The latter half of 2017 is going to be marked by two major releases starring a certain blue hedgehog – Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania. Various publications have had the chance to go hands-on with the games so far, and Metro.co.uk even got to sit down and interview Sonic Team’s head, Takashi Iizuka, about the upcoming titles.

While the article is more than a little bit brutal, Metro does get some intriguing answers regarding Sonic Mania in particular. Check them out:

Metro: To me, as an older fan, Sonic Mania looked great and Sonic Forces was only okay. Is it the other way round for kids? In terms of which they prefer?

TI: The target audience for Sonic Mania is the fans who like the Mega Drive from back in the day. We didn’t conduct playtesting with kids for Sonic Mania, since it’s not really about what kids think about Mania. But for Forces we did conduct broad research and playtesting, and made sure it’s accepted by a broader audience, from kids to adults. But the surprising thing about Mania is that when we were conducting research, there’s like a voice from the kids that they actually like pixelated and 2D Sonic too. So I think there’s a market for Mania amongst kids as well.

It’s definitely surprising Sega decided to forgo playtesting Sonic Mania with children, despite the character’s popularity with that age group. Here’s hoping it still manages to catch their attention.

We also get some insight into what the future may hold…

Metro: What do you do about elements in Sonic Forces which older fans might not like but kids will? Sonic’s friends, for example. The goal in the demo level is to find Shadow. And, really… I don’t want to find Shadow. I’d prefer he stayed lost.

TI: [laughs] In the past two decades Sonic games have been trying to target a broader audience from kids to adults. And Forces has that same idea, so that means a wider range of characters that we know children like. Even if other fans may not be quite as keen.

But for Mania it’s kind of like a new approach. To target specifically 2D fans. So we don’t know whether it’ll be accepted positively in the market. We’ll find out after the game’s released, and we can figure out the direction of future titles after seeing the reaction.

The buzz for Mania online definitely seems more positive than it does for Forces, but we could see a different outcome when the sale numbers roll in. It’s exciting to be teased with the prospect of even more retro throw-backs, though.

Sonic Mania is currently slated to release on August 15th, while Sonic Forces has a vague Q4 2017 launch window.

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Written by Tom Brown

Whether it’s an exciting new entry in a series long established or a weird experiment meant only for the dedicated, Tom is eager to report on it. Rest assured, if Nintendo ever announces Elite Beat Agents 2, he’ll be there.

Tom Brown