Gamers have been begging Sega for a return to the early, side-scrolling Sonic: The Hedgehog games, but one special effects guru is showing gamers how Sonic might look with a mix of 2D and 3D effects.
YouTuber PipocaVFX rolled out a minute-and-a-half long trailer, showcasing what the original Sonic: The Hedgehog would look like with a mix of 3D stages and sprite characters overlaying 3D actors. Check it out below.
PipocaVFX is the brainchild of Spanish special effects artist Flipe B. Costa. He runs a YouTube channel and funds his creative work through Patreon.
Here's how Costa describes the project on his Patreon page:
I've dedicated my time to work hard on my videos. In the channel, I make first-person 3d videos about famous video games, 2D animations, live action and work with every kind of crazy VFX. The mission is to engage people through stories that entertain and amuse them.
The video's rehabilitation of Sonic: The Hedgehog is definitely entertaining. It's a 3D remake of Green Hill Zone from the first game. However, the video depicts Sonic as a 2D sprite moving on a 2D plane, but the world is built in three dimensions.
Sonic is still able to move fast, bouncing off the heads of enemies and overcoming obstacles with simple directional jumps. All of the complexity and wonky controls attached to the 3D Sonic titles (like Sonic Heroes, Sonic Boom and Sonic 2006) are done away with for something that hearkens back to the old days.
Unfortunately, the Sonic concept above is just that... a concept.
A couple of people in the comment section pointed out that Sonic's physics aren't entirely accurate to the old 16-bit games, but that's because 3D games have different physics than 2D games. It's impressive that Costa was able to replicate the original Genesis title in the way that he did, as all it does is make fans of the brand wish Sega would finally make a good Sonic title again. The last noteworthy Sonic game was Sonic Generations from back in 2011. Since then Sega has been on a downward spiral with the blue hedgehog. The latest game, Sonic Boom, caused Sega to scale back on its console software offerings.
If Costa could get a few people to help with the level design and he managed to iron out the physics for playability purposes in something like Unity 5, maybe Sega could be convinced to let the community keep making Sonic titles that actually appeal to the fans. At the moment, Sega seems intent on just trying to cash in on the blue animal in any way that they can, including with small mobile outings like Sonic Runners.
It would be nice, however, to see a full-fledged Sonic: The Hedgehog game made from start to finish in the way that Costa envisioned it in his concept above.