Sega and Nintendo join forces for upcoming Sonic games

Published: Wednesday, May 29 2013 6:40 p.m. MDT

An image from the newly announced "Sonic Lost World" game. (Sega) An image from the newly announced "Sonic Lost World" game. (Sega)

In a deal that would have boggled the mind of any gamer circa 1991, the next three titles in Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog franchise are now set to be Nintendo exclusives.

The new partnership between the two video game giants — and former archrivals during the ‘90s console wars — was formally announced on May 17 as part of Nintendo’s buildup for this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in June.

“Sonic the Hedgehog has proven incredibly successful on Nintendo platforms and we are pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with Nintendo,” said John Cheng, Sega of America president and COO, in a news release. “As we initiate this new exclusive partnership with the next three titles we believe that Wii U and Nintendo 3DS are ideal platforms to showcase the evolution of the Sonic brand.”

Although Sonic was originally created to compete directly with Mario, Sega’s iconic blue blur made his first appearance on a Nintendo console in 2002 with “Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.” He later went on to share screen time with the mustachioed plumber in 2007’s “Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games” and its sequels as well as 2008’s “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” for the Wii.

“The onetime rivalry between Mario and Sonic has grown into a friendship that has never been closer,” said Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime on nintendo.com. “These announcements in conjunction with Sega demonstrate the commitment we have to bringing great games to the Wii U platform and set the stage for our upcoming announcements at E3.”

For Nintendo, the news could hardly come at a better time. Since the Wii U’s launch last November, the console has suffered from sluggish sales and weak third-party support.

Even though the Sega partnership might not do much to entice hardcore gamers interested in more mature fare, exclusive Sonic games further solidify the Wii U as the go-to platform for family-oriented content — which, as demonstrated by the success of Nintendo’s last console, the Wii, can be an extremely lucrative niche.

Along with details of the new partnership, Sega also released the first image from Sonic’s next adventure, “Sonic: Lost World,” which is scheduled for release later this year on the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

“With ‘Sonic: Lost World,’ we're going to introduce new gameplay and enemies, which is always fun,” Cheng said at wiiudaily.com. "In terms of Sonic and his friends, he’ll have his same friends there, and I think there’ll be some new ones as well. It’s not a reiteration. It’s going to be all new.”

More details regarding the three Nintendo-exclusive Sonic titles have been promised in the coming weeks leading up to the Electronic Entertainment Expo, which takes place June 11-13 in Los Angeles.

A native of Utah Valley and a devoted cinephile, Jeff Peterson is currently studying humanities and history at Brigham Young University.

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