Sega has announced a new Sonic The Hedgehog game, Sonic 4, to be released as a downloadable "episode" via Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Wii Ware.
According to a report from consumer site GameSpot, Sonic 4 will be a 2D game with 3D visuals. Sega associate brand manager Ken Balough suggested that the company is at last producing a Sonic game that inherits the spirit of the Genesis fan favorites.
"Ever since Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 has been a game classic Sega fans have always wanted to see," he tells Gamespot.
Over the years, Sega's mascot has seen racing titles, 3D action games and even an RPG, but fans have long demanded a game that more faithfully reflects the gameplay and appeal of the original games.
"It was the right people, at the right time, getting together and finally making this game we've all wanted to see," says Balough of Sonic 4. He also says the game is planned with the subtitle Episode 1, "the first part of a much larger adventure."
"While the game is a brand-new adventure, it will definitely pick up after Sonic & Knuckles," he explains. "However, what you are looking at is the beginning of a new story arc."
Balough cited the popularity surge of classic properties, like Capcom's Mega Man, thanks to downloadable platforms, as part of the motive for Sonic 4. On the desire to develop a 2D game with polished 3D graphics, he promised: "We're going to deliver a Genesis-era Sonic game as if it were created today that goes to the core of what classic Sonic fans desire."