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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


    Oldbie Tech Member
    I don't have time to read your post right now. But I like the art. I would strongly suggest putting some sort of "this is a recreation" note embedded into those images though. The internet snags this stuff and people who don't know what we know will get the wrong idea.
  2. Ch1pper


    Fighting the Battle of Who Could Care Less Member
    Every new long post in this thread is one big conspiracy gif. :V
    To me it's as simple as this: considering how the level design of CD feels in comparison to the main trilogy, just how bad did R2 have to be to get scrapped?
  3. Palas


    Don't lose your temper so quickly. Member
    All we've learned so far points towards there not having been "level design" for R2 at any point so even if Sonic CD's level design wasn't the superior one this question wouldn't be the right one to make :V
  4. Ch1pper


    Fighting the Battle of Who Could Care Less Member
    Oh, you. That's why I wrote "feels" without "good" or "bad". :V

    I was specifically thinking of that one theory that says, "maybe there's a level designer that was so bad he isn't in the credits and made a stink of it so Sega can't legally say anything :tinfoil:". The "8 tracks on the Remix CD and 8 original Zones" comes off like the new version of that. :V

    Not that folks aren't free to keep 'em coming. The wackier the workbench, the better.
  5. Vertekins


    Wants to know everything about Sonic Member
    Midlands, England, UK, over there in Europe.
    Translating Sonic info. Working on Concept Mobius. Also, trying to find extant footage of original Sonic CD special stage.
    To sum up what is known about R2/Dubious Depths/Ridicule Root as a whole;

    - "D.A Garden" was the theme music for the present time.
    - Amy was supposed to fall into a pitfall.
    - Zone was a "technical" stage with an emphasis on platforming as opposed to a "speed" stage such as Stardust Speedway.
    - Amy was originally planned to have been kidnapped from this stage by Metal Sonic. Relegated to Collision Chaos in final.
    - Stage had "Ancient Ruins" theme.
    - Stage was ultimately cut due to space issues on the disc for its music. Another reason given was that its level design did not gel with Sonic's speed.
    - The latter suggests that at some point, this stage did have a layout at the very least (How can you come to the conclusion that it didn't match Sonic's speed otherwise?).
    - Stage never really made it past "image visual."
    - Rainbow waterfalls presumably intended for Good Future iteration of stage going by concept art shown by Hoshino in developers diary video.
    - The animated sequence in the ending with the collapsing floor sections and Antlion Badnik may not be an actual representation of the stage.
    - Antlion, Worm/Snake and Burrobot Badniks planned. According to Antlion's concept art, it uses the wheels on its sides to move up and down within its hole when it hears Sonic nearby.
    - Wheel-themed boss.
    - "Sonic Stream" from the 1994 Sonic Remix album theorised to contain sections of this stage's music.
    - Present time of the stage had a forest/jungle area and a maze-like presumably underground section that featured fans and swinging platforms.
    - Angel statue and its room graphics in Wacky Workbench Act 1 Past are not from this stage as often theorised.

    I think I got all of the minutiae regarding this zone. I love Sonic CD and its development fascinates me so I garner all the knowledge I possibly can about it ;)

    Now if only footage of the original two maze special stage surfaces...
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2023
  6. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    I think you've made some assumptions here...

    - We don't know for certain that it has ancient ruins. We just suspect it did.
    - We don't have a clear answer why the stage was cut. Personally, I think the music reason sounds too silly to believe. In fact, we don't even know if a stage layout was ever created, so it'd be hard for the speed reason to hold water.
    - We believe it didn't make it much past concepts, but who knows for sure?

    This might sound like nitpicking. It's just that I know some outsiders and newer members may latch onto things and spread it around as the gospel, when it may not be.

    And if I'm mistaken regarding the above points, feel free to educate me.
  7. MasterDreamcaster


    Running Up That Green Hill Member
    Let's look at levels with this theme:
    Marble Zone (Sonic 1) – Aquatic Ruin Zone (Sonic 2) – Marble Garden Zone (Sonic 3).
    Similarities between them: some kind of ancient architecture, mountains in the background, underground sections, swinging platforms.
    Dubious Depths Zone (Sonic CD) could have had all of those elements, judging by what we know about it. Moreover, various images made by Kazuyuki Hoshino depict robots with drills. Even sprites for burrobot were made. Badniks of this type appear in ARZ and MGZ. Latter level's boss uses a big drill.
    If we take into consideration the fact that Sonic CD miss a zone from the category described above, DDZ should be the stage with ancient ruins theme. Yes, the game features Tidal Tempest, which also fits that theme to some extent. But it's clearly based on Labyrinth Zone from Sonic 1, while Dubious Depths Zone was presumably a "CD" version of Marble Zone. The same way as:

