First @ TSSZ: Revealed to be Fan Project

First @ TSSZ: Revealed to be Fan Project

by September 10, 2009

First at TSSZDevelopers Call it “A Total Coincidence”

As it turns out, the purported teaser website for Project Needlemouse that we were first on the web to debunk is a point of reference for a different kind of Needlemouse project–a new Sonic fan game.

Today, Jono Forbes, the artist behind those crazy 3D renderings of Green Hill you may have been, along with Boston University student Matt Schoen revealed Needlemouse: The Emerald Hills to the world on  Mr. Forbes first disclosed the project as a comment on our previous story.

The timing was all a little too convenient, according to the developers, and now, thanks to all this sudden attention, the gears will begin rolling on disclosing new information on the SFG to the public.  This, according to the duo’s press release:

You may think you’re looking at a sample of the upcoming Sega game, which according to recent speculation is called Project Needlemouse. What you’ve stumbled on is actually a fan-created game that we’ve been calling Needlemouse: The Emerald Hills since we began working on it a few months ago.

Here’s the story. What you see above is some early environment art from a 3D re-imagining of a classic series, aimed recreating the tried-and-true side-scrolling platformer with a lot more eye-candy. We are Jono Forbes and Matt Schoen, a pair of game developers who really loved the original, kinematic hedgehog, and decided it would be fun to give him an update.

We registered to host our hobby project while we continue to collaborate over a long distance. (A quick Google search turned up no references or links to other games, so we — ironically — thought it would be a unique handle for the project.) We had no idea Sega was working on their just-announced Project Needlemouse. No kidding: a total coincidence. Our project officially began in early May although, as with many of our ideas, it had been “on the table” since long before and neither we nor the project have any connection whatsoever with Sega (other than being satisfied customers).

Needlemouse: The Emerald Hills is purely a tribute, a nod of the head, an homage to one of the gaming world’s watershed events. We’re just having fun with a piece of extreme (interactive) fan-art as a tribute to our favorite game and the developer of many of the games we grew up on.

We must stress that we have no interest in benefitting commercially from our project, and value it only in terms of a representation of our skills and hopefully a fresh experience while taking a stroll down memory lane. We will continue to update this site for like-minded fans who are interested in our progress.

Stay tuned here for a news feed, forum, more game content, and upcoming Windows and OS X public beta!

Thanks for stopping by.

So, in the end, no harm, no foul on their part–at least, none of it was intended.  But on the art direction alone–unique in its own right–this SFG bears watching in the future, and that’s exactly what we’ll do.