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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. LockOnRommy11

    LockOnRommy11

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    Concerning the level placement of Chemical Plant Zone, this quote from the wiki should help:

    “At first this stage was set to appear about after Zone 10. Although there would be fewer Acts this time, we thought having about 18 zones would be good, but having each zone stand out and fit in the story in a way that was easy to follow, in the end it dropped down to 11 zones, and Chemical Plant was placed as the second stage. In the end, it was a success (laughs).
    Yuji Naka, Sonic Jam Official Guide[8]

    Presumably, having multiple similar stages in order would have been… well, boring.
     
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  2. Forte

    Forte

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    Was Masa ever interviewed about creating tracks for the second game?
    I remember him telling the story about composing music for the first game, but not about the second one.
     
  3. RDNexus

    RDNexus

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    Maybe things were that hectic, to the point nobody wants to talk about it? Or just can't...
    With S3K, it was a different kind of messy. Sonic classic games sure didn't have it easy...
     
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  4. You know with the amount of times things have been linked back to these forums I have to wonder why ... or maybe *how* these old game devs haven't stumbled upon these forums.
    I get the impression that they had to of saw these forums at some point but they must REALLY be sick of people talking about Sonic or something. Then again maybe that's for the best that they aren't here...
     
  5. Eggomaticwaffles

    Eggomaticwaffles

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    Masa's recollections on the timeline for composing those original demos would be VERY telling. I wonder what medium he was recording the demos to? Analog tape? DATs? And were these labeled with any dates?

    If he still had the originals (which I imagine he does given he's a major producer and recording artist) it would be cool to see any dates. If they all pre-date the earliest working versions of the game we have in our possession, it would give total credence to the notion he was working primarily off of the earliest concept art (potentially those stages outlined on the map). And it became a case of redistributing songs for those early (cut!) concept levels to the final line-up.

    Of course this is what most people theorize happened (especially with those glaring additional 2P zone themes) but seeing photos of Masa's original master tape boxes (or DATs) and any dates on them would go a long way in confirming that a zone theme like 'Sky Chase' likely began as one for a winter-themed 'Rock World'.

    And if all of Masa's composing was largely front-ended, this would still allow that the unused Hidden Palace theme might have been an 11th hour commission by Naka when the team changed the zone from a full level to a shorter cut-scene.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2023
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  6. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    I really don't think Masa composed more than once. I don't think it was even possible for an 11th hour commission to occur.

    When Brad Buxer was working on Sonic 3, he made a bunch of cues for the game according to instruction, and submitted it. That was it. Granted, they ended up not using it anyway, but back then, there was no back-and-forth process of "oh, could you re-compose this" or "oh, can you make one more cue". Things might've been different if Masa was an actual employee of SEGA, as Jun Senoue was when working on Sonic 3D Blast (when they asked him to re-compose the boss theme) but when you commission an outside artist in a totally different country, in an age before internet, good luck having a two-way process there.

    I think Masa made 25 cues or so for the game, submitted it, and that was the end of it. There was no further correspondence and it was totally up to SEGA what to do with those cues. Remember, there wasn't anything stopping an in-house composer from making the cutscene music, if they really wanted it. In-house composers did the drowning and credits themes, after all. If they were pressed for time at the 11th hour, it's way less risky to do that than reach out to Masa. They were operating on his time, not theirs.
     
  7. Andrew75

    Andrew75

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    It’s a bit hard to swallow that there were no back and forth communications especially for such a high profile title, after-all, it’s not hard to pick up the phone… and there was indeed internet. It’s not like 1993 was the Stone Age.
    Or was this stated in some kind of interview?
     
  8. Ch1pper

    Ch1pper

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    Life.
    This would have been from 1990 to 1992 (including STH1).
    The internet as we know it now didn't exist until roughly the mid to late '90s. Before that, they were still snail-mailing and faxing between international time zones, which can play havoc with people's schedules. "Just calling him up" wouldn't have been feasible in the slightest. Being such a high-profile title is precisely why dev time was so short already.
     
  9. Eggomaticwaffles

    Eggomaticwaffles

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    With all due respect, I think you're oversimplifying mainstream pop music production in the late 80s/early 90s. Tokyo might as well have been Los Angeles in terms of their prolific output of high-end pop music. Telephone calls between producer/composers and clients were very much the norm, as were courier rushes of DATs, cassettes and even occasionally compact discs. I know this first hand as American musicians I work with were very much a part of that Tokyo scene in the early 90s.

    While I would agree that the majority (if not all) of the cues were whipped up by Masa at one time, a brief 'one off' jingle for a composer as prolific as Masa wouldn't have taken more than an afternoon. Programming that into the Mega Drive/Genesis is obviously another story, but music production moved very quickly with the advent of digital recording (ProTools and SSL consoles, PC and Mac workstations).

    There's also the possibility that this 'Unused Theme' for Hidden Palace/Master Emerald cut scene was composed as part of the original brief handed to Masa by Sonic Team. Perhaps it was BOTH a level (using Mystic Cave 2P) that led into a cut scene at the very end of it (which would've used the unused theme). The 'last minute commission' theory is conjecture on my part, but bolstered only by the fact that Naka and Co decidedly shifted gears on how Hidden Palace would be used when the time crunch became evident.

