Sonic Superstars

A new 2D Sonic game (using 3D models) was announced recently: Sonic Superstars.

Initial impressions: this actually looks good and could well be the continuation of the 2D Sonic series many us were hoping for. Here’s a comparison of the momentum with the 2D games - looks quite spot on:

But of course, with this franchise we should be skeptical.

10 minute gameplay video:

Hopefully the music is just a placeholder, but overall this looks really promising and a big improvement over other attempts to revive 2D Sonic (such as Sonic 4 and Generations/Forces).

Also, a major thing to note:

The co-developer of this game is a game studio called Arzest.

" It was formed on June 25, 2010 by key members of Artoon, which was also founded by Executive Vice President Naoto Ohshima, best known as the character designer of Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as his nemesis Dr. Eggman."

Arzest was also founded by key Artoon and Sega members who worked on the Panzer Dragoon series.

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Oshima’s experience with classic 2D Sonic:

“Ohshima is best known as the creator of Sonic’s character design, but Iizuma said few people know that he actually designed many levels too. What Ohshima-san really brings is his classic Sonic experience, having worked on Sonic 1 and Sonic CD. He has an understanding of how to make a true classic Sonic game.”

“A lot of people think Ohshima-san just came in and thought what Sonic would look like, drew the character and that was it. But he was also doing level design on Sonic 1 in addition to drawing and creating the character. So he has that experience of making a Sonic game because he did level design for the original game.”

Concerning the games music:

“But there are three people; myself, Ohshima-san and the third is Jun Senoue at Sega, who did music for Sonic 3 back in the day. He is also participating in the development of Sonic Superstars. Jun is the music director on the game and is really focused on making it sound like a classic game."

“But obviously he’s not sat around creating all this music himself: he’s working with internal teams at Sega to create music in that classic Sonic vibe and he’s also working on some external teams such as Tee Lopes who helped out on Sonic Mania.”


Some new info:

Each Emerald will have a unique power you can use throughout the levels, once you acquire them.

They are going to play around with the 3D perspective throughout the levels and bosses.

There are 3 main villains, Fang, Trip and Eggman.

There will be all new levels no old levels are returning.

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Some new info coming from a Game Informer article on Sonic Superstars:

Zone names: (There will be 12 Zones Total) 7 of them are as follows:

Bridge Island
Speed Jungle
Sky Temple
Carnival Pinball
Lagoon City
Sand Sanctuary
Press Factory

Sky Temple will be a one act zone that will be 9 minutes long!

There will be character specific optional acts or instances to some zones. For example with Sonic, Fang will chase him through the entire act 2 of the Zone.

Emerald Powers:

Avatar: Multiple Sonics/Amy/Knuckles/Tails run across the screen doing damage.
Bullet: Shoot across the screen in multiple directions.
Water: Swim up waterfalls and under water.
Ivy: I vine grows upwards to find hidden items/Emblems.
Vision: Turn this on to make hidden rings, items and platforms appear
Slow: Slows down time.
Extra: Character specific moves. Sonic gets a Homing attack, Tails gets a tornado move, Knuckles gets a punch move and Amy geta a hammer throw move.
All Emeralds: Will give you Super Sonic and Super versions of all characters as expected.

Character Customization:

Apparently, we can turn on alternate character skins as well as different clothing items for head, body, legs and arms!

Hub World:

The game will have a hub world where you can move around and select the stages. Maybe the game will have missions as well?

Info on why Sonic Mania 2 was never made and it’s not because of bad blood between Whitehead and Sega:

“There was a period after the development of Sonic Mania when we worked with them to consider concepts for the next generation of Classic Sonic,” Iizuka says. “It’s too bad that it didn’t become a finished game. Still, I’m pleased that the next generation of Classic Sonic that we talked about with them has been achieved with Superstars.”

“When we started Evening Star, it was always our goal to move beyond 2D pixel art into 3D games, and develop all-new, original IP,” he says. “Evening Star did work with Sega to explore possible directions Classic Sonic could go after the success of Sonic Mania. Sonic Mania 2 was never in development, though, because we actually agreed early on that we should try to make something fresh, like hand-drawn 2D or 2.5D. At the same time, Evening Star was developing our new Star Engine, so we also ended up making a cool Sonic prototype that played with depth in 2.5D, and some other gameplay ideas.”

  • Following those initial planning sessions and a mutual decision to not proceed with development, Evening Star began work on Penny’s Big Breakaway. “As Iizuka-san said, though, [Evening Star] did not continue to full production on the game, at which point Arzest took the helm and made Superstars alongside Sonic Team,” Whitehead says. “We moved forward with our plans to develop an original 3D title, which is, of course, Penny’s Big Breakaway! Superstars looks awesome and our team is really excited to play it when it comes out.”*

  • Whitehead also dashed away one of the big points of speculation among Sonic fans: that Sonic Mania 2 falling through was the result of bad blood between Sega and members of Evening Star. “Contrary to any rumors, we maintain a friendly relationship with Sega and hope fans are pumped to play both games once they release,” he says.*

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