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The Enigma That Is Knuckles' Chaotix's Development

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by The Joebro64, Aug 22, 2022.

  1. Gryson

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    True, but this happened a lot earlier than I think most people know. At the end of 1992, Sega was viewing the Saturn as a 3D console. Some of its design might have been complicated by its 2D origins, and it also did 3D in ways that was weird relative to the PlayStation, but it was a fully 3D-capable machine. It was just very, very difficult to develop for. But from Jan 1, 1993, Sega producer Yoji Ishii took a ton of developers with 3D experience from the arcade division to the consumer division in order to build up the company's 3D capabilities for the Saturn.

    That's why almost all of Sega's internally-developed Saturn games are 3D games (excluding the multimedia-style games). There are a few like Astal that are 2D, but they were generally not well received at the time.

    I definitely think there was a stigma against 2D sprite graphics by 1994 within Sega and within most of the industry. The 16-bit market was dying very quickly and 2D sprite graphics were viewed as old in the face of polygons.

    If there was a concept for a Saturn Chaotix, I can only imagine it was very, very different than 32X Chaotix and would have showed off the hardware's capabilities much more. Maybe something of the style found in Clockwork Knight with partial 3D foreground/backgrounds.
     
  2. SystemsReady

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    ah does this explain the weird audio bugs in the protos? interesting that it was audio specifically that causes so many issues in the prototypes...
     
  3. I think people forget that early in a lot of consoles don't have great games, that was true for the Mega Drive in Japan and the PS worldwide . I never got the idea of the 32X or why it was even a add on to the MD, give it made so little use of the base MD hardware.

    I never got the 32X or looking to hang on to the MD market at all in 1995. It was clear to me , thag at the end of 1994, people were getting bored of the the same style of scrolling right to left games and looking to move on.

    I think 5 to 6 years is more than enough for any console.

    To a point, thought with issues over memory and no CD Drive I would have thought Juptior games would be needed to be cutback a lot, much like Series S games and the plain was for the Jupitor to be much much cheaper, a lot like the Series S

    Instead we had the 32X and that's what killed SEGA fight in the 32bit era for me
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2022
  4. Chibisteven

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    To keep milking the Genesis as much as possible. To over market an add-on and not have anything worth it at launch then abandon it when sales are weak while at the same time release another 32-bit console hoping it make them lots of money when it hurt them more than anything else. They could of never made the 32X and just supported the Saturn, Mega Drive, Mega-CD and just released a simple Mega Drive + Mega CD combination unit around 1993 or 1994 and discount heavily and not bothered with making a revised model 2 of them both the way they did. Hell they could've added video circuitry that overlaid it's own image the way the 32X did with the Mega-CD and have Genesis games that detect this and use the additional hardware making the add-on not only something that allowed CD-ROM use but also some Genesis games to be enhanced as well.
     
  5. People were getting bored of the 16-bit era and software sales were down for all in 1994 people overlook there was a 2 year lag with the Super Nintendo compared to the Mega Drive too and even with Nintendo 3rd party software sales were down in 1994/5. It really was time for SEGA to have moved on and just left 3rd parties supporting the Mega Drive, while SEGA just offered nice hardware bundles, but put all in teams on Saturn production (and of coruse Arcade) . They maybe have been case for more SVP titles, but I wanted SEGA to move on.

    Just look at SONY, the PS was the best-selling console ever at the time and yet 5 years later it was moving on with the PS2, the best PS2 was the best-selling console ever and yet 6 years later it was read with the PS3 and it was only 2006 thanks to a years delay with issues over BluRay. Yet some people wanted SEGA to support the Mega Drive for like ever, the system came out in 1998, and come 1994/5; It was time to move on. It be like Ferrari still trying to support and update its 2007 F1 car in 2013 ;). In 1995 you had SEGA trying to support 2 different 32Bit systems, the Game Gear, the Mega CD, the Master system and the Arcades, it was sheer madness
     
  6. Chibisteven

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    I wasn't saying they had to support the Master System at that point, if it was no longer viable at that point which I'm pretty sure was the case. My point was to support the Mega Drive and Mega-CD as long as it was still viable during the 32-bit era while supporting the Saturn. They could've pushed the Game Gear for a while until they had a successor and also maintain backwards compatibility with the original Game Gear with that successor much as what Nintendo did with the Game Boy product line and DS product lines or dropped out of the handheld market to focus more on home consoles. I'm saying it be best if they never released the 32X at all and instead focused on the Saturn because the 32X did Sega in by leaving a bad taste in the mouths of consumers. SVP was a huge waste of money on their part.
     
