Well, most of them
The good news: the fancy 16-bit Genesis emulator front-end Sega launched on Steam a couple years ago is coming to consoles!
Roughly fifty Sega Genesis games from the 16-bit era will be hitting the Xbox One and Playstation 4 on May 29th, with the same interface as the Steam version. New to the console releases will be online multiplayer, more graphical filters, and a new “Mirror Mode” that flips the screen horizontally for added challenge (so instead of moving to the right, your characters will move to the left.)
As for the bad news, well, there’s more than a bit: for starters, this version will presumably not contain the “mod” support that made the Steam release famous. For those of you hoping to play Sonic 3D Blast Director’s Cut on your Playstation 4, you’re most likely out of luck. Given the legal wrangling something like that would take, though, it’s an expected result.
Second of all, you may notice the list of supported consoles is limited to the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One — Nintendo Switch owners are left out in the cold here, as they often have been by other developers in the past. Now, this could mean that maybe Sega intends to release individual games through Nintendo’s Virtual Console service later this year. After all, the Wii got a number of Genesis games for its VC — but Sega curiously skipped supporting the VC on the Wii U, even as they were buddying up to Nintendo with exclusive Sonic games. Hmmmm.
And, finally, comes some surprising omissions. The official Playstation UK blog posted a list of included games yesterday, and you might notice some big names are missing in action:
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Columns III: Revenge of Columns
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
ESWAT: City Under Siege
Galaxy Force II
Golden Axe II
Golden Axe III
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millenium
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
Shining Force II
Shining in the Darkness
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Sonic 3D Blast
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Space Harrier II
Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage 2
Streets of Rage 3
Super Thunder Blade
Sword of Vermilion
The Revenge of Shinobi
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
Virtua Fighter 2
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
Wonder Boy in Monster World
The following games are still available to purchase on Steam, but are apparently missing from the console collection:
Ecco the Dolphin
Ecco: The Tides of Time
Sonic 3 & Knuckles
You may notice one particularly big name among them — for the first time ever, Sega will be releasing a collection of Genesis games that does not include the complete classic Sonic trilogy. Feel free to speculate why this may be. Licensing issues with the music, perhaps? Technological limitations with locked-on cartridges? One wonders.
No price has been announced for the console edition of “Sega Mega Drive Classics”, but if you buy the complete bundle on Steam, it’ll run you about $60, which very neatly slots in to the expected pricing structure for most console games today. Expect it on May 29th.