|Director(s)||Hiroshi Miyamoto (Console, PC)
Tetsu Katano (3DS)
|Series||Sonic the Hedgehog|
Sonic Generations is a platform video game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The Nintendo 3DS version of the game was developed by Dimps. The game commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and was released in North America, Europe and Australia in November 2011, and in Japan the following month. In 2012, the game was made available for digital download on the PlayStation Network and Xbox 360 Games on Demand services, as well as on the Nintendo eShop the following year.
Sonic Generations is a platform game in which players control Sonic the Hedgehog in two forms: Classic and Modern, in which their main objective is to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds, free their friends and uncover the mystery behind the Time Eater, a mysterious entity who creates time holes. The game features levels derived from 20 years of Sonic history, spreading across three eras, each having three stages and two bosses from previous games: the Classic Era, which features stages from the franchise's early years on Sega Genesis, the Dreamcast Era, focusing on stages from games released during the Sega Dreamcast years and the early years of the franchise's move to non-Sega systems, and the Modern Era, with stages from titles released on high-definition systems, which are played as either Classic Sonic or Modern Sonic. Classic Sonic's levels are strictly two dimensional side scrolling stages, using classic moves like the Spin Attack and Spin Dash, while Modern Sonic's levels follow the 2D/3D style gameplay of Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors, featuring techniques such as boosting and homing attacks. As well as classic power-ups such as Invincibility and Speed Shoes, certain levels have unique power-ups, such as skateboards in City Escape and Wisp powers in Planet Wisp.
Classic and Modern Sonic begin the game with six lives, which are lost when they suffer any type of damage with no rings in their possession, or fall into a pit or drown. More lives can be earned by getting 100 rings or finding a monitor (item box) that gives them an extra life. If the player runs out of lives, the "Game Over" screen will appear, in which the player can continue by selecting "Yes".
Each zone consists of a main act for each Sonic, the first act is for Classic Sonic and the second act is for Modern Sonic, as well as 10 challenges such as beating an opponent to the goal or finishing a stage with limited rings. A Skill Shop allows players to use points earned from high scores to unlock upgrades such as abilities, shields, and even the original Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis game (Xbox 360 and PS3 only). Completing challenges, as well as finding Red Star Rings hidden in each of the main Acts, unlocks additional skills, as well as bonus concept artwork and music. The music can then be played in any stage, challenge, or boss fight. There are also online leaderboards for two modes: Ranking Attack, which challenges players to obtain the best time and score on each level, and 30 Second Trial, which challenges players to see how far they can get through a level in 30 seconds.
The 3DS version follows similar gameplay to the Sonic Rush series for Modern Sonic, and features a different set of levels to the console and PC versions, some of which directly recreate the layouts of classic Mega Drive levels. As opposed to the Skill Shop in the console version, abilities are unlocked as the game progresses, with Classic Sonic learning a Homing Attack and Modern Sonic learning a stomp. Exclusive to the 3DS version are Special Stages, similar to those of Sonic Heroes, in which players must collect spheres in order to gain boost to chase after a Chaos Emerald. The game features 100 mission stages that are unlocked either by progressing through the game, meeting other players on StreetPass, or spending Play Coins, as well as both wireless and online multiplayer modes, in which two players can race against each other.