    Palmtree Panic Zone – Green Hill CD
    Collision Chaos Zone – Spring Yard CD
    Stardust Speedway Zone – Star Light CD
    Metallic Madness – Scrap Brain CD

    It looks like in their new game the development team wanted to expand ideas of Sonic 1. Most sprites of our hedgehog were taken from the original game, but more new ones were also added.
    Rounds in Sonic CD can be explored in different time periods. They have new gimmicks and special features. Art style also changed.
    I think that developers wanted to add something new to R2, too. Like, in the first game MZ's architecture reminds me of Ancient Greece, while in CD they wanted to have an aqueduct, which is related to Ancient Rome.
    Some unknown structures are seen on the map of Little Planet, maybe a draft of ruins / columns?
    I'm not quite sure what the dungeon part of R2 was supposed to be. Swinging platforms and spikes, yes. But they are present in MZ as well. There is a fan and... that's it.
    Ah yes, crumbling floor and traps. If the animation really depicts DDZ, than what time period is this? There is machinery... so, possibly, ancient ruins were replaced by technology? Or exist right next to it? Hard to tell.
    In Sonic 1, levels are presented, well, in Present, but in Sonic CD the team could explore more possibilities and show us what happened before (Past) or will happen next (Future) in a certain location.
    You can do anything (just like in that song) with all the ideas depicted in concept art. For example, if you have a drawing with highway and traffic signs, you can use it in Star Light Zone remake, because new zone also takes place in a city.
    Oh, there is a picture of an aqueduct in sketchbook. Let's add it to Marble Zone remake and have rainbow-coloured waterfalls for the sake of variety... That will definetely distinguish this zone from the one in Sonic 1.
    And so on... Hopefully, more art will be released. So we will be able to see evolution of levels in Sonic CD and find out what Toei animation was based on.
    Because it was made early on, and I doubt a gameplay footage served as basis. Probably they used pictures / designs / mockups for reference. It is so with character designs: Amy Rose, Sonic The Hedgehog, Doctor Eggman, Metal Sonic. Robots are modeled after Kazuyuki Hoshino's images. Antlion is straight from concept art. The most reused R2 robot – also appears in pencil test and sprites (including recolored form for R8).
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2023
  8. - Theorization of the round being based on Marble Zone has been a recurring hypothesis, and Naoto Ohshima has certainly added more fuel to the fire by stating that he remembers it being a dungeon, looking back Marble very much resembles the ruins of a dungeon which supports the ruins hypothesis.
    - While yes we don't have a clear answer as to why, the reasons we do have are more credible than the original reason fans got almost 20 years ago, which came from someone who didn't work on the original release. In addition, I don't think the memory reason is that silly, it could be possible that Sega only allowed the team the allotted disc space that the final Japanese build has, there's also the other point Mazin said that Vertekins left out, he said it was cut due to the music not being able to fit onto the disc and the strict development schedule. Time was also a factor in the decision to cut the stage, and about the stage layout thing, we also didn't know that Cyber City had a stage layout beyond Metropolis Zone Act 3, let alone three whole acts all to itself. So it's entirely possible that stage layouts were done in the concept stage.
    - "We"? I certainly don't believe this. I think it at least got to the spriting phase before it had to be cut.

    The other round animations are all based on the present (even if things like the Metal Sonic race for example don't take place in said period), so it's most likely that the animation with the DD '93 Antlion robot is of the present time.
  9. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    My only point was we don't know those particular things to be fact. We haven't really seen anything, and we've gotten conflicting information. So I was trying to steer things toward more fact-based conclusions. I lean heavily on "we believe" as opposed to "we know". That doesn't discount the reasons for those beliefs.

    However, I'm actually replying specifically to address the last point you made, because I think clarity is necessary. Enemy sprites aside, we have nothing to fall on to say that any of the level got created. Enemies are not the level itself. Maybe they did create some graphics for it, but we have absolutely no idea. What does seem to be confirmed is if anything was started on it at all, it didn't get very far. And that's what I'm basically saying... "we believe it didn't make it much past concepts". The word "much" is literal here.

    But at the end of the day, this is splitting hairs a bit. All I want is to be accurate.
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    Accuracy has to take all information into account, which is going to involve some degree of speculation when statements contradict one another.

    For the purpose of the wiki, details should be kept (mostly) to quotes and what's known. However, I do believe some developer statements are contradictory and speculation is appropriate for 'this' particular thread.

