Headcannon Clarifies: They Remade S3&K, SEGA Developed Origins

While many were happy that Sonic Mania developer Headcannon was involved in Sonic Origins, it seems that their contribution was in the Sonic 3 & Knuckles remaster work itself and not the overall package. In fact, their part in remaking the game appears to have been contracted entirely separately from the context of Sonic Origins. In a thread, the studio’s official Twitter clarifies:

But as was previously announced, Origins has features beyond the original Retro Engine remakes, such as its story mode, the coin system, mirror mode, the Museum, and… whatever classic mode is (be it the emulated originals or just letterboxed). Even Mission Mode, which features scenarios outside of the original games (like modified level designs and Knuckles in S3K Death Egg Zone), was developed by a team in SEGA as Headcannon further explains:

There are a couple of consequences to this separation of development. It does imply that SEGA has a team that has done work within the Retro Engine, developing small level and gameplay modifications, as well as hooks from these modifications to the external launcher (I.E. replacing lives with spendable coins). It also suggest that the versions of the games are otherwise the same Retro Engine versions previously released (hence no Knuckles in Sonic CD).

Thanks to the SSMB for this news tip!

Sonic Origins Video Shows Off Drop Dash, Missions & Other Features

UPDATE: We now have confirmation that this video is 100% official, and was posted on the official Korean Sonic the Hedgehog Facebook page.

While we don’t quite know this video’s origin, we do know this Korean language version gameplay video shows off some significant features in Sonic Origins the reveal trailer didn’t share:

We are marking this as rumor purely because it isn’t through official or confirmable sources at this time, but every other aspect of this looks pretty authentic. Treat this as we have high confidence but not 100% confidence in this. The button layout in the videos use ABXY, so the footage itself was taken from a Switch, an Xbox, or a PC.

While those who have played the other Retro/Star Engine ports will be quite familiar with some of these features, this gives a very brief overview of ones not present in the original 16-bit releases, including the Drop Dash and Super Sonic in Sonic 1, Tails as Knuckles’ sidekick in Sonic 2, and the prototype Hidden Palace stage connected to Mystic Cave.

Further, the video shows off a bit of the game’s interface, including Missions. In one, the player has to collect 50 rings in 50 seconds as Tails in Palmtree Panic, and another puts Super Sonic in Metropolis with a similar goal (but with the challenge of your rings being slowly depleted). In both cases, the stages are modified from their original 16-bit versions, changing formations of platforms, rings, and blocks. The rank letter in the top corner (shown in previous official screenshots) updates in real time, letting you know how well you’re performing.

If those bonus missions or getting to team Knuckles with Tails on a console platform gets you excited, Sonic Origins releases June 23 with these and many other announced features.

Thanks to Indigo Rush on the forums for the tip.

Flynn and Hesse Involved in Sonic Origins’ “Story Mode”

We still don’t know a whole lot about Sonic Origins’ touted “Story Mode,” but we do know both Ian Flynn and Tyson Hesse are involved with the animated sequences. Flynn confirmed his contribution on the BumbleKing blog today:

#KnowingSmile finally revealed! I had the extreme pleasure of writing the scripts for the animated scenes for the new Story Mode in Sonic Origins!

I hope you enjoy when the collection is released June 23rd, 2022.

BumbleKing blog post, Apr. 20, 2022

We don’t quite know what “writing” entails here, considering that most recent iterations of Classic Sonic have all been silent. It is possible that there could be some amount of dialog, or that Flynn developed the context and events of the scenes prior to Powerhouse animating.

At roughly the same time, Hesse also confirmed that he worked with Powerhouse for Origins, promising that there’s more animation in the game beyond the bits we saw in the trailer:

With Flynn contributing to Sonic Prime and writing for both Sonic Origins and Sonic Frontiers, and Hesse leading Sonic’s design in both Paramount movies, the two are quickly becoming significant figures beyond the Sonic comics, and into the franchise as a whole.

Sonic Origins Trailer Theme Available on Hyper Potions’ YouTube

If you were tapping your toe during the Sonic Origins trailer, then do I have good news for you! The Hyper Potions have released the full clean version of it to YouTube for your listening pleasure:

This is the latest of many collaborations between SEGA and Hyper Potions, from the iconic “Friends” and “Time Trials” themes in Sonic Mania, to the theme of the Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania trailer, to multiple remixes in Team Sonic Racing.

Many of their previous collaboration tracks are available on digital music storefronts such as Amazon and iTunes. Here’s hoping this Origins theme joins the others soon!

Headcannon Returns to Remaster Sonic 3 & Knuckles for Sonic Origins

Headcannon has returned to Sonic to remaster Sonic 3 & Knuckles for Sonic Origins. The developer, which in the past worked on the widescreen mobile remasters for Sonic 1 and 2 and co-developed Sonic Mania, confirmed on their Twitter that they also developed the enhanced, widescreen version of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. This would also appear to confirm that the other versions are indeed ports of the Christian Whitehead remasters.

