The Spin: How SEGA is Ignoring the Middle Children of Sonic’s Legacy

2010 was the year Sonic the Hedgehog came back. Yes, we all heard the stories about how the franchise had declined not long after the jump to 3D, how gaming news outlets and critics even now would begin their pieces with some variation of “Sonic has had a rocky history,” and how every new Sonic game released around the “dark ages” period couldn’t shake off the dreaded “Sonic Cycle.” Continue reading The Spin: How SEGA is Ignoring the Middle Children of Sonic’s Legacy

Scrapped Sonic and the Black Knight Poster Found

Sonic & the Black Knight promo poster

The Sonic Stadium has uncovered what appears to be an unused promotional poster for Wii exclusive Sonic and the Black Knight. The poster was created by a company called KJSCoverArt who have designed a lot of album covers for various artists, as seen on their portfolio. We assume this image must have been made pretty early on because you’ll notice Sonic is wearing two of the same gauntlet he wears in the game instead of just one, as well as a helmet, which looks much like Shadow/Lancelot’s. Other changes include slight differences in Caliburn’s hilt and the game’s logo.

What do you think of this artwork? Would you have preferred Sonic to have worn more armour? Speak out in the comments.

Source: KJSCoverArt

Mash-Up Monday: Dragon Spring & Knight of the Power

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[ Feature image is Super Sonic vs. SSJ Goku, by Lamar Wells! ]

As though Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball hasn’t garnered enough success during its initial run in print and on television the world over, the famed manga and anime series is having quite the revival period in recent years.

Sequel films Battle of Gods and Resurrection: F have since contributed to the series mythos with the introduction of the Super Saiyan God, and a new sequel anime series – Dragon Ball Super – continues to add to Goku’s many adventures, following the defeat of the alien warlord Frieza, Doctor Gero’s Androids and his ultimate creation in Cell, and Bibbidi’s evil, planet-levelling monster of eons past, Majin Bū.

Numerous parallels exist between Dragon Ball and Sonic the Hedgehog – a set of seven magical artifacts said to grant miracles, Super transformations, time-travelling heroes sent back to the present to save their future, just to name a few – but there’s only one such parallel we explore here on Mash-Up Monday (or would a “Fusion Friday” have worked better for this one?), and that’s music!

Our first mash-up – “Dragon Spring” – was submitted to us by TrueBlueFuse, combining the opening to Dragon Ball Z Kai with one of my favourite tracks from the mobile endless runner, Sonic Runners! Takayoshi Tanimoto’s “Dragon Soul” fuses with Tomoya Ohtani’s “Spring Emotions” below!

Thanks for sending it in, TBF!

On the other hand, Dragon Ball fans in the West are likely to have grown up to Bruce Faulconer’s score, so perhaps the next mash-up, “Knight of the Power” by Hyper-Shan, might suit your fancy!

Faulconer’s “Gohan Powers Up”, first played during the Z Warriors’ climactic battle with Cell (heck, some of you might even recognize this tune from Chakra-X’s Sonic: Nazo Unleashed animated fan film!), combines with Crush 40’s “Knight of the Wind”, from Sonic and the Black Knight, and the end result makes for a rather mystical take on an otherwise rock-heavy track. On one hand, it’s easier on the ears, but on the other, it sounds otherworldly!

Found any other interesting Sonic music mashups out there on the web? Maybe you have one of your own you’d like to share? If so, you can either share your suggestions in the comments section below (as well as your thoughts on TrueBlueFuse and Hyper-Shan’s mash-ups above!), or you can reach me via any of the following to see your choice next Monday:

Also, if you could all keep the “Sonic vs. Goku” debates outside of the comments section, that’d be greeeeeaaaaat–––

The Anatomy of a Bad Sonic Game

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The following is a guest article from SEGAbits writer Ben Burnham, who joined the website several years ago. He is an avid and long-time Sonic fan who’s written about the games numerous times over the years. As part of our intersite #Sonic23on23 celebration, Ben has written an article for us about what he thinks makes a bad Sonic game well…bad! Hope you enjoy.

If there’s one series known as much for its failures as for its successes, it’s Sonic the Hedgehog.
There was a time when SEGA’s famed mascot, spinoffs aside, seemed like he could do no wrong; The series was incredibly popular, and arguably a major reason the Genesis was able to put up such a strong fight against the Super Nintendo.

It then came time for Sonic to make the dreaded transition to 3D, and though critics and fans have become more jaded about the quality of the games in hindsight, the fact remains that Sonic Adventure and its sequel were given rave reviews and greeted with much fanfare when they were released on the Dreamcast.

From there, however, it would become a bumpy ride. Sonic Heroes and Sonic the Hedgehog 4 divided the fanbase, while Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, and Sonic and the Black Knight were panned across the board. Sonic and the Secret Rings and Sonic Unleashed were met with only tepid enthusiasm, and even with the well-received Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations thrown into the mix, it remains evident that the franchise has struggled to find its ground in recent years.

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It makes sense then to answer, or at least attempt to answer, the big question of what makes a bad Sonic game bad, and how Sega can work to prevent future entries in the series from becoming bad. It seems like an easy question, but upon sitting down to write this article, it became clear to me just how difficult it is to answer.
The Sonic Adventure games on the surface featured much of what fans would grow to hate about the series; multiple playable characters, a large variety of differing gameplay styles, linear levels with few paths, and cheesy presentation. With all that said, these factors didn’t seem to bother much of anyone back in 1999 and 2001.

