Sonic 3 Concept Art

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Kat, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. Kat

    Kat

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    I've been thinking about Sonic 3's concept art recently. As you may have known, it's pretty obvious that some of the concept (color test) art was just recycled from Sonic 2's development - like Metropolis' concept was used for Flying Battery (you can see where they put the new label over the box that said "Metropolis"), and Wood Zone's concept art was very likely the source of the Mushroom Forest art (you can once again see where the "Mushroom Forest" label was placed over a pre-existing label).

    In the MTV Sonic and Knuckles video, some additional likely "conceptual recycling" can be seen - Ice Cap could be using the never-seen Sonic 2 Winter Zone's art (note what appears to be a Christmas Tree - Something that Brenda Ross said was intended for the level). The video also shows a brief (and blurry) glimpse of an apparent alternate coloration of the Wood Zone/Mushroom Forest art.

    However, some of the art seen in the video appears to be new and drawn specifically for Sonic 3, like Sky Sanctuary.

    In my (mostly vain) attempts to squint at my screen and see the other artwork that briefly appears on-screen, I noticed a picture of what appears to be a weird space-dragon thing with Super Sonic. This is noteworthy because as these images were used as color tests, there would be no reason for Super Sonic to be featured in a normal level's concept art (as Super Sonic could technically appear in any level). This means that Super Sonic would likely be the only form of Sonic intended to be seen in this level - which implies that it's Doomsday Zone.

    I could just be imagining things of course, but I love excuses for discussing this kind of thing. Thoughts?
     
  2. LordOfSquad

    LordOfSquad

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    Other people have noted before that those Sky Sanctuary concept pieces seem to have been used as inspiration for the sky ruin levels in Sonic Advance 1 & 2
     
  3. Covarr

    Covarr

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    Since I am a pedantic ass, the first thing I noticed is that the Flying Battery and Mushroom Forest labels end with commas. Why the hell would you EVER end a label with a comma?
     
  4. SpeedStarTMQ

    SpeedStarTMQ

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    There's a heck of a lot of information we can gather from this concept art, as well as see where it's been used since.

    Firstly, Ice Cap's concept has been reused a number of times. Most obvious is Sonic Advance's Ice Mountain.

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    The concept of a snow level actually comes directly from Sonic 1's development, and this concept was used also in Sonic Advance 2 & 3. Note the curtain-like Aurora Borealis and search lights in the background with all the stars.

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    Furthermore, with the concept art, and with a little knowledge of the Japanese manual stories, perhaps we can figure out generally that SEGA may have had a greater story all along. By reading translations of the Japanese Sonic 3 manual, one can pick out a number of interesting points which not only link with the later series, but to the concept art and also Sonic 3 & Knuckles as a whole.

    Knuckles guards the Master Emeralds AND his island's emeralds, which were fractured in to pieces by the crashing of the Death Egg. The fact there are more than one set of emeralds is never again mentioned in the series, though Sonic 3 & Knuckles allows the player to obtain Super Emeralds, and they are much larger than Chaos Emeralds.

    Murals on the Angel Island depict possible future events. This idea is re-used in Sonic & Knuckles during the Knuckles fight as well as in Sonic Adventure, when Sonic stumbles upon a secret room at the centre of the Lost World.
    There's a mention of a mural foreshadowing a dragon (Chaos), and Knuckles mistakenly believes the Death Egg must be the literal representation of "the dragon in the legend's". This dragon would have likely been a final boss in Sonic 3, had it ever gotten past concept stage.

    We can even delve deeper in to the connection of Sonic 3 to other games by actually exploring the Japanese manual's plot to Sonic 2.

    In this text, it mentions that once on West Side Island, an ancient society tried to utilize their own magical stones for evil intent, and suddenly the civilization disappeared overnight.

    It is known that Angel Island was once part of a greater landmass, but was thrown up in to the air by (later found to be by Tikal sealing herself and Chaos in the Master Emerald) to keep it's treasures safe from harm. This landmass is the Mystic Ruins, which judging by the Sonic 2 manual, seems to be related to West Side Island.

