2017 will see the launches of both Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces, and in a recent interview with Twinfinite, SEGA Product Manager Jim Dyer explained who each game is for and revealed that Forces is designed to reinvigorate the franchise:
To answer your question: Sonic Mania is for the fans. The plan with Sonic Forces, bringing Forces out soon after, is that it is a Sonic game for everyone. Sonic Mania is one for fans, either because of nostalgia or for people who just love the brand, or for kids that recognize the character.
Sonic Forces is its own initiative. It is a broader game, a different sort of Sonic than what we’ve done before. It is about reinvigorating Sonic. I won’t say Forces is about making Sonic relevant again because I don’t think that is quite the right term, but we understand we have a flagship IP, this brand powerhouse that SEGA wants to get back to what it should be.
Dyer then admitted that previous attempts to evolve Sonic haven’t been entirely successful:
Sonic is a franchise that we’ve tried to evolve but it hasn’t necessarily worked – I can openly say that. Generations and Colors were huge successes within the modern Sonic world, but it is about taking modern Sonic and making it something more.
Sonic Mania is only scheduled for a digital release at the moment (the physical collector’s edition includes a digital copy), but Dyer did say that SEGA would love to do a full physical release. Nothing’s been confirmed yet though, and “at this stage we are going to see how it goes.”
Sonic Mania launches in summer 2017, and Sonic Forces follows in holiday 2017. Both titles will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.