2020 has delivered very few morsels of “good” news, but that’s about to change. December marks the official return of Sega’s Super Monkey Ball franchise.
Brian Matt, the announcer of Super Monkey Ball 1 and 2, has teased the potential release of a new title on Instagram for over a month. “September will be amazing for what’s to come,” he captions a picture of his friend playing a switch. “This month the ground will shake. Stay tuned!” reads another.
@sega Akihabara arcade closing which means that the flow goes to Super Monkey Ball X. 🥳⚡️🤗 @segaofficial @segaforever @segabits This month the ground will shake. Stay tuned!
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The new title, ostensibly, features the codename Super Monkey Ball Retro, which naturally has fans in a frenzy. For over a decade, players have been asking for a resurfacing of the franchise’s original winning formula.
In 2001, Sega released Monkey Ball, an arcade game featuring, well, a monkey in a ball. The only mechanic was to roll that ball across increasingly complex and treacherous terrain using (of course) a banana-shaped joystick. Later that year, the game was released on GameCube and found international acclaim almost immediately. A follow-up, Super Monkey Ball 2, arrived on shelves the following year featuring familiar gameplay and a few new party games.
Super Monkey Ball 3: Banana Crazy was slated for release in 2004, but never arrived. The new title was also rumored to include LAN support, allowing up to eight players at a time. In an interview with IGN, the creator of the franchise declared that a third Super Monkey Ball was actually never in the works despite it being announced at E3 2003, and reported on by a slew of Japanese magazines at the time.
Instead of a entry in the franchise, Super Monkey Ball Deluxe was released in 2005 and compiled levels from all previous titles. But it was far from enough to satiate the growing crowd of Super Monkey Ball-ers.
A string of Super Monkey Ball games have been released on almost every major platform since. So far, none hold a candle to the original two GameCube releases. You may recall the likes of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, Super Monkey Ball: Touch & Go, or any number of the interim releases SEGA has published before returning to the solid ground that the original Super Monkey Ball games established in the early 2000s. We need more.
Well, the wait is finally over. An official title or cover art are yet to be announced. But there is certainly some solace to be found in the fact that the end of the year will not only bring an end to the horror show that has been 2020, but it will also mark the historic return of a franchise that decided a fifteen year break is enough to stoke interest in a new release.
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