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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. GoldeMan

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    They seem to take a lot of the names very literally in their descriptions with phrases like "Hill Top will take Sonic to New Heights". The "Hidden Zone" Could probably just be the fact that the name Hidden Palace was mentioned and they thought it was Hidden.
     
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  2. HEDGESMFG

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    Judy Totoya is a 100% certified hardcore mecha otaku. I say this as a fairly long time one myself.
    upload_2024-2-7_23-4-51.jpeg

    For those curious, this was his inspiration for Wing Fortress Zone. A flying fortress "Gigant" from the latter half of the 1978 Miyazaki directed anime title, Future Boy Conan. That's a deep throwback I did not expect.

    He also mentions that at one point he considered doing 2 acts for the zone, with one being the exterior, and the second being a full interior, but the schedule was too tight so it just wasn't possible.
     
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  3. Seems like this was one of many concepts brought back for use in Flying Battery.

    It honestly feels like that zone is the weird blended combination of Metropolis and Cyber City walking about in a roughly Wing Fortress-shaped trenchcoat, and this honestly lends more credence to that thought.
     
  4. Nik Pi

    Nik Pi

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    As one comment on YT says:
    "Hidden Palace was hidden so well, that it was found only in Sonic and Knuckles"

    Also I wonder why did they got the "Chemical Factory" title. When did these images appeared? Is the at any point in game was a title like this? (I mean in game, not in docs). I thought it was renamed pretty early to "Plant" so I have no idea why they call it this way, lmao.
     
  5. Iso Kilo

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    Seeing as title cards weren't implemented until the September 14 (At least of the protos we have) it could be speculated names, names that the developers told them and then they were slightly misremembering when it came time to write the article, or they were just twisting the actual level names for... flavour? It could be a bunch of reasons but I don't think them being the actual early level names is one of them.
     
  6. HEDGESMFG

    HEDGESMFG

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    Also, there's a lot more good info in this document that you guys are overlooking or not discussing...

    Here's a rough but readable google translation of the "cancelled stages" section. This is a pretty clear firsthand account of how these stages were handled at that time.

    ■Cancelled zones
    There are about three stages in Sonic 2 that were made halfway through but were canceled for various reasons.

    ■Wood zone
    This is the stage that Brenda was in charge of, and it was at the same time that Ishiwatari was making Emerald Hill and Craig was making Oil Ocean in the early stages. This stage is widely known among enthusiasts because it was created halfway and a temporary map was included in the beta version. The reason for the cancellation was that when we created a temporary map midway through and verified the quality of the graphics and gameplay, it was difficult to express trees in a natural way due to the graphic capacity, and the three-dimensional effect could not be achieved. However, I couldn't help but feel like the blocks had been cut off in the middle, and the joints between the blocks in the leaves were also noticeable. Also, due to the layout of the map, vertical movement is the main axis, so even though it was a stage for the early stages, it was canceled because Sonic's sense of speed could not be expressed.

    ■Sand shower zone
    This is a stage that was created as a test with about 2 screens for a photo published in a magazine. Brenda is also in charge here. The graphics themselves weren't bad, but they tried to make it look like the quicksand was flowing by changing the color, but it didn't look like it was flowing if it was a large area, and when Sonic gets stuck in the sand, it moves just like in water. The main gimmick was that it would become too heavy and detract from Sonic's sense of speed, so it was canceled because the idea had not been refined any further at this stage. As a result of this, we are very sorry, but both stages that Brenda was in charge of have been canceled and she will be leaving the project. This happens to be because the graphics of the stages she was in charge of were very difficult, and if they were to create more stages with early time travel elements, there would still be one or two stages that lacked a sense of speed. I think it was, but in the process of narrowing down the numbers, it was decided that stages that would take away from Sonic's sense of speed would inevitably be cancelled. By the way, there were plans to turn this stage into an ice stage by changing the color and replacing some of the cacti and other graphics with Christmas trees. Eventually, these stages would be rethought and carried over to Sonic 3 and beyond.

