NiGHTS into Dreams… is my favorite Sonic Team game. As much as I love running around as the blue blur or slaughtering monsters online in PSO, its their purple androgynous dream jester that I keep closest to my heart. But it wasn’t always that way for me. For years, I just didn’t like it. NiGHTS’ journey to becoming one of my favorite games is a somewhat long and windy one, but something I want to share to help other people who don’t see the appeal understand why this game is so special to some of us.Continue reading How NiGHTS Won Me Over
It all began on a plane ride.
Yuji Naka was traveling between America and Japan constantly to oversee Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s development. All that time spent in the air made him want to make a game about flight. Though the idea had its roots in 1992, it wouldn’t be until after Sonic & Knuckles’ completion in late 1994 that they were able to begin development for it on SEGA’s newly released SEGA Saturn.
Sonic Team’s primary goal with NiGHTS was to get away from Sonic. They wanted a long break from the character, and desired to create something new that “contradicted” what Sonic was. Early in development, they explored military themes, before eventually setting the game in a dream world.
NiGHTS into Dreams had various influences. Its character design pulled from circus characters, and was inspired by Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystére” show in particular, which Naka saw multiple times during his many trips to America. Sonic Team also did a lot of research into dream studies, as well as the work of psychoanalysts like Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Friedrich Holtz. Jung in particular was an influence, with ideas such as his “dream archetypes” and “animus and anima” becoming central to the game. Jung’s ideas are too large for the scope of this article, but Naka does briefly touch on these elements in an interview with TRiPPY, owner of the fan site nightsintodreams.com.
NiGHTS into Dreams released in Japan on July 5, 1996, with releases following in the US on August 20 and in Europe on October 7. In the US, its release was accompanied by a $10 million advertising campaign, with the usual ads one might expect from SEGA in the 90s. Many copies of the game were sold with the SEGA Saturn 3D controller, which was developed alongside the game because Sonic Team felt the standard Saturn controller with its digital pad wasn’t accurate enough for the game. Some US copies also came with a free pillow as a pre-order bonus!
Overall, the game was a success, at least by the standards of the SEGA Saturn. It was the system’s best selling game in Japan for 1996, selling 392,000 units. In the US, it was the system’s second best selling game of all time (in terms of dollar sales), second only to Madden ’97. The game was well received by critics, and currently holds an 89% average on GameRankings. It received praise for its visuals, soundtrack, and fluid flight game play, though did receive some criticism for its graphical pop-in and not being “full 3D” like Super Mario 64.
So, we’ve gone over the game’s development and release, but the question remains for anyone unfamiliar with the game: what exactly is NiGHTS? Let’s go over that!
The title character, NiGHTS, is an androgynous being created by the game’s villain, Wizeman the Wicked. Wizeman rules the dimension known as Nightmare. He wishes to destroy Nightopia, the world of dreams, and steal the ideya (human dream energy) of dreamers in order to gather energy and open a portal to the waking world. To carry this out, he created the Nightmarens, with NiGHTS and Reala being his most powerful. But while Reala served dutifully, NiGHTS was mischievous and didn’t like taking orders or agree with Wizeman’s plans, so they rebelled. Wizeman captured NiGHTS, and imprisoned them in a structure called an ideya palace.
Notably, NiGHTS was created specifically by Sonic Team to be genderless, though he/him pronouns have historically been used. The game’s director, Takashi Iizuka, says NiGHTS’ gender is up to the player to interpret, so we’ll be using they/them for this article.
In addition to NIGHTS, the game also stars two children, Claris and Elliot. They’re having nightmares over recent real life fears, and suddenly find themselves in Nightopia, where all their ideya, save for their red ideya of courage, are stolen. This is when they meet NiGHTS, trapped inside the ideya palace. Thanks to the red ideya, which only Claris and Elliot possess, they are able to enter the ideya palace and merge with NiGHTS, freeing them for a limited time. The two children then work with NiGHTS to get their ideya back and defeat the nightmaren boss of each world.