Aside from the original Green Hill Zone, both the home console and 3DS versions of the games feature their own list of stages, taken from the games of the main series. The game contains the following stages:
|Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/Microsoft Windows||Nintendo 3DS|
|Stage||Original game||Stage||Original game|
|Green Hill||Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)||Green Hill||Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Chemical Plant||Sonic the Hedgehog 2||Casino Night||Sonic the Hedgehog 2|
|Sky Sanctuary||Sonic & Knuckles||Mushroom Hill||Sonic & Knuckles|
|Speed Highway||Sonic Adventure||Emerald Coast||Sonic Adventure|
|City Escape||Sonic Adventure 2||Radical Highway||Sonic Adventure 2|
|Seaside Hill||Sonic Heroes||Water Palace||Sonic Rush|
|Crisis City||Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)||Tropical Resort||Sonic Colors|
|Rooftop Run||Sonic Unleashed|
|Planet Wisp||Sonic Colors|
|Boss||Stage||Original game||Boss||Stage||Original game|
|Metal Sonic||Stardust Speedway (Bad Future)||Sonic the Hedgehog CD||Metal Sonic||Casino Night||Sonic the Hedgehog CD|
|Death Egg Robot||Death Egg||Sonic the Hedgehog 2||Big Arm||Launch Base||Sonic the Hedgehog 3|
|Shadow the Hedgehog||Final Rush||Sonic Adventure 2||Shadow the Hedgehog||Radical Highway||Sonic Adventure 2|
|Perfect Chaos||Station Square||Sonic Adventure||Biolizard||Cannon's Core||Sonic Adventure 2|
|Silver the Hedgehog||Crisis City||Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)||Silver the Hedgehog||Tropical Resort||Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)|
|Egg Dragoon||Eggmanland||Sonic Unleashed||Egg Emperor||Final Fortress||Sonic Heroes|
|Time Eater||Center of Time||Sonic Generations||Time Eater||Center of Time||Sonic Generations|
The game features a large assortment characters from the franchise's history. The protagonist Sonic teams up with his past self, Classic Sonic, and defeat the main antagonist Dr. Eggman and his own past self, Classic Eggman (Robotnik), while rescuing his friends and restoring the worlds. Sonic also clashes with some of his rivals during his quest, including Metal Sonic, Shadow and Silver. Aiding Sonic is Miles "Tails" Prower, a flying fox, along with his past self, Classic Tails. Sonic's other allies include Knuckles, Amy, Rouge, Blaze, Cream and the Chaotix, although they are absent in the 3DS version.
The game begins with Sonic holding a birthday celebration with his friends, before a mysterious entity known as the Time Eater arrives and uses "time holes" to scatter everyone across different points in history. After being knocked out by the Time Eater, Sonic finds himself in White Space. After Sonic rescues his best friend Tails, they discover versions of themselves from the past, referred to as "Classic Sonic" and "Classic Tails", who are depicted with the appearance and proportions used in concept art from the Sega Genesis era of Sonic games. As the two Tails determine that Time Eater's actions are damaging time and space itself, both Classic and "Modern" Sonic race through their history, restoring time to normal and rescuing their friends. Throughout the course of the game, Classic and "Modern" Sonic encounter Dr. Eggman and his classic self, referred to as "Classic Eggman" (Robotnik), and collect the 7 Chaos Emeralds.
When the worlds are restored and the Chaos Emeralds are collected, the Sonics discover that the mastermind behind the now perfected Time Eater are Eggman and Robotnik. "Modern" Eggman reveals his plot to complete the Time Eater Robot by joining forces with his past self, Dr. Robotnik (Classic Eggman), and harnessing the Time Eater's power. Therefore, Eggman will erase his past defeats from history. Although the Time Eater manages to overpower the 2 Sonics, the support of their friends and the power of the Chaos Emeralds allow them to transform into their Super forms and confront Robotnik and Eggman. The Sonics eventually destroy the Time Eater, restoring time to its proper state. The heroes return to the present and continue celebrating Sonic's birthday. After the party, Classic Sonic and Classic Tails travel back to their own time as everyone says their farewells. After the credits, Robotnik and Eggman are trapped in white space.
