It’s no secret that Sonic zealots have been split firmly down the middle for the last 15 years or so. While almost all of them recognize the Sega mascot’s original four Genesis releases as bona fide classics, that’s where all too many are willing to draw the line.
For some, Sonic’s recent 3D adventures, from Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast right through to the almost universally panned Sonic Unleashed back in 2008, have signaled the continued and catastrophic demise of the speedy one.
Meanwhile, fans all over the globe have been clamoring for the re-release of the aforementioned 2D titles across a bevy of formats, the success of the original Sonic the Hedgehog on iPhone last year no doubt a reaction, in part, to the renewed appetite of fans.
The other response has been the revelation that Sega’s “Project Needlemouse” is, in fact, Sonic the Hedgehog 4, a direct followup to 1994′s Sonic & Knuckles. The fresh element of this story is the news that, as well as being in development for XBLA, PSN and WiiWare, an iPhone version is also in the works.
Sonic fans over at Sonic Stadium have uncovered an image hidden on the game’s official website that puts to bed the original mystery of what the fourth, previously unannounced, format targeted for release would be. According to the site, not only is iPhone in line for Sonic the Hedgehog 4, it’ll also be with us this July.
It’s something of a coup for Apple, Sonic having traditionally being tied primarily to Nintendo formats since Sega pulled out of the console business, with numerous releases hitting both Game Boy Advance and DS over the years. Perhaps due to its digital download nature, it’s the iPhone and not DS, or even PSP, that has been chosen to welcome 2D Sonic back into the fold.
Details as to just what will be included in Sonic 4 are still sparse, although it is known the game will be delivered in set episodes and that Sonic will be able to utilize a brand new homing attack move.
“Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I features the classic Sonic gameplay style that the community has been asking for since Sonic and Knuckles,’ commented Sean Ratcliffe, VP of marketing at Sega of America.
“Thanks to emerging technologies, we are able to create all-new stunning Sonic worlds combined with Genesis-era Sonic gameplay and make it downloadable across multiple platforms.”
Expect more on this over the coming months as the hype builds, but until then, check out Sega’s rather awesome, if brief, sneak preview.