RUMOR: Needlemouse’s Internal Name Sonic 4?

RUMOR: Needlemouse’s Internal Name Sonic 4?

by January 21, 2010

Fact, or Hype Rhetoric?

What’s in a name?  Maybe a whole lot, if you’re classically inclined.

The good news is that the next Sonic, dubbed Project Needlemouse, is among 1UP’s top anticipated games of 2010.  The better news is that Sega may be, at least in this respect, treating this exactly the way long-starved 2D Sonic fans have wanted…right down to the name.

1UP’s description is about as vague as anyone’s reporting on it in recent months, right down to hammering the point that it’s expected to hit XBOX Live and PSN, an aspect we revisited earlier today.  That’s not what’s in focus here–the part in bold is:

Here’s what people already know about the game: it centers on only Sonic, it’s going to be 2D, it’s in HD, and it’ll be coming to Xbox Live and PSN. Here’s what they don’t know: it’s Sonic the Hedgehog 4. At least, that’s how it’s considered internally at Sega — whether it’ll have some other name when it ships, we’re not sure. But from its 2D gameplay to its focus on just the character we actually give a shit about, this is the Sonic game we’ve been waiting for since we moved on from the Sega Genesis.

What’s this about Sonic the Hedgehog 4?

To even suggest such direct lineage now almost 16 years after Sonic 3 came out for the Genesis, and after so many deviations on number with such tags as Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic Adventure (and the sequel), Sonic Heroes, and Sonic Unleashed is certainly interesting and stimulating.  It also flies in the face of some history; when Sonic and Knuckles was released later in 1994, some gaming magazines at the time in previews labeled the project as Sonic 4.  It’s not of the question–Capcom pulled it off in 2008 with Mega Man 9, 11 years after Mega Man 8.  But is that, or will that be the official stance Sega takes?

The way 1UP writes it, it sounds convincing, though they do clarify that the Sonic 4 name may not show up upon release, even if their information about an internal name is correct.  But there is a fine line between something that sounds good, and something that exists and actually is good, and 1UP has nothing to back up the claim yet.  With so little known about Needlemouse still, it’s really anyone’s guess.  But a name like Sonic 4 would be a clear tip to the hat toward fans who grew up with Sonic in the early 1990s.

So, we label this rumor for now, but we also ask if you think Sonic 4 would be a good official name for Project Needlemouse.  Tell us in our comments area.  And thanks go out to Dr. Eggfang who pointed this out in a comment from one of today’s earlier stories.