Christian Whitehead

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Christian Whitehead
Other namesTaxman
OccupationGame programmer
EmployerEvening Star Studio
Known forWorking on Sonic the Hedgehog video games

Christian Whitehead, also known by his alias Taxman,[1] is an Australian video game programmer and designer.[2] He is most recognised for his work creating updated ports of early games in Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series, as well as being the lead developer of an original game in the series, Sonic Mania.


In 2006, Whitehead worked as a freelance 3D animator with the company Kine Graffiti. Since 2009, he has focused on game development, developing various fangames based on the Sonic the Hedgehog series.[3] In 2009, Whitehead produced a "proof-of-concept" video of Sonic CD running on an iPhone using his own custom engine, the "Retro Engine".[4][5] In an interview with Steven O'Donnell of Good Game: Spawn Point, Whitehead proclaims that he spent "about a year or so" convincing Sega to let him work on the Sonic CD port.[6] In 2009, a video regarding Sonic CD from Whitehead was taken down, leading Eurogamer to report that Whitehead possibly faced a cease and desist letter from Sega, which Whitehead claimed was false.[7][6] The port was released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iPhone and Android in 2011.[7] His remake was so successful that he was later commissioned to port Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to mobile devices.[5]

Although he released another proof-of-concept video for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in 2014, Sega did not approve of it.[8] In 2015, it was announced that Whitehead would be involved in his first non-Sonic game, Freedom Planet 2.[9] In 2017, Whitehead, in collaboration with Headcannon and PagodaWest Games, developed and released their own original title in the Sonic series, titled Sonic Mania.[10][11] In 2018, Sonic Mania became Sonic Mania Plus, with the release of the Encore DLC. Sonic Mania Plus was developed by Whitehead, Headcannon, PagodaWest Games, and the now included HyperKinetic.[12] Whitehead is currently working on Freedom Planet 2, built with the Unity engine,[13] for PC, Mac, and Linux.[14] In late 2018, Whitehead and other development members behind Sonic Mania founded their own studio Evening Star Studio,[15][16] where he serves as creative director and lead engine architect.[16]


Year Title Developer(s) Publisher Platform
2007 Retro Sonic self-developed self-published Microsoft Windows, Dreamcast
2008 Sonic Nexus Christian Whitehead, Brad Flick, Hunter Bridges self-published Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
2011 Sonic CD with Blit Software on PC and console, self-developed on mobile[citation needed] Sega Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android, Ouya, Microsoft Windows, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV
2013 Sonic the Hedgehog with Headcannon iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
2017 Sonic Mania with Headcannon, PagodaWest Games, HyperKinetic Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
TBA Freedom Planet 2 with GalaxyTrail GalaxyTrail Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, Linux


  1. ^ Mawson, Chris (12 January 2015). "Fans Launch Campaign for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Mobile Release". Power Up Gaming. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  2. ^ "Sonic Fans Campaign For the Release of Sonic 3 Remastered | mxdwn Games". 13 February 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  3. ^ Rainer Sigl (1 February 2015). "Lieblingsspiele 2.0: Die bewundernswerte Kunst der Fan-Remakes" (in German). Der Standard.
  4. ^ Hodapp, Eli (29 July 2009). "Christian Whitehead On 'Sonic CD' and His Retro Engine". TouchArcade. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  5. ^ a b Nelson, Jared (19 October 2014). "Hey Sega! This 'Sonic 3 & Knuckles' iOS Port Needs to Happen". TouchArcade. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  6. ^ a b O'Donnell, Steven (10 September 2017), "Making Sonic Mania", Good Game: Spawn Point, retrieved 10 February 2018
  7. ^ a b Parkin, Simon (22 December 2011). "Sonic CD Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 21 April 2017. However, after a few weeks, Whitehead's website was taken offline, as was the YouTube video he released to show off his work. It seemed as though Sega's lawyers had issued a cease-and-desist and ordered his work to be scrapped.
  8. ^ Mawson, Chris (2 April 2015). "Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Remastered Interview with Christian 'The Taxman' Whitehead". Power Up Gaming. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  9. ^ Oliver, Tristan (25 December 2015). "Taxman on Board for Freedom Planet 2 Development". TSSZ News. Archived from the original on 27 December 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  10. ^ Byford, Sam (23 July 2016). "Could Sonic Mania be the best Sonic the Hedgehog game since the Genesis?". The Verge. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  11. ^ Gartenberg, Chaim. "Sonic Mania gets an August release date and an adorably animated trailer". The Verge. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  12. ^ Oloman, Jordan (16 March 2018). "Sonic Mania Plus for PS4, Xbox One, Switch Adds New Characters , Competitive Mode". IGN. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  13. ^ Trail, Galaxy (25 December 2015). "Freedom Planet 2 is being made in Unity with the help of @CFWhitehead. It works great so far! #FreedomPlanet2". Twitter. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  14. ^ Trail, Galaxy (25 December 2015). "Freedom Planet 2 will follow a similar platform release as FP1: PC/Mac/Linux first followed by Nintendo, plus more depending on resources". Twitter. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  15. ^ @CFWhitehead (12 February 2019). "Hi everyone! I'd like to introduce you to Evening Star, a new game studio I have founded alongside:@TheRealDPad…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  16. ^ a b

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