Sonic Unleashed

This is the first six minutes from the new video game, Sonic Unleashed. (This video is in Japanese; the good stuff starts at the 40-second mark):

Sega is also releasing a separate Sonic short film, Night of the WereHog, to promote the game. I don’t know if the game itself will be good, the visuals do seem to be well executed. Is this the first time Sega, or any video game company, released an animated short to coincide with a new game?

(Thanks, Lev Polyakov)

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  • http://spungella.blogspot.com Jean-Denis Haas

    EA’s “Dead Space” has a direct to DVD feature that ties in with the game, no?

  • Saturnome

    I kinda remember a GTA short film, if I’m not mistaken. And I think I heard something from Ubisoft trying animated short films, but I’m not following that much.

    The Sonic cinematics looks good in a video game fashion (that beginning is quite like Star Wars, doesn’t it?), but the games themselves aren’t too great since Sonic Adventure (but they’re not incredibly bad either). I think this game is aiming for a new gameplay mecanics, we’ll see.

  • http://www.grafyte.cmo Brian Weaver

    Most video or computer game companies release shorts or trailers of their games. This seems to be in that tradition, although its a bit longer than most.
    Mythic and Blizzard both have some of the best trailers in the games industry. Notably the trailer for the Wrath Of The Lich King http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/wrath/
    Or Mythic’s Warhammer at http://mythicmktg.fileburst.com/war/us/home/flash/WAR_cinematic_08.html

  • Sam Filstrup

    I never imagined I’d see my favorite Hedgehog on this website and in such splendid fashion. That has to be the most solid and fluid animation I’ve seen in a video game to date. The characters felt like they squashed and stretched with splendid acting(even if it was a bit over the top). It’s nice to see they put the effort into this, hopefully the short film with have the same quality.

  • Doug Drown

    This is pretty impressive. I also actually kind of liked the ’90s TV cartoon, which was fairly well animated, and in which Sonic was given some depth of character as a nice little superhero with an attitude.

  • Isaac

    Honestly I can’t bear to look at it, it’s full of Japanese visual clichés:

    Hero emerges kneeling, with palm on the ground
    Running straight into an army of shooting (robotic) henchmen
    Glowing, blond (or is it yellow?) hero with superpowers

    Still, very professional, and much better than the stiffness I expect from videogame characters.

  • Blatherpuss

    Man if the gameplay was half as good as that cutscene we’d be in buisness. Unfournate most recent Sonic games have been quite woeful.
    Also, EA released a full length direct to DVD movie to coinicide with the game Dead Space. I havent seen it but it looked pretty standard.

  • http://www.jessica-plummer.com Jessica Plummer

    I’m nowhere near any kind of Sonic fan, but this intro is nicely executed. Curious as to what the short film will look like. Not animation related, but I enjoyed the shorts/spots that were made for the Halo 3 release.

  • LobsterJohnson

    Most video games nowadays have elaborate intro movies like this.

    The Sonic CD intro is still the best intro from any game ever, so good they even put the pencil tests on the cd.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nsztmoft-M

    Also the less-good ending:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5XWWu5X9nA

    And Onimusha 3′s won an some award even, I believe.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WdvfQFgFyk (Warning animu bullshit.)

  • GhaleonQ

    I don’t think dissenting on the merit of anything Sonic-related is too controversial, so I’ll also add that lots of games do shorts or full films to either coincide or prepare people for upcoming titles. I’m actually surprised that Sam And Max hasn’t been referenced here more often.

  • Dave

    The Dead Space animated feature was quite awful.

  • Gillian

    Wow. Shockingly gorgeous.

  • Steve Ryder

    Mor character related shorts for the game Team Fortress 2!

    Look the trailers section at the bottom!!

    http://orange.half-life2.com/tf2.html

  • http://rockitpack.blogspot.com :: smo ::

    haha nice! as obnoxious as they were i really liked the “sonic adventure” games sega made, i guess there were a few games between those and this but i’d give it a shot. i really like the stories they manage to pull out of these characters. sonic’s interesting because he’s essentially a rubber hose character. he even has a face built like a 30′s character.

    The 3d here has got some great cartoony moments! especially on robotnik! some of his broad gestures flow really nicely. it’s a great thing to see happening in video game cut scenes!!! i hope the quality is that high throughout the scenes in the game! if only they could get gameplay to that level.

  • Jorge

    This Sonic characters always looked like a cross between the Fleischers and anime anyway. I wish they had used the gorgeous Milton Knight design for Dr. Robotnik instead of of this crappy new “Eggman” one.

  • http://www.pentagen.org/ Adam

    Animated shorts/features/series have been used for some time to promote upcoming or recently released video games (or sold as tie-in merchandise), but they do seem to be awfully common lately.

    Off the top of my head, Street Fighter IV, Dead Space and Valkyria Chronicles are among other recent games to get their own cartoons.

  • SlappyHappy

    Sega is trying to impress Pixar in a desperate attempt to save the series. Yeah, the animation’s great n’ all… but it’s the same ol’ same ol’ cliche tripe Sega tends to beat even while it’s rotting.

  • Aleksandar Vujovic

    It manages to be very original and yet include the few things that the first game had, like the way he moves and such. And it also says something about Japanese parenting. The editing and direction are amazing and something on the other spectrum than we’re used to. (Isn’t it great?)

  • http://thejack-slashhalen.blogspot.com/ Slash Halen

    I’ve been a Sonic fan since I was 5 years old. Some people had Yogi Bear, Bugs Bunny, Ren and Stimpy as there favorite characters. I had Sonic. But if the last few games have taught me anything, it’s that Sega can’t make a decent Sonic game to save there lives and this game probably wont be any different. Sure, it has potential to be good, but I wont get my hopes up.

