Finding The SA2 Development Photo Streets

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by MrMechanic, Jun 19, 2022.

  1. MrMechanic

    MrMechanic

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    Hey Sonic Retro.

    I'm currently working on a Retrospective video on SA2, similar in vain to this one I did on SA 1 (Cheap plug yes, but there's a reason).

    So what I like to do is look at the development of the game and try to find what influenced some of the design decisions, visual choices that we see etc. With SA1 that's easy, there's tons of video and photos from Sonic Team themselves... But with SA2 however, well... It's a lot less documented.

    The real night and day of the development openness comes from the number of videos and photos shared from their SA1 world tour... and their SA2 American roadtrip... In fact only 2 pictures exist (to my knowledge) this one...

    [​IMG]

    And it's very very low quality younger brother... This pic...

    [​IMG]

    No really! That's the best quality/size I can find!

    Now... when you look at just those two pics, you can see a lot that clearly influenced City Escape, the trees, the parked cars, the building designs... etc... So what I thought would be cool, is during the segment of the video where I'm talking about 'how the city influenced the game' to include some pics of actual San Francisco and try to match up details from the game to the real life city...

    And then I thought "Well... Could I actually find where these two pics were taken?" because it stands to reason what wherever these were taken, it's likely other research photos were also taken? Unfortunately, neither Retro or any other source names what streets these are.... Making this quite a difficult task for a bloke from Yorkshire to find... But wait... look at the 2nd pic... that's... quite a tower behind Yuji Naka? There's only so many places where that photo could be taken?

    And I think I found it!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm about 90% sure this is the spot where the photo was taken, unfortunately street view doesn't match this perfectly... This particular image of the street is from 2019. But I'm pretty sure this is the location... Here's different pic from another year/angle.

    [​IMG]

    This is from 2009. I'm quite sure that in this pic, we are 'stood' where Sonic Team where in the photo. Let's compare all 3 images...

    To save you scrolling here it is again...
    [​IMG]

    The tower matches up.
    The tree on the right matches up (whilst blurry, even the branches match).
    Behind the tree and next to the tower, there's another large black building in the distance, matches in all pics.
    Look at the building on the left... it also matches.
    Just prior to the 'left' building, you can see some greenery. In every picture you can see there are flowers outside the building just before it
    Just after the 'left' building, you can make out a 'red' roof structure, it's there on the street view pic.
    On the right, behind the tree, there's a red building, again, red building on the street view.
    On the road, you can see the yellow road markings, whilst faded, they're the same 'double yellow' markings.

    But another big clue, is the pose. They're in the middle of the street, with their backs to the tower... not very safe right? Well... Look at what's beyond it....

    [​IMG]

    A short distance away, the road ends, as for that side street?

    [​IMG]

    It's barely larger than an alley way and this too is also a dead end. Whilst it's not impossible something could 'drive' up behind them, it's unlikely to be something quick and potentially dangerous. They're facing the main artery for vehicles into this area, meaning the disruption to the road users is low and they're also relatively safe in the middle of the road for that picture.

    So... Where is it? Well... you're gonna think I'm joking when I tell you the address...

    1234 Montgomery Street, San Francisco.

    I've not yet started seriously looking for the other (better) quality photo, but if anyone else wants to give it a bash feel free.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2022
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  2. MrMechanic

    MrMechanic

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    Sorry for the double post, but if anyone already read and checked the topic, figured you'd be interested

    I found the other street, it's right around the corner!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    311 Union Street. Everything matches.

    What I love is that if you check the most recent date, the trees on the left are now the size of those on the right!
     
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  3. arc

    arc

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    Dang. Based and redpilled post, OP. Looking at these photos, it’s almost embarrassing how directly the team used San Fran as a base for City Escape’s aesthetic.
     
  4. MrMechanic

    MrMechanic

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    lol well... They had just moved to the city, and from the research I've done, it was like moving to another world for the majority of them, it's not surprising it had a huge influence on them.

    But I'm now quite certain that this area of the city must have been the inspiration for City Escape. I've found a few other bits of evidence directly from the game and this location that strongly suggests this area is what they used for their research.
     
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  5. kitsunebi

    kitsunebi

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    The "tower" is the Transamerica Pyramid and would have been the tallest building in San Francisco at the time. It's apparently a popular tourist site, but, having never been to California, let alone SF, I only recognized it from my fondness for the old Sierra adventure game, Manhunter: San Francisco, where it plays a prominent role.
     
  6. Shoemanbundy

    Shoemanbundy

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    To be fair, I wouldn't say it's that very specific area that influenced City Escape. Uphill streets like that are a trademark of SF, you can find them all over the place, and they're a pain to traverse :) I definitely can see how it influenced Sonic Team since you don't have areas quite like that in Tokyo.

    Not at all? It's been a known fact for over 20 years they based the level on SF. if this is red pilled and embarrassing, then so is Sonic Adventure's direct references to Mount Picchu and Tical. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, after all!
     
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  7. Blastfrog

    Blastfrog

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    I can't help you with research, but I wish you the best in your efforts. More documentation is always a good thing.

    The unironic use of these terms makes me question you on multiple levels.
     
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  8. JansenM

    JansenM

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    This may be of some tangential interest (although I'm guessing anyone who knows San Fran has probably noticed this?) -

    The bridge in Radical Highway, usually identified as the Golden Gate, actually has its structure based on the Oakland Bay Bridge, only recoloured red for that recognisable look.

    [​IMG]
    They're both from the same city, so perhaps they combined multiple influences! Thought it might be a noteworthy tidbit. Loved the SA1 video, by the way!
     
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  9. Neat! I knew City Escape was very clearly based off of San Francisco (...as did everyone, I assume?), but it's cool to see the locations where the photos were taken! Those are definitely the right spots on comparing the street view to the photos. It looks like that area's about 3 miles from Sega of America's HQ at 699 8th St, which Google tells me they have sold to Zynga who has since recently sold it to Beacon Capital Partners.
     
  10. SystemsReady

    SystemsReady

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    It's one thing to know that City Escape and environs are based on San Francisco...but IMO it is an entirely different beast for me to look at that development photo and street view photos and understand that's based on that. Because oh my god, it looks super close to the general vibe that level had, down to the lighting and how the street and buildings look at that time of day, and that is cool as hell.
     
  11. Snub-n0zeMunkey

    Snub-n0zeMunkey

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    Don't really see how it would be embarrassing? Most fictional environments draw inspiration from some real world equivalent. Emerald Coast was based on Quintana Roo in Mexico and obviously there's a lot of South American influences in Adventure 1 like @Shoemanbundy mentioned earlier.

    There's Sunset Heights in Forces which is heavily based on Amsterdam. Also like, the entirety of Unleashed is based off of real world locations lol you could probably make a whole new thread about real world influences in these games

    And I think some environments in Breath of the Wild were based off of Kyoto since that's where Nintendo HQ is. More or less the same as SA2 development taking inspiration from the city where they were based.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2022