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Blastfrog

Early Sonic 2 concept art revealed, time travel concept fully explained

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So, this is pretty neat. Yasuhara has been showing off some interesting concept art. They designed a whole map of the island just to show Sonic's progression through locations and time.

 

Here's the relevant topic over on Retro.

 

Here is the concept art, perspective corrected by BouncekDeLemos.

Spoiler

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Unlike Sonic CD, time travel was not a gameplay mechanic, it was just story contextualization, the gameplay was still intended to be linear. Turns out that the cutscene heavy nature of Sonic 3/K was an idea for Sonic 2 first. It would make sense, it's already obvious that S3K was something of a "do-over" of a lot of existing S2 concepts, including ones we already knew they cut from S2. We've also already known that they referenced a lot of concept art that went unused from the first two games.

 

Honestly, I've got to say that it's a good thing that they didn't go through with much of this. Very interesting, nevertheless.

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Huh. I never thought about time travel being the initial original intention for those Sonic games. It would explain why the zones change so much so randomly (kinda like Doom :P).

 

Nevertheless, it's pretty cool to know this, and with luck, more stuff might show up soon.

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You know what's even weirder?

 

Sonic 1's plot originally featured demonic enemies instead of robots, Eggman was in a yellow bee suit and was seemingly just a henchman of the big bad, Sonic led a band and had to rescue his bandmates, and had a human girlfriend clearly based on Madonna (hey, this was 1991, the whole "furry" thing wasn't a problem yet).

 

Even after the demons were cut and Eggman was reworked into who he is now, he was supposed to die at the end. I guess it's similar to Batman; the original intent was for Batman to fight new villains every time, the iconic villain (the Joker, obviously) was only supposed to be one of many, and he originally died at the end of his first (and originally only) story arc. This was hastily retconned before the issue shipped, the last panel showing him unrealistically surviving was far poorer quality art than the rest of the comic.

Edited by Blastfrog

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46 minutes ago, Blastfrog said:

You know what's even weirder?

 

Sonic 1's plot originally featured demonic enemies instead of robots, Eggman was in a yellow bee suit and was seemingly just a henchman of the big bad, Sonic led a band and had to rescue his bandmates, and had a human girlfriend clearly based on Madonna (hey, this was 1991, the whole "furry" thing wasn't a problem yet).

Well, I'm glad none of that happened. (I wish they'd kept the girlfriend, though. Oh well, it's not that big of a deal.)

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That... Was the strangest plot I've ever heard. Demonic enemies, Eggman/Robotnik being a typical thug/boss enemy, a girlfriend who is human... You would've gotten a totally different game and not the well-known Sonic we know today.

 

Both Doom and Sonic seem to have similar development stories behind them. They both were originally meant to have so many rich details, but the end product was vastly different and a lot more simpler. Game development can be strange at times. Call of Doom is a good example.

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I still can't get over Dr. Robotnik ending up being called "Eggman". It robs him of that Cold War-era "Evil Ivan" communist vibe. Eggman just sounds totally lame.

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26 minutes ago, Maes said:

I still can't get over Dr. Robotnik ending up being called "Eggman". It robs him of that Cold War-era "Evil Ivan" communist vibe. Eggman just sounds totally lame.

Eggman is his actual name, Robotnik was just something the American localization team came up with.

 

FWIW, the latter was eventually canonized in Sonic Adventure 2, with Robotnik being his real name, and Eggman being his nickname.

 

59 minutes ago, Viscra Maelstrom said:

demonic enemies, eggman being a henchman, and a human girlfriend? Sonic 06 really did honor the first game's legacy. 

I never thought of it that way, but yeah. :P

 

1 hour ago, Voros said:

Both Doom and Sonic seem to have similar development stories behind them.

Not even close. Sure, there were massive changes, but that's where the similarities end.

 

Oldschool id were a bunch of indies with an unfortunately volatile company atmosphere, with lots of infighting and pulls in different directions, usually culminating in the firing of their lead designer. Sonic Team, on the other hand, were experienced professional developers in a deeply established corporate culture, and were making AAA games as they are made.

 

There was structure, and AFAIK there wasn't much of any infighting. Sonic Team just iterated until they got it right, as well the need to meet looming deadlines beyond their control.

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1 hour ago, Maes said:

I still can't get over Dr. Robotnik ending up being called "Eggman". It robs him of that Cold War-era "Evil Ivan" communist vibe. Eggman just sounds totally lame.

Yeah even the creator of Sonic said that the character's real name is Robotnik and Eggman is just a nickname... I can't remember which interview he said that. But I remember reading that.

