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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. RankoChan

    RankoChan

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    Some random RPG project.
    And Genocide City is the perfect name for a sci-fi themed futuristic city, right? All of our current evidence points to the name being a relic from the time travel concepts and had nothing to do with a desert level, rather it was always the cave level we got via Mystic Cave. The only argument that could be made at this point is whether Madness Mountain was an early theme for the zone, since the level concept arts were likely drawn prior to actual development, then evolved into a cave theme along the way.

    We have the Banper enemy concept art that specifically links both a "desert" and "rock" level together from the time travel concept era. The maps, also dated from the time travel concept, link Sand Shower and Rock World together. Based on everything we know (including the empty level slot that plays Oil Ocean music), Sand Shower was the desert level.

    The next best thing we have until obtaining the missing level concepts would be to look at the Sonic 3 concept art, as there's a few there potentially from Sonic 2 that we're missing:
    Wood/Secret Jungle -> Mushroom Hill
    Sonic2_ConceptArt_SecretJungle.png S3_MushroomForest_ConceptArt.jpg
    Metropolis -> Flying Battery
    Metropolis_concept.jpg Metropolis_conceptalt.jpg
    Emerald Isle -> (unknown, likely Marble Garden)
    Sonic2_ConceptArt_EmeraldIsle.png Sonic3_ConceptArt_1.png
    Madness Mountain -> (unknown)
    Sonic2_MadnessMountain_ConceptArtScrapped.jpg S3_Unknown1_ConceptArt.png
    Death Egg -> Death Egg
    Sonic2_ConceptArt_DeathEggScrapped.jpg S3_Unknown3_ConceptArt.png
    Tropical Sun's art was also reused for what is likely Angel Island.
     
  2. RankoChan

    RankoChan

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    Double post, but here's the concept art we don't have for Sonic 2:
    (unknown, potentially Rock World) <- Ice Cap
    S3_IceCap_ConceptArt.png
    (unknown)
    S3_Unknown5_ConceptArt.png
    (unknown, appears cave-like)
    S3_Sandopolis_ConceptArt.png
    (unknown)
    S3_HCZ_ConceptArt.png
    (too blurry to tell anything)
    S3_CNZ_Concept_Art.png
    This one is the most interesting. With Super Sonic, it's most likely intended for Doomsday in Sonic 3, but it could also be reused from "the last battle in space" from Sonic 2. The dragon is actually mentioned in the Japanese Sonic 3 manual with Knuckles mistaking the Death Egg for the legendary egg of the dragon. Curiously, a giant egg appears on the early Sonic 2 maps.
    S3_Doomsday_ConceptArt.png
     
  3. Despatche

    Despatche

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    I'm sorry, but Eggman really is a bad guy. It's simply wrong to treat any of Eggman's crazed deathtrap dungeons as benign "futuristic cities", as if we're talking about CD Good Futures or something. For all we know, Genocide City was where the Death Egg was being built.

    Sure, but all of the above is a series of assumptions. What if the developers just wanted to use that specific enemy in those two zones for no special reason? What if the time travel was shitcanned even earlier than we currently believe? I'm telling you, the maps, they're dangerous! They'll kill us all! Yasuhara has cursed us for disturbing the resting place of beta Sonic 2.

    I'm pretty sure Emerald Isle just got turned into Aquatic Ruin. If you removed the "Emerald Isle" bit and showed that concept art to anyone with any working knowledge of Sonic 2, that hasn't also spent decades obsessing over bits and pieces of beta info, you would be unanimously asked "is this Aquatic Ruin?". Marble Garden seems fairly original in comparison, not really resembling any specific earlier design that we've seen, except... maaaybe Hilltop? I guess?
     
  4. RankoChan

    RankoChan

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    Some random RPG project.
    These images are comparisons of the reused Sonic 3 concept art with their original Sonic 2 versions. I'm not arguing that Emerald Isle was anything but Aquatic Ruin in Sonic 2, I'm pointing out that the Sonic 3 version that recolored/redrew the Emerald Isle art for Sonic 3 was likely for Marble Garden in said Sonic 3.
     
  5. Despatche

    Despatche

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    I'm not sure the redraws were for anything except "let's make levels like this in Sonic 3". Some of these may not even be redraws.

    I think at this point, it's become clear that Sega doesn't really want to reveal this stuff. They've pretty much had to be begged for what we do have, and they probably knew we were going to lose our minds over it like we've done so far.

    In any event, speculation is all well and good, but we need to understand that nothing is set in stone no matter how hard we speculate. Even the actual developers are not reliable, as they will tell you themselves that it was far too long ago to remember anything so clearly. Funny enough, this is probably why Ohshima felt that he had to stress that Twin Stars was not what people think it is.
     
