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Sonic CD's Mysterious Cut R2 Level Discussion - Post Origins Edition

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by HEDGESMFG, Jul 12, 2022.

  1. Nik Pi

    Nik Pi

    Sonic 2: Archives
    Why concepts ? Maybe they has also a level art to reference :colbert:
  2. MasterDreamcaster


    Running Up That Green Hill Member
    Made some screenshots – maybe this could be helpful.
  3. PimpUigi


    ------- Route Magician ------- Sonic CD Technician Member
    In the past I have theorized that the Dubious Depths level designer went to help with Tidal Tempest.
    TT2 is completely different than the other Acts in TTZ and the rest of Sonic CD; every Act in Sonic CD feels like a speed stage (even WWZ) once you learn how to play it. Except for Tidal Tempest 2.
    Tidal Tempest 2 is mostly devoid of the constant littering of speed tricks and setups that compose the rest of the game, and so it would seem to fit what Naoto Oshima said about DDZ not being well suited for Sonic's speed.
    Tidal Tempest 1 on the other hand, is a stage you can pretty much blast through. Even the bottom route has a few really neat and fun speed tricks.

    Perhaps the Dubious Depths designer worked on TT2's layout while TT1 was handled by the person who was initially doing the TTZ stage concepts?
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    My only issue is that your route in act 1 relies on a ceiling jump that I'm not actually sure was intended by the devs (though that gap in the ceiling you can fall through certainly is interesting, and looks like it could be deliberate). Is it at all known how deliberate some of these design tricks were?

    You obviously take the speedrun tricks very seriously for this game, given your work in Restored. But again, my question is how much of that design is just skilled players like us breaking the game vs what was actually deliberately designed. I've not seen much discussion about this idea.
  5. Mr. Cornholio

    Mr. Cornholio

    I like the idea of some of RR's design being thrown into Tidal Tempest, as speculative as that is. I guess it really all depends on how much of the tech showcased was deliberate and how easy it would've been to 'repurpose' part of RR to have water as a gimmick.

    I took the workflow for 'creating a Sonic CD level' as something like this, based on Jim's interview:
    • Concepts for 8 worlds were drafted with a vague theme (grassland, ruins, water, metal, etc).
    • Each 'landscape designer' had to work with the theme given to them and flesh it out more (come up with enemies, set pieces, and the actual level layout itself).
    • Enemies and set pieces were drafted up first. Enemies might have received higher priority due to them being easier to 'repurpose' (hence only them getting 'ready to throw in the game' artwork).
    • These concepts were then 'mashed together' through the level order/cutscenes to give the game a narrative flow (Amy falling into the hole in R2 level 1, Metal Sonic kidnapping, etc).
    • Landscape pieces are drafted up to get an idea of what tiles need to be created to throw in.
    • Work began on throwing the complete world into the game itself, with adjustments as necessary.
    To me, I think what happened was:
    • They initially liked the concept of 'Marble Zone 2: Electric Bugaloo'.
    • Concept pieces are drafted up and thrown into the 'Little Planet concept art'.
    • The team at this point feels pretty confident they can get the level in since it's part of the level order concept art. Concept art set pieces (we've likely never seen) are sent off to Studio Juno for reference.
    • R2 might have been still around the time '0.01' was built? At least around whatever time the Time Attack menu was built.
    • Uh-oh. Trouble arises now that the team has a more complete picture of what they're building. R2 just isn't panning out for one reason or another.
    • The decision is made to axe R2, but the animation is basically complete at this point (the development team got the introduction back in time for the 0.02 build).
    • A decision is made to just remove the animated segment that features 'R2'. The Pencil Sketch Test animation might have been left untouched as a little 'behind the scenes' look.
    I guess the most puzzling thing is why Tidal Tempest seems to be the only level that never got any sort of 'animated segment'. I feel if the reference artwork was sent off so early in development, they had to had something that shows a Labyrinth-esque level. Seems weird not to include it if the workflow did look something like this? I suppose space issues for a longer animated cutscene could've been a concern, but nothing surfaced from the 'uncompressed' version of the credits in the PC port.
  6. Palas


    Don't lose your temper so quickly. Member
    If we weren't 100% sure there were 8 stages planned for the game originally, I'd totally bring up the possibility that R2 became Tidal Tempest at some point. There are a few very small coincidences that would point in that direction, too (like there being a fan at the bottom of R2 in the wrld map sketch).
  7. PimpUigi


    ------- Route Magician ------- Sonic CD Technician Member
    The ceiling trick works because of deliberate collision tiles set by the devs. Thankfully we can see enough of the way the levels were made in SonLVL. (This is the 1996 PC version of the level.)

    I've routed all of the Future/Past stages as well. They're very much "Hard Mode" and remove the badniks you can bounce off of at the beginning of TT1. When I notice that, it makes it seem like the developers were conscious of being able to bounce off of them onto the ceiling.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2023
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    That's another odd thing about this whole game...

