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Christian Whitehead
Nationality Australian
Other names The Taxman
Occupation Game programmer
Employer Evening Star
Known for Developing Sonic the Hedgehog video games

Christian Whitehead, also known by his alias The Taxman, is an Australian video game programmer and designer. He is most recognized for his work creating updated ports of early games in Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series, as well as being the lead developer of an original game in the series, Sonic Mania. He has also developed multiple remakes of classic Sonic games and most recently, the remasters in Sonic Origins.

Career

In 2006, Whitehead worked as a freelance 3D animator with the company Kine Graffiti. Since 2009, he has focused on game development, developing various fangames based on the Sonic the Hedgehog series. In 2009, Whitehead produced a "proof-of-concept" video of Sonic CD running on an iPhone using his own custom engine, the "Retro Engine". In an interview with Steven O'Donnell of Good Game: Spawn Point, Whitehead proclaims that he spent "about a year or so" convincing Sega to let him work on the Sonic CD port. In 2009, a video regarding Sonic CD from Whitehead was taken down, leading Eurogamer to report that Whitehead possibly faced a cease and desist letter from Sega, which Whitehead claimed was false. The port was released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iPhone and Android in 2011. His remake was so successful that he, along with developer Simon "Stealth" Thomley of the studio Headcannon, would later be commissioned to remaster Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for mobile devices.

Although he, along with Headcannon, released a proof-of-concept video for a Sonic the Hedgehog 3 remaster in 2014, Sega did not greenlight the port. In 2015, it was announced that Whitehead would be involved in his first non-Sonic game, Freedom Planet 2. In 2017, Whitehead, in collaboration with Headcannon and PagodaWest Games, developed and released their own original title in the Sonic series, titled Sonic Mania. In 2018, Sonic Mania became Sonic Mania Plus, with the release of the Encore DLC. Sonic Mania Plus was developed by Whitehead, Headcannon, PagodaWest Games, and the now included HyperKinetic. Whitehead also contributed to the development of Sonic Origins, providing a new version of the engine used in the remasters.

In late 2018, Whitehead and other development members behind Sonic Mania founded their own studio Evening Star Studio, where he serves as creative director and lead engine architect.

Works

Year Title Collaborator(s) Publisher Platforms
2007 Retro Sonic N/A self-published Windows, Dreamcast
2008 Sonic Nexus Brad Flick and Hunter Bridges self-published Windows, Mac OS X
2011 Sonic CD BlitWorks (PC/Console port) Sega Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android, Ouya, Windows, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV
2013 Sonic the Hedgehog Headcannon Sega iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Headcannon Sega
2017 Sonic Mania Headcannon, PagodaWest Games, Hyperkinetic Studios (Plus update) and Tantalus Media (Switch port) Sega Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Windows
2022 Sonic Origins Headcannon and Sonic Team Sega
Freedom Planet 2 GalaxyTrail GalaxyTrail Windows, macOS, Linux
2023 Sonic Origins Plus Headcannon and Sonic Team Sega Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Windows
2024 Penny's Big Breakaway Evening Star Private Division Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Windows

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Christian Whitehead para niños

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