Christian Whitehead Confirms Sonic CD Port Involvement, SEGA Gives More Details


Christian Whitehead (aka The Taxman) confirmed to Sonic Retro upon the official unveiling of the Sonic CD port on Thursday that his Retro Engine is powering the game. Whitehead also says the game will feature a proper looping soundtrack and an option to play using the original Sonic CD Spin Dash or one similar to Sonic 2. You can see the Retro Engine running a proof of concept demo of Sonic CD on an iPod Touch in the above video Whitehead recorded back in 2009.

UPDATE: Sonic Retro has informed us that it was actually SEGA’s Ken Balough that was interviewed below, not Patrick Riley.

In other news, SSMB and Sonic Retro forum member Shade Vortex attended PAX 2011 and interviewed SEGA staff member Ken Balough about this new Sonic CD port and got some interesting bits of information. You can read the full details below courtesy of Sonic Retro.


Regarding the functionality of the Sonic 2 spindash, Riley said that the feature could still be removed from the final game if it is found to cause problems within the game, going on to say that developers shouldn’t talk about features so early on for this reason.

More on that point, when asked about the inclusion of the U.S. soundtrack, Riley stated that it is not currently planned for use in the full release, due to licensing issues in using Spencer Nilsen’s soundtrack. However, Sega is trying to work around that and come up with a solution. Meaning, if an agreement is reached, this may include paid DLC, if the game can support it. For now, the game is International soundtrack only.


When asked about the curious use of Sonic 4 assets in the reveal trailer for the game, Riley confirmed that Sega has retrofitted Sonic CD‘s place in the timeline as after Sonic 3 and Knuckles but before Sonic 4: Episode 1. The rationale behind this was that Sonic CD’s developers never put any direct mention of Sonic CD‘s place in the timeline.

Even if a slight nod to its place exists within the original game itself.

So how exactly does this work? When Sonic CD is released later this year and Sonic 4: Episode 2 is announced, there will be a trailer where Sonic escapes from his time-travelling detour. In all the Sonic 4 trailers, Sonic is chasing Eggman from the left of the screen to the right. In the Sonic CD trailer, there’s a signpost instead, and when he hits it, he takes a detour and does the story of Sonic CD. Once his CD adventure is over, his detour ends, and he goes onto Sonic 4: Episode 2, coming out sometime next year.

Wait… so Sonic 4: Episode 1 happens, Sonic CD, then Sonic 4: Episode 2? I guess this fits with the whole “after Sonic 3 and Knuckles” thing, but wouldn’t this technically make it a side-sequel to Sonic 4: Episode 1 then? Just hit me with the Hazama cameo. Blast you and your odd time travel logic, Sega!

Opinion injection aside, there’s one more point that was tackled.


With The Taxman’s earlier details revealing that Sega now owns a license to his Retro Engine, used to power the popular fan game Retro Sonic Nexus, fan speculation rocketed if Sonic 4: Episode 2 will throw away the criticized physics engine it used in favor for the Retro Engine.

And with the precision of Sonic shooting down one of Eggman’s many airships, Riley responded with a flat “No,” continuing by saying that Sonic 4 “will never” use the Retro Engine because the code base is incompatible with the existing Sonic 4 engine, which they are still using for Episode 2.

Hopefully with quite a few tweaks and lessons learned from Sonic Generations. I know, opinion injection again. My apologies.

Special thanks to Shade Vortex for conducting the interview because some of us couldn’t make it to PAX this year.

Source: Sonic Retro – Link 1, Link 2

What are your thoughts on this information? Let us and others know in the comments section below.

The Sonic Stadium may link to retailers and earn a small commission on purchases made from users who click those links. These links will only appear in articles related to the product, in an unobtrusive manner, and do not influence our editorial decisions in any way.


        1. Shadz I see you came back to posting news 😀

          About CD. Well I still have Gems and Mega CD versions but I might consider this.

        2. Interesting news, I must say.

          And Shadzter, I did not even know that you left the staff here for a bit.