    ■Hidden Palace Zone
    This is the stage that Clegg was in charge of after Oil Ocean Zone. The graphics were good and the map was halfway done, but the gimmick hadn't been finalized and the idea for the boss hadn't been decided upon yet, so the project was pretty far into the final stage, so at that stage the programmer asked us to do something about the schedule. When I created the stage, I was asked to select the flow from Sky Chase to Death Egg and there was no time to create the boss, so I had no choice but to cancel the stage. From the graphics side, I really wanted to keep this stage. Still, it was a difficult choice because the game would be bad if it didn't have a ending. When the game was ported in later years, this stage was salvaged and revived, and unfinished gimmick ideas and new bosses were added, and it saw the light of day. It was really good, and I wish it had been released in its original form at the time. If we had three months left in the schedule, we definitely could have included this stage in the software, and I think we could have recreated the shortened Death Egg Zone in its original form. (It may be a fine line in terms of capacity, but I don't know how much capacity was left at the final stage.) Personally, I still think that if I had the chance, I would really like to create a proper Death Egg Zone. If we had two more planners and programmers, we might have been able to create the wood zone and sand shower that were almost cancelled. Well, in that case I think I needed more capacity and a save function.

    Also a "part 2" is coming. This is not the end. There will be another interview coming later on (mainly focused on bosses, enemies, super sonic, and tails).
     
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  7. Iso Kilo

    Iso Kilo

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    Sand Shower's quicksand gimmick sounds like Oil Ocean's oil. Sounds like that got carried over from it. Neat to see that even a sliver of Sand Shower ended up in the final game.
     
  8. Blue Spikeball

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    I don't think it's that surprising that someone at SoA gave the press the old name, given the well known language barrier, miscommunication and chaos back then.
     
  9. DefinitiveDubs

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    So we now have direct confirmation, from a primary source, that the desert level was indeed called Sand Shower. We can stop being big-brained nerds about "uh well ackshually it was never official so it's just speculation and that's bad".

    And yeah, it's sounding more and more like Ocean Wind, Tropical Sun, Blue Lake, Rock World, etc were cut extremely early on and the only zones that got far enough for serious inclusion were Wood, Sand, Ice, and Hidden. I'm not even sure if Cyber City made it that far.
    Well hell, is there a translation? You need a subscription to read the article, and with the copypasted text it's kinda hard to know which parts are which without translating it all at once. Google Translate doesn't do a very good job, and DeepL is limited unless you're subscribed (and there doesn't seem to be a cracked version out there...). People would be discussing it more if they knew what they were looking at.
     
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  10. Blue Spikeball

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    We also got confirmation that Sand Shower and the winter zone were resurrected as S3K zones, as we all suspected.

    I think the Google Translate version HEDGESMFG posted is clear enough, even if the wording is awkward.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2024
  11. OKei

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    I disagree greatly. You never know what someone could offer of something unique when allowed to speak their own perspective, than of someone speaking on their behalf. She's the one who actually drew the pixels onto the game after all.

    If nothing else, I liked to know what her contributions to Sonic CD and Sonic 3 were since she is credited as Special Thanks in both games. Especially the former, and if she, a level artist in the earliest Sonic games, knew anything about the early Salad Plain and Crazy Toy Box names (and perhaps in the offbeat chance she might know something about that one other scrapped SCD level too).

    Because sometimes, there are special reasons why people are listed under Special Thanks. One thing I uncovered upon inquiring about Resident Evil 2 with one former dev is that the people listed under "Special Thanks = Sound/ Graphic Cooperate" in that game's staff roll are the people who actually worked and filled those specific roles on its failed predecessor, Resident Evil 1.5, meaning those people were the original version's staff before they were replaced and reassigned to other projects within the company (anyone familiar with that game's history will know that the first version was a POS and development restarted as a result).

    Just saying.
     
  12. RankoChan

    RankoChan

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    Some random RPG project.
    Rock World and Ice are the same level though. Tom Payne's documents refer to the zone that shares Sand Shower's enemies as both "rock world" and "ice". We also have the sand crab enemy concept art that lists the shared level as "rock". Now we have another source directly calling Brenda's winter zone an "ice stage".
    463px-Image1451.jpg 374px-2023-04-07-0028.jpg
     
  13. HEDGESMFG

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    And Cyber City made it far enough to have a full 3 act map drawn, for whatever reason, and at least some (limited) graphical assets.

    We have little to no evidence of other cut stages besides HPZ, SSZ, WZ, RW(Ice?)Z, and GCZ/CCZ itself getting 'any' sort of digital art ever drawn for them, let alone full maps.

    https://translate.google.com/
    And use the full text dump link here to get more translations out. It's surprisingly readable and still gives you good info to use. I only copied a fragment because the full article is quite long.

