Sonic X-treme, the 3D Sonic game that should have been.

Docpan said:
"Over in Japan, Sonic Team were busy working on their own Saturn masterpiece, NiGHTS. The engine utilized in the game would've made the ideal building block for a 3D Sonic title... such as Sonic X-Treme. STI requested the NiGHTS engine, as creating their own from scratch would've been too time-consuming for their unreasonable deadline. Stolar happily obliged. STI began familiarizing themselves with the engine, but their luck ran out just two weeks later. Yuji Naka, it seems, got wind of STI's acquisition of the NiGHTS technology. This was during an era of intense rivalry between Sega Japan and Sega US, and Naka hated Sega US. So, being the good sport that he is, he went to the head of SoJ and demanded that the NiGHTS engine be taken away from STI, threatening to quit if his "request" wasn't carried out. What Yuji wants, Yuji gets, so the NiGHTS engine was retracted leaving STI to start from scratch"

http://sost.emulationzone.org/sonic_xtreme/whatis/index.htm

Sounds like sabatoge... And racism to me.
I'm sure it does sound like racism to you. It also sounded like racism to you when you thought that Naka hated the US designers of Sonic 2 because they came along and created a better game than him... oh, wait, but he helped make that one, too.

Look, Naka didn't sabotage X-treme. X-treme had plenty of problems all on its own. Its history of problems long predated his decision not to allow the use of the NiGHTS engine -- from switching from one platform to another, from Sega of America switching developers and removing the original creators of the game and then putting them back into place with a short deadline, the illness of the lead designer, etc. Yeah, Naka played a role in the whole thing, but frankly, given its history, I seriously doubt X-treme ever would've been completed even if he hadn't stepped in.

You can say, "Oh, he's racist!" but that's pretty dumb. We can debate whether his edict/threat was appropriate or justified -- he believed they were trying to copy a game he was making and that he was very protective of. To blame him for the game's death is incorrect, though. And racism? There was institutional rivalry between Sega of America and Japan that went well beyond Yuji Naka and Sonic X-treme -- problems that happened before that game was even conceived and that persisted after its termination. There's a lot more to that than simply tossing around the "oh, they're all racists" lameness.
 
Maybe its been stated already I didn't read the whole thread, but if Naka was so against X-treme and everything, why didn't he/Sonic Team just make their own 3D Sonic game on Saturn and be all "Yeah we don't need your one anymore" ? :\

Its like they were saying nar we aren't gonna make one but neither can you. :lol
 
I've seen the X-Treme demos a while back when a Sega nostalgia site Sega-16 interviewed Mr. Senn on it.

I think for what it is, the demos were impressive. There were some very cool themed levels there, which is surprisingly reminiscent of Mario Galaxy with their orb like features and 'floating in space' type structure.

A Sonic game of some sort using that engine with that gameplay might have been a welcome thing in the 90s. X-Treme might have at least spared us from the Adventure branded Dreamcast Sonics. I think taking Sonic in that direction was a terrible mistake, in hindsight had STI got the game out (and that's assuming they managed to finish it) it may have changed the paradigm of what a 3-D sonic should be, simply by being first.
 
Conrad Link said:
Maybe its been stated already I didn't read the whole thread, but if Naka was so against X-treme and everything, why didn't he/Sonic Team just make their own 3D Sonic game on Saturn and be all "Yeah we don't need your one anymore" ? :\

Its like they were saying nar we aren't gonna make one but neither can you. :lol
Because he made Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles in 1994, the year of the Saturn's release in Japan, then NiGHTS and Burning Rangers for Saturn before turning to Sonic Adventure...

Deku said:
I've seen the X-Treme demos a while back when a Sega nostalgia site Sega-16 interviewed Mr. Senn on it.

I think for what it is, the demos were impressive. There were some very cool themed levels there, which is surprisingly reminiscent of Mario Galaxy with their orb like features and 'floating in space' type structure.

