SEGA teases more news on their Sonic racing title

Remember that teaser trailer for some Sonic-related racing project? Wondering when SEGA is going to share some more informtaion on that? Seems like we might be getting some tidbits soon. The following comes from SEGA PR and social media head, Aaron Webber.

A lot of you have been waiting for news and information, and you’re very curious about what that title was that we teased back at South by Southwest, and at least in the near future, you might be hearing some more news and information about that. So hey, that’s coming up. Get ready. It’s on the horizon.

Classic Sonic the Hedgehog interview reveals Sonic was originally a rabbit, discusses how Mario influenced Sonic's gameplay

The following snippets come from a classic interview with Yuji Naka, in which he discusses the creation of Sonic the Hedgehog. First up, he talks about how Sonic's original design was a rabbit.

I wrote up a memo that was basically a “next game I want to make” list, and showed it to my boss. But the one that caught his attention was the very last entry on the list, which said “an action game to challenge Mario”. (laughs) I tried to object, saying “Actually, I wrote them in order of which ones I want to do…” but he didn’t listen to me at all. (laughs) So we got started on the Sonic the Hedgehog development, with 3 or 4 members. In the beginning it was just a program where you moved a ball-like object around, then at some point it was a rabbit...but something felt very off about it. And ultimately we decided to give the character a somersault attack.

That idea actually came from a notebook I had in high school, scribbled there on the very last page. I figured I would use it when I quit Sega and went independent, but as we were making Sonic it was like, “well, I’ve got no choice, I guess I’ll have to use it now.” However, if a rabbit does a somersault attack, it’s just going to hurt itself, right? We thought it would be better to have some animal with a hard shell or spines. Two possibilities came up: an armadillo or a hedgehog, but the hedgehog won out because it was faster.

Naka also went on to discuss how the Super Mario Bros. series was a jumping point for what Sonic games would focus on.

I think Super Mario Bros. is a wonderful game, but if you play it everyday, you always have to start from stage 1-1, right? Once you get good and memorize the levels, you can just hold down the B button and run through the stage. But even then it just takes too long. With Sonic, I wanted to shorten that time if I could. My idea was that you’d progress slowly and carefully through the stages on your first playthroughs as you learned the enemy locations, but after you got used to it, you could really zoom straight through the levels. Unfortunately, everyone who playtested it just went full-speed from the very beginning. (laughs)

Sonic's creator, Yuji Naka, wanted to work at Nintendo after leaving SEGA

Yuji Naka departed SEGA shortly after bringing Sonic the Hedgehog into the world. What did he envision for his future? Believe it or not, he was really hoping he could land a job at Nintendo. In the interview snippet below, Naka details what he did after leaving SEGA.

When I was returning from Tokyo to my home in Osaka, I decided to go through the Nintendo headquarters in Kyoto. In fact, I wanted to see how long it would take to travel from Osaka to the Nintendo offices. (Laughter) However, when I stopped my car in the parking lot, a security guard came out and started to look at me suspiciously. I got scared and decided to go home. (Laughter) If that security guard had not been there, who knows how different my future could have been …! (Laughter)

While I was reading those books, I received a call from a third developer asking me if I could work for them. But the truth is that I was waiting for a call from Nintendo.

The reason I thought that was because a few months before I left Sega, I heard a story about another programmer from a great gaming company who had given up his job, and then Nintendo called him. I was like: “Wow, that could also happen to me!” (Laughter). Then, when I left Sega, I had the faint hope of receiving a call … but it never came. (Laughter) It was sad.

Sonic Mania Plus due out July 17th, 2018 - trailer, screens

Burbank, California — April 25, 2018 — Calling all Sonic fans! Today, SEGA® announced that Sonic Mania™ Plus, the definitive version of the critically acclaimed platformer Sonic Mania, will release on July 17, 2018 in North America and European markets. Fans can now pre-order the game digitally for Sony PlayStation®4, Microsoft Xbox® One, and Nintendo Switch™ from first party stores and at participating retailers.