The game was first revealed on April 7, 2011, when Sega posted a teaser trailer on their Facebook page. The teaser depicted both modern and classic interpretations of Sonic the Hedgehog running alongside each other. The game was officially unveiled as Sonic Generations on April 18, 2011, along with the first gameplay trailer. The game's plot was penned by Ken Pontac and Warren Graff, who previously worked on Sonic Colors. Sega's Community Manager Aaron Webber revealed that Classic Sonic would be mute, and that both Classic and Modern Sonic have their own sets of physics, the former of which Webber claims is "closer to the classics than anything since, including Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I." Producer Takashi Iizuka confirmed that although other characters will be part of the story, only the two Sonics shall be playable. However, at one point, one could even play as three Sonics. Iizuka also confirmed that each returning level shall feel familiar but will also feature a new visual element like the caves seen in the Green Hill stages. Iizuka stressed that the return of Classic Sonic would be a one off for this game. This statement was later rebuffed in 2016 during the Sonic 25th Anniversary event at San Diego Comic Con where two new main entry games were announced. One is a 2D platformer called Sonic Mania while the other is a 3D game under the working title "Project Sonic 2017". Both games will see the return of the Classic Sonic design.
Writer Ken Pontac commented how they had more input in the story than in Sonic Colors. Fans who attended a "Sonic Boom" event in Los Angeles on June 8, 2011 or the "Summer of Sonic" in London on June 25 were able to record a birthday message that appears during the game's credits sequence.
A financial earnings report posted by Sega Sammy Holdings listed versions of the game for Nintendo 3DS and PC, though a revised version of the report no longer listed either version. The game was eventually confirmed in Nintendo Power to be coming to the Nintendo 3DS, being co-developed by Dimps. Other than Green Hill Zone, the console and 3DS versions of the game feature completely different sets of levels. Sega officially announced a PC version of the game on October 11, 2011, which was released digitally on November 4, 2011, with a retail version released in Europe shortly afterwards. The PC version was outsourced and developed by UK company "Devil's Details". All versions of the game support stereoscopic 3D. A downloadable minigame based on Sonic 2's Casino Night Zone was available for the console versions as a pre-order bonus from GameStop in the USA and from Game in the United Kingdom; the content was released for PC via Steam on January 19.
A Collector's Edition was announced for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, containing the game and manual with limited lenticular box art in a steelbook case, special booklet containing never before seen pictures, a documentary disc about the history of Sonic with never before seen footage, a music album containing many tracks specially picked by Sonic Team, a limited and individually numbered gold ring, a voucher for downloadable content, and a figurine of both classic and modern Sonic striking a pose on a ring. The Collector's Edition was only made available in Europe and Australia. The original Sonic the Hedgehog game can be unlocked in the console versions of the game. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles and Sonic 3D were also offered as free bonuses for people who preordered the PC version on Steam.
A time-limited playable demo of the game containing Classic Sonic's Green Hill Zone was released on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network between June 23, 2011, and July 12, 2011, when downloaded copies were disabled. A second demo for PSN and Xbox Live, which also contains Modern Sonic's Green Hill Zone, was released on October 18 and 19 for Xbox Live Gold members and the European PSN respectively. The demo was also released on the North American PSN on October 25.
The music of Sonic Generations includes various re-arranged tracks from the Sonic series, amongst new material written for the game. The soundtrack was primarily handled by Jun Senoue, with contributions from Naofumi Hataya, Kenichi Tokoi, Tomoya Ohtani, Richard Jacques, Yutaka Minobe, Yasufumi Fukuda, Alex Makhlouf, and Circuit Freq. To commemorate Sonic's 20th anniversary, several soundtracks were released. The first, titled "History of the 1st Stage" was released as a pre-order bonus for Sonic Generations in Japan, with separate White and Blue editions bundled with the console and 3DS versions of the game respectively; these discs have 12 tracks each, which are taken from the first stages of multiple Sonic titles, along with a company intro call as the opening track. The second album, "History of Sonic Music 20th Anniversary Edition" was released in Japan on December 7, 2011, and includes 43 songs from the series as a whole split between two discs. The official Sonic Generations soundtrack, "Blue Blur", was released in Japan on January 11, 2012, and spans three discs, containing 90 total tracks from both versions of the game.
Sonic Generations sold 1.85 million copies worldwide across all platforms by May 2012.
