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SEGA defends 3D Sonic games

"It's hard to make everybody happy."

Sonic Team's Takashi Iizuka has told of the difficulty SEGA's experienced trying to please veteran Sonic fans with new Sonic games.

The producer of upcoming Sonic titles Sonic Colours and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 told Eurogamer making both old and new fans happy with a single game is virtually impossible.

So, SEGA's decided to split Sonic in two this year. Sonic 4, a download-only title due out later this year, is intended to rekindle the classic 2D gameplay fans fondly remember from the blue hedgehog's glory years on the Mega Drive.

And Sonic Colours, a Wii and DS title that plays like the daytime stages from 2008's panned Sonic Unleashed, is designed for fans of Sonic's 3D outings.

"The fundamentals of both games, the 3D Sonic or the 2D side-scrolling games, are the same," Iizuka said.

"Sonic is all about the speed and the platforming. It just comes down to how the gameplay differs when you're playing in 3D and 2D side-scrolling.

"I understand there are differences in the ways users interpret the 3D side than the fans who particularly like the 2D classic side of the game.

"This is why we're releasing two different types of Sonic games this year – to please the 2D classic fans who have been playing from the Genesis [Mega Drive]. Sonic 4 is more for those fans.

"There are also fans who like the 3D Sonic games, which have been released in the past couple of years. Sonic Colours is probably more for the users who appreciate the 3D side of Sonic."

SEGA's 3D Sonic games have come in for stinging criticism from veteran Sonic fans in recent years.

Sonic Unleashed disappointed many upon its 2008 release. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions managed a paltry 4/10 in Eurogamer's review. The Wii version was better, though.

The 3D woe continued last year with Wii-exclusive Sonic and the Black Knight, which suffered the same fate as Unleashed.

Iizuka said it was impossible to ignore the negative reaction to Sonic's recent outings.

"Those fans are not positive towards the recent 3D Sonic games because we've been releasing only 3D Sonic games in the past couple of years.

"It's hard to please both 2D and 3D fans at the same time, in the same title for instance.

"This is why the team decided to release two different types of Sonic games. It's always hard to dodge every negative perception or make everybody happy with just one title. So we're giving two options to the users.

"So, either way, you'll be pleased."

Eurogamer went hands-on with Sonic Colours in June. New screens are below.