One of the many things that’s impressed me with regards to Sonic Mania is how much its development team has shared about the making of the game. Various details, ideas, artwork, and bits of trivia have come to light over social media and event appearances. Now Sonic series Producer Takashi Iizuka is getting in on it thanks to a new interview with Famitsu.
After discussing the game’s success (particularly in the West), Iizuka also mentions there was internal demand to make a physical version of the planned digital game. These requests came about just a bit too late, but they were soon followed by overwhelming fan and consumer demand. He was particularly motivated by the idea of people being able to show off Sonic Mania amongst the rest of their Sonic games, and thus Sonic Mania Plus was approved.
Not wanting to limit it to just the physical packaging (not to mention the increased manufacturing and production costs), the team settled on raising the price and offering the “Encore Pack” DLC for existing owners. This may be the end of Sonic Mania, but he’s hopeful fans will be happy with what gets added in.
Headlining this are the characters Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel. Fans had been asking Iizuka about these old characters for quite some time, and even though he considered them locked out from being used in games, this seemed like the perfect chance to bring them back. This was mostly fueled, again, by wanting to please longtime fans and the crowd reaction — and the pair’s reveal was definitely a big one.
Both characters will receive their own special techniques (seen in the most recent trailer) to set them apart from Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. For Mighty this means the Hammer Drop ability to quickly bring himself down and attack both enemies and obstacles thanks to his shell. Ray gets his own distinct kind of Air Glide, where unlike Knuckles’ glide, he’ll be able to even gain some altitude if directed properly.
These new additions even prompted a few minor level design changes, mostly to prevent Ray from soaring overhead and bypassing certain sections. In Encore mode, the stages will be changed more drastically, with different elements and gimmicks, allowing the characters to use their skills in varying ways.
You can see a full, translated version of the interview courtesy of Siliconera. It goes on to briefly discuss the addition of four-person multiplayer and the game’s Japanese limited edition, including a unique soundtrack CD. One of the last questions does concern the idea of a sequel or followup, though Iizuka states that they believe they’ve taken Sonic Mania as far as it can go before giving his gratitude for all the game’s fans and supporters.
You can look forward to showing your support too when Sonic Mania Plus and the new Encore DLC release on July 17th.
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