Upon giving it some thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that what made it work in those days was that the ideas back then were seen as being executed well. Most 3D platformers of that era didn’t feature multiple playable characters; and I don’t think many, if any at all, let you play as the villains in addition to the heroes. The freshness of these concepts certainly gave them strength, and while people universally preferred the Sonic gameplay to that of the other characters, the fanbase by and large didn’t question the existence of the other characters’ gameplay, seeming to accept them as a necessary part of those games. But it wasn’t just the fact that it was a new concept that made it a success. More importantly, the Sonic Adventure series was able to justify the other characters by getting their gameplay right and by giving them a role in the game that felt genuine and not like a marketing ploy.

segabits sonic adventure 2 eggman

Though fairly simplistic, the shooting mechanics of characters like Gamma and Dr. Eggman were solid, doing their job and working the way they were supposed to. Many dreaded the Knuckles and Rouge stages in the Adventure series, but they provided a challenge and did what they were supposed to do. With the exception of Big the Cat, most of the gameplay in the Sonic Adventure games, if nothing else, proved itself worthy of being a part of the overall experience, and it fit organically into what those games were and what they set out to be.

My big issue with where Sonic’s gone these days isn’t that they continue to add gameplay variety, but that the different gameplay they come up isn’t fun or well thought out. Amy Rose’s levels and her storyline in Sonic Adventure were short and didn’t overstay their welcome, while the Werehog in Sonic Unleashed had levels that felt like they went on for ages. Sonic Team back then knew where to devote the majority of their gameplay, while the Sonic Team of today releases games that are more Werehog than Hedgehog. The old Sonic Team knew how design gameplay centered on each characters’ unique strengths, while the new Sonic Team will add a parkour mechanic to a game and do almost nothing with it.

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If there’s one thing that I’d like more than anything to get across to those who make the Sonic games, it’s that the poor implementation of the ideas is the problem, not the ideas themselves. Nobody would have complained about using the sword in Sonic and the Black Knight if the swordplay was fun and didn’t detract from the experience. Developer Big Red Button didn’t pull punches when they revealed up front that Sonic Boom would be far heavier on the exploration elements than recent Sonic titles, and I personally believe that many in the fanbase were optimistic about this, or at least hopeful, that we would have a fun new take on the franchise. It’s a series that’s flexible enough to warrant change, and to regularly shake things up, and these things are what keep things fresh.

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It’s in this sense that Sega shouldn’t be afraid of new ideas. New ideas are what keep long-running series’ going, and without them, they eventually cease to exist. What makes a bad Sonic game bad isn’t that it features a new take on the character, or a new style of gameplay, but that the gameplay isn’t well-developed or fun. It’s not enough to just give Sonic a sword and call it a day, but the gameplay has to be paced well, using the sword has to be fun, and the new gimmick needs to justify its existence rather than simply feeling like a way to sell Happy Meals. A Sonic game that feels more like an exercise in marketing than a well-made product is a bad Sonic game. A Sonic game that’s released unfinished, where it’s evident that monetary return was more important to its publisher than putting out a quality game, is a bad Sonic game.

These are aspects that should apply to any game, but the Sonic franchise has fallen into these traps repeatedly. The worst Sonic games either banked too much on ideas that didn’t work or weren’t fun, or they attempted to do far too much with too little development time. There’s a level of quality that’s just expected from an IP of Sonic’s stature. Developers who are content enough to add guns to a Sonic spinoff, but not to make the effort to ensure that they work properly and that gamers would be happy to use them, are not doing justice to the series. Ideas that just seem to come across (at best) as “okay” in practice shouldn’t be included in a game, even if they’re for secondary characters, or if they’re in addition to strong speed sections. The ideas should never be making it past the planning stages because they aren’t worthwhile additions to the gameplay.

segabits sonic and the black knight

Looking towards the upcoming Sonic Boom, my fear is that it will be a bad Sonic game. I hope I’m wrong; I was so excited when it was first announced, believing that it would be a promising new start for the iconic mascot. If a combat system, which currently looks to (but hopefully does not) take up a majority of the game, is being viewed by the majority as something that isn’t fun, then it’s something that the developers need to make note of and fix. It’s something that they should have caught before the game was even shown, because what makes a good Sonic game good, just like with what makes any game good, is that it’s fun to play.

Through it all, that’s the most important thing. The conclusion after all this is so simple, but it’s one that has in the past so easily eluded Sega’s grasp; the game has to be fun to play. No matter what longtime fans may think of putting a villainous hedgehog on a motorcycle and sending him into battle, if the gameplay was fun to play, people would have eventually grown to accept it. Fun speaks volumes, and ultimately is the most important part of all forms of entertainment.

If any aspect of the experience, especially a major aspect, proves not to be fun, or proves not to justify itself in the context of the game it’s in, then that’s when we have a problem; because, in my view, that’s when we have a bad Sonic game.

Friday Five: Worst Sonic games of the past generation

"I wonder how hard it is to get vomit stains off of quills?"
“I wonder how hard it is to get vomit stains off of quills?”

