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ITO EN Green Tea Debut New Advert, Including a Green Hill Zone Arrangement by Dreams Come True

Monday, May 17th, 2021

File this one under ‘strange crossovers’ with the talking bunny that sings NiGHTS music; Green Tea specialists ITO EN have unveiled their new advertising campaign in co-operation with Japan pop music legends Dreams Come True. The main advert for the cross-promotion can be seen above, and the music should sound more than a little familiar to anyone reading a SEGA website.

As detailed in a blog post about the advert – yes, it’s just straight-up Green Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog, now with fresh new vocals to go with it! For those unaware, Masato Nakamura of Dreams Come True produced the soundtrack for Sonic 1 & 2, and still owns the rights to the music. So this doesn’t really have anything to do with SEGA in terms of them actually being involved, but it’s very nicely timed for Sonic’s 30th Anniversary nonetheless!

The blog post also says a full version of the arrangement is being made, with vocal recording in progress currently. We’ll keep an eye out for a full version down the line!

Hatsune Miku Logic Paint S Now Available on Nintendo Switch, With 25% Launch Discount

Thursday, March 18th, 2021

Hatsune Miku has another Nintendo Switch outing, available now; and while SEGA aren’t involved with this one, Hatsune Miku Logic Paint S is worth highlighting just because it’s a combination of often SEGA-adjacent virtual popstar Hatsune Miku and Picross, which is a match made in heaven. Probably.

Previously available on smart devices, Logic Paint S has surprise-launched on Switch in Europe and other regions, with an introductory 25% discount. That means for as little as £7.50, you can get your hands on 350 logic puzzles, and Miku and friends happen to be there too. For those who’ve never played Picross, you have to make pictures by following the numbers at the top and left side of a grid, with the size of the puzzles expanding dramatically as you progress through the ones on offer. There’s illustrations of Crypton Future Media’s Piapro Characters to unlock, as well as songs from Piapro’s Song Contest.

It’s a nice offering for Miku fans – on the topic of SEGA, there is an official Picross x SEGA game in the works, based on the art of Mega Drive and Master System titles; but sadly it’s been AWOL for quite a while now.

Arle Nadja Nendoroid From Good Smile Company Now Available for Pre-Order, Launches October 2021

Sunday, March 7th, 2021

Good Smile Company is bringing another SEGA character to its lineup of Nendoroid figures, and it’s Puyo Puyo’s Arle Nadja!

Arle joins the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sakura of Sakura Wars fame (both of them!) in the popular figure series, and will come with a slew of accessories; including every kind of Puyo you could ever need, and of course her partner Carbuncle. She’ll also have a swappable face plate, so if you’d rather have her look mildly concerned, that’s a thing you can do. The figure is currently set to release in October 2021, though of course it may be subject to delays as with any figure.

The figure can be pre-ordered from Good Smile Company’s website, or via Amazon JP.

Blind Spot’s Next Album Releases March 6th, Includes Arrangements of Bonanza Bros, Space Channel 5 and More

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Blind Spot, the band comprised of former SEGA Sound Team Band members and who we’ve covered on Driven in the past, are back with a new album; Blind Spot V. As the name suggests, it’s their 5th main album, and it brings with it a slew of both original tracks and rearrangements of classic, and often underrated SEGA music.

The full tracklist is as follows, via BEEP:

01 Bonanza Bros(ボナンザブラザーズ)
02 Outride a Crisis(スーパーハングオン)
03 Ooimachi Blues
04 Jyuouki(獣王記)
05 Parallel Spokes
06 OPA-OPA(ファンタジーゾーン)
07 Hakone Party
08 NervePaint10
09 Eventide
10 Super MonacoGP(スーパーモナコGP)
11 This Is My Happiness(スペースチャンネル5)

One of the highlights of these albums is seeing the band get to cover SEGA tracks that they didn’t get to during their original tenure as the S.S.T. Band; the previous album included a cover of Dreams Dreams from NiGHTS… into Dreams, and this time around we’re getting a cover of This Is My Happiness, from Space Channel 5. The new tracks such as Parallel Spokes also sound absolutely sublime!

The album will debut at the Tokyo Game Music Show as usual, but it’s also available for mail order via BEEP. All of Blind Spot’s previous albums have also appeared on Spotify eventually, so if import fees have you worried, a digital option shouldn’t be too far off.

Juro Watari, Creator of Cyber Troopers Virtual-On, Leaves SEGA

Sunday, February 28th, 2021

After 28 years, Juro Watari has announced he’s departing SEGA as of today (February 28th). The announcement came via a thread on his personal Twitter page.

Watari was involved with a number of games during his time at SEGA, including L.A. Machineguns, Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax, and 7th Dragon III Code: VFD. But by far his crowning achievement at the company was becoming the defacto creator of the Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Series, SEGA’s beloved mech arena fighting game.

In recent years, Virtual-On has seen a surprising crossover title with the Index light novel series, and a fresh collection for PlayStation 4 in Japan, as well as a bizarre collaboration with healthcare company TANITA to make new controllers for modern iterations. Sadly, the series has been dormant in the West for years now; the PS3 release of the original game’s HD port remained Japan-exclusive, as did the Index crossover and PS4 Masterpiece Collection. On a brighter note, Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram is available on current Xbox systems via backwards compatibility.

