From The Guardian…
Exciting news for Sonic fans as Sega yesterday revealed that the beloved blue hedgehog will be returning to a 2D environment in a new release next year.
The game, which has the development codename ‘Project Needlemouse’, will satisfy the clamouring of the thousands (okay, maybe hundreds) of fans disappointed by Sonic’s 3D outings such as Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast and the more recent Sonic Unleashed, released last year.
The news was confirmed by Sega associate brand manager Ken Balough, speaking to Gamespot, who said:
“Old-school Sonic fans have long asked to see Sonic return to a more 2D style of gameplay. Many liked the daytime stages in Unleashed but wanted to see a game that plays purely similar to the early games of the Genesis. Project Needlemouse is that critical first step that brings Sonic back to his 2D roots.”
The full interview can be read here. There’s also a Needlemouse website floating around featuring some decidedly Sonic-looking landscapes, though the disclaimer running along the bottom suggests this is the work of a designer looking to flaunt his wares rather than an oblique marketing strategy on Sega’s behalf.
Sonic’s first outing was in the 1991 MegaDrive release Sonic the Hedgehog, which wowed gamers with its speed and frenetic gameplay. The fact that I’ve played Sonic 2 in only the last couple of months suggests that there’s definitely a market for more of the same.
Xbox Arcade and WiiWare have revived interest in the retro gaming market in recent years, and made developers realise that there’s still money to be made in playing up to gamers’ nostaligia. But this announcement is partly a reflection of Sega’s failure to make Sonic ‘work’ in 3D. Sonic fans have never had a Mario 64 or Mario Galaxy – a great 3D game worthy of such an iconic character – and Needlemouse makes it look even less likely that ever that they will.
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And in toy news, we’ve just gotten the latest batch of Sonic the Hedgehog toys from Jazwares. Sega may have dropped out of the console race, but they haven’t stopped working on games or on building their most beloved franchise, which has meant that merchandising for Sonic games has managed to hit a high despite an age of nearly twenty years.
You can check ’em out over at our website in the Sonic section!