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Sonic 2 HD is back!

A few days ago Team S2HD made a very surprising announcement, development has resumed on this long fabled fan game that's been 9 years in the making. Team S2HD released a new video showcasing the new footage. 

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Footage of first Sonic R prototype surfaces

Jon Burton, founder of Traveller's Tales, has started a new YouTube channel called GameHut. On it, he's sharing behind-the-scenes footage and documentation on the development of their classic games. Traveller's Tales is known to Sonic fans as having developed both Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic R.

This video thoroughly showcases the first playable build of Sonic R, and potentially the only surviving copy, complete with annotations added. The demo is fairly barebones, showing an incomplete Sonic model running around an early version of the Resort Island track. Still, despite being a very early prototype build, it's remarkable how similar the track is in design to what appeared in the final game.

Jon Burton is currently a producer at Warner Bros., having worked on The Lego Movie series of films. Subscribe to the GameHut YouTube channel to keep up on the latest videos published.

Sonic Mania delayed until August 29th for PC

Sega announced via their livestream that Sonic Mania for the PC will be delayed until August 29th to allow for more time for testing and better performance. If you pre-ordered the PC version, you'll be treated with a free version of Sonic 1 (not the updated Christian Whitehead version) for your troubles. If you pre-ordered the Collector's Edition, you'll still get the box and the download code will still work but will initially release Sonic 1 until August 29.

Edited to add their official statement

Sonic Mania special and bonus stages revealed

Looks like we finally get to see what the special stages and bonus stage(s) will be like.

In “Blue Spheres”, players navigate Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles through a series of blue spheres to clear the stage. But be careful! Once touched, the blue spheres will turn red. Touching a red sphere instantly ends the Bonus Stage. Silver Medallions are awarded to players who complete the Bonus Stage, while collecting all the blue spheres and rings awards players with a perfect score and a Gold Medallion.

Time Attack was also revealed to be a new mode in Sonic Mania. Prove you’re the best of the best in Time Attack, which lets players compete for fastest speed in the world by recording their time in the game’s online leaderboard.

In Special Stages, players chase down enemy UFOs to secure various Chaos Emeralds. Collecting blue spheres along the way will give their character an added boost of speed to their meter. Once the meter fills up, the Mach level increases. Just watch out and don’t speed off the stage!

We won't have to wait much longer. Sonic Mania comes out August 15th. Video and images in the link below.

Will Sonic Mania be a Hit Thanks to Gamers’ Appetite for Nostalgia?

Source: Sonic the Hedgehog via Facebook

Sonic fans can barely contain their excitement, as the release of Sonic Mania is just around the corner. The new game will maintain many of the features that made the original Sega games so popular, and should attract audiences seeking nostalgia. It commemorates the 25th anniversary of the iconic blue hedgehog and his friends’ first ever appearance, and will be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and Nintendo Switch. Will this reboot of the classic game be a hit?

Sonic Mania is set to be a side-scrolling platform game just like the originals upon which it is based. It will include 2D graphics, remastered levels from the games of old, and returning characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles “Tails” Prower, and Knuckles the Echidna. The main antagonist is once again the evil Doctor Robotnik, but this time Robotnik will be accompanied by some brand new henchmen called the Hard-Boiled Heavies.

The developers at Sega have certainly chosen a good time to rerelease such a seminal game, as a number of other companies have done so recently to great effect. It is now clear that nostalgia can sell games, and the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy which was released for PS4 in June this year is a prime example of a successful game revival.

The Crash Bandicoot reboot from Naughty Dog and Vicarious Visions is a remastered version of the original three games, Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back, and Warped, which were released on the original PlayStation in 1996, 1997, and 1998. The developers decided that the games from that time were strong enough story and gameplay wise that they could keep them the same and merely enhance the graphics for modern consoles and audiences. This decision was clearly a good one, as the new version has received excellent reviews and has earned a score of 80% on Metacritic. In terms of sales, the platform game is the biggest single-platform release of 2017 and has even surpassed the highly rated Horizon: Zero Dawn. With Sonic Mania set for release on multiple platforms, the Sega offering has the potential to outdo Crash Bandicoot when it hits the shelves.

