2017 could so easily have been the Year of the Hedgehog thanks to the arrival of two high-profile Sonic releases. It goes without saying that Sonic Mania is something truly special, a brilliant return to classic 2D platforming for the franchise - but on the 3D side of things, Sega came up short. Sonic Forces was a disappointment, a real shame bearing in mind just how good Sonic Generations was - especially on PC. The game has aged remarkably well, has exceptional modding support and runs well and looks wonderful at full 4K on GTX 970-level hardware.
Why are Sonic's eyes green in Sonic Adventure, the franchise's first serious crack at a fully 3D polygonal platformer? It turns out there's a lovely little story behind that. Ristar creator Yuji Uekawa was the man tasked with revamping Sega's mascot for his debut on Dreamcast. Some of his decisions were practical: shrinking Sonic's enormous, swept-back skull and elongating his limbs, for instance, so that he doesn't look like a fuzzy joystick when viewed from the rear. Others were a touch more poetic. "He is always seeing these green pastures around him, like in Green Hill Zone," Uekawa explains in an interview conducted for Sega's 25th anniversary artbook. "I thought it would be nice to reflect that in his eyes."
It's Sonic's 20th birthday, and Sega has given him the best gift possible to celebrate. Sonic Generations will be, for many, the best turn that the hedgehog's put in for years, blending the 3D acrobatics of Sonic Colours and the more retrograde 2D thrills of Sonic 4 - and indeed the three other numbered Sonic games that preceded it.
Given the number of delightful oddities that came out of Japan when the DS first launched, it's been rather sad to see such a conservative first wave of 3DS software. With that in mind, not to mention the relative paucity of announcements at E3 a few months back, this year's Tokyo Games Show was an important week for the handheld. Would developers finally step up with some serious support for the system, or would the industry place all its chips on Vita?