Back in the early 90s, Sonic was so big that SEGA was ready to put him on everything. That includes a remake of Nihon Falcom’s popular PC88 sidescrolling action-RPG “Popful Mail.” For decades, it was thought that the game was once going to be localized in the West as “Sister Sonic,” before being mysteriously canceled in favor of a straight-up localization of Popful Mail. As it turns out, that isn’t the full story. The people at Did You Know Gaming have discovered that Sister Sonic wasn’t just a western localization of the game, but it was going to be the SEGA CD version of said game, with an altered story to suit the new character.
This revelation comes from DYKG’s latest Sonic video. In it, they reveal that they dug through various Japanese language primary sources, discovering in an interview that Sister Sonic was to be one of five initial games developed under SEGA Falcom, a joint venture between SEGA and Falcom meant to remake Falcom games for SEGA hardware.
In an interview from the November 1992 issue of BEEP! Megadrive, which DYKG used as a source, SEGA Falcom’s director said that they chose this direction because “it makes more sense for us to use Sonic, who’s already popular all around the world.” He also confirmed that, despite the name, the game wasn’t about “Sonic’s sister” but instead a female relative. She was to be the first female Sonic character, She would still be a bounty hunter, like Popful Mail, but she would be a “more mature girl” with a “flirtatious and sexy charm.”
At the time of the interview, Sister Sonic was one of five SEGA Falcom games in development, and also the furthest along. It was expected to release in Japan and overseas with Japanese subtitles at nearly the same time. Ultimately, a letter writing campaign from Popful Mail fans would cause SEGA to rethink its plans, leading to Sister Sonic’s cancellation.
Popful Mail would eventually launch for the MEGA CD in April 1994, followed by an American release in February of ‘95. These days, Popful Mail is considered a SEGA CD classic and one of the best games on the platform, though the US localization is generally considered a downgrade due to its difficulty being increased during localization. Thankfully, there is a fan patch out there. These days, the game is quite rare, and typically goes for a pretty penny.
You can find the full Did You Know Gaming video here.