The concluding episode to Sonic the Hedgehog 4 will “likely never see the light of day”, according to the former brand manager for the episodic game series.
In a conversation with a Sega forum user, Ken Balough confirmed that “for reasons [he] can’t discuss”, Episode III has been cancelled by the Japanese gaming giant.
The news will come as disappointing but unsurprising to fans of the blue hedgehog, as the series had been dormant since the release of Sonic 4: Episode II back in 2012. Nevertheless, Sega had continued to remain tight-lipped about the future of the game, so today’s news should put some uncertainty to bed.
In another interesting development, developer Christian Whitehead – best known for his work on the mobile remasters of Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2 and CD – confirmed that he was once briefly asked if he would like to collaborate on the game with Sega Studios Australia, developers of 2013’s Castle of Illusion remake. In a Sonic Retro discussion thread, he stated that his involvement never came to fruition as SSA was shuttered shortly thereafter. He also speculated that, ultimately, “Sonic 4 Episode 3 fizzled out as things evolved with SOA [Sega of America], Sega Networks and F2P [free-to-play], etc.”
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was a 2.5 side-scrolling platformer, with gameplay designed to be reminiscent of the classic Mega Drive trilogy – though it received criticism due to elements rehashed from previous titles, as well as its poor, speed-reliant level design.