Sonic Colors: Ultimate (American English) (ソニックカラーズ アルティメット Sonikku Karāzu Arutimetto?) or Sonic Colours: Ultimate (British English), is an enhanced remaster of the Wii version of Sonic Colors. It is set to be released on 7 September 2021 both physically and digitally for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One consoles, and as a digital-only release on for PC via the Epic Games Store in most countries and on 9 September in Japan. It can also be played on Xbox Series X and Series S and PlayStation 5 via backwards compatibility. If players opt for the Digital Deluxe version of the game, they will instead receive the game on 3 September 2021.
- The Jade Wisp, a Wisp that debuted in Team Sonic Racing, is featured as a Color Power, the Jade Ghost. This Color Power can be obtained in various places and allows Sonic to go through solid objects in order to discover alternate paths and pick up items that the player could not go in the original game.
- The life system has been entirely removed, meaning that players can start over from where they failed without fearing a game over. Likewise, lives and 1-Ups having been replaced by different features.
- Tails now has the ability to lift Sonic back into the levels. This can be accomplished by obtaining a new type of collectable called Tails Saves that appears in the Acts, and the counter for the amount of Tails Saves the player has replaces the life counter. When using a Tails Save, rather than respawning from the beginning of an Act, starting over from last Star Post touched, or getting a game over, Tails will come in, pick up Sonic and fly him to his last known location.
- The 100 Count Ring returns from the Wii/PlayStation2 version of Sonic Unleashed, replacing the 1-Up in Acts. In this game, in addition to granting the player one hundred Rings when picked up, it makes Sonic invincible for a short time.
- The Homing Attack has a new feature, the "sweet spot attack", where timing the attack just as a green circle overlaps the Homing Attack reticle will award Sonic with Boost energy.
- The player is able to customize Sonic's appearance and visual effects in the Options Satellite's Customize menu. This includes Sonic's gloves, shoes, Boost, and aura. In the case of the Boost for example, the player can customize which effects that will follow Sonic when he uses the Boost. In the case of the aura, the player can give Sonic different colored energy auras. These are merely cosmetic, and do not affect Sonic's control performance in gameplay. All the customization options can be unlocked with the new Park Tokens.
- Getting an A or S-Rank in an Act will now reward Park Tokens instead of 1-Ups.
- The game introduces a new mode called "Rival Rush", which are challenges where Sonic can race against Metal Sonic (who did not appear in the original game), and win rewards for beating him.
- Refined controls. While the original game utilized the Wii Remote's motion controls to activate Color Powers, Sonic Colors: Ultimate does not feature any motion controls.
- The controls can even be customized to different layouts as per the player's preference.
- The Super Sonic menu in the Option Satellite now has a list of criteria for using Super Sonic.
- There is now an "Extras" section in the Option Satellite that includes cutscenes (which are now named rather than simply numbered) and music.
- The World Map now shows how much percentage of the game has been completed.
- Terminal Velocity Act 1 now has Red Star Rings.
- Enhanced visuals and graphics. Cutscene videos in particular have been updated for HD and 4K resolutions. While most versions will run at 60 FPS and have 4K support, the Nintendo Switch version will be capped at 30 FPS.
- Certain cutscene dialogue that was not subtitled in the original game is now subtitled.
- The game will be voiced in English, Japanese, French, Italian, German and Spanish as with all Sonic games since Sonic Generations, whereas the original game was only voiced in English and Japanese.
- The whole soundtrack has been remixed, including the main theme. The option to play an Act's theme from the original game is also available.
- The Options Satellite has been given an aesthetic overhaul.
- The Wisps have altered animations on the level selection screen and inside Wisp Capsules.
- Special Rings are called "Red Star Rings", matching their name change from Sonic Generations onwards.
- When the player collects a Red Star Ring for the first time, a confetti effect will appear on-screen.
- A new mode called, "Navigation Mode" has been added. It allows Tails' voice to be heard whenever Sonic presses a Switch, telling him the effect of the Switch (such as enemies spawning or a Pulley appearing).
- On the results screen, there is a timer on the bottom that shows how long the player can control Sonic before he does his victory animation.
- Rainbow Rings and Dash Rings now have a more technological design with arrows on it, similar to the Dash Rings in Sonic Adventure and the mechanical Rings from Sonic Generations.
