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Sonic 4: Episode 2

Game News, Miscellaneous

Starbucks US Pick of the Week: Sonic 4 Episode II

Back in August, UK Starbucks customers were *ahem* treated to a free download of Sonic 4 Episode I for iOS. This week, US customers have a chance to own the second episode on their iDevices at no charge. From now through November 26, Sonic 4 Episode II will be available for free at Starbucks chains across the country. Simply take one of the cards near the register, enter the promotional code on the back, and you’re good to go. Note that this is only valid for US and Canadian iTunes accounts.

Special shoutout to Twitter user @SonicNerd97 for giving me the heads-up about this.

Game News

New Episode 2 Trailer Highlights Sonic 4: Episode Metal DLC, Desert Zone

Sega’s Digital Brand Manager Ken Balough dropped by Gamespot’s On the Spot (29-minute mark) to show off another video morsel of Sonic 4‘s second episode and dropped a bit of a bombshell for those who bought Episode 1 and plan to pick up the second episode.

Available as free DLC, players will get to assume the role of Metal Sonic in Sonic 4: Episode Metal as he’s transported to the age of Sonic 4 as a throwback to Sega’s previous “Lock-On Technology” effort.  Metal Sonic can be seen briefly roaming through Splash Hill and Lost Labyrinth, which Balough goes on to state won’t be simple cut and pastes of the original levels, but are new stages exclusive to Metal Sonic in order to connect his importance, as well as Sonic CD‘s, to the Sonic 4 story.

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Game News

Ken Balough Hints Sonic 4: Episode II Teasers Incoming Ken Balough Consejos de Sonic 4: Episode II Enigmas Entrante

Never one from backing away talking up the fanbase, Sega’s own Sonic Digital Brand Manager Ken Balough has been busy chatting with the folks over on Sega’s Sonic forums. Usually, this isn’t enough to draw enough attention–after all, if it was the case, we’d be writing up every time Sega’s own Aaron “Ruby Eclipse” Webber shows up on here in his quest to be the Fastest Sega Employee on Sonic Generations speed runs.

But when Sonic 4: Episode II teases begin to fly, you can bet people will be listening.

Nunca uno de retroceder hablando con los fans, Sega’s Sonic Digital Brand Manager Ken Balough ha estado muy ocupado hablando con la gente más en los foros de Sonic de Sega. Por lo general, esto no es suficiente para llamar la atención suficiente – si fuera el caso, estaríamos escribiendo cada vez que Sega’s Aaron “Ruby Eclipse” Webber se muestra aquí en su búsqueda para ser el más rápido empleado de Sega en los ‘speedruns’ de Sonic Generations.

Sin embargo, cuando palabra de Sonic 4: Episode II comenza a volar, usted puede apostar la gente estará escuchando.

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Game News

Corrections; Video Interview with Ken Balough on Sonic CD, Sonic 4

A little real talk first before business goes on. We earlier reported that Sega staff member Patrick Riley was interviewed by forum member Shade Vortex. It looks like he might have been a little starstruck as he was actually not speaking to Patrick Riley at all, but Sonic Digital Brand Manager Ken Balough. Patrick Riley had no involvement with the previous interview and we wish to offer our apologies to the two gentlemen and to you, our readers who put up with us, for the confusion. For future reference:

This is Patrick Riley.

This is Ken Balough, as you truly imagined him. Please beat us over the head if this happens again.

Let’s move on to the video interview goodness after the jump. Continue Reading

Game News

UPDATE: Sega Staffer Speaks Sonic CD Details; Revised as Sonic 4 ‘Prequel’

[UPDATE: Sega’s Ken Balough offers more clarification on the jumbled mess that is the timeline. Read the full quote at the bottom.]

Brace yourselves one more time. This could be a bumpy ride.

The start of PAX today in Seattle allowed attendees to get a first taste of Sonic CD on the Retro Engine before making its way to consoles, computers, and mobile devices, running through the entirety of Palmtree Panic Zone. Initial reactions from the crowd are fairly positive.

While trying out the game, forum member Shade Vortex got to speak to Patrick Riley, a staff member at Sega of America, [UPDATE: Ken Balough, Sonic Digital Brand Manager,] about the game. A few of the details revealed by Retro Engine creator Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead might have been a little premature.

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Game News

Sonic 4: Episode 2 in 2012, Episode 3 Unlikely

Sonic’s 20th Anniversary affair is remaining for Sonic Generations and Mario and Sonic 2012, as Sonic 4‘s second episode has been bumped back to 2012, according to Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka in an interview with Eurogamer.

“This year, 2011, is the anniversary, so we’re focusing on the celebration title, but moving forward to 2012, Sonic will still be going, so I’d hope to provide Episode 2 then.”

Given the usual nature of episodic games, where titles are released very quickly in multiple installments, it’s strange that its taken Sonic Team nearly more than a year to churn out the second episode. Iizuka reassured that things are going according to plan.

“It was always the plan,” said Iizuka. “We knew about the anniversary year, and Generations was planned way in advance. It was always our plan to release Episode 2 after Generations.”

However, when it came time to determine if Sonic 4 would stretch on toward a third episode, that same sense of confidence faded away, leaving the fate of the installment uncertain.

“We can’t say if there’s going to be Episode 3 or not,” Iizuka said.

No other details about Episode 2 were revealed, so keep your torches and pitchforks down. For now, Sega is letting Sonic Generations keep the dance floor all to herself.

Game News

The Hard-To-Please Old Fans According To Iizuka

It’s been slow, so why not.

Takashi Iizuka, the long time target for everything older fans perceive wrong with the series, sat down for an interview with Official Nintendo Magazine to talk up the 3DS version of Sonic Generations. He dropped that the fans of the old Mega Drive games are very much hard to please. He hopes that Sonic Generations will fix that.

“Our team are always trying to present new gameplay innovations so it’s hard to please fans who like the gameplay from the older games,” said Iizuka.

“However, we have included the older gameplay as part of Sonic’s 20th Anniversary, so we think the fans of the older games will enjoy it [Generations] as well. We are also looking into continuing the Sonic 4 series which was released on WiiWare, and we’ll keep developing titles so more fans will enjoy the games.”

Easy on the Sonic 4: Episode 2 comments. Lord knows the fire wave it will bring with it will be enough further down the road.

It may not be necessary to keep trying to please the older fan base by trying to recreate a 1:1 variant of the Mega Drive games in a 2.5D environment, as some of the demands (and believe us when we say we are certainly no strangers to seeing some of these on this very site) border the point of just rom-hacking Sonic 1 or 2 and releasing games in that manner.

At the same time, trying to shoe horn in mechanics such as the Werehog, swords, angsty characters with guns, or even shoddily implemented team-based game play isn’t necessarily the way to go. When thinking of “gameplay innovations”, as they call it, the best strategy is to see what can work with the base gameplay instead of throwing darts at post-it notes on the wall and going with it. Knuckles taking the Werehog’s place while keeping similar play style and calling it Sonic and Knuckles 2? Bank.

If Sonic Colors was anything to go by, just release a game that’s charming and genuinely fun to play and everyone will be happy. You could even argue that the formula was within reach as early as 2002.

[Image Credit: Cyrus Parker]