Interview: Gistix, team lead on fan made Sonic ’06 Unity

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What do you say when the words “fan-made Sonic 2006 PC port” jump at you? What sort of images, reactions, and most importantly, questions, pop into your head when this prospect meets your mind? Is it perplexing? Audacious? Blasphemous? These were of course all reactions I saw when news broke of a demo for a full fan-made recreation of the ill-fated and infamous Sonic 06 in Unity. However, much against others’ reactions, mine was of…curiosity.

Rather than stick with a few fleeting moments of “hey that’s a thing”, the very idea stuck to me so hard that it gave me a jolt of energy. Not because I like Sonic 06, god no, but because I am a huge lover of weird games and weird ports. And to me, a Unity port of this maligned title was far too weird to pass up. So, faced with a lack of information, and a thirst to spread the good will of odd, ambitious projects, I went straight to the source. Ladies and gentlemen and others, I present to you, hopefully everything you’d want to know about the ins and outs of the Sonic 2006 PC port, from the mouth of its current leader, Gistix!

Steam Sale: Dreamcast Collection Titles $1.99 Each

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Do you need a handy, cheap Black Friday game gift, or perhaps want to finally jump into some classics for a paltry amount? Then SEGA has the deal for you. Until November 28th, every title under the “Dreamcast Collection” bundle, which includes Crazy Taxi, NiGHTS Into Dreams…, Jet Set Radio, SEGA Bass Fishing, Space Channel 5: Part 2, and Sonic Adventure DX are all available for a staggering $1.99 USD each. All of these games are priced at $7.99 normally, and normally buying them all together would be at least thirty dollars. That’s about an eighteen dollar difference for all of them.

Please note that the bundle itself is not discounted, and that Sonic Adventure 2, another Dreamcast classic released alongside NiGHTS and JSR, is not included in this sale. You will have to buy each game individually to make use of the discounts. So get on it, already!

Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove gets new trailer, publisher, and screenshots.

It’s been pretty smooth sailing for classic pseudo-SEGA game revival Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove, since its Kickstarter announcement all the way up to its “soon” release. And for those excited for the game, the good news keeps piling up! Just today, a new trailer was revealed by Adult Swim, announcing the game’s release window and its publisher, Adult Swim Games, known for quirky titles like Jazzpunk and Robot Unicorn Attack. While Adult Swim doesn’t exactly come to mind when I think of TJ and E, the match-up does at least make some sense if you think about it.

In addition, the crew have released several batches of screenshots on their Facebook, and a Steam page has gone up with even more shots. Unfortunately, those looking to get in on the funky rogue-like action will have to wait until 2017 to get their hands on the game for both PC and consoles. Hopefully the wait won’t be too long, and you can at least keep yourself busy with the screenshots below the jump.

SEGA asking for Easter Eggs in “new mobile game”

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In one of the oddest requests for fan input in a while, the SEGA Facebook page is asking for fans to submit ideas for Easter Eggs for a “new mobile game that will include many of your favorite SEGA characters.” Responses seem to vary from character cameos to sly references, but at the least everyone has done one thing; share some love for their favorite franchises.

The “new mobile game” referred to here is possibly SEGA Blast Heroes, the recently leaked SRPG crossover game dug up by Segalization. The fact that they’re asking for franchises in general and the header image above features Sonic alongside Streets of Rage, Shinobi, and Crazy Taxi not only points to the game being a crossover, but also likely teases their inclusion in whatever game SEGA has planned. It is possible SEGA Blast Heroes was nothing more than a testing the waters from SEGA Networks, with only mock-up screens created, and other concepts are also being developed internally. It is also possible that SEGA Blast Heroes was not even created by SEGA Networks. If any more direct or indirect info on SEGA Blast Heroes – or whatever the mobile game is – should surface, we’ll let you know.

Convention Report: MomoCon 2016

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Conventions never really…felt like something I’d enjoy doing. Crowds of people, loudness everywhere, difficulty in navigation, pains to manage, and sore legs did not sound like an experience that was worthwhile. I experienced all of these at some point or another, and truth be told…it was incredible. MomoCon was an experience I’ll never forget; my first con, my first meetup with people I only knew from internet interactions, my first time helping with a panel, etc.

But it wasn’t a solo experience. Me, my coworker and friend Kori-Maru, and a twenty four pack of bottled water had a mission: do something cool. Something we could return to the site and say “we bring you news!” or “we bring you neat things!”. Unfortunately, SEGA was not at MomoCon in any official capacity this year. So we had to rely on the old fan community to do something worthwhile. Hit the jump to see what we did.

SEGA Europe “treating ATLUS as an independent label”

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In the most recent SEGA Central, Dan Sheridan confirmed during the #AskSEGA portion of the show, that SEGA Europe would not be in charge of bringing ATLUS titles to Europe. “SEGA very much treats Atlus as an independent label, and as a result it’s up to Atlus to choose who they partner with to release their titles.”, he said, continuing with “We’re all big fans of Atlus games here in SEGA Central, and we’re looking forward to hearing more news on Atlus European releases shortly.”

For fans of ATLUS titles in Europe, the news does not bode well in the slightest. The developer is infamous for having heavily delayed releases in Europe, as well as just plain not releasing some games there. The hope was that the SEGA acquisition would ensure all their titles make it there, but with the closure of the deal with NiS America and this statement, the future of ATLUS in Europe looks heavily uncertain.