Surprisingly, as hard as it was coming up with five good games from the past generation, it was even harder to come up with five bad ones!….With one exception of course and you all know what that one is and yes, it’s #1. In fact, some of the games on this list are actually fairly enjoyable. So I took off the “No spinoffs” rule this time and had to go with more “disappointing” or “blah” than outright “bad”. This does help show that Sonic’s been more on an upswing since the horrible 2002-2006 era, but it also shows were Sonic has fallen back.

Remember folks, these are just my personal opinions and yours may vary. Also remember that the previous generation is only Wii, 360, PS3, PSP and DS. Enjoy!

Continue reading Friday Five: Worst Sonic games of the past generation

Mash-Up Monday: Still Alive Running

Now this Mash-Up Monday… This one right here is beautifulDear Wind Waker-level beautiful.

For today, we have Crush 40’s Live Life from Sonic and the Black Knight combined with Still Alive from Mirror’s Edge.

I just can’t stop listening to this without all my feels being perturbed. It’s too beautiful a mash-up to be put down!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhWQ6iBDlW0

Newbiespud, thank you so much for this gem.

Found an interesting mash-up somewhere on the web? Have one of your own you’d like to see featured on TSS? If yes, then send it over to vizardjeffhog@sonicstadium.org!

Mash-Up Monday: Shakugan no Shana and the Black Knight

It’s that time again, guys! Put on those headphones and crank up that volume as we kick the week off with Mash-Up Monday!

Today, we highlight a very unique mash-up, put together by the likes of Shadowlink4321, who’s renowned for both machinimation and music on YouTube. The two mash-ups featured today are both from the same pair of songs!

Those who follow the works of Bentley Jones just might recognize one of the two songs! He has covered one of the opening themes to the anime Shakugan no Shana, named Joint, on his “TRANS//LATION 2” album. Presented in its original form, Joint is thrown together with Sonic and the Black Knight‘s final boss theme: With Me.

However, there’s a catch! As I’ve mentioned, there are two mash-ups here… And that’s exactly it! The first version of Joint With Me is in fact With Me‘s vocals added to Joint‘s melody, and the second version (found after the jump!) highlights Joint‘s vocals (in Japanese) through With Me‘s background music!

Enjoy~!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4vwZtaBSWU

Continue reading Mash-Up Monday: Shakugan no Shana and the Black Knight

Sound Test Saturday: Tales of a Hedgehog

Now let’s be honest for a second: there aren’t enough remixes of songs from the Storybook series, so far comprised of Sonic and the Secret Rings and Sonic and the Black Knight. Say what you will of the games themselves, but you can’t deny that they have their golden moments, their soundtracks being no exception. That’s why I’m a little stumped as to find only a handful of Storybook mixes out there! Disappoint, Sonic community!

For that reason, this week’s Sound Test Saturday will pay tribute to the spin-off (or is it canon now?) entries and the music that accompanied them!

Let’s start things off with DjReds‘ take on “The Palace That Was Found” from SatSR‘s own Evil Foundry!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfaz55_66G4

Dive into the “Dragon’s Lair” and finish with the “Unawakening Float” after the jump!

Continue reading Sound Test Saturday: Tales of a Hedgehog

TSS Competition: Sales Pitch…for Jazware Figures! [UPDATE: Moar Prizes!]

[UPDATE: Holy Mackrel! 100 posts – well then, it’s time to up the stakes!!! The best entry will also receive (in addition to the Black Knight figure) a 3″ Sonic and Tails Jazwares figure too!! Feel free to make multiple entries – remember you have until Wednesday night to get your entries in!]

More goodies up for grabs again peeps, this time we’ve got 3 Jazwares Sonic Black Knight Action Figures to give away to 3 lucky winners. But of course you know me; I like you to work for your goodies, and so here’s the deal:

Imagine you are a Sonic the Hedgehog toy designer working for a company like Jazwares.
You have come to a meeting with you’re fellow designers, and the boss wants ideas for new Sonic toys for the company to sell!

Your task is to come up with an idea for a Sonic the Hedgehog themed toy!

I don’t mind what you want to pitch: it can be a soft toy, an action figure with a super cool action, a figurine, a statue etc… all it has to be is something that could be realistically made, and would get your fellow collectors queuing for days outside of the shops to get them!

To enter, simply post your idea in the comment box! Try to keep your entries to a few sentences (the boss wants brief, punchy pitches, not to be bored to death!)  and most of all, be original in whatever way you want!

The competition is open until Wednesday, 21st of April 2010. Competition winners will be notified on the front page so keep an eye out! The competition is open worldwide, so anyone can enter. With the exception of people living on Bishop Rock.

Props to Marie and Richard for donation of prizes!

Black Knight Wins ScrewAttack’s SAGY Wii Award

Shadzter told you a week and a half ago that Sonic was nominated twice for ScrewAttack’s “Shitty Ass Game of the Year” Awards.  Well, all of the G1s (not the staff) at their forums have spoken and Sonic & the Black Knight has earned the title of the worst game  on Wii for 2009 by a landslide “victory.”

61% – Sonic & Black Knight

24% – Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games

15% – Wii Sports Resort

SWORDS. Watch the awards presentation at ScrewAttack.

(Please post your 60+ comments below.)

Sonic Needs You To Save Him From The SAGY Wii Award

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ScrewAttack.com are holding the 2009 Shitty Ass Game Of The Year awards and in the Wii Exclusives category their members(g1’s) have nominated Sonic and the Black Knight, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and Wii Sports Resort. Stuttering Craig in the nominations video states that “people didn’t buy this game for Sonic, they bought it for Mario” which is just plain wrong.

