Nearly ten years ago, SEGA and the Sheffield based developer Sumo Digital teamed up to bring Sonic and a number of SEGA franchises to the world of mascot kart racers. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing was a hit with fans of SEGA, Sonic and drift-focused racing games and only two years later the studio returned with the even more successful Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Transformed not only outdid the previous game in fan service, but also in ambition. Players controlled transforming vehicles with three distinct modes in tracks that would change with each lap. After a seven year break, SEGA and Sumo Digital are back with Team Sonic Racing. Fans are undoubtably wondering what to expect from this third outing, though the lead up to the game has probably put fans in more of a place of uncertainty than excitement. Is Team Sonic Racing a worthy follow-up, or is it a step back for the series?
While Platinum Games started life with a huge publishing deal with SEGA where they published four games including Bayonetta, Mad World, Infinite Space, and Anarchy Reigns. This exclusive relationship sadly came to an end in 2012, since then Platinum Games has worked with publishers such as Nintendo, Square-Enix, Konami, and even Activision. It seems that Platinum Games has bigger visions for their future as they are dipping their feet into self-publishing with two new IPs they are working on:
“I know a lot of people say that, but the game we’re working on truly is unlike anything else. Even for our varied history of veteran game developers, this is something that has never been designed before. So from a game design perspective, we’re very excited right now.” – Atsushi Inaba (Platinum Games, Executive Director and Producer)
According to Inaba they want to move away from publisher funding and be even more independent. In the interview they talk about how Platinum Games doesn’t outright own its IPs like Bayonetta (which is partly owned by SEGA) and these two new unannounced IPs will be 100% owned by Platinum Games. Platinum Games also said they are not done working with other publishers and are even open to co-publishing options.
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.
Puyo Puyo eSports is getting a localization, renamed as Puyo Puyo Champions and will be available in western territories on May 7th, effectively confirming a previous rumor about SEGA trademarking “Puyo Puyo Champions” back in November. In addition to the Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch versions previously released in Japan, Puyo Puyo Champions will also get new versions for the Xbox One and Steam, with the console versions all getting digital releases.
For reference, Puyo Puyo Champions is a Puyo Puyo game that caters to a competitive crowd. It trims the fat, providing players with the bare necessities, focusing heavily on the recurring Tsu and Fever rules from past games only and small quality-of-life additions to streamline Puyo matches further. Both offline and online will provide several multiplayer options, such as a new tournament mode and the ranked mode from Puyo Puyo Tetris making a return.
SEGA Europe has revealed a brand spanking new trailer for Team Sonic Racing, this one being called ‘Team up’, giving you a overview of all the information we’ve been given the last few months including a overview at a bunch of race tracks.
“The race is about to begin! Join Sonic and friends as they speed across vibrant tracks and do whatever it takes to come out in first place. Race online with up to 12 friends, play with friends in your living room with split screen, customize and personalize your car for maximum speed, and work together as a team to unleash your Team Ultimate Boost. Gear Up. Speed Up. Team Racing at Sonic Speed. Team Sonic Racing arrives May 21st on Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC!”
I will say that the game has been looking better and better each time they show it, but something about the game still turns me off. Maybe because one of the reasons I liked the All-Stars Racing series was because of all the fan service while this game is playing it more safe. I guess we shall see if it works out for SEGA.
SEGA used to have their own platform, their own console and ecosystem that a lot of SEGA fans still fondly remember. Since the death of the Dreamcast SEGA fans have been nomads, seeking SEGA software on other platforms and for some its a big investment to play all their favorite SEGA games.
I posed this question to our audience on Twitter and this is the results:
If SEGA announced tomorrow that they will be going exclusive to one platform (not counting PC), which platform would be happy with?
— SEGAbits (@SEGAbits) March 28, 2019
As a joke I added the Google Stadia, but I should have really added the PC as a platform.Quite frankly I still think the PC would have lost to Nintendo. Seems that a lot of Sonic the Hedgehog fans have had fond memories with the franchise on Nintendo hardware that it swayed the results in a predictable manner. I think SEGA fans worry about going exclusive with Nintendo because they aren’t known for pushing hardware like SEGA tries to do. I mean, the new Dragon Engine in Yakuza 6 is gorgeous and is up there with Capcom’s RE Engine and Square-Enix’s Luminous.
But what is your take? What console would work out best for SEGA in your opinion and why? Let us know in the comments below.
