Sonic 3 Level Concept Art Research Thread (with HQ Pictures)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by pkderbar, Jun 27, 2022.

  1. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    Fascinating. Recall how the winter level in Sonic 2 had Christmas trees (although the art here just shows trees. They don't seem decorated or anything...). Also notice how similar to Mushroom Hill having a weather changing machine, Ice Cap has a snow machine. This implies Ice Cap originally wasn't a natural snowy mountain, but rather artificially covered in ice and snow by a machine Eggman made, and this explains why Angel Island doesn't seem to have any snow or ice on its mountains when you see the whole thing. Because by the end of the game, Sonic has destroyed it.

    This makes me wonder even more about that one piece of art...
    [​IMG]
    Also recall how in Sonic 2, the winter level was going to be a "ruined" version of the desert level. Perhaps this would've been caused by a weather machine, and this cut concept was going to make its way into Sonic 3, but it got scrapped and instead MHZ is the only one with a weather-changing machine.
     
  2. Pengi

    Pengi

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    I think you might be reading the storyboards in the wrong order. If you follow the arrows, the top row goes from left to right, and the bottom row goes from right to left. Rival, with the forehead spike, chases after Eggman and gets knocked out. Then Sonic chases after Eggman, then the floor collapses.

    To add a bit more context to all of these, none of the Zones have proper names yet, just descriptive placeholders.

    The gem on the character relationship page, which has the same design as the one in Zone 10, is just labelled "Chaos Emerald".

    Another interesting thing about the character relationship page is that the arrow pointing from Sonic to Floating Continent appears to say 伝説の神, "legendary god".
     
  3. Linkabel

    Linkabel

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    The snow machine strikes me more as an obstacle than something that's turning the region into an artificial winter area.

    Sort of like those things that freeze you in the finalized level.
     
  4. pkderbar

    pkderbar

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    I think that ties together with both the mural and the statues of Sonic in Hydrocity.

    EDIT: Updated the OP with some translated analysis of the character relationship chart.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2022
  5. Xilla

    Xilla

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    Robotnik exiting the Flying Battery on a jetpack reminds me of him doing just that in Mania.
     
  6. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    Since I'm currently at home sick and pretty bored, I did a translation of the relationship chart concept art. Pretty straightforward, but I think Tails' line to "Rival" is kinda cute. I used DeepL to translate stuff, so if anyone has a more accurate translation please let me know.


    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Pengi

    Pengi

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    Do you have a source for this?

    Brenda Ross said that the desert level was designed for a palette change, so the sand could become snow, but I don't think it's ever been stated that the snow level would be the ruined version of the desert level.

    On this topic: in the Mushroom Hill sketch the device is a blower instead.

    It's labelled 降雪機, which seems to mean snowmaking machine: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/人工降雪機

    In the final game, it's snowing during the Act 1 boss and the area leading to it, and it stops snowing as soon as you defeat the boss. The same thing happens with the Act 2 boss. They don't make the cause and effect very obvious in the final game, but it looks like that was the original intent.
     
  8. saxman

    saxman

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    The picture of the dinosaur/dragon/whatever reminds me of those murals of Chaos in Sonic Adventure.
     
  9. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    It's never been directly stated, no, but "Rock World" was slated for zone 9, in the "Ruined Present" era of the original timeline concept, and zone ID #9 plays Sky Chase's music, and listening to the original demo, it's fairly obvious it was composed for a snow/ice level.

    To me, it seems like an open-and-shut case that whatever ideas Rock or Desert were going to have at one point eventually got changed and finalized to where the winter level was a dedicated stage with its own dedicated music, and replaced Rock. Or perhaps the winter level was cut and consolidated into the desert stage until they both got cut. Either way, the idea was there at some point.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2022
  10. Pengi

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    Are you suggesting that Rock World was a snow level, or that Rock World got dropped and replaced by a snow level? If it's the latter, and the snow level was a later addition, then how do you know the time travel story would still have been in place by that point?
     
  11. RDNexus

    RDNexus

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    The original plot progression makes me feel like that story could've been awesome.
    I'd have liked to see alternate Sonic2 & S3K with their original stories incorporated.
     
  12. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    First, this whole topic is irrelevant to this thread.

    Second, I'm suggesting the latter. At least 16 zone themes were chosen and had concept art drawn of them, and sent out to Masa for composition. The time travel concept had to have still been in place by then, since it was only dropped in the first place due to so many stages needing to be cut.
     
  13. Pengi

    Pengi

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    It's certainly possible, but it sounds too speculative to be stated as fact.
     
