Sega announced at Comic-Con that everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog and, more recently, social media memester Sonic the Hedgehog will be returning with two new games in 2017.
The first game, titled Sonic Mania, is an old-school 2D platformer in the vein of the original Sega Genesis titles. Sega is developing the title in conjunction with Christian Whitehead, who has developed unofficial Sonic games under the name “The Taxman” in the past. The game seems to be aiming to recapture the aesthetics and gameplay of the original titles, and is focusing on the basics that made the originals into the classics they are today by reducing the number of playable characters and using a combination of old and new “zones” to build from the original titles.
The game is also adding a new “Drop Dash” function, which will allow the player to engage Sonic’s Spin Dash attack upon landing on the ground after falling or jumping.
Another game, which is, as of now, titled “Project Sonic 2017”, is also in development and slated for release at the end of next year. Not many details were given on what this game would entail of, but based on the initial reaction to the news, the Sonic fanbase seems to be much more confident in Sega’s ability to make another quality Sonic game after a series of critical and commercial duds.
Sonic has a special place in my heart — I distinctly remember dusting off the Sega Genesis at my grandmother’s house and spending plenty of time with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 — but this is the first time in a long, long time that Sega has shown that it has any idea of what to do with its principal property. Though “confident” is probably too strong a word to use, two games and a movie (however questionable that decision may prove to be in time) aren’t too bad. Though the franchise has a reputation online for being, to put it kindly, childish and overambitious, their crack social media team and the brand’s sudden awareness of itself and its place in the pop-culture canon makes me believe that anything is possible.