Sega had remained surprisingly quiet on the upcoming Sonic Origins compilation until last week. Announced in May of 2021, Origins‘ biggest takeaway was that it would include (for the first time) the complete Sonic 3 and Knuckles experience following its absence in many other Sega compilations and the Sega Genesis Mini. Almost a year after the initial announcement, we finally have a date along with a snazzy animated trailer for Sonic Origins.
Arriving June 23rd for all consoles and PC, Sonic Origins will contain the classic Genesis trilogy and the somewhat divisive Sonic CD. It’s a meager selection of games, but it’s worth noting that these will be the widescreen versions with an increased field of view and that HeadCannon Studios (the team behind Sonic Mania) has had a hand in the development. Brand new animated cutscenes will link these games together, and players will be able to take on missions, mirror modes, and a boss rush. The new format doesn’t sound terrible on paper, but Sega has unfortunately complicated things with many DLC tiers.
NintendoLife has provided a thorough breakdown of what precisely each edition gets you. While you’re not missing out on too much by sticking with the standard edition, I can’t help but feel like this is just a bit predatory on the publisher’s part. $40 is already a steep price for four widely available games (even if they have received HeadCannon’s blessing when it comes to the port jobs). Furthermore, asking to fork over even more for what amounts to bite-sized content (challenging missions) and music tracks from games that aren’t even in this collection is a little ridiculous, in my opinion. Past compilations such as Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection offered far more games at lower prices, even when adjusted for inflation.
To add insult to injury, Origins appears to be a digital-only release at the time of this writing. I could stomach that price tag a bit better if it meant I could be getting the definitive ports of these titles on a cartridge or disc. It’s worth remembering that Sega first released Sonic Mania digitally before getting the physical treatment several months later (definitely an industry trend at this point). However, Sega has not confirmed anything on this front as of now.
If you somehow don’t have any other way of playing these games (they’ve been ported dozens of times at this point, granted, Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles are treated as separate games in the past). Then Sonic Origins might not be the wrong way to make a purchase. That being said, the fantastic 2011 port of Sonic CD has been around for over a decade. In addition, the mobile ports of both Sonic 1 & 2 are now readily available for PC thanks to the hard work and dedication of fans. As for Sonic 3 & Knuckles, there’s Sonic 3 AIR, which offers widescreen support as well as a with a healthy assortment of mods to play around.
As a fan, I’ll probably still pick up Origins to support Headcannon’s work (I want Sonic Mania 2 at some point), but I can’t say this is a solid deal based on what we know. I’ll echo what Gavin Lane noted in his purchasing guide– it’s rather frustrating that Sega got the best crew they possibly could behind this collection but saw fit to complicate the launch.