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1/5 OF THE WAY THERE
2K??? In... *counts on fingers* less than three days!? Y'alls are astounding. Special shout outs to GoNintendo, Nintenderos, (wrong company to back, guys!) Kotaku and Gizmodo (both US and UK) today for their coverage. That's pretty wild, honestly - thank you!
It's a bit of a short update today because I am also a full time student! Don't worry, though, this project seems to be doing fine even if I can't dedicate my full attention to managing it right now. I'll have some development tidbits in the coming days when I have a bit more time! (Maybe LEGO Ideas should have a way to schedule updates?)
Much love 'n thanks <3
F.A.Q. (and 15% in TWO DAYS)
You continue to astound me. How is this even happening? How is this real? Thank you all so, so very much. We got featured on @built_with_lego on Instagram, VG247 and IGN Spain this time. I didn't realise there was a specific IGN branch for Spain! Shows what I know.
I think it's time for me to deliver on some question answering. Maybe not a full fledged Q&A, but the ones that I've seen crop up again and again and again that I think it's a good idea to type up once and just point to when the topic is broached again. Let's begin, then, shall we?
--- Frequently Asked Questions ---
You can't do this! LEGO has already done a Dimensions Level Pack for Sonic, and the LEGO Ideas rules say no pre-existing licenses...
That's not a question! Doesn't mean there isn't a perfectly good explanation for why this is happening now, though. See, I'm pretty meticulous about checking the Rules when planning something like this. You're right that Sonic was forbidden thanks to his appearance in the toys-to-life videogame SEGA gave their blessing to, and the small, low-piececount playset that arose from it, and that was the reason an earlier version of this project didn't end up getting submitted around the middle of 2017.
What prompted this thing's publishing was a quiet amendment to the rules that I ended up noticing when the Flintstones project's final set design was teased, though: the rules forbade active licenses, and because LEGO and SEGA hadn't partnered up since 2016, it appears that license had ended up getting taken off the list (presumably because it expired). We haven't seen the effects of a license getting taken off the list before, but I'm willing to chance that it won't be a major issue. I fully suspect we've already got the attention of several people in the Ideas office with our meteoric rise, so this project not getting immediately shut down is a very good sign it's all okay.
Why no Tails or Knuckles? Or Mighty, Ray, Amy, Metal Sonic...
LEGO Ideas explicitly forbids projects that require new pieces to be designed and produced. Sonic's head is a pre-existing piece design from 2016, but I have no such luxury with any of his friends (or rivals). There is a single piece from LEGO Chima (ID 14290) that might have worked for Tails, but the proportions are all wrong and so I think it would be better to avoid making any Tails than be railroaded into designing a bad one.
You could feasibly recolour Sonic's head into one representing the very small Silver Sonic enemy that is produced by Metal Sonic's machine in Stardust Speedway Act 2 (with a design reused from the 8-bit version of Sonic 2), but without a Metal Sonic to command it or the Stardust Speedway locale for it to fight in, I think this would be an inappropriate use of piece and print budget for this concept.
Why does Sonic have those short legs that don't move? Why don't you use the standard legs, or the medium length "teenager" legs used in a certain Collectable Minifigure series from late 2018?
That's a good question, and one I asked myself a few times when prototyping the design of the project.
The argument against the standard length legs is that the LEGO Dimensions design of Sonic uses standard length legs and has green eyes, pretty definitively marking him as a toy of Modern Sonic. Since the Classic Sonic from the Mania universe is shorter than Modern Sonic (as per the games Generations and Forces), I decided the two couldn't be the same height without getting an earful from fans.
The argument against the medium legs is that those pieces were designed and tooled extremely recently, and have only ever appeared in that one CMF series - even when a few sets released in 2019 so far have called for teenagers. This leads me to believe that they're specifically marked under the license to that specific Collectible Minifigure series, at least for the present moment, and therefore can't be used in an Ideas set. This could possibly change by the time the LEGO review for my project finishes (crossing my fingers it reaches that number of supporters), but I didn't want to jeopardize the project based on one ultimately not necessary piece, given I was able to represent the character's fast moving legs with a few bricks to make the "running blur" accessory.
