Oh how times change. The rivalry between the immaculately designed and delicately paced Mario and the cooler, speedier Sonic was once the defining relationship of an entire generation of games consoles. Now the once distinct line between the two is blurring even further.
Speaking to IGN, Sonic Team's Takashi Iizuka has admitted that Sega hopes to win new fans to the Sonic series by, of all things, trying to be a bit more like Mario.
“From a general game design perspective, in recent years we've been able to introduce Sonic to new fans, a lot of the Nintendo/Mario fans,” he confessed.
“And because of that, we've made changes to the design, and we've designed things in Sonic Colours that we think will really appeal to people who are unfamiliar with the Sonic brand and the Sonic gameplay. So from that perspective we hope that fans of Mario will really be able to enjoy playing as Sonic in Sonic Colours.”
You have to go back to March 2007 to find the day when many a playground fanboy had their heart broken by the news that Sonic and Mario were to team up officially for the first time in licensed sports outing Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games.
Speaking to MCV earlier this month Sonic brand director David Corless urged long-time followers of the series to remember that new Sonic games must attempt to speak to younger, modern audiences – sometimes at the cost of alienating older fans.
Ahead of the release of new console title Sonic Colours next month, this week sees the digital-only release of new 2D outing Sonic the Hedgehog 4.