  6. RankoChan

    RankoChan

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    Yeah. It's kinda obvious with the descriptions on the Sonic 3 versions (inside of a blimp, mushroom forest, snow covered mountain) that these were done super early in Sonic 3's development. My point was that when you have six of them confirmed to be reused from Sonic 2, then it's possible that most or even all of them are reused from Sonic 2.
     
  7. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    The reason why one would've made it while another level didn't is the same reason any of the levels were cut from Sonic 2 at all: time constraints. The timeline of Sonic 2's development in regards to this, as I understand it, and theorize, is this:

    First, Yasuhara creates his maps and his timeline in pre-production detailing the plot of the game and initial level ideas. If this were a script for a movie, it would be the first rough draft. Different level ideas are tossed around, dropped, and remixed; the script is going through rewrites. During this time, the level IDs are created with unfinished, rough zone titles (IE during this era, Genocide City is still called Genocide City). This is because, for debugging purposes, the level IDs need codenames to identify them, and Yasuhara's early concept names from an earlier draft of the script worked for this purpose. These codenames are:
    Sometime after the level IDs have been made (but not implemented into the game yet, which was only starting to happen around the Nick Arcade build) the final list of 17 levels is chosen; these levels, their themes, and even their names (like Cyber City), are chosen to occupy the level slots as fully playable levels in the final game. Dust Hill, Rock World, and possibly others, are not among them. They were scenes from an earlier draft that were cut out of the script. We now have the final draft of the script. The pre-production phase is over and now the production phase can actually begin.

    Art of these 17 levels (plus the special stage, for a total of 18, as was originally planned) is drawn up by Yamaguchi. These pieces of concept art are then handed out to the level artists so that they can nail the look and feel with 16-bit graphics. At the same time, copies of this art are shipped out to Masa in London, who has testified that he only had artwork and short descriptions to work with when composing. Over the course of Sonic 2's development, it becomes clear that the scope needs to be scaled back because it's just too ambitious to release it by the holiday season. Ocean Wind, Secret Jungle, Tropical Sun, Blue Ocean, Cyber City (mostly), Death Egg (mostly), the desert zone, and the winter zone are all cut. The devs can't even make Hidden Palace work, so it's cut too. Sky Chase and Wing Fortress are made at the last minute as an excuse for Sonic to go to space. Also, problems arise that keep the artists from completely replicating Yamaguchi's vision: the Middle Eastern-style desert zone isn't working out, so it's reworked into a Western-style desert. The special stage can't have the zone backgrounds in it, so it becomes something more plain. And MCZ, whatever it was originally (which wasn't a cave, as stated by Naka) wasn't working out, so it became a cave. So my theory is that somehow, it was decided that Madness Mountain either wasn't spooky enough, was too similar to Marble Zone, or both, thus it was reworked into MCZ. Something had to happen to Madness Mountain. It had to have been somewhere in the game's 17 slots, as I said. It couldn't have just been cut, the evidence just doesn't support it. Every other level that was cut had art that was made for it, that we can see, and when looking at the list, process of elimination leaves MCZ as the only contender that makes sense.
    Look closely. The brickwork in the artwork has a "trim" on the edges. Notice also that going top to bottom, on the far right, before the trim, you see a full brick, then a half brick, then it loops uniformly. This pattern, along with the trim, is identical to the bricks seen in MCZ, and isn't present in either MZ or ARZ (MZ's brickwork is far more random in its brick pattern).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    In addition to that, it's not just the drawbridge gimmick that's similar. This is anecdotal evidence, but a lot of the gimmicks in MCZ just feel like they were meant for a haunted castle. Just look at that screenshot: spiked ball maces hovering around platforms? Not only do you have switches that open drawbridges and secret passageways, but you have spike traps/platforms that emerge from the wall out of nowhere, and spiked parts of the floor that come up and try to crush you. None of this is thematically cohesive at all with the idea of a mine shaft. If MCZ wasn't originally a cave, as Naka said, I'm assuming that only the themes and graphics changed while the map and gimmicks stayed mostly the same. If that's the case, all these gimmicks would certainly fit a MZ-style castle level.

    There. I have laid it all out. I have been as clear and concise in my argument and viewpoint as I can possibly hope to be. If you are still confused at what I'm getting at, I think we'll just have to agree to disagree.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2023
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  8. While time constraints are assuredly the reason for many a zone and concept getting axed, I still don't believe that to be the primary rationale for every zone. Hidden Palace is one we know to have been cut late in development, and Wood Zone got far enough along as to actually be implemented at some point. Running out of time to get all the mechanics right in both those zones factored in, but in the case of Woods it was possibly also the background design. I've been attempting to find it to no avail, but I thought I had once read that part of the reason all of Brenda Ross' art was cut was due to quality, with Woods surviving the longest until time was really running out. I like the supposedly only halfway completed art of Wood Zone, and maybe it could've turned out as great as any other fleshed out zone in the finished game, but what we actually have doesn't shine quite as bright as the rest.