EDIT: Thanks to an eagle-eyed commenter under the pseudonym ArmouredBricks, we now know there is a single late-2019 set so far which uses the medium length teenager legs: 75258-1. This is ALSO a licensed theme, but the fact that it is a different license leaves me hope that the end result of this project will give Sonic those legs. I have left my existing answer up because it's still useful to illustrate my thought processes when designing the concept, but obviously if I had known they were making their way into regular sets I would have chosen differently.
Why Green Hill Zone? Wouldn't Studiopolis, Press Garden, Mirage Saloon or Titanic Monarch be better representatives of the game this project bears the name of?
You're right that Green Hill Zone isn't particularily "Mania"-y as a choice. However, this was a calculated move: I feel like it's pretty important that the concept be immediately recognisable to anyone who lays eyes on it. Consider the IP-based designs that have already won the LEGO Ideas lottery: They were clear, immediate, and direct to the point with respect to the franchises they're based on. Honestly, it's possible the fact this project is marked as "Sonic Mania" and not just "Sonic the Hedgehog" could be a point against it in this metric - but the quality of the game being known both by the hardcore fans and the general gaming public definitely helps.
One other thing worth noting is that it was pretty important this project contain a giant robot. Eggman is Sonic's enemy, and if you can't add any of his friends, you need to have him - but he can't be defenseless and on his own, and his standard vehicles are a bit on the unimposing side. You know what kids and adults alike dig? Giant robots. In Sonic Mania, Green Hill is the only zone which contains a robot large enough that Eggman can ride inside of it, but small enough that the set is not infeasible to produce. You could maaaaaybe make a two hundred dollar set based on Titanic Monarch, but that would be kind of empty without a collection of minifigs to fill it - and no Tails or Knuckles or anyone else, as stated above, makes that concept kind of weak.
--- END F.A.Q. ---
I hope this F.A.Q. helped people understand some of my reasoning behind things! Now to take a big sip of water and look at the counter now this is do- oh, gosh, another 72 supporters since I started this post. Again, thank you!!!
GOTTA VOTE FAST
Remember what I said about wondering whether we'd hit 1,000 (or 10% of our goal) before tomorrow? Well, how about 5 hours after the update? Honestly, I dunno how I can continue to say thank you to y'alls. Everything you've done to support the project is so, so very appreciated, and there's something very satisfying about seeing that we've got 605 days left to finish the job. That doesn't mean I'm going to slack off, though! We've still got 90% of the way to go, so I'll do everything I can for this project, and I hope you can join me on that journey.
I'm reaffirming my commitment to a future Update being a QnA, so please submit your questions through the comments and I'll try to remember not to answer them then and there and have the question pop up again multiple times! I'll also go back through old questions and dig up the stuff that keeps coming up.
Again: thank you all so, so much. <3
WAY PAST COOL
Y'alls are amazing. Thank you SO much for all this support in the first 24 hours. We've been featured on Sonic Retro, retweeted by TSSZ, announced on SFGHQ's Discord... and to top it all off, we're #2 trending on LEGO Ideas, and a hair under 9% of the way to our goal. That's incredible.
Not to mention that Yuji Naka, original programmer for the 1991 classic Sonic the Hedgehog and first head of Sonic Team, shared the project on Twitter. ありがとうございました。(I am not a native Japanese speaker, but I hope he appreciates the sentiment...)
Over the coming weeks, I'm going to be sharing more concepts through the Update mechanism. Hold a Q&A, if that's what people want, and showcase a few interesting things I didn't fit into the initial 10 renders. Please stick around if you're interested in that kind of thing!
Here's to the next 24 hours, and all the ones beyond! I wonder if we can reach 1,000 supporters before tomorrow...
Thank you so much!
When I started on this image, we had just hit 106 supporters. Now we're at 178 (as of most recent frantic tab-back).
I am so thankful, how much you guys love this thing. I was worried I was going to get it out there and maybe I'd get the 100 supporters necessary to continue limping on towards the end of the first 60 days. Instead, we blow past that in less than three hours. That's a speed to humble. That's a speed to terrify. That's a speed that makes me wonder what lies ahead.
When I started drafting the very first version of this project back in 2017, before Sonic Mania had been released (back then, it was just a generic Sonic theme - two different project files, one for the Egg Robot and one for the level environment!), I couldn't have predicted this. Thank you.
Here's to momentum - one of the most important principles of the Sonic series' gameplay - and the hope that this project will continue to find success and support. <3