So, as you'll notice in ICEknight's earlier thread, some debate was sparked about the name of the Desert level in Sonic 2. ICEknight sincerely believed that Dust Hill Zone was an old name for Mystic Cave Zone, citing various magazines and concept art as evidence. As a result, we have taken this on as fact, preaching it for years upon years.
Wetflame, however, consistently told us to stop and look at the big picture—Dust Hill, as a name, fits the Desert Zone's motif perfectly! And indeed, it does; but the facts didn't add up. Why would a proto exist with Mystic Cave coming before the Desert Zone? Why would the level select never be updated to account for this? Why were there so many magazines that only referred to "Dust Hill" as an older name for Mystic Cave? These things led us to believe that people like Wetflame were full of it, didn't know what they were talking about, and were cast aside.
When Wetflame went on his latest rant about the Dust Hill debacle, I was tired of it. I decided to go to a fellow scener, Sik, about getting in contact with Hirokazu Yasuhara, the one person who would definitely be able to settle this once and for all. We were able to do this by talking to another fellow Sonic developer, Chris Senn, who has had close contact with Yasuhara even in recent years. After some talks, both Yasuhara and Senn agreed to answer our questions to settle the age-old debate: Was Dust Hill the name for the Desert Level, or was it an old name for Mystic Cave Zone?
Here are the results:
Yasuhara: "Dust Hill" was one of dropped levels from original plan of Sonic2. Sega of America did want to sell the game at Christmas time of that year, I had no choice, but decided to cut some levels out from original plan. So if Sega allowed me to use enough time to pursue the plan, The Dust Hill zone would be in the game.
Completely unexpected! However, this didn't fully answer the question, so we decided to send a follow-up:
[links to images of Desert and Mystic Cave]
Also, feel free to give out any other information you might want to share.
Yasuhara: Ok, the DustHill zone is like below.
Dust Hill Zone is the Desert Level.
And there you have it! Pretty much everything we've ever said about Dust Hill, ever since 2005 when ICEknight posted all his ramblings about magazine clippings, were completely false. All the people at Area 51, ever since 1998 or whatever, have been completely correct in calling the Desert level Dust Hill (albeit for the wrong reasons).
Big thanks to Wetflame for pushing for this to happen. This gives us serious grounds to question everything that we've ever claimed as fact based on magazine clippings, and not direct testimonies from game developers. What else could we be wrong about? Who knows?