Sonic’s recently announced next game Sonic Superstars is being developed by Arzest, probably best known as the team behind Balan Wonderworld.
Sonic Superstars was easily the best reveal at Summer Game Fest earlier this week, as it looks like an incredibly fun return to the series’ classic 2D gameplay, with some fresh twists. But it turns out the game is mainly being developed by a non-Sega studio, Arzest, who you’ll probably remember as being behind Balan Wonderworld, a game that I would not describe as being well received. In an interview with VGC, Sonic Team boss Takashi Iizuka shared that Arzest would be developing the latest Sonic title, which makes a lot of sense considering the studio was founded by original Sonic designer Naoto Oshima.
Interestingly, though,Sega initially approached Sonic Mania director Christian Whitehead, but plans didn’t work out. “When we were making Sonic Mania and the game was finished and Chris was done, we had a conversation with Chris and the team about what the next 2D game we make should be,” Iizuka told VGC. “We had some concepts and ideas laid out between the teams but we couldn’t kick off the project. And so it disappeared for a while with Chris and the team.
“I’m friends with a lot of my old coworkers and I was having a conversation with Ohshima-san about how we should make a Sonic game together and if he’d be interested.” And in turn, Arzest became the lead developer on the project, with Iizuka explaining that Sonic Team is helping it on design and other elements. Iizuka also expressed a lot of trust in Oshima, for the obvious reason of him being Sonic’s character designer, but also because he designed a number of the original levels too.
“A lot of people think Ohshima-san just came in and thought what Sonic would look like, drew the character and that was it. But he was also doing level design on Sonic 1 in addition to drawing and creating the character. So he has that experience of making a Sonic game because he did level design for the original game.”
You might also be happy to hear that Jun Senoue, a veteran composer of the series, is the audio lead on Sonic Superstars.
Sonic Superstars is out this coming autumn on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S and One, and Nintendo Switch, where you’ll be able to play as Sonic himself, alongside Tails, Knuckles, and Amy, complete with co-op.