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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. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    Where did he say this? I can't find it. I'd like to read it for myself.
     
  2. MasterDreamcaster

    MasterDreamcaster

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    In a message.
     
  3. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    That pencil test above only shows the active entities...
    Perhaps, since they'd only need the one background that scrolls to follow Sonic, they supplied the badnik for the actual animation work with intent to supply the final stage design later for that one background painting, but with it being cut early the animators just made something up to fill in the blank space?

    Just spit balling here, no basis for that thought beyond what I noted.
     
  4. MasterDreamcaster

    MasterDreamcaster

    Running Up That Green Hill Member
    The main reason this level is so mysterious is because every known picture / drawing / animation sequence is schematic / abstract.
    Take the map of Little Planet (also drawn by Ohshima), for example. There are not many differences between 2R and 4R.
    Those are underground stages, so we can't find them in D.A. Garden mode.
    And the rainbow waterfall concept art can be applied to Tidal Tempest, though Taxman mentioned it's related to Dubious Depths.
    By the way, for whatever reasons he stated that many elements of the stage were lost, including its name. I guess it depends on who you ask.
    Maybe people he spoke to about R2 just provided some sprites and a sketch (by Kazuyuki Hoshino).
    While Ohshima and Nishimura have other stuff related to the development of Sonic CD.
    It would be nice if all those materials could be compiled to form a clear picture.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2023
  5. saxman

    saxman

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    Thanks for that tidbit of information. Would you be willing to share that message here?
     
  6. Mastered Realm

    Mastered Realm

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    We know that's not possible. This image is from March 12th, 1992 and shows Tidal Tempest with water (and the volcanoes from Act 1 in the background!). Sonic CD v0.02 is theoretically the 2nd proto they made and that one is from December, 1992. There's also already coding for the fish in Tidal Tempest present in that build too.
     
  7. HEDGESMFG

    HEDGESMFG

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    If you're going to make such big allegations, it would be appreciated if we could see the full quotes in context. Obviously, censor any personal details if you need to do so.

    And if all this is accurate, it alleges that very, very little of the stage was ever built or designed at all. Concepts at best, sketches, small amounts of music, and maybe the digitizer badnik assets we have at most.

    In retrospect, it may be worth reviewing who in the past claimed that animated toei segment was R2 before this point. The lost badnik obviously points to something unused, but we know said badnik was used elsewhere. And I don't recall Tidal tempest having crumbling platforms, and certainly not sinking sand or vines... but that doesn't by itself say much.

    Maybe it would be worth asking more about the game's early Sonic 1 inspirations, if the intention was to remake Sonic 1 stages in any way and if early R2 ever was a retooled Marble concept. I still think the game evolving from an abandoned Sonic 1 CD port isn't all that farfetched.

    If we're getting answers from Oshima now, are we finally reaching the end of the road on this mystery, 30 years after release?
     
  8. Brainulator

    Brainulator

    Regular garden-variety member Member
    I was wonder the impression, as the uploader of the video was, that the R2 clip was not included in the 1996 PC port because there was an active attempt there to mirror the original Sega CD version's timing and cuts.
     
  9. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    I would think that section was left out because R2 was cut, of course. The fact later releases of the game kept a clip of a level and enemy that were removed from the final version always felt kinda unpolished and unprofessional to me. If it was up to me, I'd have removed it from the credits in and moved it to Pencil Test, or make it a secret unlockable video.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2023
  10. MasterDreamcaster

    MasterDreamcaster

    Running Up That Green Hill Member
    Story of R2's name:
    1992 / 1993: Developers come up with Ridicule Root, later change it to Dubious Depths.
    2013: Christian Whitehead: "Very little remained of R2 when I was working on Sonic CD. No level tiles, no name."
    2020: I become interested in R2 more than before. Start reading stuff like this:
    http://2003.sonicresearch.org/ssrg.emulationzone.org/area51/cd_r2.html
    2022: Masato Nishimura mentions that the lost level had a name.
    2023: Naoto Ohshima: "The eliminated round is Dubious Depths. I don't remember what it was about. A removed round could be a dungeon. I guess they deleted it because it didn't match Sonic's speed."
    And then:
    [​IMG]

    The Taxman's another quote:
    "When you consider that Toei animation studios would have started work on the cutscenes early on in development one could assume that Tidal Tempest originally wasn't part of the intended level line up."
    But now we know (thanks to the map from 1992) that Tidal Tempest was there on Little Planet as well as Dubious Depths. So why they didn't use it in the animation sequence?
    Maybe the logic behind it was:

    There is not enough space for all 8 levels – game's creators are not quite sure which underground level they want to keep, as Marble and Labyrinth in Sonic 1 proved to be "slow" places for Sonic to run around – they ask Toei to make a placeholder animation with a generic underground location – Toei uses a pencil test with the Antlion badnik as a basis and adds some surroundings – Sonic Team gets the animation by the time they decided to cut R2. There is no water in that scene, so why use it in place of Tidal Tempest? It does not stop people who make new versions of the game, though...