A number of timeless Atari games have also been reimagined for modern audiences who are fans of iGaming. The simplicity of games like Asteroids and Black Widow are probably too basic to rerelease on next generation consoles, but aspects taken from them work perfectly as slot machine games. The Black Widow and Asteroids online slots are available to play at sites like NetBet, which offers a £250 deposit bonus. They use many of the features of the old arcade classics, such as shooting down enemy spaceships in side games.

Pokémon Go is another example of a hugely successful revival of a franchise. The Pokémon games for Nintendo in the 90s sparked TV shows, films, and popular merchandise such as Pokémon cards, but the craze seemed to have gone away for quite some time. That all changed last year when developers Niantic brought it back as an augmented reality app for smartphones. The aim of the game was the same as always, and that was to catch the unique little monsters which could show up anywhere. But it also took advantage of modern technology and introduced a new element, which was looking for Pokémon in real world locations using GPS. The estimated number of downloads for the game is an astonishing 750 million.

All these examples highlight the fact that gamers of today love to play stuff that has a nostalgic element to it. The fact that Sega has chosen to keep much of Sonic Mania the same as a tribute to the games of old but also spruce it up with up-to-date graphics suggests that the new offering will be an instant hit.

Archie Sonic final tally of comics

With it announced that Archie would no longer be the publisher of Sonic comics, I decided to see just how many original Sonic comics they published out since 1993. These aren't counting reprints or compilations.

290
94
11
40
2
10
32
Sonic Super Special
Not counting Sonic Firsts
14
Specials
Sonic In Your Face, Knuckles' Chaotix, Triple Trouble, etc
10
Miniseries
Original Miniseries, Sally, Knuckles, Tails, Sonic Quest
16
TOTAL
Not counting reprints or compilations
519

Sega partners with IDW for future Sonic comics

Ah, looks like the other foot has dropped!

Sega has partnered with IDW Publishing for the future of Sonic comics after stopping with Archie. Full statement below:

Today SEGA revealed that Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends have joined forces with IDW Publishing, the leading publisher of licensed comic books, to begin a thrilling new chapter in the Blue Blur’s adventures in 2018.

Creative teams are currently being formed, and a publishing plan is now underway with more details to come at a later date. Writers and artists will be bringing their considerable talents to the comic book world of Sonic.

“We’ve been speaking with beloved Sonic fan-favorite creators and new creators alike, and are excited to be able to spread specifics about our plans for the comic in the near future,” said Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Officer.

“We are ecstatic about this partnership with IDW,” said Ivo Gerscovich, Chief Brand Officer for Sonic the Hedgehog. “We know they’ll serve as a good home for the new adventures of Sonic, his friends and foes.”

With the cancellation of Archie, it makes sense for Sega to announce this just days later. It's very likely they had this ready for some time and waited for SDCC. 2018 is also not far off. It's not clear if Ian Flynn, Tracey Yardley and others will reprise their roles but the statement seems to indicate some familiar faces will return. We should learn soon.

Sega ends partnership with Archie Comics

In a tweet posted on the official Sonic Twitter account, we've now learned what was likely the case: Sega is ending their partnership with Archie.

If the text is too small, here it is again:

After 24 years of memorable storytelling, SEGA of America will conclude their Sonic the Hedgehog publishing partnership program with Archie Comics. This does not mark the end of Sonic in comics, but signifies SEGA of America's decision to take a different direction for the series that will be announced at a later date. SEGA would like to thank Sonic's amazing fans for their loyalty and passion over all the years. SEGA looks forward to providing more information soon.

While this isn't really surprising, it's still shocking as it's been a long 24 years. Hopefully we'll learn the future of Sonic comics very soon. I have a feeling they wanted these two announcements to be very close together.

Hirokazu Yasuhara talks game design

Here’s a recent talk from the game designer for the original Sonic games. It’s mostly about game design in general, but he talks a little bit about designing Sonic 1 and 2 near the beginning.

He shows some never-before-seen concept art, including the original Green Hill level map (drawn on draft paper!) and scrapped concepts for a world map for Sonic 2.

He’s also been sharing more concept art on Twitter. Also be sure to check out Naoto Ohshima, the original character designer of Sonic and friends. He’s been uploading his own concept sketches, including for NiGHTS and Blinx the Time Sweeper.