For weeks SEGA have been mysteriously teasing a a brand new project entitled SEGA Forever. At first this came through social media posts across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, filling these accounts with images of start buttons from classic SEGA consoles, alongside references to resurrection and retro gaming. This was then followed by 512 cassette tapes filled with iconic 8 and 16-bit SEGA tunes being sent out to a range of media and dedicated fans.
Understandably this created a fair amount of buzz about just what SEGA had in store for both gamers, and retro gaming in general. Well now we know, as today SEGA revealed exactly what SEGA Forever is. And it’s retro credentials begin right from the very 90s trailer that you can see below.
As you can see, SEGA Forever is a very retro focused project, one that brings SEGA’s extensive back catalogue to smartphones and tablets through a free to play system of play. According to SEGA:
SEGA Forever, is a re-awakening of archetypal gaming, an ode to the deep and diverse SEGA catalogue, and the beginning of a retro revolution that will transport players back through two decades of console gaming.
What’s more, not only does it promise to cover all of SEGA’s previous consoles, from the likes of the Master System to the much loved Dreamcast, but the first batch of games arrive tomorrow (or even today if you’re lucky enough to be in Asia).
Incidentally, SEGA also announced which games would be included in the first wave of titles coming to the SEGA Forever platform, and it includes some of the most iconic of the 16-bit era. The entire list of first wave titles can be seen listed below.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (updated Christian Whitehead re-release) – iOS / Android
- Phantasy Star 2 – iOS / Android
- Comix Zone – iOS / Android
- Kid Chameleon – iOS / Android
- Altered Beast – iOS / Android
However, there’s an awful lot more titles featured in the trailer, and beyond this SEGA’s entire collection of consoles is featured too. So it’s not too far of a stretch to envisage a wide range of titles coming to SEGA Forever, especially given the fact that SEGA promises long term support over years in the press release. Even better, Sonic the Hedgehog is actually the Christian Whitehead updated version, a re-release so impressive that Whitehead is currently working on the hotly anticipated Sonic Mania.
What’s more, we won’t have long to wait in order to see either, as SEGA has promised that new retro releases will come every two weeks according to the press release, and given that icons for Sonic CD and Vector-Man are featured in the trailer, it’s fair to assume these will arrive in wave two.
As the SEGA Forever collection expands through months and years, it will include both official emulations and ported games that pan all SEGA console eras, each adapted specifically for mobile devices while remaining faithful to the original games.
As promised all of these titles will be completely free to play as well, albeit with the inclusion of in-app advertisements. Although SEGA has promised to ensure these ads to not intrude on gameplay itself, and they will currently only appear in areas such as the start screen and the save screen. What’s more, if you just can’t be doing with ads in your classic retro games, then SEGA has left the option for players to remove adds for $1.99 per title (£1.99 in the UK), something which will also grant you the ability to save offline too (although playing offline is still available without paying).
Aside from this, it’s worth also pointing out that bar the Dreamcast, all of these games will be emulated on smartphones. Dreamcast games will apparently be ported instead. Each game will also importantly feature bluetooth controller support if you just can’t be doing with those horrible on-screen virtual buttons, alongside leaderboard, cloud saving, and online multiplayer. Oh and there’s iOS stickers on iOS too if that’s your thing.
For some this may come across as SEGA pandering to a retro market. However, it seems as though SEGA are very serious about this retro revolution, and have already committed to three year’s worth of content for the programme according to Eurogamer. Arguably even more important is the fact that it appears that SEGA will also be re-releasing many games that never made their way over to the west back in the days of region locking and questionable localisations. Case in point being the SEGA SG-1000, a console that never made it past the shores of Japan, let alone the games for it.
Of course, there are complications when it comes to third party releases. However, given SEGA’s long term commitment to the SEGA Forever project, let’s hope at least some of these make their way over. It would be criminal after all to have a SEGA collection without the likes of Mortal Kombat or Aladdin, to name but a few.
All in all SEGA Forever looks set to be a project that will appeal to a wide range of fan groups, from retro gaming fans, to those nostalgic for simpler times, and even to those wanting a hardcore experience on their phones. More importantly though, it will hopefully allow a brand new audience to experience some of the greatest experiences a gamer can have.
After all, whilst SEGA’s influence and impact may have waned since its decision to drop out of the console business in 2001, nobody can question the impact that SEGA and their creations have had on our industry, and now it seems we can live them all over again. Let’s just hope the popularity of SEGA Forever prompts the Japanese giant to bring the project to other platforms. SNK have been doing rather well with their back catalogue on Nintendo Switch after all.
Nevertheless, what are your thoughts on SEGA Forever? Excited? Disappointed? Either way let us know in the comments below. And for more on SEGA Forever, and all of it’s releases, keep it here to Rings & Coins.