Sonic Mania Plus builds off the momentum of one of the best platform games of 2017, Sonic Mania, introducing two new playable characters from past Sonic games, Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel and an Encore mode that will provide a fresh look to familiar zones with new challenges and layouts for new and veteran players alike. Competition and Time Attack modes will receive an update allowing four player competitions, and ghost challenges for time trials. This content packaged in an all-new physical edition which will come with a 32-page collector’s artbook, a reversible SEGA Mega Drive cover, and holographic packaging.

For all those who purchased the original digital version of Sonic Mania on consoles and PC, an Encore DLC pack will be available for sale at £3.99/$4.99 via Steam and first party stores on July 17, 2018 to upgrade to Sonic Mania Plus.

Thanks to Sligeach_eire for the heads up!

Got comments and requests for SEGA Ages? Reach out to SEGA on social media!

There are a lot of opinions flying around about SEGA Ages, with fans requesting games and making suggestions for features. If you're really passionate about these ideas, you should take the time to reach out to SEGA through official social media channels. Think that's a waste of time and SEGA isn't listening? Sam Mullen at SEGA/Atlus says that's not the case at all. In a Resetera thread where the idea was brought up of reaching out to SEGA on social media, Mullen replied by saying, "Yes, I agree....do those things."

Thanks to ReyVGM for the heads up!

Phantasy Star Online 2 Cloud getting Persona collab content

SEGA had a number of reveals to share at SEGA Fes 2018, and one of them pertained to Phantasy Star Online 2 Cloud. The company has revealed a collaboration with both Persona 3: Dancing Moonnight and Persona 5: Dancing Starnight. The content is expect to launch sometime in June 2018. This collab will include avatar items, and dancing Lobby Actions from the main cast, as well as a Music LIVE event at a future date.

SEGA Ages lineup to include Saturn and Dreamcast games if the initial titles are successful

As of right now, we know that 15 titles are being included in the SEGA Ages lineup. We don't know what all those titles are, but they will be revealed as we get closer to Summer. Today we learn that lineup could expand if the initial batch of titles is successful. SEGA has said they'd like to expand the library of games to both Saturn and Dreamcast titles, but they'll need to see consumer support from the first handful of titles before moving ahead on that.

Thunder Force IV - a few off-screen pics

As part of SEGA Fes, SEGA announced that a SEGA Ages lineup was coming to the Switch. Included in that grouping of games was Thunder Force IV, which was on-hand at the event to check out. Thunder Force IV, as well as other titles in the SEGA Ages lineup, will start hitting Switch this Summer.

Thanks to TheDreamingHawk for the heads up!

SEGA releasing Genesis Mini in 2018

Hmmm...where have I seen this idea before?! SEGA has confirmed that they'll be releasing a SEGA Mini sometime this year. SEGA didn't reveal what will be included on the hardware, but it'll likely be along the lines of what we've seen on the NES and SNES Classic. The device is being created by AtGames Flashback Zone.

SEGA Fes 2018 - live-stream schedule

April 14

B1F Stage

10:30 to 11:00 – Thanks to All Sega Fans: Sega Fan Meet-Up 2018 (YouTube, Niconico, Twitch) – An event where Sega will thank all of its fans. Sega Holdings chairman, executive director, and CEO Hajime Satomi will appear to announce the opening of Sega Fes 2018, as well as make it a place where several “answers” can be shown in response to the passion and expectations of all the Sega fans.

11:30 to 12:30 – Border Break for PlayStation 4 New Information Announcement Stage (YouTube, Niconico, Twitch) – The appeal and latest information on the PlayStation 4 version of Border Break. Additionally, there will be answers to various questions that were collected during the open beta test. Presenters include Seiji Aoki (producer) and You Momotani (director). Misuzu Araki will MC. Guests include Yuu Serizawa, Madoka Asahina, Kanako Takatsuki, Koyomi, and Kaname*.

