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Would Sonic X-Treme have "saved" the Sega Saturn?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by DesertWarrior, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. 360


    Light Vision Overdrive Oldbie
    United Kingdom
    Sonic Neon
    Absolutely no chance. Sonic X-Treme looked like a disastrous weird experiment at best and I'm pretty sure it was destined to be slammed by consumers and in reviews. I don't even think a good Sonic game could have altered the Saturn's fate. Even if Sonic Adventure had been released for it I still think it would have bombed. Sega was a mess at the time and made so many bad decisions with the Saturn (surprise early launch at E3, focus on 2D instead of 3D, the console being too complex to develop for, the list is endless) that I think Sonic wouldn't have made a substantial impact even with a good game let alone a bad one.

    Sonic could have helped sales yes, just like how Sonic Adventure propelled the Dreamcast out of the gate. But saving the Saturn from its demise? Doubtful.
  2. Ayu Tsukimiya

    Ayu Tsukimiya

    UGUU~ Member
    The idea of a 32-bit remake of the the original games with Rayman-like graphics seems like it would be an obvious idea.

    Anyways, I don't think Xtreme would have saved the Saturn, but it might have helped. Although it might have ended up being rushed trash, the idea of a full Sonic game in 3D would have raked in a lot of sales regardless. If you want to save the Saturn and the Dreamcast, you would probably have to go back in time and erase the 32x from existence first and foremost.
  3. Andrew75


    Technical Artist Member
    Project AXSX(Sonic Xtreme) + Misc Projects
    Direct from Chris Senn's Faqs XD

  4. DesertWarrior


    A side question:

    One thing I am confused about:

    We seem to have an almost complete soundtrack for Sonic X-Treme - songs such as "Egyptian Boss", "Jade Gully", and "Giza Speedway"...But how were there songs for a game which lacked any true core concept? From what I have been made to understand, there were like, 3 different version of Sonic X-Treme in development in 1996 alone (I'm not counting the proto-X-Treme games like Sonic Mars)....There doesn't seem to be a single clear story, or a boss design. So who came up with a full soundtrack for this unfinished game and how do we know it's legit?
  5. Spehiroth


    Nothing (yet)
    That soundtrack was never meant to be in the final release of Sonic X-treme. It was a conceptual soundtrack created by Chris Senn. The names come from various concepts that were created around that time (levels, bosses, etc.) Had the game finished development, Howard Drossin would have composed a new soundtrack for the final version. This is what Senn himself said on the old FAQ on his website:
  6. winterhell


    Would Sonic Mania have saved the Saturn :v:
  7. Flygon


    I'd love to see it ported to there. Make it possible, technologically advanced Sonic Retro community! :v:
  8. ICEknight


    Researcher Researcher
    A fully original Sonic 2-length game with that style may have, but we still don't even know how long Mania will be...
  9. Deathscythe


    I don't think so. Sega just couldn't afford to price war Sony since the Saturn was expensive to manufacture and Sony had deep pockets.
  10. GameMusic


    That was a fight with Sony established as a console powerhouse, though, not Sony as a new competitor.

    I think the answer is already established - the Sega CD. Sonic CD was obviously the core of the Sega CD community.
  11. I think better Sega PR and better management, especially in regard to importing over great titles stuck in Japan, would have saved the Saturn more than Sonic Xtreme. Not that Saturn exactly bombed, more so than the fact that it was abandoned prematurely, and they decided it would be a genius idea to tell the owners of Saturns that they would not be supporting it anymore, so they could focus on and release the Dreamcast. After the already prior shenanigans with Sega CD, 32X and those also being abanadoned, customers got console fatigue from Sega, and generally fed up, leading to discouraging word of mouth and inevitable bankruptcy for Sega, even when the Dreamcast started turning things around.
  12. JennyTablina


    Very short answer:

    No. Lack of Sonic was *far* from SEGA's biggest issue where the Saturn was concerned.

