TSS Roundtable: Features We Want From Sonic Origins

It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a proper Sonic compilation game, and with the recently announced Sonic Origins on the horizon, a couple TSS Staffers got together to share our hopes and expectations.

Indigo’s Wishlist

One of the coolest things Sonic Mania did was re-introduce the once forgotten Mighty and Ray from SEGASonic Arcade and Knuckles Chaotix; since we have a Classic-friendly moveset to work with, it should be pretty straightforward to implement these guys! But don’t stop there, it’s also high time that Amy Rose returned to the roster as a playable hero. She could either control the way she did in Sonic Advance (there’s no shortage of rom-hacks of the Classics that show this is possible) or create an all-new one-button moveset for the pink rascal. Maybe Espio and Vector could return as well?

But another way to mix things up is to add a few new modes! Sonic Origins really ought to have some fun (and tough) missions and challenges for the seasoned fans who’ve played these games hundreds of times. I’m talking the return of Mania Plus’ Encore Mode, hard modes, Boss Rush, level mash-ups and whatever other wacky ideas the team behind this compilation has in store! Imagine the possibilities!

GX’s Wishlist

It’s hard for me to complain much about Origins. Quite frankly, in spite of many of these games getting rereleased so often, a console version of the Retro Engine android games has been my white whale for years. Yes, there are workarounds to play those classic games in 4K and/or HD and widescreen, but I see a lot of value in just having it without the workaround on my Switch. If these are indeed all going to be Taxman “ports” as we’ve collectively inferred from the trailer, that’s already 80% of what I want out of it. They’re really, really good versions that have most of what I want: Tails and Knuckles outside of their original games, Sonic 3K items, a save system, time attack, boss rush, reconstructed Hidden Palace, Super Sonic in Sonic 1. It’s always felt like an absolute shame that those games were relegated to phones exclusively.

That said, there is one feature I’d very much like out of the experience: a marathon mode, and/or an Encore mode. One reason why we as a community refer to the fourth and fifth core games in the series as “Sonic 3 & Knuckles” almost exclusively is because of the staggering scope of playing both Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles stitched together from end to end. To link five full Sonic games into one massive experience (or even just four full Sonic games with CD sitting off to the side), I probably wouldn’t have any reason to play any other format of classic Sonic again!

Similarly, Sonic Mania Plus’s Encore mode remains one of my favorite ways to play Sonic games to this day. Even ignoring the altered aesthetics and rebalancing, Encore’s party mechanic that lets you keep other characters in stock and swappable instead of traditional lives adds a needed variety to playthroughs, encouraging you swap to someone better suited to handle different situations. Heck, it even helps keep pace too, since death in a level just queues up your next party member instead of throwing you back to the checkpoint. Bringing that structure backwards to other games would give the quintology just enough remix to help it feel fresh without straying too far from its core identity. (I suppose you’d have to modify some cutscenes and structure in 3K though in order to have it make sense.)

If you really twist my arm, randomizers. But I know when to fold.

nuckles87’s Wishlist

One of the best things about Sonic Origins, in my view, is that it will be making Sonic 3 & Knuckles available on modern platforms outside of Steam for the first time in roughly a decade. But why stop there? There are loads of Sonic games that have only seen limited re-releases or have been completely out of circulation for decades, which would be a great fit for a collection like this.

I would like to see Sonic Origins include other games from Sonic’s pre-green eyes days. Specifically, I’d love to Sonic’s other Genesis releases, the Game Gear games, and Knuckles Chaotix included in this collection. Not as main attractions with widescreen, of course, but as simple, emulated unlockables. Previous Sonic compilations, such as Mega Collection and Gems Collection, included more obscure games as unlockables that rewarded playing the compilation’s core games. They could be included in this collection in a similar manner.

I’d also love to see Origins include a feature I first came across in Halo The Master Chief Collection: level playlists. Origins is the perfect opportunity to allow players to choose how they experience these level in unique ways. They could group levels by a variety of factors, from their environments, to their place in their respective games, to the kinds of enemies they have, and so on. On top of that, players could also put together their own playlists. Heck, maybe players could even construct their own boss rush playlists! Naturally, some sort of randomizer would also be cool, although those do already exist via fan mods.

Sonic Origins presents a rare opportunity for SEGA to recontextualize the classic Sonic experience in some fun and interesting ways, and to make some of the blue blur’s more obscure titles available again. I hope they take advantage of that.

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  1. Yes! I agree with all points the entire Classic era (1991-1998)
    I just wish SEGA would reward the fandom by selecting 5 fan games to remaster and cannonise to the franchise. For eg Sonic Galactic.
    Another point would be to remake certain Game Gear/ Master system titles in 16/32bit gloey like how a fan is doing for Sonic Triple Trouble

    1. There are SO many reasons why that would be the biggest legal minefield, the most significant of which is “Who owns a fan game?”

