As you know, I am a dyed-in-the-wool Sonic fan. The new Nintendo trailer for Sonic Mania, therefore, has made me so stoked that I actually used the word “stoked.”
The Ultimate Celebration
Sonic Mania promises to be “the ultimate celebration” of everything about Sonic. In short, it promises to be the successor to the Genesis tetralogy that Sonic 4 wasn’t. Sonic Mania offers a re-imagining of classic zones. For example, the classic Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1 is here, but with new pathways. At the same time, this is not merely an indulgent rehash. Unlike Sonic Generations, which focused exclusively on the past, Sonic Mania offers new zones too. The trailer shows the new Studiopolis Zone, a media-themed zone. Sonic can teleport through satellite transmitters. Doctor Robotnik is in old-timey movie reels in the background. Sonic can bounce around in a giant popcorn maker. With Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as playable characters, Sonic Mania pledges itself to hit every nostalgic note of the 16-bit era.
Of course, promises are one thing and fulfillment is another. Sonic Mania has a tall order: be the Sonic 4 everyone wants. Not even Nintendo had the temerity to name any of the more recent 2D Mario games “Super Mario Bros. 4,” so Sonic 4‘s failure to live up to the standards of its numerical predecessors was a tremendous let-down for the fans. Sega wisely broadcast the name of Christian Whitehead up front in the trailer. Whitehead is the technical mastermind behind the celebrated ports of the Genesis games to Steam, Android, and iOS in the past few years. The name “Sonic Team” is also conspicuously absent from the trailer. Sonic Team has had a mixed reputation lately, so giving a project of this magnitude to developers other than Sonic Team will ensure greater confidence from the start.
At the end of the day, will Sonic Mania be the game fans want? Will it live up to the hype? Personally, I think this is the most promising entry in the Sonic franchise since Sonic Generations. Don’t just take my word for it, though. Check out Nintendo’s official Sonic Mania trailer here and tell us what you think!
Sonic Mania will be available for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch in Spring 2017.