    If your interested in the nitty gritty - SEGABase's Sam Pettius had a very good recount of everything that led up to how things would play out for SEGA

    Saturn and the fall of SEGA Pt 1

    Saturn and the fall of SEGA pt 2

    Longer Answer:

    The Saturn had a whole raft of issues almost before it even made the starting gate most of which were issues of SEGA's own making more than anything else, and the "Next-Gen" Sonic actually suffered because of it.

    in 1993 SEGA were riding high, but change was on the horizon. Next Gen systems were in development or soon to arrive. For whatever reason, in spite of being one of the pioneers of 3D polygon games in the arcade market, SoJ decided Saturn wouldn't be a 3D system - this only changed when they saw Playstation would be all about the polygons. Which lead to a hurried complete do-over of the system specs in such a way that they made the Saturn difficult to work with from a developer standploint.

    This had the knock on effect of delaying Saturn and resulting in SEGA deciding in their panic that they needed a stopgap, enter the slightly impressive for the time but quickly redundant 32X system. Originally the "new Sonic" was planned for this system. But once early development prep was done, they were told to move platforms and start over. So the STI team already move into Saturn development a bit rattled and onto a platform thats even harder to develop for (and probably only getting documentation on the fly)

    So you already damaged consumer trust and confidence by releasing an expensive add on and almost abandoning it right away, you've also spooked developers by offering a console with an awkward 2 processor system when Playstation dev systems are far easier to develop for, and come with better documentation. So how do you make it worse? By encouraging bad environments within your own company and doing nothing to promote unity between the different regions.

    X-treme's own behind the scene story very much paints the scene as well as books like Console Wars. SEGA of America had been quite instrumental in getting the Mega Drive to market well as it did over there, and had also played a role in some major titles like Sonic 2. But SEGA of Japan started to feel like America was too big for it's boots, or got irritated with the way they did business, so they started to disregard American execs advice and became quite dismissive of their American teams as well.

    While I think that didn't help, STI were struggling to get beyond making something that looked nice, to making an actual game. All the demos of Xtreme look interesting & pretty - but the gameplay element always felt lacking. The final demos from the PC version did start to look like it might have gameplay - but it was too little, too late by that point.

    Even if - hypothetically speaking - Xtreme had no problems in development and had been a first class Sonic game. It wouldn't have made up for the Saturn's technical limitations and issues, nor the reluctance of developers to support the system going forward. Those were pretty much set in stone from the get-go. It might have increased the short lead Saturn had in Europe and maybe helped in Japan, but I think it would have changed precious little in America.
  13. Aesculapius Piranha

    Aesculapius Piranha

    つづく Oldbie
    There are lots of things that could have saved SEGA. Reality is SEGA wasn't saved.
  14. Despatche


    God, that pair of articles up there just makes me furious. The entire first half is a fucking narrative for a dramatized documentary, not history. Sega had some really complicated and important choices to make in 1993, and no easy way to make them. Oh, but let's blame Sega of Japan for guessing wrong! The Saturn, the Dreamcast, and Sega as a whole actually did pretty well despite everything that happened. Oh, but the Saturn was such a failure, right? Fuck "historians" and analysts, it's so hard not to make that childish pun.

    It's not possible to talk about this topic without throwing away two major misconceptions: that the Saturn was a failure, and that Sega still being alive when so many other companies would have been dead a long time ago is at all undesirable.

    All this talk of "damaged consumer trust and confidence" isn't honest factkeeping, it's analyst whitewashing garbage. The general public doesn't hold grudges like that, only weird fanbases do. The 32X meant absolutely nothing to all the people buying the Saturn. The proof is in people buying a Dreamcast like nothing happened; the Dreamcast was doing pretty well until the PS2 dropped. The same thing happened to the PC Engine once the SFC dropped, even Hudson bailed for it eventually.