    This is why seeing any 'dates' on the original demo tapes/DAT boxes would be so insightful. It would also help us understand how late into production, DCT's 'Sweet Sweet Sweet' was repurposed as the finale. Or whether this was Masa's gambit from the get go? So many questions!
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2023
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  10. RankoChan

    RankoChan

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    Some random RPG project.
    I think there's some merit to this. Sonic 3's Lava Reef shares a very similiar cavern design that transitions to the cutscene level Hidden Palace.
     
  11. Nik Pi

    Nik Pi

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    That... weird image from Sonic 2 N.A. is in 8bpp format, like SNES graphics.
    Can anybody compare it with games, which systems can open this format?
     
  12. McAleeCh

    McAleeCh

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    That's definitely not the original plan for the Sonic 3 & Knuckles version of Hidden Palace though, so I wouldn't read too much into it if you're suggesting that structure may have had its roots in plans for the Sonic 2 version.

    The concept sketches in Origins show that Sonic 3's Hidden Palace is composed of cutscene elements which were originally planned for the surrounding stages - everything from the Emerald shrine up to the floor caving in was planned for the end of Lava Reef, with the subsequent portion and the teleport up to the sky planned for the start of Sky Sanctuary.

    Both sequences of events take place in an underground temple that otherwise doesn't appear in their respective stages, which was very likely a contributing factor to the decision to separate all these events out into their own mini-stage. And we know from available prototypes that even after its creation, they originally presented it as Act 1 of Sky Sanctuary before changing their minds and resurrecting the Hidden Palace name.
     
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  13. saxman

    saxman

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    It's hard to know for sure what medium these demos were on, but they honestly could have been simple MIDI sequence files. And if that's the case, these would be played back through who-knows-what device.

    When I listen to Metropolis Zone, those really slow bends sound pretty bad in the song, which lends me to believe it's the hardware/software producing the sound, and not what Masa himself intended.

    But then again, these could also be original recordings too, in which case those "flaws" that I hear are intentional.

    Anyway, if they're files, it might be even harder to find dates unless the original disk/whatever still exists.
     
  14. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    If I had to guess, the songs were recorded on cassette(s) like any other demo tape a studio might produce back then (similar to how the 3D Blast demos were received). So what we're hearing really is what was sequenced by Masa or an engineer who was working with him at the time.
     
  15. Antheraea

    Antheraea

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    and this is why I have the hypothesis that nearly all of the tracks in the Simon Wai proto are slower because the engineer(s) needed to check up on accuracy/waveform design, which is easier to do when the tracks are, well, slower and the details more audible.

    Metropolis Zone, production-wise, is so so so different in the Simon Wai version compared to final, and the Simon Wai Super Sonic theme has the siren from Masa's recorded demo version...
     
  16. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    The demos are playing at the correct intended speed, I'm sure. And I know this for one simple reason: the invincibility theme in both Sonic 1&2 lasts for 20 seconds before it ends. We know the Super Sonic theme was originally the normal invincibility theme, and the demo indeed lasts exactly 20 seconds before looping, despite the fact that it is far slower than what's in the game.

    My only theory as to why he made them slower is that he noticed how relatively slow Sonic 1 ended up being, and thought that would fit the pace better, without knowing Sonic 2 was a much speedier game.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2023
  17. Rosiero

    Rosiero

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    I absolutely don't buy that the demos are at the intended speed. Some songs are absolutely plodding to the point that even in a much slower game they would still drag. Not to mention, those awful Mystic Cave pitch bends that saxman mentioned aren't nearly as bad if the song is sped up, which makes me think Masa might have put in the pitch bend MIDI commands in a kind of messy way that sounded fine enough until he slowed the song down--either by manually putting the commands in, or maybe the keyboard he played stuff on had a pitch bend wheel and the way it captured the commands is a bit hokey.

    As for how he produced the songs: I have no idea how to search through all the materials we have archived properly, but I swear I remember something about him creating these songs on an Atari ST connected to a MIDI keyboard, of which the output was then recorded to tape. Can anyone verify that?
     
  18. LF222

    LF222

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    My thought is that he slowed them down to make it easier for sonic team to transpose accurately into genesis form, assuming they had to do it by ear and he didnt send them MIDIs. Somehow i doubt it wasnt by ear though.
     
  19. Forte

    Forte

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    Is this the original Masa version? It sounds so bad, the Mega Drive version is a masterpiece compared to it.


    Also, it sounds like some kind of Haunted Circus Zone.
     
  20. sonicthesnot

    sonicthesnot

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    They were MIDIs recorded to DATs. Masa gave an interview around the time the demos were released (only in Japanese) and even dropped the name of the exact sequencer he used to create the demos - I believe it was the Roland MC 500 but don't remember 100%. The interview was taken down when I went to look for it a few years ago. Since he didn't play the keyboards, he had to basically manually enter each note one at a time.

    Around 2012 I had an email exchange with one of the sound programmers (Milpo) who told me the music was done early in the development process. Masa would send in a few songs at a time. I recall Milpo saying that programming each track into the game took about one week, plus any tweaks based on feedback from the developers and Masa himself.

    I have a lot more info I haven't dumped yet am in a time crunch but will report back later.
     
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