In related news, Sheridan also confirmed there were no plans to bring 7th Dragon III Code to Europe, but they are “looking to see if it’s something [they] can make happen.”

Review: SEGA Genesis & Mega Drive Classics Hub

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Expectations are a nasty thing. They can warp and twist and turn your perception of what something is, focusing instead on what it’s not. I had that sort of reaction to the SEGA Genesis & Mega Drive Classics Hub at first. But I sat back, and I thought about it, and I realized it wasn’t totally fair to judge it on the fact that it was a lackluster front-end with wasted potential. But then there came the other issues.

Genesis Classics Hub is not the worst presentation of an emulation machine I’ve ever seen, but it feels so below average that I wonder what the point of the upgrade even was. Hit the jump to find out why.

Shinobi movie in the works

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Remember a year and a half ago when it was announced that film and TV adaptations of classic SEGA franchises were being considered? Aside from brief rumors, there hasn’t been much definitive word on that. But now we’re seeing some fruit from that tree fall down, as it turns out one of the franchises originally reported is now in talks of being a film. That franchise of course being the legendary ninja-action game, Shinobi. The film is apparently to be produced by Marc Platt, who had a hand in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and Drive of all things. He and cohort Adam Siegel, who worked on both aformentioned movies, will be working with SEGA’s Stories International to bring…whatever they want, I guess.

If the movie isn’t two hours of Joe Musashi fighting dodgy clones of Godzilla, Batman, and Rambo, all on horse-back, I’m not seeing it.

Cancelled Akira Genesis game brought to the limelight

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It’s not every day new info about old games comes out. It’s even rarer for new info about old, cancelled games to come out of the woodwork. In the dust of archived footage of CES, Space World, and E3s of twenty years ago, major undocumented secrets sometimes spring out. And now there’s been a very, very interesting find: a preview of a cancelled Genesis adaptation of the 1988 anime film, Akira. Hit the jump for details and analysis, as well as the video showing the prototype.

Neptunia and SEGA Hard Girls crossover coming to the West this Fall to PS Vita

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Today, it’s been announced that the Seha Hard Girls and Hyperdimension Neptunia crossover game is coming to the West, both USA and Europe, as Superdimension Neptune vs SEGA Hard Girls, exclusively for the PS Vita. According to the game’s US website, it will feature an English dub and have the option to keep the original dub with subtitles. Oddly enough, SEGA is not publishing the game in the West, rather it’s being done by Idea Factory International, the regular publishers of Hyperdimension Neptunia games in the West.

The game seems to follow in the footsteps of other Neptunia games, being a 3D RPG with a cross between active and turn-based combat, with platforming on the overworld. Fans of the main series will probably find a good enjoyment out of it, and SEGA fans will probably want to tune in for the likely hefty amount of cameos that will doubtlessly be in the game.

Superdimension Neptune vs SEGA Hard Girls comes to the west in Fall 2016.

Takashi Iizuka returns to America

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Director of the Sonic series since Sonic Adventure up to Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Takashi Iizuka has served diligently as vice president of product development over in Japan since Sonic Team USA’s closure in 2008. However, he seems to now be leading a charge of some sort at SEGA America, a quote provided from Gamasuta attributed to Tatsuyuki Miyazaki states: “Plus, the Sonic business team, with Ivo’s strong leadership and the addition of renowned Sonic Team creator Iizuka in the Los Angeles office, SEGA of America is in the best position yet to diversify and grow its business. SEGA of America is entering new age of publishing[sic], and going back to the road to prosperity.” This news coincides with SEGA finalizing their acquisition of Atlus USA, whose CEO, Naoto Hiraoka, seems very excited to be working with the company.

It’s likely no coincidence that these two events happen alongside each other. Nor is it a coincidence that Iizuka returns to America at the new Los Angeles office just as things start rolling for Sonic’s 25th anniversary. There’s very little to speculate on what it could all mean, however. The press release is vague about exactly what Iizuka’s plans are; strengthening the ‘global brand’ is something brought up a couple times, but that’s about it. It could just as well mean he’s back in the US to oversee the 25th Anniversary project, or perhaps get directly involved. He could also just be stopping by to appear at events, many of which are in the coming months, both official and fan-sponsored. Whatever the case, we’ll keep you all posted on any news bits surrounding Iizuka or Sonic that appear.

(Img. from Aaraon Webber)

SEGA Retrospective: The career of Tomoko Sasaki, composer of NiGHTS Into Dreams…

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There are typically three things that people associate with SEGA: Sonic the Hedgehog, consoles that never got to shine, and great music. SEGA has undoubtedly housed some of the most creative composers in the industry, making everything from sweeping, pseudo-orchestral soundscapes, to fast-paced, pumped-up techno. But the best composers don’t let their skill and talent end with their music.

Enter Tomoko Sasaki, best known to SEGA fans as the main composer of NiGHTS into Dreams…. Her sound, helped along by Naofumi Hataya and Fumie Kumatani, is what arguably sold NiGHTS‘ surreal dream worlds and energetic gameplay. It’s often considered one of the best soundtracks in SEGA history, let alone on the Saturn, but it was only Sasaki’s third composition. And even then, it wasn’t even the strangest thing she ever did.