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Naoto Ohshima, Twin Star, Wonder Hedgehog, 1990 Tokyo Toy Show, and other goodness

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Gryson, Mar 2, 2022.

  1. Gryson

    Gryson

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    Apologies in advance if this is nothing new - I admit I'm not keeping up with these things right now.

    In that recent, super long interview with Naoto Ohshima in the new Beep21 online magazine in Japan (it costs 500 yen to access but is worth it), he made some brief comments that might be of interest.

    First, there's a photo of an early design doc for Sonic (before it was Sonic; ignore the page on the left with the drawing of Shoichiro Irimajiri - that was for a Dreamcast promotional event):

    [​IMG]

    And the caption for the photo, written by Ohshima: "I recently found the second draft of the proposal for Sonic. This was created by myself and Hayashida (Kotaro, who was then chief of the planning section). For the first draft, the main characters were called Twin Star, a pair of boys who fought against nightmares. In the second draft, there are remnants of the word 'nightmare.' After that, I joined with Yuji Naka, and the character became the hedgehog called Sonic."

    I can't translate all of the page from the photo now, but it outlines the type of game (horizontal left-to-right scrolling), how enemies are defeated (see below), and the bosses. The main boss is called Thirteen (or Nightmare Thirteen) and can be seen at the bottom of the page.

    Enemies are defeated by rolling into them:

    [​IMG]

    The doc says "enemies are defeated using a 'rolling attack' (Wonder Hedgehog)."

    So the rolling attack apparently existed even before Naka was involved and before the character was a hedgehog (presumably?), and the attack seems to have been called 'Wonder Hedgehog'.

    The interview has a ton of other interesting info about Ohshima, including the story of how he met with Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto (the creator of Mario) before Ohshima began working on Sonic, and that experience motivated him to attempt to make something greater than Mario.

    Ohshima also comments on the 1990 Tokyo Toy Show: "We showed a teaser of Sonic at the June 1990 Tokyo Toy Show. However, it didn't even have a single enemy finished. It was just footage showing off the multi-layered scrolling and the feeling of speed." (He uses the word 映像 'eizou' to refer to the teaser, which indicates it's a video recording or something like that rather than a playable demo).

    And a photo of the 1990 Tokyo Toy Show:

    [​IMG]

    Edit: Check this post for more info.

    Edit 2: Even more info in this post.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2022
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  2. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    Very interesting! The more we learn about the early nightmare world game, the more similarities it seems to have to NiGHTS. The protagonists would have been two kids who fight nightmares. From that sketch, it looks like attacking enemies would have sent them flying ala NiGHTS' drill dash. Also, could "Twin Star" have inspired the name of Twin Seeds?
     
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  3. Snowbound

    Snowbound

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    @Blugenesi(Jarty) I think we just got more info confirming that the tokyo toy show demo was unplayable. Funny I just finished reading ur thread then I saw this thread. I hope this new info is a prelude to a bunch more design materials being included with Sonic Origins.

    So now Naka and Ohshima are presenting 2 different origins for Sonic’s rolling attack. I suspect they are both misremembering the specifics of what happened as it’s been so long. The truth is prob somewhere between both versions. Maybe Naka suggested the rolling mechanic before he was fully on board? Or maybe there was a difference between how Sonic rolled and how the Twin Stars would’ve rolled?

    So this is a slightly provocative question... but let’s say that Naka had nothing to do with the rolling mechanic... is it still fair to call him Sonic’s cocreator? Was his vision of a fast character and his programing skills still so significant that he cocreated Sonic? Tbc Naka is a major reason why the Sonic series was successful... but does he really deserve credit for CREATING the CHARACTER of Sonic? I’m not trying to make any allegations or piss anyone off here. I’m just curious what some of the more informed folks make of this.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2022
  4. Gryson

    Gryson

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    Probably lost in my translation, but I think he implies that 'Twin Star' was limited to the first version of the proposal and was not part of the second version, so what we're seeing on that page probably isn't Twin Star.
     
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  5. McAleeCh

    McAleeCh

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    Oh wow - you can actually see the demo running on two of the screens, with the large "DEBUT APPROACHING" text seen in that one magazine screenshot. I think that's the first time we've actually seen a shot contextualising how it was displayed at the show - nice find!
     
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  6. Snowbound

    Snowbound

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    I just realized. That person’s bag is blocking the genesis playing the Sonic proto. If only it wasn’t in the way then we could see if there was a controller or not for the sonic booth.
     