    Well, I don't have other explanation. I tried to ask Ohshima to clarify this, but there is no reply. Guess he's busy. Sonic Superstars is still in production and he visits Germany for the first time...

    ...so what else can I say? Marble and Labyrinth are like Fire and Water. Marble Zone has sections on surface, but most part of the stage takes place in a dungeon. Labyrinth is entirely underground zone.

    What if we combine lava theme, a small portion on surface (like in MZ), and then make a level which does not "match Sonic's speed" and has a lot of water (like LZ)? We get Tidal Tempest.

    So, maybe TT has indeed something from R2. Like those fans and (probably) a small portion of background with volcanoes.

    Because, if the developers based R2 on Marble Zone, there could have been lava at least in one of time periods. And Tempest is clearly based on Labyrinth (background of its Past version also looks like proto LZ).
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2023
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  11. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    Oh huh! Interesting. Not sure what to make of this at the moment, though.
     
  12. Palas

    Palas

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    Now that @MasterDreamcaster has provided the screenshot, we can talk abut this point. True, it looks like very few remnants of R2 exist, and now even Oshima's account is that the ending segment isn't R2. But if very little of the stage was ever built or designed, then how would they know in advance that either the stage was too slow and wouldn't fit Sonic gameplay or that it would exceed the disk space? Maybe I'm missing something, but would it make sense to cut a whole stage before you design it or be able to measure, in any capacity, the disk space it'd take?

    EDIT: Also, Oshima mentions "they" deleted it because it wouldn't fit Sonic's speed. But like, wasn't he the director? Wouldn't he be the one to decide, or at least have a say in whether a stage is fitting for the game or not? Otherwise, who would "they" be in this context?

    Because what the information we've received lately does suggest Oshima had very little contact with any material for R2 that could ever have been developed: he "doesn't remember what it's about" except for its name, he thinks the ending material isn't R2, he claims they deleted it. It would seem there was very little creative work done, much less approved, for R2. Or at least that'd be my interpretation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2023
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  13. RDNexus

    RDNexus

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    It may be another case of misplaced past memories or simply confusion on the whole matter.
    The point in fact of all this is that some clues managed to surface on these last few years ^^
     
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  14. saxman

    saxman

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    Respectfully, I wouldn't put too much weight behind him saying he doesn't "think" that this is R2. Too much evidence points to it being that level to simply ignore.
     
  15. Palas

    Palas

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    Personally, I'm not all that interested in whether it's actually R2 or not. I'm a little confused by the fact that Oshima isn't sure about it and doesn't remember what it was about -- but he was sure of the stage's second name. That, coupled with the fact that we have multiple versions for why it was scrapped, leads us to two hypotheses, under a few assumptions:
    So here's what could have happened:
    • R2 was scrapped due to a comparative reasoning based on a hard constraint. That is, they had to scrap one of the zones and chose R2. The constraint, from what we know, could be the schedule, projected disk space or some mix of both:
      • "We have to scrap an entire zone due to time and/or disk space constraints. Out of the zones we have, R2 is the one that fits our concept the least so far and/or is the least developed one;

        OR
    • R2 was scrapped due to an absolute reasoning that doesn't necessarily need a hard constraint. That is, they specifically decided to scrap R2 and proceed with seven zones:
      • "We have to scrap R2 entirely because it didn't meet our concept and/or doesn't have enough material, and it isn't worth it to try to salvage it in time"
    We're not sure at which stage it was scrapped, but we do know it was at some point between v0.02 (Dec/92) and Prototype 510 (May/93), and after they went for alliterative names. Oshima's reasoning does match Nishimura's reasoning. It's not that it wouldn't fit Sonic's speed at all, never, under any circumstances, whatsoever. That would make little sense for such an early development stage. It was supposed to be fast, and then it wasn't, and they couldn't or didn't want to figure out how to make it faster. That would make sense, but would still point toward a choice between R2 and R3.

    EDIT: By the way, it's not a given that the alternation between fast and slow zones was structured before they imagined a game with eight zones. This structure, once conceptualized, could be the reason why they would decide to scrap a zone in the first place. And, in any case, R1, R2, R3 and R4 make up a smooth alternation. So you know what? No idea what went on, but that's the most imaginable scenarios from the information we do have.

