For quite a while, there has been rumors flying around that Project Needlemouse would be Sonic 4. SEGA posted a countdown from day to day until it was unveiled that Needlemouse is indeed Sonic 4. But not just straight up “Sonic 4,” its going back to its roots by using the full “Sonic The Hedgehog” moniker. For many years, Sonic has been running around with plain old “Sonic” and then a subtitle. That is not the case with Sonic 4 because it is called “Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 1.”
Wait a minute, did I just say “Episode?” Well, yes I did. That’s because SEGA is writing a bigger story than the title’s name. In an interview with GameSpot, SEGA Associate Brand Manager Ken Balough said that Sonic 4 is brand new game; “what you are looking at is the beginning of a new story arc.” Similar in vein to the connection between Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic 4: Episode 1 is the beginning of a series of DLC’s SEGA hopes to release.
Ken tried to ease worries that many feared this would be turning into yet, another cash-in;
I think the best way to view it is as a first part in a much larger adventure. When Sega released Sonic 3, ultimately it was the part 1 of a story that saw its conclusion in Sonic & Knuckles. In that same spirit, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is a bigger story, and this is that first chapter. I think it’s also safe to say that by the end of the episode one, fans will be very excited to see what’s in store for episode two!
Most episodic content usually end at either episode 1 or episode 2. Recently, we’ve seen only two map packs for most FPS titles out there. So, I wouldn’t be surprised.
The press release below was posted on Sega Europe‘s blog:
SEGA Europe Ltd. and SEGA of America, Inc. today announced the first game developed specifically for the download market from the world’s fastest hedgehog. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I will be available via download on Microsoft XBLA, Sony PSN and Nintendo WiiWare, bringing with it the addictive classic 2D side scrolling action that Sonic fans have been waiting for.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I offers sublime 2D gameplay through beautifully rendered HD environments. Fans will be able to speed through each level with the classic Spin Dash move, and destroy enemies using the Homing Attack. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I sees the return of the much-loved special stages and takes players through a variety of different Zones, all inspired by the Mega Drive era.
Each level from Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I is separately selectable from the main menu, making it easy for players to replay their favorite sections as they wish. Long time fans will not be disappointed as they rejoin the action and face all new intense boss battles against everyone’s favourite villain – the ever devious and evil – Dr. Eggman!
“Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I is a return to the classic game style of the original Sonic games” commented Gary Knight, European Marketing Director SEGA Europe Ltd. “It’s great to be able to offer fans of the Sonic series the type of game they have been asking for in a high definition experience.”
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I will be available in Summer 2010 for XBLA, PSN, and WiiWare.
Still not satisfied with your Sonic fix? Here’s the story as it follows:
Story thus far:
It began as Sonic’s animal friends begin disappearing from South Island. Soon Sonic discovers that evil scientist Dr. Eggman has been kidnapping them and turning them into robots to collect the legendary treasure – The Chaos Emeralds. Sonic decides it’s up to him to save them and embarks on a quest to free his animal friends. Sonic battles Eggman through many different zones. Sonic eventually pursues Eggman to Final Zone where the first in many epic battles between them begins. In the end Sonic is victorious and Eggman’s Mecha fly’s away badly damaged. Sonic returns to Green Hill Zone and re-unites with his friends.
Their reunion is short lived however, as Eggman resurfaces and begins kidnapping Sonic friends again, in an effort to create more workers to finish his ultimate Weapon – The Death Egg! Teaming up with the newly met, Miles ‘Tails’ Prower, Sonic embarks on a new mission through West Side Island in an effort to free his friends and ensure Eggman does not obtain the 7 Chaos emeralds to fuel the Death Egg.
Once the West Side Island is freed, Sonic and Tails eventually board the Tornado and assault the Death Egg itself. After destroying Mecha Sonic, Eggman flees and enters his new Eggman Robot attacking Sonic! After a heated battle Sonic destroys the Eggman Robot and the Death Egg begins to explode.
Sonic and Tails fly down and come across mysterious island called Angel Island. This island is floating by the power of the precious stone called Master Emerald, but now this mysterious island are dropping down to the ocean surface because the Death Egg had been falling on this island. Sonic and Tails are attacked by a Red Echidna named Knuckles the guardian of the island.
Knuckles steals the Chaos emeralds from Sonic, being tricked by Eggman that he is an enemy come to take the Master Emerald.While Sonic and Tails are entangled by Knuckles, Eggman repairs the Death Egg and preps it for launch.
Sonic manages to jump on Death Egg just as it’s flying off. After confronting Eggman on the Death Egg, Sonic defeats Eggman once more and the Death Egg plummets back to Angel Island.
Back on the ground Dr. Eggman begins the repairing Death Egg again. Feeling Knuckles has served his purpose, he sends EggRobo to eliminate this potential threat. EggRobo finds Knuckles relaxing in Mushroom Zone and drops a bomb on him but Knuckles manages to survive. Enraged, the Wild Echidna sets off to defeat EggRobo. Meanwhile Sonic and Tails explore the island to find traces of the Death Egg and find out Eggman’s fate. After and Epic showdown between Sonic and Knuckles, Eggman uses the opportunity to finally steal the Master Emerald and re-launches the Death Egg. With the power of the emeralds, Sonic goes after Eggman, who has taken the Master Emerald into space.
Sonic and Tails secure the Master Emerald and return it to Knuckles on Angel Island. With it’s power restored, the Angel Island lifts off into the sky as Sonic and Tails fly off into the sunset.
But this humiliating defeat only serves to further Eggman’s rage, and he has determined once and for all to rid himself of Sonic. Eggman revisits – and improves – the very best of his creations to defeat our spiked hero.
And so a new Adventure begins…
Enjoy the new trailer below:
There seems to be something mysterious about the trailer, this post makes mention of it, and many are speculating which console or platform it is: ipod (& touch), DSIware, iphone, and the most recently announced ipad (video here). Some are making jokes such as “I bet ya its Dreamcast 2. Duh!” But, um…how about a more capable service? OnLive, Anyone?
Its landing on XBLA, PSN, WiiWare, and another mysterious platform this summer (some are saying “july”), for an undisclosed price tag. Well, at this point. If you would like to know more about the announcement and the game – it is on Sega’s official Sonic 4 website.