My optimism about Sonic Mania and the hitherto-named Project Sonic 2017 grows. Project Sonic 2017 is now known as Sonic Forces. Let’s talk about the latest updates on the Blue Blur.
First, the bad news. At SXSW, a conference for the entertainment industries, Sonic Team announced a delay in the greatly-anticipated Sonic Mania. According to Takashi Iizuka, head of Sonic Team, the developers want to make a quality product, and that will take more time. That’s just fine; no one wants to rush something that looks so promising. Personally, I find it amusing that Sonic Team is making that statement even though a totally different developer is doing the grunt work on Sonic Mania, but why complain? After all, the good news is that we have a new spot of gameplay to behold.
Fans of Sonic 3 & Knuckles will immediately remember Doctor Robotnik’s great battleship, the Flying Battery. Well, now it is making its grand reappearance in Sonic Mania. The iconic music, look, and feel of the Flying Battery are all here. One could be forgiven for thinking it looks like a point-for-point remake of the original. However, one can see clear signs of new life in the old battleship. Most tellingly, broken and discarded scrap seems to appear in different places. Sonic even falls into a huge heap of Robotnik’s old junk at the end of the video. If you haven’t already, you should check it out below.
Until just the other day, this game was still operating under the title “Project Sonic 2017.” Now, we have a new title and new gameplay footage. We know that Sonic Team will reuse the classic Sonic/modern Sonic motif from Sonic Generations. This gameplay footage shows off modern Sonic at work. Promisingly, Sonic Forces looks to be taking its gameplay cues from Generations. Obviously, this choice is the only wise one Sonic Team could make. Hopefully, the remarkable flop of the Sonic Boom games has demonstrated how ill-conceived they were.
As for the video itself, what first strikes me is how much better-looking it is than Sonic’s recent outings. Immediately, the unrefined background art of Sonic Unleashed for the Wii comes to mind as a reference point. Happily, Sonic Forces seems to have polished its visual style across the board. The level of detail is breathtaking for a Sonic game. Also of import is the fact that Sonic Forces has ditched the slow, clunky feel of Sonic Lost World, another title doomed to oblivion. Lost World‘s frankly bewildering mistake of foregoing the fundamental rule – gotta go fast – has not been repeated here. Smooth camerawork and constant, speedy progression reign here, much to my delight. The music is honestly a little forgettable for my tastes, but I know I’m probably in the minority here. Overall, Sonic Forces shows promise. Check out the video here.
Who else is excited for a Sonic revival this year?