    Some have considered CD to be an alternate Sonic 2 concept "with Time Travel" (wikipedia is still referring to it being concieved as such), but has it even been elaborated on in detail how Sonic CD was originally conceived as an enhanced port of Sonic 1? They may have initially drafted it as the 6 zones + 2 extras and other bonus features. If R2 was basically a remade Marble, R1, R3, R4, R7 and R8 each line up reasonably well as enhanced concepts for the other 5 Sonic 1 Zones.

    "We need a flagship title for the upcoming Mega CD addon."

    "Let's port Sonic the Hedgehog and give it new music, graphics, and some extra levels!"

    Literally just "Sonic the Hedgehog for Mega CD" like some SEGA CD ports got back in that era, only they went overboard on the extras and decided to make it a new game? Obviously, these plans would be abandoned very early on as the game evolved in a different direction, but it could certainly account for the brainstorming that led to the title being conceptualized in the first place. Again, how much do we know about the game's very early timeline of development? I can see it stretching back further into 1992 than we might have initially assumed.
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  9. David The Lurker

    David The Lurker

    For some mysterious reason... Administrator
    Sonic the Hedgehog is fast. Fast things have been a staple of time travel stories. Ohshima has mentioned he wanted the time travel mechanic to be like Back to the Future, which is a film where you have to go fast in order to travel through time. Ohshima also has a love of American super hero comic books. There have been many comparisons between Sonic and the Flash, the latter having a superpower where he can runs so fast he can travel through time. I think the idea of Sonic CD and Sonic 2 both having time travel plots was grand coincidence, because Sonic the Hedgehog is a fast character. It's an obvious avenue to explore.

    Wikipedia has the line "Meager sales of Sonic 2 in Japan and the team having its own vision resulted in the reworking of the port." The sales of Sonic 2 have nothing to do with Sonic CD being Sonic CD. Sonic 2 was released in Japan on November 21st, 1992. Sonic CD was revealed to the world at Yuusei Sega World on December 6th, with the 0.02 demo. That would mean Sega of Japan decided, in the span of two weeks, to cancel a Mega-CD version of Sonic 2, Ohshima's team put together an entire development document, sent concept art to Studio Juno where an opening animation was fully completed and subsequently redrawn to work on the hardware, and the entirety of Palmtree Panic was drawn, designed, and programed to work.

    That didn't happen, clearly. Sonic CD had to have begun development while Sonic 2 was in the middle of its own development cycle. The idea that Sonic CD was originally a port of Sonic 1 makes a bit more sense, but even then, I have my doubts. I don't doubt that Sonic 1 was intended to be ported - we have enough evidence that it was considered. But I have a hard time believing Ohshima would be in charge of a simple port of the game to the Mega-CD. A supervisor or a consultant? Sure. But in charge of it? When I'm sure he would rather be working on something new? Sega of Japan prevented Ohshima from leaving Japan and joining Naka and Yasuhara at STI. Letting him make his own Sonic game sounds more enticing than going "er you wanna be in charge of Sonic 1 being ported to the Mega-CD you can add a zone or two."

    Edit: wait does anyone thing sonic cd was based on 2 anymore i forgot about the dates on the cd design documents from origins which are in april and may which i guess were mentioned here heck
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2023
  10. Battons


    Shining Force Fan Member
    I’ve personally never been sold on the notion of CD being based on 2 in any way. Much like the drop dash being a funny coincidence in mania, the similarities between the two show that the move set and iconography of the games are a natural progression of sonic and common tropes of 90’s media.
    I also never believed the ports and CD being related are a thing either. You’ve already pointed out how strict the timing would’ve been, and it is very compelling to believe they progressed from a port to a new game. What makes it kind of fall apart to me is that we can make fairly good estimations of the entire developmental period now and CD had a longer dev cycle than most games of the time. To put it in simpler words I don’t think they would’ve had enough time to do that.

    The only exception I can make in my head is if they were doing a port/s to test the hardware for an original game then they would’ve been codeveloping a port and CD at the same time. This however is purely a guess on my part and I have no actual facts to back up that claim :p
  11. GoldeMan


    Not to speak for others but I sorta felt that the whole "Sonic CD was Sonic 2 Enhanced" died permanently after the early Sonic 2 Map documents were shown off in Mid 2017, which helped to further separate the two projects as their takes on Time Travel varied vastly.

    It is interesting too that the infamous Sega Summer 1992 Catalogue (do we know when this was dated?) appearance of Sonic CD was seemingly the origin of that entire theory, which its description referencing Sonic 2's plot instead, not only that but the earlier Time Travel version of the plot? maybe it is a mix of the two.
  12. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

    I've fixed this. A remnant from when we didn't know nearly as much about Sonic CD as we do now.
  13. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    It's Sonic the Hedgehog 2 CD's fault.

    Mega-CD versions of Sonic 2 were reported by magazines, then assumptions were made (specifically with this article). It needs fixing.

    In fact I have a feeling Yuji Naka might have denied Sonic 2 CD's existence at some point (which doesn't mean the project wasn't planned and promoted by Sega of America, just that no code was probably written).

