Yesterday, it was released in a Gamespot Q&A with Ken Ballough (Sega’s associate brand manager) that Sonic the Hedgehog would be featured in a brand new 2D game. Dubbed currently as ‘Needlemouse’ (one of Sonic’s earliest codenames during his initial development), it's meant to ‘take him back to his roots’ sometime next year. I’m already casting wild doubt on this though. Why is that exactly? Well…
Sega has let many of us down far too much and now that they’re finally ‘listening’ so much as to acknowledge this game’s mere existence, I’m a little more than suspicious. Superficially, it is great news and I hope everything following the teaser is as optimistic as the feedback, but what Sega basically just did is stand up in front of Alcoholics Anonymous and admit they have problem. It’s a double-edged blade and I can only clap at that for so long before questioning whether they’ll go right back to the bottle. The teaser as well as the Q&A session made it pretty clear that they’re acknowledging Sonic’s stance in 2D as a bit of a big deal. My take on this is lukewarm at best, since seeing ‘in an all new 2D adventure’ flash across the screen is nearly a shameless grope to the nostalgia boner in all of us. It’s like a butler walking up to a starving person in the desert and handing them an eight course meal. I’d personally rather starve than blindly jump right into eating what could be anything.
We also have to wonder just what kind of game will this be? If it’s just Sonic the Hedgehog 2 re-skinned, is that necessarily a bad thing? Ballough made it a point to recognize the fundamentals of what made the old titles so memorable, but nobody will admit that Sonic had problems back then as well; they’ll be too damn excited at this news to care. Sonic wasn’t Mario and finding some way to move his formula along is a dangerous task, so I can only imagine them logically seeking to get away with making a ‘safe’ Sonic the Hedgehog 4 at best.
Should little visual touchstones be offered up as bullet points for us to become interested? Saying HD and 2D is one thing, but expecting them to carry more weight than necessary is something I’d be more inclined to wonder about. Personally, I can’t say I much care about the HD trip everyone hasn’t gotten themselves in with our latest batch of consoles. That basically means them touting it was lost on me the second it was mentioned. If anything, I’ll be wondering how much of a pain in the ass the text will be now.
What we’ve heard and seen so far have only been from a brand manager and twenty-six second teaser. What was stated speaks as much to that man’s own job as it does to the relevance of what ‘keeping Sonic’s essence’ actually entails. How is it unreasonable to state that at this point, that fans may have more of a grasp on that than Sega?; which brings me back to the beginning of the article, since they’re pretty much obeying the demand for a 2D game in the first place (which fans such as myself have been demanding for years now).
Yes, it’s spiteful and cynical on my part, but I’d much rather be proven wrong here. I really hope I’m dead wrong. So Sega, if you have the balls for that, I welcome it. A really sick irony here is that while I was willing to put up with all of those ‘questionable titles’ over the years, the first inkling of one I’d actually like to see is met with nothing but doubt on my part.
Go laugh at that...