Sonic Mania developer Headcannon launches Kickstarter for new game called Vertebreaker

If you’ve been enjoying Sonic Mania and wanted to know what the teams behind the game have been up to, we got our answer for Headcannon games. It seems that Headcannon has been working on Vertebreaker and has now launched a Kickstarter. According to the project’s description:

“Rest in Peace?!” You wish! “Vertebreaker” is a brand-new and authentic pixel-based side-scroller from Headcannon, the studio that helped bring “Sonic Mania” to the masses. Starring a stubby-yet-seemingly-unstoppable skeleton who’s thrashing their way to victory, it’s gothic, cartoonish, and unabashedly retro!

Take control of our bony hero in a crusade to crush the undead and look cool while doing it! In “Vertebreaker”, traversal is key as you slash, bash, and grapple your way through the most wicked 2D adventure yet! “What is ‘traversal'”? It’s slinging, swinging, and launching from floors, walls, and ceilings to propel yourself forward or even upward with serious speed!

Save the day with our pearly-boned mascot, their mysterious golden half-skull, and their sick grappling hook made from the spine of a demon! “What demon”? It doesn’t matter … does it … ?

Vertebreaker is only seeking 275,000 dollars to make the project, with tiers allowing backers to transform the final game. Some of the high tiers, like the one for $500 dollars even allows you to design enemies. But if you just want a regular digital copy, its at the $15 dollar tier which includes your name in the credits. You can also try the Vertebreaker demo right now on PC and see if the game is for you. So far the game is only announced for PC and is suppose to come out Q3 2021, if the project games founded. One of the extended tiers includes a Nintendo Switch port at $330,000. Pretty smart to launch this Kickstarter on Halloween.

Playing the Shenmue III Backer Trial Demo

Decided to do a walk through of the Shenmue III trial demo, showing off what you can do within the demo and giving some commentary. I have to say, this demo totally FEELS like Shenmue and I feel like that’s a good thing.

Shenmue III will not have a Steam key option on launch for backers


Poor YS Net has upset some PC fans when they announced a few months ago at E3 2019 that Shenmue III would be Epic Store Exclusive. This lead to people getting upset that after the Kickstarter was done, the studio asked fans what PC service they would want keys on and most people said Steam; it seemed that the studio got a better deal from Epic Games Store.

YS Net has confirmed that there will be four versions of Shenmue III which includes the PlayStation 4 physical, digital and of course the same for PC. But for PC both physical and digital will come with Epic Game Store. But if you want the game on Steam, there will be an option for it if you select ‘delayed steam key’, which means you will have to wait about a year from launch to be able to play it. Yeah, this will obviously piss off backers, especially those that paid extra (100+) for a beta they never got! You can also change the platform to PlayStation 4 if you don’t want to deal with all this nonsense.

But don’t worry, if you are angry YS Net is allowing users to get refunds for Shenmue III backers that expected a Steam Key day one. They still don’t have a way of doing it and will update us on how to request a refund soon. Here is the statement after the jump:

Review: ToeJam and Earl Back in the Groove

Disclaimer: The author of the review is a Kickstarter Backer and received a copy of the PC version through the campaign. A Nintendo Switch review copy was also provided by the via the game’s PR team.

ToeJam and Earl have returned during a time that could not be more appropriate for not only SEGA fanatics but also for the roguelite genre’s recent surge in popularity with ToeJam and Earl Back in the Groove. The game serves as a return of the adventure-like aspect from first game, serving as an all-star tribute to the history of the franchise and provides a strong artful representation of the culture with it’s cast of characters and musical appreciation. Starting as a Kickstarter project in 2015 this allowed the developers to stick closer to the first game without having to bend to publisher direction and create the long awaited follow-up to the original ToeJam and Earl. Despite the long development time, having to shave off a few goals, (Sorry Wii U) and going through two publishers, the game succeeds bringing the first game’s roguelike experience up to date with bigger multiplayer opportunities while struggling with performance issues on consoles.

Shenmue 3 pre-order page up on Amazon


Its crazy that Shenmue II released on September 6, 2001 for the SEGA Dreamcast. Ever since then, fans have been begging SEGA for a 3rd entry and now, almost 20 years later we have an Amazon pre-order page. I used to tell people Shenmue III would never happen and now I get to eat crow.