13:00 to 14:00 – Soul Reverse Zero Stage (YouTube, Niconico, Twitch) – The first reveal of information about the second part of the story scheduled to be implemented this spring, as well as new collaboration-related information, a public post-recording corner, and gameplay. There will also be postcard presents with serial codes attached for attendees. Presenters include Norikazu Hirai (Soul Reverse Zero producer). Guests include voice actors Nanami Yamashita, Yuuki Yonai, and Saki Minami.

15:00 to 16:15 – Readyyy! Golden Stage Vol. 0: Our Official Start! (YouTube, Niconico, Twitch) – In addition to all 18 newcomer cast members, and MCs Masaya Matsukaze and Yohei Azakami, this stage event will debut previously unannounced game information, and 10 songs will be performed live. Guests include voice actors Tetsuei Sumiya, Norihito Hase, Hayato Komiya, Jun Endo, Noriaki Kanze, Ryuichi Sawada, Tomohiro Ohmachi, Hattori Sonosuke, Shuichiro Umeda, Haruto Kuroki, Issei Furuta, Shun Yasuda, Taiki Bito, Shuma Konoe, Masamu Ono, Katsuyuki Miura, Yuuki Sakakihara, and Fumiya Tanaka.

17:00 to 18:00 – Sonic DJ Live (YouTube, Niconico, Twitch) – A Sonic the Hedgehog music-only DJ concert featuring series sound director Tomoya Ohtani. The first half will be focused on DJing, while the second half will feature guest vocalist Jon Underdown.

1F Live Stream Booth

10:00 to 10:30 – Opening (YouTube, Periscope)

10:30 to 11:00 – Merchandise and Attractions Overview (YouTube, Periscope) – An overview of the items on sale at Sega Fes, as well as attractions such as the Big UFO Catcher, Gigantic Mega Drive Controller, and more.

11:20 to 11:40 – Ange Vierge: Girls Battle (YouTube, Periscope) – Featuring guests Yuuka Aisaka and Yoshiko Ikuta, this stage will deliver information on the “Progress Popularity Poll” currently going on in the game, as well as the “All Circle Summit Showdown E.V.E.” Additionally, there will be advanced release information during the booth live stream.

11:40 to 12:00 – Chain Chronicle Official Broadcast in Akihabara at Sega Fes 2018 (YouTube, Periscope) – Yurika Takagi, who voices Alice in Chain Chronicle, will take on an official broadcast-exclusive mission with a party formed of Sakura Wars, Shining series, Valkyria Chronicles, and Sega Hardware Girls characters. If she succeeds, viewers will get five SR characters as a present. There will also be information on the second half of Chapter 7.

12:00 to 12:20 – Let’s Create a Pro Soccer Club Tsukurou! Road to World (YouTube, Periscope) – A full overview of the currently in-development Sakatsuku: Road to the World with guest and former soccer player Tatsuhiko Kubo, who also appears in the game. Presenters include producer Riichiirou Yamada.

13:20 to 15:00 – Sega Information Station (YouTube, Periscope) – Various information from each company within Sega Group with developments and guests.

15:30 to 17:30 – Phantasy Star Online 2 DFG Sega Fes Official Broadcast (YouTube, Periscope) – At the Phantasy Star Online 2 live stream and event, the three members of the Dark Farce Girls (DFG) will play the newly launched Phantasy Star Online 2 Cloud for Switch. Featuring Dark Farce Girls Marika Kouno, Riko Kohara, and Yurika Takagi.

18:00 to 18:30 – Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night / Persona 5: Dancing Star Night (YouTube, Periscope) – Atlus producer Kazuhisa Wada introduces Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night / Persona 5: Dancing Star Night, which is playable at Sega Fes 2018.

