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New Sonic 2 development lore drop - Genocide/Cyber City palette and art!

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by The Joebro64, Mar 19, 2023.

  1. .hack//zero

    .hack//zero

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    Working on a vulkan game engine for fun. Learning Ray-Tracing.
    How far back were they made?
    In the Simon Wai beta, or was it just a few builds before SCZ and WFZ were created?
     
  2. Fleeksteek

    Fleeksteek

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    The Sky Chase badniks were made in the August 21st build.
     
  3. Mookey

    Mookey

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    Interesting thing about that (if this hasn't already been pointed out): in the September 14th prototype Death Egg does use WFZ's music, so there is a tangible link. I think it's the first theme the level uses in fact, as there's no song assigned to the level slot until that prototype.

    GCZ/CCZ I think always used CPZ's theme but that goes back to at least the Simon Wai proto, where DEZ's final theme seems to have just been implemented considering it's bizarre usage and how off it sounds compared to even the demo track. If DEZ's music was originally intended for GCZ/CCZ then it seems the level slot was implemented before the music, and by the time the theme was implemented the level was set to be scrapped.
     
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  4. Fleeksteek

    Fleeksteek

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    It's also worth noting that despite being in the game for a while, the Turtliods in SCZ can cause a serious glitch in the September 14th proto. If you spindash on the shell until the screen scrolls all the way left, Sonic bypasses the invisible wall. If the badnik was for intended for CCZ, it probably wasn't programmed with auto scrolling in mind initially.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2023
  5. Mr. Cornholio

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    Lord I'm not bright. I even recently booted up the Simon Wai prototype to capture some screenshots of that! You're right and this was likely the intended use of it. I guess that makes Cyber City harder to pin down...I wonder if track re-usage was ever considered at one point? Sonic 2 was a pretty large game in it's original time-travelling vision.

    The use of what was likely Sand Shower's theme in final Oil Ocean never really struck me as odd though until I dug further into it. Large quantities of oil being struck are typically associated with deserts. I always assumed the obvious 'desert-leitmotif' was used to imply there was once a desert in the area before oil was struck. I assume the development team had a similar thought, hence the track being moved there? It works nicer in Oil Ocean with the sped up tempo they eventually applied to it.

    Track re-usage would definitely make sense, and both Chemical Plant/Cyber City seemed to have a similar idea going for them (a futuristic 'city' area). Chemical Plant's track would fit nicely (though again, I think fan interpretations make me want a slightly more menacing track for the stage). My only concern is having two levels relatively close to one another re-using the same track might have gotten repetitive? Chemical and Genocide/Cyber City are right by one another in the 'Future' map concept art, with only Casino Night breaking them up. I think re-using that track so soon might have been a bit odd.

    I guess it all depends on when exactly the team collectively decided 'alright screw it no time travel', which I guess would allow for more freedom with choosing where Cyber City went in the level order. It seems the Time Travel plot was ditched around a bit after the Nick Arcade prototype, but before the Simon Wai build (assuming I understand correctly)?
     
  6. Mookey

    Mookey

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    That's the issue imo: it's hard to judge when conceptual changes were made by just looking at the prototypes, as there were certainly a lot of decisions and changes being made outside of whatever was implemented in the available builds.

    As far as is publicly known, Sonic 2's music was composed all around the same time sometime early into production based on early concept art for the levels and some descriptions. Assuming that each level concept got it's own track (which isn't a huge stretch, since the final game does have 14 unique level themes, final HPZ aside) I don't see why GCZ/CCZ wouldn't have one. The only song that seems to have been composed outside of this assumed initial batch is the final HPZ track, as that seems to have been made after the zone was re-conceptualized as a cutscene level, presumably sometime into production (and if that's the case I wonder how much trouble the devs had with getting Nakamura to compose it, only for it to go nearly unused in the final...)
     
  7. Childish

    Childish

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    I have been tooling around with the different protos and can confirm that the Death Egg slot doesn't have any music assigned to it until the September 14th proto, well... properly anyway, it does appear to play the fade out song track which sometimes bugs the audio out mutes the entire game until you reset. Before the September 14th proto nothing was assigned to slot $10 which was allocated to Death Egg until September 14th when it was located to Sky Chase. The reason I'm clarifying this is because Sky Chase music is used in slot $09.

