Sega is re-releasing some of its most popular retro titles on Android and iOS, under a new service banner called Sega Forever. Five Sega Genesis games are available at launch: Altered Beast, Comix Zone, Kid Chameleon, Phantasy Star II, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Each title is free of cost, though players can pay Rs. 160 ($1.99 in the US) to get rid of ads.
Sonic has been available on the App Store for years, but it’s now part of Sega Forever. Every game will be available as a standalone app on its own; Sega Forever is just the name of the service, it’s not an app on its own.
While the games are being run with the help of emulation, they’ll also offer modern amenities such as cloud saves, global leaderboard, Bluetooth controller support, and offline play. In addition to the five aforementioned games, Sega will release new titles every two weeks going forward. This will include games from every Sega era, from the Master System to the Dreamcast.
In an interview with The Verge, Mike Evans, Sega’s chief marketing officer and development lead on Sega Forever, said that Dreamcast titles are slightly more complicated. “It’s more expensive to build the ports versus the emulations,” he said. “It’s more time-consuming.”
Sega will look to the community for future game requests, while others will be tied to “historical events”, such as the anniversary of a retro game. The bigger aim with Sega Forever, Evans noted, is to create a “Netfix of retro gaming”, which could grow out of mobile to get on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
On iOS 10, players will also get accompanying iMessage sticker packs, featuring characters, objects and game logo, all rendered in the 16-bit style of old. You can still play the Sega Forever games if you’re on an older version of iOS, with the games supporting every update north of iOS 8. As for Android, you’ll need Android 4.4 or newer versions.