Sonic Championship (Japanese: ソニック・チャンピオンズSonic Champions) is a 3D action fighting game based upon Sega's flagship multimedia franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog. The game, which is developed by Existence Software, is considered by the development team to be a spiritual successor to the 1996 title Sonic the Fighters; despite this, both games are fairly different, and really only share the fighting game genre. Yu Suzuki, creator of the Virtua Fighter series and the producer of Sonic the Fighters oversaw the game's development.
Despite being announced at the Fantendo Spooky Scary Showcase 2017 with a scheduled release in 2018, Existence Software considers this their contribution to the 25th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, which happened in 2016. This is due to the game containing characters and locations from throughout the history of the Sonic series, instead of limiting this content strictly to those that have appeared in more recent instalments.
The game includes an in-game shop where players can purchase new characters, costumes, stages, and music tracks using an in-game currency (which can also be purchased with real world currencies). Existence Software and Sega have stated that more content will be released through this shop after the game's initial launch.
Unlike its spiritual predecessor, Sonic Championship is a 3D fighting game based upon the traditional game format popularized by Karate Champ and the Street Fighter series. The aim of the game is to deplete the opponent's health bar by performing different combinations of attacks against them. In Sonic Championship, the player has three different attacks with which they can accomplish this: standard attacks, heavy attacks, and special attacks. Additionally, sometimes attacks will cause the target to drop rings; collecting rings fills up the Chaos Gauge, which allows the fighter to enter their Super state, increasing their speed and attack power substantially.
In addition to traditional fighting game mechanics, Sonic Championship also puts a focus on speed and mobility- for instance, attacks will be more powerful depending on how quickly buttons are tapped in succession. Additionally, while all stages are 2D planes, they may have objects in the background with which fighters can interact with. Some objects will allow for unique movement options, while others may be used as weapons.
The base game will contain 30 playable characters, with additional characters being released through the in-game store. All of the additional characters can be purchased using real world money or Rings earned by playing the game.
All eleven fighters from the 2012 HD rerelease of Sonic the Fighters return in Sonic Championship, alongside 19 characters that did not appear in that game.
Sonic the Hedgehog (ソニック ザ ヘッジホッグSonikku za Hejjihoggu) is the self-proclaimed "fastest thing alive". Also known as the Blue Blur, Sonic got his name from being able to run at supersonic speeds. Sonic has the most basic moveset, with very many of his trademark moves - such as the Homing Attack, Sliding Attack, and Stomp - being incorporated into his moveset. Sonic, true to his name, is the fastest character in the game mobility wise, though he can't jump high and must resort to using springs and other objects in order to propel himself airborne. Sonic's home stage is Green Hill Zone.
Knuckles the Echidna (ナックルズ ザ エキドゥナNakkurusu za Ekiduna) is the sole remaining member of the Knuckles Clan and the guardian of the Master Emerald, a powerful relic located on Angel Island. While Knuckles has also been shown to be capable of running at speeds nearing Sonic's top speed, he has more raw strength than his blue friend. Knuckles excels in powerful close-quarters combat, with his punches dealing a large amount of damage in short bursts. While he's not exactly the most mobile fighter, Knuckles is capable of gliding around when airborne, balancing out his major weakness a bit. Knuckles' home stage is Master Emerald Altar.
Miles Prower (マイルス パウアーMairusu Pauā), better known by his nickname of Tails (テイルスTeirusu), is a smart yellow fox with two tails that he can spin at a high speed in order to propel him upwards. Tails is one of the most mobile fighters, though his speed and power are lacking. Some of Tails' attacks are imitations of Sonic's, but Tails' most unique attacks see him utilizing a number of different gadgets he invented - such as the Energy Ball blaster and Magic Hook spring from Sonic Battle - in order to out-fox his opponents. Tails' home stage is Cocoa Island.
Amy Rose (エミー ローズEmī Rōzu) is a young pink hedgehog who has an obsessive infatuation with Sonic the Hedgehog, going so far as to claim that she is his girlfriend. Though caring and often well-meaning, Amy also has a short temper, which, in conjunction with the large Piko Piko Hammer she wields, makes her a devastating foe in battle. Amy is one of the most balanced fighters in terms of power and mobility, though, as she uses the Piko Piko Hammer for many of her attacks, Amy has far greater melee range than many other characters do. Amy's home stage is Spagonia.
Espio the Chameleon (エスピオ ザ カメレオンEsupio za Kamereon) is a member of the Chaotix Detective Agency. Espio is trained as a ninja, and often uses his skills in moving around stealthily in order to gain intel for both his coworkers and Sonic. Espio's attacks are all fairly quick, but most are weak on their own and require several consecutive attacks to be entirely useful. As a ninja, Espio is a very mobile character who can essentially teleport around the battle in puffs of smoke, making him challenging to hit at times; due to Espio's lower health and defence, these dodging techniques are an essential part of his moveset. Espio also has the ability to create tornadoes of leaves, which, alongside his use of throwing kunai, make him a formidable foe at both at close range and at a distance. Espio's home stage is Mystic Haunt Zone.
Fang the Sniper (ファング ザ スナイパーFangu za Sunaipā) is a cunning treasure hunter who supposedly hails from another dimension. He is often a character that rivals both Sonic and Eggman, and seeks to obtain the Chaos Emeralds for monetary purposes instead of using them for good or evil. Fang himself is a weaker fighter, and some of his attacks rely on him using a small popgun in order to deal damage from afar. He has less health than a lot of other fighters and very few of his attacks can actually combo efficiently, but both of these are subverted by the range his tail allows him, which he often uses to bounce around or as a weapon of its own. Fang's home stage is Mirage Saloon Zone.
