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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. Billy

    Billy

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    Being the change I want to see, I added the object image and layout images to the Sonic 2 Development page. Hopefully these are to be replaced with better versions in the future. Of course if I got something wrong, please fix it. We need information updated on the actual GCZ page, but this thread has a lot of speculation, so I'm not entirely sure what's actually new factual information.
     
  2. Blue Spikeball

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    I think all points to the opposite.

    As stated before, all the Yasuhara level concept art we know is for zones that weren't implemented in early prototypes, suggesting that they were created after the game started development, which in turn implies that they were still planning to implement the those zones by that point.

    And there is the fact that the game we got has enough zone slots for most of the planned zones.

    And it has plenty of music likely composed for the scrapped zones that was repurposed for multiplayer or for other zones. It's unlikely that they would have had Nakamura compose alternate zone tracks for multiplayer otherwise.

    No, the game being simplified and cut down to half its planned length likely happened at some point after it began development and its first zones were implemented.
     
  3. Azookara

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    I've probably said this before, but despite being excited for preserving history and seeing an alt-universe "what could've been" in a fully realized Cyber City, I don't lose a lot of sleep over what Sonic 2 didn't have in the final game. I think not only was the production they had rushed, but the ideas themselves. The original plans seemed really messy and the pacing seemed all over the place. They were neat, but needed more time in the oven.

    And so they did! A lot of these ideas returned in Sonic 3 and CD. Sand Shower, the snow level, Wood Zone, Death Egg and Hidden Palace became Sandopolis, Ice Cap, Mushroom Hill, and.. well, Death Egg and Hidden Palace. And the time travel concept became a much more creative and interesting idea in CD.

    I think we're blessed that we got four games in such a short span that, despite everything, ended up with very little to the cutting room floor by the end of it.
     
  4. XCubed

    XCubed

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    Lava Reef Act 3 (listed as Act 4 in Level Sekect) had the Hidden Palace name slapped on the title card out of convenience to get fans to shut up about a zone they were expecting in the previous game.

    As I’ve gotten older, I realized Sega/Sonic Team never wanted to freely give out the “what ifs” in order to use those ideas possibly in future games.
     
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  5. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    By "original vision" I was thinking more of the time travel, storytelling and "level x is the past/future version of level y". Obviously they planned more levels - you can see them in the prototypes (although dropping levels in itself is not unusual in game development, just fun in Sonic 2's case because so many showed up in early builds).

    By "a proper product" I'm referring to the point where Sonic 2 resembled an actual game, as opposed to sheets of paper and ideas in heads. Something akin to the Nick Arcade build (May 1992-ish)... though maybe the Simon Wai build is a better example since that's the version they used to actually promote the game to the masses.

    It was late when I typed things and was sloppy with my wording - sorry about that.
     
  6. Papa Rafi

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    Yeah, I know everyone expressed some form of regret but with Ms. Ross specifically, each time I see those few "interviews" with her, I can feel the resentment of that time in her career oozing from each answer. I didn't even know until a few years ago that all of her work got 86'd from the Sonic games she worked on. It's a shame she got such a raw deal, because she could've possibly been a great source of insight on Sonic 2's development, it's clear that she knew her stuff but she wasn't given much motivation to care after what happened with her work.

    ETA: Not to mention that perhaps she'd have remained in the industry longer and brought some interesting ideas to the table, had her work been better appreciated. Perhaps. Damn shame
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2023
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  7. E-122-Psi

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    It is a shame really, she's still listed in the credits even.

    I wonder how she'd feel about her work being vindicated in these later years, stuff like Mirage Saloon still giving it a legacy of sorts in the series.
     
  8. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    She should still be credited. After all, she did work on the game with the team. I'm glad she at least got a credit out of the deal.

    I actually wonder if she'd have negative feelings about her work being used in Mania if she ever found out, assuming she doesn't know already. If it were me, I think I might have very mixed feelings about that. It's been monetized only after fans demonstrate interest in it. Nice to have fans interested in one's work, but maybe a bit "greedy" (I hate that word, but I can't think of an appropriate alternative) for Sega to suddenly use it after all those years.
     
  9. Blue Spikeball

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    I don't think there is anything in early protos implying that they had already dropped the time travel plot. Being prototypes they're relatively barebones, having only the levels. Stuff like cutscenes or the map system obviously weren't implemented yet, which is what would have told us the story. Though I'd argue that the fact they implemented HTZ (EHZ graphics and all) suggests the time travel plot was still planned.

    I also don't think implementing the time travel plot (read: cutscenes and maps) would have been that unfeasible or time consuming. Not compared to implementing all zones anyway.

    No, I'd think they scrapped it after they realized they didn't even have time to implement all levels. Bells and whistles like cutscenes were probably a low priority, being left for last.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2023
  10. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    This is pretty much how I feel. I don't know many other games that changed this drastically from concept to end product. Half-Life 2 comes to mind. That's why this is all so fascinating. I don't think anyone actually believes the slipshod mess that was these early concepts represents a clear vision, but it honestly does feel like Sonic 2 is missing something in the final game.

    You ever wonder why fans never question the existence of CNZ and CPZ on Westside? But they DO question Carnival Night in Sonic 3? The way Sonic 2 is in the final game, it just moves from level to level so it mostly just feels like a collection of levels with no real cohesiveness to the world. We accept that levels like that existed when Sonic got there, because Sonic's world is weird and wacky and things like that just exist. On the other hand, people criticize Carnival Night as sticking out like a sore thumb, because Angel Island otherwise feels like a real believable place with a history and an ongoing storyline and so this environment doesn't really fit. If Sonic 2 had the kind of presentation and level transitions Sonic 3 did, suddenly our heroes taking 24 hours to get from EHZ to ARZ would seem a lot stranger, and Casino Night suddenly seems out-of-place.
     
