Sega’s long-awaited main franchise return to the Sonic series, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1, has a concrete release date, and it’s sooner than you might think. While the console versions will hit starting the week of October 11th, it will be the iPhone and iPod touch that will see the game first, on October 7th.

As stated in Rob’s hands-on with the game, Sonic 4 will feature similar but not identical content to the console versions, including accelerometer-based levels. The game was delayed from its initially-announced summer release to the fall, with the hopes of improving the game based on early criticism from hands-on impressions. The game features a return to classic level designs, the 3 acts per zone structure not regularly seen since the very first Sonic the Hedgehog game on the Sega Genesis, the classic bonus levels from Sonic 1, a storyline that takes place after Sonic & Knuckles, and only one playable character: Sonic the Hedgehog.

There are still plenty of questions about the iPhone version of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, though. The console versions are being developed by Dimps along with some Sonic Team veterans who worked on the original games, but who is developing the iOS port? Will the game support Retina Display graphics? Will there be an iPad version of the game? How will the iOS port hold up to the console versions? And most importantly, will this game recreate the magic of the original Sonic games — the games that still inspires nostalgia in those who played it? Sonic fans will get to find out for themselves very soon.

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