Sonic 4: Episode 1 - YOUR questions answered

Our followers on Twitter and Facebook yesterday were asked: What do you want to know about Sonic 4? Having been shown the first three levels of the game and being a long-time Sonic fan, I feel ready to answer even the geekiest of questions. So here we go:

Terry Collins: How long will it be/ how many episodes?
It hasn't been confirmed yet. However, the second episode has been confirmed already and not as the last. I would think there will be three episodes.

Keiffer Newman: Will it suck?
From what I've seen... no. It looks like it plays well, the sensation of movement is smooth and the pacing seems right. It may not have as much scope for exploration as, say, Sonic 2, but the music, iconography and level layout is way better than other recent Sonic games. I'd say it'll be at least as good as Sonic Advance 1, which I liked very much.

Above: Looks a lot like Sonic 2, doesn't it? Except in shiny HD

Nay Aung Latt: When will the retail version be released? I can't use Xbox Live in my country. So, I'm really looking forward to the retail version. After 3 episodes? 5 episodes?
Sadly there are no plans for a disc version. However, if it sells really well online, I would be surprised if we didn't see some kind of collectors' disc edition after all the episodes have been released. And there's always the iPhone version?

Brendan Day: Will they get Michael Jackson to do any of the music?
It looks unlikely Michael will be contributing. However, I will say that the music is a real return to form after the god-awful orchestrated stuff of recent games. It even samples the 16-bit original's snare sound. Remember the count-in for the title screen? It's there throughout the soundtrack. Marvellous.

Antony Essex: Why did it Sega so long to realise 3D Sonic sucks?
Firstly, 3D Sonic hasn't always sucked. Sonic Adventure 1 was a great game and the 3D Sonic World bit of Sonic Jam on Saturn proved that the game could work brilliantly in 3D. But to answer your question: Because Sonic has to be seen to be moving with the times and also because the franchise still makes money. Sonic Heroes was at number one for aeons a few years back and a lot of people hate that. It's only because of decreasing review scores and the low-risk online distribution method that we're getting a next-gen 2D outing at all. If enough people buy this, we may get a big-budget 2D Sonic 5. Imagine that.

Chris Hughes: How fast can he actually run????
Sonic himself can break the sound barrier which is 761.2mph. In Sonic 4, he runs slower than he does in Sonic Rush on DS but faster than the normal-speed gameplay of Sonic 2. And his feet do blur when he hits top speed. Phew.

Above: Sonic hasn't even hit full speed here but he's still kicking up dust

Patrick Petraitis: Is it really worth getting in episodes?
Well... I would have preferred one big game, but there are four levels in the first episode, each apparently with three acts and a separate boss stage (yep, you get a third spinner now in Act 3) plus seven bonus stages, so that's enough to be getting on with. Remember, Sonic 1, 2 and 3 can each be finished in under one hour, so the length of Episode 1 is probably getting on for that of any of the old games.

Karl Smith: Wouldn't Sonic 4 have benefited from high def 2D drawn sprites than 3D polygons? BlazBlue Calamity Trigger is a beautiful and fast moving game with drawn sprites. I'm not knocking what you are doing but I think it would be more faithful to the original Sonics of times gone by.
Erm, you realise GamesRadar isn't making the game, right? But yes, I absolutely agree - hand-drawn sprites would have looked better. The 3D Sonic doesn't sit right in his environment. His feet overlap the 2D terrain a little, his revolutions are too slow when he jumps, but at least he looks awesome when he's rolling down a hill. The animation is very much 'new Sonic'.

Above: Acts are individually named. Splash Hill features: 'The Adventure Begins', 'High Speed Athletics', 'Sunset Dash' and 'Showdown with Dr Eggman'. Can you guess which one this screen's from?

Conor McKenna: Will this be the direction future Sonics will take, or is it just a ZBLA/PSN game to keep console gamers interested in the Sonic games?
I fully expect another 3D Sonic game to be announced at some point this year. There's no way Sega would confine their biggest asset to XBLA, PSN and WiiWare. That said, if it sells well, I think we'll see a full-price Sonic game with more traditional side-on gameplay - and not in the twitch sense of the side-on bits from Sonic Unleashed. Sonic 4 is just a lower-budget game to finally give fans what they've been asking for for the last decade.

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  • noofer7 - March 27, 2010 1:48 a.m.

    I'm excited about this, but I'm very disappointed that it's episodic...
  • philipshaw - March 26, 2010 3:08 p.m.