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3 minutes ago, DoctorGenesis said:

Yeah even the creator of Sonic said that the character's real name is Robotnik and Eggman is just a nickname... I can't remember which interview he said that. But I remember reading that.

First of all, it depends on who you're talking about, Yuji Naka or Naoto Oshima. Oshima was the character's designer, and Naka was the programmer/producer. Naka had definite control and influence, but as far as I'm concerned, Oshima is the one to defer to since he did most of the core design work. Oshima was also responsible for Sonic CD, Chaotix, and the two part OVA film.

 

Sonic Adventure 1 was the last game he worked on in the series before leaving SEGA to start his own company. Is it much of a surprise, then, that in his absence Sonic Adventure 2 was such a huge departure from what had come before? Here's a thread I made on Retro about it. While SA1 is technically the first modern Sonic game, it really, actually isn't in any way except cosmetically (and even then, it was a reinterpretation of classic, not an abandonment of it like SA2 was).

 

Oh, I digressed again. Right, Eggman vs. Robotnik. Eggman was his only canon name (American localization content is not canon) until they retconned it in SA2. Probably for two reasons: Firstly, the story dealt with Eggman's grandfather, and Eggman does not sound even remotely like it could be a real name. Robotnik is pretty silly too, but it's more of proper name than Eggman. Secondly, they probably got a bit of backlash from westerners when releasing SA1 over dropping the Robotnik name, and they also knew that nobody in the west would really stop calling him that.

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Somehow missed this. This is great stuff!

Knowing Sonic community we might even see a hack/fangame based on this concept.

The only thing I wonder about - where does Hidden Palace Zone fits in? Perhaps Olympus or Warp Point?

2 hours ago, HavoX said:

Well, I'm glad none of that happened. (I wish they'd kept the girlfriend, though. Oh well, it's not that big of a deal.)

Well, they revisited this idea in Sonic OVA (Sonic the Movie), which is still the one of the best videogame based cartoons I seen (especially when watched with subs, since dub is meh)

18 minutes ago, DoctorGenesis said:

Yeah even the creator of Sonic said that the character's real name is Robotnik and Eggman is just a nickname... I can't remember which interview he said that. But I remember reading that.

Actually, as Blastfrog said - it was made this way retroactively, by introducing his family. He himself takes pride in being called Eggman evidenced by referring to himself as such and naming his creations after that nickname (for example Death Egg or "E-" series of robots).

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17 minutes ago, Blastfrog said:

Right, Eggman vs. Robotnik. Eggman was his only canon name (American localization content is not canon)

TBQH Dr. Robotnik is the only name I ever knew the character by, as it appears it was also used in our Pinko Euro Commie localizations and advertisements, as well.

 

It also sounded like a fitting name for an evil scientist, giving him some sort of USSR totalitarian overtone: his army of "socialist", all-identical, all-conforming robots, vs Sonic's "private initiative". The fact that most robots were just animals trapped in a sort of robotic armour, dictating and limiting their behavior, meant that by defeating them Sonic also freed them (helped them defect?).

 

It wouldn't be the first videogame to contain such allusions either (e.g. compare Strider or Chelnov: Atomic Runner). All that was missing from Sonic was slapping hammer & sickles everywhere. But probably after the (very) early 90s, such not-so-subtle propaganda was not deemed appropriate anymore. Besides, the former "enemies" now also opened their markets...wouldn't be wise to try and sell them that.

Edited by Maes

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Well, perhaps I should have said "western localization, as handled by SEGA of America."

 

The name Eggman (well, a couple of hints at it) first appear in-game in Sonic 2. First of all, "Death Egg." Second of all, you can see the word "egg" printed all over the Wing Fortress. "Robotnik" is nowhere to be found outside of games developed specifically for the west (Mean Bean Machine, for example) until Sonic Adventure 2.

 

Actually, that might not be 100% accurate. I think it's mentioned only once in the English language version of Sonic Adventure 1, and clearly only to establish that "Robotnik is Eggman from now on" to western audiences. Eggman acts all pissy when he's called that, insisting that his name is Robotnik. Which is totally out of character, as Bluefox mentions that canonically, he wears this name with pride. Not to mention this is inconsistent with the entire game itself that has the Eggman name (or at least the word Egg) plastered all over his creations. Level and location names too.

 

But, for many reasons, SA1's English dub is invalid garbage, so no need to pay it any mind. It was so, so fucking bad. Wanna know how bad? Rather than reanimating the (extremely simplistic) mouth motions, or just not giving a shit, they told the performers to match the lip sync of the original Japanese version. Beyond them being bad VAs in general IMO, this is the main cause of the sheer awkwardness of the characters' speech.

