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Naoto Ohshima - New Unheard Info Of Early Sonic 1

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Blugenesi(Jarty), Jan 25, 2021.

  1. Blugenesi(Jarty)


    Wannabe Youtuber Member
    Okay, so this is a big one for me. Normally Id have no problem posting my video in the gaming youtuber thread, but this is huge.
    If you do not want to watch the video, I am sure you are all aware of the piece of Sonic 1 concept art that features Sonic, Madonna, Bumblebee Robotnik and all of the weird enemies, one of which we know made it into TTS 1990. Well, I asked Mr. Naoto Ohshima about the art, and he told me that originally Sonic 1 took place in a world of nightmares! I am almost certain this information has not been available publicly and I want to share it with all of you! I did not post screenshots of our conversation in the video, because I didn't think it was right to, but I do have them.

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  2. Prototype


    That lends so much context to that concept art featuring Bumblebee-Botnik, the monsters and the big looming spectre dude in the background. Always wondered what his deal was.

    That probably also lends context to the surreal environments.
  3. DarkVDee


    Duke Of Palettes Member
    Sonic DVD [CD2]
    Sonic could've been NiGHTS if you think about it if they had gone to that route of development
  4. RDNexus


    To think that piece of concept art may've been the basis for "Night into Dreams" is a huge discovery.
    Also amazes me how even to this day people manage to find out stuff from Classic Sonic games dev.
    Let us hope new discoveries can be made during this year. The last couple ones have been awesome.
  5. Prototype


    Can we be thankful that this didn't happen? Simply due to the fact that "bizarre dream world" is still pretty Mario-esque, even if you remove Madonna as the damsel.

    Glad they developed their own setting and concept.

    (That being said, once they had established it, I wish they stuck with it! Seems almost random chance that the core series ended up as distinct as it was!)
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  6. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    Wow! Ohshima predicted that the Sonic series would turn into a nightmare of mediocrity!
  7. Fadaway


    I love the idea of Sonic and Madonna and nightmares. I think some of that would be great if it was incorporated into current canons. NiGHTS vibes all the way.
  8. T.Q.


    The Sims 2, Tim Drake [Robin] Member
    I wonder if more assets for the concept art below were made. If the screenshot from the Teradrive demo was showcased during the Tokyo Toy Show back around June 1990, I wonder how long it took before the concept of Sonic and Madonna were scrapped.

    Like the mountains, the buildings, and the palm trees in the background were made for the Sonic demo, and that pink monster with gloves became blue.

    Then clearly Sonic and Madonna in the teradrive art were based of this sketch.


    (Seen at 58 seconds into the video)
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  9. Frostav


    How long did they spend on this concept? Because devs often just throw ideas at the wall, but never actually intended to do them, they just were brainstorming. Then later they go "oh we did this" or show some crazy-ass concept artwork in an artbook and gamers go "WOAH THEY WERE GONNA DO THIS?!" but no, they really weren't, they just brainstormed stuff.

    I remember a few years back--before the Switch--the Fire Emblem team said they drew concept art of a sci-fi fire emblem that took place on Mars but like, they never actually were gonna do that. They were just brainstorming "what makes Fire Emblem what it is" and decided to intentionally stretch the concept to gain inspiration. Was this an actual serious direction for Sonic 1, or simply the devs throwing around ideas until they finally went with the actual final themes of the game as released?
  10. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    Seeing how the aforementioned concept art seems to be in tune with the nightmare concept, and at least one of the nightmare monsters made it to the TTS demo, I would think they were serious about it.
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  11. Antheraea


    Bug Hunter Member
    yeah, one of the enemies made it into TTS, which means someone had to draw up animations and someone else had to make sprites out of them. Sonic's posing and Madonna too were also sprited for the tech demo...

    to use the fire emblem example, it'd be like if there was a prototype of three houses or whatever where the character portraits used the sci-fi designs
  12. Ravenfreak


    2 Edgy 4 U Tech Member
    O'Fallon Mo
    Sonic 1 Game Gear Disassembly
    I always thought some of the creatures showcased in that pre alpha image were more hilarious looking than creepy. :V Especially the giant hand with attitude, and Bumblebee Eggman is hilarious too IMO. Though seeing the creature in the back, I can definitely get a nightmare vibe from it. I'm actually kind of glad Sonic didn't go down this route tbh. I don't think Sonic would have been as popular with those bizarre creatures being the main antagonists.
  13. Metalwario64


    Yeah, Robotnik and his machines would have been way cooler to me as a kid, and are definitely much more so as an adult. I've always been a stickler for cool mechanical designs and aesthetics, which is why I always loved the Death Egg zones and Robotnik's large robots.

    We also wouldn't have gotten the mechanical dystopian elements in SatAM, and that aesthetic is one I always liked (much like Terminator's future). But I guess AoSTH would have been much closer to the games with it's wacky, surreal aesthetics and characters.
  14. YuTwo


    I did always see some of the concept art for Sonic 1 to be a lot more trippy and surreal in my opinion. Especially this one in particular:
  15. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    Honestly, it kinda fits in with Sega's creative direction in games leading up to that point. You have games set in bizarre settings like Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Fantasy Zone, and Space Harrier. It may also explain in part why they abandoned the idea; it was just a little too samey and they wanted something new. In the end, it certainly worked. Instead of a game that would be potentially too cute, you have a game with surreal environments but compelling themes and a slight cool factor.

    I hope someone's archiving the tweets for the wiki. If it comes to it, I could do it.

    To veer just slightly off-topic, I wonder how much effect if any this information might have on Sonic Overture (assuming it's still in development...).
  16. RDNexus


    Sonic Overture? A fangame?
  17. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    Yes, sorry I should have clarified. Sonic Overture is a fangame that was shown off at SAGE 2014 and hasn't been heard from since. It incorporated a lot of concepts from Sonic 1's development including the above mentioned rabbit and the pajama Eggman concepts.

    With the revelation that the original setting was a world of dreams, I'd be curious to see how Overture might incorporate it.

    You can find Retro's topic on it here.
  18. RDNexus


    A project without news since 2017? As far as I know, of course.
    Not sure if it'll be revived. Sonic Utopia's also a bit in the dark...
  19. LucasMadword


    LucasSaturn Member
    Check out the Sonic Fan Games HQ page, there's an update saying it's been on temporary hiatus since 2017-2018 but the fan game is not cancelled.
    It's very interesting to hear about what could have been with Sonic. In a way, part of me wishes they'd explored the idea more, or incorporated at least some of the more surreal elements in, but at the same time, eh, the games were fun without them, and that's what matters :P
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  20. Montblanc


    A world of dreams... Maybe that can also explain why the concept art of what later would became Eggman was wearing a pajamas?

    Attached Files:

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