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Is there any proof Tails was originally not meant to appear in SA2?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by charcoal, Nov 20, 2022 at 11:32 PM.

  1. Taylor

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    Considering the example of branching paths given (a submarine which has nothing to do with SA2's story), I think it's likely the idea was something that never left the drawing board. Kinda like the time travel idea in Sonic 2.
     
  2. JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    I feel like someone somewhere said they played the submarine part, but don't quote me on that.
     
  3. Flare

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    This may likely be true. It’s hard to know how far ideas they had got. They may have impacted the things enough that we can see relics of what they wanted to do, but they may not have got far enough to affect anything in the end.

    The fact so many levels have repeats could simply be down to the fact the team was much smaller and they didn’t have time for unique themes versus being part of a cut feature. They may never confirm or deny the reasoning though.

    Edit:
    I guess this is where 'branching paths' rumour started?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2022 at 2:13 PM
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  4. Taylor

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    It's interesting that even by Sept 2000, there was still talk of branching paths, considering that by then the game would've been set on the structure we know today (indicated by the Trial release). Was Sonic Team intending on cramming that in if they had the spare time...?

    Edit: People wonder a lot about those images of Sonic in Sky Rail, but considering Sonic Team's strategy of keeping Shadow secret, it's possible that Sky Rail was always intended to be for Shadow, and they just swapped him with Sonic to keep the secret hidden while still showing off new levels.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2022 at 3:03 PM
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  5. Flare

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    I’d note that the sentence isn’t a direct quote from ST. So much like the Tails one, take with a grain of salt.

    (Personally it read to me like a mini game (almost like the shooting ones in Frontiers) than a branching game system)
     
  6. Pengi

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    Sonic Adventure 2's six playable characters all have their own genre of music, but Shadow's Sky Rail and Radical Highway stages have Sonic-style Jun Senoue rock, instead of the electro that the rest of the game associates with Shadow (Shadow's theme song, White Jungle, Final Chase, Sonic vs Shadow 2, Biolizard).

    I'd say there's a decent chance that Sky Rail was originally intended as a Sonic level (thus the screenshots), and maybe Radical Highway too. The remaining Shadow levels, White Jungle and Final Chase, are just variants on two of Sonic's levels.

    Maybe there were supposed to be more Shadow levels, but they ran out of time, so they gave him two of Sonic's? Maybe all of Shadow's stages would have been "Act 2s", like White Jungle and Final Chase, or maybe the level theme re-use was another compromise.

    The final game has the imbalance of 6 Sonic levels and only 4 Shadow levels, 16 Hero levels and 14 Dark levels. I'd be surprised if it was planned that way from the start.
     
  7. Black Squirrel

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    I'm still sure I read a different quote somewhere but this will have to do:
    https://retrocdn.net/index.php?title=File:ODM_UK_09.pdf&page=21
    "As well as being able to play as Sonic the Hedgehog himself, Knuckles the Echidna will definitely be returning, but it doesn't look as though their freakish fox friend Tails is going to make the cut."

    So ODM were peddling this narrative as early as their E3 coverage in June 2000. Unless they were explicitly told at that event, I am guessing it's speculation based on the video that's been posted already.


    Now... how much E3 2000 material do we have...
     
  8. DefinitiveDubs

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    I always thought it was weird that there was only one "vehicle" section in SA2 and it sticks out like a sore thumb. If there were more planned, like a submarine, or perhaps the Tornado, that would make sense.
     
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  9. Mr. Cornholio

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    Huge speculation on my part and not something that should be taken as word, but the idea of an 'airplane' minigame section makes some level of sense. Tails uses the Tornado a good couple of times throughout the narrative. I could buy some sort of time-based 'flying' minigame as opposed to the Tornado simply being used in cutscenes. Like a minigame where Tails flies to Prison Island as opposed to it just occurring in a cutscene. I could also see a Hero 'flying' minigame that takes place alongside Sky Rail? If it was dropped early on however, I don't see how it could fit with the narrative of Sky Rail originally being a Sonic level.

    It never really hit me how odd it was given that they at least gave Rouge one and tried to flesh it out a bit more in the optional Kart Racing minigame, but I could see them scaling back ambition here.
     
  10. Black Squirrel

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    Enough to speculate some more.

    E3 2000 took place between the 11th and 13th of May - Sega brought loads of games to the event, most of which they planned to release around the Christmas period. They had a lot to work with - even Sonic Team managed to bring ChuChu Rocket, Samba de Amigo and Phantasy Star Online along, so there was no need to lead with Sonic Adventure 2. In fact, the biggest Sonic game at E3 was probably Sonic Shuffle.

    I mean people were generally more interested in SA2, but Shuffle was there and playable. SA2 was just a movie apparently shown behind closed doors, with a tentative "Winter 2000" release date that was probably going to slip. A batch of screenshots were also released, but I don't think there was much of a story to tell other than "it exists, here's the proof".

    Crucially there is only Sonic, Knuckles and Eggman (and Chao) in all of the screenshots and footage (with Shadow being an unknown black hedgehog shrouded in mystery). Whether that's because they only planned for three characters, or were intentionally hiding the rest of the cast, it unknown, because Sega didn't want to talk about SA2 at E3 2000.


