Sonic Boom Video Goes Behind the Scenes of Upcoming Game, TV Show

Sega has released a first Sonic Boom behind-the-scenes video featuring commentary on both the upcoming video game and TV series. The English language voice talent for both the game and TV show includes: Roger Craig Smith as Sonic, Mike Pollock as Dr. Eggman, Colleen Villard as Tails, Travis Willingham as Knuckles, Cindy Robinson as Amy, Kirk Thornton as Orbot, and Wally Wingert as Cubot. Jack Fletcher serves as voice director.

Sega Kicks Off New Era of Toys and Games with a Sonic Boom

SonicBoomlogoSega will launch a new branch of its Sonic the Hedgehog universe entitled Sonic Boom, which will be accompanied by a CG animated TV series, video games for the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS, new toys from Tomy, and more. To date, the character has appeared in more than 70 video game titles across a span of more than 20 years.

During a press event this past Thursday in New York City, the upcoming TV series was introduced as a character-driven comedy featuring lots of action and adventure. It consists of 52 11-minute episodes, and will debut in both the U.S. and France during the 2014 to 2015 season. “What we try to do is take the character and put them in situations where their personalities take center stage, and take us in interesting directions,” said showrunner and executive producer Evan Baily. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Sonic the Hedgehog: 22 Years and Still Going Fast!

Faster than greased lightning, Sonic the Hedgehog is one tough Erinaceinae to keep up with, and admittedly, I haven’t been trying. I had the first Sonic the Hedgehog game when it came out way back in 1991, but not long after, I went through a dry spell in which I kept away from video games. During the interim, Sonic evolved as both a pop culture icon and corporate mascot for video game publisher Sega, while I—well, I got slightly taller.

Now here we are in 2013, and with the Sonic franchise still going strong, I thought I’d rekindle my relationship with him by checking out some recent Sonic games and toys.

Phil.November20.3Sonic Lost World, by Sega: The original Sonic the Hedgehog was a side-scroller with pretty simple game play. By comparison, the latest installment is a radically different experience at times, with some levels consisting of “classic,” 2-D, side-scrolling play, while the others are immersive 3-D from an angled, top-down perspective. Players now have the option of moving in nearly all directions, and interact with terrain in ways that would have been impossible during the 2-D days.

Phil.November20.1In Sonic Lost World, players can use the trigger button on the Wii U controller to rev Sonic up, and send him zipping along extra fast (Be warned: He can get a little out of hand if you aren’t used to it yet). When approaching tight spaces, he can subsequently ricochet off walls and perform other special maneuvers. During my demo, I actually kept my finger mostly off that button, and the game still managed to be a kinetic, occasionally vertiginous experience, with lots of rocketing off springboards into the air and pinballing faster than the eye could keep up. [Read more...]

A Squared Entertainment Merges with Genius Brands International

GBIGenius Brands International Inc. and A Squared Entertainment LLC will merge to form an intellectual property (IP) and multimedia content creation and distribution company focused on branded content with a purpose for kids. The assets and experience of both companies will be consolidated under the Genius Brands International banner.

Andy Heyward, formerly CEO of DIC Entertainment and co-president of A Squared Entertainment, will assume the role of Chairman and CEO of Genius Brands International. Amy Moynihan Heyward, formerly co-president of A Squared Entertainment, will serve as president. Klaus Moeller, currently CEO of Genius, will become vice president of special markets, and will continue with the company as a member of its board of directors.

The company will utilize its combined strengths to build upon its unique “content with a purpose” positioning. In addition to producing original content with subject matter experts, the company will develop interactive digital entertainment in all formats including broadcast, online, mobile, tablets, and more. A comprehensive consumer products program will be created to extend the learning into other areas outside of digital media.

Andy Heyward is a multi-Emmy Award-winning producer of children’s entertainment. He has produced more than 5,000 episodes of award-winning children’s programs, including Inspector Gadget, Alvin and the Chipmunks, G.I. Joe, Hello Kitty’s Furry Tale Theatre, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Amy Moynihan Heyward is a brand-marketing executive who has spent more than 20 years managing, creating, and launching brands with a focus on kids.

Nintendo Teams Up with Snowboarder Jamie Anderson for Road to Sochi 100 Day Countdown

NintendoNintendo has partnered with the U.S. Olympic Committee to kick off its nationwide Road to Sochi Tour in Times Square in New York City on October 29 with a 100 Day Countdown event, celebrating 100 days until the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The event will take up three blocks in  Times Square and will include athlete demonstrations on a ski and snowboard ramp, as well as an ice rink for curling, figure skating, speedskating, and ice hockey.

Nintendo will also be there with hands-on demos for its new game, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, which launches for Wii U on November 15. The game features characters from the Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog universes competing together in 24 winter events, including the new event snowboard slopestyle, which is making its Olympic Winter Games debut in Sochi.

Jamie Anderson, slopestyle snowboarder and six-time X Games medalist, will be at the event to help promote Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. He may meet with visitors in a designated area. In addition, the Mario and Sonic costumed characters will make appearances to take photos with attendees.

Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog Returns to TV

Sonic TV Animation Tease ONLINE USESega has announced that Sonic, the iconic blue hedgehog with four TV series and more than 70 video games, will be returning to the TV screen next year in a CGI-animated series. Produced by Sega of America Inc. and Genao Productions, the new Sonic the Hedgehog series, Sonic Boom, will premiere in the U.S. on Cartoon Network, and on Canal J and Gulli in France, with a global rollout to follow.

Sonic Boom is a character-driven comedy that leaves a trail of robot wreckage in its smoldering wake. The series centers on Sonic, his best friend and sidekick, Tails, their search for adventure, and their battles with Sonic’s arch-nemesis, Dr. Eggman. Rounding out the ensemble are fan favorites Knuckles and Amy Rose, plus a rogue’s gallery of enemies—some familiar to Sonic fans and some brand new.

After being licensed in areas such as toys, apparel, comics, and animation, Sega has also signed a three-title exclusive partnership with Nintendo for the Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise. Sonic Lost World will be the first title to launch under this agreement, and will be available in stores later this year for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS platforms.

Pedigree Books Adds Augmented Reality to New Annuals

CTRA14 CUT THE ROPE INTERACTIVE ANNUAL COVER 2014Pedigree Books has announced its 2013 range of Gaming and New Media titles will feature Augmented Reality (AR) technology—an innovation the annuals category has never seen before. This range will be sold as Super Interactive Annuals 2014, available starting August 1 this year.

AR will allow consumers to get added value by downloading a free app onto their tablets and smartphones that enables them to “read” images throughout the book and unlock “Super Interactive” features. Simply holding the device over selected pages creates brand new content, such as extended character profiles, extra stories, and activities including coloring, mazes, puzzles, and a make-your-own poster feature. Around 20 percent of the pages contact an “Exclusive Super Interactive Unlock” icon that will add an exciting new dimension to the experience for Pedigree consumers.

The new technology will feature across their Gaming and New Media range, which includes brands such as Annoying Orange, Cut the Rope, Angry Birds, Angry Birds Star Wars, and Sonic The Hedgehog.

Sega, Nintendo Partner for New Sonic Installment

SonicLostWorldLogoSonic Lost World is the next Sonic the Hedgehog franchise title to be published on Nintendo platforms as part of an exclusive partnership between Sega of America Inc. and Nintendo. In the new game, Sonic must conquer six of the most powerful enemies to date. Sonic Lost World will be available exclusively for Wii U andNintendo 3DS platforms later this year.

Dr. Eggman has harnessed the power of six menacing creatures collectively known as the Deadly Six, but when the Deadly Six rise up against their master, Sonic has to unite with his arch nemesis in order to take on the new enemies. Using his dynamic new Parkour moves and improved Color Powers, Sonic must run, jump, and race through a variety of ever-changing terrains in order to defeat the Deadly Six.

SonicLostWorldSSAlongside a single player adventure, the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS versions of Sonic Lost World will feature a range of competitive multiplayer modes. In addition, each platform will also contain distinctive features that take advantage of the consoles’ unique capabilities. Exclusive Wii U Color Powers can be controlled with the Wii U GamePad by tilting, touching, and aiming. The full game can also be played using only the GamePad screen and will feature a two-player support mode.

Sonic Lost World for Nintendo 3DS is the first handheld Sonic game ever to feature fully realized 3-D levels, which include exclusive Special Stages and Color Powers unique to Nintendo 3DS.

The game will be distributed by Sega of America Inc. throughout the U.S., Canada and South America, with Nintendo of Europe GmbH handling distribution throughout Europe and Australia.

Sega and Nintendo Enter Exclusive Partnership for Sonic the Hedgehog

SegalogoSega of America Inc. and Sega Europe Ltd. has formed an exclusive partnership with Nintendo of America Inc. and Nintendo of Europe GmbH for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. The new agreement will make Nintendo consoles the No. 1 destination for Sonic gaming over the next three titles, with more details of the individual games being revealed in the coming weeks.

Sonic the Hedgehog first appeared as a videogame character in June 1991 and instantly became an icon for a generation of gamers. Defined by his super-fast speed and cool attitude, in the years since he first raced on to videogame consoles Sonic has more than 75 million video games and smartphone apps sold worldwide. Sega’s iconic blue blur has also had success in many licensed areas, such as toys, apparel, comics, and animation.

Meccano Taps Freeman PR To Lead U.S. Campaigns

Freeman Public Relations (FPR) has been selected by French toy maker Meccano as PR agency for the Erector brand in the U.S. market.

Freeman will be a strategic partner in the campaign to increase consumer awareness of the licensed product lines for Gears of War and Sonic the Hedgehog construction sets that are available exclusively at Toys “R” Us. The publicity programs will aim to reinforce the Erector brand among American consumers through a multi-tiered approach for each product line, incorporating elements and components of traditional and social media to build brand recognition. The Gears of War campaign will also feature a heavy social media campaign aimed at the older, dedicated fans.