    Also, compared to what I can skim from the JPN text, it's doing a competent TL for just a machine translation program alone. We'd need a full pro-TL to get better context, but even then you learn some good info from these anecdotes. The Sky Chase, Wing Fortress and Death Egg sections are particularly interesting, as I already discussed in an earlier post.
     
  14. Jaxer

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    Do you not know what Sega Visions was? It wasn't just a "western magazine", it was Sega's equivalent to Nintendo Power, barely a magazine and more of a hodgepodge of game guides and advertisements. There's no way in hell they would've intentionally misrepresented a product they're trying to sell to you, especially since they got to play the game at STI's offices with the actual developers.

    Besides, in this very same issue they literally interview Yuji Naka at STI over his contributions to Sonic 2. He's the one who apparently came up with the idea of turning HPZ into a secret level, so all of this lines up.
     
  15. RankoChan

    RankoChan

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    Some random RPG project.
    The final names for Chemical Plant and Hidden Palace show up in the early time travel maps/docs, which predate Tom Payne's documents. My guess is that "Chemical Factory" and "Secret Palace" were potential renames, akin to the concept art names, that were ultimately dropped.
     
  16. I find this really interesting, as it, strangely enough, seems to imply that Wood Zone was also created very early on; perhaps it is even older than Sand Shower?
     
  17. Mr. Cornholio

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    I have to wonder then why Wood Zone was in such a rough shape in the Simon Wai build. No real objects in it's list and the level design is woefully unfinished compared to something like Hidden Palace. The above interview seems like it sounds as if it was canned because the heavier emphasis on vertical exploration did not play well with the game engine (and they were seemingly dissatisfied with the art in it's current state), but it's weird nearly none of that is present in the one build where the Zone actually exists. Toyota says a 'temporary' map was used to get a feel for what it would play out, but none of what's available really gives you a good feeling of exploring tree tops?

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'd really figure there would be more of Wood Zone present if that's true and it had been designed so early on. Perhaps I'm overthinking this.

    It is interesting though in that it seems they tried the feeling of large vertical climbing again in Mushroom Hill in Sonic 3. The little cutscene in Sonic/Tails' story where Knuckles uses that switch to push them much higher into the Zone always gave a sense of exploring something pretty tall. I wonder if Wood Zone would've benefited from something like that (selling the player they were high up through cutscenes).
     
  18. saxman

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    I don't think it matters if it's official or not. These people are just like you and me, and some of them jump to conclusions the way many here have done at one point or another over many years. They have to get their articles done and fill it in with a little fluff, so the HPZ claim sounds like just the kind of fluff one might use to throw more words at the page.
     
  19. Blast Brothers

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    I do find the wording of part of the Sega Visions article interesting:

    This seems like a kind of half-truth explanation of the final game's special stages:
    • "Sega CD" ❎
    • "between zones" ❎ (though an earlier part of the article also states that there are "new bonus rounds that you'll have to get through to get the Chaos Emeralds" in all versions - unclear if this is the same thing or not)
    • "first-person roller coaster ride"/"half pipe maze" ✅
    • "Enemies, traps" ✅ (I assume this refers to the bombs)
    • "Dead ends" ❎ (unless failing the stage counts as a dead end?)

    I think it's pretty unlikely that the writer of this article was basing this description on what they saw onscreen - and the article doesn't claim that anyone actually played anything. And I'm sure they would've printed a screenshot of the special stage if STI had anything presentable at this point. So it then becomes a question of whether or not any of the additional details mentioned (even outside of the special stage differences) were mentioned by the developers as part of their plans, or if there was a misunderstanding/mistranslation, or if the writer just made them up.

    Also, the name for Emerald Hill is given as "The New Green Hill Zone" in the photo caption, but "the new Green Hill Zone" in the article. So it's ambiguous if "New" is actually part of the name or not. Note that they also describe Metropolis as "the new Metropolis Zone".
     
  20. HEDGESMFG

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    Sigh...

    Of course we have a comprehensive article from one of the head developers and you guys are still debating over some magazine scrap that means next to nothing. Never change Retro. Can we please focus on the article that has actual relevant new information about the game's development process instead?

    Here's what to me, is the most interesting section, The google translate discussion of Mystic Cave to Death Egg. Judy gives a lot more of his thoughts on concepts and ideas behind stages.