  7. Pengi

    Pengi

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    Does the article definitely say "Twin Star"?

    There's an interview in the January 1997 issue of Sega Magazine where Naka refers to Ohshima's game as "Twinkle Star" (ツインクルスター).

    https://segaretro.org/index.php?title=File:Sega_Magazine_JP_Issue_03_199701.pdf&page=14

    Shmuplations translated the full interview here: https://shmuplations.com/sonicteam/

     
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  8. Gryson

    Gryson

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    Yes, it says Twin Star ツインスター

    And "twin" makes sense, given that the main characters are twins. I wonder if Naka was just misremembering, since there are several other "Twinkle" games.
     
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  9. Blugenesi(Jarty)

    Blugenesi(Jarty)

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    Well, Hm. More contradictions to what Naka has said. I wish I found this while working on my video, since I put so much time into it and I still had never heard of this, but if that roll concept art does infact predate Naka’s involvement… that contradicts the story that Naka “had the idea since highschool” that I included in my video… which frustrates me. Still that picture is amazing! But I still believe ohshima. There’s NO way TTS 90 was playable. I’ll have to make a update video on this. Man though, it’s frustrating but also good to get the truth out there.
     
  10. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    At least this is concrete proof that the message appeared as part of the "game" (as I had expected), and wasn't slapped on by a magazine later.

    Obviously we can't tell if you could control Sonic, but two screens down, in what looks like Shadow Dancer - that Mega Drive doesn't appear to have controllers plugged in, so clearly some games on display here weren't playable.


    Also for anyone who cares: that's Shiten Myouou on the left of Sonic and (I think) Advanced Daisenryaku: Deutsch Dengeki Sakusen on the right.
     
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  11. Pengi

    Pengi

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    The order of events as described is a little confusing, but that might be due to some nuance or ambiguity in the Japanese language that we're missing. It sure seems like the hedgehog had already been decided upon in that draft.

    It would be useful to have the passage in its original Japanese, in case there are any other interpretations.
     
  12. Antheraea

    Antheraea

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    I wouldn't say that contradicts what we have on the wiki for instance:
    I could've sworn I read that Naka had a proof of concept of momentum-based physics pre-dating Sonic but hell if I can remember it - found that in the article while looking.

    Ah, there we go:

    Again, I wouldn't think that's necessarily contradictory. Lots of good things come about because of the disparate ideas that people have completely independent, that make up an epiphany when put together because, duh. This one seems to be more about the complex momentum aspect, which indeed is pretty math-based and a pain to do properly, and it came up during a discussion about how to damage enemies given the current thesis of the game. This quote also has two different sources cited, with a third in the next sentence about ohshima being skeptical. For instance, https://web.archive.org/web/20201215234115/http://shmuplations.com/sonicteam/ and https://web.archive.org/web/20160625123544/https://www.famitsu.com/news/201606/24107383.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2022
  13. Antheraea

    Antheraea

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    Oh, right, that photo of the demo. Do you reckon that the object mentioned from the proto we have here is a leftover from that?

    upload_2022-3-2_12-7-1.png
     
  14. Rlan

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    Kind of glad Ohshima was finally able to make NiGHTS some years later. Seemed like Twins and Nightmares and Dreams were an obsession of his for a long while.
     
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  15. Linkabel

    Linkabel

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    Have a question for those that know Japanese.

    What's the exact name that they used in Japan for those promo VHS with trailers/info etc etc called?

    Asking because it might be a good avenue to check if this was ever included in a Sega or video game Magazine VHS.
     
  16. JaxTH

    JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    You mean this?

    Sega Shinsaku Soft Video
     
  17. Linkabel

    Linkabel

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    Yes, similar to those but more general to get results from other sources.
     
  18. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    My gut feeling is this demo was built specifically for this show, and that the actual game was made afterwards from scratch. We know this was demo was made shockingly early in the product's development, and nothing Sonic-related would be shown publicly for another six or seven months.

    You need core parts of the game's design sorted before embarking on a full game. At this point they've just got "blue hedgehog" and "can walk to the right".
     
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  19. Forte

    Forte

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    I thought a single enemy (the blue thing, also seen on some early concept arts) made it into the auto demo?
     
  20. JaxTH

    JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    Technically that is speculation, but we believe this to be right.

    I believe we got some high quality scans or something to showcase said enemy somewhat recently.