Surely the internet isn’t going to make the title of this article a played out meme before it goes up, nope, probably not, nah.
So that Sonic SXSW panel happened, and we got some pretty good reveals out of it. And enough of them for us to actually make a recap article for once! Now, if you want to watch the panel for yourself, Tails’ Channel has the panel up on his YouTube channel. But if you just want all the news about Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces, here’s our recap:
There are really two big pieces of news here. The first big piece being that Mania‘s release window has been changed from Spring to Summer. And while the extra wait might be disappointing, this delay should result in a better game. Besides that, Sonic games don’t exactly have a history of benefiting from their rushed releases. The second big piece of news is that Flying Battery Zone will be getting a remixed version in Sonic Mania, which can be seen in this new trailer Sega released yesterday:
There were several other reveals and teases as well. Like the reveal of a very zoomed-in image of a new zone, which, yup, yeah, that’s a tease alright. Sega also teased the possibility of them releasing a vinyl featuring the game’s soundtrack. Aaron Webber asked the fans at the panel if they wanted to see it released, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. So if this thing doesn’t get released, you likely won’t be able to blame it on lack of fan demand.
Lastly, Sega released a bunch of new artwork. Including a teaser image for the Hard Boiled Heavies, which are a new group of bosses that’ll appear in Mania’s new zones. The other new pieces of art are a poster and new key art featuring Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. All of the new artwork can be seen below. Thanks to Tracker for cleaning up the poster artwork.
Project Sonic 2017 finally has a proper name, and it’s Sonic Forces. It’s been revealed that the set-up for the game is that Sonic failed to stop Eggman from taking over the world. This results into Sonic’s world now being split into various factions (or “forces” as Takashi Iizuka puts it), including Sonic and his friends, Eggman and his Army, and others that will be revealed later in the game.
Roger Craig Smith and Mike Pollock revealed that most of the game’s voice work has been finished. They also talked a bit about doing voice acting for video games and how they got started, which you can see starting at this point of the panel.
Sega then showed the first gameplay footage of Sonic Forces. They did note at the panel that what was shown is still in development, so what’s shown here will be improved in the final game:
As you can see, the modern Sonic gameplay from Sonic Unleashed and Generations is back, and the stage Sonic is running through has a lot more going on than the stages in past games. Explosions are happening all around Sonic as Eggman’s Death Egg Robot-like machines are attacking the city, which seems to located right next to some green hills. Also seen in the footage are collectable Red Star Rings, as well as Wisps. The latter of which will act as boost pick-ups for modern Sonic.
Aside from modern Sonic, there will also be two other gameplay styles. One being the classic Sonic gameplay-style from Sonic Generations, the other being something brand new. Sega will announce more about both gameplay styles in the coming months.
Forces is the first Sonic game to make use of the Hedgehog Engine 2, a rendering engine that’s built upon the engine that was used for the past few Sonic games. Because of this the game will feature real-time global illumination and physically based rendering.
Finally, they revealed that Forces will have a new vocal theme song. And while Sega hasn’t announced yet who will be providing the vocals, they did announce that Tomoya Ohtani is doing the music. They also released the instrumental version of the theme, which they only recently finished recording:
We also got to know after the panel was over that various Sonic characters like Knuckles, Amy, and the Chaotix team will be talking to Sonic during gameplay. You can find out more about that and other details in Game Informer’s preview.