So if you think Sonic and the Black Knight and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games are undeserving of the SAGY Wii Exclusive award then sign up at ScrewAttack’s forums and vote for Wii Sports Resort. Voting closes 16th December.

“Virtual Summer of Sonic” Competition – Win A Signed Copy of Virtual Sonic!

SOS09-LOGO-WITH-DATE1Because we simply can’t give away enough stuff to you ravenous Sonic fans, there’s one last chance to snag yourself a really nice piece of Sonic history for your collection! The legendary Sonic composer Howard Drossin has given us a Signed copy of the “Virtual Sonic” album for one of you lucky people to win in our competition!

Continue reading “Virtual Summer of Sonic” Competition – Win A Signed Copy of Virtual Sonic!

Put Your Face To Faith

Face to FaithHow’s this for an Easter treat? We’re teaming up with SEGA Europe to give away an Xbox 360 Elite console, along with a copy of Sonic Unleashed and some other goodies too! I also have an Xbox 360 copy of Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection to give away too, so I’m chucking that in there too. Monster prize, eh? It’s just what we do. Wanna win it? Head to the contest page right now!

As we’re getting through the Media Portal updates, I’ve been working hard to get a few more music pages online at TSS. We’ve just added the Face to Faith vocal soundtrack from Sonic and the Black Knight, and an information page on Bentley Jones’ debut Japanese album, TRANS//LATION. It’s some pretty good stuff, and I urge you to use the links provided on the page to import the albums if you like what you hear (although for the record, we won’t be providing downloads of Bentley’s album – sorry).

On this Easter holiday, you might want to kick back and relive some of your younger days. Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection may be right up your street, and we have a review online now to help you decide whether it’s worth a few bob of your money and time.

Finally, we have yet another old/new addition to the Skin Selector. Rounding off the Triple Threat, I’ve gone ahead and remade the ‘Knucklehead’ theme so you can see red whilst you browse TSS.

SATBK receives highest score yet from kids mag ‘Toxic’

toxic-mag

So what? I hear you say… Well, if anyone remembers Tetsu Katano claimed Sonic and the Black Knight was developed for the younger gamers and until now all other media have given this game an 8/10 or below and now a kids magazine called Toxic comes along and gives the game a 9/10 and their ‘Star Game’ award.

The reviewers from this magazine may not be kids but its these people’s jobs to actually look at the game from a kids point of view which alot of reviewers especially from the big gaming sites have failed to do. Toxic’s reviewers have reviewed it from a kids eyes and gave it a top score, other sites have reviewed it from an hardcore Sonic fan’s point of view and constantly complained about the gimmicks, gameplay and how it’s not like traditional Sonic. This game has been designed to be different and easy to pick up and play for kids but most reviewers just haven’t understood that.

Toxic, we love you! Tetsu Katano and the rest of Sonic Team would be proud!

Also, one of Toxic’s free gifts this issue is an official set of Sonic and the Black Knight stickers. –
toxic-mag-satbk-stickers1 toxic-mag-satbk-stickers2

After picking up this issue I’ve noticed it says their next issue is out tomorrow so merchandise fans wishing to pick this issue up will be out of luck at their local shops. I suggest contacting them through their website and requesting a back issue order of it. It’s issue ‘136 18-Mar-31 Mar’.

Reaching Out To The Fans – The Black Knight Story

sbk1Warning: This article contains spoilers to Sonic and the Black Knight.

A recent trend in Sonic games seems to be the increasing outreach to the online Sonic community, with today’s Sonic Team no longer the closed in studio it once was. There have been some good throwbacks to past games before – Sonic Heroes was a mish-mash of both classic and modern gameplay, with Chaotix (minus Mighty) making a welcome return. But Sonic Chronicles on the Nintendo DS marked the first time SEGA were willing to stretch a hand towards the community in terms of a game’s development.

BioWare produced a pretty sweet fan service in general in Sonic Chronicles’ dialogue, story and impressive knowledge of lore/filling in the blanks. The cherry on the cake was the studio allowing the online community to name an alien race in the game. On the back of that success, Sonic Team seem to have taken futher steps, by including easter eggs in Sonic Unleashed in the hidden Dreamcast, and acknowledging the chilidog as Sonic’s official favourite snack.

The Japanese studio took another step with Sonic and the Black Knight, but it’s more than the obvious. SEGA held a contest around the world to include some pieces of fan artwork into the latest Wii adventure. The result is an awesome set of slideshows that feature a bunch of American, European and Japanese work. Even the outcome of a discrepency in one of the European entries resulted in a fair and responsive reaction from ArchAngelUK, which really just adds to how far SEGA and Sonic Team are willing to go to put things right. Continue reading Reaching Out To The Fans – The Black Knight Story

Mega777 found! Happy ending to SatBK contest

Good news everyone, ArchangelUK has let the community know in a new Sonic City Blognik entry that he has managed to track down Mega777!

For those who don’t know, a SatBK fan art contest winner by the name of Antonio Miniero entered into the contest a near exact copy of Mega777’s SA2 scene art piece despite the rules clearly stating that submissions had to be original artwork created by yourself. Antonio Miniero’s copy made it into the final shipped copies of Sonic and the Black Knight for Wii but Antonio was found out soon after the game’s release and was immediately disqualified, though he took it well and understood he had broken the rules.

