Sonic Mania was an absolute slam dunk when it premiered, the most universally acclaimed game for the Blue Blur in literal decades. With that kind of critical and commercial success, a sequel seems like an inevitability, right? Well, Sonic Mania 2 isn’t happening, with the next 2D entry being Sonic Superstars (headed by Arzest and Sonic Team) while Mania developers like Christian Whitehead formed their own studio, Evening Star, to work on an original game (Penny’s Big Breakaway, coming early next year). So why didn’t Mania 2 happen? That’s the core question of a new GameInformer interview with Whitehead and Sonic creative lead Takashi Iizuka.
The short answer is creative differences. Iizuka and Whitehead’s teams worked together for a little bit to consider concepts for a new Classic Sonic title, but that didn’t lead to any finished game or even active development. Iizuka and Sonic Team wanted to move away from pixel art games, and Evening Star wanted to work on original IP, so the two sides mutually decided to part ways. Relationships between both of them are quite friendly, with Whitehead praising Superstars and looking forward to its release, despite a few unsubstantiated rumors of bad blood.
Mania’s success was ultimately instrumental to the creation of Superstars, and the latter wouldn’t exist without the former. Both Iizuka and Whitehead are happy about the the game and its legacy, and seem similarly satisfied with the direction taken afterwards. It’s good to know nothing scandalous happened and that both dev teams are off doing what they each want to do. Make sure to check out the full GI piece for quotes and more.
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