 

15 hours ago, Maes said:

It also sounded like a fitting name for an evil scientist, giving him some sort of USSR totalitarian overtone: his army of "socialist", all-identical, all-conforming robots, vs Sonic's "private initiative". The fact that most robots were just animals trapped in a sort of robotic armour, dictating and limiting their behavior, meant that by defeating them Sonic also freed them (helped them defect?).

Didn't you know? Sonic is the socialist one! :P

 

15 hours ago, Bluefox_1 said:

Well, they revisited this idea in Sonic OVA (Sonic the Movie)

Not true. Sara was a deliberately obnoxious character that even the others had a hard time tolerating. Hardly "girlfriend material." The only thing that contradicts this is when she tries to motivate Sonic, but that might just be him being a perv and doesn't actually give a damn about her. It doesn't matter, the writing isn't very good in it, consistency was likely not a big concern.

 

Generally, Sonic finds women attracted to him to be annoying and to be avoided. Just look at the character dynamic between him and Amy, as established in her first canon appearance in Sonic CD. The really early tie-in comics that featured (completely different versions of) the Amy character are not even remotely canon.

 

15 hours ago, Bluefox_1 said:

which is still the one of the best videogame based cartoons I seen

It's got problems, but its atmosphere, designs and music are spot-on. I enjoy it myself, though I can see how others might not. Nostalgia probably has a lot to do with it.

 

15 hours ago, Bluefox_1 said:

(especially when watched with subs, since dub is meh)

I'm probably the only person in the world that has no problem with the dub. Yes, even Tails. (I'm probably crazy, but I think that's been well established in general :P)

Edited by Blastfrog

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34 minutes ago, Maes said:

It also sounded like a fitting name for an evil scientist, giving him some sort of USSR totalitarian overtone: his army of "socialist", all-identical, all-conforming robots, vs Sonic's "private initiative". The fact that most robots were just animals trapped in a sort of robotic armour, dictating and limiting their behavior, meant that by defeating them Sonic also freed them (helped them defect?).

Actually, Sonic was meant to be some sort of force of nature, while Eggman was symbolizing humans who don't care about it at all seeking only profits. It's a "green" kind of story.

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42 minutes ago, Blastfrog said:

Didn't you know? Sonic is the socialist one! :P

 

I am already aware (and debunked) that article in the past. There's even an old post I made on the subject in EE, but I can't seem to find it anymore.

 

10 minutes ago, Bluefox_1 said:

It's a "green" kind of story.

Sure it is, but are we certain about what kind of "green"? $$$

 

Besides, Sonic's life is literally money/gold ;-)

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1 minute ago, Maes said:

I am already aware (and debunked) that article in the past. There's even an old post I made on the subject in EE, but I can't seem to find it anymore.

My memory is poor, but I seem to remember actually being the one to have linked you to the article. :P

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Oh and FWIW...

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Robotnik's_Mean_Bean_Machine

 

Even an Atmega Genesis clone I have included it in its licensed(?) games with that title ;-)

 

And, to paraphrase one of my favourite passages from Catch 22:

 

“Robotnik- the very sight of the name made Colonel Cathcart shudder. There were so many niks in it. It just had to be subversive. It was like the word "subversive" itself. It was like "beatnik" and "apparatchik" too, and like "refusenik", "suspicious," "fascist" and "Communist." It was an odious, alien, distasteful name, a name that just did not inspire confidence. It was not at all like such clean, crisp, honest, American names such as Catchcart, Peckem and Dreedle.”

Edited by Maes

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9 minutes ago, Maes said:

Sure it is, but are we certain about what kind of "green"? $$$

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GOTTA PUFF *cough* FAST!

 

 

I'm so sorry.

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Well all know that Doomguy is the only one authorized to combine the powers of Ganja with ass-kicking in general. In particular Demonic ass-kicking.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Maes said:

I already mentioned it earlier in the thread. Yes, it was an official title. It was not part of the mainline series, it was a spinoff aimed exclusively at the west. The aesthetic was lifted straight from DiC's Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog TV show. Not to mention that it was literally a reskin of Puyo-Puyo.

 

Doesn't count.

 

4 minutes ago, DoctorGenesis said:

I'm so sorry.

Heh.

 

Just now, Maes said:

[reggae]

Sonic CD's real soundtrack (not the stupid last minute US one) actually samples some Bob Marley IIRC in the boss theme.

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5 minutes ago, Blastfrog said:

Sonic CD's real soundtrack (not the stupid last minute US one) actually samples some Bob Marley IIRC in the boss theme.

