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Talking to the Needlemouse: The Emerald Hills developers

7:20 PM on 09.14.2009 // Ben Perlee

There's been a lot of talk about the brand new, 2D, high-definition Sonic game. It's been something people have wanted for a long time, and the idea that this could be a sort of “Sonic 4” is pretty damn amazing. We've even got a screen shot and level design for the game!

Except, well, we don't. You see, at the same time that Sega was making their announcement for their new Sonic, code-named Project Needlemouse, a couple of young guys in Massachusetts announced their fan-made game, Needlemouse: The Emerald Hills. Needless to say, the timing was more than a little off, and those level builds are not from the new Sonic title.

However, this fan-made, inspired-by-but-not-endorsed, Needlemouse: The Emerald Hills is pretty damn interesting. I contacted the two guys behind the game, Jono Forbes and Matt Schoen, and talked to them about their project. While certainly big fans of Sonic, Forbes said that “we think we are the perfect age for this product. The first game we ever really played was Sonic 1, and that was my thing...that was my childhood, and that's what got me interested in game design.”

According to the team, the game has been in the works since May, but has been tossed around for the last few years.  Obviously, Needlemouse: The Emerald Hills is an act Sonic-fandom, and they hope to make a game that would act as inspired from the speedy hedgehog's better days. Ultimately, they hope to have a final game for people by spring of next year, although that depends on how things come together.

Before I left them, I asked them about what they would want to see in a new, 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game. Forbes said that “if Sega is going to be remaking the classic, I would assume they would be keeping to the original feeling, as well as trying to keep to the art as true as possible, in a modern HD way; a big distinction between these Needlemice, I think, is that while we are also striving to remake the original feeling, we're taking our liberties aesthetically, and you can expect some radical changes to the look.” For those interested, check out the Needlemouse: The Emerald Hills website to follow up on the project, as well as stay up to date on any updates and beta tests for the game.

Ben Perlee,
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