          1. @Shadzter – Yeah, who doesn’t love this place? Anyway, just don’t work yourself up too much 🙂

  1. great even more inconsistencies, i give up on sega and stories lol.what is gonna be there excuse for the gap between genesis games and sonic adventure?

    on the plus side international soundtrack yes, dont need the u.s one in my opinion anyway =p

    1. I dunno… With Sonic 4 using the modern Sonic design and the inclusion of the Air Dash/Homing Attack, I see Sonic 4 as a prequel to Sonic Adventure.

      1. Hmm…So it’s

        Sonic 1 —> Sonic 2 —-> Sonic 3 (and Knuckles) —> Sonic4 Ep 1 —> Sonic CD —> Sonic 4 Ep 2 —> Sonic Adventure —> Sonic Adventure 2 —> Sonic Heroes —> Shadow the Hedgehog —>Sonic Unleashed —> Sonic Colors —> Sonic Generations

        …Well, that’s MY time line, at least. What’s that about Sonic ’06? …WE DO NOT DISCUSS THAT GAME HERE. Rawr. XD

  2. The trick to putting it on so many systems is the aforementioned Retro Engine. Essentially you have an iPhone version of RE, an XBLA version, a PC version, etc, and each version acts as a wrapper that makes games developed for RE work for that system. The iPhone version for example will have extra code to translate touch controls (and show them on the screen) and the accelerometer.

    Generally speaking, you (if you licenced the engine, that is) could develop a game for the PC version of RE, then just transplant all the game files into any other version, and the game would work without having to waste time and effort porting it fully. In practice, there would be minor differences between versions, such as proper touch screen menus for iPhone vs d-pad menus on console versions, but making the game actually work on different systems would be handled by the engine.

    It’s a similar idea to that of console games that use emulators (e.g. Sonic Mega Collection), where they just stick the same game ROM into every version, and expect the console-specific emulator code to take care of it. The difference is that this Sonic CD is a proper rebuild of the game, so it’ll be much more a quality result than all the emulator rereleases we’ve seen over the years.

  3. Ugh. Sonic 4’s story was bad enough already, now they’re using it to ruin Sonic CD’s?

    I guess this means Episode 1’s spoiler ending was actually foreshadowing Sonic CD rather than Episode 2.

        1. Patrick Riley says in the article that it happens between Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic 4: Episode 1.
          “When asked about the curious use of Sonic 4 assets in the reveal trailer for the game, Riley confirmed that Sega has retrofitted Sonic CD‘s place in the timeline as after Sonic 3 and Knuckles but before Sonic 4: Episode 1. The rationale behind this was that Sonic CD’s developers never put any direct mention of Sonic CD‘s place in the timeline.”

          I don’t know why Sonic Retro’s article goes on to say stuff about it happening between the 2 Sonic 4 episodes after that bit though. SEGA also said when they announced the port on Thursday that it happens between Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic 4: Episode 1.

          1. Well, not to bash or anything, but Sonic Retro tends to add unecessary things, sometimes insults, as if everyone were to agree. XD

            But at least they’re good providers for STUFF. =P

  4. So this means that the timeline goes: Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic 4-1, Sonic CD, Sonic 4-2, etc.
    So Sonic CD is technically Sonic 4: Episode 1.5. I guess that’s cool. I still haven’t gotten Sonic 4-1 yet, so I think I’ll do that before Sonic CD comes out.

  5. My opinion? Interesting. I can finally place Sonic CD somewhere officially in the story and I can finally tie Sonic 4 to something directly. Somehow I can easily picture Sonic 4 hacing a connection to CD. It kinda helps the transition from the “Sonic The Hedgehog saga” to the “Adventure series” too. =)

    Tho they don’t explain how he has homing attack, then doesn’t, then does again. XD Oh well.

    It’s all good fun. =)

  6. No no no Shadzter is saying that SEGA are now saying this: ( p.s the various canon is my own opinion/ guess where they be placed:

    SEGA Canon Various Spin off canon
    Sonic 1
    Sonic 2 Sega Sonic Arcade Sonic Chaos Sonic Spinball
    Sonic 3 & Knuckles Sonic Triple Trouble Knuckles Chaotix Tails Sky Patrol/Adventures Sonic 3D Blast
    Sonic the Fighters
    Sonic CD
    Sonic 4 Ep:1
    Sonic 4 Ep:2
    Sonic Adventure Sonic Shuffle
    Sonic Adventure 2
    Sonic Advance
    Sonic Advance 2
    Sonic Heroes Sonic Battle
    Sonic Advance 3
    Shadow the Hedgehog Sonic Riders Sonic Rush
    Sonic Riders 2
    Sonic The Hedgehog (06) (possible inclusion……. ish) Sonic Rivals
    Sonic Rush Adventure Sonic & secret Rings Sonic & Black Knight
    Sonic Chronicles
    Sonic Unleashed
    Sonic Colours
    Sonic Generations

    1. Didn’t Sonic Rush Adventure come out AFTER Chronicles. And what about Sonic Free Riders?

    2. Sorry but that list is fake as hell. Oh and I read somewhere that Rushes happen after 06 but before Rivals.

  7. Maybe as the guy said in that youtube vid theres some suprises in store…… maybe could have a all new cutscene at the end that something happens that put Sonic and co in time or explain how he got his green eyes? Just a theory

    1. Maybe he got his green eyes the same way the apes in Rise of the Planet of the Apes got their green eyes – after getting an intelligence boost. Hence why Sonic only talks in the games where he’s got green eyes.

  8. Patrick is a total bloater for dismissing Taxman in that way. The guy knows jack about canon.

  9. If its got improvements i might buy it, I found the game to be over hyped and kinda disappointing when i played it on Gems collection, its like u hear all this hype for it as a kid growing up hearing its the best sonic game ever only to years later get to try it on Gems collection and find it meh, Sonic 3 and knuckles is the best sonic game ever, its the only game i know too thats fresh from start to finish with some much different things in each level etc. But making CD part of the timeline of sonic 4 kinda bugs me abit, i liked it when it was based after sonic 2 since it was out in 1993 and Tails did have a Cameo.

    1. I agree the Timeline should stay as it was originally, but most fans considered Sonic CD timeline to take place after Sonic 1

  10. I wish sega hadn’t moved sonic CD’s placement. As it just doesn’t make much sense imo. Because now that would mean metal sonic is a downgrade model from mecha sonic from sonic 3. Ether way no matter what sega says the way I’ll always remeber sonic CD’s placement is it taking place in between sonic 1 and 2.

    And also doesn’t them shiftign sonic CD between snic 3 and sonic 4 mean that sonic 4 ep 1’s story is fake seeing they said it takes place exactly after sonic 3?

    @___@ sega why do you have to make everythign so complicated

  11. Hmm. I hope that they can work around the licensing issues with the US soundtrack, because that’s all this release needs to be the definitive Sonic CD. I hope that SEGA considers going back and giving StH, StH2, StH3 and S&K similar widescreen releases, with StH3 and S&K having both the Genesis and PC soundtracks.

    1. Shut up troll. Just ignore it. Like the fact how ppl keep saying Sonic is 20 or 15, we dont know for sure, and no instructions booklet is gonna prove it. Like how you can unlock Character Cards, which have Sonic’s friends’ info on them. Even if SEGA puts an age for Sonic, i will simply ignore it. Its stupid to think that a hedgehog is fifthteen, when he’s been around for 20 years. So are you ppl saying Sonic was 0 years old throughout his first 5 years? Get over yourself.

  12. Only thing: DON’T USE THE STUPID “SEGA VINTAGE COLLECTION” WAY OF PORTING! that’s pretty much my only request, also I’m really glad they’re fixing the spin-dash. 🙂

    1. No, they should use it. That way we can use save points, instead of going through 6 zones, just to play the 7th :/

      1. I mean make it how the ultimate genesis collection does it, u play the original games with save states, but without the unnecessary menus. 🙂

  13. When I saw the article, I thought “Christian Whitehead” was just some ignorant statement because they didn’t know his name lol.

  14. Hey, Shadzter. Just giving you a heads up that we had a bit of miscommunication with our reporter at PAX on who’s who, but have some more details that clear up the whole jumble of words that confused the spoot out of everyone.

    Check it out here.

  15. I`m loving this connection between Sonic 4 and CD Sega is making, it makes Sonic 4 look more integrated with the original storyline. Also, i found it very creative. And there`s still Generations coming out this year. As a Sonic fan I`m incredibly excited for the series!

Comments are closed.