Mega777 who’s real name is Francesca will now be sent a free copy of Sonic and the Black Knight together with a SEGA goody bag and some rare Sonic and the Secret Rings art prints signed by Ogawa-san from ArchangelUK’s own personal vault. Nice one AAUK 😉

ArchangelUK also informs us that Francesca(Mega777) has taken her talent to the world of work animating storyboards for TV shows and movies. How cool is that? Happy ending all round!

TSS REVIEW: Sonic and the Black Knight

One of the first things you can do in Sonic and the Black Knight is view a slide show gallery of artwork, created by blue blur fans around the world. Almost all of them recount classic moments in the franchise’s history within Sonic CD, Sonic and Knuckles and Sonic Adventure 2 among others. It’s a bittersweet irony really, given that the new-age Sonic Team – a studio that’s opening their hearts and willing to do good like an eager puppy – are willing to embrace fan input where it’s positive, yet block out complaints about rushed developments, poor gameplay mechanics and passionless level design and counter with more of the same. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic and the Black Knight

Tetsu Katano: “I Had To Hold On To The Sonicness”

tetsu-katanoThe producer for Sonic and the Black Knight, Tetsu Katano, has written a blog post for the official SEGA website, detailing the development process of the game. Throughout the decision to run with ‘swords and magic’, Katano expressed how he had to keep the spirit of the Sonic franchise intact:

After much struggle that gave me both pain and joy, I finally decided to throw Sonic into a world of sword and magic. I confess that I’ve always wanted to see Sonic holding a sword. I also wanted to see Knuckles or Shadow, the usual suspects, back as strong foes, not just as side characters. This is how the plot of “Sonic and the Black Knight” came into a shape.

Perhaps most challenging was to make Sonic have a sword. I had to hold on to the Sonicness. If he loses that as a result of having sword, then it would be preposterous. I sought advice from many people about this. My favourite bit would be when everyone in Sonic Team started to see the great game that this was becoming. 

In this day and age though, it’s debatable just what the ‘spirit’ of the franchise is anymore. Is it chequered hills and Flickies; is it in character development; is it in the fun dialogue we’ve seen in Sonic Unleashed? Either way, it seems Sonic Team knows what it is, given their positive reaction to the title during development.

The music that will play during Blaze’s stages was also brought up, with Katano mentioning discussion with Jun Senoue about having a special ‘blaze mix’ for the Flame Master. For those that haven’t been able to get the game yet, you’ll be able to encounter a special item that changes the music during play.

It’s a good read, and Sonic Team are nothing if not good-natured. It’s nice to see developers truly care about the projects they invest so much time and energy in, for better or worse;

I am proud of this game and I will be most happy if users will enjoy this game too… I love Sonic as a series very much. I gave everything I had to make the cool Sonic that we love. And so did my team. I’m sure you will like this game too!

That’s OK Katano-san, our review will be coming soon. And even if we don’t enjoy it, we’ll still love you. I mean, making any sort of game involving swords with a name like Katano is pretty damn awesome. I wonder if the guitarist of Crush 40’s real name is Jun Soundoue. We could uncover something big here.

Sonic & The Black Knight – The Producer Speaks! – Sonic City Blognik

SEGA official blog showcases your fan artwork!

SEGA of America’s ‘Clumsyorchid’ updated the official SoA blog today with an interesting update regarding fan artwork entries to the ‘Sonic and the Black Knight’ artwork competition which took place a few months back. Clumsyorchid writes that the blog plans to do ‘5 days of fan art’, giving talented fans the spotlight they deserve by showcasing some fantastic entries they received after opening the competition. More artwork will be uploaded tomorrow, so if yours isn’t on there today, don’t feel too left out.

Has your piece appeared in today’s update? If so, which is yours? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: SEGA of America’s official blog.

Two new ‘Sonic and the Black Knight’ Trailers hit the net!

SSMB user ‘Venom‘ alerted the forums earlier today with a new trailer from massive online gaming website, IGN. The trailer focuses on Knuckles’ character in the game, Sir Gawain, featuring footage of his boss fight and other misc videos of several stages. Meanwhile, Youtube user ‘Supasoni1016′ is kind enough to capture and upload the latest trailer of the game from the Japanese ‘Nintendo Channel’, an online media portal designed specifically for the Nintendo Wii. The Nintendo Channel trailer shows us lots of already seen footage- but with a one minute fifty second version of the games main theme, ‘Knight of the Wind’ performed by familiar-to-the-series band, ‘Crush 40.

You can watch the Sir Gawain IGN trailer here and the Nintendo Channel video showcase here. Sonic and the Black Knight will be available for the Nintendo Wii on the 13th of March in Europe.

Tommy Tallarico Gets Quizzed On SatBK

SEGA Community frontman ArchAngelUK spent a good chunk of time chatting to Tommy Tallarico, legendary game music composer and host of the Video Games Live concert. As some of you may know already, he’s doing the soundtrack to Sonic and the Black Knight, so this seemed like the perfect chance to ask him about the blue blur and his experiences working with Jun ‘Junny Baby’ Senoue.

