While the list of big-name third-party developers and publishers backing the Wii U into this year and beyond seems rather small, they do still exist. We can just about include Ubisoft, while others actively involved in Wii U retail games are Bandai Namco, Tecmo Koie, Atlus and, of course, Sega. Nintendo seems to have a particularly strong partnership with its former hardware rival, even hosting a 'Sega Direct' last year.

Part of that Nintendo Direct was confirmation of Sonic Lost World and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, with a statement that there'd be a three-game partnership with the mascot. We've heard nothing further on a third Sonic exclusive as yet, so it's unclear whether that will happen or whether it will, ultimately, be allowed to slip away quietly. We'll see on that, but there's a glimmer of light in the form of a poster from the Nuremberg International Toy Fair. It was shown by U.S. toymaker Jazwares, which produces licensed merchandise for a number of franchises including Sonic the Hedgehog. An image of this is below.

Image via www.spindash.de

As well as advertising the two most recent Wii U titles (and 3DS, with Lost World) along with the upcoming arrival of TV show Sonic Boom, it suggests that a new entry in the Sonic franchise will hit Wii U, PS4 and Xbox One in 2015.

Naturally, plenty of salt is required for details from a toy manufacturer that could, ultimately, have had an employee guess some details; yet it is possible that Jazwares has some insight that it's inadvertently leaked. Whatever the case it seems plausible, as Sega's support of Nintendo hardware has been consistent, continuing with the recent 3D Classics range on the 3DS eShop.

Are you looking forward to the inevitable next entry in the Sonic franchise, and are you optimistic that it'll come to the Wii U? Let us know in the comments below.

[source sonicstadium.org, via nintendoeverything.com]