First Footage of Sonic Prime in Netflix Sizzle Reel

This morning, Netflix After School released a new sizzle reel for upcoming animated kids and family shows, with a brief (very brief) bit at the end featuring Sonic Prime:

Sonic content begins at 1:48

The scene shows off Sonic running in Green Hills (featuring rings and Sonic running in his figure-8 style). He mugs to the camera, delivers a line about how cool he is, and… that’s kind of it for now.

It’s not a lot to go on for now, but the performance sounds Roger Craig Smith-like in voice, but with a little bit of Ben Schwartz delivery. It plays up Sonic’s ego a bit (which isn’t a facet they play up much in the games, but shows itself prominently in Sonic Boom and the movie), but this is inferring a lot based on a single line. Hopefully this means that we’ll be getting a full trailer in the near future.

Netflix also appears to have updated its website with some more details. As you can see from the screenshot above, the new voice of Sonic is Deven Mack. A range of new voice actors are also listed, none of which appear to be connected to the current video game acting cast.

More details as we get it. Thanks to Lemanic for the news tip!

Sonic Prime Touts Cinematic Action Sequences, Changed WildBrain’s 3D Animation Pipeline

During an October 2021 investor presentation, WildBrain, the animation company producing Sonic Prime for Netflix, took the opportunity to play up their technical advancements while working on the series. Sonic Paradise picked up on the statement and grabbed a clip from the video presentation:

Sonic has provided an amazing opportunity for us on the 3D side. It has allowed us to sort of reevaluate our 3D pipeline and really examine where the value-add is in that. We’ve added a number of new software packages and methodologies to the pipeline. We’re able to provide a really cinematic look that is honestly making it feel like a Marvel movie when we get into the action sequences.

Logan McPherson, WildBrain Investors Day Transcript, Oct. 5, 2021

Calling action sequences Marvel-like is a tall order, but this was specifically aimed at investors, and comparing something to Disney has become easy “it will look good” shorthand for those who aren’t interested in a nuanced discussion of the technical details. However, it does reaffirms a dedication to Sonic Prime being an action series, in contrast to 2014’s Sonic Boom, which played out more sitcom than action-adventure.

Details on the series itself remain tight, including its release window (still expected this year), leading some to worry about its production, schedule, and staffing. This may not alleviate all concerns, but it does give a window into how WildBrain is approaching the series’ technical demands. WildBrain’s current catalog includes many CG animated series across dozens of networks and licensing partnerships, but few CG shows they’ve produced in recent years would qualify as “action.”

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.

WildBrain Announces Another Round of Hiring for Sonic Prime

WildBrain, the animation studio behind Sonic Prime, is seeking to hire more people for the show’s production. They are seeking CG FX Lead, a CG FX artist, and a Previs Artist. Potential applicants can apply here.

We won’t speculate too much regarding what this could mean regarding the show’s production. We know it’s scheduled for next year, and the show has been in some form of production since at least late 2020. Perhaps this is for the show’s second half (as Netflix often releases shows in multiple chunks) or an unannounced second season. Or maybe they are merely dealing with turnover.

Regardless, we’ll encourage everyone not to read too much into this.

Source, via Twitter

Ian Flynn Consulting on Sonic Prime

We’ve known for a little while that Sonic comics scribe Ian Flynn has at least been informed about Sonic Prime’s production since before it was publicly announced. We now have a better idea as to the extent of his involvement in the show’s production, thanks to a tweet by Man of Action writer and artist Duncan Rouleau.

He confirmed that Flynn has been consulting on the project and “has been invaluable.” This confirms that, at the very least, Man of Action is actively seeking input from creators who have experience with the franchise. Here’s hoping that bodes well for Sonic Prime’s quality!

Sonic Prime is being produced by Man of Action and Wildbrain, and is expected to hit Netflix sometime next year. Thanks goes to Alex Hedgefox over on our Discord server for the news tip!

Blue Streak Speeds By: Sonic’s Animated Legacy

Back in the 90s, when Sonic was the newest, hottest video game property on the block, having a cartoon was always a telltale sign that a game series had truly made it. Mario had a series of them, Legend of Zelda had one, Earthworm Jim had one, and even Bubsy almost had one.

