I know about how Sonic's shoes in Sonic Adventure 2 were replaced with Soap Shoes, which are supposedly made to let you grind on railings without needing a board. The thing is, after thinking about it, I'm kind of curious exactly how that setup came to be. Did the shoe company approach Sega and say "We have something we want you to put in your game. You can even make a really cool game mechanic around it!" and Sega just really liked the idea, or did Sega approach the shoe company and say "We came up with a really cool game mechanic in Sonic that happens to be really similar to what you sell. Give us money and we'll let you in on it!"
Just curious about how grinding, a staple in the modern Sonic games, came about. Anybody know the details?
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SOAP Shoes were invented by Artemis Innovations in 1997. They came first. Fun fact, they're still around too, but the parent company is now Heeling Sports Limited. I still have my pair from 2001. (Because NOW I CAN BE JUST LIEK SONCI OOLOLOL.) They're pretty beat up, but I still wear them every now and again.
This post has been edited by Lobotomy: 01 June 2012 - 02:21 AM
Let me just lay down two facts about Sega circa 2001:
-Sega was bleeding money out the ass and was on the verge of complete collapse
-Sonic Adventure 2 almost didn't make it to publication
Now let's throw in the following:
-Skate culture was MASSIVE in the early 2000s.
-New mechanics in SA2 accentuated this with the use of grinding and tricks.
-Grinding down rails sans boards was pretty fun to do (though risky. One slip and huevos rancheros.)
tl;dr: The partnership was done to get enough money to actually put the game on the shelf financially.
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Seeing as SA2 was the first Sonic game you could grind in, I daresay they added this feature because of the soap shoes. Perhaps by the time of the first demo the agreement between SEGA and SOAP had not been finalized and perhaps even the design not finished, therefore the trail version that was released had his normal sheos.
That's a logical way of thinking about it, but obviously I can't confirm this. I think due to the level design, setting and style that it was clear SEGA wanted Sonic to have SOAP shoes. It's set in San Fran, where, if I am right, there's a large base of users of these shoes for sport. There's also a lot of availability to put signage on the rooves of buildings for adverts and things. It seems SA2 was made to appeal to the dude more than any other game, and I think the style reflects that, totally maaaan.
I'll do you two one better. While we do have a playable demo widely available where Sonic has his normal shoes and the grinding mechanic fully in place, that wasn't the oldest proof we have.
Enter E3 2000.
0:36 seconds in specifically. This was SA2's debut trailer.
Grinding was always a new addition to the series, but as I said, the SOAP partnership was done to ensure the game had enough money to even be released. Sega was literally on the edge of complete bankruptcy to the point asset liquidation could have happened.
You guys are reading too much into the lack of Soap branding in pre-release materials. Companies typically don't show off sponsorship/licensing until contracts are signed. When Sega Rally 3 was location tested, it was done under the name "Super Challenge" and stripped of licensed content, despite the fact that talks to actually include licensed cars had reached an advanced stage. It's entirely possible that Sega was talking with Soap about the licensing deal a long time before SA2: The Trial was produced, possibly even from the start.
Having said that, others have rightly stated that it's pretty unlikely that the Soap sponsorship was considered until some way into development. The inclusion of grinding was, as Gene points out, far more likely to be motivated by the mainstream popularity of extreme sports and increasing video game success of the extreme sports genre. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater sold over 3 million copies, a fact that won't have gone unnoticed by Sega. Sponsorship talks were likely initiated during early 2001, when it was clear that Sega was in incredible trouble but prior to Isao Okawa's gift of Sega/CSK stock, which basically saved the company.