As a character, Sonic is incredible, but we all know what has happened to the franchise over the last decade. It’s a bit sad to see what has happened to my favorite video game character of all time, but no matter what games or products come out in the blue hedgehog’s name, I will never waver in my love for him. That being said, Sega did the annual Sonic Panel at SXSW Gaming this year with several announcements. If you could get past the *constant* barrage of asking the audience questions trying to hype them up (to mild applause), there were some real announcements within the panel… but I mean, seriously, the attempts to hype up the audience were excessive and detracted largely from a panel that could otherwise be pretty great. Hell, I’d even sit through the cringey Q&A portion if it meant they would tone down all the attempts at crowd hype by asking “Who likes [x thing we’re trying to talk about]?!” But okay, let’s take a look at one of the announcements made at the Sonic the Hedgehog SXSW Gaming Panel.
Sonic Mania Plus
Yes that’s right, in the era of HD Remakes and “Deluxe Editions” of so many games (SO many games), Sega continues the momentum with the announcement of Sonic Mania Plus. This upgrade will include two new playable characters, an expanded four player competition mode, and the brand new “Encore mode.” Sega noted that many people asked for a physical release of Sonic Mania the first time around, so Sega offers “Plus” as a physical release. This physical release will include a holographic slip cover, 32-page art booklet, and reversible Genesis/Mega-drive sleeve. Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel are the two playable characters creeping out of the depths of Sonic lore to come out and show their stuff. This is the first game that Mighty returns as a playable character since Knuckles’ Chaotix in 1995, while Ray has not been playable in any game since his debut in SegaSonic the Hedgehog in 1993.
Sonic Mania Plus will feature revised versions of the original game’s Competition and Time Attack modes. The first will increase the player limit for split-screen racing from two to four, and the second adds ghost challenges for time trials.
Sega has announced that Sonic Mania Plus is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch on July 17th.