    All this indicates, I guess, little involvement from Oshima in R2's development, concept art etc. Maybe he never even got to approve anything, and the decision to scrap it came from the team as a whole or from Mazin. Then even if the ending scene is from R2, it kinda isn't, because it was never based on anything that ever existed from that stage -- maybe nothing tangible ever really existed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2023
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  16. Mr. Cornholio

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    That honestly sounds like a pretty solid theory. Perhaps Oshima doesn't recognize the area as R2 because Toei had to ad-lib what he thought the area was meant to look like? It seems very strange to me he would state that he doesn't recognize the area as R2, since 'making up' an area for the FMV is an odd choice. The other areas depicted in the ending FMV do correspond with in-game levels, so having that be the oddball is really weird.

    Perhaps Toei simply didn't have all the area concepts with them when they got the storyboards for the FMV? It would explain the odd Tidal Tempest and Wacky Workbench exclusions if more was given to Oshima after he finished the storyboards. I like MasterDreamcaster's theory and feel like Toei just might have taken a guess here if they wanted that animation on-time (only really being handed a rough underground concept and the Antlion Badnik). Tidal Tempest and Wacky Workbench might have just not had anything substantial around that point, or they had a set 'run-time' for how long the FMV should be?

    I stated it earlier, but I'm really thinking none of the Zone layouts were finished prior to the Zone being dropped. I feel more would have been digitized had they gotten farther with the idea before realizing 'wait this isn't working'. I think they initially felt confident they could get it into the game after some setpieces were drafted (the rainbow waterfall ruins), but something happened during the level design process which is where I think it 'died'. I'm thinking more now that it might have been a mix of reasons rather than one singular reason like others have stated.

    The Badniks/Bosses might have just received higher priority on the rare case they could repurpose them for another area (again,the Antlion Badnik apparently was considered being moved to Metallic Madness). They were probably less taxing to digitize since there's a lot less assets to worry about in that area.

    Jam had a lot of FMVs included inside of it that showed experiments the public wasn't really aware about (the 'Sonic Ride' 3D animation, the 'Man of the Year' cartoon). Since Jam was kind of Sonic's swan song for the Saturn I wonder if the reasoning behind leaving that in was similar to the reason those were shown off? Just sort of a 'behind the scenes' thing and this would be the first time the uncut animation would be available for the public to see. Editing it out I think would've just led to more speculation if there was more to the finished animation that we never got to see (or where that clip was meant to fit in).

    Does that Japanese Sonic Jam guide even mention/tease at that clip being in there? That might be an interesting thing to discuss, even if it does boil down to 'this uncut version shows an unseen level!'

    Offtopic but I love the Man of the Year cartoon and despearetly want to know more about that. The guide offers a small explanation of what it was meant for but the lack of a Part 2 ever being produced and the seemingly unfinished audio baffles me. :V

    (Edit: Quickly went ahead and changed the wording of my first two paragraphs since I misread Dreamcaster's post and didn't realize Toei were the ones responsible for coming up with the areas the end FMV take place in. My bad.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2023
  17. expansivelovestories

    expansivelovestories

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    Yes, it seems like Toei for the ending animation, interpreted information and material about the zones and badniks in ways that they could smoothly and dynamically animate!! If they saw any gameplay, they didn't try to portray that.

    Stardust Speedway not looking that much like the actual zone is a good litmus test i suppose!!
     
  18. HEDGESMFG

    HEDGESMFG

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    At this point, if Oshima can barely even remember R2, I'm going to assume there's barely any of it to remember, and what we have, much like other lesser known early Sonic 2 stages, is pretty much all that exists.

    I'm not entirely convinced about the FMV not being related to R2 in any way, but it does make for an interesting theory about how R2 and R4 were once split then simply merged conceptually. That is indeed plausible. Toei may have gotten concepts for both and simply cherry picked between them and picked a random badnik to use, which just happened to end up a scrapped one.

    I'd still be fine with a fan creation being based off of the FMV, but I also believe there is literally almost nothing left for us to go on. I'm now certain little to no tiles were ever built for this stage, and at 'best' some maps may have been drawn, but not digitized.
     
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  19. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    Ultimately I think we're at a point where we've hit a wall and won't make any discoveries unless Sega and/or a developer decides to reveal some more concept art or maps or graphics or whatever. All that's left to discuss is (A) what information we have and (B) speculation that we usually don't do here (like the old "Rusty Ruin might be based on R2!" theories).
     
  20. Antheraea

    Antheraea

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    like, honestly that segment is extremely vague even when finished. the blocks aren't textured and most of the focus is on the (cut) antlion enemy rather than the environment itself. As a pencil test, it stands out even more as something that strikes me as "guessed" so to speak.