Sonic 4: Episode III cancelled according to Ken Balough

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by 360, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. 360


    Light Vision Overdrive Oldbie
    United Kingdom
    Sonic Neon
    So someone on the Sega forums decided to contact former Sonic 4 brand manager Ken Balough on Facebook and posted the results of their conversation on the Sega forums. Ken stated that although the series was initially planned to be a trilogy of games Sonic 4: Episode III was planned and then scrapped at an unknown point in development. Ken is vague regarding the specific reasons that he "cannot disclose" though as we all know whilst Episode I was a modest success that green-lit the sequel both were critical failures and Episode II specifically fell short of commercial expectations.

    Unexpected though to be honest unsurprising news. Sega have been quiet on the future of the Sonic episodic series for years now and all of their recent announcements and movements have demonstrated them taking Sonic in a new direction. Sonic Generations was in many ways a response to the failure of the Sonic 4 series so it's not the most shocking of news to hear that Episode III will never see the light of day. As we've all probably assumed for a while now it seems Sega/Sonic Team have indeed abandoned the Sonic 4 project for now. I thought it was thread worthy to post the news given I've seen posts on here hoping for a Sonic 4 Episode III announcement this year so at least we know for definite now not to expect one. So what do you guys think? Surprised? Disappointed?

    Personally whilst Episode II was a vast improvement over the original I was profoundly disappointed in the project overall. Perhaps it's for the best that Sega moves on.

  2. SaviourDCX


    Yeah EPII was fun, I didn't except an EPIII so I guess the only disappointment is hearing there was going to be one and now it's scrapped D:
  3. TheKazeblade


    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member
    Yeah, nothing here that wasn't entirely expected. Even Ep. II's improvements didn't reach the levels that it could have easily reached had they bothered to put the effort in. Team Stealth Tax is the only developer I would trust with legitimate classic Sonic entries at this point.
  4. Lilly


    United States
    Shang Mu Architect
    Seems like nearly every attempt at an episodic series of games flops, so no surprises there. What does surprise me is that the third one was in the works at all before they decided it wasn't viable.

    Episode II still looked leaps better than the first one. It sucks that didn't net as much success as at least the first.
  5. I'm pretty glad it's not going to happen. Concentrate efforts on something better.

    I actually enjoyed Ep1 more - the physics are complete rubbish but the level design is more fun. I thought Ep2 was extremely tedious, and that music. God that music. Haunts me to this day. And the weird camera makes me feel motion sick.

    I would be interested to see some concept art for Ep3 though, I wonder how far they got with it?
  6. They didn't advertise as much for Episode II and it kind of came up on us by surprise. They didn't take the time to build up hype like they did with the first game. As of iOS 7 the game has been completely broken as well (crashing immediatly on startup) and has been delisted recently on the App Store.
  7. Willie


    Each day the world turns Laugh 'til it all burns Member
    With Sonic 4 being the mess it was, if they were to continue with it, rebooting it altogether and reimagining what Sonic 4 could've been would've been better use of their resources than making an Episode III. Regardless, I really enjoyed Sonic 4: Episode II and thought it was an enormous improvement over Episode I. But neither games deserve the title of Sonic 4.
  8. Quarterman


    Just another day in paradise. Member
    Can't say I didn't see it coming. A lot of aspects of I & II became jokes. I'd be surprised if Sega continued in that environment.
  9. Skyler


    Neonネオン Cowgirlカウガール Site Staff
    The next audtion
    For what it's worth, I can vouch for this. Episode III has been on indefinite hiatus for awhile and I don't see it coming back anytime soon.
  10. Machenstein


    I hope this doesn't also mean the end of 2D console Sonic games. It would be nice to see a high budget 2D Sonic game for consoles and PC, but I guess the 2D segments of Colors and Generations already fill that role.

