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Corrections; Video Interview with Ken Balough on Sonic CD, Sonic 4

A little real talk first before business goes on. We earlier reported that Sega staff member Patrick Riley was interviewed by forum member Shade Vortex. It looks like he might have been a little starstruck as he was actually not speaking to Patrick Riley at all, but Sonic Digital Brand Manager Ken Balough. Patrick Riley had no involvement with the previous interview and we wish to offer our apologies to the two gentlemen and to you, our readers who put up with us, for the confusion. For future reference:

This is Patrick Riley.

This is Ken Balough, as you truly imagined him. Please beat us over the head if this happens again.

Let’s move on to the video interview goodness after the jump.

A few things are tackled and clarified within this monstrous video that have been causing quite a stir in the fan base all over as of late about time lines and Sonic 4, green eyes and physics. Since this post is already about clarifications, here’s a handy dandy abridged list of answers from Balough himself.

  • It’s commonly understood that Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles form what is called “The Death Egg Trilogy” because of the overarching story of Eggman’s Death Egg across the titles. Sonic CD was a self-contained adventure that hovered around that area with the most popular belief to be between Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, despite no true concrete evidence.
  • Sonic 4 is trying to bridge all of them together more. It’s not trying to give Sonic CD a concrete place in the timeline, just say that “It happened prior to Sonic 4: Episode 1.” It does not mean Sonic CD is immediately before Sonic 4: Episode 1 and after Sonic 3 and Knuckles.
  • The events of Sonic CD are important to Episode 2. You can see Metal Sonic in the ending. The idea is you’ll see how Metal Sonic comes back after his destruction in Sonic CD and his return. (Knuckles Chaotix unavailable for comment.)
  • Sega is supportive on Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s Retro Engine, calling it “a really good piece of technology.”
  • “You’ve got to work within the confines of what a publisher is and what a publisher does in order to get all the benefits as well. We as a publisher will get the benefits from working with really talented developers, and developers on the flip side get the benefits of working with a publisher and all the things and all the exposure they get and they can bring to the table, as well as working on really big brands, like Sonic.”
  • On Metal Sonic: “He’s appeared in some of these [games], but we’ve never made him so integral to that continuity. We’ve had him back, but no one ever explained how he comes back after CD. He’s just there. So, we’re going make sure that we fill in some of these really nice… I almost think of it like Star Wars, right? We’re going to go back and explain this really cool era that was the Clone Wars? We’re going to go back and explain this really cool era that was the classic experience, and show you guys some really fun stuff.”
  • With regards to Sonic 2 Spindash and the “HD Filter”: “Stay tuned.” He doesn’t want to confirm anything until details are more concrete. However, a filter will be present.
  • On Sonic CD not being on 3DS, Vita: “We never really intended to release it yet for the Playstation Vita, or the Playstation Go, or the Nintendo 3DS… those were never really on the table. We were always talking about, ‘It was either digital console or mobile devices.’
  • He’s unable to comment on why the game isn’t on WiiWare.
  • The U.S. Soundtrack will not be included at this time due to licensing issues. However, there’s a couple of more surprises to be revealed later down the road.
  • The trailers have nothing to do with the continuity of the games. They’re their own thing designed by Balough. The ‘detour’ talked about previously is Sonic going to the past so players can relive Sonic CD and understand its events and references in Sonic 4: Episode 2.

Phew! So much for abridged. Either way, special thanks one more time to Shade Vortex for interviewing Ken “Not Patrick Riley” Balough and helping to shed light on all the confusion that’s occurred in the last day.

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47 Comments

  • Reply

    That face he’s making in both of those pictures are so creepy.

    • Reply

      But is funny 😀

      • Reply

        IT’S THE DEMON OF THE FLASHLIGHT! WOOOOOOOOOOO!

    • Reply

      Funfact: I smile like that because my teeth are worse than Iizuka’s, so I won’t show my teeth in pictures. Guess it does look creepy, especially when my camera give me RED EYES!

      • Reply

        Yeah, it’s really the red eye that did it. I felt like you were staring through my clothes and liked what you saw.

  • Reply

    Well good thing it wasn’t really Patrick Riley, he’s an idiot.

  • Reply

    So were not getting the US soundtrack for the same alleged reason we got the US soundtrack in the first place? 

    • Reply

      Crazy, huh?

      • Reply

        Well this will fix a whole lot of loose ends on metal. won’t it?

  • Reply

    Wiiware?
    Sonic CD Original – 200+ mb
    Wiiware limit – 40 mb

    Please Sonic CD for 3DS! or a demo in Generations 3ds

    • Reply

      Sonic CD was 88 MB.