- Wisp Capsules for Wisps that have not been unlocked yet now have a lock inside of the colored Wisp Capsule.
- During specific cinematic sections of Acts, the HUD will briefly vanish.
- The Homing Attack has a rainbow trail when Sonic times it right.
- The exclamation mark that warns the player of bottomless pits is replaced by the warning signs from Sonic Generations and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II. Additionally, the bottom side of the screen glows red and yellow arrows pointing downwards appear while the sign appears.
- Several sound effects are modified.
- Several point bonuses are named differently:
According to Sega and Takashi Iizuka, the reasons why Sonic Colors was chosen to get remastered was because of the increase of new and younger fans since Sonic Mania, Sonic Forces and Team Sonic Racing, as well as the success of the 2020 movie. Since Iizuka wanted to deliver the "quintessential Sonic game" and Sonic Colors was a rather successful game on its original hardware, it was deemed the ideal game to serve as the continuation for the aforementioned fans. However, since it never left the Wii and Nintendo DS going forward, it was decided to make a remaster of it. In addition, new features were added to help beginner players play the game. In an interview with "Famitsu" magazine Iizuka said Sonic Colors: Ultimate was named this way because it is intended to be the definitive version of Sonic Colors that includes many features that were missing in the original.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate was primarily developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the staff working on the game from home. However, according to director Aaron Roseman, it only took the staff a few weeks to adapt to those changes. According to Roseman, it game also does not use all the technical features of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, but that it runs very well on both consoles.
When it came to "translating" Sonic Colors from a Wii game (whose console was all about motion controls) to another game pack, the developers made use of the format in the original Sonic Colors that supported the standard game controller and "mimicked" the button layer from there over to Sonic Colors: Ultimate.
Rumors about a remastered edition of Sonic Colors began circulating in April 2021 when said game was found listed in the portfolio of the German dubbing studio, IK Sample (which is also the same studio that dubs the Sonic games in German). The game was later officially announced during the Sonic Central video presentation on 27 May 2021 that showcased news regarding the Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary celebration. Among these announcements were also the announcement trailer for this game.
On 28 May, 3D artist Brian Connelly, who worked on shaders and VFX, shared his work on ArtStation. One of the examples features interface element of open-source engine Godot, possibly meaning this is the engine the game is now built on. This lines up with a LinkedIn profile of a Blind Squirrel Games developer which mentions an open-source engine.
On 28 July 2021, it was announced that a two-disk album titled Sonic Colors: Ultimate Original Soundtrack "Re-Colors" featuring tracks from the soundtrack would be released by Wave Master as a physical format and in digital format worldwide on various distribution sites and subscription-type music distribution services on 29 September 2021, although pre-orders were already made available on 29 July 2021. It will contain thirty-eight songs, including arrangements of original vocal and instrumental songs, as well as new songs for the new Rival Rush mode. Its booklet will also contain commentary on all the songs by the remixers.
On 27 May 2021, along with the announcement of Sonic Colors: Ultimate, official media revealed that, for a limited time, those pre-ordering the standard retail physical copies of the game would receive an exclusive Baby Sonic keychain. Those pre-purchasing the Digital Deluxe version of the game on the other hand will receive the following in-game content:
- Exclusive player icons.
- An ultimate cosmetic pack which lets the player customize Sonic with exclusive gold and silver gloves and shoes, an electric Boost and aura from the Sonic the Hedgehog film, and exclusive player icons (both from the Sonic the Hedgehog series and the Sonic the Hedgehog film).
- Three exclusive original game remixes.
During the announcement for Sonic Colors: Ultimate it was also revealed that to promote the release of the game, a two-episode 2D cartoon animated series called Sonic Colors: Rise of the Wisps will be released in summer 2021. This series will feature Sonic and Tails teaming up with a Jade Wisp to save some captured Wisps on Sweet Mountain.
- Sonic Colors: Ultimate will be the first Sonic game in the series to be released on the PC in a digital store other than Steam (in this case, the Epic Games Store).
- The background music used in the debut trailer is "Gotta Go", by Gyom.
- In a piece of promotional artwork announcing pre-orders for the game being live on Nintendo Switch, Tails Doll can be seen within a pile of Wisp plushes.
- The voice clip of the announcer yelling the Jade Ghost Color Power is recycled from Team Sonic Racing.
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