    The fact that South Island from Sonic 1 is host to a number of ruins, some very similar to places found in Sonic 3 directly (Labyrinth Zone and Hydrocity, Marble Zone and Marble Gardens) furthers the connection of the games in an obvious and deliberate way. In the Japanese Manual, South Island is always moving in the ocean, which means perhaps that it could also have been part of a whole landmass and split off due to the power of the Chaos Emeralds. This also gives reason as to why the island appears in Sonic Adventure 2 with all emblems collected.

    Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent, but it's all pretty fascinating. The team who worked on the classic trilogy and up to Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 created a lot of concepts for the games which were obvious but never explored in full. Fans of the original trilogy will spot intricacies and be able to link them between games, but it's all done so cleverly that the average player won't think too much about them. Whoever lent a hand to the teams who created Sonic Advance 1, 2 and 3 also pushed in a lot of this content that links the games in a thoughtful way (such as the setting of Advance 1's Angel Island, which links to Sonic 3 and Sonic Adventure) which creates a great sense of story and continuity.

    I would love to be able to get my hands on full detailed images of the Sonic 3 concept art. There's so much more we can't get a look at in that MTV video and who knows what secrets are being held.
     
  5. RetroKoH

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    I feel like this is grasping just a lil bit, but I admit it's fun to think about.
     
  6. Titan

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    This was a very interesting read, and quite fascinating how the concept of a creature similar to Chaos was in mind even during Sonic 3's development. Also interesting about South Island and Westside Island, I had never thought of that before...
     
  7. Ryuki

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    Wow, that MTV show had some pretty awesome music choices; Metallica, Bad Religion, then The Offspring to top it off... I think I nostalgia'd a little too hard there guys.
    God I miss the Sonic series not being the butt of all jokes.

    .... :(

    On topic:

    You know I never connected the dots between the S1 concept art and the resulting levels in the advance series... Huh
     
  8. VectorCNC

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    I wish I could say that, I feel that by the time I became old enough to be aware and consider the world outside my own limited interactions it was too lateā€¦ It would be awsome to have memories of when Sonic was REALLY radical!
     
  9. SonicGenesis89

    SonicGenesis89

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    I found this thread incredibly fascinating and it got me into looking more closely at all of the concept art shown in the MTV video. I had never even noticed the strange space dragon looking creature in the one concept art before and it got me all excited and interested. In the Japanese manual of Sonic 3 an ancient dragon is mentioned by Knuckles as the sky dragon or some kind of sky dragon God. This could mean that this concept art is showing the ancient creature mentioned by Knuckles in the manual. I always found it kind of odd that they mentioned the God in the manuals but never in the actual game. Judging by the concept art, it appears that perhaps in earlier development the dragon was going to be one of the final bosses in Sonic 3 / Doomsday Zone.

    Excerpts from the Sonic 3 Manual

    "Time passed, and a God descended from the sky to the newly created "mystery island". The sky God restored part of the civilization to the island, and threw the "Mighty Stone" into the open sky..."

    "Does that huge egg belong to the legendary dragon..?"


    Seeing your attempt at redrawing what you could make out of the blurry and pixelated images inspired me to try and do it myself with all of the concept art images shown in the video. It wasn't easy and I know I'm not going to be 100% accurate because the images are in such terrible quality it is really hard to decipher what is what at times but at least it can help give us a general idea of what the concept art shown in the video is. I also did enhancements in Photoshop to the blurry and pixelated concept arts to help see them better. I was able to make out and find a lot of details I hadn't noticed before that was really interesting and I wanted to show everyone and see what their thoughts are.

    Sonic 3 Concept Art 01 - Knuckles Sees the Death Egg Crashing Into the Island

    In the Japanese Manual's of Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles they mention how Knuckles sees or notices the Death Egg crashing into Angel Island. When I was doing enhancements on this piece of concept art I began noticing what looks like the Death Egg over the water and in the lower right hand corner I was able to make out Knuckles' face. To me, this looks like concept art for the games storyline which is pretty interesting. It looks like maybe Mushroom Hill Zone. You can see a large rock formation with a cave inside and a waterfall with water flowing into a lake. The image has soft blueish green colors reminiscent to Azure Lake Zone. Maybe that was the original color scheme for Mushroom Hill, who knows? You can make out what looks like a mushroom with possibly an entrance on the far right and on the far left of the image you can make out a pathway and in the distance you can see a small mushroom and a very tall one with a pathway carved into it which is pretty neat.

