Sonic the Hedgehog Boss Says Pixel Art Won't be "Viable" in the Future

Takashi Iizuki doesn't see a future for games that look like Sonic Mania.

In 2017, Sega released Sonic Mania, a 2D throwback to Sonic the Hedgehog's Sega Genesis era. The game perfectly matched the look and feel of games like Sonic 3 & Knuckles, in terms of both gameplay and pixel art style. The game was a critical and commercial success, and fans assumed a sequel would see release. Instead, Sega announced Sonic Superstars, a new 2D game that features 3D graphics. Speaking with GamesRadar+, Sonic Team boss Takashi Iizuki discussed the new art style for Sonic Superstars, and the future of Sonic games. Through a translator, Iizuka stated his belief that pixel art won't be "viable" in the future.

"...we look at the pixel art – it's great – but when we think about 10-20 years in the future, we don't think it's going to be a viable art style or presentation for our players. And in order to advance and really step things up, we did want to make sure that we're presenting something that 10-20 years down the road we're still evolving and creating new content for," Iizuka told GamesRadar+.

Iizuka also noted that Sonic Team sees both 2D and 3D Sonic games as "our fundamental pillars that we need to have." The team believes that the open zone concept established in Sonic Frontiers will be the foundation for future 3D Sonic games, while Sonic Superstars represents the next true evolution of Sonic's 2D past.

Will There Ever Be a Sonic Mania 2?

Iizuka's comments would seem to make it unlikely that we'll get a direct sequel to Sonic Mania anytime soon. On one hand, that's bound to be disappointing for players, especially given how well-received the game was. On the other hand, it's understandable how Iizuka would prefer to cater to new audiences coming off the Sonic movies and cartoons, rather than those that grew up on the Sega Genesis era. That doesn't mean there won't ever be another game done in Sonic's classic pixel style, but it doesn't seem to be a priority at the moment.For now, fans will have to settle for Sonic Superstars, which releases on October 17th.

What is the Sonic Mania Developer Working on Now?

Christian Whitehead served as the lead developer, director, and programmer on Sonic Mania. In 2018, Whitehead and other developers on Sonic Mania formed the studio Evening Star. Evening Star was involved in early discussions surrounding Sonic Superstars, but the studio amicably parted ways with the project. Instead, Evening Star is now working on a property of its own, titled Penny's Big Breakaway. The game was announced during a Nintendo Direct back in June, and will be releasing on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. A set release date has not been revealed, but Penny's Big Breakaway is expected to arrive in early 2024.

Are you disappointed that Sonic Superstars doesn't feature pixel art graphics? Were you a fan of Sonic Mania? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!