    The opening looks very nice, and the trailer for the WereHog movie looks good too. Lets see if Sega still has what it takes to make a good Sonic game.

  • Annie-Mae

    Sonic has a great history with animation. Though the two American shows back in the 90′s were not considered cannon to the games (seeing how they didn’t fallow any of their storyline), Sonic Team did hire TMS animation studio (best known for Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, and other American shows) to create this for Sonic Jam: a complication of all the Sonic Games put together for the Sega Saturn> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LecH7KTDGAo Interestingly enough when they hired TMS to work on their anime, Sonic X, they didn’t have the budget for the equal quality in animation.

    As a Sonic fan we’re confronted by all sorts of people in the fandom and there will never be a moment in Sonic’s future that will please all of us at once. With every game they try to take it in a new direction, and for several of the games, I’ve been saying, they were better off making a full on Sonic movie rather then games. The franchise always seems cooler in animation then game play, but these two new games (Unleashed and Black Knight; a wii exclusive) are a step in a better direction, both in animation and game play. I have high hopes for both games.

    For those of your bashing this stiff animation style you really need to see the trailer for the Night of the Werehog, it’s a lot better then this.> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdBc0XWyfLw

  • http://mymedicatedlife.blogspot.com/ Bitter Animator

    Given the recent Sonic games, if the game reaches above ‘barely playable’, I’ll be surprised. This vid doesn’t wow me whatsoever but maybe that’s because I play a lot of games and there are some great intros, certainly much better than this.

    I’ll throw in another vote for the Sonic CD intro, which I love. I think I’m a sucker for hand animated backgrounds and the Sonic CD piece uses them so well. Well worth a watch.

  • http://gagaman.blogspot.com GagaMan

    Sega should put all their money towards expanding their animation studio so they could make a Sonic feature film like this clip. It’d make far more money than any of the games, and they seem to be better at animation than games nowadays. Hell, judging by this clip and the Night of the Werehog trailer, they could easily stand toe to toe with the best in Hollywood. Plus I love Sonic as a character as he has that sort of Felix the cat look to him, with obvious anime influences as well of course, and he has featured in some great understated animation in the past, like this pilot for Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, what’s credits include Milton Knight and Ed Love: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=m66U1gcDuD0

  • http://www.spiteyourface.com tony mines

    That was kind of cool. The intro, not the short. But with every year, and every step further they have to take Sonic, the more conspicuous it gets that he was always a dubious character design and you can’t really do a decent turnaround with him. Someone did this one 3/4 drawing back in the day, and they’ve been kind of stuck with that ever since.

  • http://saturdaymorningcentral.com/ Tommy Day

    I think this will be the first Sonic game I’ll play since the 90s. Looks very cool.

  • Paul N

    “…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

  • http://www.leonardomaciel.com Leonardo Maciel

    Capcom is doing a similar thing with Street Fighter IV. They have released 2 shorts to link the story between Street II and IV.
    You can watch them here:
    http://www.gametrailers.com/player/40579.html
    And here:
    http://www.gametrailers.com/player/35814.html

    Besides that, Studio 4ºC from TekkonKinkreet will do a long one, to be released with the game, next year.

  • Jacob

    Heavenly Sword has a 5 episode prequel done in flash and it is amazing!

    http://www.us.playstation.com/heavenlysword/media_video.html?v=16555

    Each episode made me want to watch the next and then it made me actually want to play the game!

    Can’t say the same for the sonic video…

  • Ryan

    I remember when pressing the Start button at the title screen meant that you’d get to play the game, not watch a six-minute video…

  • http://www.yaytime.com dave roman

    Thanks to the people who posted those older Sonic animated clips from Sega CD and the Sonic Jam collection! I remember loving them back in the day and they still hold up!

  • http://www.yaytime.com dave roman

    So Link turns into a werewolf and now Sonic…what’s next?
    Tetris?

  • http://wscottwarren.blogspot.com/ Scott

    Steve Ryder: Yes! Those Team Fortress 2 shorts deserve their own post on CB. They are brilliant examples of style and character acting in animation.

    Also those Sonic CD cartoons are wonderful!

  • Steve Gattuso

    The Team Fortress 2 shorts are excellent.

    “Always have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”

  • http://allenpov.blogspot.com/ Enoch Allen

    I remember Mega Man 8 did a limited DVD release of its in-game footage. . .can’t verify it with any legit source, though.

  • http://goldenagecartoons.com Matthew Hunter

    A little over the top action-wise, but nicely animated. Now, if only someone could do a good animated Super Mario Bros. movie (and no, the DIC cartoons and bad 90′s live action movie don’t count!)

  • http://gavinball.blogspot.com Gavin Ball

    Cool,

    Nintendo does a lot of this kind of stuff too. Not sure if they’ve ever done something simultaneously like this, but its cool too see.

    Hopefully we see more of this in the future as videogames start exploring the story elements more.

    -Gavin

  • http://gavinball.blogspot.com Gavin Ball

    Wow,

    that was pretty impressive!

    Thanks for sharing.

  • http://dailygrail.com/blog/8389 red pill junkie

    ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Dragon Ball Z’ ripoff.

    But I liked it ;-)

  • http://www.animaxtv.com/ Animax

    Hi
    Nice to notice that one more Video game is ready for the entertainment.
    Would have enjoyed more, had it been in English, visuals are pretty good at their work, though!

    Paul David

  • http://borogove13.deviantart.com Lucas

    I’d like to second the few that have mentioned the Team Fortress 2 series of shorts. Brilliant performances, tons of personality, great timing. So good that I bought the game, not to play, but to support them making the shorts.

  • P.C. Unfunny

    Nothing here that hasn’t been seen in all sorts of fighting anime.