Source: A daisy chain of Internet reports playing out like a game of Telephone, all leading back to Sonic Team MIDI collection site ESPIOKaos.com.
What we heard: It's no secret that Sonic the Hedgehog has been a bit off from his heydays of running the 40-meter dash in .7 seconds flat. Recent years have seen the blue streak headline in sequels or one-off installments that for one reason or another fail to live up to Sonic's side-scrolling adventures on the Genesis. However, even though its little blue mascot is down, Sega hasn't shown any signs of counting him out. Not content with just breaking bread with former archrival Nintendo with Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Sega commissioned preeminent role-playing game aficionados BioWare to create a Sonic-themed RPG for the Nintendo DS.
With Sonic once again rising to prominence, Sega's Team Sonic may be readying its iconic hedgehog for a comeback tour. Following a trademark filing for Sonic Unleashed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, forumites who frequent ESPIOKaos discovered a plethora of screenshots on Sega's press site, which were subsequently plastered all over myriad sites before Sega realized its gaffe. The leaked screenshots quickly found company with a video containing what appears to be in-game footage taken from the actual game. In it, Sonic appears to be running on rails through a variety of colorful 3D environments.
And then the Internet happened. Sega enthusiasts The Sonic Stadium kicked off the rumor mongering, saying "Sonic Unleashed will be the next Sonic 'canon' game, if you will, intending to follow on from Sonic 06's Iblis disaster (in more ways than one), hence the weird unimaginitive [sic] dark creature git in the screenshots this morning. You see Super Sonic attempting to stop Eggman once more, but a new trick up his sleeve results in Sonic having to deal with a rather unnatural curse. A werewolf. Sonic has to fight a werewolf alter-ego of himself." The Sonic Stadium also said that a brand-new face will be added to the franchise's roster.
The Sonic Stadium then passed off the rumor torch to German Web site Sega On. There, a mysterious Sega employee known only as "Dennis" apparently "confirmed" that Sonic Unleashed would see a multiplatform release on, at least, the Xbox 360 and Wii. Game On then extrapolated on this info thanks to an inside source, saying that Sega would make its big reveal during a Gamers' Day in May, and the game would be added to the holiday free-for-all this November. According to Game On's sources, "SEGA is launching SONIC UNLEASHED with A HUGE production budget." The site noted that development teams from Japan, the US, and Europe will be assisting Team Sonic with the allegedly massive undertaking.
Although a lot of information is floating around about the project, it is important to note that absolutely none of it--save for the screenshots pulled from its press site--are from Sega. All other information is attributed to nebulous "sources" or lack attribution outright. Some information, such as Sega Unleashed having some kind of "werewolf" mechanic, appears to ring true based solely off of the released images, but the game remains unannounced and therefore any info is far from set in stone.
The official story: Sega had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus that Sega has donned its warmers for Sonic Unleashed, as evidenced by the patent filing coupled with the leaked screenshots and video. As for specific details about the game, all else runs the gamut of utterly fabricated to plausibly speculative.