  14. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    Lots of sources claim that Knuckles was originally going to be Sonic's friend but was changed into his rival at some point after his design was finalized. But this shows that he was always going to be a rival, and even appeared to be a hedgehog at first.

    From this it appears as though the opening post has some mistakes, like the claim that the rival protects the island's residents. The diagram says nothing about them. Also, the emerald is referred to as the Chaos Emerald, rather than the Master Emerald, which is consistent with this.

    So the dragon mural would have been in a temple under Mushroom Valley? This goes with the S3 manual's implication that originally the Emerald Altar wasn't in Hidden Palace, only the Master Emerald/Power Stone was. Although this doesn't show any altar next to the mural. Were the classic 7 Emeralds were even part of the story at this point?
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2022
  15. BlueSkiesAM2

    BlueSkiesAM2

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    That’s correct. カオスエメラルド just means Chaos Emerald and the part about “residents/住民” is referring to Knuckles living on the floating island.

    I’m on my phone so it’s a hassle to keep going back and forth, but the relationship between Sonic and the rival is just, “Thinks (he’s) an enemy/foe.” Idk where the demon stuff came from. If you want to copy and paste it in somewhere to confirm, it’s 敵だと思っている.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2022
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  16. Chaos Rush

    Chaos Rush

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    Some of this is incorrect, if it’s ok here is my translation (Although I’m US raised, I’m half-Japanese, live in Japan, and speak Japanese. But I’m not a professional translator or anything so don’t take my words as gospel)

    Tails —> “Knuckles”:
    なんかソニックさんに似てるから好き
    “He likes him because he looks like Sonic”

    “Knuckles” —> Tails:
    知らねぇ
    If the context was different it could be translated as “I don’t know”, but I would say in this context it’s more like “Never heard of him” or “Does not know”. Basically this “Knuckles” doesn’t know who Tails is.

    Sonic <—> “Knuckles”:
    敵だと思っている
    “They think of each others as enemies/rivals”.

    Eggman —> “Knuckles”:
    だましている
    “[Eggman] is tricking [Knuckles]”
     
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  17. BlueSkiesAM2

    BlueSkiesAM2

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    You ninja’d my edit regarding the Sonic/Rival mistranslation.

    I’m not a professional translator either, but I think your translations are good. It’s not like we’re localizing it, so 1-to-1 translation is good here.
     
  18. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    There is just...so much to unpack here.

    Was there a totally original, cut Zone 5 for Knuckles that we just don't know anything about? Was his journey parallel to Sonic's, instead of being after? Were the Chaos Emeralds from Sonic 1&2 even part of the story at all? What are those little bouncing critters at Hidden Palace? Are they just supposed to be animal buddies, or are they prototype Chao? And if Hidden Palace collapsed after the emerald was stolen, that would've gone a long way to explaining why there's a new altar in SA1.
     
  19. Prototype

    Prototype

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    Well, that was my working theory after we saw that pre-release Knuckles concept stuff which mentioned him having a tornado/wind power to help him traverse the island, combined with earlier info that suggested a more dinosaur-like design for Knuckles. I just assumed that some of the unused concept stuff got rolled together in a new form when they were trying to fill Chaotix with characters, and that having been a Knuckles prototype it would make sense why they considered giving him star billing during development.

    However, having actually seen these photos now, it's absolutely fascinating to see the development of a Sonic rival, and it's clear to see how fresh in their minds the Dragon Ball influence was. We talk about Shadow being a Vegeta type, but this rival character basically just has Saiyan-style hair and it's easy to see the blatant Vegeta influence. Given Iizuka's tendency to avoid scaling power forms to avoid Dragon Ball comparisons, perhaps with the lack of a cohesive brand identity in the early days it's no wonder that the developers were simply aping action anime tropes for their ideas, and that there's probably now a legal desire to move away from copying Dragon Ball.

    I have no doubt they went through a lot of design variations when it came to creating "Rival"/Knuckles, and even when the basics of the Echidna were down they still iterated upon it. Given the rushed schedule, It might go some ways into explaining why the final Knuckles sprite in S3 seemed to have resorted to slapping a CG model Knuckles head over the Sonic body sprite and touching up the pixels later, rather than having a uniquely-drawn sprite set like the S3 proto hints at. It was the quickest way to get it done. Not that it looked bad, the consistency of the head model looked quite nice.

    I could be wrong about my initial working theory re: Espio, but I would still wager that Espio, or something very similar in design, was a design that lies between Rival the Vegehog and proto-whirlwind-Knuckles.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2022
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  20. pkderbar

    pkderbar

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    Thanks for this, I updated the OP.