Sonic Frontiers Sonic Looking At Camera
Image: SEGA

Happy 31st birthday to the blue blur! We've seen Sonic the Hedgehog change and evolve tons over the years, and the next step in his journey — Sonic Frontiers — is bringing some of the franchise's biggest changes yet. But before we look forward, we're looking back today with the launch of Sonic Origins.

The compilation game dropped on consoles today, including Switch, and dataminers have already dived in to see what hidden nuggets they can find. And @ahremic on Twitter has found some leftover files in Origins, but these aren't for any of the classic Sonic games, but rather for Frontiers (Thanks, Sonic Stadium and BlueStarEXSF on ResetEra).

These shaders indicate that the menus in Origins were made using tools for Frontiers, which means there are references to potential aspects of the next 3D Sonic game. Of course, these may no longer be part of the game now, so it's worth taking all of this with a pinch of salt, but there's some pretty interesting stuff to gleam here — including the return of everyone's favourite frog-chasing cat.

@ahremic and a friend popped all of their finds in a Pastebin doc right here. Many files refer to completing missions, tutorials, and clearing levels, but we've selected some of the more interesting parts:

- FirstChaosEmeraldStrageOpen
- FirstChaosEmeraldStrageGet
- ChaosEmeraldGot
- KodamaElderFirstTalked
- KodamaHermitFirstTalked
- FishCaught
- NewFishFirstLooked
- FishingBigFirstTalked
- UIKodamaTutorialWatched
- FishingSpotId
- GrowFlowerStartDay

Some of these are pretty self-explanatory still — Chaos Emerald stages are coming back, and Grow Flowers may indicate a new mode or just be code for flowers respawning. But in this little scoop of data we've fished out, we think three important new details are worth digging into.

First is all of the files referencing 'Kodama'. Kodama, in Japanese folklore, are spirits that inhabit trees (if you've seen Studio Ghibli's Princess Mononoke then you'll know). This could be a brand new character being introduced in Frontiers. And, well, from all of the footage we've seen, tree spirits wouldn't be out of place in this strange new world.

The other two should really be discussed together, and if you've ever played Sonic Adventure then you know where this is going. 'FishingBigFirstTalked' is potentially referring to Big the Cat, the fishing-loving cat who has to save his best pal Froggy through a bunch of fishing minigames. There are plenty of files here that refer to fishing, so that may well be coming to Frontiers. And if it is, then it makes sense that Big too would be there. We know you all love him really. Maybe.

We'll say this again, of course — these files were found in Sonic Origins, so they may no longer be relevant to Frontiers, but it's an indication of what has at least been considered for the next 3D entry in the Sonic series. We'll have to wait and see if this turns out to be a good catch!

Sonic Origins is out today on Switch — find out what the critics thought of the game in our round up. Sonic Frontiers is currently scheduled to be released later this year.

What do you think of the datamine? Do you want to see Big the Cat return? Let us know in the usual spot!

[source, via]