Sonic Mania was a low/mid priced, digital only game, released months before the "big" Sonic game. Within the game itself, the Phantom Ruby served as a tie-in to the upcoming Sonic Forces. Mania was definitely positioned as a side project, an appetiser. It was in a very similar position to Sonic 4. The American marketing team definitely didn't sell it as the next "main" Sonic game either. However, it was clearly a game that they were very confident in and had a lot of enthusiasm for. The "Sega Proudly Presents" at the start of the trailer spoke volumes. The fact that Sonic Mania is now regarded as a key title and one of the best in the series is a testament to the quality of the game. This is a weird take. Sonic Mania was the side game of 2017. Sonic Forces was the main game of 2017. Sonic Mania wasn't something we got *instead of* Sonic Team's latest installment and new idea for the series, it was additional. It's an even weirder take here in 2022, when there's no word on a new 2D Sonic game, Evening Star are working on a new IP and Sonic Team are making a new 3D Sonic game with new ideas for the series. The 2D level design in Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations take completely different approaches to the classic Sonic games, but are good in their own right. But there's no denying that Sonic simply doesn't control as well as he should in either game. Modern Sonic doesn't feel as good to control as he did in the similar Sonic Rush, and Classic Sonic feels significantly less fun to control than he did in the classic and Advance games. The 2D sections of Sonic Lost World and Sonic Forces were just outright bad. I think it's more than fair to say that Sonic Team struggle with the fundamentals of 2D platformers as much as they do 3D platformers. Circling back to Sonic 4, there are a lot of problems with both episodes, but the way Sonic controls and responds to the environment around him is at the top of the list. And it was baffling, since Dimps got it right in Sonic Advance.