I’ve seen people call NiGHTS everything from a platformer to a flight game, but anyone going in with those expectations will probably be confused. NIGHTS into Dreams is a essentially a side-scrolling score-attack collectathon. Each level in NiGHTS has four courses (or “mares”), each of which have an ideya to collect from something called an “ideya capture.”
To get the ideya, NiGHTS must collect 20 blue chips, fly into the ideya capture to destroy it, and then bring the ideya back to the ideya palace, which serves as the start and end of each course. Each ideya must be collected within two minutes. If the player runs out of time, NiGHTS is sent back to the ideya palace and the kid must make it back there on their own. If they are caught by the alarm egg, a large floating clock, they get a game over. Once each ideya is collected, NiGHTS then faces the level boss, which also has a two minute timer. To deal with bosses as well as smaller enemies, NiGHTS has two attacks: the drill dash and the paraloop. The drill dash sends NiGHTS drilling into enemies, while the paraloop has NiGHTS flying around an enemy and forming a “loop” with the sparkles that trail them, destroying any smaller enemies caught inside and damaging bosses.
But there’s more to this game than just gathering the ideya and killing enemies. As I said before, NiGHTS is also a score attack game. Doing the bare minimum won’t even be enough to complete the game, since players need a grade of C in all six levels to unlock the seventh level. To do that, one must understand the game’s scoring system.
Nearly everything in this game contributes to player score. Collecting blue chips, flying through rings, killing enemies, and pulling off trick combos after flying through a power ring will all get you points. You can start “links” by linking the collecting of blue chips and rings together, though you have to be fast as links are broken if NiGHTS goes a few seconds without collecting either. Destroying ideya captures quickly also nets NiGHTS a heap of points, though it is after this that the real scoring starts.
To get high scores in this game, players need to lap a course repeatedly after getting the ideya, netting every point possible until the very last second. Run out of time, and players not only lose NiGHTS, but all of their points, typically leaving them with an F grade for the course. This lends the system a certain risk/reward quality. For people like myself, this is where the game really shines.
Alongside all of this, the game also features an “a-life” system, which is essentially a precursor to chao. All of the levels in NiGHTS are populated by friendly Nightopians, who can be interacted with in limited ways. Both NiGHTS and the kids can hatch them from eggs, and NiGHTS can also hurt them with a drill dash or kill them with a paraloop. Obviously, hurting or killing them will make them fearful or angry with NiGHTS. Meanwhile, killing Nightmarens and hatching eggs will make them happy, causing them to reproduce and increase their population. Aside from giving them different behaviors, this system also changes the in-game music, which changes based on their mood. There are also some special kinds of Nightopians.
Nightopian/Nightmaren hybrids called “Mepians” can also be created when Nightmarens are knocked into Nightopians by NiGHTS. This is very hard to do on purpose, so the couple I’ve created over the years (one of which is in the above gallery) were created by accident. These Mepians will also breed, creating other Mepians as well as, eventually, King Pians (pictured above). King Pians appear purely by chance, and will construct a permanent castle within the level once created. They’ll also attack Nightmarens and any Mepians that attack Nightopians. Overall, a fairly complex system for what can effectively just be background creatures!
After its release, NiGHTS did stick around as a SEGA IP for a time. The franchise received a now-rare line of plushies, which were distributed exclusively in SEGA’s UFO Catchers, as well as a line of keychain plushies. In December of 1996, a NiGHTS story book was published exclusively in Japan, and in late 1997 the game received a six-issue series from Archie Comics featuring art from Patrick Spaziente.
The most notable NiGHTS thing to come in this period, however, was Christmas NiGHTS. Given away for free as a “sampler,” it’s probably one of the most elaborate demo discs ever made. The demo implemented a cut idea from the main game: time activated events. During most of the year, the game is just a vanilla demo of a single level, Spring Valley, but come November 26 it transforms into a Christmas-themed sequel to the original game.