Not to start flamewars, but this is honestly the first time I've disagreed with you (that's fine), the US one is waay better. I have the PC remake and I played it with both soundtracks... the USA one is much less dated than the JP one. I honestly think the JP one has too much of a pop-y sound, the US one just seems to fit in much better. I really like the creepy-ass boss theme, but then again, what do I know.

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1 hour ago, Blastfrog said:

Not true. Sara was a deliberately obnoxious character that even the others had a hard time tolerating. Hardly "girlfriend material." The only thing that contradicts this is when she tries to motivate Sonic, but that might just be him being a perv and doesn't actually give a damn about her. It doesn't matter, the writing isn't very good in it, consistency was likely not a big concern.

I didn't mean that this literally, but there was a few "romance" related jokes.

24 minutes ago, Maes said:

Sure it is, but are we certain about what kind of "green"? $$$

Eh, that is more of an Eggman's kind of "green", considering that he was the one who built/owned Casino Night.

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1 hour ago, DoctorGenesis said:

Not to start flamewars

Over a soundtrack? Heh. We're adults here, aren't we? :P

 

1 hour ago, DoctorGenesis said:

the US one is waay better.

It could have been just as good, but it was a rush-job and it shows. They didn't replace the past tracks. A good number of the redbook tracks are very good, but there are an equal amount of clearly unfinished drafts (future themes, usually, and even the present of Metallic Madness). Some of these crappier songs were actually touched up a fair amount in rereleases via albums, and is how it should have sounded in the released game.

 

I don't care if they had to delay it, if you're going to replace the soundtrack, give the artists time to do it right and don't rush them to do it in four fucking weeks.

 

1 hour ago, DoctorGenesis said:

the USA one is much less dated than the JP one.

It's a '90s game with surreal and colorful '90s visuals. Of course it should reflect this. Also, it has aged perfectly fine, because the tracks were good to begin with. The US soundtrack has aged horribly, IMO.

 

1 hour ago, DoctorGenesis said:

I honestly think the JP one has too much of a pop-y sound, the US one just seems to fit in much better.

That it oozes a pop feel is a good thing. It's Sonic, it's supposed to have an electronic pop sound. The US soundtrack, while excellent*, does not match this style at all. It wasn't the creative intent of the developers, so why should they have been disrespected like that to replace such a core part of Sonic CD's personality?

 

*(at least, the tracks that are finished and not clearly drafts they had to accept as being as done as they would be by the deadline)

 

The JP OST matched everything, it wasn't just a random choice. It was vibrant and surreal music to fit a vibrant and surreal world. What about that hidden DJ pic in the game, doesn't that indicate their leanings? And, being CD based, the OST was a huge, central feature. They removed that huge and central feature, replacing it with something so unlike what the developers ever wanted for their game.

 

1 hour ago, DoctorGenesis said:

I really like the creepy-ass boss theme, but then again, what do I know.

Don't get me wrong, the US OST is full of awesome music, but again, it doesn't fit the intended vibe at all. The JP Boss theme was playful, Eggman is a deliberately silly character with a deliberately silly name. It would've been fine as a final boss track, but not as a normal boss track. Speaking of which, JP had a unique final boss track, US used a literal duplicate of the normal theme (such a waste of disc space, let alone clearly unfinshed).

Edited by Blastfrog

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I like the North American soundtrack for tackling the same themes from a different angle. i.e. how Collision Chaos J focused more on the bouncy, fun look of the map while Collision Chaos U channeled the more surreal otherworldly aspects. To say the US soundtrack has aged horribly seems more like knee-jerk over it "replacing" the original ost.

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No. It has aged horribly because the flaws stick out like a sore thumb and introduce consistency problems. I said it would've been better had they been given more time to work on it.

 

This is what happened when he had more time to work on it:

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Blastfrog said:

No. It has aged horribly because the flaws stick out like a sore thumb and introduce consistency problems. I said it would've been better had they been given more time to work on it.

I mean, I still can't agree with that. There exist some different mixes, maybe improved, but on its own merits as music as music as music it's a fine soundtrack.

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Don't get me wrong, I actually do like the US soundtrack and think it's good. It's just horribly unfinished.

 

That, and the idea of so radically changing a game as the only available version for years over here bothers me.

 

You're right about them tackling the same themes from different angles. They do fit the levels, for sure. It just doesn't fit the intended vibe the devs were going for.

 

It's good as an alternative, but I do not consider it to be a replacement by any means.

Edited by Blastfrog

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I hope someone puts together a team of sorts and tries to make a Sonic Hack based off this concept. It's really interesting how different it is, no mention of the iconic Death Egg that I can see. (Glad they changed that ;) )

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