    ■Mystic Cave Thorn

    This will also be the stage where Mr. Ishiwatari will be in charge. The color scheme is nice, and even though it's inside a cave, the colors are bright, so the contrast of the screen gives a sense of depth and leaves a lasting impression. Since the image is of a trolley rail, I think it would have been nice to have a trolley gimmick.

    This stage also has a lot of terrain gimmicks, but the balance is pretty good, and even though there aren't many types of enemies, they're placed in unpleasant places, so they tend to leave a lasting impression. image ©SEGA There is only one part of the map in this stage that is not good in the Mega Drive version, there are thorns lined up under a deep hole, but with invincibility items and Super Sonic state, you can't go back to the upper route until your invincibility wears off and you take damage. The frustrating situation continued, so when it was transplanted, a spring was added to help it return to the upper route. It is also a route that follows the Hidden Palace Zone (described below regarding this stage), which was later ported to the game and was canceled due to pitfalls in terms of production time.

    ■Oil Ocean Zone
    Clegg is in charge of this zone. The color scheme is a little different from the Japanese sensibilities, making it a unique stage in Sonic 2, but the elaborate gimmick (I think it's probably the most elaborate stage gimmick) and sound make it a tasteful stage.

    However, since the distant view was initially drawn in a similar color to the foreground, it was difficult to see when scrolling, so I modified the farthest background to just a silhouette using aerial perspective to make the foreground easier to see. Did. Clegg may have been dissatisfied with having his drawings altered by others, but due to the language barrier, rather than conveying his intentions and making corrections until he received the OK, he decided to do it himself. I had no choice but to take it out and fix it because it would save time. (After this, Clegg finally gave up, but he had to make one more stage, so he couldn't let it hold him back.)


    ■Metropolis Zone image
    ©SEGA Tom, a newcomer who joined in the middle of the show, was in charge of this stage. Originally, I was supposed to be in charge of all the mechanical stages, but I had too much time to do other work, so I decided to ask him to do it because even though he was new, he understood the complicated process of creating maps and had a good sense of drawing. Ta. He is also in charge of some of the enemies. It was created by asking Tom to create a new stage sketch based on the image board I made.

    The net-like drum in this stage would be difficult to draw by hand, so like the corkscrew in Emerald Hill, I had it created using 3D tools and reduced it to dots. At first, the distant view here was the same color as the scaffolding platform, just like Oil Ocean, so it was very difficult to judge what was in the foreground, what was in the background, and what was scrolling.The detailed color changes were also too noisy, so I adjusted the colors and made some parts myself. I changed it to make the front scroll surface easier to see. This stage alone consists of three ACTs, and the map is difficult to understand due to its up and down loop structure, making it difficult to understand many gimmicks, and Yasuhara-kun's exquisite and malicious enemy placement is displayed to the fullest.In particular, the Telstar (starfish) I think a lot of players were bitter about the second half of the stage, having been made to cry by the Praying Mantis-shaped robots) and Kamakira (praying mantis-shaped robots).

    ■Sky chase zone
    Probably the least difficult and boring breather stage in Sonic 2. The graphics here are my responsibility. Or rather, this stage is a pre-production stage for Wing Fortress, which will eventually be moved to space, so why not consider it as a set with Wing Fortress and separate it as a stage? There was that, but for some reason it ended up being a different stage. (So the background is the same) image ©SEGA Well, since the previous Metropolis Zone was up to ACT 3, the difficulty level was high, and there was no save function, players would not be able to concentrate, so I hope they will recognize this as a point to take a break. It was also in the final stage of the development process that all the staff members were pretty exhausted. If it had a save function like the current port, it would be better to work on the gameplay a little more and make it a stage that is on par with other stages, and the Tornado would probably be Sonic's jump destination. I think the difficulty level suddenly increased just by removing the part that serves as a foothold to save the player from falling to death.

    This is where Sonic's favorite aircraft, the Tornado, appears for the first time, and at first I wasn't sure what to do with it, but I thought a retro biplane would be better suited to being an adventurer than a high-tech, smart mech. That was decided. Originally, Sonic was using it alone, so instead of a two-seat model, it was a single-seater, with Miles (Tails) controlling the aircraft and Sonic standing on the wings.