    Is it really that hard to make a proper 2D Sonic game though? Just give us rolling physics that work and huge levels with multiple paths. It would also help to reduce the amount of bottomless pits and automated sections. As for the art style, I'd go for anything that doesn't resemble the plastic art style in the New Super Mario Bros. games. I'd okay with real instruments for the music, but I also wouldn't mind seeing a hybrid of Genesis FM sounds with real instruments. Throw in some subtle nods to the classic era for fan service and you'd be set. It really can't be that difficult if a handful of fans with Multimedia Fusion 2 can do it.
  11. Vangar


    Lets hope this doesn't get taken as "New 2D Sonic is not profitable", and more like "Putting low budgets on big franchises is a bad idea".
  12. Strife


    United States
    Freedom Planet 2
    And they certainly did.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the death of sidescrolling entries. They'll always be a thing on mobile and handheld consoles at the very least, and 2D generally is a smarter decision budget-wise for those kinds of systems.
  13. winterhell


    Of course Episode 3 was never going to see the light of the day. By extrapolation, the team would have had to make a rip-off of the Sonic & Knuckles special stage, so the programmers shat their pants on the thought.
  14. Felik


    Well, it's official now. Numbers don't lie, better physics and actual creativity ruined Sonic 4. It's all your fault, fans, for constantly begging for actual effort being put into your Sonic 4.
  15. Blue Blood

    Blue Blood

    When the spindash sounds were still the wrong way around, and the levels littered with more speed boosters and stings than ever before, I do question just how much "effort" actually went into the game...

    Yeah, it's nice to have this confirmed. Pretty sure that several people had already guessed it, but having it from Ken Balough directly should clear all doubts. Here's hoping that SEGA don't see this as a reason to finish with fully 2D and more traditional Sonic games. Generations was explicitly 50% that and it was a roaring success.
  16. Beltway


    The most grateful Sonic fan of all time this week Member
    Sega of Darkest Peru
    Artwork and classes
    Pretty much confirmed what we already knew once the Epi. III stinger was found to be dummied out of the Epi. II Beta 8 version. To say I won't miss it would be an understatement; yet at the same time I'm not happy that Epi. II will be the note Sega is going to leave the classic gameplay on.

    Knowing Sega, they will undeniably draw the former conclusion. It's almost ten years since Sonic 06 and the mainstream/handheld games are still restricted to Sonic, Tails, and Eggman in terms of storyline and just Sonic as a playable character.

    I won't be surprised if the next Sonic game (almost) eliminates 2D gameplay completely, which I'm sure is likely given how the prototypes Endri saw don't follow on either the Lost World or Generations gameplay.
  17. The Taxman

    The Taxman

    Tech Member
    Retro Engine & Related Projects
    I've always assumed Sonic 4 Episode 3 fizzled out as things evolved with SOA, Sega Networks & F2P etc.

    I guess it's been long enough that it's not relevant any more, but I was briefly asked if I would be interested in collaborating with Sega Studios Australia (Who did the Castle of Illusion remake) as a potential dev team to work on the third one. Sadly though, SSA were shut down, and Stealth and I worked on the Sonic 1 & 2 remasters in late 2012-2013.

    Of course, you never know, Sonic Team could one day decide Ep3 should happen, but Ken pretty much confirms my personal thoughts.
  18. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

    Working on my art!
    Well fuck, Episode 3 might have been good if you were given the chance to work on it.
  19. Beltway


    The most grateful Sonic fan of all time this week Member
    Sega of Darkest Peru
    Artwork and classes
    That and while the majority of Sega Studios Australia's work wasn't very good (following the well-received Medieval II: Total War, they worked on Stormrise, London Olympics 2012: The Official Video Game, and the piss-poor Sonic Classic Collection compilation) their swan song that was the Castle of Illusion remake was well-liked by fans of the original and received a relatively positive reception.

    Ugh, what could have been. Even if Episode III likely wouldn't have entirely redeemed the Sonic 4 name because you still have the first two episodes dragging it down, we likely could had gotten a genuine reform to form had you and SSA (with Stealth on board as well, I assume) were given the chance. And by extension, maybe a potential good future (pun not intended) for classic 2D Sonic in general.
  20. MartiusR


    Yes, I know, it wasn't nothing (too) surprising, as other users already mentioned (especially after all this time which has passed after Sth4 Ep2)... But what a shame (still). I liked both episodes of Sonic 4 (despite their differences, both gave me some pleasant and casual/disobliging [eh, don't know which word is more appropiate in english] gameplay, I didn't even bother too much about their relatively low difficulty level), and EP III would have for sure some decent place on my "to buy" list (of course after it would be relased on PC). Oh well..

    You think Taxman that there are any chances (in, well "undefined" future) for it? I'm asking, because as far as I know most (if not every) cancelled Sonic game was rather cancelled permamently, but since I'm quite "fresh" in case of "historical" subject, maybe there is something I don't know about.