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Sonic 2 Development Lore

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Chimes, Apr 5, 2023.

Is it Miles or Tails?

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  1. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    On the note of HPZ's background, I'm not sure where exactly he's said HPZ's background was not done by him. He's only ever said OOZ's background was not done by him.

    I decided to reach out to Craig Stitt about this, and ask him a few questions about the backgrounds as well as his working relationship with Yamaguchi (not to mention any names, but if anyone has a problem with this, know that we are friends on Facebook and had spoken before, and he's given full permission for this conversation to be published here).
    Craig's comments should be taken with a grain of salt considering he said he may have been shown things and simply doesn't remember. This was simply a job from 30 years ago after all. But regardless, the implications of this are clear: work on the zones I mentioned predates Yamaguchi's concept art, and so artwork of those zones (with the possible exception of Sand Shower) simply may not exist.

    It's also interesting that the zones this accounts for not only correspond to the Nick Arcade build, but they also represent one of each era during the time travel phase of development:

    Present: EHZ
    Ruined Present: OOZ
    Ancient: HTZ
    Future: CPZ
    Story: HPZ

    Probably a coincidence, but I wonder if it means something more.

    I should also mention he's told me about a developer journal he kept, and still has, that he believes would pinpoint the exact date of when he was told HPZ was cut from the game. He has not dug it out as of this writing, however.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2023
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  2. TheRedEye

    TheRedEye

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    This is my bad, I misremembered something he said on the Retro Faith YouTube channel.
     
  3. WithLeast

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    I know this might be more speculation that we might never have confirmed, but I have seen a few sources speculate that Rock World Zone was Hidden Palace Zone (the Wiki specifically mentions this). What if Blue Lake Zone is actually Hidden Palace Zone?

    Obviously there isn't much for evidence, but here is my thought process:
    • The concept map world order was probably Hill Top, Blue Lake, Rock World, Rock World, Oil Ocean, Dust Hill
    • The Simon Wai World Order is Hill Top, Hidden Palace, 09, Oil Ocean, Dust Hill
    • I don't think it's unreasonable for the developers to remove a duplicate Rock World Zone
    • Alternately a thought could be that Hidden Palace Zone is the "Now 2" version of a winter themed Rock World Zone (personally I think this is very unlikely)
    • The unused Simon Wai Proto zone hex 09 (assumed to be the placeholder for Rock World Zone) uses the Sky Chase music that has a wintery sound to it
    • The "Now 2" concept world map doesn't seem to imply a climate that would allow for snow
    • So 09 is probably the "Past" version of Rock World Zone
    • That leaves Blue Lake Zone as Hidden Palace Zone
    This idea does disregard the existence of Olympus on the "Past" world map, but we do know that Hidden Palace Zone was supposed to be a full stage when it was initially being developed and it doesn't seem like the Olympus stage was meant to be a full level.

    I just wanted to through the idea out there since the thought of Hidden Palace Zone being one of the Rock World Zones just didn't sound right to me.


    Also, does anyone else find it curious that the music for Oil Ocean (Hex 90 and 91) and Hill Top (Hex 96 and 97) both have duplicates in the Simon Wai Proto? Could those have been place holders for music that hadn't been implemented yet (and ultimately was never implemented)?
     
  4. To shamelessly steal this from DigitalDuck:

    While we simply cannot know for certain, the concept timeline could imply slot $06 being for Blue Ocean/Lake.

    Slot $08 does like to throw curveballs into things where it really shouldn’t be throwing curveballs.
     
  5. Brainulator

    Brainulator

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    Are we sure Hidden Palace isn't Olympus?
     
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  6. Nik Pi

    Nik Pi

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    Yes



    Reasons:
    1) Nobody of developers hasn't said that it's Olympus, or smth
    2) All concepts calls it Hidden Palace/Secret Palace/Secret Shrine, but not Olympus
     
  7. Slobo

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    I recall Yasuhara referring to Olympus as the Hidden Shrine used by Sonic to warp back to the Ancient time. I'm pretty sure that's Hidden Palace. Or an early version of it.
     
  8. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    Yasuhara specifically referred to Olympus as "the shrine in the middle [of the map]". So it is "Hidden Shrine".
     
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  9. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    Indeed. This was covered earlier in this very thread. Olympus is the cutscene-only "Hidden Shrine" from the timeline documents, which evolved into Hidden Palace.

    Why does that table list a past zone between Metropolis and Tropical Plant in the maps section? Looking at the maps, the only thing that comes between them is "WARP POINT", which is almost certainly not an actual zone as it doesn't have "ZONE" at the end, doesn't have a proper name, has a special box around its name, and isn't included in the zone list in the timeline document.

    Edit: Also, that table is missing the zone of unknown name from the "last battle in space" section in the timeline document.

    Other than that, kudos for that table, DigitalDuck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2023
  10. Azookara

    Azookara

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    If this is the case, and Hidden Palace was already being designed as a full level before much else, then the time travel concept might've been thrown out pretty early into development. Even if the level ideas themselves stayed in.
     
  11. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    Looking at the maps and timeline document again, I actually feel Hidden Shrine is most likely the pyramid on the southeast corner, with Olympus being another cutscene-only area. Hidden Palace might have been either one, or perhaps they were both merged into it at some point. Would explain why the name "Hidden Palace" is the combination of two early names, "Hidden Shrine" and "Secret Palace".

    Here is my reasoning. If you look at the timeline document, it says that Sonic travels back to the past using Hidden Shrine in the ruined present:
    upload_2023-4-29_13-55-42.png

    However, look at the maps:
    upload_2023-4-29_13-57-59.png upload_2023-4-29_13-58-7.png upload_2023-4-29_14-3-6.png upload_2023-4-29_14-3-13.png upload_2023-4-29_14-3-18.png
    Olympus is only present in the past map, not the ruined present map! So how could he have used it in that era?

