Just last week, Sony annoyed Sonic fans by releasing one of those terrible DLC charts that shows what is and isn’t included in the various versions of Sonic Origins. The chart was immensely irritating, with piddling minor features like “letterbox background” and “character animation in the main menu” locked off from certain versions of the remaster—of which there are a flippin’ five in total to choose from. Even “Hard Missions” were only listed to appear in the “Premium Fun Pack,” which is a terrible name for any edition of a game, and the “Digital Deluxe Edition,” which will run you $45.
Well, prepare to get annoyed again, because Sony is planning to delist the digital versions of the games included in the remastered Sonic Origins collection. That covers Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and Sonic CD. The great delisting of these games will happen on May 20, about a month before Sonic Origins is released. If you already own digital copies of these games, you’ll still be able to play them, but they will no longer be available to buy on Steam and the Xbox Store. (The exception will be the Nintendo Switch versions of Sonic 1 and 2, which will remain available through Sega Ages. Sonic 2 will also be available on Nintendo Switch Online+ for the Sega Genesis.)
The digital delisting is doubly irritating because these original games only cost around $5 each, and even the cheapest version of Sonic Origins will run you $40. Also, we’ve seen what can happen when the release of a remaster coincides with the disappearance of the original games from marketplaces. The Grand Theft Auto Trilogy was a mess when it launched, filled with rain players couldn’t see though, horrible camera angles, invisible bridges, wonky character models, broken textures, and scores of other problems. This was made worse by the fact that the original versions of those GTA games could no longer be purchased once the remaster arrived.
While I think remasters can help older games find a new audience or provide enjoyable nostalgic returns for people who played them years ago, I really hate the idea of the original games vanishing into the ether. There’s no reason a remaster can’t live side-by-side with the original games—the original Half-Life can still be bought along with its digital remaster Half-Life: Source, for example, and that decision certainly hasn’t plunged Valve into financial ruin, has it? And frankly, you’re just going to piss people off by telling them a game they love is no longer available just because there’s now a considerably more expensive remaster on the store shelf.
Don’t delist old games when you release a remaster, in other words. Meanwhile, if you want to buy a digital copy of those original Sonic games from Steam, you’ve got a couple weeks to grab them before they disappear for good.