Couldn’t let the weekend pass by without saying something on this one.

A little over a week ago, I got to report (you guys do follow my stuff on Kombo, right?) on SEGA trademarking a new name for a new game: Sonic Unleashed. Figured we’d hear something sooner or later regarding it, but it turns out to have come far sooner, and created quite the buzz.

Now, a number of leaked screenshots and bits of information have begun to appear.

As if that weren’t enough, there’s even a debut trailer for it. And if you’ve seen it on YouTube, you may be interested to know that this is on GameTrailers, so the quality is a bit higher.

Official info has been sparse, but here’s what people have been saying. Keep in mind, none of this is official as of this writing.

From SEGA On:

“SEGA is launching SONIC UNLEASHED with a HUGE production budget and it seems not only SONIC TEAM is involved but a very huge part of SEGA’s developer teams including those from Japan, the US and, apparently for the first time, even Europe. There seems to be one clear mission: Rebuild the Sonic brand and prove it could work in 3D environments.”

According to The Sonic Retard, a Penny Arcade Forum member who says he got to partake in a focus group and has spoken to a SEGA rep about this has offered the following:

  • Details!

  • Officially Confirmed
  • 12 zones
  • Play as Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles
  • All characters play the same but can use their special abilities (Knuckles can punch through walls and Tails can fly) to reach character specific parts of each level
  • Were-Sonic is real
  • Bigger budget than recent Sonic games
  • Promised longer dev time than most Sonic games

He adds that it should see a multiplatform release on the Wii, 360, and PS3; and that it will be shown at Gamer’s Day in May.

Word is the reason these got leaked were that they were left on SEGA’s FTP for ONM (Official Nintendo Magazine) in the UK, for a cover feature. As for the graphics, it’s said that it’s being developed concurrently for the three, much like Sonic the Hedgehog for PS3/360 was, before they decided to abandon the Wii version for Secret Rings.

Also

“This game is using the Sonic Rush Adventure engine, according to sources.

So that should quell any claims that it won’t play well.”

As the video shows, it seems to combine 2.5D platforming (that means 2D gaming with 3D models and backgrounds, for anyone who doesn’t know) with bits of Secret Rings-like 3D gameplay. It seems to be answering people’s longing for a next-gen 2D Sonic with 3D graphics, but rather than just that, they’ve managed to integrate 3D in such a way that it still might “sell” to today’s console market, by using one of their better recent efforts. Here’s hoping the jump mechanism is more natural, though.

Sonic’s model seems to be a little more oldschool; less toothy grin, not so freakishly long-legged… he reminds me a lot of his Super Smash Bros. Brawl model, really, which people have likened to a fusion of old and new. Sort of reminds me of his Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games model, too. And Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik is back to his old model as well, which is quite welcome.

The idea of Sonic 3 & Knuckles-styled multiplayer is a welcome one, and hopefully there will be less Sonic Rush Adventure/Secret Rings-styled repetition that keeps you from just getting on with the story.

Overall, I’m cautiously optimistic. As usual. But it seems that they might finally be listening to what people are wanting…

Incidently, I wouldn’t mind if other characters– say, Shadow and Rouge for example, were unlockables that basically played like Sonic and Knuckles.

Edit: Xbox 360 Fanboy has updated their info, with SEGA of Europe basically de-confirming the title. Here’s what they did reveal when they did confirm it, however:

“Sonic the Hedgehog returns for a full-blown, action-packed adventure through the desolate and unpredictable World of Mubuz, a world dictated by an evil Dragon Lord, Immarius. (That’d be the big ugly with purple energy, it seems) Upon entering Muboz, Sonic fights an evil power which turns all the inhabitants into dangerous beasts.

  • Become Wolf Sonic and fight enemies like never before using rapid combo maneuvers and Ring Energy
  • Play as Sonic, Knuckles or Tails through 12 packed stages
  • Extensive 2D gameplay brings the old Sonic back home

Incidently, I wonder if Knuckles or Tails transform into beasts, too. It seems kind of weird having an animal transform into another animal, but on the other hand, aren’t humans a sort of animal as well? Yet it’s a typical story element of sorts to have them change, so…

–LBD “Nytetrayn”

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