The recent Sonic movie redesign is going over a lot more smoothly than its nightmarish first iteration. And, along with some fan feedback, some new talent may be one of the reasons why. Tyson Hesse, who led the creation of the colorful Sonic Mania cutscenes and promotional short cartoons, was brought on to lead the design of this new hedgehog.
After some initial speculation that stemmed from an old tweet back in May, Hesse confirmed on Twitter shortly after the trailer launched that he did indeed come onto the project. According to him, he worked with the director Jeff Fowler as well as the “modelers, riggers, texture/fur artists and animators” to get the Blue Blur up to speed before adding it was “a thrill [he’ll] never forget.”
Aside from his work on the Archie comics, Dream Daddy game, The Amazing World of Gumball television show, Hesse is mostly associated with Sega’s platformer mascot. He led the creation of the animated Sonic Mania cutscenes as well as Sonic Mania Adventures, the cartooonish videos Sega used to promote the aforementioned game. But his work also spread to the comic medium, as he also was one of the artists and pencillers of IDW’s Sonic comic series. Hesse is notorious for his love of the series, which even led to the Easter egg from the trailer that showcases Sonic’s iconic animation where he teeters on the edge of a ledge. He said he asked the team to include the reference while he was in Vancouver and the shot from the trailer was his “first time seeing the animation completed.”
While the Sonic movie is a live action film, Hesse’s work is more in the animated realm. Regardless, you can see an example of his style in motion in the vibrant opening cutscene of Sonic Mania.