    This part may be unnecessary, but if her desert stage made it in I'd hope that the Christmas tree filled one didn't.
     
  9. Sparks

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    Just my two cents, but I personally could theoretically see Madness Mountain being an early "draft" of Mystic Cave, given the description by Yuji Naka that the the theme was always obakeyashiki and eventually went with a cave for that, giving the implication that a cave wasn't always the plan. There's been many times where I'll draft a level concept and by the time it's nearly finished, only a few gimmicks or basic concepts remain from the first drafts. That said, we don't have confirmation this is the case for Mystic Cave. Heck, that's the only time a "Madness Mountain" zone is acknowledged at any point, ever. Unless it evolved into another zone or was just a quick sketch name for another zone, it's a total outlier in terms of undeveloped Sonic 2 zones.
     
  10. RankoChan

    RankoChan

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    I agree with everything here except the idea that Dust Hill and Madness Mountain were unrelated levels. It would make no sense for the Dust Hill name to survive until late prototypes if the zone itself never left the conceptional phase. Both Cyber City and Secret Jungle still used their early names in builds (Genocide City and Wood) and it makes more sense that Dust Hill was also an earlier name for Madness Mountain in a similar fashion. Another evidence towards this is another level that came from a later revision/draft of the story, Emerald Isle, which uses its early name Neo Green Hill rather than a previously seen unrelated name from the maps.
     
  11. Nik Pi

    Nik Pi

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    You know, reading all these GCZ->WFZ theories, I remembered one thing:
    In one of betas boss of WFZ was a bit different.
    He could destroy the platforms in the room with his laser. Why it was unused? It seems like a cool challenge and works more interesting. In reasons of difficulty? It's.. weird, because in next zone you meet with sub boss and main boss OF THE WHOLE GAME WITHOUT ANY RING OR CHECKPOINT C'MON.
    Sonic 2 has a lot of weird moments with boss difficulty.. at least Oil Ocean. But nobody hasn't delete knife or laser!
     
  12. Hez

    Hez

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    That's interesting actually. If the boss arena was larger, that may have worked better.
     
  13. Nik Pi

    Nik Pi

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    Thinking about unused things:
    Sonic2iOS-springmonitor.png
    What it was? I don't think that it was like in Sonic chaos.. maybe, it was a big jump like as super sonic jump? Or what?
    What do you think?

    Actually, I think that a lot of cool stuff still hidden in code, and we need modern disassembly to find them all
     
  14. saxman

    saxman

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    Possible. Some of the earliest zones made for the game (I'm thinking of CPZ and HPZ) had areas high above you couldn't reach. Maybe they were done that way with the idea that object layout would be filled in later to support access to those areas. Or, maybe there was a way to jump higher. A sort of "in-the-sky" (pardon) theory, but possible.
     
  15. Nik Pi

    Nik Pi

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    It's really interesting moment that I've never saw previously...
    EHZ in N.A. has only 1-2 places in which you need to use debug, but CPZ and HPZ.
    Would be cool to recreate all this stuff with layouts with high places
     
  16. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    The theory is that this would've temporarily increased Sonic's jump height similar to how it's buffed when he's Super. Both Super Sonic's other upgrades - invincibility and speed - are behaviors that can be obtained from monitors. The jump height is the only behavior that isn't. I don't know if anybody's ever found the code to verify it, though. I think it's plausible it's in there somewhere; from what I've heard, there's still a fair amount of unused content and code that isn't well documented.
     
  17. Sparks

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    When I think of a spring power up that boosts the players jump height, my mind instantly goes to...
    [​IMG]
     
  18. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    I can think of at least one reason why that would've been cut: how do you put music to that? Invincibility has a triumphant version of Sonic's theme, speed shoes speed up the music, but I can't think of how the hell you could express that kind of powerup through sound.
     
  19. Brainulator

    Brainulator

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    None of the builds we have contain unique code for this item, sorry :(
     
  20. Chimes

    Chimes

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    Okay, glad we've got all that Dora the Explorer song marathon out of our system.

    My favorite piece of Sonic 2 development lore is the way 2 player works. Instead of using bespoke graphics like Sonic 3, Sonic Team instead opted for what can only be described as schizo tech.
    Normally, the signal a Mega Drive sends to the TV's tube locks the lines to draw 240 at once. But the Mega Drive can manually disable this function, which extends the vertical resolution. Since it's just two screens on top of each other, Sonic Team proceeded to cram two screens in the game.

    Amusingly, this is so exact that upscalers effectively prolapse themselves when they get presented with a real TV signal the 2PVS mode uses and not the modified one it expects.
     
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