  7. Pengi

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    According to Wikipedia, there were two Sega-published Master System games released in Europe in 1995: Sonic Spinball on 25th January and Cheese Cat-Astrophe Starring Speedy Gonzales on 1st February. They both had Game Gear versions and the Speedy Gonzales game was developed by a third party (Cryo Interactive).

    So it's misleading to say that Sega was still supporting Master System with new games in 1995. For all intents and purposes, they were done.
     
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  8. The Master system was still doing well in the UK and other parts of Percy Pal land. People get a little too emotive when you say drop a system; I don't mean kill it stone dead, just that the development focus of SEGA's 1st Party and In-House staff should have moved on in 1994 and put to work on the Saturn and just leave development support to the 3rd parties while offering some nice hardware bundles. It's not like Nintendo made many In-House games after the N64 hit Japan, yet SEGA was still working on MD titles,32 X titles and Saturn tiles. It was madness and splitting SEGA resources way too much. The 32X and Saturn had SEGA fans and SEGA developers having to choose sides on which system to support and back; at least with Jupiter the tech was shared and Jupiter users would have been able to buy a CD Rom drive at a later date to play Saturn CD titles

    SONY was always going to win, but I've always thought and believed a SEGA focused on just the Saturn could have won the battle with Nintendo in the West. A shame too, because the Saturn is not only SEGA's best ever console, it's still to this day the best console I've ever owned
     
  9. E-122-Psi

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    SEGA never really bothered to capitalise on anything, even if it was successful. The attempt to experiment was commendable at the time but it also lent to several very fleeting projects they didn't even try to back up.

    The biggest problem with stuff like the CD, 32X and the Saturn is simply that unlike their previous consoles, they didn't have that many good games. The Saturn barely bothered to bring back any of their old IPs that made the Mega Drive a hit, even Sonic was a very secondary priority and when XTreme capsized they settled for a couple of quick ports and spin offs. The same problem occured for the add ons, it's all fine and good saying connecting this lump to the Mega Drive will boost its power but if you hardly have any fun games to show it off, what is even the point in having it?

    The N64 lost the war too but still stands to this day because it had a genuinely good catelogue of games that are recognisably Nintendo, right down to finishing it off with a big multiplayer hit commemorating nearly all their big brands. If you were a SNES gamer, chances were you'd like the N64 too, the same couldn't be said for Mega Drive fans about the Saturn.
     
  10. LockOnTommy11

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    I think this has probably been discussed to death; the fall of SEGA is a widely known detailed story, both socially and industrially, of how not to do business, and how to piss your customers off.

    They would have been better not to have released the 32X, delayed the Saturn and put all of their efforts into supporting it. I don’t think I’d even heard of the Saturn until at least 2004, that’s how poorly received it was.

    For us though? It’s fascinating to look back on and it’s certainly given us all something to invest time investigating and musing over. The PlayStation may have won in sales. but I feel that it was the console with the least memorable franchises on it. Sure, people quote Final Fantasy 7, Crash Bandicoot, Spryo, and Tomb Raider, but many others were multi-platform (even Tomb Raider was on Saturn and PC), and in any event, many have been superseded by far superior games today or have just aged poorly.

    If anything, Nintendo’s first party offerings have probably aged the most gracefully and had a much longer lasting impact; Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, the Rare titles, and Super Smash Bros are games that are still played today, and personally I think they’ve aged better than most. I owned a PlayStation and whilst I love the titles I had for it, many (I.e Command & Conquer, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider) weren’t exclusive.
     
  11. Clownacy

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    The sound driver is a modified SMPS Z80 (Type 2 DAC). It's based on the one that's used in Crackers. For some reason, Chaotix doesn't use the 'standard' 32X SMPS 68000 driver.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2022
  12. Ted618

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    The basics have undoubtedly been discussed ad nauseam, but a fair few myths and biases do often come alongside them. In terms of dissections on Sega's fall from the consumer hardware business, I think They Create Worlds' episode on it is one of the most truthful examples seen yet, with some good points on how the company couldn't help some factors.
     
  13. Gryson

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    Yes, such as too much attention being given to less relevant points, like the early launch of the Saturn in North America. Nothing would have changed with the Saturn's failure in North America because it still wouldn't have had the necessary software.

    It really comes down to the external factors, which few people talk about because they aren't as fun as the "Sega Was Incompetent" narrative.