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    This is my attempt at tracing what I could make out from the concept art.

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    Sonic 3 Concept Art 02 - Sonic Swimming In Hydro City Zone

    Now this concept art I always found to be really cool. I knew even from seeing it from far away that it looked like Hydro City Zone but I didn't truly see all the unique and interesting things in this piece of art until I started messing with it in Photoshop. If you look really closely, you'll notice a shark in the water on the bottom center of the image. You can see what looks like caverns with waterfalls and you can see an underwater plant on the bottom right hand side. On the upper left hand side you can see a pipe with water flowing out of it and if you look real closely you can make out what looks like Sonic swimming up for air just above where the shark's tail is on the upper right hand side of the image. It's hard to make out Sonic, but if you zoom in with certain enhancements like higher contrast or levels, you can make out his form. You can see his shoes, his quills and ears, so it's definitely Sonic even if it is a little hard to see. I find this concept art interesting because its very different than the Hydro City Zone we know in the final game. It looks more like a cavernous sewer with pipes and sea creatures swimming in the water. I like the idea that there's a shark in the water with Sonic. XD

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    This is my attempt at tracing what I could make out from the concept art.

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    Sonic 3 Concept Art 03 - Sonic Standing On A Ruin Like Pillar In Sky Sanctuary Zone

    Now this is probably my most favorite of the concept arts that I attempted to restore. This one has a lot of atmosphere to it and a lot of detail that you couldn't really see or make out from far away in the video. When I really looked closely at it I was able to make out floating trees in the background, mountains, and Sonic, standing on a ruin like pillar standing tall into the clouds. I looked at the other more visible and obvious Sky Sanctuary Zone concept arts shown in the video and the ruin like pillars match the one shown in this concept art as well as the floating trees. The original designs for Sky Sanctuary I really like a lot. If you look closely to the far left of the image you can see a tall mountain with what looks like snow on it. In the center of the image you can see Sonic standing on a ruin like pillar facing the mountain with his quills facing us at an angle. There's a noticeable bridge on the far left hand side and on the far right hand side in the distance you can see a land mass with a tall tree on it with what looks like either a spiral staircase or thick vines wrapping around the tree. Beside it to the left, you can see three smaller floating trees among some clouds. You are also able to faintly make out clouds beneath the bridge and ruin like pillar and what looks to be either a small piece of land or a small mountain on the lower right.

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    This is my attempt at tracing what I could make out from the concept art. I drew this one a while back and now looking at it again after I made an animated gif of the enhancements, I noticed a couple of errors in the tracing. What I previously thought was some type of bridge leading to the tree was actually just a trick of the eye and is just a piece of land mass where the tallest tree stands with what looks like a smaller mountain beside it.

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    Sonic 3 Concept Art 04 - Knuckles Standing In Mushroom Hill Zone

    This was one of the hardest images to try and restore. It was the farthest away in the video at an angle and also had a phone antenna blocking part of it. From first glance far away in the video I had assumed this was concept art for Marble Garden for some strange reason but when I started enhancing it to the best of my ability I noticed it had mushrooms in it, trees, Knuckles standing in the lower left hand side and quickly realized it was concept art for Mushroom Hill Zone. It's hard to see, but on the far right hand side of the image you can see a tree with tall branches that go upward and are flat at the top, beneath the tree is a small hill of land with an entrance leading to somewhere. On the upper right hand side of the image you can faintly make out a mushroom and even the freckles on it and on the bottom far left you can see Knuckles standing and possibly crossing his arms. In the center of the image you can see what looks like woods and mountainous terrain in the far distance.

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    This is my attempt at tracing what I could make out from the concept art. I also drew this one a while back and upon looking at it again notice some issues with it. Like I said, I know my tracing isn't going to be 100% accurate, but I tried to make it as accurate as possible.