The console and PC versions received generally positive reviews. Aggregating review website Metacritic rated the PlayStation 3 version 76/100 the Xbox 360 version 77/100, and the PC version 77/100. IGN gave the game a score 8.5 out of 10 and an Editor's Choice award, praising the overall gameplay and the level design, while criticizing some occasional control issues and limited boss battles. Computer and Video Games gave it a 7.5/10, praising the balanced design but criticizing the framerate of the graphics. 1UP.com gave the game a "B" score, praising its variety, fun-to-play levels and interesting set-pieces, while criticizing some on-rails sections and occasional framerate drops.
PlayStation Official Magazine gave it an 8/10, calling it "a masterpiece of platform game design." GameTrailers gave the game a score of 8.1, calling it "the best Sonic game in over a decade." GamesRadar gave the console version 8/10, calling it "the best Sonic game since Sonic 2," while they gave the 3DS version 7/10, praising its level design and optional missions but criticising its short length as well as the fact that modern Sonic is restricted to a 2D plane of movement. Eurogamer, however, was less enthusiastic, writing that "Sonic Generations still doesn't do much to dissuade us that the hedgehog's best days are distant memories, but at least it is a worthy tribute to them." The most positive review on Metacritic is a 9.5/10 from PALGN, which argues that the game is significantly better than Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors, and Sonic the Hedgehog 4. Game Informer's Tim Turi was more critical of the game, criticizing Sega for "...shoehorning recent Sonic games, no matter how awful, into the 20-year timeline." He felt that such stages served "...only to remind you of how far the series has fallen from its original form." Famitsu praised the speed and addictiveness of the gameplay as well as the bonus material, while emphasising that "you do need a certain amount of ability to play it the way it was meant." Empire gave the game 4/5 stars, saying "Generations is a nostalgic joy that captures the dizzying speed and psychotic pace that made Sonic's original romps console classics." GameSpot's Nathan Meunier praised Generations for its "impressive level designs," "gorgeous" visuals, "epic boss encounters," and high replay value.
Reception to the 3DS version was less positive. GameRankings and Metacritic gave the game 69.50% and 66/100.Official Nintendo Magazine gave the 3DS version a score of 85%, calling the game "hugely rewarding" for "high-score chasers" but did comment on the main game's short length. However, it concluded that the game was "an essential purchase for Sonic fans." GamingXP gave the 3DS version 84 out of 100, stating "Sonic's debut on Nintendo's 3DS is a real success. The combination of the two different hedgehogs in the colorful 2D and 3D environments is pretty cool. The game is a little too easy, but there's tons of Sonic flair and enough content to truly satisfy the player." IGN was slightly more mixed when reviewing the 3DS version, giving 7 out of 10, commenting that "Whereas the console version of Sonic Generations is a blending of old and new mentality in a fast-paced speed fest, the 3DS version is mostly just a Sonic Rush game where both playable characters happen to be Sonic." Game Informer gave the 3DS version 58 out of 100, calling the platformer's level design sloppy, making the whole product feel like a rushed tie-in with the console version". There was however praise for the game's music, 3D visuals, special stages and simple fun levels.
Nintendo Power magazine editors gave Sonic Generations 3DS the "Best Retro Revival" award for the Nintendo Power 2011 Awards.
In July 2016, Sega announced a new title in development, tentatively known as Project Sonic 2017, which, like Generations, will feature both Classic and Modern iterations of Sonic as playable characters.
The PC version of the game is renowned for its amount of third-party modifications. Some simply swap character models with new ones and change some of Sonic's moveset and stats (such as the "Super Mario Generations" mod, which changes Sonic's model with Mario's and alters his animations and controls), while others completely overhaul the game, adding new levels, challenges, and even improved graphics and shading. Examples include the "Unleashed Project", which ports stages from Sonic Unleashed, and "Planet Wisp All-in-One", which recreates each level from Planet Wisp and even adds a 3D hubworld.
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