Sonic's back, he's brought his friends, and he's ditched the suffixes to his game titles. It looks like SEGA are showing us that they're getting back to business: 'Sonic the Hedgehog' is all you need to know. A December 2006 release for the PS3 in the East and in North America, Sonic looks to bring a bit of star power to the console's 'post post-launch' line-up. While the franchise has waned slightly since the heady days of the SEGA MasterSystem and MegaDrive, Sonic still carries a pedigree and it looks like the developer is looking to show old fans and new gamers alike that the 'Hog's still got it.
The story takes Sonic and his crew to a mysterious new world where a human princess (who may turn out to be a love interest for the blue speedster which, quite frankly, is a bit icky) rules with a rather familiar looking gem around her neck. It turns out this is a Chaos Emerald, and Doctor Eggman (we still don't know what was wrong with the name Robotnik) has a bit of a hankering for it. Sonic, of course, just ain't gonna stand for this, and blurry blue heroic antics ensue.
Speed is the name of the game here, with the developer using the next-gen spec of the PS3 to maximise the sensation of going really, really fast. The levels offer up tons of interactivity, including rails to grind and the patented bumpers to send the hero flying up into the air. The screenshots also show a much more realistic finish to the levels than previously seen in the series, with post-apocalyptic cities and mechs that don't look like they're housing oppressed little bunnies anymore. The Havok physics engine will also provide a high level of destructibility vis-a-vis the sprawling landscapes, so you can expect to see flying debris coming at you from all directions as you rip through the landscapes.
There's also a rather creepy addition to the cast in the form of Silver the Hedgehog, an eerie glowing fella from the future with a gift for throwing things around using only his brain. Whilst it doesn't look like he'll be as fast as Sonic, the telekinetic powers will provide an interesting twist to his levels. All innovation and technical wizardry aside, you should really just be pleased to have a Sonic game that you can play on your PS3.