In recent years, we have seen LEGO sets continuing to embrace old paradigms, while expanding newer ones, and I was intrigued to see that after last year’s successful LEGO Ideas Green Hill Zone, that another four sets in the Sonic theme have been announced. Now, this is not the first time that a LEGO Ideas set has preemted expansion of that theme: Ghostbusters would be one; Minecraft another, One has continued for a much longer period in the market place.
These new sets are interesting as they include elements related to the story, including characters and locations familiar to fans of the game.
The sets are due for release on the first of August, and offer a somewhat different paradigm to the other nostalgic video game franchise currently in production: LEGO Super Mario. With Sonic, we have a combination of Minifigures (all featuring moulded heads), as well as some brick built characters, as opposed to LEGO Super Mario, where brick-built characters – based around the digital brick – are the norm (much to the chagrin of some). read on for details…
It has been almost 2 years now, since Sonic Mania – The Green Hill Zone reached 10000 supporters on LEGO Ideas, and now the set is almost ready to roll as Sonic the Hedgehog Green Hill Zone, due for release on January 1 2022. The set has been reframed to take in the 30-year history of Sonic the Hedgehog, where the Green Hill Zone has been a part of the landscape in multiple iterations of the game.
The set has 1125 pieces, and when set up measures 36 cm from end to end, while only 6cm deep. It is priced at $69.90 USD9 / £59.99 / €69.99 / 119.9 AUD / 89.99 CAD.
Sometimes, LEGO Ideas feels like a simple process: a collection of sets reach 10000 votes, and they enter the review process. After 3-4 months, one or two get announced as proceeding towards development as a set. And a year or so later, they appear, in a slightly altered form on the shop floor.
But sometimes we are asked to wait. And so it was last September: the first review results for 2020 were in and, after four months of consideration, the Earth Globe was announced.
But one other Idea was declared to be ‘Still Under Consideration’: Sonic Mania: Green Hill Zone, by toastergrl. Today, four months after that original announcement, the LEGO IDEAS team have announced that this submission is now being developed for release as a set.
Typically, an Ideas submission is released around 12 months after the announcement. However, with Sonic’s 30th Anniversary coming up in June 2021, I find myself wondering if it might arrive a little sooner than early 2022.
Sonic the Hedgehog, a property of SEGA, was previously produced as a minifigure in a level pack for LEGO Dimensions, so the mold for Sonic is already in existence (important to consider, since LEGO Ideas is generally not in the business of handing out fresh molds for successful submissions. Since the LEGO Group have had a previous relationship with SEGA, this may well have made developing the set a little more simple than might be seen for other third party intellectual properties.
The previous record for development from announcement of approval to pre release announcement occurred in 2019, when 21317 Steamboat Willie was announced as approved on February 18, and then the final model announced on March 19 – for an April release. I suspect that project was well underway by the time that they announced its approval. Could this be the case here? We may (or may not) find out in the next couple of months.
So the actual news here is that the SONIC MANIA: Green Hill Zone will be made into a set, but at this point WE DO NOT KNOW WHEN IT IS LIKELY TO BE RELEASED. In the spirit of rampant speculation, I would like to imagine that it will be around the middle of the year, but I have no evidence of that, other that the fact that the world will be celebrating 30 years of Sonic the Hedgehog that month.
4th February 2021: LEGO Ideas® today announced they will be bringing SEGA’s® legendary speedster, Sonic the Hedgehog™, to brick form, thanks to a concept design submitted by 24 year-old, UK based, LEGO® superfan Viv Grannell. Viv, also a passionate Sonic fan, created her design as a submission to the LEGO Ideas® platform, a LEGO initiative that takes new ideas that have been imagined and voted for by fans and turns them into reality.
Viv’s design was inspired by SEGA’s critically acclaimed 2017 platformer experience Sonic Mania™, and features iconic characters and environments from the game’s Green Hill Zone level. Once the design was completed, it achieved the prerequisite 10,000 votes from LEGO fans worldwide – before being greenlit to go into production by the LEGO Group.
Talking about the winning idea, Viv Grannell said; “I’ve been invested in the world of Sonic for almost my entire life, and it’s such a perfect fit for the LEGO system that I spent about a year rallying support for it to happen. Having 10,000 people back my design was overwhelming enough, even with friends and family behind me, but having it be selected for further development was the most exciting secret I have ever had to keep!”
The Sonic Mania Green Hill Zone LEGO Ideas® design will now go into the product development phase, in partnership with SEGA® and once finalised will be available worldwide. Talking about the collaboration, Jason Rice, Director of Brand Licensing, SEGA® Europe Ltd, said; “At SEGA, we’ve always encouraged fans to take part in the legacy of the Sonic franchise through their own creations and it’s wonderful to see the tradition continued through the LEGO Ideas® program. We’re thrilled to partner with Viv and the LEGO Group, and hope to inspire fans to continue creating their own unique Sonic the Hedgehog™ experiences for generations to come.”
The Sonic Mania Green Hill Zone LEGO Ideas® design is the ultimate embodiment of Sonic the Hedgehog’s™ past and future as the franchise celebrates its 30th anniversary this June. Featuring a wide variety of elements inspired by Classic Sonic, the set will provide LEGO collectors and Sonic fans alike a truly supersonic LEGO experience.
Hopefully it wont be too long before we see what the finished product was like. Like Mario, Sonic is a character that so many people have grown up with, and unlike Mario, this has the potential to see a collection of favorite video game characters produced in minifigure form.
What do you think of the idea of a LEGO IDEAS Sonic the Hedgehog set? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,