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

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Needlemouse screencap.jpg

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.