Sonic 4 Episode 2 release date for 2012

"It was always the plan," says Sonic Team.

The second episode of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 won't be launching until 2012 - well over a year after the first installment of SEGA's episodic series launched in 2010.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4, as its name suggests, was slated as a return to Sonic's 2D roots. Its first episode proved successful, bagging a coveted Eurogamer 9 in October last year. "In short, this is the game SEGA should have made 15 years ago," said Ellie of the game.

With Sonic busy stuffing his face with cake while he celebrates his 20th anniversary this year - and while he also busies himself with the promising looking Generations, a medley of the SEGA mascot's finest moments - the next episode is set to release sometime next year.

"This year, 2011, is the anniversary, so we're focusing on the celebration title," Sonic Team's Takashi Iikuza told Eurogamer, "But moving forward to 2012, Sonic will still be going, so I'd hope to provide Episode 2 then."

Going the episodic route is normally an indication that there'll be a quicker turnaround than there is in a normal sequel cycle - so was it always the intention to have such an extended hiatus for Sonic 4?

"It was always the plan," said Iizuka, "We knew about the anniversary year, and Generations was planned way in advance. It was always our plan to release Episode 2 after Generations."

Valve found itself in a similar situation when it opted for an episodic route for its Half Life 2 successors - and it looks as if the chances of a third Sonic the Hedgehog 4 episode are as slim as seeing an imminent return from Gordon Freeman.

"We can't say if there's going to be Episode 3 or not," Iizuka said when asked if there would be such a long wait between the second and third takes on Sonic the Hedgehog 4.

SEGA was unable to comment on when the new episode would be released, or whether it would be the last we'd see of Sonic 4.

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