The Blue Blur is returning to his roots in the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, which picks up right where Sonic and Knuckles left off. Instead of another mediocre-3D Sonic, Sega promises gamers a true return to form.
As previously mentioned, Sonic Team is not developing Sonic 4, however, they are supervising the work of Japanese developer Dimps. Dimps is a great developer, best known for developing Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV, and Sonic Rush. What a perfect fit. Dimps knows how to update classic franchises and is familiar with the Sonic series.
Check out the Labyrinth Zone Trailer below:
As soon as the Sega logo appeared along with the classic “Seeeegaaaaa,” I was my six-years old self again and couldn’t help but smile. The graphics are beautiful, the sound effects are perfect, and the nostalgia is turned up to 11.
Remaking classic games is a slippery slope. Developers have to attract new gamers without stepping on the toes of long-time fans. In recent times, developers have remade games in three distinct ways.
First, there is the complete remake, where the only recognizable things are the characters and/or setting of the original game. This is the method Retro Studios used when creating the Metroid Prime trilogy. Second, there is the Mega Man 9/10 route, where Capcom kept the tried and true gameplay as well as the original style of graphics for a fully retro experience. The third option, the one Dimps is using for Sonic 4, is to keep the classic gameplay, but update the graphics to current standards. Nintendo has been successful with this method in its New Super Mario Brothers games.
Sonic 4 is revolutionary for the franchise in several ways. Not only is it a retro remake with updated graphics, but it is going to be released episodically as a downloadable title. This is a bold move that could end up backfiring, but hopefully Dimps will join the ranks of TellTale and Valve, both of whom are great examples of doing episodic content right.
All in all, I am very excited for Sonic 4 and think this is exactly what Sonic fans have been dreaming of. The classic 2D gameplay updated with gorgeous HD graphics is sure to please.
Are you excited for Sonic 4? Is Dimps handling this remake correctly? Is episodic gaming the way of the future?