SEGA has supplied details on a incentive they’re offering to sweeten the deal for gamers looking to buy the upcoming Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 2. If you own both Sonic 4: Episode 1 and Episode 2 on the same platform, you can unlock “Episode Metal” for free, which puts players in control of Metal Sonic and bridges the story gap between Sonic CD and Sonic 4. The catch? If you own Sonic 4 Episode 1 on the Nintendo Wii, you get nothing. Sonic 4: Episode 2 will not be released for the system.
Sonic 4: Episode 2 continues the revitalization of the classic, proper way to play Sonic the Hedgehog. The 2.5D sidescroller was received well by fans when it was released a little over a year ago. Episode 2 will continue the story of Sonic Vs. Dr. Robotnik (I refuse to call him Dr. Eggman. REFUSE!), while bringing another classic villain into the mix—Metal Sonic. First introduced in Sonic CD, Metal Sonic has become a prominent antagonist in Sonic-related games, shows, and comic books alike. Racing Metal Sonic in Sonic CD is one of my favorite adolescent gaming memories, and having a chance to revisit my favorite character in the franchise is certainly something to look forward to.
Episode Metal will feature the metallic speedster as a playable character. Metal Sonic tears through a new adventure across four reworked acts from Episode 1. Details are vague, but it sounds as if in an effort to explain how Metal Sonic has gone from complete destruction at the end of Sonic CD to being back in one piece to challenge Sonic in Episode 2, you’ll spend the acts of Episode Metal rebuilding yourself.
It has been announced that Sonic 4: Episode 2 will be available on PSN and Xbox LIVE Arcade, but where the previous title was released on the Wii via WiiWare, Episode 2 will not be making an appearance on Nintendo’s system. This isn’t a huge deal considering most gamers can just grab Episode 2 on another platform, but when SEGA offers something as cool as Episode Metal, it really flips a middle finger to those that bought Episode 1 on the Wii. In order to enjoy that content, Wii owners will have to re-buy Episode 1 on the platform of choice in addition to Episode 2. This sort of platform denial clearly illustrates the kind of problems that can occur with choosing an episodic solution as opposed to releasing a fully packaged game.
There is certainly a present ire in the fans that purchased Episode 1 on WiiWare. One quick glance at the comments on SEGA’s official blog tells a story of disappointed gamers who feel betrayed by the company. It would be wise of SEGA to offer a download of Sonic 4: Episode 1 on any platform for free to Wii owners of the title, but currently no plans to do so have been announced.
Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 will be available on May 15 for $14.99 on the Playstation Network, or for 1200 points on Xbox Arcade Live.