Remasters have become a bit of a thing in the platforming world in recent years. Crash Bandicoot, a franchise long thought dead (or at least eternally trapped in the nightmare realm of Skylanders) got a jolt up his aging marsupial behind in the form of the N Sane Trilogy. His PlayStation bedfellow Spyro, who’d spent much of the late 2000s mucking about in edgy reboots and being voiced by Elijah Wood (yes, really) followed soon after with a gorgeous remake of his original adventures. Even the main man Mario himself offered up a paltry effort last year for his 35th birthday – a whole one of the three titles in Super Mario 3D All-Stars came within a stone’s throw of being classable as a ‘remaster’! Close enough, Mazza. Midlife crisis, we’ve all been there.
Bubsy the Bobcat, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, Alex Kidd, you name it – the desiccated corpses of many a platforming mascot are being dredged up left right and center, often in cases where there seemed to be little demand for their return in the first place. But there’s one prominent player of the jumping persuasion who’s been conspicuously absent from this trend: a certain blue hedgehog, who is turning 30 and has a veritable potpourri of classic games ripe for a next-gen touchup.
Fans of the Sonic franchise have long clamoured for SEGA to revisit the Adventure era in some regard – be it tonally, the ability to play as characters that aren’t Sonic (and no, the Shadow skin in Sonic Forces does not count, pedants), or simply as straight-up remasters. It isn’t hard to see why there would be value in this from a business perspective. The Dreamcast set of Sonic games, specifically Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, represent the Blue Blur’s first foray into the 3D world, but, discounting a handful of ports that made minor graphical alterations, they’ve been more or less left to rot outside of an occasional historical handwave playing to nostalgia.
Recent animations promoting the series, including the gorgeous Sonic Mania Adventures, have focussed almost entirely on the Classic era, leaving many Dreamcast fans feeling somewhat short-changed. The games themselves, while not perfect or even great by any stretch of the imagination, are built on solid foundations and are bursting with creative ideas that would form the basis for 3D Sonic going forward. Some extra TLC and a modern-day budget could really make them shine. Just imagine speeding through the Space Colony ARK in crisp HD.
Why then, the fans cry, have Sonic Team elected not to revisit them at a time where the market is poised perfectly to lap them up? Why did they never consider an SA1/SA2 collection before?
Well, as it turns out, they did. Long before Crash, or Spyro, or any of those other guys, in fact. Prominent SEGA insider Zippo has today reported that, as far back as 2010, the boys in blue gave the go-ahead to remasters of the Adventure titles.
Now, we know what you’re thinking. ‘Insider’ and ‘leaker’ are usually shorthand for ‘my uncle works at Nintendo.’ Not exactly credible. Zippo, however, has been cited as a reliable source in the past, pre-emptively leaking the existence of such projects as Super Mario 3D World: Bowser’s Fury and Sonic Prime. So for the sake of this story, while we will of course caution you to take their statements with a whole shaker’s worth of salt, we’re fairly certain we can believe them, especially since they open their piece with a very stern “note: NONE of this is speculation.” Well, alright then.
According to Zippo, “multiple people with connections to SEGA” have come forward to reveal that Adventure remakes were 100% in the works, presumably riding high on the wave of positive reception garnered by Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, with a 2015 release date being eyed. They were to release for PS4, Wii U (yeah, good luck with that) and Xbox One, and rather than simply being glorified ports like Adventure 2 on the Xbox 360 store, these were “full remakes with rearranged music, a la the N Sane Trilogy.”
Apparently, they were being handled not by Sonic Team, who at this stage were doubtless hard (?) at work on Sonic Forces, but by the oft-overlooked SEGA Shanghai, who had previously helmed the HD redo of NiGHTS: Into Dreams.
Though very little is revealed about what the project actually looked like – and if it’s true screengrabs will likely never see the light of day – Zippo goes on to claim it used “Generations-style visuals” and “the modern writers and cast” for the cutscenes. One can only assume a Baldy McNoseHair joke would have been tossed in there somewhere.
To prove all of this, Zippo refers to a press release issued circa-2014 by Jazwares, longtime manufacturer of Sonic merchandise, that promised an unannounced game due in 2015. Check it out below.
It’s worth noting that this could be referring to Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, which infamously was also bound for Xbox One and PS4 in 2015, before an exclusivity deal with Nintendo shunted the release date forward to Christmas 2014 and locked it to the woefully underpowered Wii U, sealing its fate – a fate we’re all more than familiar with by now. The ‘worst selling game in the franchise’s history’ kind of fate.
Ironically, it’s Rise of Lyric that Zippo claims put the bullet in the Adventure remakes’ spiny blue back. After it “bombed critically and commercially,” SEGA went through a “harsh, cost cutting restructuring in early 2015 where many people were laid off,” leading to the remasters being canned. SEGA, it seemed, had developed cold feet about letting non-Sonic Team devs touch their golden goose, as Rise of Lyric was produced by Naughty Dog offshoot Big Red Button. Of course, they weren’t entirely unreasonable for feeling this way; Nintendo went through a similar epiphany in the 90s after a bungled contract with Phillips spawned the godawful Mario and Zelda games for the CDi. You can therefore see why SEGA would want to be protective of their biggest license. Zippo also suggests the cancellation may have been totally a financial decision, so as to “cut costs” across the entire company, because the remakes were “going far over budget.”
Whatever happened, we’re currently sitting today in a world sans Adventure remasters. Whether this means Zippo’s account is accurate and Rise of Lyric/money troubles did in what could have been a smashing blast from the past, or whether it means it’s all total baloney and they never existed to begin with, we may never know. It does, though, throw into harsh light Sonic’s absence from the remake scene; which, combined with the recent radio silence from Sonic Team, is enough to make one wonder if an attempt – be it a first attempt or a second attempt – to breathe new life into the Dreamcast era might be imminent.
Aw, yeah. This (might be) happenin’.
What do you make of this leak? Are you convinced? Would you have liked, or would you still like, to see remasters of the Sonic Adventure games? Let us know below!