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[The following is an incomplete transcript from a Sega meeting in late 1999. The producer went on to work on several other projects.]

18:00 – The meeting begins

Good evening, gentlemen. I’m just a humble PR guy with a producer credit, and I’ve been asked to sit in on this mandatory game design meeting by the folks upstairs. We were happy with your success on Sonic Adventure last year and are interested in what you’re bringing to the table for the sequel:

I might contribute an idea or two, but for the most part, just pretend I’m not here!

…Sorry to interrupt you, I just want to start by saying we’ve looked through this first “level” you’ve designed. With our classic mascot Sonic The Hedgehog jumping out of a helicopter, zooming through a city fighting new robots, skidding down San Francisco inspired streets on a sort of impromptu metal snowboard and running away from a giant truck.

Yeah, that’s all fine. I get that you’re trying to make it faster and more action oriented than the first Sonic Adventure. But all that variance and fun is probably going to stretch the budget a little bit. We need to dial it back a bit.

I mean we certainly aren’t paying for you to program a working camera system!

18:31 – The hook

Look, this is all well and good but we need a hook for this game. To really make people buy the marketing and the game. Hold on! I’ve had an idea! The world is a dark and gritty place filled with children who buy dark and gritty revamps of crap! Let’s make Sonic dark and gritty!

Well, I suppose you’re right. We can’t really just change a proven money maker. Aha! We introduce a new character as a dark clone of Sonic or something!

He needs to be extreme. Better yet: x-treme. No, he needs maximum x-tremeness.  It’s Sonic to the…Maxtreme! I gotta trademark that…

He can be black, with red bits Because those colours are always evil! Have a few little changes from Sonic, like a slightly faux British accent. He can be Sonic’s rival or something. What do you mean that’s what Knuckles is?

But yeah, Evil Soni – wait, I have it – Shadow The Hedgehog! Of course, I’m being serious!

19:02 – The gameplay

Alright, I’m writing a new rule on the whiteboard. No more arguing with me. The Shadow idea is happening. That’s set in stone, okay? It’s your own time you’re wasting.

Sonic and Shadow can “play” in exactly the same way. What’s wrong with that? Okay, different levels. That’s reasonable. I tell you what, Sonic’s level is in the city, right? Have Shadow’s level be in the city…Wait for it…At night!

19:08 – Tails

Let’s take the shooting levels from Sonic Adventure 2. I know: put beloved sidekick Tails in a mech thing and have him shoot stuff up.

Yes, that means no flight. Yes, I know that’s his only distinguishing feature. But now he can shoot robots in his robot-shooting robot-walker!

19:10 – Knuckles

Well, we could take the treasure hunting from the previous game for this character. But instead of big open environments ripe for climbing, gliding and exploring like Knuckles can, let’s have levels like flooded mines with underwater sections!

As for the way the HUD bleeps and flashes to tell you how close you are to the treasure items…Let’s scale that down so you need to be closer to the items. That’s a challenge! And change it so you have to do one at a time. So you could run past the second and third item while looking for the first!

That’s a great way to triple the length of every single level!

19:12 – Cut content

The last game had fishing with Big The Cat, right? We could cross-brand with Sega Big Bass Fishing and-

…Everyone, climb out of that window right this second. We’re not insured for that. We can leave this idea in the ‘maybe’ pile, okay? Good.

19:37 – The other doubles

Look, let’s just double the gameplay for Tails and Knuckles to fill the rest of the game. We can’t give Tails a dark doppelganger again after the Tails Doll from Sonic R scared too many children. Ooh, why not just play as Eggman too?  He can have the same levels as Tails. Hell, he’s already got tanks and guns!

Robotnik? No, it’ll be easier if we just call him Eggman from now on. I assure you that no one will care.

Knuckles counterpart…With no Amy, we have to cover the female marketability. But it could do with some sex appeal. No, there’s nothing wrong with that! French name like Rouge. Lipstick, long eyelashes. Let’s make her a cleavage-y bat or something.

No, you can’t go to the toilets to throw up! You will use the bin, like everyone else.

19:40 – Teams

Choosing characters and following each characters intertwined stories in the first game was a bit much. Let’s take away the player’s ability to choose gameplay types and just break it down into good and evil.

19:53 – Product placement

I noticed that Sonic can now grind on rails. Oh, you took some notes from skateboarding games? Well, I think this is a perfect brand synergy concept. We could have product placement with SOAP shoes that are made for grinding. Fill all the city levels up with billboards advertising them!

20:00 – Story

Now, it’s eight o’clock, the pizzas are here and I’m locking the doors. We’re going to work on the story and game plan that ties all this together. And we’re not leaving till it’s finished!

01:27

Okay, so this is what we’ve got so far…

Robotni-Eggman‘s grandfather Gerald created ‘The Ultimate Life-form’, a speedy anthropomorphic black hedgehog called Shadow. He did this to study immortality to cure his granddaughter Maria (Ro- Eggman’s cousin?) of her terminal illness somehow.

Then the government military group G.U.N. (Guardian Units of Nations) raided the colony this was all happening on – The Space Colony ARK. They capture Gerald.

But Shadow gets away with the help of Maria, the human girl he is in love with or something. Armed soldiers shoot the terminally ill twelve year old girl in the back as she launches Shadow’s escape pod.

Fifty years later, Eggman unleashes Shadow from his space pod and he wants revenge on humanity. Also he can teleport using Chaos Emeralds and Sonic gets mistaken for him by G.U.N.

Eggman and Shadow team up with jewel thief Rouge The Bat – who is secretly a government agent. They go the ARK (which naturally has a Robotnik-face on) and use the Eclipse Cannon on it to blow up the moon.

Tails and Sonic talk to The President and find out Eggman has a secret pyramid base, so they go there with Knuckles and jump on a rocket that takes them to the ARK.

After seemingly final showdowns between the two sides, Eggman gets all the Chaos Emeralds and puts them into the ARK because that’s how it works for some reason. Then the two sides collide into a big finale as it turns out Gerald (Robotnik’s grandfather) programmed the station to crash into earth as revenge when the Emeralds were put in!

The Heroes and Darks work together to stop this and Shadow and Sonic fight the prototype version of Shadow which is just a massive robot/lizard/turtle thing and then it merges with the space colony (read: the cannon ends up in its ass) and they fight it in space by turning Super with the Chaos Emeralds.

At the end they teleport it away or something and then Shadow runs out of power and dies and realises that Maria wanted him to save the earth, not destroy it and he fades away and its sad and

06:21 – Daybreak

Hey…It’s light outside. Everybody! Look! Wake up! Get up!  You’ve got enough material to make a game from these notes from last night! I can unlock the doors! I can finally unlock the doors! Better clean up all this glue and lead paint first.

But I think this went pretty well. I should become a freelance game producer guy or something, work for other companies. I mean…Maybe we can save the Dreamcast after all!

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One Comment

  1. I sthis the guy you told me about who went directly to Squenix after being a part of this?


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