  • Reply

    Sonic Team did concretely state that Sonic CD was supposed to be between Sonic 1 and 2, despite it launching after Sonic 2. The Tails cameo saying “see you next game”, was meant to be a teaser for the unveiling of Tails as a character.

    It’s actually one of the first instances of in-game viral marketing, albeit a failure due to the delays in launching the game.

    Thankfully Sonic Team appears to have sound enough marching orders to make Sonic 4 not clearly defined in that lineage, which they appear to have successfully accomplished. As they say, do no harm.

    • Reply

      Do you have a source for that, or is it conjecture?

      • Reply

        I could dig up old magazines, but they’re a good few hundred miles away.

        It is well established by Sonic Team members that Sonic CD was meant to be released in-between Sonic 1 and Sonic 2. While Sonic Team Japan was building Sonic CD, Sonic Team USA was building Sonic 2, with Yuji Naka and several key members working with STI onshore on the game.

        The goal was to have two Sonic games that were technically advanced, for different reasons. Sonic CD would be more like Sonic 1 but benefit from lacking the constraints of a file size limit (though, in reality, Sonic Team Japan didn’t go much beyond a cart when you cut out the music and special stages).

        This is why Sonic CD is more of a revisit of Sonic 1 than Sonic 2; Sonic 2’s branch of Sonic 1 code had the benefit of STI’s R&D, allowing it to differ so vastly. This is also why Sonic CD’s code branch was dropped after its release, in favor of the more upgraded Sonic 2 code.

        The Sonic Spin Dash was actually a late add, it was not originally going to be in Sonic CD, but as Sonic CD came closer to Sonic 2’s release date (which was on track, unlike CD), Sonic Team Japan had to backport the effect. With no updated sprite to match (since CD was only using Sonic 1 engine code), that is why the Spin Dash matches Sonic 1’s sprite.

        The Tails cameo artwork was a tip of the hat to the Sonic 2 team in USA, and was approved by Naka to act as a teaser for the upcoming release.

        The delays to Sonic CD forced a dropping of any references to Sonic 1 and Sonic CD on a timeline, which is where Sega’s digital brand managers start to get the facts right.

    • Reply

      No, dude. The “See You Next Game” thing was for Sonic Drift 2, which is why there’s a car next to Tails.

      • Reply

        Well, this is actually a pretty debated topic. I think it is a more minor point, so I’ll suggest if you believe it was purely a reference to Sonic Drift 2 that you read the other points, and they stand exogenous to that one.

        Part of the problem was that after the success of Sonic 1, there was so much pressure on Sonic Team that schedules and plans overlapped. Sonic Drift 2 and Sonic 2 were both on the horizon.

        In either case, the decision was clear that Sonic CD was intended to launch alongside or shortly before Sonic 2, but not to serve as a sequel to Sonic 2. There were at one time plans to make Sonic CD either a remake of Sonic 1, or an enhancement to Sonic 2, but both were dropped.

  • Reply

    I hate the stupid WiiWare size limit, it disabled many many great games from coming to Wii

    • Reply

      Blame the Wii’s terribly limited 512MB storage capacity.

    • Reply

      Wii U will not be subject to this, though.

  • Reply

    So we need an explanation on how Robotnik fixed one of his robots? I demand Episode 3 bridges the gap between Sonic CD and Knuckles’ Chaotix…if the world hasn’t been destroyed by sonicfags by that time

    • Reply

      Heroes effectively puts Chaotix out of the timeline — the Chaotix in Heroes has been stated to be completely different. Or so I’ve heard (I can’t pull up the quote, sorry).

      • Reply

        It’s one of those things where Iizuka made a statement that he was treating the Chaotix as new characters. Of course, aside from Charmy acting like a complete retard (lol who is eggman) there was nothing in the game that made them act like they were new to everything. There was really no reason to not have Chaotix be a part of the game canon, especially since the plot to that game even gracefully acknowledged both Sonic CD and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Maybe if it was on a system the Japanese actually cared about (or anyone for that matter) the game would still be in the line of succession. And really, you can say it is without contradicting anything aside from Charmy being retarded. And we can always do what Archie did: blame it on brain damage.

        • Reply

          Well Charmy not knowing Eggman can be explained by 2 reasons, he was Robotnik in Chaotix and nobody actually played as him so he never saw the bloke…I spose.

  • Reply

    But Metal Sonic was in S&K!

    • Reply

      No he wasn’t. That was Mecha Sonic. Or really, a version of Mecha Sonic. Metal Sonic and Mecha Sonic are two different robots. You can argue if the Mecha Sonic from Sonic 2 and the one from Sonic & Knuckles are the same robot but upgraded, or if they only share the same name, but it is definitely not Metal Sonic.

