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Old-School Sonic Mania Is Coming for Sonic’s 25th Anniversary

Enjoy your future. It's gonna be great.

Sonic the Hedgehog is 25 years old this year, and the blue bur is getting two new games to celebrate—even though they won’t see release until 2017. In a fitting tribute to a character who’s found limited success in modern times, Sonic Mania will take the series back to its roots and give the fans the 2D, sidescrolling Sonic sequel they’ve been waiting for.

We’re not talking about any broken-physics, Sonic 4 nonsense here, either. Mania is the real deal, with “reimagined” levels from the Sega Genesis Sonic games (and Sonic CD) as well as new ones and gameplay that matches that of the series’ ’90s glory days. There’s also at least one new movement technique and some smoothed out sprite animations, but the game looks decidedly, gloriously old-school in a way only fan projects have managed to capture in the post-Genesis era. Finally, Sega is giving the people what they want.

Mania was announced on Friday alongside “Project Sonic 2017” (which is clearly supposed to be the next great modern entry in the franchise, but putting a year next to it just gives me bad memories of the terrible game that’s come to be known as “Sonic 06”) as part of a 25th anniversary celebration live stream that did not instill the kind of confidence that the retro gameplay video did. Sonic 2017 only got a cinematic trailer, so it’s hard to say what the actual game will be like, but it once again features modern and classic Sonic side by side like Sonic Generations.

Right now, Mania (which features Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails as playable characters) is only slated for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in spring 2017, with no mention of Nintendo hardware. You can watch additional gameplay footage here for more retro goodness, including some pretty great music. Sonic 2017 is arriving on those same platforms, along with Nintendo’s mysterious NX, for the 2017 holiday season.

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.