Sega has finally taken the tarp off of its Project Needlemouse game, revealing it to be a classic-style side-scrolling 3D adventure sequel to 1994's Sonic & Knuckles by the name of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 for release as a downloadable title for the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo's Wii, and one as-yet announced platform. GameSpot has the launch trailer and a brief article that's mostly filler, but it does contain this:
Sega associate brand manager Ken Balough revealed a few more details about Sonic 4. Specifically, he said the game will pick up the series after Sonic & Knuckles, and incorporate established 2D gameplay mechanics for the series like the spin dash and power sneakers. Additionally, the game will incorporate leaderboards for players to test their speed against one another, and incorporate motion controls on the Wii and PlayStation 3 (with the Sixaxis controller, not necessarily the upcoming "Arc" motion controller.)
Wait, wait, wait... motion controls? Oh, hell no! This was all looking so promising, and then the other shoe dropped. Is it too late to reconsider that portion of the game? Did anyone ask to be able to shake the controller to jump? However, on second thought, I'd be alright with being able to optionally - optionally! - tilt the controller slightly to cause Sonic to lean forward or back a little for extra or less speed, respectively. Aside from that hiccup, this all sounds like great news and is what fans of the original Sega Genesis games have pleaded about for years. While the "Episode 1" subtitle may spook some, I'd like to believe that it simply means there's more classic blue blur to come after this title and not that Sega plans on releasing this adventure one zone at a time.