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Christian Whitehead
Nationality Australian
Other names Taxman
Occupation Game programmer
Employer Evening Star Studio
Known for Working on games in the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series

Christian Whitehead, also known by his alias Taxman, is an Australian video game programmer and designer. He is most recognised 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.


In 2006, Whitehead worked as a freelance 3D animator with the company Kine Graffiti. Since 2009, he became 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 was later commissioned to port Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to mobile devices.

Although he released another proof-of-concept video for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in 2014, Sega did not approve of it. 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 is currently working on Freedom Planet 2, built with the Unity engine, for PC, Mac, and Linux. 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.


Year Title Developer(s) Publisher Platform
2007 Retro Sonic self-developed self-published Microsoft Windows, Dreamcast
2008 Sonic Nexus Christian Whitehead, Brad Flick, Hunter Bridges self-published Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
2011 Sonic CD with Blit Software on PC and console, self-developed on mobile Sega Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android, Ouya, Microsoft Windows, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV
2013 Sonic the Hedgehog with Headcannon iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
2017 Sonic Mania with Headcannon, PagodaWest Games, HyperKinetic Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
TBA Freedom Planet 2 with GalaxyTrail GalaxyTrail Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, Linux
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