Sonic the Hedgehog has experienced a resurgence in recent years. Both the live action films (released in 2020 and 2022) and Sonic Mania are significant contributing factors. Despite several poor games in recent memory (Sonic Boom: The Rise of Lyric still leaves a sour taste), the Blue Blur is making a comeback, and Sonic Origins looks to continue it!
SEGA recently announced that on the 23rd June, Sonic Origins – a collection consisting of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic CD – will release. Collections of Sonic’s first three outings have been released before, and some stages from the original games have returned in recent installments. However, the timing of Origins is frankly shrewd.
The four games included in Origins only allowed gamers to play as Sonic in single-player (and Knuckles for Sonic & Knuckles). In Origins, all three members of Team Sonic are playable in every game! The abilities of Knuckles and Tails from Mania could be fun to use on the many stages from the past. Its inclusion of Knuckles and Tails comes at a convenient time, with both appearing in the recent film.
Unique cutscenes are the other notable additions in Origins. These cutscenes will depict several key moments from the titles, weaving more of a narrative. This could definitely help to entice newer fans because the story becomes more engaging. It’s not a massive change, granted, but Origins is not here to be revolutionary. Rather, SEGA are using Origins as a way to capitalise on the success of both Sonic films and Mania, encouraging the new wave of fans to play Sonic’s earliest adventures. Origins may also be tempting for fans of the original games due to the slight tweaks.
Both Sonic films take plenty of notes from the first three games with its characters and some narrative beats. Mania also takes direct influence from the original 2D games. Despite both factors influencing the decision to make Origins, the rumoured release of Sonic Frontiers in late 2022 may be the most significant factor in Origins’ release.
From the initial Frontiers trailer, it looks to be a massive project! Similarities have been made to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Pokemon Legends: Arceus by eagle-eyed viewers. More than anything, this is in relation to the large-scale changes and huge explorable world Frontiers looks to deliver. So, it’s safe to say SEGA expects Frontiers to be the game that revitalises Modern Sonic.
Drawing fans back in with Origins could create plenty of excitement for Frontiers, and with excitement should come sales; Origins is effectively a component of Frontier‘s marketing. Both games look to be dissimilar, but the speed Sonic is known for could be enough to hook fans. Early gameplay found online shows that speed is still at the heart of Frontiers.
While fans are tiring of remasters and rereleases, Sonic Origins looks to be an intelligent release for several reasons. There should be a good number of sales, and even if not, the marketing and attention becomes key for Frontiers. Origins is likely a cheap remaster but has the potential to create big profits if it draws enough fans in before the release of Frontiers.