    Check all the things.
  14. Mr. Cornholio

    Mr. Cornholio

    Apologies if any of this is redundant. I'm having difficulty following the timeline of events. Do we know when Ohshima was made aware about the 'Sonic 2 project'? I could see him being asked to supervise a 'Sonic 1 port for the Sega CD' shortly after work wrapped up for 1. Then information about a Genesis followup to Sonic 1 being commissioned reaches the team, and then the team/Sega management deciding it would be better to make a completely new game at that point. A souped up port for your brand new Sega CD add-on seems like a bit of a raw deal compared to an entirely new game that already runs without that add-on.

    The 'Sonic 2 Development page' (which claims to be a bit outdated) has a statement from Mark that Sega went from thinking a sequel was 'too soon' to 'needing it now'. Maybe the CD team just didn't know until around the time that 'we need it now' statement was made? I don't know where the 'Sonic 2 CD port' fits into the picture.

    Speaking of, the 'Development Process' section for Sonic CD's 'development' article is a wee bit outdated - no mention of 'Dubious Depths' and it still refers to 510 as the earliest publicly available build. Not quite sure how to tackle re-writing that since I've never contributed to the Wiki? Perhaps someone who is a bit more coherent with their ramblings than I could tackle it.

    (Very off-topic and not in any way related to the R2 discussion:)
    Are you referring to a move similar to the Drop Dash existing in the Sonic 3 prototype? Taxman did send a Tweet when asked about it that seemed intentionally a bit 'cheeky' to me (with the alien emoji at the end). I always got the impression from the tone in that Tweet that he did learn about this scrapped move through one means or another while developing Sonic Mania. Unless he outright stated 'yeah it's a complete coincidence' elsewhere. Perhaps I'm reading far too deep into this.


    I think SOJ considered the Sonic 1 port very early in development, while SOA considered a Sonic 2 CD port, but no active development on the latter was ever made, while the former may have at least informed the very, very earliest development ideas for Sonic CD. Say maybe very early 1992.

    Again, I think this is the most plausible explanation for how we ended up with the 6 of the 8 planned stages being conceptually so similar to what was done in Sonic 1. When they realized it was better to turn it into an entirely new title, they kept this early Sonic 1 port draft and then widely expanded the scope of the project to include much more elaborte redesigned stage visuals (while still keeping the same tropes), 2 brand new stages, and the entire time travel concept, all built on top of Sonic 1's engine, but without Naka's improvements that he coded for Sonic 2 specifically in at STI.

    Both games were built from Sonic 1, and at some point in 1992 there was a conversation about a possible CD port of Sonic 2 'separate' from the idea of Sonic 1, but that was shot down very quickly and misunderstood by the press to be a possible release until Sonic CD was revealed publicly in the v0.02 beta we now have in December 1992. By my best guess, that means there could be anywhere from 6 months to a year's worth of conceptual work done on Sonic CD before that first build was even publicly shown. R2 fits in this 1992 time period where it was a leftover from the original idea to port Sonic 1 with enhancements, but was dropped for many reasons, including the need to get this massive title fully built with all timezones and music by Fall 1993. 7 zones with 4 time variants is a massive game for that era, still. R2 could have been cut anywhere from November/December 1992 all the way up to early May of 93, but it was likely cut close to when the v0.02 beta dropped, given how little we've seen from it anywhere else.

    Everyone keeps talking about Sonic 2 CD, but that's missing the point. It never was developed in any serious way at all and was only a talking point at best. The point of discussion here should be the ways in which Sonic 1 itself evolved into Sonic CD and what the timeline for that could have been like. Given that they're built off of the same engine and recycle so many similar tropes, it's at least an idea worth considering. Even Retro's Sonic CD page already has info stating there was some truth to this, though I'm unsure of the source for that. That's probably a point worth following up on.

    I think 1992 was a much more interesting year for Sonic CD than most of us knew.

    (Hell, if you really want me to stretch it... I even think elements of Labryinth zone and StarLight Zone still inspired small elements of Quartz Quadrant and Wakcy Workbench respectively, so even the "new" stages still had small visual inspiration from the Sonic 1 concepts).
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2023
  16. Forte


    I speak better after three beers Member
    Perhaps we can try to ask Ohshima on twitter (or any of the Devs) if the project started as a Sonic 1 port?

    I suppose it's an easy, non threatening any sega contract question, right?
  17. Mastered Realm

    Mastered Realm

    We have videos of Sonic 1 running on a Sega CD, so we kinda have already have that question answered.

    (3:20 if you wanna jump to the "SEGA CD - Sonic the Hedgehog" section)
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  18. Mookey


    Well, it's included in the Sega CD line-up but there's really no way to tell if the footage is from an actual Sega CD port. Could've also just been Sega plonking in their hot new mascot for the sake of it as well, unless there's differences I'm missing.
  19. Battons


    Shining Force Fan Member
    Yes and no. Sonic team used to have a picture uploaded to their website showing off a disc that was supposedly a build of sonic 1 for Sega CD that I know someone here has a picture of but I’ve forgotten who it was. Sonic Team claimed it was the only one in existence.
  20. Devon


    A̸ ̴S̴ ̵C̵ ̷E̶ ̸N̸ ̴D̶ ̵E̶ ̸D̶ Tech Member
    your mom
    You mean this?