    The main external factor was Sony. Sony's approach to the market was just unstoppable. If Sony did not enter the market, I think Sega had a really strong chance of capturing majority market share with the Saturn, no matter the mistakes.

    There are only two areas where I really think Sega made questionable business decisions that cost them:

    1) The 32X. Nakayama gave too much leeway to SOA and SOA did not have the experience / understanding to see the mistake they were making.

    2) SOA's software policies. After the success of Sonic, the company should have been trying to emulate Nintendo and establish more original franchises. Instead, they pumped all of their money into expensive licenses that generated short-term sales but failed to cement their place as recognized brand.

    I think those mistakes were recoverable. People like to paint Sega as incompetent, but the game industry is a risk-filled industry and mistakes will always happen. Even Nintendo has its fair share of bad business decisions (hello Virtual Boy).

    Sony, however, was too much. Nintendo barely survived on the strength of its own IPs.
     
  14. Azookara

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    I agree with both of these points big time, especially the second one. I'm not sure why their first priority wasn't to try to get a 3D Ecco, a new Toejam & Earl or a massive-scale Comix Zone 2 on the platform. I can't blame Sega of Japan for trying some new IPs here and there since they're the company's biggest workshop, but SOA should've been holding the fort. I'm not sure why they wasted their efforts the way they did (seriously, Bug? Seriously?), and then had the hubris to think they could just take over Sonic for a while in their superiors' place. Crazy.

    If I could add anything to your points, I imagine that the Saturn could've probably been a more capable console if not for the 32X's existence.

    Without manufacturing another machine (and wasting money on it's marketing and games), they could've likely tanked a heavier hit paying for more powerful hardware, much like the PS1 and the OG Xbox did. I'm sure SOJ's embarrassment with the 32X probably also played a part in why they released it so early in Japan, so it didn't leave Japanese consumers thinking that was their future versus the PlayStation.

    Had 32X not happened, SOJ probably would've been able to craft a higher-end machine, wait a bit longer for their devs to catch up (particularly AM2, who was choking getting out VF and Daytona ports), and eat any profits necessary to attempt to match the competition's price range.

    That said, I imagine Saturn ending up in third place that generation was inevitable. No matter what they were to do; Sony walked in with Crash and a slew of unprecedented third-party exclusive support, and Nintendo had output games too monolithic and revolutionary to ignore. I don't think Sega could've possibly placed ANYTHING but third in that era.. but at least without the 32X, it wouldn't have been too far behind to bounce back, and Sega's reputation wouldn't be in a completely ruined state.

    The Dreamcast was always going to be their underdog story, IMO. Sega had an ambitious vision for a new machine, took forward-thinking risks, and felt a sudden surge of creativity with IP that lasted them the entire remainder of the sixth console gen, even after it's death. It was their big chance to prove themselves.. but I think the debt of their two past failures held back it's peak potential, and the burden of said debt was just too much to stay alive versus it's incredibly stiff competition with the PS2. Had the 32X never happened and the Saturn fared better, however, I don't think their story would've ended in 2001.

    But I digress. I get very passionate and rambly about this subject, lol.
     
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  15. LockOnTommy11

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    I’m not sure they would have succeeded with the Dreamcast in any event. Surely, the PlayStation still would have been immensely popular, and with the PS2 teased on the horizon, I firmly believe the Dreamcast would have still placed last. Would it however have affected the Xbox? It’s hard to say, but the Xbox was somewhat influenced by the DC; would it’s lesser failure have caused Microsoft to rethink their own strategy and design?

    It could even have affected the GameCube, which was effectively THE Sonic machine up until 2006. I got my GameCube mainly for the Sonic titles back in 2003, and a lot of friends at school were drawn to it in part due to Sonic. A lot of them even got GBA’s, again, in part, for the Sonic Advance games.

    Nintendo’s own offerings, whilst now considered cult classics (Luigi’s Mansion, Mario Sunshine, Wind Waker) were not as initially popular with the public due to their divergences from earlier games. I do think Sonic (SA2B early on) helped bolster the GCN’s library and introduce people to these titles that they might not have gone out of their way to experience without the support from SEGA drawing them in.

    If the Dreamcast hadn’t failed as hard as it did, I think it could have taken everyone minus Sony down by a peg.
     