Bean the Dynamite (ビーン・ザ・ダイナマイトBīn za Dainamaito) is a crazy woodpecker that participated in Dr. Robotnik's tournament for the Chaos Emeralds. Bean's most prominent trait is his ability to seemingly spawn large comical bombs out of thin air, which he uses to allow him to be a fairly strong distance-based fighter. Due to being an avian, Bean is also a fairly mobile fighter who has fairly substantial aerial attacks, though his weaker close-quarters ground game prevents him from being truly as effective as he could be. Bean's home stage is City Escape.
Bark the Polar Bear (バーク・ザ・ポーラーベアーBāku za Pōrābeā) is a large, yet gentle and shy, polar bear that participated in Dr. Robotnik's tournament for the Chaos Emeralds. Bark is a heavy bear whose moveset focuses on body slams and other melee attacks that utilize his large frame and weight. While one of the stronger fighters, Bark is also very slow, and his jumps and aerial attacks generally see him trying to knock his foe back down to the ground so he can triumph over them. Bark's home stage is Diamond Dust Zone.
Mighty the Armadillo (マイティー ザ アルマジロMaitī za Arumajiro) is a longtime friend of Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Echidna, though has made very few noteworthy appearances since his debut. Though his name implies impressive strength, Mighty is actually one of the most balanced fighters in the game. Some of Mighty's attacks are variations of Sonic's more signature moves (Spin Attack, Spin Jump), though most of his moves have him take on a brawler playstyle, with powerful punches and kicks making up a majority of his moveset. Mighty's home stage is City Escape.
Ray the Flying Squirrel (レイ ザ フライングスクイレルRei za Furaingu Sukuireru) is an acquaintance of Sonic the Hedgehog and Mighty the Armadillo, who once had to work with them to escape from one of Dr. Eggman's prisons. Due to being a flying squirrel, Ray excels in aerial combat more than most fighters, and is a very mobile character that is challenging to target. He is relatively weak on the ground, and many of his attacks can launch his opponent upwards so he can damage them with his stronger aerial kicks. Ray's home stage is Landslide Limbo.
Silver the Hedgehog (シルバー ザ ヘッジホッグShirubā za Hejjihogg) is a hedgehog that hails from the future, who travelled back in time to prevent the catastrophes that brought ruin to his time. Silver's home stage is Crisis City.
Emerl (エメルEmeru) is the most powerful Gizoid (an army of combat androids) created by the Nocturnus Clan and rediscovered many years later by Gerald Robotnik, the grandfather of Dr. Eggman. Emerl has the ability to copy the abilities of creatures around him, and his moveset largely consists of him mimicking the attacks of other characters. Though Emerl can mimic attacks, he can not mimic the stats of other fighters, meaning his attacks may be quicker, slower, stronger, or weaker than the original attacks he copied. Emerl himself is fairly basic in terms of his stats - he is of average speed, weight, and strength. Emerl's home stage is Battle Highway.
Heavy (ヘビーHebī) and Bomb (ボムBomu) are robots created by Dr. Eggman to serve as his chief mechanics while the Eggman Empire operated out of Newtrogic High Zone. Originally, Heavy was a large robot resistant to many forms of attack, while Bomb his opposite: small but more agile and has a tendency to self destruct. Heavy fights slowly but powerfully, but has low mobility and must rely on Bomb to take on fighters that are further away from him. Heavy and Bomb's home stage is Newtrogic High Zone.
Chaos (カオスKaosu), or more specifically Chaos 0 (カオス0Kaosu 0), is an immortal deity made entirely out of concentrated chaos energy. Chaos is a powerful fighter who, when on the ground, is incredibly mobile, as he has the ability to melt into a puddle-like form and change his size in order to dodge attacks; due to his large number of projectile attacks, he can perform a number of attacks while also avoiding his opponent's easily. Chaos however does have his faults - namely his airborne attacks are weaker and he lacks many powerful close-ranged attacks; many of his melee attacks see him extend his limbs in order to hit foes from afar. Chaos' home stage is Station Square.
All playable characters will receive a "home stage" - a stage that they are most associated with and fought on in arcade mode. 32 stages will be present in the base game, with each of the original 30 characters receiving their own stage, with two additional stages based on locales from other Sega series.
Omochao (オモチャオOmochao) is a robot that has appeared throughout the Sonic the Hedgehog series as a support character. Though it is unknown who created him, Omochao seems to have a vast compendium of knowledge stored within him, and he often gives tutorials to the player. Omochao makes minor appearances in Sonic Championship, primarily giving tips to the player on the loading screen. Omochao also acts as the player's opponent in training mode, where he won't fight back and simply complain as he takes damage.
The name Sonic Championship was thought to have been inspired by the fact that some of the Sonic the Fighters western arcade cabinets displayed the name "Sonic Championship". The game's director has since revealed that this is purely coincidental - the name and logo were originally drafted to be used for a sequel to the 2012 racing game Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.
In Japan, a Limited Edition version for the Nintendo Switch was released that included a download code for the HD version of Sonic the Fighters. This was the only way that game was playable on the Switch until it was eventually released as a separate digital download on the Nintendo eShop.
Base game: Post-release:
Certain character renders were created by Nibroc-Rock from DeviantART. Assets used in character and stage preview images were created by jevangod from VGBA and NuryRush from DeviantART.