• Lewis Gillingwater

Sonic Central press conference brings remakes, announcements and inexplicable merchandise

It's Sonic's 30th birthday! He's getting on a bit, but he's not slowing down. Just like Mario's 35th birthday last year led to remasters, exclusive merch and a Nintendo Direct to announce it all, Sega seems to have lifted the strategy entirely with a Sonic Central press conference yesterday which, basically, was a Sonic Direct.

There were a lot of announcements here. Admittedly, a lot of them had been leaked or spoiled beforehand but still, Sega kept its confirmations for its showy conference. First up, the long rumoured remake of Sonic Colours is now official. Sonic Colours: Ultimate takes the Wii Sonic game many consider to be the blue hedgehog's best 3D game and brings it to modern consoles with a remaster from Blind Squirrel Entertainment, the same studio that just finished working on the Mass Effect remaster with Bioware. The remaster brings with it nicer visuals, new controls and a new mode.

Alongside the remaster of Colours comes the next in a long line of retro collections, Sonic Origins. Collecting Sonic 1, 2, 3 & Knuckles and Sonic CD in one package, again, Sonic Origins gives fans a chance to revisit the classics and anyone who somehow hasn't played these games already another chance to pick them up.

Sonic is also making his way to the Olympics, sort of. As part of a series of crossovers in other Sega games which includes Sonic items in Two Point Hospital and a playable version of Sega's ill-fated attempt at a Sonic brawler, Sonic the Fighters, in Yakuza spin-off Lost Judgement, comes a crossover with the official game of the Tokyo Olympics. Important here to stress that this isn't Mario and Sonic at the Olympics, and it's not Sonic himself showing up, but if for some reason you want a virtual athlete to suffer trial by sweating by running Olympic events in a Sonic the Hedgehog mascot costume, now you can.

Sega also announced some physical merchandise to commemorate Sonic's big day. Some of these are pretty reasonable, like a big Sonic encyclopedia and comic collection. Some of these are ... stranger. Announced by a puzzled sounding narrator as being a part of 'hip-hop culture', the King Ice jewellery official Sonic the Hedgehog crossover offers gemstone studded huge pendants to .... well, impress is the wrong word. Certainly, your friends will want to know how much you spent on it, and if you're doing okay.

The presentation ended with a teaser for Sonic Team's next big 3D sonic game. As for what we can draw from the teaser? Well, clearly Sonic is a hedgehog, and he runs very fast. It was brief, to say the least, but it's nice to know that the franchise isn't coasting exclusively on nostalgia and remakes and we can expect a new entry sometime in 2022.