One of the highlights includes Tommy’s intended approach for the game, whereby the legality of the original Sonic the Hedgehog theme tune screwed up a possibility of there being some kind of medieval remix:

I would have loved to have been able to take the original Sonic theme and mess with it. I was able to do something similar when I worked on a lot of the Pac-Man games with Namco… or the Bond game I worked on. I’m not exactly sure if SEGA owns 100% of the rights to that original music or not. I believe we had to go through a few different companies (including the original composer) to get the rights to play it in Video Games Live. But to directly answer the question… I didn’t really take inspiration from past tracks, I just kept imagining the Sonic character and all my Sonic experiences and how I would imagine it sounding like (without being able to use the older stuff).

Tommy also states that he feels the modern Sonic games have lost a certain something that the classics have by the truckload. He’ll be happy to learn that Sega have just released Mega Drive Ultimate Collection for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, then:

I’d be lying if I said I’ve been happy with where the Sonic games and franchise have gone. Maybe I’m just more of an old school type of guy, but I always thought the 2-D Sonic games had more playability and fun factor than the 3-D stuff. I hope that statement doesn’t offend anyone, it’s all just personal opinion and taste I suppose. But I really have a fond place in my heart for the 2-D Sonic stuff.

Give the interview – part one of two – a good read, it’s a blast. Although I have to say that a lot of Tommy’s answers seem awfully similar to an interview I conducted with Tallarico about two years ago. As the interview conducted was a written one, it seems likely that Tommy pulled from his responses to my questions to save time rather than some true underhanded plagiarism going on. But still, naughty naughty… veeeeeeery naughty, guys.

Tommy Tallarico – You Asked, He Answered! Part 1 – Sonic City Blognik (mostly)

SEGA Europe reveal SATBK UK release date

SEGA Europe have revealed the UK release date of the next installment in the Sonic Storybook series on Nintendo Wii, Sonic and the Black Knight. The game will hit UK stores Friday 13th March. Let’s hope the release goes well despite being released on the 2nd of this years Friday the 13th’s and on the same day as Resident Evil 5’s release.

SEGA Europe’s product page

Thanks to MK Skillz at the SSMB for the tip.

Will any of you be picking Sonic’s sword slashing adventure up? Let us know in the comments.

SatBK Minigame @ Neopets Showcases New Trailer

The Neopets site has a new flash game that’s SatBK themed. As Sonic, you’re a knight in training. Use the arrow keys to deflect apples thrown at you to win yourself a new trailer of Sonic & the Black Knight, which features more gameplay footage and shots of Sonic & Compant decked out in their new armor.

Alternatively, you can just watch the video below and skip the game.

Special thanks to our new friends at Sonic HUB!

Tetsu Katano and Yuji Naka on recent Sonic

yuji-naka

At a recent event in London where Sonic Team’s upcoming Sonic and the Black Knight title for Wii was being showcased, Eurogamer managed to grasp a video interview with Tetsu Katano, who is well known for his work on past achievements such as Sonic Adventure 1 & 2.

In the interview, Tetsu responds to feedback about recent Sonic game gimmicks, his awareness of the criticism and how they implemented into the game. When asked about returning to Sonic’s 2D gameplay, Tetsu let’s us know they do like to target the core Sonic users but it’s under discussion at the moment and he can’t say alot about it. A new game for the hardcore Sonic fans in development, perhaps?

Yuji Naka also had a look at the new game while he was at the event, and explains his feelings on the recent Sonic since he left Sonic Team. Naka-san explains how he is happy to be free to work on new projects now he doesn’t have to work so hard on Sonic. He sees today’s Sonic as one that is breaking out of the mould he made and taking a new direction, and hopes this will be one the fans can enjoy.

You can check out the video interviews here. Yuji Naka on let’s Tap: 0:00-06:09, Tetsu Katano: 6:10 and shortly afterwards Yuji Naka’s thoughts on recent Sonic.

What are your oppinion’s on these statements? Do you like Sonic’s recent direction? Is the TSS front page getting too clogged up with Yuji Naka love? Let us know in the comments.

Get ’em while they’re hot! Sonic and the Black Knight Character Sheets!

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Earlier today ‘Hero of legend‘ reported to TSS with a most intriguing link leading to a Nintendo fan-site named ‘WiiNintendo.net.‘ It appears the site has managed to get a hold of some exclusive character model sheets from the upcoming ‘Sonic and the Black Knight’ title currently in development exclusively for the Nintendo Wii.
percival

The character model sheets show off some nifty angle shots of Sonic (as himself), Knuckles (as Sir Gawain), Shadow (as Sir Lancelot) and finally Blaze (as Percival.) Technically the first we’ve seen of Blaze in the game. The model sheets show off her new re-design complete with an armoured mask, similar to that of Gawain and Lancelot’s. Keep in mind all of these character models are taken from the CG Cut Scene areas of Sonic and the Black Knight. TSS seriously doubt’s you’re going to be seeing models as detailed as that in-game.

It’s still unclear how WiiNintendo managed to get their hands on the character model sheets, but what’s even more interesting is a thirty second video showcasing all the characters present, of which has been uploaded to the Nintendo themed websites Youtube account.

You can check out the character model sheets here and the video showcase of all four characters at Youtube here. Just look at those Knights spin!