If you have been like me, sitting around and waiting for SEGA to ask for our opinion on how they’ve been handling the Phantasy Star franchise; then you are in luck! SEGA has tweeted out asking for fans to give them feedback on their on-going and some legacy brands. You can take the survey here.
This survey is also good for the future direction of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, considering it was announced that the next Sonic the Hedgehog game has already begun production.
Just the other day at the SXSW Sonic panel Takashi Iizuka confirmed that the next major Sonic Team entry into the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has begun production. Its quite obvious that fans were less than thrilled with Sonic Forces, but I will say that the engine the team created for that title is one of the best thus far, running at a high frame rate with little to no frame drops. I really want to see how they update it for the next title, at the very least.
Now my question here is what direction do you want to see the next major Sonic the Hedgehog title take? What do you want to see them focus on? In the last few years Sonic Team has been playing it safe having 2D classic Sonic and 3D boost modern Sonic, is this something that the new game should continue? Is it time to add playable friends like the past? Sound off in the comments.
BEEP, BEEP! Team Sonic Racing is coming through with a new customization trailer showing how far you can customize your favorite characters. Quite frankly I’m very happy we are finally getting to the single player, unlockable content. I really believe that SEGA & Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed was a much better game due to its single player content. While this is only customizable stuff, its nice that have things to unlock and customize.
What are your thoughts on the trailer? Team Sonic Racing hits PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC! on May 21, 2019!
The studio behind ToeJam & Earl: Back to the Groove, HumaNature, posted up a press release revealing that Macaulay Culkin is Executive Producer for the game. This seems to have been a secret that the studio has kept close to their sleeve and using it as they near the final stretch towards release. ToeJam & Earl: Back to the Groove releases on Xbox One, PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch on March 1st!
“I’m honored to be producing the new ToeJam & Earl because it is literally my favorite video game of all time. Plus, Greg Johnson is the tits!” – Macaulay Culkin
SEGA has revealed a brand new track for Team Sonic Racing, introducing “Hidden Volcano” race track! Hidden Volcano is a lava zone that is hidden within the Glacier Land area. According to SEGA’s description on their site:
Hidden Volcano is a lava zone course hidden deep within the ice-covered Glacier Land area. This area is distinguished by its lumps of ice created by the scorching hot magma within the iceberg and complicated terrain due to lava rocks. It requires calm judgment and bold technique to conquer its slippery ice roads and varying bumpiness caused by tears in the earth. At the starting line, a lava giant towers above the track and swings its fist downward to block the racers’ path forward.
Microsoft is beefing up their Xbox Game Pass, which is being billed online as a Netflix of games. Which is true, you pay the low monthly fee and have access to a ton of games including Gears of War 4, Forza series and even the newly released Crackdown 3. They are also working on getting older games released on the Xbox Game Pass, this latest update brings Alien: Isolation on the platform.
It should be interesting to see if Xbox Game Pass works out for Microsoft, if you have it and haven’t played Alien: Isolation; get on it!
The guys over at Gematsu posted up more company trademarks, as you know previously SEGA trademarked ‘Romance: Seven-Colored Adventure Story’ and now they are trademarking “Humankind”. Gematsu did make a note that Take-Two is going to debut a new game called Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey at The Game Awards 2018 in a few days. We know SEGA has a history of working with Take-Two in publishing and pushing their games in Japanese market. Who knows.
Sadly all these trademarks are vague without a description on what sort of platform they will be used on. At this point SEGA is so diverse it can be a Pachinko, Mobile or Console game. What do you want to see from this new trademark? What do you think it is? Let us know in the comments below.
Microsoft has announced a few new Xbox 360 games that will be playable on the Xbox One thanks to backwards compatibility. Out of the three new games, two of them are published by SEGA. If you read the title you know they are Sonic Team’s Sonic Unleashed and Rebellion’s Alien vs Predator. Like always, if you already own the Xbox 360 discs or the game’s digitally, you canstart playing them today on Xbox One for free. If you don’t have the Xbox 360 games, you can buy them right now on the Xbox Live Marketplace.
While we can whine about what each console is doing right or wrong, I love that Microsoft really focused on backwards compatibility and even offered a avenue for publishers to make money on last generation software with no effort on their part. I don’t know if this is a huge system seller for Microsoft, but Its cool for fans that wanna go back and revisit games like Sonic Unleashed, which I know a lot of you might want to do.