Christmas NiGHTS has narrated opening and closing cutscenes, fully reskins Spring Valley into a Christmas level, introduces brand new courses in that level, and is full of presents that can be unlocked throughout the Christmas season. Everything from playable Sonic to a score attack mode to karaoke can be unlocked, as well as loads of game art and photos of merchandise. Outside of the Christmas season, it also includes winter skins for Claris and Elliot from November through to February, playable Reala on April 1, and other minor differences in the level for certain holidays.
Despite its success, Sonic Team did not immediately begin working on a sequel. Instead, they began work on another game that utilized a more advanced version of the NiGHTS engine: Burning Rangers. After finishing that game, Sonic Team would also begin developing what would eventually become Sonic Adventure. At one point, they did begin work on “Air NiGHTS,” a potential NiGHTS sequel for the Dreamcast that would have utilized motion controls, but nothing ever came of it.
What came next for NiGHTS? Head over to part 2 of this article to find out.
What’s that? You want Sonic the Hedgehog news, sonny? Well, it just so happens that we’ve got a whole LIBRARY’S worth of news stories and features covering the last twenty years! We could tell you when Archie Sonic #117 hit comic store shelves… or we could tell you something interesting instead. How about the biggest Sonic stories to hit the internet since The Sonic Stadium opened its doors in 2000?Continue reading 20 Years of TSS: The Biggest Sonic Stories of the Last Two Decades
Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka wants to make you happy. The guy is clearly working flat out to deliver whatever projects SEGA has in store for Sonic the Hedgehog’s 30th Anniversary, and in a new interview he’s not shy about his intention to to satisfy every fan out there. Continue reading Takashi Iizuka Hopes He Can “Meet Fans’ Desires” For Sonic 30th Anniversary
Japan is around 8 hours ahead of the UK, which means that as we write this right now, it’s already January 1, 2020 in the country. Sonic Team and SEGA has wasted no time in celebrating the turn of the new decade, with a cool new graphic and a new hashtag campaign that may be used to promote new Sonic projects over the next year. Continue reading Sonic Team Celebrates New Year With New #SONIC2020 Campaign
This year is the 20th Anniversary of the Western release of the Sega Dreamcast and flagship launch title Sonic Adventure (its European anniversary was actually yesterday)! But, while everyone can talk about the game’s original release until the cows come home, a lot less remembered is its Gamecube/PC port, Sonic Adventure DX. Let’s take a Look Back at it! Continue reading Hero of Legend’s Look Back – Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut
It appears Sonic Team’s NiGHTS into Dreams… series may be getting a new entry, if a recent trademark filed by SEGA of Japan is any indication. Continue reading SEGA Trademarks new potential NiGHTS into Dreams project
Today’s Microsoft press conference had a surprise for long-time SEGA fans: Sonic Team’s Phantasy Star Online 2 is finally coming west, exclusively to PC and Xbox One. The game is scheduled for release in the US and Canada Spring 2020. The game has not yet been confirmed for release PAL regions. Check out the reveal trailer below: Continue reading Phantasy Star Online 2 Finally Coming to North America for Xbox and PC
The Official Sonic Twitch channel had a surprise guest appearance last week, as Sonic Community Manager Aaron Webber introduced Ex-Sonic Team artist Hiroshi Nishiyama to the stream, announcing his return to SEGA. Continue reading Ex-Sonic Team Sonic Adventure Artist Hiroshi Nishiyama Rejoins SEGA
Video game legend and former Sonic Team character designer Naoto Ohshima turned 54 today. Ohshima is best known for designing Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr. Eggman, as well as directing Sonic Team classics like Sonic CD, NiGHTS into Dreams and Burning Rangers. After leaving Sonic Team following the completion of Sonic Adventure, Ohshima formed Artoon, where he would go on to create Blinx the Timesweeper (an attempt at creating a platforming mascot for the original Xbox) and act as a producer for a few Yoshi games.