    They moved Death Egg from $10 to slot $0E (the void that was previously genocide city) and put Sky Chase in the slot Death Egg was in. Why didn't they put it in the $09 slot?? The music for the zone is already in there!! It's not to make it more reflective of the level order or anything... Wing Fortress was put into slot $06 (although perhaps this is because Aquatic Ruin uses slot $0F). Don't think it means anything but it just confuses me how they had a slot for Death Egg since Wai yet did nothing with it and then ended up moving it over Genocide City.

    Also something that's fairly obvious, $0E is in the range of level IDs that can have water, so that adds up.

    Do we have any idea what the underwater palette might be? I'm hoping it's in the as yet to be scanned docs.

    Interestingly sound test $DE/$5E (the sound that plays when Wing Fortress flies past in Sky Chase) was implemented as early as Simon Wai. So if Sky Chase and Wing Fortress were added late into development what would have this been originally for.
     
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  8. Fleeksteek

    Fleeksteek

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    Potentially the CCZ fans?
     
  9. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    Reminder:

    Oil Ocean -> Arabian desert (oil reserves, etc)
    Sand Shower -> American desert (cacti, etc)

    Oil Ocean music -> Arabian inspired music


    Also, just saying:
    Aquatic Ruin music -> Has reference to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
     
  10. synchronizer

    synchronizer

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    Aquatic Ruin’s music always seemed kind of unfitting in my opinion.
     
  11. McAleeCh

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    Just because it was implemented later doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't composed along with the initial batch. For example, it may have been composed for some sort of planned cutscene very early in production (after all, we have no idea what Olympus was on the early maps for starters) which had already been dropped by the time the Sound Programmers were working on actually implementing the tracks in-game, hence its absence in the Simon Wai build onwards. Then later in development, they decided to adapted it into a looping track and implemented it after all, presumably as part of the behind the scenes work that was seemingly going on with Hidden Palace late in development (hence things like updated debug list to add Stego, updated art for that badnik, new music track etc, despite the layout remaining unchanged since the Nick Arcade build).

    As to the full extent of any behind the scenes work on that stage... Sadly, if there was anything more to it such as a more complete layout, it was obviously never compiled into an actual build for whatever reason. I find it hard to believe there wasn't one being worked on in isolation though, as the changes around the otherwise untouched stage so late in development would make no sense otherwise - and neither would the anecdotal evidence from various members of the team suggesting they still hoped they might be able to get the stage finished in time.

    Of course, that's all conjecture - but my point is that whether we're talking music or stages, as we've seen time and time again, what we see in the available builds is far from the full story. Genocide City itself is the perfect example of that...!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2023
  12. Laura

    Laura

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    I think the discussion on what which track fits which level is completely worthless. It is so utterly subjective.

    I always thought the 2P Emerald Hill theme was designed specifically for Emerald Hill because the song sounds like it glimmers at the beginning in the same way the title screen does. But it may well have been designed for another stage, maybe the Ocean one. It does have a ocean carribean feel. But even that's subjective. Certain songs 'fitting' certain themes is entirely based upon opinion. Some people thinks Oil Oceans theme sounds Arabian so it fits Oil Ocean. Some people think it sounds deserty. Sounds like whatever you want it to sound like.

    Fan discussions are also utterly confused and inconsistent. Hidden Palace temporarily had Mystic Cave 2 Player because it had the unused theme in the final game. Oil Ocean though can't have had the Oil Ocean theme in mind because it had a different song in a prototype. Lol

    There's also the clear issue that some levels might simply have the wrong theme. Wood Zone and Metropolis both have the same theme in Simon Wai. Just an accident one level has that theme. Could be the case for any other level. We simply don't know.
     
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  13. synchronizer

    synchronizer

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    I don’t know about that. There are specific musical motifs and scales associated with certain cultures and visuals that are widely understood. It’s conjecture, yes, but sometimes there is a little more basis for these guesses than nothing.
    But yes, we don’t know in the end.

    I wouldn’t guess by looking at the soundtest slots though. The programmers might have just been temporarily setting some variables here and there to make room. They didn’t even bother relabeling Sonic CD’s R3 and onwards to hide R2, for an example of quick programming. It’s convenient and save time to do whatever if the end-user won’t expect to see the behind-the-scenes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2023
  14. Laura

    Laura

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    Even that's subjective. I think Oil Ocean's theme is definitely designed for Oil Ocean because it sounds Arabic. But I could also understand how Arabic music could indicate desert.
     
