Closet Sonic fans (you know who you are) may be disappointed to find out that Sega's Sonic Team isn't the party behind the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 4 game. According to Destructoid, a listing on Xbox Live Marketplace reveals the developer to be Dimps, the team behind Sonic Advance, Sonic Unleashed for the Nintendo Wii, and the Sonic Rush series. Destructoid seemed rather thrilled over the idea of a 3rd party developing the title.
But as CNET points out, it feels more like the end of an era. While the franchise is returning to its 2D, side-scrolling roots, it should also return to the hands of the original developer. Hopefully Sonic fans won't be severely punished (again after the last few Sonic titles) by this latest installment. If Sonic the Hedgehog 4 falls flat on its face, then Sega may need to permanently close the book on Sonic-based games for good.
Earlier today, leaked video footage of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 in action appeared on the Internet, however Sega has forced hosts to pull the plug. 1UP even managed to score screenshots taken from the first zone of the game, but Sega smacked those off the site as well.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is slated for the Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Store, and WiiWare this summer.
UPDATE: the leaked video can be accessed here, however it will probably be taken down soon. I've also provided two screenshots originally posted over on 1UP.