  • Reply

    Again, sorry about this mix-up everyone. Won’t happen again.

    • Reply

      Probably. Maybe. It’s all fate, it’s meant to happen X|

  • Reply

    I thought Sonic adventure showed metal sonic being rebuilt in a stasis tube. There really was no need for an explanation…
    That is, until sonic 4 showed up.

    • Reply

      Sonic Adventure also placed the original Genesis games and Sonic CD in the same continuity, what with it referencing Amy’s adventures with Sonic on the Little Planet, and the plot expanding on the backstory that was in the Japanese manual of Sonic 3. Sonic 4 doesn’t need to be there for Sonic CD to be part of the story. I’m not saying it’s bad that Sonic 4 is using Sonic CD elements…but…well, ok. Maybe I am. But that’s only if Sonic 4: Episode II is as bad as the first. If Sonic 4 was a good game, I’d have no issues with them throwing in Metal Sonic.

  • Reply

    Dammit Eddie Murphy! Stay outta my Sonic music!

  • Reply

    I always did wonder how Metal Sonic returned in multiple games. I imagined it was just Robotnik/Eggman rebuilding him to annoy Sonic. Knowing Sonic though, it was just a toy to have fun with.

    • Reply

      Sonic CD was the only game where Metal Sonic was destroyed. According to the Japanese Chaotix manual, Eggman simply collected the parts and repaired him after Sonic CD.

  • Reply

    I WAS JUST PLAYING CD right now! What are the odds!

  • Reply

    I thought it was because of Sonic Gems. So if u have sonic gems then u have a wii version. Because gems was a gamecube game and CD was a game on gems, I thought that was a purpose.

    • Reply

      Wii Family Edition (an “update” to the Wii, moreso a transitional kind of thing to the Wii U since it’ll only be laid on its side and will not support GameCube) doesn’t support GameCube, but that’s not until it’s actually released.

  • Reply

    It’s so sad that they have such a short period of time to work on this game. So much more content could be added if they weren’t rushed to have the game done by the holidays.

    • Reply

      You do realise, though, everyone wants it by the holidays? The holidays is where all the good stuff happens – a lot of major releases for games happen in November!

  • Reply

    So Sonic CD’s US soundtrack can’t be licensed but we couldn’t get the Japanese one as recent as 2005? I call foul on the reason…

    • Reply

      Well, let me clarify this a little more. It’s not so much that it can’t be licensed so much as there isn’t a provision within the existing license that accounts for the digital distribution and sale of the music. They’re trying to update the license to include that, which may include negotiations with Spencer Nilsen and the members of Pastiche.
      Licenses are quite a pain in that you have to be very specific with the provisions when negotiating the license to prevent having to do this. Notice that neither Sonic CD nor the U.S. Soundtrack, shy of pirate sites, have ever been released for sale digitally.

      • Reply

        I see. Thank you very much for the detailed answer. Note that I wasn’t blaming sonic retro for the foul reason, but Sega… and since I was wrong I’ll gladly take it back.

  • Reply

    This explains much, I thought Balough wouldn’t be as much of a noob as Riley, no offense to the guy but “he should check before say stuff” this is the Sonic fandom we’re talking about, something may seem silly to him could cause a huge argument among the fans.

    Thanks Ken for explaining this, I’m glad Sonic CD is getting more love now, and since this port is happening I guess in the future SEGA will re-release this baby more often so it won’t just be Sonic 1-3K, here’s hoping for Sega Sonic Arcade and Sonic The Fighters!

  • Reply

    Sorry for double post, I remembered something I forgot to say, if you could merge these two comments I’ll be thankful.

    Regarding the last statement about Sonic CD being AFTER Sonic and Knuckles, I was thinking didn’t Sonic Trible Trouble happen around that time? and it did have both Knuckles “as an enemy” and Metal Sonic, and of what I know the game was also made by Sonic Team so it’s not like Knuckles Chaotix where it’s not canon, I found it confusing how Sonic fought Metal Sonic before he first met him in Sonic CD, I also consider Sonic 2 8bit to happen right between Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 16bit considering how it explains how Sonic and Tails became friends!

    • Reply

      Sega says all of the 8 bit handheld games are not canon.

      • Reply

        Sega says they are canon

        • Reply

          Where’d you get that from? Most of the handheld games are considered non-canon. Why do you think Sega is not displaying them on the “Sonic timeline.” Those games are just as non-canon as the Sonic Advance games and the Sonic Rush ones.

      • Reply

        Sonic & the Secret Ring is a spinoff and its still SEGA displayed it in that Sonic Time thingy vid.

        Spinoffs are as canon as canon can be.

  • Reply

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