    I like this style of feature, good to see I got a reponse
  • Vagrant - March 26, 2010 10:47 a.m.

    "as good as Sonic Advance" does not fill me with enthusiasm. It was nice to see someone on GR admit Adventure 1 was good though.
  • DarkTone - March 26, 2010 3:11 a.m.

    PEOPLE PEOPLE! PUT DOWN YOUR PITCHFORKS! Even if this game is bad it's not the worst Sonic game Sega made.
  • wrapdump - March 26, 2010 12:08 a.m.

    @TURbo, HOLY CRAP!! You just saved us a whole WORLD of hurt right there, nice catch!
  • tHEmISFIT - March 25, 2010 11:27 p.m.

    I swear if sega fucks up the main series by putting in a useless annoying side character, please don't tarnish the good 16 bit sonic games sega.
  • SeattleSound - March 25, 2010 9:18 p.m.

    I had Sonic 1, 2 and 3 for the Genesis and hopefully this will be a great addition to the series, can't wait for it.
  • Cyberninja - March 25, 2010 8:29 p.m.

    @MrDuracraft because their awesome
  • MrDuracraft - March 25, 2010 8:11 p.m.

    Why do people think GDar is making this game...?
  • SuperStingray - March 25, 2010 7:57 p.m.

    What does everyone have against the name Eggman? Sure, it's not quite as "villainy" as Robotnik, but I think Eggman is more fitted to his somewhat comical appearence and it's intimidating in a sort of ironic way, like The Joker.
  • RebornKusabi - March 25, 2010 7:15 p.m.

    I read the whole article, and it actually made me intrigued for the game because I'm an old-school Sonic fan who never liked the newer Sonic games. While I think that they're usage of "Eggman" is ****ing stupid, I can deal if the game is actually a return to form. Oh, and for anyone who has no idea why people seem to hate the newer Sonic games and have such fond nostalgia for older Sonic games, I direct you to Pokecapn's Let's Play of Sonic 2006. Not only does it involve watching/listening to 4 friends doing a straight 28 hour marathon through what is considered the worst game in the series, but the game is so goddamn broken, so goddamn awful and so easy to make fun of that because they've all had almost little to no sleep, you can literally HEAR them start to lose their minds from playing such an terrible game. To give you an idea on what I mean when I say that they start to lose their minds, the last couple of Chapter Titles are named after the "Five Stages of Grief": Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. They all also start out happy and positive and by the end of the 26-hour LP... not so much lol It's seriously the funniest thing I watched last year and that is saying something. It starts out slow-burning and relatively pedestrian but stick around and you'll be laughing out loud constantly. Alright, enough shilling! Great article Justin, you have made me take notice of this game AND reply to questions that people asked (even though you guys asked for them lol).
  • GoldenMe - March 25, 2010 7:09 p.m.

    Oh My God! 80% of these questions are pure fucking crap! I've counted 3 that actually help. The rest are "old news that anybody should know", " why did they do this and not THIS?", and " DURR does it suck?" Justin, I must say that I feel sorry for you. Answering those questions would of drivin' me crazy. This is GR's 2nd Biggist Sonic Fanboy (You know you're first, Justin) signing out.
  • sveini22 - March 25, 2010 5:43 p.m.

    wow a sonic game that doesent suck *shock*
  • wastedspace - March 25, 2010 5:09 p.m.

    I would like to see more of these interactive previews, I think they're a great idea.
  • WillisTron - March 25, 2010 3:59 p.m.

    I want this
  • TURbo - March 25, 2010 3:57 p.m.

    You do realize that the sound barrier you mentioned is at sea level, and the sound barrier becomes easier to break the higher you go due to less denser atmosphere.
  • BodyDamage - March 25, 2010 3:39 p.m.

    i love GRs constant attempts at creating a bridge between its writers and readers. I think the interactive preview is another fine step in that direction. keep up the good work.
  • GLCoolJ - March 25, 2010 3:36 p.m.

    I kinda liked Sonic Heroes (it's certainly better than Shadow's 'game'), but I'm glad Sonic's returning to the 2D style.
  • suicidali - March 25, 2010 2:57 p.m.

    Thanks for answering my question. I'm now looking to trademark nostalgiarific...
  • rxb - March 25, 2010 2:31 p.m.

    I'll definitely get the demo with intention to buy. Depends on the feel of the game and the price.