    ■Wing Fortress Zone
    This is a stage where the sky fortress that you saw in the sky chase zone is the stage. Since it is a set with Sky Chase, I am still in charge of the graphics. Originally, we should have created an appearance setting for the aerial fortress and assigned a map gimmick to it, but that would have placed a big limit on the gimmick as a map, so we ignored the overall design and created a map that was similar to the previous stages. Similarly, I create graphics with priority given to map gimmicks. Therefore, there is no overall appearance, and even when looking at the entire map, there is no consistency as a huge aerial fortress. image ©SEGA In terms of image, it is "Gigant" that appears at the end of Miyazaki's animation "Future Boy Conan". However, this stage has a lot of points to consider visually, and the only time you go inside the fortress is during the boss battle, otherwise you basically play the map on the surface of the fortress, but everything is the same color except for the platforms that are clearly different colors. It is difficult to distinguish between the scaffolding and the exterior that becomes the wall, and the flames coming out of the booster are expressed only by color changes rather than pattern changes, and the tip of the flames hits Sonic and causes damage. The problem is that it is misleading people to think that it is.

    On the other hand, the colors of the panels that come off have been clearly changed to make them easier to understand, but now I think it would have been better to go overboard and raise the exterior one tone. For this stage, if possible, I would have liked to have 1 ACT on the current map where you can play on the surface, and another ACT on the map where you can play after entering the fortress, but the schedule has already reached a difficult point, so I can't afford that luxury. was.

    At the end of this stage, after the boss battle, Eggman escapes into space in an escape spaceship. The Tornado, which was supposed to have crashed at the beginning of the stage, is revived as a magically modified machine with a booster and carries Sonic to chase Eggman, but how can a biplane be able to chase Eggman's spaceship as it reaches 2nd space speed? So, at first, we were working on a design that would allow Tornado, rather than a booster, to transform into a high-tech mechanism while chasing it and reach speeds up to about the first cosmic velocity. I was drawing a rough sketch directly on the digitizer that looked like a Tsuburaya mechanism, with the propeller and main wings retracted, the nose cone at the tip protruding, and the bubble canopy and rocket engine deployed from inside the body, but it was too large for a sprite. Because of the capacity and work time required for the anime pattern in which the tornado deforms and becomes even larger, we decided to use an external rocket booster instead, which would have a smaller capacity and significantly shorten the work time. . The rough sketch of the deformed design was drawn directly digitally, so it doesn't remain on paper, and I think it's somewhere on a floppy disk that I left at the company, but now... When Eggman's spaceship accelerates, I wanted to include a more flashy jet from the engine nozzle and a sudden acceleration, but we couldn't do something fancy due to capacity and time constraints, so the programmer took care of it. We ended up with this shape at the very limit of what was possible.

    ■Death Egg Zone
    Originally, ACT1 would have been played on the surface of the Death Egg's fortress with the Earth visible in space as seen in the concept art, and the vast expanse of high-tech mechs inside the fortress (which looks like Cyber City in the concept art). In the middle of ACT 2, which has a map, I wanted to create a mid-boss battle (Mecha Sonic), a final battle with Eggman in the boss area, and then the destruction of the fortress and escape.

    Above all, I planned to put the most effort into this stage by filling it with mecha that I had drawn to show my true potential. The idea was for the Chemical Plant to be a modern-day mech, Metropolis to be a steampunk retro-future area, and the Death Egg to be a cyber-high-tech mech area, but when creating the Death Egg Zone, planners didn't have the time to come up with ideas for maps and gimmicks. However, there was very little time left for the programmers to create gimmicks and enemies other than the bosses, and for the graphics to design all the areas, and in order to meet the last minute deadline for the release date by Thanksgiving. It didn't exist anywhere other than in the form of a released game.

    Therefore, the map will consist of only the area of the two boss battles and the escape exit, and the graphics will be a reuse of the Chemical Plant Zone with some parts added. There was a dummy Death Egg Zone map in which the background was changed to space and the scaffolding parts of the Chemical Plant Zone were arranged randomly, but it was deleted because nothing could be done in time. I recently came across a video that recreates the early Death Egg Zone concept art using a Sonic Mania MOD. There are two consecutive boss battles in Ring 0, which is quite notorious, but when the development staff was checking the balance, we found a pattern that could be easily conquered early on, so I thought this kind of balance would be fine. As a result, the staff felt that the Wing Fortress boss was more difficult, and because we only checked the boss fight, we were missing the point of view of users who had played the long journey to get there without saving. There was one. This is a point for reflection. However, at this time, all the staff members were in a state of chaos and their heads were high.
     
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