If you are a fan of SEGA's blue blur and you have happened to find yourself on Twitter over the past couple of days, then you may have noticed that the phrase 'Sonic 5' popping up. Is this official confirmation of a new game? Absolutely not. Is the rumour thread a little tenuous? Yes, somewhat.
Rumours of Sonic 5 can all fundamentally be linked back to supposed leaks from last year which circulated around a 'modern 2D Sonic game'. The game in question was spawned from the cancellation of Sonic Mania 2, it is theorised, which supposedly came about following a pay dispute from the original team amongst other reasons.
This rumour, originating from Sonic leaker Zippo (who has had some correct predictions in the past), suggests that Sonic Team is using Mania's Retro Engine on a new project, supposedly scheduled to release this year.
All of this was summarised by @SLNBroadcasting, who claims to have another undisclosed source to back up the supposedly leaked info:
Hmmm. Now we like a rumour now and then, but we can add only so many pinches of salt to a dish before it becomes overpowering.
If the so-called 'Sonic 5' does exist, then we'd assume that it is simply a codename for a new 2D Sonic game and isn't signifying an 'official' title. Mania avoided the numbering for a reason — naming something 'Sonic 5' would inevitably acknowledge the existence of the divisive Sonic 4, and we don't imagine Sega is in a hurry to bring that to anyone's mind.
The head of Sonic Team, Takashi Iizuka, has previously stated that the Sonic Frontiers gameplay would be the main focus of the franchise "for the next 10 years," but also that there's "a lot more" planned for 2023, so perhaps some more 2D could be on the horizon in addition to Sonic Origins Plus.
Friction and frustrations between Sonic Mania developers who contributed to Sonic Origins and Sega bubbled onto social media last year after the game launched in a form that didn't meet many fans' expectations.
So, when it's all said and done, there's probably nothing to be getting too excited over just yet.