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Sonic 2 Development Lore

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

Is it Miles or Tails?

  1. Miles

  2. Tails

  3. Both

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  1. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    The 2P Results music is interesting indeed. I have often wondered if it was intended to be level music considering its length and how elaborate it is, but it sounds odd for a level song just the same. I agree it would work better as a cutscene or something to that effect. It could have been the map screen. Although the menu music I feel might be a better fit for that. But it is interesting that it is the very first song listed, before all the other level songs.

    Also, the special stage song comes after all the level songs. Now that could have been done that way just for organizing purposes since it's not a level song. But it's still noteworthy

    I also realized after my post that right before the "new" Hidden Palace Zone song is the song used for Wing Fortress Zone. That song was also used for Sky Chase and Death Egg at one point. Those were in fact the last zones worked. So the fact the song is at the end just further supports the idea that these songs were organized in the order the intended zones were actually worked.

    Following up on that idea... why is Chemical Plant Zone toward the end? I can think of a few possible explanations:

    1) Chemical Plant shares music with Genocide City. It could be Genocide City was worked before Chemical Plant, and the music was repurposed after Genocide City was canned... although Metropolis Zone isn't seen in the Nick Arcade prototype, and presumably that would have had two acts done prior to Genocide City starting. So this is still messy.

    2) Chemical Plant simply had more progress than the other zones.

    3) Considering Chemical Plant Zone was in rough shape in Nick Arcade compared to some other zones that would appear later, it could be they wanted to get an early version of this zone implemented for testing purposes.

    Who the heck knows. But it still suggests to me Rock World and Tropical Plant had some work done to them, while Ocean Wind perhaps had none.
  2. Nik Pi

    Nik Pi

    Sonic 2: Archives
    Final level order seems a bit randomly. I guess, order from sound test could be a possible order, that was in Simon Wai era, when time travel was canceled, and they need new story.
  3. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    I find it interesting that that table corroborates much of the speculation and analysis in this thread, like:

    The MCZ 2P/early HPZ song having been composed for Wood Zone. The music order places it between Green Hill and Sand Shower, matching Wood's placement on the maps and timeline document.

    Sky Chase being composed for the winter zone. As shown by that table, it was used by the level slot for Rock World, which people have speculated was the winter zone.

    The EHZ 2P music being intended for Tropical Sun, as corroborated by the prototype level slot that uses it.

    Someone speculated that due to the planned campaign's length, Sonic 2 might have been intended to have featured save slots or passwords for allowing players to continue. Perhaps that song was intended for a file select screen or password screen? Would explain why it comes first.

    Also throwing this out there. It might have been intended for a character select screen, or for the options screen. Especially if the final options music was intended for the map.
    Last edited: May 2, 2023
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  4. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    I believe you're misunderstanding the table. I find it tricky to explain, so it's probably me not being clear enough.

    The FINAL and PROTOTYPES columns show which zones the songs were assigned to, respectively. That's why, for instance, Death Egg Zone is found in the former column, but not the latter.

    I put Tropical Sun and Rock World because that's what we can reasonably assume IDs 06 and 09 were respectively.

    So it's not showing MCZ 2P as being for Wood Zone. It's showing HPZ was one of the very first zones any work was done on (along with EHZ and SSZ, which is also corroborated by those mock-ups). If you follow this logic, and consider WFZ at the very end, since we know it was done toward the end of development, it suggests each time work was started on a zone, another song was added to the list. Why it was done this way, I haven't a clue. But there's a good bit of correlation there. And if all assumptions are held true, it tells us things about other zones like Tropical Sun/Plant and Rock World, or even Death Egg.
  5. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    Thank for the explanation, but I'm aware of all that.

    Sorry I wasn't clear enough. What I mean is, the music order places the MCZ 2P song between GHZ/EHZ and Sand Shower, which goes with the speculation it was intended for Wood Zone.

    While your educated guess that the unused level slots you labeled as Tropical Sun and Rock World were for those respective zones goes with the prior speculation that the EHZ 2P and SCZ songs were intended for them.
  6. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    I reread your first post. So if I understand you correctly, it sounds like you're really acknowledging two different things:

    1) Zone IDs 06 and 09 use the songs that sound fitting for what we assume those zones were supposed to be.

    2) If we assumed song 03 was originally intended for Wood Zone, then songs 02 through 04 line up with the original intended order of these zones.

    I entirely agree with the first point. But regarding the second point, just to avoid confusing anyone, I want to make sure to communicate that this is different (and incompatible) with the observations I pointed out. Not discounting what you're saying at all, because it is interesting that it would almost seem to confirm what some have suggested about the MCZ 2P music, but I just don't want anyone to misunderstand the intent of the table. The FINAL column are essentially "names" for the songs (as we understand their usage from the final product). The PROTOTYPES column is for the zones themselves, which is key to understanding the ordering observation I've posted about.
  7. Childish


    Pigs wiggle when they walk Member
    Shady lane
    Sonic 4 Blast Processed
    perhaps they wanted to program the sound in as they worked on the levels instead of arranging it for the megadrive hardware of the bat. I don't know why they did this, perhaps they had multiple compositions per concept art andpicked the ones that worked the best with how the levels turned out. At the end of development they used songs already arranged as they were running out of time and deemed they fit well enough.

