Fans have done what Sega won't - clever-clogs modders have released a version of Sonic Unleashed for PC.
30th April 2009
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29th November 2008
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As Sonic celebrates his 20th anniversary, Sega West boss Mike Hayes has admitted to "making too many Sonic games", promising: "The development teams now know what they need to do" with future titles.
SEGA exec Alan Pritchard has revealed more about the company's plans to delist less-than-stellar Sonic games - suggesting the publisher may take a leaf out of an old rival's book.
SEGA has signed a three-year deal with Alton Towers, the UK's most popular theme park.
SEGA's Sean Ratcliffe has said that Sonic's "quality is something that will be fixed over time" after a string of unsuccessful attempts to restore the hedgehog to his 16-bit glory.
Scratchy Marvel superhero Wolverine is the growl of the town this week; the film launched on Wednesday and the game arrives tomorrow. There's a demo here to try out, and our review is poised, ready to strike. Hint: brutal but banal.
The other eye-catcher is the Steel & Titanium map pack for Killzone 2, adding an extra pair of multiplayer maps. The Cops and Robbers mode - does what it says on the tin - for Burnout Paradise might be worth a look, too. Expensive, though.
The rest is fairly run-of-the-mill. Incidentally, the Brain Challenge Bundle is a brain-teaser game plus add-on packs.
It's that time again. If the recent F.E.A.R. 2 and Street Fighter IV features did not sate your face-off needs adequately, we're back with the more traditional roundup format, boasting a six-strong set of releases that collectively sum up both the good and the bad of multiformat development as it stands right now. And this month's assortment adds a new meaning to the term 'cross-platform', as we get to see what PS2-era assets look like in a brand new PS3/360 game!
As per the norm, we've worked hard in bringing you the best-possible assets to show you how the games compare on both platforms: that'll be digitally lossless 24-bit full-range RGB grabs freshly and brutally culled from the HDMI ports of our PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Elite, and accompanying h264-encoded videos from the same sources. You all know the score by now - streaming video actually becomes relevant for the purpose here, by slowing down the video and zooming in on a section of the screen, with one pixel in the excellent Eurogamer video player equating to one pixel on your HDTV.
So, bearing in mind the additional title-specific coverage you've been enjoying of late, there's a somewhat pared-down roster this time, combining some of the most recent 2009 releases with a bunch of high-profile 2008 tail-enders that worked hard in avoiding our radar.
SEGA has released a Sonic Unleashed demo via Xbox Live Marketplace.
The UK all-formats chart has settled into a familiar rhythm after a helter-skelter November, with Call of Duty: World at War top of the pops once more.
Reviewing the Wii version of a multi-format release can be a thankless task. It's by far the leading format of this console generation, but too often Wii owners are palmed off with botched ports; games developed for the more powerful consoles crudely squashed into a Wii-shaped box, with half-hearted motion controls tacked on the side.
Every now and again, however, a game comes along where the Wii's limitations prove to be beneficial, highlighting just where the rush to bigger, shinier toys can lead developers astray, and Sonic Unleashed fits that bill. A flabby, meandering hybrid of various ill-fitting genres in its big-boy console incarnation, it's plagued by camera issues and an overly complicated structure that leaves the player shuttling between lifeless locations, trying to work out which level they need to tackle next and what they need to do to find it.
In adapting the game for the Wii, Sonic Team has been forced to drop or change most of the problematic elements from the 360 and PS3. The bloated and largely unnecessary adventure game trappings, for example, have gone, so there's no more wandering around rigid hub towns, triggering random conversations in search of clues. Instead you get a map of the town, and click on each area to see what the people within have to say. You can rattle through the exposition and actually start enjoying some gameplay in the same time it would take to initiate a pointless conversation in the other version.
I recently found myself having one of those conversations that always happen when people discover that I make my living sitting around in my pants, playing games. After the obligatory "you lucky sod" outburst, and the slight recoil at the mental image of me in my pants, sweaty joypad in hand, they asked what I was playing at the moment. "The new Sonic game," I replied. "Wow, is Sonic still going?" they asked, before adding "Oh yeah, he was in that Mario game on the Wii."
You really couldn't ask for a more potent example of how far Sonic's stock has fallen. From matching Mario sale-for-sale throughout the '90s, he's now almost forgotten by the outside world, remembered only through supporting roles in Wii games and the charity of his one-time rival. Let's face it, Mario Olympics probably would have flown off the shelves on its own merits. Sonic Olympics? Not so much.
The tragedy is that this slump in fortunes can't be blamed on changing market forces or fickle public tastes. SEGA has simply forgotten how to make the most of its mascot, and while Mario leapt into the modern era with the confident Mario 64, Sonic has been stumbling clumsily through the 3D era, carried along by the dissipating momentum of his glory years.
SEGA has told Eurogamer that the PS3 version of Sonic Unleashed has been pushed back to an unspecific date in December.
SEGA of America's marketing boss Sean Ratcliffe has (almost) conceded to GameDaily what the rest of the world has been shouting at him for some time: that Sonic games have been mostly terrible since the first couple.
SEGA has confirmed it will be helping out with Summer of Sonic, a special event being held in London this August.
"The Summer of Sonic is essentially a community get-together/convention
arranged by a number of Sonic fansites, such as The Sonic Stadium and
SEGA has whipped out its calendar and put dates alongside its upcoming titles, including Sonic Unleashed, which will be out this November. However, Aliens: Colonial Marines and Empire: Total War both fall into 2009.
Yoshihisa Hashimoto, lead designer on Sonic Unleashed, has said the game bears "no relation" to the poorly-recieved recent games in the series.
Sega has confirmed the leaks and backed up its lawyers by officially announcing its next major Sonic the Hedgehog title: Sonic Unleashed.
Sonic Unleashed is being developed by Sonic Team, and will be released late this year for Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2. It features "classic Sonic 2D gameplay" rendered by the all-new Hedgehog engine, which apparently excels at seamless 3D to 2D camera transitions. Observe them in the official, non-leaked, absolutely watertight video.
The engine's been under development for three years, with the intention of blending a next-generation look with classic Sonic gameplay mechanics. Purists rejoice. We certainly are: it looks lovely.
SEGA America lawyers have accidentally confirmed the existence of Sonic Unleashed.
The legal team wrote to US blog Kotaku ordering it to remove the leaked screenshots and trailer that appeared last week.
But Kotaku argued the assets are newsworthy and claimed no violation of SEGA's rights had occurred.
Get some hedge on your hog like Sonic.
SEGA has declined to comment on rumours there's a great big Sonic revival in the works.