  15. McAleeCh

    McAleeCh

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    All this music discussion really makes me wish that when they released Masato Nakamura's demo tracks they'd done so under the names they were originally composed with - if they were composed based on specific pieces of stage concept art, they'd likely have shared the same name as the stage they were intended for originally. If so, it would certainly have cleared up a lot of mysteries...!
     
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  16. synchronizer

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    Not an American desert, as someone pointed out. That motif is very specifically associated with Arabian-sounding music, so your opinion is a little stronger than “oh it sounds like a space station”-style claims.

    The same goes for the Aquatic Ruin motif. That’s associated with cowboys of the American Wild West film trope, as someone pointed out. It’s at least a little weird.

    But yeah I think most of everything else is reaching.

    Do we even know they didn’t withhold some demos due to potential “controversy?”
     
  17. Laura

    Laura

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    That's the thing. I have strong opinions. Lol. I think all songs were specifically designed for the stages they were used. Oil Ocean theme sounds Arabic. Wing Fortress sounds like a military bugle march. Death Egg sounds intimidating and spacey.

    But yeah, it is just so subjective.
     
  18. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    Cyber City
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    We don't know for certain if that truly is a GBU reference. As I pointed out in this thread, a very similar riff has been used in other jungle settings to reference the Tarzan yell. On top of that, if you ignore the supposed GBU reference, the sound isn't in the genre you would expect a Spaghetti Western soundtrack to be in. There's no guitar, for one thing, which is a very obvious instrument choice you would expect Masa to go for if he truly wanted to evoke that style. Instead, he uses a pan flute as the lead instrument, as well as a steel drum for the rhythm, which is commonly used in Caribbean-style music and which you can hear in a lot of "Amazon Rainforest/Tribal" stock music. Compare this to the ARZ demo, and you'll hear what I mean.


    Now, that doesn't explain the use of brass, but I'm just saying it's not as obvious as you might think.
    The point of discussion isn't whether a track sounds like it fits or not, it's whether it was specifically intended by Masa for that zone and what influences can be heard in the track itself. That's not entirely a subjective debate. For example, EHZ has a four-note arpeggio that can be heard in its theme which is consistent across multiple tracks in Sonic 2, but only plays once in an actual level theme, and it's specifically a reference to the exact same arpeggio in GHZ's theme from Sonic 1. Which is legitimate non-anecdotal evidence that the theme was composed for EHZ, back when it originally was just called GHZ.
     
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  19. Mookey

    Mookey

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    Yeah the music fits with the final levels, but remember all that Masato Nakamura had to go off of when it came time to compose the songs was some early concept work for each zone, and we know how simple, general and even different some of those concepts were compared to the final levels.

    How can it be said that each song was made to fit the level it's attached to in the final game when these levels were still some months off from existing in their final forms when the music was made up?
     
  20. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    The Masa's Demo versions of each track and their assignments in the prototypes gives a good idea of where they were intended to go. Here's what's confirmed and what's speculation.

    Confirmed
    • Casino Night 2P - Was composed for Oil Ocean, as evidenced by the prototypes.
    • Wing Fortress - Was composed for Death Egg, as evidenced by the prototypes.
    Almost certainly
    • Sky Chase - Was almost certainly composed for the winter zone, given that the demo version has a very Christmas-y feel with prominent bells and Nakamura mentioned composing "icy" music for Sonic 2 based on the concept art he was given. Additionally, it is assigned to Zone ID $09 in the prototypes - the ID for Rock World, which is commonly theorized to be the winter zone.
    • Oil Ocean - Was almost certainly composed for Sand Shower. It is assigned to Zone ID $03, where Sand Shower resided in the map and timeline concept art. Additionally, the demo version has a distinctly Egyptian feel to it.
    Pretty likely
    • Emerald Hill 2P - Likely intended for Blue Lake. Assigned to Zone ID $06 in the prototype, where Blue Lake resided in the map and timeline concept art. Additionally, the demo version has a distinctly tropical feel to it, and Blue Lake was a sea-themed level. Alternatively, it could've been meant for Ocean Wind or Tropical Sun, other tropical-themed stages.
    Up in the air
    • Death Egg - There's no evidence to suggest where this originally went, but it's commonly theorized to have been composed for Genocide/Cyber City. The demo version does have a very mechanized feeling to it, which lends support to the idea.
    • Hidden Palace - Who fuckin' knows. The prototypes use Mystic Cave 2P, but it seems like the music was intentionally changed to the otherwise unused track #10. Not to mention that the demo version of Mystic Cave 2P sounds jungle-themed - perhaps it was intended for Wood Zone?