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    Sonic 3 Concept Art 05 - Knuckles Standing At The Bottom Of A Waterfall

    When I first saw this concept art from far away I originally thought it was Knuckles standing in Lava Reef Zone or Hidden Palace Zone and reaching for a switch of some sort but when I started really looking at it and enhancing it I realized it wasn't what I initially thought it was. If you look real closely you'll notice Knuckles in the center of the image standing on a small pathway surrounded by a tall waterfall on the far right hand side and small narrow waterways with small waterfalls behind him. On the far bottom left hand side you can see three small waterfalls coming from the pathway Knuckles is standing on. The pathway's coloring reminds me of Angel Island Act 2 after it is set ablaze so I think that's what this might possibly be but I'm not 100% sure on that.

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    This is my attempt at tracing what I could make out from the concept art.

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    Sonic 3 Concept Art 06 - The Death Egg In Lava Reef Zone

    This was another very difficult concept art to attempt restoring. It was one of the farthest away at an angle and it was initially difficult to make out what it is. From far away I was able to make out it was definitely the Death Egg but at first I thought it was in space but when I started attempting to enhance it I noticed small details that are telling me otherwise. If you look real closely in the background it looks like two waterfalls. In the center is the Death Egg and off to the bottom far right hand side it looks like either the ground or water.

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    This is my attempt at tracing what I could make out from the concept art. This was probably my poorest tracings out of all the concept images but I tried the best I could.

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    Sonic 3 Concept Art 07 - Cut Down Trees In Mushroom Hill Zone

    This was another difficult one to restore because it was one of the farthest away and at an angle. At first I had thought they were tall mushroom trees but then when I started enhancing the image it looks like tree stumps where their tops had been cut down like at the end of Mushroom Hill Act 1 with the mini boss. In the far distance you can see green vegetation but closer towards the lower right hand side the vegetation is a red color like the color scheme seen in Mushroom Hill Act 2.

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    This is my attempt at tracing what I could make out from the concept art.

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    Sonic 3 Concept Art 08 - Sonic Slipping On Ice In An Early Ice Cap / Winter Zone

    This is one of the most easiest of the concept art images to see clearly and it is one of my personal favorites. This was most likely recycled concept art from Sonic 2. In the MTV video you can see at least three recycled Sonic 2 concept art images which are Metropolis Zone, Aquatic Ruin Zone, and this unused Winter stage. There's another Sonic 3 concept art from the MTV video featuring Ice Cap and it is clearly different than what we see here which gives me even more further reassurance that this concept art in particular is most likely from Sonic 2. We can clearly see Sonic falling from an icy slope and have a good visual of the background snowy mountain peaks. In the far distance is an icy lake and you can see the reflection of the aurora borealis on the surface. To the left is a Christmas tree which was mentioned in an interview about Sonic 2 mentioning that the unused winter stage was going to feature Christmas trees. To the far right we see an icy wall which Sonic most likely would have been able to spin dash through revealing an alternate route / pathway. You can also see small snow flakes falling.

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    This is my attempt at tracing what I could make out from the concept art.

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    Sonic 3 Concept Art 09 - Sonic And Tails In Sky Sanctuary Zone

    I really like this concept art a lot. The original design of Sky Sanctuary I think looks really nice although I love the final version very much as well. This concept art gives us a pretty good look at how the ruin like pillars and columns looked with arched pathways and stairways leading to other areas with small masses of land with trees on them which are floating in the sky. You can also see pillars, arch pathways, and columns standing tall in the sky through the clouds in the distance of the background. And lastly, you can see Sonic and Tails bouncing on the clouds. Because I enhanced the closest and nicest shot of this image the bottom right hand corner was cropped due to being blocked by unwanted text. When you zoom farther out you can see something trying to shoot at Sonic and to me it appears to be a very small early version of Egg Robo.

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    This is my attempt at tracing what I could make out from the concept art. For some reason, tracing this one was difficult for me. Since it was one of the nicer and more clear concept arts we can see in the video I figured it would be easy but it wasn't.

