The Sonic 25th anniversary press conference was a shit show, but at least we have two Sonic games to look forward to: Sonic 2017 and Sonic Mania. Regarding the former, we don't have much information to go on other than it features the modern and classic designs of the hedgehog. Basically, it's probably shaping up to be a spiritual successor to Sonic Generations. Sonic Mania, on the other hand? Well, according to a colleague of mine, it's the Sonic game he's been waiting for his whole life!
Sonic Mania is a throwback to the Genesis and Sega Saturn era of the Blue Hedgehog. Like Shovel Knight, it looks like it belongs on one of Sega’s consoles, but the smoother animations indicate it would not have been possible for development back in the '90s. Sega also placed the game and its trust in the hands of proven fan developers who have demonstrated their knowledge and understanding of the classics with their own personal projects. Basically, if you questioned the length of Sonic’s legs in Sonic 4, you might not have that same issue in the upcoming spiritual classic.
I don’t think Sonic Mania received more clout than the Sonic 2017 trailer – probably not as much considering Sega’s bewildering livestream event obfuscated a lot of pertinent information. But I can’t help but think about my friend’s tweet, an honest-to-God Sonic fan, the hedgehog’s notorious reputation, and Sonic Generations. Whether or not my friend’s opinion resonates with the majority of Sega’s fanbase, I think he knows that a lot of fans seem to want Sega to
I think Sega knows this too, but Team Sonic seems to be in a fragile state – like a kitten rescued and ready yet anxious to be given to a new owner. I say this because for the longest time Sonic has been a joke. No matter what Team Sonic did, they seemed to completely ruin their own games, and they would do so by introducing completely unnecessary ideas. Sure, new ideas are good, and even Sonic’s portly rival, Mario, has benefitted from many. But despite sending its mascot into space, Nintendo seemed to have a natural progression in store for him – even if by now they’ve churned out a few games that are so retro they’re “New”. By comparison, tacking on were-hogs in one entry and a sword in the next just feels like duct taping two random objects together and claiming it to be an invention.
But at least Sonic Generations signaled a change in quality for the franchise (you might be able to argue the same for Sonic Colors). Fans praise the inclusion of the classic character and levels but think the modern portion is the weak point. And now with the Sonic 2017 trailer, the two versions of Sonic are reunited once again, and I can’t help but think of the rehabilitated kitten. From where will it go from here: forward or backward? In my opinion, it almost seems like Sonic should stay where it is for a little while, just to gather its bearings and decide where to go from here.