This year marks the 25th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog, one of the most iconic video game characters ever created. Sega has a year of celebrations planned, and Toy World Magazine has revealed some of the company's merchandising moves.
Unsurprisingly, much of this activity is focused around the popular Sonic Boom TV series, which is already a hit in many parts of the world and will expand into Russia, Spain and Turkey in 2016. This expansion will see more merchandising partners joining the lucrative Sonic Boom line.
Interestingly, Sega is taking steps to differentiate the various Sonic universes which have sprung up over the past 25 years. Classic Sonic is described as "Pixel Sonic" - a reference to the 16-bit origins of the character - while the Sonic seen in the Archie comic series is now "Comic Book Sonic". "Sonic Boom" Sonic is also seen a separate character to these two in terms of marketing and merchandising.
Preparations for the 25th anniversary are already underway, with Bioworld, Archie Comics and First 4 Figures being some of the first brands to be involved on a merchandising level. These companies will produce toys, books, magazines, clothing and collectables to support the event, and Sega says they will be joined by other official partners in the near future.
It's clear that 2016 is going to be a bumper year of Sonic events, so expect to see a lot more of the Blue Blur throughout the next 12 months. We already know we have a game to look forward to in the form of Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice. Perhaps we might get another as well?