Sega celebrated the 25th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 by throwing a little party complete with golden onion rings, chili dogs and a few hundred of Sonic’s biggest fans.
The stars of the show, besides Sonic himself, of course, were two new trailers that provided a sneak peek at the two new Sonic titles releasing in 2017.
The first is called Sonic Mania, and it is a retro Sonic title through and through. Sonic Mania will combine the first three Sonic games into one package while adding some new levels, moves, and various special little enhancements peppered throughout. Interestingly, the game is being developed by Christian Whitehead who is best known for creating a new engine for the Sonic games while he was just a fan. Serving alongside him will be the studios Headcannon and PagodaWest Games.
The second is called Project Sonic and it is…well, it’s a little rough. The teaser trailer for this game may not reveal much about the gameplay itself, but it does make it clear that this will be a 3D Sonic title that seems to be unnaturally narrative driven. According to the footage shown, that narrative will focus on Sonic taking part in some kind of revolution against invading alien forces and that the game will be much darker than the average Sonic title.
Sonic Mania will be released on the Wii U, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in the Spring of 2017, while Project Sonic will reportedly be available for the Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo NX sometime during the 2017 holiday season.
Although both of these games are meant to celebrate the Sonic franchise, they also shed a little light on the sad state the character is in. Sonic Mania has managed to garner an overwhelmingly positive reaction in a short time thanks to its classic Sonic action, while Project Sonic has been met with cautious optimism by those same fans who have seen this road for the character before and do not care for where it leads.
While you can’t easily say that all 2D Sonic games are good and all 3D Sonic games are bad, the fact remains that the character’s glory days are largely found in an era before the third dimension became a viable technological pursuit. Sega has yet to really find a 3D Sonic game formula that works as well as their 2D model, and it will be interesting to see if the success of Sonic Mania vs. the success of Project Sonic dictates what direction they decide to take the character moving forward.