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One of the most highly anticipated Sonic games set to release is the upcoming new-age throwback game, Sonic Mania. The title is a new-school take on the old-school 16-bit classics, and we may now have an idea as to when the game will officially release. It looks like August 15 might be the magic day.
Gamespot spotted something interesting on the game's Steam page; no, not a placeholder date under the release tab or some other kind of webpage coding discrepancy. What they found was something a lot more concrete: an August 15th, 2017 release date plastered all over the trailer on the game's store page.
It's an interesting situation, though, because the release date was only available at the end of the trailer on the European page for Sonic Mania. The North American version of the Steam page apparently did not contain the August 15th release date for the game.
Previously, the game was listed under the general "summer 2017" release window. This was after the game was moved out of its original spring release date for home consoles and PC. The reason for the delay wasn't explicitly explained but it came after Sega and Pagodawest Games announced that they would be bringing the game to the Nintendo Switch.
However, in announcing that Sonic Mania would also be appearing on the Switch, they had to delay the game out of the spring window since, apparently, they want release parity amongst the gaming platforms. It's scheduled to appear on the Xbox One, PS4, PC and Switch, so instead of launching the Xbox One, PS4 and PC versions of the game in spring as they had originally planned, and then launch the Switch version at the end of the summer during mid August, they just decided to delay the game for all platforms.
This could be so that the developers have time to polish up every aspect of Sonic Mania or it could be that since they're adding Switch specific features, they didn't want the Switch version to suffer from dwindled market-share after the game releases on all the other systems first. This was something the Wii U suffered from, where it would receive the leftover game ports a lot later than the Xbox 360 and PS3 or Xbox One and PS4, and in result people would simply not buy the Wii U version since it showed up late and poorly optimized compared to the other systems.
Launching the game simultaneously across all systems in August means that gamers will have a choice as to which system they can get the game on. It also creates a situation where, for the first time in a long time, PC gamers may not be in a position to favor the PC release over something like the Nintendo Switch since the latter will offer playable portability with all the bells and whistles of home console play when it's docked. This is one of the few times where console gamers will have a one-up on PC gamers when it comes to features and price, making multi-platform games on Switch a dangerous proposition to the Steam ecosystem.
Nevertheless, we don't know if the Sonic Mania release date is actually cemented in as August 15th or if it was just a blunder in the trailer. We'll have to wait for Sega to officially announce the date before we get too excited.