    I will never understand the obsession with calling the Saturn 3D plans "rushed". The PlayStation was similarly rushed; key PlayStation staff are on record stating that it was specifically because of Virtua Fighter that the PlayStation became a 3D system. Sega also had 3D experience to help them, while Sony didn't. The PlayStation actually kinda sucks technically, and was really only successful as it was because Sony was able to get Square and Enix on board; a Saturn version of FFVII would have done so much more for it than a Sonic game.

    The lack of documentation and the price stunt were much bigger problems than the twin processors... and developer-friendliness didn't help the PC Engine too much, so Sega didn't make such a big deal about it. This resulted in the Saturn having 1000+ titles, most of Sega's money problems coming from the push in other countries, the Saturn actually keeping up pretty well with the PlayStation in Japan (the region that actually matters), and Sega surviving things that would have killed anyone else. It should also be noted that almost half of the PlayStation's total sales came after the PS2 dropped, so in that light the Saturn actually did really well.

    When people talk about the Saturn being a failure, they make it sound like the 32X, the Jaguar, the Virtual Boy, the 3DO, and so on. None of those could reach 1 million, each having about two or three years to try. The Saturn did nearly 10 million in a single region over the span of about four years. The Dreamcast then proceeded to do the same number worldwide within two years, even though everyone knew the PS2 was coming. Absolutely foolish.

    Long story short, there was very little Sega themselves could do. They might have been able to sell an RPG or two in the west by not hiring Bernie Stolar. They might have been able to get Square or Enix on board somehow. Maybe. All they really got were a bunch of crazy 50/50 guesses, and they guessed wrong on too many of them. I need to repeat that this would have killed anyone else.

    Personally, I'm glad they survived and put out the great games they did. I'm worried about their current direction... but I pity them, I'm not angry with them. The entire Japanese video game industry is in danger of being taken over by mindless mobile gaming, and I am worried for every single actual video game company.
  15. DropDash


    Pending Member
    I don't think so. I liked the fish eye camera but the game didn't look that great to me honestly.
  16. I can understand you being mad about an article that thrashes SoJ, but quite frankly, a lot of this is revisionist history bollocks. ESPECIALLY your comments on PlayStation's market success - Square and Enix did not magically make PlayStation successful. It was already the leading platform by the time FFVII was even announced, and I would go as far as to say that PlayStation helped FF more than FF helped PlayStation. (And if you want to debate that point, recall the prior localizations of Final Fantasy games on Nintendo platforms. Needless to say, none of them were as successful as VII.)
    Nice job trying to downplay the PSOne's sales with that "Half of them were during the PS2 era", BTW, I'm sure that "only" 50 million looks significantly less impressive than those 10 million Saturn sales now. >_>

    Your attempts to prep up the Saturn's and Dreamcast's success also completely ignore the fact that the Sega MegaDrive/Genesis sales were around TRIPLE of their post-Genesis platforms, with hardware that Sega profited off of, rather than blowing huge swaths of it's budget on R&D for. (It also ignores the fact that people mock the Nintendo Wii U's sales when they were at a similar amount, even though Nintendo does not have the same kind of budgeting issues.)
    Nearly anything you can say about there being no "damaged trust and confidence" may as well fly out the window with such a simple console sales check; clearly, Genesis fans did not migrate over to Saturn! (Especially considering that their regional successes are basically an inverse of each other.)

    As for "nothing Sega themselves could have done"? Um, they could have not utterly screwed up the launch and enraged massive retailer chains, or maybe they could not have replaced the competent Tom Kalinske with a guy like Bernie Stolar, who seemed utterly bent on destroying the Saturn, and enraging loyal third parties like Working Designs to the extent that they jump ship to Sega's biggest competitor. Or maybe they could have controlled their budgeting better. (but heaven forbid I say that considering how Sega fans worship Shenmue like a sacred cow even though it's ridiculous budget - especially on top of Sega's other budgeting issues - likely contributed to Sega tanking more than any other single factor in the list of "Why modern Sega is a shell of it's former self.")
    Certainly there was something they COULD have done, because they have rival companies that went through similar low periods that did not get so utterly crushed by them.
  17. BlazeHedgehog