The only thing I would complain about is that Deep Silver and YSNet are going to charge full price for a game that was basically kickstarted by fans? I’m OK with them charging what they want, but personally think it should have launched at a reasonable price of $39.99.

SEGA Arcade: Pop-Up History Kickstarter campaign adds Power Drift pop-up stretch goal

Last month we shared the news that Read-Only Memory, creators of the awesome SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis Collected Works and the upcoming SEGA Dreamcast Collected Works books, revealed a new SEGA focused book: SEGA Arcade: Pop-Up History. The book will feature an interview with Yu Suzuki and pop-up sculptures of Hang-On, Space Harrier, Thunder Blade, After Burner, and Out Run as well as information about each game. Now that the project has hit the funding goals, a stretch goal has been added with, if reached, will add another pop-up sculpture – the super scaler kart racing game Power Drift!

As of this article, the stretch goal has another £4,000 to go to reach £50,000 and 6 more days remain. We urge you to check the campaign out and if you like what you see to show your support!

Read-Only Memory announces SEGA Arcade: Pop-Up History book – Kickstarter launches today

Our friends at Read-Only Memory, who published the excellent Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works and is hard at work on the upcoming Sega Dreamcast: Collected Works, have announced a new SEGA focused book with a very different spin. SEGA Arcade: Pop-Up History will be a large format, high production book of pop-up sculptures of SEGA’s greatest arcade cabinets. The deluxe arcade cabinets include: Hang-On, Space Harrier, Thunder Blade, After Burner, and Out Run. The Holy Quincunx as I call them (I had to Google “trinity but for 5”).

Each pop-up model in this officially licensed book will be accompanied by schematics, game artwork and historical context from by Guardian games writer Keith Stuart – plus everyone who backs the project during the Kickstarter campaign will receive an exclusive limited version, sporting a silver foil, deep embossed cover design.

Read-Only Memory have proven time and time again that they produce the best quality video game history and art and design books, and we urge readers to show their latest project their support. You can learn more about the upcoming book on their Kickstarter campaign page. We will continue to share news about SEGA Arcade: Pop-Up History as we hear it.

Bitmap Books SEGA Master System: a visual compendium Kickstarter launches

UK based Bitmap Books have been around for a while, producing high quality art books featuring classic game consoles. “SEGA Master System: a visual compendium” is their first foray into the world of SEGA, and to make the book happen they’ve turned to Kickstarter. The book will feature pixel art, product design and graphic design associated with this iconic 8-bit system. The book is also officially licensed by SEGA and is the first book of this kind to be released for the Master System.

Backers can choose between digital, softcover or hardcover and add-ons include post cards, a poster, a t-shirt. Also included with each book will be 3-D glasses and a bookmark. If you want to support the book, check out their Kickstarter campaign.

Bitmap Books planning a Sega Master System Compendium

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We haven’t covered Bitmap Books here yet, but they’ve been in the video game history books business for some time. Known best for their visual compendiums, Bitmap has covered classic hardware like the Commodore 64, Amiga and NES. Now, they are finally dipping their toes into the SEGA waters with the upcoming Sega Master System Compendium book. The book will feature in-game graphics, pixel art and provide a history on SEGA’s first western released console.

The Sega Master System Compendium will be funded as a Kickstarter, which goes live on May 7. When we near the Kickstarter’s launch we will be sure to share more information.

Shenmue III’s ending will set up a sequel, confirms Yu Suzuki

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SEGA and Shenmue fans have been fighting to get a third installment and closure to the series since back in the early 2000s. Lots of fans where delighted when it was announced that Yu Suzuki, the original creator for the Shenmue series would be asking fans to kickstart Shenmue III. The internet was on fire, with lots of people assuming this would be the last chance to ‘finish the fight’ against famed villain Lan Di.

In a interview with GamersFlag, Yu Suzuki was asked if the ending for Shenmue III would be open (much like the last two games) and suggest there would be a Shenmue IV. This is what Yu Suzuki had to say:

Shenmue III update reveals improved graphics and new characters

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Shenmue III has revealed its 80th Kickstarter update and even with 80 whole updates a large part of the game is a big mystery. On this update we got four new screenshots of the game, one of them showing off a brand new character. That new character can be seen above.