    Admittedly, I don't think it requires this much theorising, there doesn't need to be a reason for them implementing zone music as they work on them other than that's just the workflow they had.
  8. Sanqui


    Random nobody Member
    Reading this thread, I have just two cents with regards to Hidden Palace terminology. First of all, I could find the name "Hidden Shrine" referenced on the well known "Sonic 2 was planned as a Time Travel Story" image. However, some people have also dropped the name "Secret Palace" or "Secret Shrine". I wasn't able to find where that name comes from, but I'd just like to note. Besides the obvious synonymous nature of the words secret and hidden, the Japanese word ひでん, pronounced [hiden], by coincidence translates as 'secret'*. So, given other infamous questionable zone naming choices, I feel like the Japanese developers would be naturally drawn to the word hidden in English even if they intended the exact meaning of secret.

    * Pokémon fans might recognize that this relationship was exploited when translating the term "Hidden" Machine.
  9. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    Secret Palace is mentioned in Tom Payne's documents:
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  10. Childish


    Pigs wiggle when they walk Member
    Shady lane
    Sonic 4 Blast Processed
    hmmm that image, I always found it odd that it's implied that oil ocean and secret palace are palette swaps.

    EDIT: (avoiding double post)

    The first 4 levels in this line up perfectly with the Zones in nick arcade... hmmmmmmmm. I wonder if this document comes from around a similar time.
    Last edited: May 2, 2023
  11. RankoChan


    I'm bored, k? Member
    Some random RPG project.
    This does make me wonder if the Chemical Factory and Secret Palace names are from their respective zone concept arts, being later proposed names akin to Cyber City and Secret Jungle.
  12. Brainulator


    Regular garden-variety member Member
    Does this at all account for the Simon Wai prototype using a different order for tracks in the sound test?
  13. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    The track order in Simon Wai is based on the internal ordering of the songs in the sound driver. This is present in the final game as well. For some reason I've never quite understood, they decided to make a different set of IDs to reference the songs (which are the IDs my theory deals with).

    My best guess is the internal order has more to do with the order in which songs were programmed into the game. The "external order", as I like to call it, is totally different and more organized (although *how* they're organized has always been the mystery).

    If I am right about the order being based on when levels were started, then they would have been building the list early on, noting which songs (internal order) correspond to which zones and labeling those with identifiable names (external order).
    Last edited: May 3, 2023
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  14. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    Making a second post since this would otherwise be a massive edit. Plus, quite a few people have already seen the first one, so I don't want this to get missed. If this isn't a reasonable exception to the double-post rule, let me know.

    I decided to put together a "story" of how the development could have worked out, based on my theory. The "external" song numbers are listed between brackets beside the zone names.

    Note: Wood and Genocide City aren't accounted for, because they share music with other zones, making it difficult to know exactly when they were started. The winter level is not accounted for because nobody knows exactly what it was. And finally, songs 0A and 10 aren't accounted for since they weren't assigned to anything until the very end of development, making it impossible to know what the original intentions were. Everything else is here.


    In the beginning, God said "let there be light".

    Then later, development on Sonic 2 started.

    Kodama started Green Hill [02].

    Craig Stitt started Hidden Palace [03].

    Brenda Ross started Sand Shower [04].

    Mock-ups are created demonstrating what they believe Sonic 2 will look like when it's done. (LOL)

    Tom Payne joined STI a little later and began work on Metropolis [05].

    When Kodama finished Green Hill, Hill Top [06] was started.

    At this point, three of the four Nick Arcade zones have been started.

    It has been decided that Genocide City will no longer be three acts.

    Someone (who?) started Aquatic Ruin [07].

    After Craig finished Hidden Palace, he started work on Oil Ocean [08].

    When Kodama finished Hill Top, she moved on to Casino Night [09].

    Someone (who?) started Dust Hill [0B].

    Someone (who?) started Tropical Plant [0C].

    Someone (who?) started Rock World [0D].

    Someone (who?) started Chemical Plant [0E].

    By this point, it is realized that there isn't enough time to finish all the work they originally wanted to do for the game, so they cut Tropical Plant and Rock World since they're likely not very far along. Sand Shower is not going to make the cut either due to quality reasons, or because the gameplay is too slow. They have also paused progress on Hidden Palace.

    In the absence of Tropical Plant, it is decided Metropolis will get a third act.