A Sonic game of some sort using that engine with that gameplay might have been a welcome thing in the 90s. X-Treme might have at least spared us from the Adventure branded Dreamcast Sonics. I think taking Sonic in that direction was a terrible mistake, in hindsight had STI got the game out (and that's assuming they managed to finish it) it may have changed to paradigm of what a 3-D sonic should be, simply by being first.
The twisting 3d environments are cool. It does seem a lot like Bug, but with better, more 3d-ish controls and a lot more speed... it definitely could have been interesting. I don't dislike Sonic Adventure -- I have the first one for DC and the second one for GC and enjoyed both -- but they are missing something that the Genesis games had...

Oh yeah, and why are the cameras in their 3d games so awful so often...

ethelred said:
And racism? There was institutional rivalry between Sega of America and Japan that went well beyond Yuji Naka and Sonic X-treme -- problems that happened before that game was even conceived and that persisted after its termination. There's a lot more to that than simply tossing around the "oh, they're all racists" lameness.
This is such a complicated issue... I tried to write several long posts about this, but just keep getting myself more and more confused about what I should say. Sega of Japan and Sega of America obviously had a huge split during this timeframe. Asking "Why was this?", though, is a very difficult question... there are issues of corporate power -- successful Sega of America, using the independence it had been given to push its own agenda, versus not very successful Sega of Japan, wanting to clamp down on its wayward divisions and get control of Sega's policy again, issues of culture clash, with how Sega, as a Japanese company, looked first to Japan when making policy (so killing all internal Genesis/Sega CD/32X development in mid 1995 made perfect sense in Japan where the policy was made, where the systems were never successes anyway, but in America caused massive problems as it bet everything on the success of the already-faltering Saturn which would never take off and lost large amounts of potential profits from another year or year and a half of 16-bit games), why Sega of Japan wasn't more open to its American branch about the development of the Saturn (if they'd just said 'don't make the 32X, we'll have a system soon and here are the specs' and perhaps even listened when Sega of America's hardware branch made suggestions about 3d hardware and stuff a lot could have been avoided... but they didn't.), etc...there are definitely many facets to it. Blaming it on racism is definitely far too simple. There certainly are aspects of cultural supremacy (that is, people believing that their culture is right and others inferior because the others don't do things as they do), but all cultures have that in them, so that's nothing special... racism is something worse than that.
 
I remember seeing this in magazines and being bloody hyped for it, then it disappeared.
I enjoyed the adventure series myself even though it gets tons of overrated hate. It's not fair to compare it to Mario 64 as they have different game play styles, and Nintendo use brasso to finish off their games rather than sandpaper.

Think huge open worlds to run around in would be rad, like one of the first screen shots they released for sonic 360 of him jumping off a cliff into some forest.
I still love the music from the old 2d games though than any other game music, that stuff is timeless to me
 
As far as people leaving is concerned, what happened near the beginning of the Dreamcast era? How does the credit list for Sonic Adventure compare to the earlier games? It can't be similar...can it?
 
There seems to be a huge misconception here. Yuji Naka's involvement in NiGHTS is nowhere near as prolific as most of you are making it out to be. The entire project was the vision of Naoto Ohshima, Sonic's original designer. Yuji Naka acted in more of a production role, whilst Ohshima directed. Naka gets credited with so much of Sonic Team's output unfairly, and he ultimately brought about their downfall as a developer. The guy was an excellent programmer, if somewhat prickly to work with (hence him requesting to work in the USA for Sonic 2), but he was promoted to a role similar to Miyamoto's at Nintendo far too early in his career, and without the design and leadership expertise Miyamoto has. If you want to see where the real talent went whenever Sonic Adventure started Sonic down the road to mascot hell, look at Naughty Dog. Hirokazu Yasuhara was the level designer for Sonic 1/2/3&Knuckles, course designer for Sonic R, and later level designer for Jak II and III (and assumedly, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune). It's quite clear from those games the kind of talent the guy has for 3D level design, which is such a shame considering what could have been for 3D Sonic. Similarly, Naoto Ohshima left, after coming up with the timeless original character designs for Sonic and NiGHTS, to form Artoon.

