Sonic Unleashed is seen as one of the biggest 3D entries in the history of Sonic. Whether you like the werehog or not, it brought a massive overhaul to the game design philosophy of Sonic working in the third dimension. The beautiful environments based on real-life locations, fast gameplay and a unique lighting engine all housed under the “Hedgehog Engine” helped achieve a major milestone for fast-paced 3D platformers. Fast forward towards the end of the downer year that is 2016, it has brought us one thing that can shed some meaningful insight on the development of Sonic Unleashed; the release of an Xbox 360 preview build.
At least, the first disk.
Forum user N!NJA released the build two days ago and already there has been several discoveries thanks to the efforts of others data mining information, uploading screenshots, videos and more. In addition the build also comes with debugging tools that highlights NPC and enemy behavior status, camera direction and gameplay control modifiers. While you can run the build on a modified Xbox 360 console, it is recommended to use a dev kit as you may run into crashes forcing you to shut down the console.
Some of the notable differences include…
60fps! …but not very stable, lots of screen tearing and drops
Unused level and object layouts
Old menu system seen in early E3 previews
Old GUI, especially for the Sonic the Werehog stages
N!NJA promises to release builds for other Sonic titles in the near future. If you want a quick look at the preview build, hit the jump to check out some links! Stay up to date with the discoveries thread to see what all has been unearthed from the preview build thus far or take a look at the build for yourself in the discussion thread.
If you have a PlayStation 3 system and still haven’t got your were-hog action going, the PlayStation Store now carries Sonic Unleashedin the US for $19.99 USD, and EU/AU territories for £15.99 GBP / €19.99 EUR / $29.95 AUD, with of course the usual complimentary PAL price gouging for no extra product!
Unleashed joins this week’s store update along with Persona 4 in the US for $19.99 USD as well as Football Manager Classic on PlayStation Vita for EU/AU territories £29.99 GBP/€39.99 EUR/$54.95 AUD. Xbox 360 owners have been able to purchase a digital copy of Unleashed for quite some time, and is now providing benefit to those who want to do away with their physical library.
We first reported on the Unleashed Project over a year ago, when Sonic Retro community members (and all-around beautiful people) Dario FF, Twilightzoney, and Chimera revealed the earliest footage of their experiments with porting stages from Sonic Unleashed into the PC version of Sonic Generations. Today, thanks to the incredible efforts of Dario and his team, they’ve released the first completed version of the project, including all eight major daytime stages from the original Unleashed ported to Generations, along with a redesigned hub world and reworked level progression.
Now you can play through all of the best parts of Unleashed without having to endure the suffering caused by Werehog fatigue and medal-hunting. Plus, you can enjoy the beautiful art direction of each stage in full 1080p at 60 frames per second (provided your computer can handle it – my Phenom II X4 cries during Jungle Joyride), and many of the game’s lower-resolution textures have been recreated in higher quality so you can get the most out of your PC’s graphics card. Of course, the stages also benefit from improvements and changes Generations made over its predecessor, such as tighter controls and the addition of customizable skills.
Be sure to check out the trailer after the break, complete with an orgasmic remix of the Unleashed final boss theme by Retro musician Falk, known for his work on fan games such as Sonic Before the Sequel and After the Sequel (and who also did the hub world remixes of the Unleashed stage themes for this project). You should also head to the project’s ModDB page, where you can find links to download the mod for yourself. Finally, a tremendous thanks to the Unleashed Project team for all the hard work they’ve put in over the past year to get this polished up and ready for release. This project is a stellar example of the kind of awesome stuff we love to see from the Retro community.
We’ve got one more surprise stream for you all before the end of the new year. We will be joined by Chimera of the Unleashed to Generations conversion team checking out one of the levels and will be able to take your questions.
Check back at 4PM Central (That’s less than an hour if you’re just reading this!) and come join us!
UPDATE: The stream is over, if you missed it you can still watch it archived (cut into lots of parts due to connection problems) here on our Twitch channel.
A while back, you’ll remember we made a post showing how a small group of fans on our forums were tearing into the very fabric of the PC version of Sonic Generations to recreate the daytime stages of Sonic Unleashed within the game. On last check, they had managed to get the Hedgehog Engine’s Global Illumination Ambiance working, a rather impressive task of its own right. So how are things coming along now?
Quite fantastically, if these three projects all based off Generations are anything to go by.
The team consisting of Dario FF, Chimera and TwilightZoney have released the first act of the first stage of Sonic Unleashed, Windmill Isle, for the PC version of Sonic Generations. The purpose of this release is to test the mod on as many systems as possible. If it works on enough systems they’ll start to convert all of Unleashed’s stages. More details can be found in the following video and in the link that follows.
Here is the forum thread with details where it can be downloaded along with instructions on how to install it. Other credits go to JoeTE for ripping the songs, Korama for making CPKREDIR (which makes developing and using mods more efficient and easier) and MainMemory for making Generations Archive Editor (which does what the name implies). Like it was mentioned earlier, the intent for this release is to test it on as much hardware as possible. Meaning that you can help the development of the mod by posting the results of how it works on your set-up on the forums. Also post results if you mess around with it by doing stuff like combining it with other mods like Classic Sonic Adventures or some model swap you found on Youtube.
Character swaps aren’t exactly a rarity when it comes to Sonic hacks and mods. Especially recently with the PC version of Sonic Generations allowing modders to swap Sonic’s model with pretty much every other character in the game. But on the Xbox 360 and PS3 these mods don’t appear quite as often, mostly because hacking a console game means doing things Microsoft and Sony don’t want you to do which means you’d probably get banned from Xbox Live or Playstation Network for doing so. So it’s a good thing one of the people that actually bothered to hack Sonic 2006 made good use of it:
This video actually has been up since March 22nd, but… yeah, I don’t have an excuse for not covering this earlier. That doesn’t mean there’s not news about our favorite new playable Sonic character though. The video’s creator, Melpontro, has now started a show page for the videos starring Pelé the Beloved Dog, with there already being three more episodes. Be sure to read the descriptions:
Two months ago, we posted some very promising videos from a triad of gifted Retroites working to import Sonic Unleashed‘s stages into the PC version of Sonic Generations, because despite Sega’s apparent new-found love for all things computer, Unleashed never got the chance to pop up. And those videos? They were nothing short of impressive work.
The trio–Dario FF, Twilightzoney, and Chimera–are happy to show you the fruits of their labor since then as Sonic zips around locales like Mazuri, Empire City, Shamar, and the original Spagonia to name a few. The team not only managed to get collisions working on the stages, they’ve been able to successfully import breakable objects and even the Global Illumination Ambiance lighting effects of the original stages so that they look like their original selves.
Oh, and a much-requested golden streak of light makes his in-stage presence felt as well.
Check out the gallery for more photos and the trailer below to watch their efforts in motion. Of course, from the looks of things, the team is only getting warmed up with Unleashed levels and have set their sights to other areas…