The jump to 3D hasnít been all that nice to the Sonic franchise. For better, or mostly worse, the series' 3D iterations really havenít blossomed. This, of course, has led to several tweaks to the formula, leading to a series that has seemingly lost its focus. Still, the blue blur has managed to endure and is still a strong showing (thanks mostly to successful hand-held versions). With this is mind, Sega is readying yet another Sonic game, this time with less focus on gimmicks and more attention paid to what made it such a memorable game in the first place.
The core focus with the next-gen Sonic the Hedgehog is bringing back the seriesí feel while also taking advantage of the power offered with next-generation systems like the PS3 and Xbox 360.
The first step to recapturing Sonicís appeal (older gamers will remember him as being the ďhipĒ mascot) is a new look. His latest adventure finds him in a more realistic city setting. In addition, Sonic has also received a bit of a makeover, and now sports more realistic proportions. Sonic is now taller and built much sleeker than in past games.
Looks aside, Sonic Team is putting more of its focus on gameplay. Levels will be somewhat reminiscent of those found in Sonic Adventure, with the goal of each level being to go forward as quickly as possible. However, levels will be much more open to exploration, offering different paths for each level. Familiar objects like rings, bumpers and rails will make a return. Several of Sonicís signature moves are also returning, and will be joined by a new skid attack.
While other areas are receiving changes, the gameís basic premise is still the same. The game is set in the town of Soleanna, where the townís young princess guards a deep secret that could affect the entire world. Upon discovering this, Eggman sets out to capture the princess Ė setting Sonic into action as he goes to rescue her. Of course, there are complications as a white hedgehog has also shown up in town and is looking for Sonic.
Sonic Team is still keeping some things under wraps, but based on an early look of things, this might just be Sonicís triumphant return.
Look for Sonic the Hedgehog later this year on Xbox 360 and PS3.