    The Taxman, for example, has been in contact with the devs and is arguably a Sonic CD dev himself now. He claimed that the sprites of the enemies were intended for R2 (and R8 in Antlion's case). That's a reasonable enough conclusion that we should at least take his word. The one piece of R2 concept art we've seen depicts what are clearly a form of brick ruins and archways, nor any kind of modern architecture. Yes, you could technically argue they are some modern building instead, but it goes against almost every other piece of logic we have to assume this isn't the case.

    The Little Planet Map in SCD shows an above ground section, and underground section. Underground has almost always been ruins themes, and the swinging platforms closely match ones seen in Marble Zone. The mechanical traps are also evident in the image. All of those elements are present in the now in question "R2" segment of the Toei video.

    I personally believe Naoto Ohshima made a mistake in saying that video is not R2 (even despite his role as the game's director), or we're misunderstanding his intent by saying so. If R2 was never built, that segment may have only been animated based on rough concepts rather than a functional prototytpe, which could fit his statement a bit better, but it otherwise matches the elements we do have. It has roots. It has machinery. It has a missing enemy said to be for R2. It has ruins. It appears to be in the "depths" of sorts. That segment exists for a reason, and it doesn't match tidal tempest very well, so the concept for it came from somewhere. Maybe only a vague description to Toei? But even then, that would be a basis for what R2 was even if Toei fully animated the segment using only written words and not hard art (outside of the badnik).

    It has elements that match literally everything else we've ever had hard evidence was meant for the zone.

    Of course, it could be a variation of Tidal Tempest, but it does 'not' reasonably match any version we've seen. Where is the evidence that it is beyond one single statement? Where is the early Tidal Tempest Concept Art with blue ruins? With an Antlion? With sand traps? With mechanical traps?

    I'm not saying they can't be related at all, I'm saying we have just as much hard evidence for as against.

    And after a point, this is splitting hairs. I think we've done a good job organizing what evidence does exist, and learning a few more details, with some well informed speculation adding more interesting details to all this.

    I think the wiki should be cautious and stick to the fact, but do not do something as foolhearty as remove the R2 segment from the wiki level's page, for example.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2023
  11. MasterDreamcaster


    Running Up That Green Hill Member
    There is a floating block in the 2R dungeon (Little Planet map). Some kind of "stairs" (like in Labyrinth, act 3 boss area) and a spring seem to be means for Sonic to reach the surface.
  12. dsmania


    Old lurker Member
    If we accept these premises:
    • Tidal Tempest is the counterpart to Labyrinth Zone
    • Labyrith Zone was originally the second zone in Sonic 1
    • Tidal Tempest is missing in the ending video
    • R2 is in the ending video
    I'd not be surprised if this was some miscommunication between Sega and Toei and the message "We're cutting the second stage" referred to different things on both parts and it ended with this situation of having a cut zone in the video but an actually implemented zone, not. And if you think with a japanese mindset, admiting a mistake like this publicly, is probably something quite humiliating to some degree, and I doubt we'll ever get some comfirmation.

    Oshima not recognizing the piece of the video as R2 is not so surprising as all the other zones are quite a loose intepretation of the actual levels, specially regarding to colors, and probably this one is too.

    Sticking to facts is the way to go, definitely. A developer stating something is a fact, but that doesn't mean that what says is a fact.
  13. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    I think it would be hard to argue against R2 having ancient ruins by this point.

    R2's placement in the level order makes it clear that it's supposed to be SCD's counterpart to Marble Zone, which was a level about ancient ruins and the only Sonic 1 zone to lack a counterpart in the final SCD. We also know that R2 would have had underground sections, just like Marble Zone. And there were the arch ways/aqueducts as mentioned above.

    The ant lion section in the ending FMV also depicts ruins. I know Ohshima said that he doesn't think that part depicts R2, but his wording made it clear that he wasn't sure, and everything points to it being about R2. It has R2's badnik, the area is full of roots ("Ridicule Root", remember?), it's the only section in the FMV not to depict a level present in the final game, and it's the only section cut from the ending in the MCD version. There were no other cut SCD levels (not counting the remaster's Desert Dazzle and Final Fever), so what else could it be about?
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2023
  14. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    I honestly never thought my comment would create such controversy. I figured I'd get a lot of likes if anything.

    The reason we don't know if it has ancient ruins or not is because it has a dungeon with an area above (like Marble) that has no description or picture to go with it. How do you know they're actually "ancient ruins"? Maybe it's filled with beautiful structures that are well-intact. The FMV shows a floor that's collapsing, but you never get a clear view of structures around (except that hi-tech thing on the left, which is unlike anything you'd ever see in Marble Zone). The floor is the only thing that would lend itself to possibly being ruins. But if it has ruins, are they "ancient"? Again, you can't honestly say for sure. I think it's probable that it was supposed to be "ancient ruins", but without concept art to prove it (and the rainbow picture doesn't tell us one way or the other), I don't think we should throw that around as fact.