    What is present in the ruined present is the pyramid. In fact, it's in all maps except the final one.

    Add to that the fact that it's labeled as "WARP POINT" in the first two maps and implied to be what Sonic uses to time travel the first time. So it's also likely the same method he uses in other eras (explaining why they included it in all eras that end with Sonic time traveling), except maybe for the original past, where he might have used Olympus instead (per Yasuhara's words).
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2023
  12. rata

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    Looking at the travel arrows, it looks like the first time goign to the past, it's done definetly on Warp Point. With Olympus being only in the first ancient time, I would think that most of the time travels are done on warp point, thus probably a cutscene only zone cos who would want to play 4 times the same crap?
    But, also that could be where Eggman's time machine is, considering it ends up being absorbed by cybercide city on the worst future time. So Olympus could be the time travel secret shrine that Sonic uses to go back to the present, where it ends up being destroyed into Oil Ocean.
    What I'm not sure is why one of the past times is so heavily erored, nor how would the final time from past to future is done.
     
  13. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    How would the time travel plot even work, anyway? That's the one thing that hasn't made any sense. I know we'll never know what the plot was, but I can't even come up with a fanfiction/hypothetical plot to make it work. Let's think about this. Supposedly, Sonic would travel through time after going through Metropolis. Ok, so is this a freak accident? Did Eggman build a time portal and go back in time while Sonic followed? Or did Eggman purposefully send Sonic back in time? If Eggman and Sonic both end up at Ancient Era at the same time, how has Eggman already set up dinosaur badniks and such? Did he get there before, somehow? Or did he send a whole bunch of badniks through the portal along with him?

    And eventually, Eggman and Sonic both have to end up in Ruined Present and Future Eras. Ok, so did Eggman and Sonic both go through another portal? Then how can those eras exist, if he was in a time portal while those would be constructed? I suppose Eggman could stay behind in Ancient and set up shop while Sonic is the one who time-travels, but that would mean Eggman is immortal, able to live for however many hundreds of years it takes for Future Era to come to fruition. How does THAT work? And how does a tsunami fit into all this? The tsunami is probably the exact same disaster that destroyed Westside Island's civilization overnight, mentioned in the manual, but I fail to see how it would have anything to do with Sonic's adventure.
     
  14. Sparks

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    I imagine it would be some kind of short cutscene transition akin to the Phantom Ruby teleportation in Sonic Mania.

    ...Which does at one point send Sonic back in time, actually. :psyduck:
     
  15. Fadaway

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    I don't think Hidden Palace Zone being Olympus is too far fetched but I don't think there's much evidence one way or another. What we see of Sonic 2 from prototypes is further along in development than early concept sketches and maps. I think a lot of the game's levels grew out of those ideas but it's very difficult to determine the specifics unless more hard information is lighted upon.

    Having said that, I'm not sold on the idea yet. With a name like Olympus, I'd imagine something less like a cave and more like old architecture (think Aquatic Ruin Zone) but that's just me. Speculating about it is fine but I don't think talking about it will yield anything revelatory.
     
  16. saxman

    saxman

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    Actually, I think I see that pyramid near Genocide City 2. Looks like it's a little high-tech like everything else around it, but I definitely think it's there.
     
  17. rata

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    That's a nice catch, now that you mention it, there seem to be a kind of high tech pyramid there. However, it would be strange for the pyramid to physically move from one place to another. The original location is replaced by the dome on cybercide city 1 instead.
     
  18. Azookara

    Azookara

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    The way they wanted to do time travel in this game just feels confusing and convoluted. Even if the player didn't have to do anything but play the game straight-forward, I don't know how they expected the player to understand anything that was happening. Was Sonic 2 going to feature dialogue or text boxes?

    I'm trying to imagine the timeline when this was conceptualized and scrapped, too. If Tails was being worked on as early as December '91, this could've been conceptualized just as early, if not before it. The Nick Arcade build seems very early into the game being pieced together, so I wonder how long it took for them to get started moving to the US and making Sonic 2. If they scrapped the idea super early into development (ie before and/or early '92), that'd explain why Oshima took the idea and ran with Sonic CD. But that depends on how quickly they moved to the US.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2023
  19. saxman

    saxman

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    Looking at the future map (or now 3?) some more, it actually looks a lot like a composite image. There's quite a bit of repetition going on with the different things that are drawn. I'm not sure what that means, if anything. But it makes it appear to have a bunch of pyramids.

    I wonder if this was drawn in such a way as to optimize is for VRAM tile placement.
     
  20. LockOnRommy11

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    It seems likely that the concept of time travel fizzled out when they started work on the game proper. There’s no known implementation of mechanics or even documentation known as to how it would work, and levels had already deviated drastically from (initial?) concept by the Nick Arcade version, which still has leftovers from Sonic 1 across the board.

    The development of Sonic 2 seemed to be fairly chaotic, with ideas being thrown about, half-implemented, and then scrapped or reconsidered whilst implementing them. Development must surely have been quite improvisational; based on the fact that they had far less than a year to create an end product I would say this is mostly certainly the case. I think, for the time they spent on it, we got the best product we could get with a tonne of cool features such as 2p co-op, 2p split-screen, Super Sonic, pseudo-3D special stages, and a game that is far longer than Sonic 1 overall.

    I think we look back at what could have been because it’s so fascinating to peek at an alternate timeline version of Sonic 2, but what we got was certainly more streamlined and coherent a game than they would otherwise have made in that time.

    I would love to know a more accurate timeline but with how the game progressed I would posit that each team member was probably going hard on their own work and thus there never was nor will be an exact timeframe of events, or even a clear indication that events happened the way certain staff thought they did.