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Concept art shows first images from Sonic Prime

From Patrick Horan’s Artstation page comes the first-ever images of Netflix’s Sonic Prime. Patrick was a concept artist on the series. “I was responsible for cleaning up the layouts and color.”

From what we can see from the images below, Sonic’s design adds new gloves and some funky, red shoes. Looks like Sonic will be dealing with a large group (a carton?) of Eggmen, a cavewoman Amy, and a kitsune Tails. Check out the other images below.

Sonic Talk Podcast, Episode 76: The Year of Luigi of Sonic

This episode: Sonic on Series S, and Ian Flynn’s 15th Anniversary

Continue reading Sonic Talk Podcast, Episode 76: The Year of Luigi of Sonic

Sonic Prime Producers Share First Glimpse of Eggman Artwork

The producers of Netflix animated series ‘Sonic Prime’ made an appearance at SEGA’s Sonic Central livestream today, and shared a few sneak details about the upcoming show – along with a piece of art that will no doubt whet the appetites of any Eggman fans out there.

Continue reading Sonic Prime Producers Share First Glimpse of Eggman Artwork

What Could SEGA Announce At Sonic’s 30th Anniversary Livestream Event?

Finally. We’ve all waited nearly six months for a morsel of information on what SEGA may be planning to celebrate Sonic the Hedgehog’s 30th Anniversary. For a character best known for his lightning-fast speed, updates have been almost-controversially slow. But yesterday, SEGA revealed a special livestream taking place on May 27th focusing on Sonic announcements and news. So, what could they have lined up?

Continue reading What Could SEGA Announce At Sonic’s 30th Anniversary Livestream Event?

Sonic and the “Super Game” Show Strong in SEGA SAMMY 2020 Investor Briefing

Who likes financial briefings! Now, don’t raise your hands all at once, I know we’re all really excited to get new financial numbers, but for those of you who aren’t already sifting through the 74-page 2020 Results Presentation on SEGA SAMMY’s investor relations site, here are the highlights.

Although several other sites latched onto the “Super Game” mentioned eight times in the report, the way it appears in the presentation suggests “Super Game” might just be a term they use for a game that they can sell to a global audience. It may include new IP considering they have a separate 3-year plan to globalize their existing IP, but it would be very weird for a 5-year plan to include making some sort of global omni-game containing multiple titles. Not impossible, but very weird.

Other notable bits from the report include:

  • The Sonic series led traditional software sales with 4.4 million units sold, followed by Total War (4 million), Football Manager (3.8 million), and Persona (3 million).
  • Sonic is used as an example of strengthening the brand through media mix, specifically citing the original Sonic movie, the upcoming sequel, and the Netflix series Sonic Prime.
  • Games highlighted for release during fiscal 2021/2022 are Humankind, Shin Megami Tensei V, Total War: Warhammer III, Lost Judgment, and Phantasy Star Online 2 New Genesis.
  • SEGA’s European studio is working on an unspecified FPS project.
  • SEGA is instituting an approach of Remaster-Remake-Reboot in regard to current and past/dormant IP. Examples listed under past IP include Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, Space Channel 5, Rez, Panzer Dragoon, NiGHTS, Shinobi, Virtua Fighter, Altered Beast, House of the Dead, Streets of Rage, and Soul Hackers, all with the asterisk “*Under examination of which IP to utilize.”
  • Game software sales stayed strong, and Free to Play titles were really strong throughout quarantine/social distancing.
  • SEGA SAMMY reiterates that they were hit hard by the economic effects of Covid, leading them to restructure (voluntary retirement, sale/restructure of arcade divisions). Spaces most prominently affected were the arcade business, arcade machines, pachinko/pachislots, and their resorts.
  • If you’ve ever wanted to know how much SEGA SAMMY is worth, they report having 367.6 billion yen in liquid assets as of March 2021 (or roughly 3.4 billion USD, 2.4 billion GBP, or 2.8 billion EUR). This amount is just liquid assets, and does not include the value of property the company owns or the IP it holds.
  • SEGA SAMMY acknowledges responsibilities regarding environmental sustainability, diversity, job satisfaction, and addiction prevention.

