The week started off with a bang for Sonic fans, as a representative for SEGA revealed that there would be a “franchise-changing” announcement to come today. People went nuts with a number of theories as to what it could all mean, with the most prominent rumor being that Sonic and friends would be getting a new voice cast.

And, as it turns out, those people were right. And the details are interesting.

Before continuing, it should be noted that there has been an ongoing controversy for several years among fans of the series regarding the voice actors. Until 2004, Ryan Drummond had proven popular with fans as the voice of the eponymous hedgehog hero in games such as Sonic Adventure and Sonic Heroes.

However, in 2003, 4Kids began to run a dubbed version of the animated series Sonic X on Fox, and rather than using the voice cast from the games, they instead chose to employ their own group of voice actors, with Jason Anthony Griffith playing the part of the Blue Blur. Then, with the video game Shadow the Hedgehog in 2005, SEGA opted to begin using the 4Kids cast in their games, and unceremoniously dumped Drummond and friends.

That left something of a bad taste in the mouth of a good portion of Sonic fans, as a) they felt Drummond deserved better, and b) many weren’t very fond of the 4Kids talent, anyway.

But today, a new wave of change has washed over the Sonic games, and there are new voice actors in place to portray Sonic and his foxy friend Tails in the upcoming Sonic Colors for the Wii and Nintendo DS platforms.

Starting from the top, Sonic is now voiced by Mr. Roger Craig Smith (at left, in the picture above), a name which may be familiar to some of you. He has held numerous roles, including Bleach‘s Shinji Hirako and Nova, as well as the mutant mechanic Forge in Wolverine and the X-Men.

But in games? Oh, has he done games. His most recognizable roles from the world of gaming include Ezio Auditore da Firenze from Assassin’s Creed II, and Chris Redfield from Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles.

So there you have it: Sonic is now a badass, or at least being voiced by one. He may take things in a different direction to play the more kid-friendly character, however, and since his résumé includes Hot Shot from the Transformers video game (presumably the PlayStation 2 title based on Armada), that may be closer to what we should expect.

Whatever he sounds like, at least the odds are it will be far better than this.

Moving on, while we know that Sonic is said to be the only playable character in Colors, we’ve seen enough of his kitsune companion, Tails, in the trailers to know that he’ll at least be putting in some sort of appearance. And providing his voice will be Kate Higgins.

Yes, that’s right. A girl is playing a boy character. It happens all the time; just ask Bart Simpson.

Higgins has an even more robust voice acting résumé than Smith, and has featured in many of the same works, including Bleach (Karin Kurosaki, among others) and the Scarlet Witch in Wolverine and the X-Men, though she may be best known for her work as Naruto‘s Sakura Haruno. She too has a lot of video game roles under her belt, including Tina Armstrong from Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 and Dead or Alive Paradise, Naomi in MadWorld, and Cordelia gi Randgriz (among others) in Valkyria Chronicles.

The Sonic City Blognik notes:

Kate is a very accomplished jazz pianist and singer and has produced five albums – in fact why not have a listen to one of her tracks now? I really like this track personally.

Finally, we come to Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik, whose new voice actor is… his old voice actor.

Mike Pollock, who has done an admirable job since taking over the role from the late Deem Bristow, returns to portray the mad scientist. If you’ve heard Eggman in the past five years, then you’ve heard Pollock in action.

Of course, you may have heard him anyway; he’s provided a number of voices for the Pokémon animated series, including the narrator, as well as in Kirby: Right Back At Ya!, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the 2003 4Kids series, of course), and in Viva Piñata as Langston Lickatoad.

So, when will we get to hear this trinity in action for ourselves? Sonic Colors is slated for release on the Wii and Nintendo DS later this year, and odds are SEGA will get the promotion machine running well prior to that, so it may not be long at all. In fact, they may have even made this announcement with new trailers in mind. We’ll just have to see.

As for other characters, they say that almost “EVERYBODY” in the “active” cast has a new voice actor, so time will tell when we get to see who takes over Knuckles and the rest.

Source: Sonic City Blognik