Outside of that we have a screenshot featuring a young kid, an elder man and that bad guy we saw in the trailer released last year. First thing I noticed is how improved most of the characters faces are and how more animated they look. Especially the young kid in the gallery below. I still have some issue with how Ryo Hazuki is designed, something is really off about him. It isn’t the graphics, but more how the facial structure and hairline are placed. Seems a little off compared to the way he was designed in past games. But who knows, maybe I’m crazy? What are your thoughts on the brand new screenshots?

Sonic the Hedgehog: Battle Racers Board Game hitting Kickstarter this February

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The company Shinobi 7 LLC has announced that they have a ‘Pre-painted miniatures board game’ in the works featuring our favorite blue hedgehog, being called Sonic the Hedgehog: Battle Racers. The game will be strategic and mean’t to be played with 2-5 players; allowing users to take on the role of Sonic or one of he’s friends. Shinobi 7 is set to launch the Kickstarter in early February that will include exclusives and limited edition items.

If you want to learn more about the board game, we posted the press release and a couple of images of the minatures after the jump:

Sega Dreamcast: Collected Works teases never before seen production materials from Jet Set Radio, Shenmue and more

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Sega Dreamcast: Collected Works, an upcoming book from Read-Only Memory, is the followup to SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works. Successfully backed on Kickstarter late last year, Read-Only Memory sent a new years update to backers and boy is it an exciting one! Read-Only Memory received a large amount of production materials from SEGA of Japan, including several never-before-seen pieces from popular Dreamcast games. Included in the haul are:

  • Game mechanic sketches, environment concepts and high end renderings for Sonic Adventure
  • The complete design document for Jet Set Radio/Jet Grind Radio, including some amazing graffiti artwork concepts
  • A very early proof of concept video for Space Channel 5
  • Character studies and production artwork for Phantasy Star Online
  • Storyboards, character designs and environment artworks for Shenmue

Read-Only Memory will spend the coming weeks sorting through all the materials and identifying pieces to include in the book, with the final cut of the book to be laid out in a few months. Also revealed is that photoshoots for the Hardware Showcase chapter of the book will be taking place in the next few weeks, featuring everything from consoles to the fishing controller to the Samba de Amigo maracas. If you’re the proud owner of a Dreamcast hardware rarity you think should make the final cut, please do drop Read-Only Memory a line!

We here at SEGAbits can’t wait to get our hands on the book, and in the meantime we’re working to get Darren Wall of Read-Only Memory back for another Swingin’ Report Show podcast.

Xeno Crisis is an upcoming retro-styled arena shooter for the SEGA Dreamcast and Mega Drive/Genesis

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Nearly a year ago today, I shared a list of indie games coming to classic SEGA consoles in 2017. While I’m hard at work on a 2018 list, which includes some who didn’t make their 2017 deadline, I wanted to report on the Kickstarter campaign for the upcoming SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis and Dreamcast game Xeno Crisis. Releasing in both physical and digital formats, the game is an arena shooter for up to two platers and takes inspiration from games like Smash TV, Contra, Mercs, Granada, Alien Syndrome, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Chaos Engine and Shock Troopers. Currently, the game is in the prototype stage and the plan is to release the game in October of 2018 to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Mega Drive.

The campaign ends in 5 days, and currently they have $68,726 pledged of a $27,038 goal. You can learn more about the project here, and as always with a Kickstarter campaign, read everything carefully before making your mind up on backing or not.

Shenmue 3 introduces new character and new production team

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The team behind Shenmue III has recently revealed a brand new character via their latest Kickstarter update.As far as how this new character fits in the world of Shenmue and what her relationship with the temple behind her is, you’ll have to wait until you play the full game to find out. Unless, you know, they tell us via a Kickstarter update.

Most of the Shenmue III Kickstarter update was focused around a character production studio out of India called ‘Lakshya Digital’. According tot he update, Shenmue III will feature a ton of ‘new, compelling’ characters ‘from all walks of life’. According to the studio they will be outsourcing the creation of these NPC characters to the Indian studio. Below we have some photographs of the team, which is located in Gurgaon, India but have online meetings with the team in Tokyo. I never heard about the company, so I took a gander at their site and according to this they have help work on games like Lara Croft and the Guardians of Light, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two , DC Universe Online, Counter Strike Global Offense, and The Elder Scrolls Online. What they helped with on those games is unknown since the site is down and the front page doesn’t go into detail.

This is obviously a way for YS Net to focus more on building the game instead of taking all that time to create NPC characters. I hope it works out for the better.