Needlemouse: The Emerald Hills (unreleased 2D platformer; 2009-2012)

Needlemouse: The Emerald Hills
A screenshot of the game.
A screenshot of the game.
Status Lost

Needlemouse: The Emerald Hills was a planned 2D freeware platformer by Matt Schoen and Jono Forbes that was heavily inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog. The game was brought to the public's attention when concept art for it was confused for Sega's "Project Needlemouse" (later named Sonic 4), after which they and Sega clarified that the two games were completely unrelated.[1][2]


While the devs reportedly had the idea of the game in their heads for several years, it seems that they started seriously developing it in mid-to-late 2009 based on their old site's notice and a couple forum posts requesting people to help them on the project.

Needlemouse was planned to be Defective Studios' first released game since at least 2010, with the team stating multiple times early in their website's life that it would be their first game and that a public beta would soon be available.[3][4] However, an open beta never came and Needlemouse was rarely ever mentioned after that point.

In 2012, the game was said to be "on the backburner" according to their Facebook page, and no information was revealed about the game since, leaving the game's status a mystery.[5] It's likely that the team either lost interest in the project or have been busy with other projects. Either way, little other info is known about how much development the game itself had gotten before they stopped mentioning it.


However, the game was put on display in at least two gaming conventions in some form, the Boston Unity Group, where they showed off their "Platformer" engine,[6] and Game Developers Conference 2011, where a teaser trailer was shown featuring some test footage of the player character and a couple enemies.

And while no footage or prototypes of the game can be found, screenshots for the "Platformer" engine showed what appeared to be possible levels for the game, even featuring the character present in the teaser.


GDC '11 Teaser.


  1. 2009 interview with Needlemouse devs
  2. Needlemouse's original website. Retrieved 27 Nov. '16.
  3. Early incarnation of Defective Studios' site mentioning Needlemouse. Retrieved 27 Nov. '16.
  4. Needlemouse-centric incarnation of their homepage. Retrieved 27 Nov. '16.
  5. Official Facebook page
  6. Blog post on the B.U.G. Retrieved 27 Nov. '16




8 months ago
Score 0++
Totally not a copy of sonic. Funny that they didn't get sued, considering that 1. the level builds look like exactly like a 3d version of green hill zone and 2. Mr. Needlemouse was actually the prototype name for sonic.


8 months ago
Score 0++
Well duh. Everyone knows that.

Anonymous user #1

7 months ago
Score 0++
Sonic games suck anyway


5 months ago
Score 1++
SEGA has always been super lenient with fan games, even hiring Taxman (who made Retro Sonic, one of the most praised Sonic fan games ever) to port Sonic 1, 2, and CD, and is now using his home-made JAVAscript Sonic engine to develop Sonic Mania. Plus, since it's free, I highly doubt anyone over at SEGA or SonicTeam would care, since no one would be making money off their properties.


2 months ago
Score 1++
My guess is that this isn't really a knock off of sonic but more like a homage to sonic. For obvious legal reasons they couldn't use the sonic character but they definitely could use a character similar to sonic and have some sonic the hedgehog game elements.
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