    A "Community Enigma"? Oldbie
    I think that no matter what, games like Crash Bandicoot and Super Mario 64 would have always run circles around Sonic X-Treme. Sony was out there actively trying to keep sprite-based games off of their system and Sega was embracing it. It would have just reinforced the idea that the Sega Saturn wasn't as capable as other platforms, weirdo fisheye lens or not. It was a bunch of shallow gimmicks and not much of an actual game, Sonic or otherwise.
  18. Despatche


    All that really means is that people wanted the 3D meme so badly, despite the situation around it for many years. They don't need a single bit of reinforcement to keep repeating that "the Saturn sucked!", because they have their friends to say it with them.

    This is exactly what I'm talking about. Everything in your post ignores my entire point and focuses exclusively on western success. Apparently a Japanese company actually being successful in their own country is irrelevant.

    I'm not going to get started on your nonsense about the PlayStation being the "leading platform" and "Sony helping Square" when nearly all of its sales before FFVII were due to the $299 hype and better documentation, and when arcades were dying and people wanted "console" games. At the time, the PlayStation wasn't doing much better than the Saturn everywhere, and it is generally understood that the Saturn was winning until VII dropped.

    It would also be a waste of time to bother with your bizarre notion of how consumers behave, because that also is entirely predicated on a highly specific ideal stemming from the Saturn situation... or you're just a wannabe analyst, like NeoGAF. Actually, that's probably where all this wannabe analyst garbage really started, NeoGAF.

    Can you really not consider the idea that all of these individuals trying to act so "angry" at their former employer are just trying to save face? This is what individuals who end up in rough times at a big employer do, they try to diss them and save face because they aren't going to be there anymore.

    No other video game company in the history of the entire world has gone through what Sega has. You can make all the parallels between the Wii U and the Saturn all you want, because that's the absolute best you can come up with, and because it's still a completely different situation. The only thing they have in common is that neither of them are failures.

    Disclaimers: not a Sega fanboy, not a Nintendo fanboy, not a Sony anti-fanboy, actually not that fond of Sonic's extreme popularity in the '90s because the games aren't really very great, actually recognizes the merit of all those games people love to hate (Labyrinth, Heroes, Shadow, Lost World), so on and so forth. But you people really should know me by now.

    For what it's worth:
  19. We're straying off-topic here, but yeah this has always been a bittersweet thing for me. I LOVED Shenmue back when I played it, but I can also understand that it was crazy over-budgeted and the tons of money Sega poured into the game was one of many factors that lead to them going third-party about a decade and a half ago now.
  20. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    Oooh ooh a Saturn history argument. I've compiled so much cited Saturn history that the page doesn't load on Sega Retro anymore - can I have a go??

    Important rule number one - never compare sales figures between "generations". With no moving parts and less of a strive to be cutting edge, the Sega Mega Drive could retail for literally half the price of a Sega Saturn at any given point during its cycle (inflation plays its part but it's basically 1990 @ £189.99 vs 1995 @ £399.99). The competition was different, the financial landscape was different - it doesn't work, never try to make it work.

    On a worldwide scale, the Saturn was competitive until about late-1996. In Japan it was always competitive, maybe stifled by the beginning of 1998 with talks of Dreamcasts - the consensus is the PlayStation performed better in its home region but it was also on general sale well into the 2000s so I'm not in a position to say whether it actually "dominated". Needless to say though, the Saturn was a hit with the Japanese during the period where Sega cared.

    In the US, the Saturn was badly marketed, and we can see that solely from the fact Sega went through three big advertising firms in as many years. 1996 in particular was a dire year for the Saturn getting its message across. Want to know what kills a console? Not knowing it exists.

    Would Sonic X-treme have made up for this? Probably not - X-treme isn't much of a looker. Besides, Sonic R had rave reviews and its existence doesn't seem to have made much of a difference (although they were on ad agency #3 by then so commication was less of a problem).