These days, Ohshima serves as the Vice President of Arzest, a Japanese video game studio he helped form after leaving Artoon in 2010.
From all of us here at the Sonic Stadium, happy birthday Naoto Ohshima!
Check out some art from Ohshima below:
Microsoft just held their weekly sale and among the games on sale are a bunch of Sonic’s titles for Xbox 360 for up to 50% off. While the games below have their US prices listed, the sale should be available worldwide and presumably the same discounts should apply. The sales for these games below shouldn’t require XBL Gold as well. Continue reading Various Sonic games for Xbox 360 are on sale worldwide for up to 50% off
About friggin’ time!
Microsoft held their second episode of Inside Xbox yesterday, in which they share a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s inner workings, and today’s livestream held a special announcement regarding backward compatibility on Xbox One.
The gaming giant revealed that a handful of backward compatible Xbox 360 games will become Xbox One X-enhanced, a beefy update through which last-gen titles receive a substantial performance boost on the most powerful home console on the market, after the presentation. Among them is none other than Sonic Generations, which also means that the 20th anniversary title celebrating Sonic’s history has also been finally retrofitted for the Xbox One family of systems as of today!
Episode 2 of Inside Xbox also revealed a ton of new original Xbox games being added to the backward compatible library, including SEGA’s own Panzer Dragoon Orta.
Now that leaves only Sonic Unleashed and Sonic ’06 as the remaining mainline Sonic games to become Xbox One backward compatible… I’ll certainly be keeping my fingers crossed.
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
Last month, the long-awaited inclusion of Super Sonic had finally come to pass for Sonic Forces, but there was a nasty catch: the Chaos Emerald-powered hedgehog would have only remained free for a limited time.
A series staple since Sonic the Hedgehog 2 over twenty-five years ago right up to the recent Sonic Mania, either earning the seven Chaos Emeralds or clearing the game’s story often yielded the highly coveted reward of Super transformation. From there, simply collect fifty rings mid-stage, transform, and blast off with ring-fueled invincibility and faster speeds.
While oddly absent from the game’s initial release over a month ago, Sonic Forces is finally bringing in this long loved franchise staple at long last as free downloadable content… unfortunately, with a catch that is already drawing community backlash.
Sonic Forces has come and gone and the Sonic Talk crew of Jason, Alex, GX and special guest (and occasional header artist) Cory Holmes weigh in on the game. We go in and critique every detail of this new 3-D outing from Sonic Team. Is it as good as we’d hoped or as bad as we feared? Listen in to find out. Continue reading Sonic Talk 49: Unstoppable Forces vs. Immovable Objections
If you’re a Switch owner who’s been wanting to try out the upcoming Sonic Forces game, today is your lucky day: SEGA has released a demo on the system’s Japanese eShop.
New info on the Switch version of Sonic Forces has emerged from an interview DualShockers did with Sonic Team.
The director behind Sonic Colors and Sonic Lost World will be taking the helm once more for Sonic Forces, it has been revealed – and if you were hoping for that ‘third playable character’ to be Boom-universe Sonic, prepare to be disappointed. Continue reading Morio Kishimoto is Directing Sonic Forces, No Boom Sonic, Will Be At E3
As promised, Sega have uploaded the HQ gameplay of Modern Sonic that was shown last night at SXSW onto YouTube for all to see. Also we have two high-quality screenshots straight from Sega to share as well!
If Sonic Forces is leaving you with a bit of a Sonic ’06 vibe, what with it’s burning, apocalyptic cities and all, it shouldn’t surprise you. After all, the producer of Sonic Forces is none other than Shun Nakamura, the director on Sonic ’06 as well as Samba De Amigo, Billy Hatcher and The Giant Egg and the well-reviewed, but often overlooked, Rhythm Thief & The Emperor’s Treasure. Nakamura himself posted his involvement on his Twitter account.
