New Sonic 2 Concept Art Uncovered

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by DefinitiveDubs, Feb 25, 2021.

  1. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    Last Summer, Craig Stitt (former Sega STI member, creator of Spyro) unleashed a treasure trove of lost pieces of art related to Sonic 2, from both Yamaguchi and himself.

    https://sonicretro.org/2020/08/18/i...itch-treasure-tails-released-to-the-internet/
    https://sonicretro.org/2020/09/05/u...og-2-art-by-yasushi-yamaguchi-comes-to-light/

    Both he and the community thought at the time that he had shared everything he had in his possession. But as it turns out, that wasn't quite the case.

    About a week ago, I decided to interview the man to try and follow up on statements he had made in previous interviews, and to see if I could get any more information on Sonic 2's development. I ended up speaking to him for more than 2 hours. Craig is an incredibly nice man; I'll edit down that interview as soon as I find the time. Anyway: one of those statements came from a 2001 interview with Sonic researcher ICEknight:
    http://info.sonicretro.org/Craig_Stitt_interview_by_ICEknight_(January_2001)
    When I asked him about this statement, 20 years later, he casually mentioned that he had some rough sketches of said level in a book he had never scanned in. He brushed it aside as crappy rough sketches nobody would be interested in, but with a bit of persuasion, he came to realize that regardless of quality, the community would like to see them anyway.

    One week later, Craig got to work scanning in every last remaining piece of art he had sketched out for Sonic 2. Through Facebook messaging, he sent them all my way along with some comments about each page. It turns out that he had quite a bit more than the "circus level". Included are concept sketches for the infamous Hidden Palace Zone, another proposed level taking place on a gold ring around a planet, and most notably, an "Egg-shaped Death Star". Also mixed in are sketches for Kid Chameleon, and the cancelled game "Spinny & Spike".

    https://www.unseen64.net/2010/07/17/spinny-and-spike-genesis-mega-drive-cancelled/

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    A big thanks to Craig for providing these and taking the time to talk with me so much about his involvement with Sonic 2. It's interesting to see that not only did he come up with something remarkably similar to the Death Egg, but also ways to make Hidden Palace look more like a palace, instead of the level we know as a cave. I also think the idea of a planet surrounded by a gold ring is downright clever.

    Thus, I have contributed to the Sonic research scene. Something off my bucket list.

    Adios.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
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  2. Vangar

    Vangar

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    Appreciate all the KC content. I'd argue his memory is pretty hazy and it seems like the majority of this content is actually for KC, not Sonic. I'll go through some KC level designs and see what matches...
     
  3. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    While Craig's memory is certainly hazy and unreliable after 30 years (he genuinely believed HPZ was supposed to be accessed through MCZ until I reminded him that that was the mobile port, much to his embarrassment) he seems to be pretty certain about most of these sketches being for Sonic, able to name specific imagined gimmicks, and it's fairly obvious for some of them (that first page for example has "Sonic 91" written on it). In fact, he's reading this thread and in response to your comment, he had this to say:
    In general, during our talks, he was pretty good about keeping his memory in check. He made it clear what things he wasn't sure on, and what things he was certain about. One of the interesting things he was certain about was that he played Hidden Palace Zone. As in, not the mobile port. I informed him that this didn't make sense considering the prototypes we have, to which he replied "I don't know what to tell you other than I definitely played it from start to finish."
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
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  4. Vangar

    Vangar

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  5. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    Even after reminding him, he doubled down.
    As far as the emeralds:
    Again: I don't put 100% faith in Craig's memory, especially after so long and it not being an especially memorable part of his life. I don't take what he says at face value. But at the same time, it's his art. It's one thing to doubt his memory, but doubting his art? What right does anyone have to do that? I sure don't. So I'm going to side with him on this.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  6. Vangar

    Vangar

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    Don't take it so defensively at the end, I'm moreso curious and of course happy he's willing to share not just his art but his memory on them also.

    I am an artist too and I don't remember shit from 10+ years ago, let alone 20 so there's that. Can't imagine how many concepts he's drawn in that time.

    It's a GREAT note to learn that the little marks and years written underneath these pictures were added years after.
     
  7. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    Awesome stuff!

    So that's the big clown head he was talking about. Did he not work in the unreleased Jester? Maybe there's concepts of that in here too.