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  11. HEDGESMFG

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    More to the point, this was early in the history of Sonic games. There were no real norms beyond whatever Sonic 1 did, and even Sonic 1 8-bit tried to give South Island a structure and a sense of progression with the world map.

    Carnival Night probably only was accepted as a zone that just exists there preicsely because Sonic 1, 2, and CD already established that enviornments could be wildly different at random. In late 1991/early 1992, there was not yet a guarantee this would be the norm.
     
  12. Black Squirrel

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    If you need custom animations and camera settings and god knows what else, it's not an insignificant amount of work.

    There's no evidence of time travel in any of our Sonic 2 prototypes (and by that I mean obvious references to the act of travelling through time). There's levels that look like they might be set in the past or future, because conceptually once upon a time they probably were, but if they were serious about it, I'd expect to see preparations (or remnants of preparations) between the Nick Arcade and Simon Wai builds, and it's not there.

    Which might be as simple as they got wind of what Sonic CD was planning.
     
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  13. Blue Spikeball

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    Absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. I'm not sure what kind of references you expect from the prototypes. Like I said, all we got was a few levels. Not cutscenes or story yet.

    Time travel was going to be just a plot element, not a gameplay element like in CD.

    Well, beyond the fact that some zones were counterparts to others and used the same assets (EHZ/HTZ, which were in the protos and did share assets).

    Even if it wasn't called Hidden Palace at first, Naka implied that the S3K HPZ was inspired by the S2 version in ways that go beyond the name.

    In one of the interviews, when asked about the S2 HPZ, he basically said "Just look at the one from S&K to get a general idea of what it would have been like".

    If you look at his description of the S2 HPZ in other interviews, you can see parallels to the S3K one. He described the former as conceptually "where the Chaos Emeralds come from", and stated that you would be teleported there upon collecting all Chaos Emeralds. Once in HPZ you would gain access to Super Sonic.

    Now compare that to the S3K HPZ. The fact it has an emerald altar and the Master Emerald implies that the emeralds come from there. It's also a place you're teleported to after collecting all Chaos Emeralds and going through the rainbow big rings. Once there you can unlock a new Super form (Hyper Sonic).
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2023
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  14. DigitalDuck

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    I know it was just said, but I want to repeat it because people get this wrong: there was never a time travel mechanic in gameplay. The time travel element of the storyline would've played out like a cross between Sonic 3 and Sonic 1 8-bit, where you'd see the map of the island between levels and at the end of key levels there'd be a short cutscene showing Sonic hopping in the TARDIS.

    You could just as easily say: there are no cutscenes in the early Sonic 2 prototypes. If they were serious about cutscenes, I'd expect to see preparations (or remnants of preparations) between the Nick Arcade and Simon Wai builds, and it's not there. And yet, right there in the final game there's a few end-of-level cutscenes and even a storybook-esque sequence in the ending. It's almost as if these are things you add towards the end of development rather than in the prototyping stage.
     
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  15. Black Squirrel

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    I figured that, but you'd think there'd be traces of something. Like bits of cutscene, or space for this map. Some clue that they were even thinking about it, which I've yet to see being uncovered in one of our builds.

    The ending cutscene is a little different, because one would assume the game was always going to have an ending regardless of which way they went about the rest. And you'd probably start implementing that when you knew for sure how the game would end - is Tails being shot down in a plane, or is he Mecha Sonic? You're already likely hold off on the credits until the last moment (so you know who to credit) - it seems pretty natural to sort all the ending stuff out at the same time.

    But if I were keen to tell a story during the adventure, I'd probably get some placeholders in like what Sonic 3 did. If you leave it to the last minute, you run the risk of having some of the cutscenes done, but not others, and then you get Metal Gear Solid V.


    But that's just me I guess!
     
  16. Overlord

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    Or Sonic Mania pre-Plus. =P
     
  17. Blue Spikeball

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    I imagine they left the cutscenes for last because they were lower priority than the actual levels and gameplay, and because they didn't know how much of the game they would get to implement. If they had started implementing the cutscenes early, they might have ended up with unusable cutscenes after the game ended up getting cut down, or cutscenes that no longer make sense.

    They might have ended up with a situation similar to Ultima 9 where they created the original plot's cutscenes, then they were forced to rewrite and cut down the plot due to time constraints. Because they didn't want the work that went into the cutscenes to go to waste, they repurposed them in nonsensical or awkward ways that went against the lore.


    Plus the cutscenes in the classic Sonic games took place in the levels themselves, so it would have been hard to implement them before creating the actual levels.
     
  18. Antheraea

    Antheraea

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    or hell, unusable cutscenes because the game's infrastructure changed too much, so then they'd have to go back and fix them. we see this in the nick arcade proto where Green Hill just does not work the way it should with the game's new collision arrays, though its art had already been converted to the new format Sonic 2 used.
     
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  19. Brainulator

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    Actually, much of Sonic 2's infrastructure was already settled by the time of the Nick Arcade prototype: the collision system, the two-player system (both the versus mode and having a sidekick), VRAM art transfers, and the decision to have at least 16 zones were all set up by the time of this build.
     
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