This news comes just shortly after the game’s title reveal as well as the announcement that Tomoya Ohtani will be composing the game’s music. An official gameplay reveal video is expected to arrive sometime tomorrow.
Sonic Forces is due on Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One this holiday season.
SEGA held a livestream event to celebrate the recent launch of Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice in Japan, with series director Takashi Iizuka in attendance among others playing the latest Boom instalment and the upcoming Sonic Mania. However, a pair of bombshells has dropped since the event, this time concerning the far-flung Project Sonic 2017 launching next holiday season.
With translations provided by Source Gaming’s PushDustIn, it is confirmed that SEGA has plans to reveal “a completely new character in Project 2017.” We also now have a better idea of the gameplay, which is expected to follow the formula established in Sonic Generations with classic 2D and modern 3D levels – however, a “brand new component” is also going to be introduced.
UPDATE: SEGA has reached out to us with their statement on the error, telling us that the issue has been resolved!
As part of a special promotion, Sonic CD is now free with ads (regularly priced at $2.99) from the App Store. For players who previously purchased Sonic CD, ads were mistakenly added to their game. This was not intended and the issue has now been resolved. Players will need to update to the latest version of Sonic CD (2.0.1) on the App Store. We apologize for the error.
Original story continues below.
What seemed to be an eternity of waiting since its announcement on March 17th, 2015 has finally passed on October 20th, 2016, as Nintendo had at long last lifted the curtain on the “NX,” or should I say the Nintendo Switch. Even before that day, Sega officially announced that Sonic would indeed be making an appearance on the system. It won’t be just any game, but the even longer-awaited next main game from Sonic Team called Project Sonic 2017, provided the Switch version is the same as the PS4/XBO/PC versions. Continue reading HoL’s Musings: Sonic’s Future and Potential on the Nintendo Switch
SEGA of Japan have today launched their 25th Anniversary website, and have already begun to populate the page with events and items set to be released for this year.
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.
This is starting to become a bit of a regular thing now isn’t it? Sonic Runners has reached 4 million downloads worldwide, to celebrate this, players who login between September 19th – September 23rd will receive 10 red rings for each day that they log in. Continue reading Sonic Runners hits 4 Million Downloads, Free Red Rings for All
続きまして、ソニック ランナーズの全世界配信が、6/25に決定致しました！ 続報をお待ちください #ソニックランナーズ
— ソニック ランナーズ 公式 (@SonicRunners_JP) June 20, 2015
Sonic Runners, Sonic Team’s first mobile Sonic game, will finally be debuting worldwide on June 25. Just in time for Sonic’s 24th birthday!
This was revealed minutes ago on the official Sonic Runners twitter account. The tweet promises more details in the coming days. Sonic fans have been waiting for a worldwide release of the game since its limited release in Canada and Japan back in February.
Sonic Runners, as the name suggests, is a free-to-play endless running game, where the player tries to get as far as possible before dying. The game will be launching on both iOS and Android.
Sonic Runners has been running for a few months now and in the coming days a new event will be held. Sonic Runners & Puyo Puyo Quest will be combining to produce a special event for Sonic Runners players. Continue reading Sonic Runners PuyoPuyo Quest Details Revealed
A user at NeoGAF named HUELEN10 (thanks!) uploaded a 4 minute video showing a first look at a level and mid-level fights with Eggman being played on an iPad Mini 3.
How you find the game to look so far?
Update: It’s also seemingly out now on iOS.
