Fans of the classic Mega Drive platformer, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, have this week launched a campaign in the hopes of convincing publisher Sega to green-light a mobile-based remastered edition of the game.
While in recent years the Japanese gaming giant has released enhanced, widescreen versions of Sonic CD, Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, Sonic 3 has been conspicuous by its absence.
A glimmer of hope was given to fans of the series back in October, when developers Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley – better known to Sonic aficionados as The Taxman and Stealth – released a proof-of-concept video for a remastered S3&K to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
At the time, Whitehead stressed: “This isn’t an official announcement of any Sega project, nor do we intend to work on this as a fan-project. It’s simply a proof of concept from our vaults that has been kept to our chests for some time.”
However, fans of the blue hedgehog quickly became enamoured with the trailer, and organised themselves to petition Sega to hire the duo to fully develop the game in their acclaimed Retro Engine. Upon Whitehead’s suggestion, the project has taken the form of a letter-writing campaign, targeted at Haruki Satomi, CEO of Sega Networks. The rationale behind such a method is explained on the group’s website:
“In many Japanese companies, electronic mediums (such as email and Twitter) are managed by junior staff or even outside contractors, who won’t pass on our messages to the management. By sending letters, there is a much better chance of decision makers seeing our demands.”
The site also rejects claims that music rights issues are to blame for the lack of a release until now, pointing to the fact that the original game is currently available to purchase on Steam and other platforms.
The group have asked interested fans to print a template PDF letter out, written in Japanese, then sign it and mail it to Sega Networks in Japan. They’ve also asked them to include a cheque to the value of the cost of previous mobile Sonic games, to prove their willingness and desire to purchase.
Fans have already begun to post photos of their pledges on Twitter, which forms step two of the campaign:
In addition to having widescreen support, a remastered version of Sonic 3 would contain a number of other features, according to a blog post written by Thomley. These would include: an enhanced soundtrack and graphics; new special stages with additional coloured spheres; the ability to play through previously multiplayer-only stages as full one-player levels; the addition of new, more fleshed-out cutscenes; online multiplayer and a boss attack mode.
Sonic 3 & Knuckles was the last game released in the original series on the Genesis, and is considered by many as the defining platforming game of the 16-bit era. Due to time constraints, it was originally split into two halves: Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. The release of the latter title in late 1994 brought with it an additional cartridge slot to allow players to ‘lock on’ Sonic 3 and enjoy the entire game as it was originally intended.
Will you be getting behind this fan campaign? Are you excited to see a possible Sonic 3 remaster? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.