UPDATE: Unfortunately, it appears that both the images and video have disappeared from the Internet. Either WiiNintendo decided to remove the models on their own accord or with a little encouragement from SEGA. Fear not though disheartened reader, as you can still view all of the images in the SSMB forum topic right here.

See? I told you to get them while they’re hot. Now they’re all gone. Huge thanks to the sexiest of all Sheza’s for the heads up!

Source: WiiNintendo.

Fan-made miniature ‘Calibur’ replica revealed!

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Click the image for a higher resolution!

Now you too, just like Sonic, can become a Knight of the Wind! Providing you’re fifteen centimetres high, of course.

Earlier today SSMB member ‘Fox Gungrave‘  reported to the ‘Sonic and the Black Knight’ section of the forums with something a little different than the usual, some photographs of a miniature ‘Calibur’, Sonic’s talking weapon from the upcoming Wii adventure available this March.

It appears the quite amazing looking fan work was earlier posted on French Sonic fan site ‘EVERSONIC‘ along with new screen shots from the upcoming 360 and PS3 exclusive ‘SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection’, something that was also posted on the SSMB forums earlier today by fellow TSS staff member ‘Shadzter.

The sword appears to have been hand crafted and painted by an unknown fan of Sonic’s medieval escapades, or simply a guy/girl who just loves producing miniature replicas of talking swords. If the creator of mini-Calibur is anywhere out there, please let us know who you are via the SSMB. We would love to add credit to the article!

UPDATE: It seems original poster of the sword miniature, Fox Gungrave, has done a little research behind the model and figured out the creator is none other than SomaKun, a member of the DeviantART website. The Calibur sword is actually a part of a fully customized Sonic Unleashed figurine, of which also has a customized armoured glove to match. Fantastic stuff!

What would be your ideal piece of ‘Sonic and the Black Knight’ merchandise and why? A miniature Sonic and Calibur statue? A Sonic and the Black Knight storybook?  A limited edition ‘Lancelot Legendary’ version of the game, complete with free steel Knight’s helmet? Let us know in the comments below!

SSMB Topic:  ‘Black Knight already has fan works!
Source: ‘EVERSONIC

Sonic and the Black Knight features in Denki DS Magazine!

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SSMB’s very own member ‘KIRBY‘ has informed TSS earlier today (via the forums) with some interesting news regarding a recent edition of Japanese ‘Denki DS’ magazine.

The latest issue includes an exclusive three page preview on the upcoming Wii adventure, including some brand new images consisting of a first look at the multiplayer battle mode, a new cut scene illustration of Sonic and Tails and some never-before-seen image renders of Tails, Knuckles, Amy and Shadow. Just like with ‘Sonic and the Secret Rings’, all returning friends and enemies alike take the form of characters in the storybook at hand, with Shadow as ‘Sir Lancelot’ and Amy as ‘The Lady of the Lake.’

All information written in the magazine is in Japanese (of course), though it may well include some interesting new information on the game. Make sure you keep yourself updated and see the scans for yourselves in the SSMB Topic here. Be sure to let us know what you think of Tails, Amy, Knuckles and Shadow’s new designs in the comments below!

Box Art: Japanese Sonic & the Black Knight cover revealed!

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Click on the image for a higher resolution!

Earlier this week SSMB member ‘Hero of Legend‘ reported to TSS with some high quality screen shots of the PAL box artworks of ‘Sonic and the Black Knight’, Sonic’s latest medieval themed adventure on Wii. Earlier today, the same member updated us with a first look at the Japanese front cover of the title, and as per usual, it’s entirely different to other PAL and NTSC territory artwork.

Sporting a brand new CG render of Sonic ad Calibur, the Japanese box artwork for Sonic and the Black Knight also shows off the blue ‘Nintendo WiFi Connection’ logo, putting our minds at ease that the title will still offer ‘item trading’ over a wireless Internet connection.

You can check out the SSMB thread for the artwork here and also feast your eyes on a brand new screenshot of the game, of which sees Sonic bartering with some odd looking peasant character.

Box Art: Sonic und der Schwarze Ritter!

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Enjoy these latest high quality images of Sonic and the Black Knight’s PAL box artwork, fresh from SEGA themselves. Taking a note from the book of Sonic and the Secret Rings, it seems that each territory’s title will be translated for their respective audience. We have images of the German (which once again always manages to sound cooler than the English one), Spanish and Australian packshots, but no UK one. Which is a bit odd.

We’ve got these in maximum resolution, so if you want a massive Schwarze then simply click on the images above, and select ‘Full Size’ to receive your prize.

Thanks to Hero of Legend on SSMB for the heads up!

Channel Watch: Get Romantic With Chip Wallpaper

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Sonic Channel, for the uninitiated, is Japan’s official Sonic the Hedgehog website. It’s about ten thousand times better than the American counterpart, Sonic Central, and is currently 100% better than the European Sonic City, which doesn’t exist yet (expect that to change when it re-launches though). It’s updated on a regular basis and provides plenty of decent fanservice for Asian fans of the blue blur. Every so often, we’d like to track the updates we find on Sonic Channel, so you don’t miss out on some good stuff.

Every month we’re treated to a new desktop wallpaper and calendar PDF, which features the talented artwork of Yuji Uekawa (who should really do more artwork for promotional purposes like game boxes – too many CG pieces flying around) – and every so often a little bio written by SEGA Europe’s Community Team as well. Recently the character art has been in a sketch style, which is a cool way of seeing how Sonic and Tails are usually drawn.

