Sonic Mania, Sega’s upcoming throwback to the iconic hedgehog’s 2D platforming roots, is an exciting project for classic Sonic fans for about a thousand different reasons, but central among them is the pedigree of its developers. Almost everyone involved in Mania’s development — in particular, Christian “Taxman” Whitehead, known for his proprietary Retro Engine and phenomenal Sonic 1, 2 and CD remakes, and Simon “Stealth” Thomley, known for the fangame Sonic Megamix and a frequent collabrator of Whitehead’s — has deep roots in the Sonic fangame community.
On the last day of E3, we caught up with Thomley, plus Sonic Mania programmer Hunter Bridges and level designer Brad Flick, to talk about their approach to modernizing a Sonic platformer, the bits of Sonic Mania they’re proudest of, and how they’re building on what worked about the original games while still making it their own.
Sonic Mania is releasing August 15 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Windows PC on Steam. For more on Sonic Mania, check out our gameplay videos from the E3 show floor, including footage from both acts the recently revealed Chemical Plant Zone.