Sonic Mania Was More About ‘Refinement’ Than ‘Reinvention’, Whitehead Says

A return to the classic 2D side-scroll platformer, Sonic Mania dashed through retail stores and homes a month ago across all platforms – PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It was well-received by the critics and currently standing with a score of 87 (Mighty) on OpenCritic.

In a recent interview with Glixel, the independent developer who ported Sonic CD onto iOS and led the Sonic Mania’s development, Christian Whitehead, explained why there were only 3 characters in the game. He said there were a lot of things to do in its development; and that adding characters also have a lot of potential things they can do with them.

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Really, what it comes down to is general scope. There’s only so much you can do within a particular time frame. Even with just three characters, you can access different parts of the stage because of their unique abilities – Tails can fly, for instance. I’m not against adding in the new characters – I think they’re cool – I think there’s potentially a lot of things you could do with it…[/alert]

Whitehead added that it could take years if they added more, and that the game was more of a “refinement”.

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For Sonic Mania, to have more than three characters would make it difficult to include more meaningful routes within the scope of the game. At one point, Knuckles gets his own Act that’s distinct from Sonic and Tails’. So, if we did that for the whole cast of modern characters, it’d take a whole year or so. It was more about refinement than reinvention, particularly with Sonic’s Drop Dash. There were already so many factors – the classic Zones, the new Zones – and, for a lot of people on the team, this was their first Sonic game. Sticking to our original scope was absolutely key to our success.[/alert]

Even if it’s a classic 2D side-scroller like Sonic the Hedgehog, the development takes a serious amount of time even for just 3 characters.

Sonic Mania is already available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.