sega has announced that it will be livestreaming the event on youtube and other media services.

The official event page for the party has confirmed the details, on June 23rd the event will be broadcast via the following services

  • YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_0Smuksrqo
  • Nico live broadcast: http://live.nicovideo.jp/watch/lv265060242
  • AbemaTV FRESH!: https://abemafresh.tv/sega/15904

This is the first time that Sega has chosen to livestream their Joypolis Sonic event, so hopefully there will be some exciting announcements.

Source: Sonic Channel

Yuji Naka & Takashi Iizuka To Attend SXSW 2016!

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Yesterday we brought you news that there would be a number of Sonic themed events this year including a history of Sonic panel at SXSW 2016.

Well, you might want to seriously consider heading along to that because the details as to who is going to be on the panel have just been announced and what a lineup!

  • Aaron Webber
  • Austin Keys
  • Mike Pollock
  • Roger Craig Smith
  • Takashi Iizuka
  • Yuji Naka

Yes you read that right! Yuji Naka & Takashi Iizuka will be on the panel alongside two of the main voice actors!

Details of the event are as follows.

Date: Saturday March 19th

Venue: Austin Convention Centre

Website: SXSW.com

The description of the event is also interesting as it includes the following line…

Join us as we celebrate the past and look to the future!

Planing on going to this? Let us know in the comments!

Nuremberg Toy Fair Reveals New 25th Anniversary Details!

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Toy Fair season is still in full swing, with London done with, the party rolled into Nuremberg and with it came a lot of new toys and some very interesting 25th anniversary details thanks to our friends over at Spindash.de.

Let’s just go over what we know first, we know that Tomy are making a range of classic toys for Sonic’s 25th, we have seen the scans from their catalogues and we have actually seen the physical prototypes in the flesh.

However, Nuremberg provided one very surprising detail, that being Boom Sonic appears to be included in the 25th celebrations!

tomy25th_figuresThis photo shows the already known classic range and a Sonic Boom figure with an alternative 25th anniversary logo. Now stop right there, think about this for a moment.

This doesn’t automatically confirm Boom Sonic in the 25th celebrations, this is a prototype box, in the past Tomy has used other figures to represent designs which have yet to be finalised, this might not be a Boom Sonic figure, but a Modern Sonic instead, a line which Tomy has not touched for years.

There is strong evidence for this included in this article, look at the picture at the top of the article, see the classic designed plushies? The Sonic one at the moment has a temporary Sonic Boom tag, not the final one.

But one thing is very clear from this, we now know why there are so many logos, they seem to be used to represent different eras, so it’s likely the classic inspired one which we have seen so often is for the classic era, this one is likely to be used for either Boom or Modern Sonic.

 

The other very interesting detail which seems to be a reoccurring trend is the use of pixel imagery for the 25th.

Take a look at this photo of the large Classic Sonic Plush.

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Now look back at the figures posted earlier, now compare it to this image.

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Notice the use of pixels in both imagery, even in the recent tease posted on various Sonic social media outlets pixels are used again, and this follows on from one person at Sega dropping the line ‘pixel Sonic’

Now I can only speculate here, but if you cast your minds back to when Generations was announced, the original trailer included a lot of ‘white space’ in it, we then found out that was a key element of the game, is what we’re seeing here an indication of what might be found in the next major Sonic title?

Another new surprise was this 25th anniversary Comic Boom pack.

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As mentioned in our original report on Toy Fair, the show also included some classic Sonic figures which we were very impressed with.

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We really hope that the quality of those isn’t lost when they go into mass production since its very high.

Also included in the fair were a number of new Boom toys, we reported on them in our London Toy Fair report, however we can now show you more detailed photographs.

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First up is a Metal Sonic plush, we really liked this one when we saw it, can’t wait until this gets released.

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But the biggest surprise for us were these big head plushies, Orbot & Cubot especially, but the Metal Sonic one were by far the runaway stars with us, we’ll be getting these day one for sure.

And one final surprise, we think that this might be the first time that the new F4F Tornado statue has been shown in the flesh.

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You can read and see more photos of the toys over at Spindash.de

First4Figures Scraps Sonic 25th Anniversary Statue in Favour of a “Better Idea”

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Now scrapped

Okay so this came out of nowhere!

After asking for fan suggestions for the 25th anniversary statue and even asking fans to vote and shape the development of it, First4Figures might have just cancelled/scrapped the idea completely in favour of one created internally.

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In a post made on the First4Figures collectors page, First4Figures said that following internet talks the statue design has been scrapped in favour of ‘a better idea.’