Well isn’t this a surprise. Sonic Runners is actually out now on Google Play in NA (actually was dated for yesterday on February 25th, 2015). However, some phones don’t seem to be supported (my Samsung Galaxy Ace II x GT-S7560M seems incompatible). And some who have got it to download have gotten this error message of maintenance:
The Google Play page has this info:
Play Sonic, the world’s fastest hedgehog, in the all-new side-scrolling endless runner. With all-new mobile friendly controls, just tap the screen to run, jump, and spin your way across lightening fast Sonic world.FEATURESTRUE SIDE-SCROLLING SONIC ACTION
– Run and spin at lightening speeds with mobile friendly controls
– Designed by TEAM SONIC, the original Sonic development team
– Super fast and challenging levels with loop-de-loops, retro design, hidden rings, and classic enemies
– Unleash Color Powers: LASER POWER for hi-speed movements, ASTERIOD POWER for destroying obstacles, and DRILLS Power for burrowing undergroundPLAY AS SONIC AND HIS FRIENDS
– Unlock Tails and Knuckles as player characters
– Master their Speed, Aerial, and Power attributes
– Evolve your character’s powers with collected ringsRUN WITH COMPANIONS
– Run with the power of Companions
– Complete stages and enhance your character’s abilities
– Select the best Companion for the job depending on your character and the levelCOMPETE IN ALL-NEW RANKING BATTLES
– Reign in four ranking categories: Rival League, Friend, World, and Historical
– Fight against your friends and the world for the “Sonic Record”
– Compete with up to 50 players in a white-heat competition in the Rival League
– Win the top of the “”S league”” to claim the supreme honor!
COMPETE AGAINST FRIENDS
– Log into Facebook to activate the Friend Invitation and Friend Ranking features
[Facebook account] will keep you updated on the app! Some info may only be available on Facebook!!
Free *IAPs available
Android OS2.3 or later *excluding certain devices
We want Sonic Runners to be played by as many people as people,
so we’re planning on increasing the amount of supported devices.
We apologize if you cannot download Sonic Runners on your current device.
Please wait for further announcements.
We’ll update you guys as more info comes!
Sonic Runners’ music has Unleashed its inner Colors.
Ahem. Tomoya Ohtani, who most know as the main composer of Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors, confirmed on twitter that he will be composing for the game. Now does that mean he is again the main composer remains to be seen.
Thanks to TimmiT at NeoGAF for the heads up!
Yep. You’re getting a Sonic Team made mobile game. So it was true after all, after our ace detectives Hogfather and Shadzter who dug up the web domain and test page over the last month respectively. Continue reading Sonic Runners Announced By Sonic Team, For Smartphones
It’s that time again – sales talk! SEGA just released their newest sales data as of March 31st 2014, and with it comes updated numbers for Wii U exclusive adventure Sonic Lost World. Let’s see how well it’s done! Continue reading Sonic Lost World Shipped 710,000 Copies Worldwide
SEGA Japan has announced their plans for the upcoming Tokyo Game Show that will be held September 19th-22nd and Sonic Lost World will be among the games playable at the event on both its Wii U and Nintendo 3DS platforms. On September 21st Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka and sound director Tomoya Ohtani will be delivering a presentation titled (in Google translate) “Introducing the charm of “Sonic Lost World” The latest series! ” The presentation is scheduled from 11:00 to 11:45 JST, which translates to 03:00-03:45 BST the same morning for us in the UK.
Saturday 21st September
11:00 to 11:45
Introducing the charm of “Sonic Lost World” The latest series!
[Speakers] Takashi Iizuka (Producer), Tomoya Ohtani (sound director)
SEGA will also be giving away the below Sonic fan and Sonic Lost World sticker sheets. A mug featuring Sonic in his Sketchog form will also be available to buy for 1,500 yen.
On February 3rd 2013, Japanese online TV show Puyo-Puyo will be hosting a live stream event. Their guests? Sonic Team. The staff members joining the Puyo-Puyo team are as follows.
Jun Senoue/Sound Director
Kazuyuki Hoshino/Art Director
It might not be related. But… February 3rd is a day after Groundhog day, a day which Sega have unofficially called ‘Hedgehog Day’ due to their tradition with making big announcements either on or around it. Could it be?