For Stealth, who started Headcannon, this is the completion of something he has wanted to do for some time. He had this to say on Twitter, “Hey! Remember how I repeatedly said “If Sega wants me to remake Sonic 3 (& Knuckles) I’ll do it”? Well, needing this game to complete their planned #SonicOrigins collection of remakes, Sega asked me to take on this huge task, and I recruited some of my Headcannon buddies to help!”

Headcannon also confirmed that SEGA developed Origins’ menus, integration, and overall presentation.

via Twitter

Sonic Origins Trailer, Prices, Animation, & Extras Officially Revealed

After the past few days of leaks around the edges, the official Sonic YouTube channel has revealed the trailer for Sonic Origins. The game will be released on June 23, and will hit all major platforms (Switch/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S/Epic/Steam). Gematsu reports the game to launch at $39.99 for the standard edition, and $44.99 for Digital Deluxe (more on that below).

UPDATE: The game’s official website states that Spain, France, Germany, and Italy will be getting the game on the 12th whenever you change the language. Seems that all dates have been changed to June 23rd now. Thanks to alexizaki for the news tip!

The trailer features gorgeous animation in a similar style to the Sonic Mania animated sequences and explicitly promising even more animation. The trailer also confirms the replacement of Lives with a “Medallion” system in the game’s Anniversary mode (as you’ll notice in the UI).

The game will include features both within and beyond previous HD remakes of the games, such as the ability to play as Tails and Knuckles in other games (with the exception that Knuckles won’t be in CD, per Famitsu), and the Hidden Palace boss from the Sonic 2 iOS/Android remake.

Famitsu reports further special features in the game, such as a Boss Rush mode, a “Mirror Mode” that flips the entire stage left to right, a “story mode” (unclear if this just refers to the animation sequences, or if it actually connects the four games), a mission mode, a museum collection, and leaderboards. We don’t know much about the Mission mode yet, however screenshots of it show off a menu with the Veg-O-Fortress from Sonic Spinball, and a screenshot of Knuckles in S&K’s Death Egg Zone (which he normally does not appear in) with a unique level layout, a timer, and a letter grade.

Following Sega’s recent releases, Origins will have a “Digital Deluxe” version, which is set to include an additional 11 “hard” missions, 73 extra music tracks in the museum from other Genesis and 32X games, bonus menu animations, 10 Classic mode backgrounds for the letterbox, and an “Island Camera.”

Gematsu confirms these Digital Deluxe features will also be available as DLC under the “Premium Fun Pack” at $3.99, with further music tracks available via the “Premium & Classic Sound Pack” for $3.99. Pre-orders will also get a “Start Dash Pack” unlocking Mirror mode, a Mega Drive background for Classic mode, and 100 coins.

Be sure to stay with us as further details unfold.

Sonic Origins Will Include ‘Classic’ and ‘Anniversary’ Game Types, New Areas, Mission Mode

It really feels like we’re close to a release date for Sonic Origins, the classic game compilation designed to celebrate Sonic’s 30th Anniversary. Overnight, details on the title were published (and subsequently leaked) on the Australian PlayStation Store, confirming some key information about how the 16-Bit games will be treated – including new animations, new areas to explore and missions to complete!

Continue reading Sonic Origins Will Include ‘Classic’ and ‘Anniversary’ Game Types, New Areas, Mission Mode

UPDATE: Sonic Origins Rated, Key Art Discovered

UPDATE: GBAtemp on Twitter found the game’s key art and logo on the Playstation Network backend:

Sonic Origins may finally be pushing closer to a full announcement soon, as it has now been internationally rated, as reported by VGC. The Game Rating and Administration Committee of South Korea has granted the PC version of Sonic Origins an All Ages rating.

After its tease in the May 2021 Sonic Central presentation, Sonic Origins seemed to go completely dark. The collection announcement touted five 16-bit Sonic platformers (Sonic 1/2/3/K/CD), three of which were previously rebuilt in the Retro/Star Engine. We know very few details about this collection, except that Iizuka previously confirmed it would not be built off of emulation.

The promise of this collection and its subsequent disappearance are a big deal to classic Sonic fans, as this represents the first time Sonic 1, Sonic 2, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles have all officially appeared on consoles in a 16:9 widescreen HD format. Some of these titles have appeared on mobile platforms and can be played in widescreen via community developed tools, but those looking to have that experience on consoles alongside Sonic Mania and the 2011 Sonic CD remake were out of luck.

We, among many, will be keeping a keen eye in the upcoming weeks to see if further details regarding this collection begin to rise.

Thanks to alexizaki for the key art tip!

2021 Was the Year of Waiting for Trailers

While it may still feel fresh in everyone’s mind, Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces were released in late 2017. We are four years divorced from those games (five by the time we get the next major release), with only one Sumo Digital racer and a piece of significant DLC between. We as Sonic fans don’t typically have to wait as long for the next big thing, even if the next big thing is a disappointment. We’re hungry, and we can’t stop thinking about what’s next.

2021 came with multiple new game announcements, a couple new trailers, and in spite of all that, we still don’t have a firm idea on what that next thing is.

