Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 marked the welcome return of the blue spiky one's 2D home console adventures after a long hiatus, and now, four months after the release of the debut title in the latest episodic adventure, talk is starting to flow on what we can expect from Episode 2.

Brand Manager Ken Balough has been participating in the official discussion thread on the SEGA forums on the topic of upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 (as spotted by fan site The Sonic Stadium). Confirming that the game is in the early stages of development, Balough assures that Episode 2 will not be a rehash of past titles and will feature new zones that we have never seen before.

Although the first episode had little to complain about ― be sure to read our Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 review if you haven't already ― Balough acknowledges there were improvements that needed to be made:

I certainly cannot deny there were some elements that could have been done better - and I could say that about most games I've worked on. That's why Episode II gives us that opportunity to address them (or as much as possible)...

At this juncture, limited details are available but one thing SEGA is sure about is the momentum that the first episode has gathered, allowing the company to take on feedback and work it into the follow-up title. Episode 2 will likely be blessed with a bigger budget too:

SoA and SoE are both giving feedback and input on Episode II. Episode I did very well for SEGA commercially, and thanks to everyone's support, we definitely have a lot of traction going into Episode II... This usually means better budgets, etc. That said – I see a lot of really great ideas going into the next installment.

As for when we can expect to see the game in the Wii Shop Channel, Balough says: "You definitely wont [sic] have to wait years and years a la Duke Nukem Forever".