Sega putting next-gen spin on 'classic' series

Sonic Publisher tells US dev studio to revitalise established Sega franchise on next-gen

Sega is preparing to give one of its established franchises a new lease of next-gen life by unleashing Secret Level Studios, the dev team behind America's Army: Rise of a Soldier and Magic: The Gathering, upon it.

Sega said in a press release that Secret Level would "recreate a classic Sega franchise for PS3 and Xbox 360."

Simon Jeffry, Sega America's president and chief operating officer, added that Secret Level would be tasked to "reinvigorate a vintage and highly commercial franchise."

The jury is still out on which series Sega is referring to, but at the recent E3 in May a next-gen showreel featuring examples of the publisher's classic games was shown. House of the Dead, Afterburner, Virtua Fighter and Sonic were all demonstrated, so the safe bet would be that Secret Level will be working one of these titles.

It's yet another indication that Sega is very serious about its next-gen plans. The publisher has already announced Condemned and Full Auto for Microsoft's Xbox 360. Interestingly, Nintendo's Revolution has not been mentioned in any of Sega's next-gen plans.

Jeffery emphasised the publisher's push. "Sega will become a leading publisher on the next generation of console hardware," he said, "by marketing great Western-developed content that includes properties from a rich portfolio of SEGA games. The talented design team at Secret Level has demonstrated innovation in game development and has a history of technical achievements that will help SEGA."

And the guys at Secret Level are understandably pleased with the situation. "We are excited to be working with SEGA and honoured to bring one of their classic franchises to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360," said Jeremy Gordon, the developer's president. "SEGA's strength as a publisher and their history of great iconic franchises make them a perfect partner for a growing independent developer like Secret Level."

Secret Level's other projects have included Star Wars Jedi Starfighter on Xbox, and the PS2 and GameCube version of the Unreal Engine.

Sega has been extremely active in partnering with numerous independent developers lately, including Silicon Knights, Monolith, Sports Interactive, Psuedo. It also recently purchased Rome: Total War developer Creative Assembly.

More news on the identity of Sega's secret project soon.