At the end of the day, Sega decided to heap all the credit upon Yuji Naka, including two Ferraris, and he gladly headed up a Sonic Team that has had a hit-or-miss track record for the past decade. Sega's brand mismanagement of Sonic, where the likes of Archie were allowed to create a legion of furry friends that existed totally seperately from the Euro and Japanese markets, also resulted in a global "fanbase" that has utterly different ideas about what the Sonic character is. This also resulted in the whoring out of Sonic to subpar development teams at Sega of America, creating the likes of Sonic Spinball and the abortive Sonic X-treme, which on its own could probably have been a fine game save for Naka's primadonna attitude. Sega's dalliances with Sonic whoring also created prototypes like this, where there isn't a shred of Sonic's trademark speed or tight level design, instead favouring the worst kind of cartoon tie-in garbage. Sega struck gold with the original Sonic platformers, and were pretty much the only company to create a character with the appeal of Mario coupled to fantastic gameplay. Their squandering of the popularity of Sonic, especially breaking up the dream team of Naka/Yasuhara/Ohshima (the equivalent would be firing Takashi Tezuka and Miyamoto from Nintendo in the 90s, I suppose!), coincided almost directly with their fall from grace as a hardware manufacturer and as a "prestige" publisher.
 
first a bit about Sonic adventure serie:

- It's a story game on an arcady console (that was akward, blame marketing for this, shadow with a gun also :))

- the camera was broken, the frame rate was only fixed in SA2 (great game but dissed by many for the hunt levels)

- The game is to mario sunshine what xtreme is to mario galaxy.

- human have NO FUCKING PLACE IN SONIC!

- Even with all is flaw really enjoyed the first 2 game (even Heroes in some few moments) and those that bitch it as garbage can kiss my yellow hairy fucking awsome tornado level butt.

about sonic xtreme:
- the fish lens view is brillant, it allow sonic classic gameplay in 3d with no camera problem. It's like the xerox hyperbolic display system for large dataset. In fact it even allow faster gameplay than classic sonic because you always see a bit farther. The only thing i would change is to have the camera to slighly pan more to the side sonic is facing to give even more place to let stuff apear into view.

- The style is more like classic sonic (surrealist/cubic painting style)

- The game seem too low on ennemy (this is where the spin dash of the adventure serie could be helpfull, that was a well done thing in that game and allowed massive amount of ennemy and no gameplay slowdown).

- The game is well suited for a level editor (something i usually hate)
 
A Black Falcon said:
Because he made Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles in 1994, the year of the Saturn's release in Japan, then NiGHTS and Burning Rangers for Saturn before turning to Sonic Adventure...
I know what they did during the Saturn era, I just always wondered how they managed to go a whole systems life cycle without a new Sonic.

Almost unprecedented now-a-days something so successful just getting ignored completely by the developer in the next generation, can't imagine Bungie telling MS they didn't really feel like making a Halo game on 360, gonna do a dating sim instead!

I guess most people were seeing Mario jump around gloriously in 3D and wondered where Sonic was.

Full on version in the vein of:



required.
 
Conrad Link said:
I know what they did during the Saturn era, I just always wondered how they managed to go a whole systems life cycle without a new Sonic.

Almost unprecedented now-a-days something so successful just getting ignored completely by the developer in the next generation, can't imagine Bungie telling MS they didn't really feel like making a Halo game on 360, gonna do a dating sim instead!

I guess most people were seeing Mario jump around gloriously in 3D and wondered where Sonic was.

Full on version in the vein of:[/IMG]

required.
It happens. Sure, it usually happens with lesser franchises and not your best-known one, but it certainly happens... and there was Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic R, and Sonic Jam, so there were Sonic products on the Saturn. But there had only been two main teams that had made Sonic-themed products on the Genesis (Mean Bean Machine aside) and one of them was working on one but couldn't complete it (Xtreme) and the other one made other products, and Sega wasn't going to do like Nintendo did with GC F-Zero, GC Star Fox, GBC/A Zelda, etc and outsource a Sonic game... well, they did end up doing that with Traveller's Tales' Sonic 3D Blast's Saturn port, but that was originally supposed to be just for the Genesis and was only brought to Saturn too because of the STI/Xtreme project collapse. The main Japanese Sonic Team only had a short window when they could have made a Sonic game on the Saturn and they just chose not to, obviously. It is odd, but it's not that hard to understand really...