  16. Azookara

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    Considering Microsoft and Sega were buddies before MS realized there was no future with DC, I don't even know if Xbox would've been a thing in that timeline. After all, they helped out on that machine (as little as it were), and both companies's goals were nearly the same (create a console with PC-like power and functionality). MS probably saw how Sega missed the mark yet again and decided to take matters into their own hands.

    There were still quite a few things Sega would've needed to do to ensure Dreamcast was a strong competitor, but a lot of those things I imagine were due to the budget holding them back. Controversial figure or not, Bernie Stolar had gone on record saying he wanted a second analog stick, online functionality and a hard drive, but there was pushback due to wanting to keep the scope small so they could only pick one angle (Bernie picked online). They couldn't afford to spend a fortune on making DC after the losses 32X/Saturn brought, and there was also this paranoia amongst them that Saturn launching at $399 is what killed it's competition with PS1 so they were intentionally pushing for a cheaper machine launching at $199. Which meant cheaping out on making the machine all that powerful, and leaning on a new proprietary disc format (GD-ROM) over the rumored support for DVDs heard across the pond with the PS2.

    In a timeline where Sega weren't choking themselves with their own budget and debt double-teaming their scope, Dreamcast could've been everything it is in our timeline but without having to cut corners. In said timeline, I think it would've had a much greater chance of facing Sony and Nintendo (as well as allying with Microsoft), especially with the absolute IP face-blast they were producing that gen.

    That said, again, I don't think they would've been the winners of the sixth gen. PS2 was unstoppable. But a decent 2nd place ain't so bad, right?

    (Btw I'm well aware we've gone so far off topic from Chaotix, haha. IDK if we should keep de-railing, but I don't know how we'd really go about continuing this talk. Another topic? What would we call it? I dunno.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2022
  17. The Dreamcast's major downfall was launching too early, imho. I regard it more highly than the rest of that generation, even with my bias tossed aside, but since specs don't matter to most the most recent console to launch is best. Xbox does have two things over the DC; native ethernet ports and an HDD, but that's it as far as I'm concerned. The Gamecube has the potential for far better graphics, but it lacks the library of the Dreamcast.

    I love that quirky little mushroom extension, but had it died in the concept phase then the Saturn may have fared a little better and the general perspective on Sega may have remained distinctly positive. Had that been the case, along with a later launch, I believe the DC would have at least fared better than it did.
     
  18. Gryson

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    The Dreamcast is an interesting case study. It was clear by then that Sega couldn't go face-to-face against Sony. According to Sega's R&D head Hideki Sato, Sega's chairman Isao Okawa had a singular vision of the Dreamcast not as a gaming device but as an internet device (he ended up covering the cost of including modems with all Dreamcasts). Okawa basically knew nothing about the video game industry, but he thought the only chance the Dreamcast had was to go in this non-gaming direction.

    This created a lot of debate within Sega in Japan. Nakayama was firmly against the idea. He argued Sega was a gaming company and needed to invest all of its resources into game development. He ended up resigning from the board due to these disagreements.

    People often wonder why the Dreamcast didn't have DVD support. Sega wasn't stupid, but as Sato says, it was just too expensive at the time. Sony simply had the upper hand as a manufacturer.

    The underlying concept was for the Dreamcast to be a cheap, internet-capable device. At that point, Sega was following their old playbook they used against Nintendo: The only way to beat a superior competitor is to carve out a new market early on.

    If not for Okawa's push to sell the Dreamcast as an internet device, Sega most likely would not have released it at all and would have moved to being a third-party publisher earlier. It was a hail mary - let's give it a try and see what happens, and if it doesn't work, we pull the plug on it.
     
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  19. JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    Sega Japan did this with the Saturn as well, which is why they told SOA to do the same thing, presumably.
     
  20. Gryson

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    Right. A next generation console was vital to Sega by 1995 due to how quickly the 16-bit market dried up. Sega's overseas revenues dropped an astonishing ~75% from 1993 to 1995.

    At SOA, there was still a lot of faith in the Genesis going into 1994. That's one reason they sat on their hands with getting ready for the Saturn. That was a mistake, though, because the market crashed at the end of 1994 and SOA basically never recovered. In 1995 they laid off about 70% of their staff.

    From 1993, Yuji Naka and his team at STI should have been working on a Saturn Sonic title. Instead, they released two Genesis titles in the span of a calendar year that sold below expectations. Naka said recently that at STI he had basically heard nothing about the Saturn into 1994, that everyone was still focused on the Genesis.

    Hideki Sato put it like this: The Genesis's success in North America was both Sega's blessing and its curse.
     
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