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    Sonic 3 Concept Art 10 - Sonic In Hydro City Or Sky Sanctuary Zone

    This concept art was tough to decipher what was what. I'm still not 100% sure honestly. The background art and tiles match what final Hydro City looks like yet the background is white and doesn't look like water but kind of like clouds. The enemies seen in the upper left and lower right look sort of like Egg Robo but I can't be sure because they are too small and blurry to make out. You can see Sonic in the center of the image falling downwards and behind him it looks to be an alternate pathway in the distance. Directly beneath him it looks like a small fan that would make him float upwards but I honestly can't really tell that well. I just find it interesting how the tiles match Hydro City's but the background doesn't seem to match Hydro City at all.

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    This is my attempt at tracing what I could make out from the concept art.

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    Sonic 3 Concept Art 11 - Eggman's Blimp / Zeppelin Flying Through Ice Cap Zone

    This is one of the coolest discoveries I made when attempting to enhance this particular concept art. I never knew or noticed what was exactly in this picture until I really looked at it and realized what I was looking at. You can clearly see Eggman's blimp / zeppelin flying in the upper right hand side of the screen and on the bottom you can see snow and ice caps which are seen in the final version of Ice Cap Zone. Remember earlier I mentioned how the Winter stage concept art from Sonic 2 was clearly different. In this image on the lower left hand side you can see an ice cap and in the bottom center you can see a frozen crystal or stalagmite on the ground just below the tail of the blimp / zeppelin. The background tiles match final Ice Cap as well. You can faintly see snowy ice caps or mountains in the far distance on the bottom left hand side. I find it interesting that we see the zeppelin / blimp here in Ice Cap because if I recall Yuji Naka had mentioned that originally Flying Battery Zone was going to come before Ice Cap Zone and when Sonic jumped out of the zeppelin / blimp he would use the door as a snowboard in Ice Cap Zone. This concept art seems to be illustrating and supporting that idea which is really neat.

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    This is my attempt at tracing what I could make out from the concept art. At the time that I drew this, I failed to notice the crystal / stalagmite in the bottom center of the image so it wasn't drawn.

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    Sonic 3 Concept Art 12 - Super Sonic In Space With The Ancient Sky Dragon

    This is the concept art in particular that got me really looking and paying more attention to all the other concept art images in the MTV video. I think this looks so cool and I'm so curious how this would have played out had it been included in the final game. Because the closest and nicest shot of the concept art had text blocking Super Sonic, I had to use another shot zoomed out where the text was no longer blocking him to try to enhance Super Sonic. The top and upper left is the sky dragon that Knuckles mentions in the manuals and to the far right beneath him is Super Sonic who is obscured by red text. On the bottom of the image is what looks like the earth.

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    This is my attempt at tracing what I could make out from the concept art. I decided to try and attempt tracing this image even though it's been done by someone else already. I think their attempt was much better but I like mine too. What I did notice is what looks to be teeth on the dragon in the enhancements and I tried to trace some of them.

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    Sonic 3 Concept Art 13 - Aquatic Ruin From Sonic 2

    This concept art is actually concept art of Aquatic Ruin from Sonic 2. This concept art was released in good quality and is on the Wiki but the version shown in the MTV video is slightly different which is why I traced it and enhanced it. In the MTV version you can see a pathway under the water in the center of the image and in the Sonic 2 version we have that pathway is not there. Another thing the MTV version has that the Sonic 2 version lacks is a small ruin column at the upper right hand side of the screen on the top ledge. The column ruin on the far left hand side is also slightly taller in the MTV version. It's just subtle differences but I thought it was worthy to note and show everyone.

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    This is my attempt at tracing what I could make out from the concept art. I really didn't have to do much here. I just drew the subtle differences such as the new pathway and ruins. I took the Sonic 2 version and overlayed it and matched it up with the MTV version.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    The "dragon" is Eggman, or at least his final mech. The huge egg is the Death Egg, belongs to him. The "sky God" is Sonic, turned Super Sonic, restoring the Master Emerald.
     
  11. Adamis

    Adamis

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    We already have the last one, I scanned it from Pix'n'Love Sonic book.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    Man, that was some trippy post. x_X

    It does look like a dragon in the scrapped concept art, though.
     
  13. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    If it's not on the wiki, "we" don't have it :eng101:

    p.s. are there others and if so upload pls
     
  14. Adamis

    Adamis

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    I posted it mooooonths ago here :P

    But no, I don't have any others, sorry.