Oh, and hey, they’re working on a Gamera pachislot machine, which I personally like for esoteric reasons.

Sonic Prime Hiring Update: Two Designers Confirmed

Since its official announcement more than a month ago, we’ve slowly begun to learn who will actually be working on Netflix’s Sonic Prime show. Last month, we learned about one of its writers. Today, we learned about a few of its artists, who announced their involvement on Twitter!

Betty Kwong and Nicholas Kole have both been brought on to Wildbrain as designers for the show. Kwong has worked on several shows in the past, serving as senior designer on seasons 11-13 of LEGO Ninjago, as well as a CG designer for the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, among other LEGO animation projects. Nicholas Kole, meanwhile, served as a character designer for both Crash Bandicoot 4 and the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. You can check out Kwong’s portfolio here, and Kole’s portfolio here.

There is still a lot we don’t now about Sonic Prime’s production, but we will hopefully be learning more over the coming months. As usual, stay tuned to Sonic Stadium for all the latest.

Colleen O’Shaughnessey Isn’t Done With Tails Yet

Earlier today on Twitter, Tails voice actor Collen O’Shaugnessey was showing off her new flocked Tails Funko Pop that she got from Target, when she broke some surprising news in the comments.

As we reported earlier this month, Colleen is one of several voice actors not returning to their previous roles in the upcoming Sonic Netflix show, Sonic Prime. However, as one fan mentioned how much they are going to miss her, Colleen surprised everyone with the following…

So what does this mean for Colleen in the role of Tails? Well, she’s completely out of Sonic Prime. “Still not Canadian, so still not doing prime” she replied to one fan. Whether she’ll be back for the Sonic 2 movie, or if she’s returning to the games, she definitely won’t be leaving Tails and the Sonic franchise behind just yet.

Both Sonic Prime and the Sonic 2 movie will be out next year.

Colleen O’Shaughnessey Not Voicing Tails in Sonic Prime

Colleen O’Shaughnessey, Tails’ voice actress for the past seven years, has confirmed on Twitter that she will not be reprising her role in the upcoming Netflix series, Sonic Prime.

Unlike Roger Craig Smith, this does not yet appear to mark a permanent departure from the role, and it appears that Sonic Prime may instead either have a separate voice cast, or only share some cast members from the games. What makes O’Shaughnessey‘s lack of involvement especially surprising is that she did actually voice Tails in last year’s Sonic the Hedgehog movie.

Mike Pollock, the voice of Eggman, does appear to at least be hinting that he is a part of the production. Though he could also just be trolling us for his own amusement:

Turnover in the Sonic voice acting cast is nothing new. Back in 2019, several characters had their voices recast, the most notable of them being Knuckles. The first major voice actor overhaul came in 2005, when every voice actor from the games was replaced with the cast from the recently released 4kids dub of Sonic X. That cast was in turn replaced five years later in 2010.

Sonic Prime: An Opportunity To Unite A Multiverse of Fans

Sonic Prime, the latest Sonic the Hedgehog animation due for release on Netflix in 2022, will descend from a long dynasty of animations that reach all the way back from 1993’s slapstick Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, through to the modern charm of Sonic Mania Adventures. Each show has cultivated its own personality, and legion of Sonic the Hedgehog fanatics to boot. Similarly, there are now a multitude of genre-crossing Sonic the Hedgehog video game titles, that you’d be hard pushed to not find something for everyone in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe.

Continue reading Sonic Prime: An Opportunity To Unite A Multiverse of Fans

Sonic Netflix show officially titled ‘Sonic Prime’, due in 2022

After initially being leaked via a quickly deleted tweet by Netflix, today the company has officially announced the upcoming TV show as Sonic Prime, and will be due in 2022 on the streaming service.

Continue reading Sonic Netflix show officially titled ‘Sonic Prime’, due in 2022

Ian Flynn Confirms Sonic Netflix Not Based on IDW

Nearly a month after its (now deleted) announcement, we still don’t know much about the Sonic Netflix series. Technically, it hasn’t even been officially announced! Nevertheless, we now at least know one thing it won’t be: an adaptation of the IDW Sonic comic series.

Continue reading Ian Flynn Confirms Sonic Netflix Not Based on IDW