Sound origins was announced last year as part of Blue Blur’s 30th anniversary. Although we haven’t heard from it since, it remains at the top of our list of expected remasters for the year – and here’s why.
Last May, alongside Sonic Colors: Ultimate and sound bordersSega announced Sound origins, a new compilation of the iconic games that put their mascot on the map. This new package would include sonic the hedgehog, sonic the hedgehog 2, sonic the hedgehog 3, Sonic and Knucklesand sonic cd in one package on all modern platforms. It was almost a footnote in the presentation, but it’s been one of my most anticipated releases since.
It may be the anniversary that piques my nostalgia, or the gradual resurgence of the series driven by live-action movies, but it’s the remaster or port that I’m looking forward to most, maybe even more than some brand new versions. But there’s more at stake here than just rounding up a few classic games for a cash-in…
[UPDATE 4/19: In the two days since this article went live, Sonic Origins appears to have been rated by the Korean Game Rating and Administration Committee, and potential key art has been discovered in the depths of the PlayStation Network’s data. Hopefully this means more news is inbound!]
Not just emulation
The main selling point for Sound origins maybe it’s not another emulated reissue. Series producer Takashi Iizuka told 4Gamer last summer that the original games were “correctly ported to current hardware”, allowing them to be played in full 16:9 resolution. According to Iizuka, they are able to “modify the original games” to make them more accessible to new audiences, like the children introduced to them by the live-action movies, while faithfully recreating them. Since these games have been enjoyed for over a quarter of a century, he felt the time was right to revitalize them.
It would be easy to bow around emulated ports of these five games and release them for a quick payday, but Iizuka’s comments show they intend to do something more meaningful. this time. We’ve seen how powerful this approach can be with recent remasters like Mass Effect Legendary Edition or the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series, and even with Sonic Colors: Ultimatewhich greatly benefited from a bit of TLC in the process (Switch launch woes aside).
The audiovisual presentation would inherently benefit from a massive improvement. The Genesis boasted of higher resolution in its day, but now we’re scoffing at its 320×224 limits. Plus, it made Sonic prone to encountering enemies or dangers if you didn’t know what was coming. , because you could only see a large part of the scene in front of him. But redefined in modern resolution, it could be a whole new ball game, as those iconic soundtracks blare in crystal clarity. (If you’ve never seen the first zoomed games, check out this fan-made mod from last year to get a sense of their true scale and complexity.)
An easy access point
If you want to boot up the classic games, you have a few options: they’re scattered across mobile platforms and previous-gen marketplaces, plus a few miscellaneous places like 3D Rebuilds on 3DS (buy them while you can). !) and sonic the hedgehog 2 in the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pass tier. Steam is currently the most consistent place to replay the franchise (and always will be after Sound origins happens, because it has practically all the main entrances).
During the lean years, Sega mitigated these access issues with occasional compilation titles, usually alongside other classics from their platforms, but there was usually a catch. sonic cd was separated from the “main trilogy”, the locked gameplay of Sonic and Knuckles has often been clumsily implemented, the legacy of Sonic 3Musical inspirations pose licensing issues, and they were usually accompanied by unrelated Sega titles. Even still, the latest collections came out in 2010 on DS and PC, skipping current-gen consoles altogether.
While these compilations could easily be considered a money grab, they’re also extremely handy for keeping the classics handy for those who don’t have the original material. Sound origins will put the quintessential early games on current consoles into an effective package for the first time in over a decade, and that alone is worth a modest ticket price.
Elevator sonic cd
While Sonic helped sell many consoles in the early 90s, Sega was inadvertently countering all the momentum it had given them in the hardware race. Between the confusing nomenclature of the Genesis and Master Drive lines, the Voltron-esque nature of its peripheral add-ons, and the poorly timed launch of the Sega Saturn, not even an all-time classic Sonic Adventure could save the Sega CD. .
sonic cd launched in late 1993, a year into the life of the Sega CD device. It was a major hit with critics and the best-selling game for the add-on, although its competition was relatively weak. He used his incredibly superior storage to include three versions of each of his seven worlds – past, present, and future. Sonic could jump between timelines mid-level, and if the player can find hidden Robotnik machines in previous versions, he can ensure that the future is positive, instead of a barren hellscape.
It was equal in every way to its Genesis cousins, though it only featured Sonic (as well as early appearances by Metal Sonic and Amy Rose). Contrary to Knuckles Chaotix on the 32X it saw a Windows 95 port and has been kept alive with occasional ports ever since. But Sound origins will mark the first time it will receive equal billing with the Genesis Trilogy, rightly recognizing it as a pivotal piece of Sonic history and giving new generations the perfect opportunity to experience it.
Potential quality of life and content updates
Modern remasters have done wonders for older games that have archaic technical limitations. Iizuka’s promises of improved resolution will be a big improvement for Sound origins inherently, and without relying on emulation, moments that have always been delayed or slowed down should flow smoothly. But it shouldn’t stop there. Saving files, saving states and/or quick saves could have a huge impact on the majority of these titles and feel like a given.
With the success of Sonic Mania, it should serve as inspiration – if its director, Christian Whitehead, isn’t involved, it’ll be a huge missed opportunity – so it’s also within the realm of possibility that we might see some subtle content additions as well. New moves, modes, and interesting remixes of familiar gameplay concepts would be welcome, especially if kept somewhat separate and optional from the “real” experience for those who want a little-modified nostalgic trip.
Really, Sound origins has a slew of opportunities in that department, and the possibilities have this childhood fan excited for the next newsdrop. Could we see Knuckles playable in Sonic 1 and sonic cd?
Just the beginning?
This set is already the perfect encapsulation of the early days of Blue Blur – the original trilogy, the “icing on the cake” expansion, and a timeless classic that many people missed – but Sound origins could include so much more. Sega previously released the first Sonic games in two separate compilations, Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Gem Collection; one compiled the main “canon” while the other bundled more obscure titles with other company underdogs. In reality, these games could have been combined into a real “mega” collection, and leaving the concept of Sound origins to five games also seems like a disservice.
What about more original titles like Sonic Spinball and 3D Sonic Blast? Or lost titles like 32X Knuckles Chaotix or the exclusivity of the Japanese arcade SegaSonic the Hedgehog? SNK recently released successful ports of their NeoGeo Pocket Color titles, and Sonic’s excursions from Game Gear could also benefit from a port to a system like the Switch, especially if they could be cleaned up and modernized like the other games in this compilation to come, expanding beyond the cramped proportions of the poorly designed handheld.
Even though Sound origins remains a pure and simple collection, hopefully it will pave the way for others. the Sonic Adventure era, spanning from Dreamcast to GameCube, was a promising start for Sonic’s 3D adventures before the unfortunate derailment of sonic ’06, and could benefit from a similar restoration. And the Sonic Advance GBA games are too often overlooked, but are a perfect fit for the Switch if nothing else.
As it has been almost a year since Sound origins has been announced, and we are now on the precipice of the 31st anniversary, hopefully we will have more information and a release date soon. Until then, I’ll just warm up my thumb muscles and hone my reflexes in anticipation of reliving both my childhood and Sonic’s finest hours.