18:30 to 19:00 – Ending (YouTube, Periscope)

April 15

B1F Stage

10:30 to 12:30 – Puyo Puyo Championship at Sega Fes 2018 (YouTube, Niconico, Twitch) – The first tournament of Puyo Puyo series’ Japan e-Sports Pro License players with a grand prize of one million yen. Featuring Puyo Puyo series general producer Mizuki Hosoyamada and guest Teiichirou Sunagawa of Yofukashi no Kai.

13:00 to 14:00 – Dx2 Shin Megami Tensei: Liberation Stage (YouTube, Niconico, Twitch) – The latest news on future updates and the augmented reality functionality that was previously announced. Featuring protagonist voice actor Yuuki Ono, freelance writer Mafia Kajita, and cosplayer Rochelle Kashou as a Pixie. Chief producer Riichirou Yamada will also be present.

14:30 to 16:30 – Phantasy Star Online 2 Station! Sega Fes 2018 Special (YouTube, Niconico, Twitch) – The official broadcast for the latest information on the online RPG Phantasy Star Online 2, this time hosted at Sega Fes 2018. In addition to MC Ayaka Suwa and Nasu Nakanishi, Claris Claes voice actres Aoi Yuuki will also be featured. Presenters include Phantasy Star Online 2 sreies producer Satoshi Sakai and series director Yuuya Kimura.

17:00 to 18:00 – Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night / Persona 5: Dancing Star Night and Persona 5 the Animation Special Stage (YouTube, Niconico, Twitch) – A talk show featuring voice actors Jun Fukuyama (Protagonist / Ren Amamiya) and Aoi Yuuki (Futaba Sakura) as guests, and a mini-concert featuring vocalist Lyn. Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night and Persona 5: Dancing Star Night producer Kazuhisa Wada will also be featured.

1F Live Stream Booth

10:00 to 10:30 – Opening (YouTube, Periscope)

10:00 to 11:00 – Merchandise and Attractions Overview (YouTube, Periscope) – An overview of the items on sale at Sega Fes, as well as attractions such as the Big UFO Catcher, Gigantic Mega Drive Controller, and more.

11:00 to 11:50 – Soul Reverse Stage: Soul Reverse Time!! at Sega Fes 2018 (YouTube, Periscope) – The official broadcast of the new arcade game Soul Reverse, this time at Sega Fes 2018. Live gameplay from writer Bunbun Maru and gamer talent Riran with producer Sakai.

12:10 to 13:00 – Star Horse Pocket (YouTube, Periscope) – Using the improved simulation races of the late April-due version update, the April 15 “GI Satsuki Sho” will be predicted. Future event information will also be announced. Presenters include director Yoshihiro Okabayashi and image character Hihin Maru. Voice actress Ayaka Imamura will MC the event.

13:00 to 13:30 – Kyoutou Kotoba RPG Kotodaman (YouTube, Periscope) – The latest information on Kotodaman ahead of its official service launch on April 16. Additionally, live gameplay of the final version with all the character voices included. Presenters include producer Taira Nakamura and assistant producer Nomekata, and guest voice actress Mami Yamashita.
13:30 to 15:10 – Sega Information Station (YouTube, Periscope) – Various information from each company within Sega Group with developments and guests.

15:40 to 16:20 – Classic Game Stage (YouTube, Periscope) – An introduction to various initiatives related to Sega’s classic games while looking back on a variety of titles with MC8bit and M2’s Naoki Horii. There will also be many new announcements. Presenters include Sega Games’ Kagasei Shimomura and Yosuke Okunari.

16:50 to 17:30 – Valkyria Chronicles 4 (YouTube, Periscope) – Live gameplay of the “Two Valkyrias” downloadable content for the PlayStation 4 version of Valkyria Chronicles 4, which is available now, as well as additional new information on the Switch version. Featuring producer Kei Mikami. Singer and novelist Hashiyan Kosaka will MC the event.

17:30 to 18:00 – Ending (YouTube, Periscope)