A Mulligan for Sonic: Ideas & Thoughts on a Potential Sonic Mania Sequel

For being one of the most iconic video game mascots, Sonic has had a greatest hits length of mediocre games and other pop culture-related controversies. Some were not his fault. His original Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade balloon crashing in 1993 was a disaster. 16 years later, his horrific first character design for the original Sonic movie in 2019 shocked the internet. 

Sonic Parade Balloon Fail

Some recent bad PR has come from the release of the Sonic Origins compilation which had questionable premium content locked behind DLC. Interestingly, the developers of the game admitted to being displeased with the game’s current status

To top things off, we saw apathetic reactions to the gameplay reveal of this holiday’s upcoming Sonic Frontiers game. Sega themselves has been critical of the criticism and Sonic has again found himself in the familiar place of being the industry’s punching bag. 

It’s not all doom and gloom though. The Sonic Hedgehog 2 movie has been a box office success and Netflix has announced an upcoming animated series called Sonic Prime. On the video game side, Sega’s most universally praised Sonic game, Sonic Mania, came out just a few years back.

As far as the overall Sonic brand goes it can be worse, but it can also be better. Like New York Knicks or Star Wars fans, the Sonic fanbase has a reputation of being hard to please. However, there is a simple move that Sega can make to satisfy them. 

A direct sequel to the game Sonic Mania would be a sure-fire hit. If Sonic Frontiers ends up being not so great, it may serve as a potential mulligan for the blue blur. 

Here are a few ideas that fans eager for a hypothetical Sonic Mania 2 would rally around.

New Levels, and Lots of Them

Sonic on Genesis

Sonic Mania was built as a sequel to the Genesis-era Sonic games if it had been developed for the Sega Saturn, the follow-up console to the Sega Genesis in the mid-90s. It featured mostly remixed levels from the previous games. They were not a one-to-one recreation but the themes were pretty much the same. 

The few original levels like Studiopolis and Press Garden were seen as highlights from Sonic Mania. A similar game with all, if not a majority, of interesting new levels would be great. Alternatively, if they cannot fill the game with entirely original zones then maybe a different mix would suffice. An inverse of Sonic Mania’s ratio of two-thirds classic to one-third originals would still be neat. 

New Playable Characters in Sonic Mania 2

Classic Cast of Sonic Mania

Sonic Mania featured the classic trio of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as playable characters who controlled just like they did back in the 90s. Later on, they added Ray the Flying Squirrel and Mighty the Armadillo who were deep-cut characters from the classic Sonic era. 

They were unique since Mighty has not appeared in a traditional Sonic platform since Knuckles Chaotix. Even more surprising, Ray never appeared in any 2-D platformers. Each character was given a unique ability. Ray had flight that was similar to the cape from Super Mario World. Mighty used a bounce attack to defeat enemies. 

Two characters who have been more closely associated with the classic Sonic series and have yet to be playable in Genesis style are Amy Rose and Metal Sonic. Although many fans would like to see Shadow the Hedgehog in the Genesis style, we feel Metal Sonic would be more appropriate given the history.

Both debuted in 1993’s Sonic CD and were featured all over the promotional art for Sonic Origins. Amy Rose is the pink hedgehog who gets kidnapped by Metal Sonic early in the game. That’s about all there is to her backstory. Sonic faces Metal Sonic in an iconic boss fight that has been recreated in multiple games like Sonic Generations, Sonic 4 Episode 2, and Sonic Mania. 

Amy has appeared playable in most of the Sonic games but she has yet to appear in a genesis style 2-D platformer. She appeared in the Sonic Advance series for the Gameboy Advance, which was similar in gameplay, so Sega can use her gameplay in those games as a template for a Mania 2 playstyle.

Amy could use her hammer as a direct melee attack on enemies. Perhaps when she jumps the hammer can spin along with her to extend her attack range. If Sega wanted to make her stand out even more they could maybe even give her a double jump. 

Metal Sonic, like Amy, has not appeared as a playable character in the Genesis games. He was playable in Sonic 4 Episode Metal which was released as a mini prequel to Sonic 4 Episode 2 where players played as Metal Sonic going through the levels in Episode 1.

Metal Sonic can use his signature move against Sonic in their fight in Sonic CD. With this ability, he blasts through all obstacles in an electric force field. 

Metal Sonic in Sonic CD

The nice thing about the classic 2-D platformer Sonic games is that all the characters share the same functions. All can run, jump, and spin, so there is no huge downside to picking one over the other. 

Assuming Sega brings back all the playable characters from Mania, then the grand total with the addition of Amy and Metal Sonic would be seven playable characters. The level designs would need to be constructed to properly accommodate the different moves for each character. This is nothing beyond Sega’s capabilities given their extensive experience in game development. 

Bring the Band Back

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. One would assume that it would be simple enough for Sega to bring all the developers and artists involved in Sonic Mania back for a sequel. It would be silly not to sign on with Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, and PagadonaWest Games. This group perfectly recaptured and modernized the Genesis games for today’s audiences. Similarly, not bringing back music composer Tee Lopes and artist Tyson Hesse would also be disappointing. 

Using fresh talent to create a Mania sequel might defeat the point for many fans. In their eyes, those talents made Mania the success it was. There would be skepticism about a successful release without this crew. 

Announce a Sonic Mania Sequel

The biggest request for a Sonic Mania 2 from Sonic fans is that the developers make an announcement. With it being the most successful Sonic game in recent memory it has left some fans confused as to why this has yet to be greenlit. 

To some fans, they only need half of the things we suggested to be sold on it. For some, just hearing the announcement of it would be enough for a preorder. It can sometimes be tricky to gauge what one’s demographic truly wants. However, when a softball is being tossed it would be wise to swing at it. 

If Sonic Frontiers ends up being disappointing, Sega might want to take a mulligan. They could simply announce that Sonic Mania 2 is in active development to excite the fanbase.

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