    Sonic Team didn't talk about SA2 at all until September 2000, when they began drip-feeding screenshots on their website (again, exclusively Sonic, Knuckles and Eggman). Then as mentioned there was an announcement around October/November-ish that a trial version would be included in PSO, and the build contains remants of the other characters, and seriously Retro it needs documenting, etc.

    Sonic Retro is marking 14th April 2001 as the date when another batch of screenshots came through, this time officially confirming the other three characters' existence. Apparently Rouge and Shadow were "unofficially" confirmed when toy manufacturer ReSaurus accidentally leaked action figure details (which ironically never came to pass because the company closed down) - I'm not totally sure about that - the noise on ReSaurus' website is dated the 17th April, but I don't know where the 14th comes from, so whatever.


    My takeaway from this is it took Sega eleven months to reveal that Tails was in Sonic Adventure 2 (p.s. is this a similar time scale for Sonic Frontiers?). I don't know if that makes ODM's "he's not planned" assessment correct, but there's nothing to suggest they're "wrong" either. All that can really be deduced is that Sega didn't give a damn about Tails, and given his absense from the original press releases, might suggest the character was only implmented after Sonic, Knuckles and Eggman. And it shows in the final product - as mentioned, Tails doesn't really do anything of value.

    That being said, while you can probably argue that some of the Shadow and Tails stages might have been intended for Sonic and Eggman, respectively, I'm not sure the same can be said for Rouge's levels, which are either very similar to Knuckles', or so far removed from what Knuckles would do, that I can't help but feel they were made with her in mind.

    Conversely with the original Sonic Adventure, all six characters were on display from the moment the game was announced. It suggests at the very least there was a two-tier class system in play with SA2. Three if you count Amy Rose.
     
  11. Snowbound

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    Baseless speculation here, but my gut’s telling me that Tails, Rogue and Shadow were always meant to be playable but they weren’t initially announced because Sonic Team wasn’t sure if they’d have time to make levels for them.
     
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  12. Mr. Cornholio

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    I guess the biggest thing that hangs me up about this idea is that it seems really bizarre to leave Tails out of any promotional material. Tails had always 'been there' in the mainline games since his initial debut and Adventure 1 also featured him. While I understand the main cast of Adventure 2 is different from that of 1, it feels really odd to intentionally not include him given how much of a mainstay he was, even if they still weren't sure he would be playable with the deadline given? Surely he would've at least popped up in a cutscene or contributed something small to the plot with the 'Fake Emerald' plotpoint?

    I suppose cutscenes would have been finished later into development, however. I guess I'm just kind of baffled a narrative would've been written without him to some degree at this point in the franchise's life.
     
  13. Blue Spikeball

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    Very possible, especially considering Iizuka's words:
    Source: https://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2016/11/14/where-sonic-went-wrong.aspx

    It's possible that the game was meant to have 6 characters since the beginning but they considered cutting it down to 3 after the downsizing if time didn't allow to implement them all. In the end they were able to resolve the issue by making Tails, Shadow and Rouge clones of the other 3.

    Might also be the reason the branching story was dropped, assuming the reports were legit.
     
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  14. Taylor

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    I think Tails' gameplay getting rebooted (as well as design, considering he spends 99% of the game in that mech) might be why they were cage-y about showing him off for a while. This board accepts the idea now because SA2 is like 20 years old but I wouldn't be surprised if there might've been some hesitation about that idea at first. Show off the cool stuff first (Eggman is playable! There's an evil Sonic! Look at Sonic ride those rails!) before showing off the more potentially divisive stuff, like Sonic's little brother figure completely abandoning his traditional gameplay to pilot a walking death machine :P
    Tails' assets were found in The Trial, so there was at least a good six months that Sonic Team was working on Tails before officially confirming him to the public. It's definitely a weird situation.

    Edit: On that note, here's some concept art of the Cyclone. Seems like it was gonna hold a realistic gun at some point?? Maybe they were trying to iron out its design first
     
  15. Snowbound

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    I’d love to read people’s reactions to read archival reactions to the SA2 reveal trailer. Is Retro’s original SA2 thread archived somewhere?
     
  16. Overlord

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    Retro didn't exist in 2000 =P You'd have to look at newsgroups and places like the original SSRG.
     
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  17. Pengi

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  18. Well yes and no; Sonic Retro's precursor Simon Wai's Sonic 2 Beta Page was around, but the boards moved to this software in 2003 and I have no idea whether the previous InsideTheWeb and EZBoard incarnations are backed up anywhere. My memory's super-fuzzy on that time period now, but I think that was during the time Pelord was running the site, before Simon returned for a bit and the existing community split off to become Sonic Classic for about a decade before being re-absorbed by Sonic Retro? If so then it would have been on EZBoard for sure, and it was a.... very different community back then.
     
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  19. Blue Spikeball

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    CulT used to host a backup of old Area 51 forums. Does anyone have it?
     
  20. kyasarintsu

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    The game reuses a lot of stuff within individual levels. While having "light" and "dark" versions of levels is cute and makes sense thematically, there are those exceptions that just feel like the result of the game's limited development circumstances.