It’s a shame to see Watari depart, but nearly 30 years at the company is a staggering run. We wish him the best with whatever comes next!

[via Gematsu]

New Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 Update Now Available, Adds 4 New Characters, Multiplayer for Challenge Mode, And Accessibility Options

Thursday, February 4th, 2021

A new update is now available for Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, adding yet another batch of characters to the roster. In particular, we get some real fan-favourites in this wave; Yuu & Rei, Possessed Klug, Serilly, and Rafisol. They bring with them 3 new music tracks, and 20 icons for your online profile.

In addition, you can now adjust colour options including saturation, as a means of improving accessibility, and the previously single-player only Challenge Modes can now be played in multiplayer too! While not specifically mentioned on SEGA’s end, we’ve also been informed that some of the game’s lag issues have been cleared up now too, which is much appreciated.

[ Source – Playstation Blog ]

“Sonic Mania: Green Hill Zone” LEGO Set Concept By Viv Grannell Receives Official Greenlight, Will Be Made Into Commercial LEGO Set

Thursday, February 4th, 2021

After a couple of years garnering support and going through a slew of approval processes, the final verdict from LEGO themselves on Viv Grannell (also known as toastergrl)’s concept for a LEGO set based on 2017’s Sonic Mania is here; and it’s happening!

Via the latest LEGO Ideas submissions review, the house of many colourful bricks has confirmed they are now working with SEGA to make a full LEGO Sonic set a reality. This is right on cue for the 30th Anniversary, and hot on the heels of the company’s collaboration with a certain plumber last year, so the timing is perfect. It’s really great to see all of Viv’s effort and patience pay off, and you can bet that we’ll be first in line to pick up one of these sets for ourselves once it’s released.

From LEGO themselves:

The review board has given Viv Grannell’s (aka toastergrl on LEGO Ideas) Sonic Mania – Green Hill Zone the green light. We’re excited to collaborate with SEGA and Viv to bring one of the most iconic game characters and brands to life via LEGO bricks on the basis of Viv’s colourful and fun creation. Congrats Viv!

Obviously there’s no timeframe for the product just yet, but we can’t wait!

Judgment Coming to Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5 and PC via… Stadia, Launches April 23rd Worldwide

Monday, February 1st, 2021

SEGA’s detective-based Yakuza spinoff Judgment is making its way to modern platforms, with an upgraded release including all DLC content.

The game will now boast a 60fps framerate, which will represent a far cry from the somewhat iffy performance of the original PS4 release. In addition, there’ll be improved load times across the board.

There’s a catch though. While PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X owners get to sink their teeth into the remaster, sadly the PC version will be restricted to Google’s streaming platform Stadia for the time being. To make matters worse, SEGA has confirmed to RPG Site that there’s no plan for a conventional PC version, nor an upgrade path for owners of the PS4 version. It’s certainly a shame to see, as even back when the game launched, RGG Studio said they’d be interested in doing a PC conversion.

At any rate, there’s not long to wait; the remaster will launch on April 23rd, worldwide.

Sonic Prime Announced for Netflix, 24 Episode Series Launches in 2022

Monday, February 1st, 2021

Netflix have officially announced Sonic Prime, a new animated series coming to to the service in 2022 from Wildbrain Entertainment.

Wildbrain have released a press release, with the following summary:

The 24-episode animated adventure for kids, families, and long-time fans draws upon the keystones of the brand and features the “Blue Blur” of video game fame in a high-octane adventure where the fate of a strange new multiverse rests in his gloved hands. Sonic’s adventure is about more than a race to save the universe, it’s a journey of self-discovery and redemption. 

The series will be animated at WildBrain’s Vancouver studio, and SEGA and WildBrain will jointly participate across production, distribution and licensing. Man of Action Entertainment, creators of Ben 10 and the characters and team in the Academy Award-winning feature Big Hero 6, have been brought on as showrunners and Executive Producers for the series.

It’s certainly an interesting premise, but it remains to be seen what this show will actually look like. More recently, Man of Action dipped their toes into the video game pond with Mega Man: Fully Charged, which… didn’t go down particularly well. Hopefully we’ll see some bits later this year.

You can find the full press release here.

SEGA Reshuffling Management And Structure Again, Toshihiro Nagoshi Steps Down as CCO And Becomes Creative Director

Friday, January 29th, 2021

SEGA is having yet another organisational shift, as the start of the new fiscal year looms. From April 1st, corporate functions will be integrated between the SEGA SAMMY Holdings group (aligning the operations of SEGA and Sammy more, from what we understand), and there’ll be some staff shifting about too. Perhaps none more eye-catching than Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi, who’ll be stepping back from his role as SEGA’s CCO (that’s Chief Creative Officer) and into a Creative Director role.

The corporate changes aren’t anything surprising and are fairly normal around the start of a new fiscal year, and it might not even mean a whole lot to the average SEGA fan; but SEGA’s getting it out of the way quite early, and Nagoshi stepping back is at least somewhat of a surprise. He’s certainly had a bumpy couple of years; with his revelation in 2019 that he’d had heart surgery, and the furore he kicked off in 2020 after managing to insult a pro Puyo Puyo player live on air. Either way, we do wonder if this could mean Nagoshi gets closer to the games being developed at SEGA again, because that would obviously be no bad thing.

[ Source – Dr. Serkan Toto and Famitsu ]

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