Background: These are the Dutch people who worked at Sonic Mania

Background: These are the Dutch people who worked at Sonic Mania

Photo: Sega

The old game mascot, Sonic returned this week back in the game Sonic Mania, which for a large part by Dutch fans is made. Why should they all of a sudden, the started with the old game icon?

In 2017, Sonic the Hedgehog is a somewhat obscure name, but around the years ’90 had the mascot a good reputation. He was the great rival of Nintendo’s Super Mario. The blue hedgehog had a slightly cooler image than Mario, which the Japanese gamebedrijf Sega its Mega Drive console, the man tried to get.

That worked. The Mega Drive (in other countries known as the Genesis) went almost 30 million times over the counter. Although Nintendo with 50 million Super Nintendo consoles is still the market leader was, this made Sega a major player on the gamesmarkt.

It also helped to ensure that millions of gamers in the 90s games of Sonic for their choose got. For these people, it was what Mario is for many others. Or what Lara Croft and Crash Bandicoot were for a younger generation.

Also the Dutchman Michael Balm had a Mega Drive with Sonic in the house: “I was more Sega than Nintendo, which I do with a bit of affinity with Sonic. I had at home, a homemade arcade machine with Sonic 3.”


Trailer Sonic Mania

New game from the Netherlands

Sega still makes Sonic games, but Sonic Mania was chosen for a new approach: the company approached fans of the first hour to give them the opportunity to give their own sequel.

Balm was one of the Dutch who at that project involved. “We were with our company Picomy to the American gamebeurs PAX flown. There we came in contact with the ontwikkelstudio PagodaWest Games, where we immediately find a good click.”

“We kept in touch,” says Balm. “In 2016, said they need our help to have an ‘iconic game from Sega. It was then immediately obvious what it was about. We saw the prototype and knew right away that we wanted to cooperate.”

That while he was never the romantic notion had ever Sega a new Sonic game to work. “I’m actually just happened by chance.”

Almost a burnout

Picomy went along with PagodaWest to get started. Balm sacrificed his weekends to the levels of the game. “That began as remixes of old classics, but were later increasingly own creations.”

“At that time I had actually three jobs: my hard work at a media company, the one day that I Picomy worked and the weekends that came up to Sonic. That resulted in almost a burnout.”

Picomy was not the only Dutch name in the project working. Pixelartiest Paul Veer, known for his work for the Dutch indiegamemaker Vlambeer, made characters for the game.

Balm: “It is really impressive what he has done. Those characters move at 60 frames per second, which means that there is a lot of work in it.”

Thus, there are surprisingly many Dutch people involved in the old game icon. The Amsterdam based Cook & Becker released earlier this year, a book of 120 euros, with images and drawings of the Sonic games.

When that book was Spring, incidentally, is also involved, says Cook & Becker’s Arjan Terpstra. “He has, for example, ‘screenshots’ is created that cannot actually exist, of Sonic 1 and 2. He has levels completely re-engineered.” A requirement, because images of old video game consoles to low of quality to print.

Spring was at the moment not reachable for comment. It is according to Terpstra in any case, no wonder that he is closely associated with the project was involved. “Paul is known as a big Sonic fan and is one of the best artists in this 2D style could work.”

No fangame

Strictly speaking, Sonic Mania a fangame. Although he is made with the consent of Sega, but the entire development team consists of people who do not work for the company and a fan of the first parts.

That is Balm after the end of the development is still very. “You have often, however, external things that a gamestudio is outsourced to other companies, such as the images and the sound. But the actual design of a game belongs to the core. And even there we were allowed to participate.”

The designer finds it a bit premature to Sonic Mania as a fangame to judge. It is also a game that really, really well for a ‘fanproductie.’ The recensiescores are an average of 8,5 out of 10 points, while the last official Sonic game, especially skim zesjes scored. That is what do the fans better than the masters.

Balm still don’t know if there is a sequel for Sonic Mania. “I hope so.” And if he’s ever a sequel for a large gamereeks allowed to make, then he hopes maybe even to Zelda.

Sonic Mania is for 20 euro available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

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