So, the wait is finally over. Well, the wait for the wait. Exclusively on Gamespot, Sega PR man Ken Balough has decided to sit down and finally talk about the game we all knew was coming at some point: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2. Yes, there is a teaser trailer. No, there’s no gameplay footage. But you should watch it anyway, if only to see Ken Balough’s face.
For some reason having the image of Miles “Tails” Prower engraved on his face, the Sega hype train commences once again. The trailer itself possesses a strange feeling of deja vu, done in a style that we saw for Episode 1 and continued with Sonic CD. This time, though, there are a couple facts confirmed right off the bat. Yes, Metal Sonic is going to be in it (though if you bothered to collect all the Chaos Emeralds in the first episode, you could have assumed that), though we don’t know in just what capacity. Will it be another race? The final boss? Or just someone to mess with us akin to Knuckles‘ role in Sonic the Hedgehog 3? Also, to alleviate the fears of the many, we are told that, yes, “Tails” is definitely in the game. Man, wonder who they would introduce in Episode 3!
Once the trailer is done, Gamespot conducts a brief interview, with Ken telling us that they have listened to the fans, at least in some capacity. Right off the bat, we’re told that Sonic 4: Episode 2 has a brand new graphics and physics engine, which are meant to address some of the problems that fans had for the first installment. Further explanation, however, does have Ken say that they still had to work in the framework of Sonic 4 as a whole, identifying what problems they could fix with the current set up, implying that all they’re really doing is poking the engine from the first game. Seems like a bit of a walking contradiction there, but what do I know? We won’t really be able to find out until the next teaser trailer, and even then we won’t really be able to find out until the first proper trailer, and even then…
Oh, sorry, got caught up there. We have been promised two very important things, though. First off, Sonic no longer has the uncanny ability to stand on walls. Secondly, Sonic is not supposed to uncurl after launching off slopes. While those are nice starts, that doesn’t mean the whole game is magically fixed. There were many other issues with the physics that were brought up, which I’m sure Sega is quite aware of. Saying that Episode 1 was an attempt to bring Sonic back to the world of 2D is a bit of a lie since we had the Advance and the Rush games before that, though each sequel in the DIMPS series strayed further and further from the classic formula. At the same time, the classic Sonic style wasn’t something you had to stumble around for an entire game to find. Episode 1 being described as just one big learning experience undermines the original intended purpose of that game, and while it is nice that you can admit there were things wrong with the first episode and that the goals you set were definitely not met, you have to make sure you go above and beyond with this next game. All eyes are on you, and simply having Sonic on a 2D plane with “Tails” following is not enough. Don’t let the good will from Generations and Sonic CD disappear, Sega.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 is slated to come out in 2012, on Xbox Live, PSN, Andoid, Windows 7 Phone and iOS.