Netflix, Sega tap Vancouver animators for Sonic the Hedgehog series

WildBrain animators in Vancouver will be working on a 24-episode animated series featuring the video game character Sonic

Promotional art from Netflix's new children series to be animated in Vancouver | submitted

Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq:NFLX) and Sega of America Inc. will keep the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise running with help from Vancouver animators.

The streaming giant revealed Monday (February 1) it’s tapping WildBrain Ltd. (TSX:WILD) to lead the animation of a 24-episode children’s show featuring the iconic video game character.

WildBrain (formerly DHX Media Ltd.) is headquartered in Halifax but the series will be animated at the company’s 75,000-square foot studio in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

WildBrain acquired Vancouver’s Nerd Corp in a $57-million deal back in 2014 to expand its presence on the West Coast.

It now employs about 700 workers locally after opening a new Mount Pleasant studio in late 2017.

That studio sits a block away from game developer Relic Entertainment Inc.’s three-storey, 43,000-square-foot facility.

Relic was founded in Vancouver but is now owned by Sega Games Co. Ltd., the creator of the Sonic franchise (Relic is best known titles such as Company of Heroes and Homeworld).

The Sonic connections to Vancouver don’t stop there.

Last year’s Sonic the Hedgehog film starring Jim Carrey was shot in B.C. and featured VFX work created in Vancouver by the now-shuttered Moving Picture Company studio.

The film went on to become the world’s sixth-highest grossing movie of 2020 amid widespread theatre closures brought on by the pandemic.

Estimates from Box Office Mojo peg its global grosses at US$320 million.

"This premium franchise is ideally suited to WildBrain's capabilities and it's already inspiring great things from our talented creative teams," WildBrain president Josh Scherba said in a statement.

Sega and WildBrain are jointly participating in the production, distribution and licensing of the new series, while Man of Action Entertainment will executive produce and serve as showrunners for show.

torton@biv.com

@reporton