      Sega is willing to let things go through an incredible amount of plausible deniability. Even if they started tweeting about things like SAGE, all that deniability goes right out the door.

      They show a surprising amount of respect to their fans by, more or less, turning a blind eye to things that a Nintendo or a Square Enix would have C&D’d immediately.

      XD If you ever want to see exactly how… permissive Sega can be, spend any time on the Steam Workshop for Sega Mega Drive and Genesis Classics.

      1. Technically, if they entered some sort of agreement with the original creators and did in fact “remaster” the games to be released officially it wouldn’t be much of a legal minefield. Look at Street Fighter x Mega Man or Binding of Isaac: Repentance for examples of canonized fan content.

        That said, Sega really has no incentive to do this since the work involved in remastering or remaking all but the smallest fangames would likely be comparable to creating a brand new official game. In the aforementioned examples Street Fighter x Mega Man was a free download and only distributed on PC because of license issues. And despite being largely based on content from fan expansion Antibirth and hiring in official capacity at least most of the team behind it, Binding of Isaac Repentance still took multiple years to officially release and still isn’t out on any consoles.

  2. I already talked about this on the news page about the game’s announcement, but I really just want this to not give me a reason to play any other collections of these games. I don’t want to have to compare how the Ages releases of 1 and 2 have Ring Keeper mode and wonder if they’re a better experience for that, or how Sonic Jam has difficulty modes that change up level layouts and maybe those would be a better play for someone new to the series. I want a bunch of toggles in the options for each game that lets me select things like what revision or release of each game I want to play, what visual effects I want to play with (including the option of a 4:3 mode for authenticity), and what bonus stuff I can toggle on or off to remix levels, gameplay, and character abilites.

    I want this to be a comprehensive and definitive package for these games that leaves no question that this is the version to have. After that, if they want to throw in some bonuses like Mighty and Ray or a marathon mode I’d take them, but those alone won’t truly satisfy me.

  3. Customisable playlists would be absolutely amazing. What a brilliant idea from Nuckles87! I would love to be able to create a run through a selection of levels in my own order. Even better if I can do so with all the Sonic Mania Encore characters!

  4. @Indigo I’m flattered you used my work as an example, though I should maybe note from experience that hacking Amy Rose ISN’T easy at all. Not only would she likely need her own original sprite sheet made from scratch, but her control and attack calibration require HEAVILY reprogramming each game. It’s not just making her non-spin attacks function, all the game’s objects need to be individually programmed to recognise it.

    In that case, while I would love to see Amy get some official love, I can see why she wouldn’t make it in if they chose to add new characters, with Mighty, Ray or the aforementioned Chaotix characters likely being safer choices (though Charmy sans the ring co-op gimmick would surely break every game :P).

    Concerning extras, in terms of less likely extravagant ones, I admit I’d love to see how they’d complete other levels like Wood Zone or Sand Shower Zone, or maybe even translate 8 bit zones like Bridge and Jungle. Otherwise maybe just some multiplayer expansion like in the Taxman Sonic 2 remake.

    1. I actually hope they do add in additional characters to the Genesis titles. Amy, Mighty and Ray are the obvious ones. And as an option, maybe OPTIONAL voice overs for Sonic(Roger Craig Smith since he’s back), Tails(It might be Kate Higgins), Knuckles(Please bring in Patrick Seitz to voice him), Amy(I actually wouldn’t mind Lisa Ortiz or(If possible) Andrea Libman), Mighty(Can we get Johnny Yong Bosch for this role?), Ray(Two words: Veronica Taylor), Metal Sonic(Roger again) and Dr Eggman(Mike Pollock).

  5. While I do think the four mainline games will be the main attraction, I don’t think that will be all. I’m willing to bet that Sonic Spinball, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine and Sonic 3D Blast will be included as well, since they’ve been included a lot of times before. Might also have the Game Gear games, and with CD in the collection, they could also have Sonic the Fighters and Sonic R. And as a cherry on top, they could include games that were harder to port back in the days of Sonic Mega Collection, like Knuckles Chaotix and the SegaSonic arcade game. So in summary, they could have all the titles from Sonic’s Classic Era in one collection.

    1. It’s probably best to keep expectations limited. If we’re lucky, sure, a few other Genesis spin-offs, but the initial marketing, and most importantly, the name “Sonic Origins” certainly imply a more focused product. Hope for a few add-ons, but it’s really, really unlikely we’re gonna get the kitchen sink with this one.

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