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February’s calendar character is none other than Chip from Sonic World Adventure / Unleashed. I guess it makes sense – Valentine’s Day is the time of love, and Chip just happens to ‘looooooooove’ chocolate. We’re glad the little random sprat is getting some facetime. Even though it’s pink, it’s on my desktop. Because hey, I’m comfortable with my sexuality. Are you? Click here to grab the wallpaper and here for the calendar PDF.

The other main activity on the Japanese website appears to be on the official microsites of Sonic World Adventure and Sonic and the Black Knight, with the latter updating with a pretty cool video featuring Jun ‘Junny Baby’ Senoue and Johnny Gioeli performing ‘Knight of the Wind’ in a SECRET LOCATION. Well, a studio. A studio in a SECRET LOCATION. It’s pretty good stuff, head to the microsite and click the video called ‘Hey All’ to see it.

Finally, even though they’re really old items on the website, we want you to take a look at this video featuring Junny Baby and Takenobu Mitsuyoshi (of the SEGA Sound Team live performance band) singing Happy Birthday to Sonic (totally epic), and some awesome ‘Basic Sonic’ stationary that you wish you could buy.

SEGA Europe Holds Tommy Tallarico Q&A

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Remember when we exclusively broke the news that Tommy Tallarico and Richard Jacques were working together on the soundtrack to Sonic and the Black Knight? Well, what better confirmation to have than an official Q&A with the Earthworm Jim composer? SEGA Europe are staging a sort-of interview with the award-winning chap, and the best part is you get to ask a question or two!

Questions are to be directed to SEGA Europe’s official blog, where approved fan questions will be posed to Tommy in order to give a bit more insight into the production of the music. Simply post a comment on this page (the linked page, not this one!), and as long as it passes all the official interview gubbins (i.e. No asking about things that will reveal anything of the game itself, such as plot points) your name will be up in lights!

Having visited Video Games Live a few times, I’ve had the opportunity to chat to Tommy at length about his career, favourite music and the concert that he and Jack Wall co-created – if you’re trying to think of a question to ask, give the link a good read as it might give you some ideas.

Tommy will most likely be coming back for another round of Video Games Live in London, and TSS will be chatting to him a little later in the year to talk about his Sonic experiences in detail. For now though, this is an awesome opportunity for fans to get into the mind of one of the most charismatic game musicians on the planet. Go!

Tommy Tallarico – You Ask The Questions – SEGA Europe Blog

SatBK Screens – Please Sir, can I have some more?

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Do a Barrel Kart!

Of course you can! Or so says gaming website ‘WorthPlaying‘ last November. It seems twenty one new images of the game were added, some of which SSMB members claim to have never seen before, so why not take a chance and go and give your eyes a good oogle at them yourself? Check out the screen shots here and here, and a big thanks to SSMB members TodStar and Tizo for pointing them out!

Sonic and the Black Knight is heading to the Wii this Spring. You can check out the latest two trailers for the game posted here earlier last weekend!

“Place Your Bets” with a new Sonic & the Black Knight Trailer

KniiiiiiIIIIIiiiiIIIIIiiiiight of the Wind.

In this new SatBK trailer, we get to feast our eyes on some gorgeous CG cutscenes and some intense gameplay footage.  I mean, if you’re going to do something dumb and give Sonic a sword, this is how you do it.  The cutscene clips give a glimpse as to why Sonic is in King Arthur’s court:  purple-haired Zelda Merlina, some wizard in peril, shoots a beam into the sky and calls upon…Sonic, of all people.   Then, Sonic gets a talking sword kills and anything that moves, while Crush 40 rocks out.

Now that you’ve watched the trailer, it’s time to play “Place Your Bets.”  Bet on what will happen in this game (odds are in parenthesis).

Fanatics: Noble Sonic is Noble

Sorry about the lack of “Fanatics” yesterday.  I’m not going to lie to you…I was pretty hungover and I, how would you say, “couldn’t be arsed” to do it.

Anyway, as a not-fan of SatBK, you might be questioning why I posted this piece up today.  One word: lighting.  Ihearrrtme‘s work here on the lighting and shading is incredible and deserves recognition.  It has even got that next-gen “bloom effect” to it, which is cool in moderation.  Ihearrrtme says:

The Tokyo Game Show trailer of Sonic and the Black Knight was so awesome, it inspired me to make this picture! : )

Rarely do I ever add actual scenery/backgrounds to any of my works, because, well… I’m horrible at drawing them. X[ I tried to make it look like the logo image on Sega of Japan’s SATBK website. Blending a few patterns together and adding some lighting/shading effects, I managed to pull it off for once!! : )

Do it again, Ihm.

SATBK confirmed to attend Comic Con

SEGA of America have put out a new blog entry confirming four of their upcoming games that will be playable in their booth at Comic Con which is going to be held at New York City between Feb 6-8. Sonic and the Black Knight for Nintendo Wii will be one of those games and the event will be one of the first times the public will have seen the game.

Other games confirmed to be playable at the event are –
MadWorld(Wii)
The House of the Dead: Overkill(Wii)
The Conduit(Wii)
That’s alot of love for Wii fans.

Is anyone here going who lives in the U.S. or can afford travel to the U.S.? If so we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game.

Discuss at the SSMB topic.