May’s Sonic Central was a firehose of announcements, from the first official reveal of Sonic Colors: Ultimate to King Ice’s big gaudy necklaces to putting fictional doctors and athletes in Sonic mascot suits. But wedged in there were announcements for Sonic Origins, a collection of the core 16-bit Sonic platformers, and some sort of game where Sonic runs through the woods with digital effects (we now know as Sonic Frontiers). Despite these reveals, both slotted for next year, we have not actually seen their respective games. We’ve seen messaging, aspirations, and broad genre and style proclamations, but we’ve not seen an actual fully-formed game idea that will clearly go on to become a retail product.

While I don’t think the infamous Sonic Cycle has held real power for over a decade, SEGA’s marketing strategy remains as frustrating as ever: they seed teasers and extremely limited reveals long before they show any context, letting everyone’s mind go wild with possibilities before eventually grounding us in the reality of the game they are actually making. I’ve seen so many fans envision what Sonic Frontiers would be/could be/should be based on slow pans of landscapes and 4chan leaks from 2019, but the hard reality is that we still know very little of what that game is now and what it will be a year from now. The Game Awards trailer only contains three real pieces of information about the game:

1. The next Sonic game is open world.

2. It has open, natural environments with ancient-civilization-style points of interest dotted throughout.

3. There are one or more giant enemies.

At the very least, these core concepts have been around long enough that a CG animation studio (Marza or otherwise) was able to complete pre-rendered cutscenes for the trailer. What they don’t show during this trailer is what Sonic does, which, you know, is kind of important for a game. But the goal here admittedly wasn’t to show the game itself. The goal was messaging, and the message is, “We are working on the next game, and we’re winding up for a big risky swing.”

Weirdly, Origins is an even tougher nut to crack. We’ve either seen 60% of the game already if the collection compiles the Retro/Star Engine remakes (or some modification of them) while finally adding Sonic 3 & Knuckles to the lineup, or we’ve seen literally nothing if they’re using some other engine to recreate these games in 16:9. That said, development must have been incredibly early when SEGA announced it, since the Sonic Central reveal contains no actual video of the collection itself (as denoted by the “Original Gameplay” disclaimer in the corner and all the 4:3 footage of Sonic 3/Sonic & Knuckles).

In the same vein, we still know precious little about next year’s new animated series, Sonic Prime, save for some concept art we weren’t supposed to see. We know it’s some manner of multiverse show coming from Man of Action and WildBrain, two groups whose outputs vary wildly in quality and demographic aim. If there’s any room for more definitive feelings about a future Sonic project, the one space where we did get a trailer with plenty of information was for Paramount’s Sonic 2 movie. It’s more Ben Schwartz and Jim Carrey antics, but with game references and Idris Elba. You probably already have a sense of whether or not that appeals to you.

I’m left excited and anxious for 2022, not because I can point to anything and say “I think this will be good” or “I think this will be a trash fire.” I just need to know. 2021 wasn’t an appetizer, it was looking at a menu and imagining the best and worst possible scenarios. Making a satisfying open world game is difficult and time consuming for any development studio, but Sonic Team certainly have plenty of time. Templates for really satisfying open world games exist, such as Breath of the Wild and Shadow of the Colossus, and the Frontiers trailer has an interest in both.

These 2022 projects are still a ways out, it’s worth reiterating that. But who can blame us for walking away from 2021 disoriented. We were told so much, and yet we were told so little. Until we actually have a clear vision of what next year’s games and cartoon are, we’ll be entering 2022 still waiting for trailers.

Exclusive Interview: Takashi Iizuka Talks Colours, Origins, 2022 and Sonic’s Legacy

There is perhaps nobody more eager or proud to be wishing Sonic the Hedgehog a happy 30th birthday than Takashi Iizuka. Having been deeply involved with the franchise since Sonic 3 & Knuckles, the Sonic Team leader’s hands have touched every single era of the blue blur’s legacy. From designing stages for the Mega Drive classics, to directing fan favourites like Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, to producing the fine-tuned boost-era titles Sonic Colours and Sonic Generations – he’s seen it all.

Continue reading Exclusive Interview: Takashi Iizuka Talks Colours, Origins, 2022 and Sonic’s Legacy

Exclusive: Sonic Origins “Won’t Be Running Off Emulation,” More Classic Sonic Games May Be Remastered

Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has confirmed to The Sonic Stadium that the recently-announced Mega Drive/Genesis classics compilation, Sonic Origins, won’t be a simple emulation job – opening up the possibility for games like Sonic 3 & Knuckles to include reworked visuals and gameplay features.

Continue reading Exclusive: Sonic Origins “Won’t Be Running Off Emulation,” More Classic Sonic Games May Be Remastered

Replay The Classics That Started It All In “Sonic Origins” [UPDATED]

The Sonic Central broadcast confirmed the rumored collection of the Sonic collection of games. It is called Sonic Origins, and it is going to be releasing next year.

Continue reading Replay The Classics That Started It All In “Sonic Origins” [UPDATED]