Upcoming game Sonic the Hedgehog: Episode II looks to be the first to support synchronized gaming between Xbox LIVE and Windows Phone, allowing gamers to pick up playback cross-platform as they move between console and mobile. Game manager Ken Balough confirmed the functionality in a video interview with Official XBOX Magazine that you can see after the cut, with the new Sonic itself attempting to channel the addictive 16-bit spirit of the early 90s.
"One of the cool things about it is that the Windows Mobile 7 [sic] and the Xbox are going to be able to work in tandem in ways that are completely new. So when you pick up the Windows Mobile 7 and you’ll be able to play Sonic Episode II, save it, stop, boot up your Xbox 360 and pick up right where you left off. And that’s a really cool thing Microsoft has going between the devices and I’m a huge fan of it" Ken Balough, Digital Grand Manager, Sonic the Hedgehog: Episode II
Microsoft first announced the cross-platform support back in October 2010, billing it as a way to pull together its incipient smartphone platform and the established Xbox LIVE service and join-up the ecosystem. However, since then the functionality itself has been conspicuously absent; Microsoft has released apps to turn Windows Phone handsets into Xbox remotes and we've seen Windows 7/WP7 cross-platform gaming, albeit basic, but generally the gaming support has been marginal.
That all looks to be changing with the new Sonic, however, itself based on the experience of gaming classic Sonic CD. Although full details have not been confirmed, it would appear there will be a companion version of the Xbox 360 game released for Windows Phone, with the ability to switch between in-progress play on each platform.
Among the game's other improvements are a more 90s-style physics engine, that re-introduces the momentum and other elements that were dropped from Episode I. Sonic the Hedgehog: Episode II is due to hit shelves this coming summer, pricing and exact release dates tbc.