I would certainly agree that having a Sonic game could have helped the Saturn, because while NiGHTS did well, it wasn't known like Sonic. But if they really didn't want to make another Sonic game, would it have been good for Sega to force them to anyway? They wanted to do something else for a change... By the time they got back to Sonic the Saturn was dying.

Maztorre said:
This also resulted in the whoring out of Sonic to subpar development teams at Sega of America, creating the likes of Sonic Spinball and the abortive Sonic X-treme, which on its own could probably have been a fine game save for Naka's primadonna attitude.
Huh? You call STI subpar, and then say that Xtreme could have been good if not for Naka? That doesn't make sense... and anyway, STI wasn't subpar. They made the awesome Comix Zone, and good games in The Ooze and Kid Chameleon, and their parts of Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles are quite noteworthy as well. I'm not a Sonic Spinball fan (it's just too hard, and the art isn't as good as the other games... but given that none of the artists from the rest of the series were involved, complaining about that too much wouldn't be fair), but even so, it wasn't a subpar team and it wasn't a subpar game. It was just too difficult, like most of STI's games were. :)

Maztorre said:
Their squandering of the popularity of Sonic, especially breaking up the dream team of Naka/Yasuhara/Ohshima (the equivalent would be firing Takashi Tezuka and Miyamoto from Nintendo in the 90s, I suppose!), coincided almost directly with their fall from grace as a hardware manufacturer and as a "prestige" publisher.
I'd blame Sega's collapse on the giant US-Japan split and the repercussions of that, not on this, I think. It's certainly a part of it, but if Sega hadn't been tearing itself apart inside, it might have been able to recover... Nintendo lost major talents sometimes too, such as Gunpei Yokoi, and they made up for it pretty well. A Sonic game on the Saturn in 1996 or 1997 or something, however good it could have been, would NOT have saved the Saturn from total failure in the West. With everything else Sega had done to themselves by that point (or really, by 1994-1995) I don't think anything could have saved Sega in Europe and North America at that point.

Maztorre said:
Sega's dalliances with Sonic whoring also created prototypes like this, where there isn't a shred of Sonic's trademark speed or tight level design, instead favouring the worst kind of cartoon tie-in garbage.
Yeah, I remember that video from Sega-16. While I'd certainly agree that it's not very Sonicy, it looks like it could have been a decent game. Sonic 3D Blast was a big change from the previous games, and I liked that one...

Quartet said:
- The game seem too low on ennemy (this is where the spin dash of the adventure serie could be helpfull, that was a well done thing in that game and allowed massive amount of ennemy and no gameplay slowdown).
This is true in pretty much every 3d platformer ever made, though, so it's not THAT big of a problem... this definitely is an issue in 3d platformers, but it's one shared by almost all of them. It's much harder to do enemies in a 3d game than it is in a 2d game, really, unless they shoot at you or something, and this shows...
 
There have been some great Sonic games and some...not so great sonic games. Sonic 1 and 2 were the height of the franchise in my opinion. It went downhill when Sonic 3 came out. It was still a pretty good outing for the hedgehog, but the first two are unbeatable. I was absolutely psyched to see Sonic in 3D with the release of Sonic Adventure but I never really played the full version. (I should get a dreamcast one of these days)

I have to admit that Sonic Heroes is pretty fun. Yes, some of the levels are glitchy. Yes, the pointless new characters suck, but its easily the only 3D sonic to truly captures the series trademark of SPEED for the majority of the experience. No item levels = win!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9x99zdNZS2s&feature=related

The 2D games for GBA and DS have been the best sonic games since Genesis. Sonic Advance 1-3 were excellent and I felt that Sonic Rush was possibly the best 2D sonic since Sonic 2. Sonic Rush Adventure seems ok, but forced WindWaker mechanics do not belong in a Sonic game.

The one thing that REALLY bothers me about the new sonic games is the idiotic rock soundtrack. MOAR SONIC 1/2 STYLE MUSIC PLZ!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?d...202&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0

I WANT THIS MUSIC!!!
 
JonAmikar said:
The one thing that REALLY bothers me about the new sonic games is the idiotic rock soundtrack. MOAR SONIC 1/2 STYLE MUSIC PLZ!
Ditto, sad thing is Sonic 360 had an awesome soundtrack (seriously, listen to it somehow).