    Fact: The level has things in common with Marble Zone, such as the dungeon, above grade area, and the level order placement.

    *Not* Fact: We know for sure it has ancient ruins.
  15. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

    iMore did an interview with Ohshima for Sonic CD's 30th anniversary yesterday, and he talked a bit about R2:
    More wood for the "R2 never progressed beyond concept art and a few enemy sprites" fire, I guess.
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    It's nice to see him at least take an interest in uncovering details from the stage, though we know from others that the "nothing" part isn't 100% so clear because at least one song did end up recycled.

    My guess, however, is that the exact look of the stage was never firmly established. They may have drawn rough maps for a layout, created enemies, the scrapped boss, some music, and created a few different, conflicting pieces of concept art that were ultimately not used. This could support his statement of the animated bit "not being R2" because technically the exact look of R2 was never finalized. Means it could still be based on it, but not technically be Dubious Depths. That could also point to digitized art and the stage not being functionally built simply because they looked at the maps and said "nah, scrap it". Memory and storage capacity may or may not have also been a consideration, but it appears it wasn't the primary one.

    In the end, they just didn't want a slow dungeon stage ala Marble this time around. Tidal Tempest is still there, but even it is less of a pain to navigate than Labyrinth, so there clearly is some merit to the idea of needing to speed it up.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2023
  17. MasterDreamcaster


    Running Up That Green Hill Member
    Thanks for sharing! Today is exactly 11 months since Ohshima-san answered my question about development of Sonic CD and revealed the name of R2.
    I suppose he hadn't thought that fans knew about the level, and my message was kind of a surprise to him. Well, his response was certainly a surprise to me...
  18. darylbaxter


    Writer Member
    All the thanks goes to everyone here that led me to ask him about R2 — I'm a longtime lurker of these forums since 2003.
    I wanted to see what he recalled about it, and it sounded like it was just something that was at concept, ideas were talked about, rough sprite sheets were made, and it simply ended there.
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  19. Hez


    it's cool it ended well, but I'll do my spiel as is tradition. To everyone, please don't pester devs. Check all our resources before you decide to potentially do it. It doesn't end well for us normally. Everyone wants to be the hero of the story, but it's much like the lottery.


    Just as a heads up, the R2 Sonic CD Decomp mod I've been helping out with earlier was updated.

    An expanded (temporary) version of act 2 is now included, along with tweaked and updated visuals, some bug fixes, and various other small stage design tweaks. It's still not final yet, but as of now I really, really have a lot of fun exploring in this version of the map, and I'm hoping you guys will too. A lot of the topics and ideas discussed in this thread have been incorporated directly into this project, with a few more that the team is discussing implementation of later. All 4 time periods for both acts are fully playable, but not all changes for stage design per time period have been implemented yet. Officially, this is not yet compatible with Sonic CD Miracle Edition or Restored, but technically, if you put it on top of SCDME (without the Origins Data that makes Amy and Knuckles Playable), it will work with some minor visual glitches (like the time code one you see below). I have not yet tested if it works with any version of SCD Restored.

    The level is fully slotted into the R2 slot, fitting between R1 and R3 in a regular playthrough. You can even change the stage name in the settings if you wish, and 4 different soundtrack selections are included in a customizable options menu.

    Further tweaks and refinements are still going to be made, so don't be too harsh. We know this isn't going to be 100% like what the original team would've made, but we think this blends a lot of the best ideas together. The team has worked extremely hard to make this interpretation faithful to the general somewhat wonkier design philosophy of Sonic CD, though it also deliberately plays as a slower, more maze like structure that encouraged exploration. Of course, a skilled player can still speedrun through one of the many routes we've built right now.

    Act 3 is also included in a temporary, beatable form, but there is no boss as of now. That will be implemented at a later time. My hope is there can also be official compatibility with other SCD mod projects and perhaps eventually Sonic Origins, but as of now test out other mods at your own risk. The mod currently works with Demop versions v1.3.1 and v1.3.2 scripts both without crashing, aside from minor visual glitches in some older v1.3.1 mod packs.

    SCDR22.jpg SCDR21.jpg SCDR23.jpg SCDR24.jpg SCDR25.jpg

    Obviously, this is not official and should not be mistaken as such. Don't let talk of this interpretation take over any official knowledge we may have or discover, though I question how much remaining material is left for us to ever find.

    P.S. We fixed some minor object placement bugs and did one more small release. Make sure you have the latest version as of this morning on 1/9/24.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2024