Christian Whitehead went from creating his own Sonic levels in his bedroom to being one of the main devs behind Sonic Mania. Sonic Mania and Sonic Mania Plus have been extremely well received, showing that Whitehead really understand what makes Sonic tick. To get a bit more insight into that, Eurogamer talked to Whitehead.
"It's interesting with Sonic. There's a lot of different fans, and they all have different feelings on what Sonic is to them. So I can only use what my own personal feelings are for Sonic, and for me it's always been... Obviously the character itself has very appealing design, it's very iconic. For gameplay there are a lot of inspirations from pinball - all these outside elements - almost skateboarding, really, the idea of picking up speed as you roll down slopes. It's all these physics interactions.
The core premise of the game is really simple - it's just get to the end of the level and win - but there are so many different ways you can interact with the stages, picking up speed at certain angles, jumping off at certain angles. It's got a very playground feel. Going fast feels good - and at the time on the Mega Drive that was a very impressive technical feat - but also the freedom of gameplay, it's what appeals to me as a Sonic fan."