...I know...
 
A Black Falcon said:
But there had only been two main teams that had made Sonic-themed products on the Genesis (Mean Bean Machine aside) and one of them was working on one but couldn't complete it (Xtreme) and the other one made other products, and Sega wasn't going to do like Nintendo did with GC F-Zero, GC Star Fox, GBC/A Zelda, etc and outsource a Sonic game... well, they did end up doing that with Traveller's Tales' Sonic 3D Blast's Saturn port, but that was originally supposed to be just for the Genesis and was only brought to Saturn too because of the STI/Xtreme project collapse.
Traveller's Tales created Sonic R as well, actually.

Huh? You call STI subpar, and then say that Xtreme could have been good if not for Naka? That doesn't make sense... and anyway, STI wasn't subpar. They made the awesome Comix Zone, and good games in The Ooze and Kid Chameleon, and their parts of Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles are quite noteworthy as well. I'm not a Sonic Spinball fan (it's just too hard, and the art isn't as good as the other games... but given that none of the artists from the rest of the series were involved, complaining about that too much wouldn't be fair), but even so, it wasn't a subpar team and it wasn't a subpar game. It was just too difficult, like most of STI's games were. :)
Most of the prototyping of Sonic X-Treme was done by 2 or 3 people throwing various game engine concepts around. I thought the game had some interesting ideas at various stages of its lifespan, moreso than STI's other output, which is why I found it odd that Sega of Japan/Naka didn't speak out against the likes of Spinball but felt that X-Treme should somehow have been canned. Indeed, X-Treme was scrapped after a very well-documented dramafest set off by SoJ, whenever a new Sonic game was exactly what the ailing Saturn needed, in some form.

I'd blame Sega's collapse on the giant US-Japan split and the repercussions of that, not on this, I think. It's certainly a part of it, but if Sega hadn't been tearing itself apart inside, it might have been able to recover... Nintendo lost major talents sometimes too, such as Gunpei Yokoi, and they made up for it pretty well. A Sonic game on the Saturn in 1996 or 1997 or something, however good it could have been, would NOT have saved the Saturn from total failure in the West. With everything else Sega had done to themselves by that point (or really, by 1994-1995) I don't think anything could have saved Sega in Europe and North America at that point.
I agree that the Saturn's fate was sealed after about 18 months in the US/Euro market, but the US/Japan split within Sega was completely healed by the time the Dreamcast rolled around, and there was a much greater consistency between the divisions during the Dreamcast's lifespan. The point I'm making was more about Naka's continued rise within Sega despite his lack of credentials in areas other than programming. Whenever the Dreamcast tanked, all the home development teams were merged and restructured, with Naka as the head. This is directly traceable to the dip in sales, quality and the general sense of innovation that was fostered at Sega right throughout the Dreamcast era, which was salvaged mostly by the actions of Toshihiro Nagoshi in recent years. Credit should also go to Sega Europe in this regard, since they've managed to sign some amazing talent creating ports of arcade games with plenty of home content(Sumo Digital), as well as signing developers who are innovators and leaders in their field (Creative Assembly, Bizarre, Sports Interactive) who generally represent aspects of what Sega stood for at their creative peak.

Yeah, I remember that video from Sega-16. While I'd certainly agree that it's not very Sonicy, it looks like it could have been a decent game. Sonic 3D Blast was a big change from the previous games, and I liked that one...
Fun fact: Sonic 3D Blast's level design was another work of Hirozaku Yasuhara, in collaboration with Traveller's Tales' coders. Explains why I liked 3D Blast a lot too.
 
JonAmikar said:
The one thing that REALLY bothers me about the new sonic games is the idiotic rock soundtrack. MOAR SONIC 1/2 STYLE MUSIC PLZ!
Thats so true. I loved the music for Sonic 1 and 2 (and Sonic CD!). Just not a fan of this rock music.

Imagine if Nintendo did the same thing with Mario Galaxy....

Also wonder if Sonic Team actually knows that everyone wants a Sonic game where they just control Sonic and no one else.