    Also by this point, with the addition of Chemical Plant, we now have all the Nick Arcade zones accounted for. Green Hill is the only "finished" zone by this point. Chemical Plant is in pretty rough shape compared to the others since it was started after those.

    Some time later, Chemical Plant, Hill Top, and Aquatic Ruin would become "finished", and the Simon Wai build would be produced. Several other levels are present in the game, but unfinished.

    The time travel concept has been scrapped, and they need a new plan for final levels.

    Someone or some group of folks (who?) started Wing Fortress [0F], Sky Chase [0F], and Death Egg [0F].

    Hidden Palace has been kept on hold, probably as a "nice to have". Eventually though, they conclude there's simply not enough time or resources to make it happen, so it gets removed.

    The game was finished, and people bought it.

    The end.


    Knowing who worked on some of these zones could further corroborate this story. If there are any person-to-zone connections that are known that I have not included here, let me know.
    Last edited: May 3, 2023
  15. Hez


    I don't understand how many can't accept that Death Egg zones music may have been intended for Genocide City. We're so used to the way it is in the final, it's hard to remove how attached we are to the final levels and the music that is attached to it.

    Take a listen to the prototype "Machine" music from Spinball. It absolutely has that eerie vibe to it.

    Then there's the alternate track found that was likely meant for it (which I even use for my remake)

    and then the final

    It all has an eerie vibe to me, similiar to Death Eggs final music.

    Also on a side note, isn't there some duplicated tracks in the Wai prototype that may have been placeholders for other music? Some of the tracks recorded may have never been translated to the game when they found the levels being scrapped?
  16. Londinium


    People actually read these? Member
    Do the CENSOR prototypes have anything useful in them? At all?
  17. RankoChan


    I'm bored, k? Member
    Some random RPG project.
    I compiled all of the zone names that we know of so far and their evolution. This list makes the assumption that Madness Mountain was an early theme of Mystic Cave, ditto for Rock World with Winter. Italics are for names that date after the initial map, but got rejected for whatever reason or the zone got canned beforehand. Quotation marks are for names seen on concept art, but it's unclear if they were proper zone names during development.

    Green Hill -> Emerald Hill
    Ocean Wind
    Woods -> Wood -> Secret Jungle
    Sand Shower -> "Desert"
    Tropical Plant|Tropical Summer -> Tropical Sun
    Blue Lake -> Blue Ocean
    Hill Top
    Rock World -> "Ice"
    Oil Ocean
    Dust Hill -> Madness Mountain -> Mystic Cave
    Death Egg
    Casino Night
    Chemical Plant -> Chemical Factory
    Genocide City -> Cyber City
    Neo Death Egg

    Olympus -> Hidden Shrine -> Hidden Palace -> Secret Palace
    Neo Green Hill -> Emerald Isle -> Aquatic Ruin
  18. I thought maybe this could be possible too, but I also thought before we got shown the rough concepts of the Zone shown recently, that it was going to have the Veg-O-Machine somewhere that Machine has somewhere inside, hence why they originally wanted to call it something like Genocide City, but it looks like there's nothing of the sort, so who knows. :psyduck:
  19. Rosiero


    Mmph! Oldbie
    To be honest, listening to the Masa demo of Death Egg Zone pulls me in the other direction. The amount of reverb on the arpeggios and that low wailing sound at the start just make me think of space, instead of an Earthbound base level.
  20. rata


    Trying to be useful somehow.
    I'm more on the bandwagon that Wing Fortress theme fits more to a Death Egg already in space, not only cos of the star wars rip~ahem inspiration, but after that part it has that overly serious and military sound, which fits perfectly with the final boss theme which is a (awesome sounding) military march.

    Speaking of feelings, doesn't Mystic Cave 2P demo sound a lil bit tropical/tribal? We do have a tropical zone in the past. Yet, it was also originally assigned to the hidden palace? Following the known zone progression:
    • グリーン Green
    • オーシャン Ocean
    • ウッド Wood
    • サンド Sand
    • メトロポリス Metropolis
    • トロピカルサン Tropical Sun
    • ブルーオーシャン Blue Ocean
    • ヒルトップ Hill Top

    Bad Present
    • ロック Rock
    • オイル Oil
    • ダスト Dust
    • デスエッグ Death Egg

    Past (after a tsunami for some reason)
    • ヒルトップ Hill Top
    • ブルー Blue

    • カジノ Casino
    • ケミカル Chemical
    • ジェノサイド Genocide
    • ネオデスエッグ Neo Death Egg

    "Sonic travels back in time activating hidden shrine" is on the ruined present time, which does not fit a past zone. What on Earth is Hidden Palace?
    EDIT: Also a general note about the music: Remember that most of the original demos are slower than the game version counterparts, excluding (among others possibly, can't really think much right now) the Hidden Palace theme. The faster tempo does change a lot the feeling of the track, which would make sense if the music is getting shuffled.
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