For the first time in years, Sonic the Hedgehog players have a reason to be excited. The blue blur's upcoming title, Sonic Generations, gives every indication of being a legitimately solid game and has amassed record breaking pre-orders. Perhaps most enticing for long-time fans, Sonic Generations features the return of Classic Sonic, and along with him the simpler mechanics of Sonic's Genesis days.
In our Sonic Generations demo impressions, we found the Classic Sonic stage a joy to play. Jettisoning the homing attack that has been a staple ever since Sonic Adventure streamlines the new game's side-scrolling stages for the better. In fact, more than any Sonic game in years (and particularly the disappointing Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1), Generations really captures the "feel" of Sonic's classic 2D games. Too bad, then, that it may be the last appearance of Classic Sonic ever.
This sad bit of news comes from someone who ought to know: David Corless, SEGA Europe Brand Manager for Sonic the Hedgehog. When asked whether Classic Sonic, if well-received in Generations, might appear in future titles, Corless answered frankly:
"Do you know what? There are no plans, to be brutally honest, to bring Classic Sonic back. The reason for bringing him back for this game was because this is a celebration of 20 years of Sonic. It was a real fitting time to do it. He’s really well loved. Let’s see how Generations does. You can never say never in this industry, but at the moment there are no plans."
At least the original Sonic the Hedgehog will be included with Generations.
Refreshingly open and honest though the answer is, this may not be the best time for SEGA to discourage its fans. For the six month period that ended September 30, 2011, SEGA Sammy posted an 83.7% decline in net profit from the previous year. Total revenue, meanwhile, is down 29.9%. In contrast to the losses posted by Nintendo, which were largely based on the 3DS price drop and the strength of the yen, SEGA Sammy attributes its losses to the devastating earthquake that struck Japan last March.
“Some uncertainty prevailed in the Japanese economy due to various impacts in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake that took place on March 11, 2011, including the concern for the availability of parts and materials and the struggle to cope with an expected prolonged shortage of electricity supply."
Since becoming a platform-agnostic third party, SEGA has struggled with updating its classic properties. Sonic, in particular, has been taken in truly bizarre directions -- especially his Warehog transformation in Sonic Unleashed. Sonic Generations is poised to finally deliver the Sonic game fans have demanded for years. Let's hope this is part of a new era in which SEGA treats all its legendary franchises (Phantasy Star, Shinobi, Shenmue and many more) with the care and respect they deserve.
Ranters, given SEGA's current financial situation, do you think they should re-consider developing more Classic Sonic games? What other classic SEGA properties are you ready to see revitalized on current consoles?
Sonic Generations releases November 1, 2011, for Xbox 360 and PS3, and November 22 , 2011, for 3DS.
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Source: Spong, Industry Gamers