    For any following interviews, I'd try to avoid luring the interviewees into a possible answer. That's a dangerous thing to do when dealing with distant memories, we're lucky he seems genuinely interested and didn't reply "yeah, that thing you said".


    Kid Chameleon had four bosses total, if I remember correctly.[​IMG]
     
  8. MathUser

    MathUser

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    Another prototype. Nice.
     
  9. Flygon

    Flygon

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    That first image, the circus sketch, gave me massive Sonic the Hedgehog 3 multiplayer stage vibes - but I know that's just a coincidence, and a convergence of generic design tropes for circuses.

    Super surreal seeing this stuff. Tell him how much we appreciate this! It's sketches like this that break down the myth of organized design, and bring home the reality that it's really designing 1000% of a game, and throwing 900% of it out.
     
  10. Fadaway

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    Using spare paper to rough-sketch art is normal. I always do that and its downside is you sometimes lose pieces in the hundreds of random stacks of paper set aside in areas. However, the upside outweighs the downside. Using good paper for rough sketches tends to get in the way of progress. I have entire dresser drawers filled with rough material going back two decades! Usually notebook paper and printer paper and other scraps. Then, good art on Bristol board and such.

    These sketches are great! I really love seeing some additional concepts for Hidden Palace Zone (love the buckets on pulleys carrying gems platform/hazard idea) and other unused concepts for zones, like the gold ring stage.

    HPZ is still some of the best art I've ever seen in a 2D platform game.
     
  11. saxman

    saxman

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    Very interesting items here. It's fun to see the ideas that were thrown around for both Sonic 2 and Kid Chameleon.

    Regarding KC, this is a game I spent a good bit of time years ago pulling apart (I made the "K-E" level editor). But during my research, I recall there was evidence of one removed transformation, as well as one removed level theme (slot #0). Between these new scans and the ones Vangar linked to, it makes me wonder if any of these drawings are for those removed things. It's fun to think about.

    The final game *literally* makes two changes following the one KC prototype we have (a single rubber block added to Forced Entry, and conditional logic to make the "murder wall" slower on Hills of the Warrior I). So we don't have much to go off of unfortunately.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
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  12. Knucklez

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    How I wish sooooo badly that Craig would release that SEGAPEDE prototype so the ROM could be dumped. This is my first time seeing the footage and reading about it. It's just surreal to see HPZ with all the extensive assets and depth to the level as well as that scrapped character in action. That proto is just another piece of SEGA's proto pie.
     
  13. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Wiki it up, buds.

    This "was meant to be an actual palace" thing is a fascinating take which I honestly hadn't considered before. You're right - it really is just a fancy cave, unlike Sonic & Knuckles which was clearly some sort of man-made (or echidna-made) structure. This makes me wonder if they actually ever finished the graphics, or indeed had second thoughts before axing the level entirely.
     
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  14. Exactly how I always saw it. Hidden palace is cool, but it's never wowed me. :v
     
  15. CaseyAH_

    CaseyAH_

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    I'd probably say it's graphics were mostly (if not entirely) complete by the time HPZ had been axed. Compare to Wood Zone, where the art was claimed to be 50% finished before being scrapped, HPZ looks way more complete and polished.
     
  16. YuTwo

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    Thanks for conducting this interview DefinitiveDubs! It's always great to discover something new about any of the classic games developments and if Craig is indeed reading this thread then I would like to say thank you so much for all of the information you have provided for us over the past year.

    By the way, that figure eight loop reminded of the fangame Sonic Studio which will allow these types of loops to be created:

    I also like that Craig was trying to expand and experiment with the way loops and ramps were going to play in these concepts.
     
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  17. Lapper

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    Sonic Studio, Sonic Physics Guide, Kyle & Lucy: WW, Freedom Planet 2
    Wait, what.

    Sonic Studio confirmed official?
    Lapper confirmed legit Sonic dev?

    Fr though this is really cool.


    What??
     
  18. Why is Craig Stitt Sonic missing his left arm? Does he just have a hand for an arm?
     

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  19. Flygon

    Flygon

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    Artists cheat sketches. Take it from someone that knows a lot of artists.
     
  20. cyn

    cyn

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    It's one thing to get these cool sketches, but another to actually get any sort of real commentary on them.
    I really wish they did something with the "Ring Planet" concept. Maybe it's just me, but that seemed like one of the coolest ideas thrown around there considering how you see these rings everywhere with zero explanation as to what purpose they serve in the world. Well, past gameplay reasons of course.
     
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