The upcoming Sonic Mania [official site] is a fascinating idea: an official Sonic game in the ’90s Sonic style, made by fans from the Sonic community out of bits of old Sonic games and some new parts of their own. Unexpected! You can see how that’s coming on in a new five-minute commentated gameplay video, which whizzes through Mania’s reworked Green Hill Zone to show off new areas, new style, and new abilities. See:
We watch a familiar level become unfamiliar, spy some nice added background detail, witness the beating of one boss, see Sonic’s flame shield torch those gittish rotating spike bridges, and hear about Sonic’s new Drop Dash move which, if he doesn’t have a shield active, “allows him to Spin Dash as soon as he hits the ground following a jump.”
Sonic Mania builds on Sonic, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and Sonic CD by taking bits and pieces from each and putting them together in new ways, complete with new stages and enemies of the devs’ own creation. It’s kinda old Sonic, but not. And now runs at 60fps too.
How much do I want a new Sonic? I don’t know. I see speed and colours and exciting backdrops and I want it. Then I look away and memories of garbage like Sonic 2006 and Sonic Boom come back, and I wonder if Sega have managed to ruin the idea of Sonic for me. Then I look back and ah, I want to believe in Sonic Mania.
The game is due out some time this spring. It’s made by PagodaWest Games with Christian Whitehead and Headcannon. Those last two chaps are long-time chums of Sonic, having made fangames and sanctioned remakes before. Sega letting them make an official new Sonic is pretty dang neat.