Why Sonic Mania is So Important to Sega

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

Why Sonic Mania is So Important to Sega

Admittedly, when I first heard about Sonic Mania, I rolled my eyes sufficiently hard that they landed in the next room. It's not pleasant fishing your eyes out of the kitchen sink. A bit of hyperbole, yes, but the eye-rolling was still very much a thing. Out at Comic-Con, Sega showed off a pair of new Sonic games, and some believe that Sonic Mania--the 2D side-scroller--would actually be the more important of the duo.

Sonic Mania looks a lot like what Sonic games used to look like, down to zones and acts and everything else. The new version looked a lot like the old version, down to the vaguely pixellated graphics that look a lot like the old version. However, several key new twists came into play, like some modification of the older levels, as well as some completely new levels and play mechanics, like walking into a truck that turned you into rings of energy before firing you toward a receiving station elsewhere, essentially a teleporter. Throw in the fact that you could not only play as Sonic and Tails but also Knuckles and the end result was an eye-opener.

Reaction to the trailer on YouTube was mostly positive, though some of it of the backhanded variety--one commenter noted that Sega had "...screwed up so hard that they had to remake games that were actually good...", a bit uncharitable, but not necessarily invalid.

Sega also showed off Project Sonic 2017, which got much less positive reaction, with many commenters seemingly afraid that this would join the list of terrible Sonic games out there that's been in the making since sometime around the Dreamcast era. That's a big part of what makes Sonic Mania so important; if Project Sonic 2017 screws things up, very little is lost. A game no one really expected to succeed anyway fails to succeed; congratulations, we saw this coming, what else is on? But if Sega drops the ball with Sonic Mania, that's nostalgia it's messing with, and if it ever seems like Sony is retroactively bungling Sonic games, that might well kill the franchise in the end.

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. I enjoy a little romp down memory lane before bed myself, which works to relax me. Screw with that nostalgia, meanwhile, and you run the risk of turning an entire market against your product.

Only spring 2017's arrival will tell the story on how this goes, but the good news is that as long as it's not a complete disaster, Sega may have a win with a Sonic game for the first time in a while.

Featured Events