Have to say, on a personal level this is quite disappointing since ironically it was my idea which got the original green light, but also because the initial idea was received so well and unlike previous statues there was a lot of input from the fans on this one who helped shape and voted on design choices such as the colour, decorations, base and even suggestions for the exclusive version.

Now they haven’t said that there won’t be a 25th Anniversary statue, but that following talks today the one which has been in development and had input from fans since as far back as June/August 2015 will not be the one which gets released.

We’ll keep you up to date with more information as and when we get it.

Source: First4Figures Collectors Group

Toy Fair 2016: New Sonic 25th Anniversary Toys Revealed!

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It’s that time of the year again, Toy Fair season is in full swing and with London Toy Fair just coming to a close this week, we here at TSS decided that we would actually go along and see what there was.

Continue reading Toy Fair 2016: New Sonic 25th Anniversary Toys Revealed!

New Sonic 25th Anniversary Licensing & Merchandise Details Revealed

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Sega have revealed more details regarding Sonic’s 25th anniversary, it seems that their plans might be a lot bigger than anyone first predicted. In terms of licensing, Tomy is still the ‘master toy partner’ however this will be supported by over 100 additional partners worldwide!

We can now reveal some of those partners.

  • Accutime Watch (watches)
  • Bentex Group (children and junior’s swimwear)
  • Card.com (pre-paid and bank credit cards)
  • Concept One Accessories (headwear and cold weather accessories)
  • H2W/Sunstache (novelty eyewear)
  • Komar Brands (children’s sleepwear)
  • LoungeFly (buttons and stickers)
  • Rubber Road (holiday sweaters, socks, keychains)
  • Signorelli (women and juniors apparel)
  • Toy Factory (entertainment/amusement plush)
  • Vandor (novelty drinkware)

Out of curiosity we decided to take a look at each of those companies, one of which already has a bunch of new Sonic products listed, now I don’t believe these to be 25th anniversary merchandise since they were announced back in December 2015, however Vandor’s website lists them as being ‘new’ so I’m going to show you all them here just in case they turn out to be the goods. Also it gives you a good idea as to what to expect.

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You can view the full range in more detail at Vandor’s website.

Source: Global License. 

P.S. Check back later this week, TSS was at the London Toy Fair the other day, we have held actual 25th anniversary merch in our arms, you won’t want to miss it.

UPDATE: Johnny Gioeli Hints at Possible Crush 40 Involvement In 25th Anniversary Title

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UPDATE: Following the publication of the article, the post on the Facebook Page has since been removed.

Original Story: It probably isn’t far-fetched to guess that SEGA have a Sonic the hedgehog title lined up for the 25th Anniversary this year, however Crush 40 lead singer Johnny Gioeli has given a very strong indication that one is in the pipe line…and that Crush 40 could potentially contribute material to it.

Via a Q&A on the Official Johnny Gioeli Facebook Page today, Gioeli gave the following response to a question regarding new Crush 40 material in the works:

When will there be news about the Crush 40 album?
~We are planning a few performances for 2016 to commemorate the anniversary of Sonic. We “might” participate in writing new songs for the anniversary game…stay tuned…

Although some caution should be exercised with the key word in this response is “might”, the fan anticipation for a new Sonic game announcement will no doubt be further escalated, irregardless of game or new Crush 40 songs.

Stay tuned for more 25th anniversary announcements!

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

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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.

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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.

 

First 4 Figures Asking for ideas for 25th Anniversary Statue

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Every main anniversary Sonic has had in recent years has been commemorated with some form of limited collectible figurine, and now First 4 Figures is asking us for ideas for what the all-important 25th anniversary piece should be.

The company reached out on Facebook asking fans for ideas and suggestions for what the should be implemented into the 25th anniversary statue:

So… About that 25th anniversary of Sonic.

The F4F ‘veterans’ amongst you will remember that SEGA commissioned us to produce a run of limited figurines for the 20th anniversary nearly 5 years ago, and now our creative cogs are turning once again for next year.

What would your ideal 25th anniversary statue look like? Throw your ideas/wish lists our way! There’s only a few things you need to keep in mind:

-Classic Sonic is to be the main focus, but don’t let that stop you from including other things from his history such as classic items.

-The statue needs to be as all-encompassing as possible

Unlike last time, SEGA will allow us to sell these to Sonic fans the world over, so let’s hear you!

My favourite part of this: We’ll actually be able to buy this one without having to pay small fortunes on eBay! Hurray!

Interestingly, First 4 Figures has requested to keep this piece as a Classic Sonic focussed piece… Interesting.

Head on over to F4F’s Facebook page to submit your ideas, and allow me to start pouring all my earnings into the newly created ‘F4F Anniversary Statue Fund’.