Sonic Origins Plus | Odd sound problems reported before launch

sonic origins plus sound

Sonic Origins Plus collects together several obscure Game Gear entries, but players have reported curious sound problems with them ahead of launch.


As its name implies, Sonic Origins Plus is an upcoming expansion for the existing Sonic Origins, and among its additions is a clutch of 12 Sonic the Hedgehog games once exclusive to Sega’s Game Gear handheld.

Ahead of its launch on 23 June, however, players who’ve managed to get hold of the expansion early have reported some quite glaring sound issues while playing those Game Gear titles.

A lengthy clip shared on YouTube by belmont gr demonstrates the problem: the games’ 8-bit sound – at least in the pair of games demonstrated – appears to have had some kind of fake stereo effect applied to it.

On Twitter (as spotted by Rock Paper Shotgun), @kirisamemofo suggested that the sound issue has been caused by taking the original music and applying a kind of panning effect. By putting the compilation’s sound through Audacity and applying a mono filter removes said effect:

Other players have compared the Sonic Origins Plus games with the same titles played through a typical emulator, and have noted that the sound is superior in the latter than the former.

Interestingly, the Sega Game Gear only had a single speaker, but was capable of outputting stereo sound through its headphone socket. Our best guess? The sound effect applied on the Sonic Origins Plus games is an attempt to re-create how those games used to sound when played through a pair of headphones.

To test our theory, we played an original Sonic The Hedgehog on a proper Sega Game Gear – via headphones, obviously – and it does have that slightly jangly, strobing sound of the Origins collection. The Origins version of Sonic definitely sounds harsher, though, particularly when that digitised “SEGA!!” speech kicks in as the game boots.

A logical compromise would be to provide players with an option to switch between ‘mono’ and ‘simulated stereo’ sound. It’s possible this option is indeed buried in a menu somewhere on the collection, though without a copy to hand, we can’t know for sure at present.

Sonic Origins Plus releases on 23 June for PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

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