Tamaki, writer for Unseen64, has made a video that sheds light on what went wrong during the development of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. And if you assumed that Big Red Button had to put up with a lot of crap that made it unreasonable to expect them to put out a good game, you’d be right.
The video explains various things that went wrong like how the studio had to switch from developing for next-gen hardware to the Wii U (which is why early footage looks better than the final game), bad working conditions and more. Be sure to give it a watch, especially if you thought that the game being so bad was just because of the developers being incompetent.
When news of a new Sonic fan film hit from out of the blue, I must admit, I got way more excited than any normal human being should. Sure, we’ve had some recent projects come out of the pipeline like the yearly Christmas tradition of Sonic and the gang doing holiday-type-things, the Sonic Prologue animated short (that I’ll sadly admit to not having watched) and more than one Sonic.exe film (which I’ll gladly admit to not having watched), but they didn’t capture my imagination like that one magical moment a few years back. When Jim Sass, Richard Kuta, and Eddie Lebron all threw their hat in the ring at once, trying to create Sonic fan films with very different goals in mind.
Their legacies, only history will know for sure. But ever since that triple knuckled punch, I’ve remained pretty quiet on the subject, at least when it comes to writing about fanfilms on the front page of Retro. But when I was linked The Hedgehog, and saw that initial poster of an awkward teenager sitting upon a merry-go-round dressed as Sonic, I knew I had to watch it posthaste. And moreso, talk about it. Did that enthusiasm last after I watched the short? Well, not in the same way, I can safely say. But before you read what I thought, go ahead and watch it for yourself. A brief warning, even though there’s nothing violent or sexual in it, the film is definitely not targeted towards kids, so hide them away for seven minutes.
Fire up your Saturn consoles. The Point of View Sonic Xtreme prototype is ready to go.
By this point, if you’ve been hanging around the Sonic Scene for a fair bit of time, you know that unreleased games and prototypes are somewhat of a big deal. From Sonic 1 pre-alpha images, MegaDrive rom dumps of prototypes, and even some newer material with previously thought lost to time assets (see: Hidden Palace and its return to prominence in 2013 and the prototype Windy Valley in Sonic Adventure), it’s not uncommon around here.
So what’s so special about this prototype, released by Sonic Xtreme researcher JollyRoger? In its ill-fated development, Sonic Xtreme went through a lot of changes from a 32X game codenamed Sonic Mars to a Saturn game running on the 3D NiGHTS engine (in reality, a completely separate engine under the name Project Condor), to the more well known trippy fish-eye lens look. However, prior to the game being scrapped entirely, SEGA of America attempted one last ditch effort to realize the project by having the title exported to a company named Point of View.
What resulted is the demo video seen above. Forum user and prominent Sonic Xtreme research guru Andrew75 ascertained how this step may have transpired in the game’s development.
From what I gather, sometime in the middle of Sonic X-treme’s development, Sega outsourced the completion of Sonic X-treme to Point of View studios, without the knowledge of technical lead Ofer Alon or artist Chris Senn, who were working on the PC and Saturn engine and levels.
Point of View used assets from the original effort and developed a level converter to convert Sega Technical Institute’s engine levels into the binary format used by POV’s own engine, which had already been used before for several other games on a variety of
platforms, such as Saturn, Playstation, Nintendo 64, PC.
There is a whole lot more information available in the topic on the forum and through Senn’s website. However, for those of you that can play burned Saturn games (tricky stuff. Don’t try it at home) or have access to play it through certain other means, you can nab the iso right here with mirror links in the topic.
As with any Sonic 1 prototype finding, a certain buzz flies around of “Is it real or is it a hoax?” Thanks to forum user JumpingRyle, we can fully confirm the authenticity of the shots from a full page scan of the magazine in question.
SEGAbits and Sonic Retro team up to bring you a podcast focused on SEGA’s Sonic Boom franchise! Hosted by Barry the Nomad of SEGAbits.com and David the Lurker of SonicRetro.org, Boom Talkalaka features discussion of the many aspects of Sonic Boom – from comics and episodes of the cartoon, to the video games and toys.
It’s pretty clear that the development of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric was troubled to say the least, and nothing shows this quite as well as seeing what the game used to look like. While we don’t know how much work was done on this version of the game, it’s pretty clear that the game was originally going to look a lot better graphically.
It looks like we’ll be getting more of Sonic Boom, as a job ad that SEGA put up a couple of days ago confirms that the TV show continues production. The job listing is for a “Director of TV Series Production and Distribution” who’ll oversee the production and distribution of the show. This also involves helping the CCO “evaluate business models for new opportunities/subsequent seasons of Sonic Boom“.
When the show was first revealed, SEGA mentioned in their press release that the show had an initial order of 52 eleven-minute episodes. It could be that the new episodes that are being produced are still part of this initial order, though of course it’s also possible that they’ve started production on a new season. You can read the full job listing after the jump.