(edited by Marcus Schmerl and Jen Beauchamp)
2016 promises to be another notable year for gaming. However, in addition to all of the new developments to look forward to, there are a number of anniversaries of notable classic franchises occurring in the near future. Two of particular note hail from Japan, and coincidentally both feature furry creatures that have taken the world by storm.
First cab off the rank, Nintendo have announced the release of three limited edition 2DS consoles, in addition to a range of cover plates for the New 3DS. This will coincide with the 20th anniversary of Pokémon. As shown in the photo above, Nintendo are including the old-school font under the main logo and each of these limited edition 2DS consoles will include a Virtual Console release of Pokémon Blue, Red or Yellow.
As for the cover plates, there are variants of these New 3DS handhelds featuring pixelated sprites of various Pokémon. The Red, Blue and Yellow 2DS consoles will be available from the 27th of February as will the face plates.The second franchise celebrating a milestone this year is Sonic the Hedgehog, which is turning 25 in June (Feeling old yet? – Marcus). This series has unfortunately declined in esteem amongst many dedicated fans (although Sonic Generations was great), with the franchise losing some momentum and popularity since the 2006 release of Sonic the Hedgehog. So, what is SEGA planning to do about this?
According to SonicStadium.org, a recent discovery in a ToyWorld UK catalogue suggested that SEGA are planning to go all out for Needlemouse’s 25th anniversary. They note that there will be celebrations and events throughout this year. On top of that there will (again?) be new style guides for Sonic toys and merchandise. Curiously, there is a logo featuring classic, modern and Boom Sonic together. Watch this space throughout the year for further news.
There’s even more SEGA news incoming with an ISO of an unreleased SEGA Saturn game leaked onto the interwebs. Developed by Hookstone (responsible for Zoop), Ferox is a 3D puzzle game that combines styles from many renowned puzzle games in a colourful 3D environment. A demo of the game was completed and ready to show publishers, but unfortunately Hookstone closed their doors before they were able to proceed with finalising and releasing the game. Fortuitously the demo has been recovered, and is now available to digitally download on sega-saturn.net. In addition, there are scans of the box art for the European, American and Japanese regions available to download.
Wrapping up the week is news about the renowned SNK fighting franchise King of Fighters. For those who don’t know, the intellectual property and rights from SNK were purchased and acquired by Chinese investors last year. Many have feared that the future of SNK Playmore would be a dark one with the new owners’ focus on Pachinko and gaming machines (the bad kind!). According to sources, however, SNK’s new owners 37Games have announced that an anime and live action TV drama is in the works based on The King of Fighters universe.
The show will apparently debut in Japan, followed by South Korea and the rest of Asia, although there is no release date announced as yet. Bearing this in mind, this is the second attempt at something similar. There was an Original Net Animation (ONA) series in 2005 called King of Fighters: Another Day which was a preorder exclusive with King of Fighters 2006, although SNK weren’t able to distribute the bonus discs in time for preorders in the US until several weeks later. We can only hope that if there are delays they will be brief too. The future looks bright for this franchise – especially with the up and coming King of Fighters XIV, which is projected to be out during 2016 as a PlayStation 4 exclusive.