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Sega

Sonic Generations [Beta – PS3 Xbox 360]

Sonic Generations [Beta – PS3 Xbox 360]

Sonic Generations is a 3D action platforming game developed by Sonic Team and published by SEGA. The game was created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the company’s famed mascot, Sonic The Hedgehog. It was released in late 2011 and observed a number of small changes on its road to launch.

Two Three Sonics, One Epic Adventure?

Partway through development, long before the game’s script had been finalised, Ryan Drummond was invited by SEGA to re-audition for his role as Sonic The Hedgehog. Previously, the voice actor had played the character in a number of games, like the Sonic Adventure titles, but was replaced by Jason Griffith in 2004’s Shadow The Hedgehog.

Due to a fundamental professional disagreement with the company, Drummond ended up turning down the opportunity. According to one of our sources, who was formerly of SEGA, the actor would have played a “third Sonic” who would have represented the Dreamcast era of the series.

At another stage, Sonic Team also considered the possibility of Classic Sonic having a speaking role in the game and consulted the staff at SEGA of America about it. Aaron Webber, the associate brand manager at SoA at the time, insisted that if the character were to speak, he would have to be voiced by Jaleel White.

White, who was responsible for portraying the mascot in all three of the Sonic animated shows (Sonic SatAM, Sonic Underground and The Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog) from the 90’s, was never contacted about the opportunity, however. The idea was soon dropped early on in production and Classic Sonic was made to be mute.

Sonic’s Birthday Beta

Despite the project as a whole being made to commemorate the blue blur’s birthday, the precise date of the 20th anniversary was June 23, 2011. To mark the big day, SEGA began distributing  a beta demo of Sonic Generations on Xbox Live and PSN. This build contained the very first stage, which was Green Hill Zone Act 1, wherein Classic Sonic is playable.

The layout of Classic Green Hill was ever so slightly different in the beta. At the section about midway through when you enter the cave, a buzz bomber present in the final game had not yet been added. Instead, there is a platform. Furthermore, breaking item monitors/boxes would leave a briefly a blue static effect on the screen.

Modern Sonic Beta

Later in the year, a few weeks before launch, SEGA put out a second downloadable demo on October 18 2011, which was at first exclusively available to Xbox Live Gold subscribers. This second beta contained the second level from the game, which was Green Hill Zone Act 2, featuring Modern Sonic. It was lifted from a build first on show to attendees of E3 and Summer of Sonic in 2011.

Inexplicably, there is a difference between the voice clips used in the demo and the released game. Not only is Sonic’s voice clip for boosting different, he begins the level by saying “Ready? Go!”; similar to how he started each day stage in Sonic Unleashed off by announcing “Here we… go!”. This was later scrapped. It appears to have been an alteration that was implemented fairly late in development.

This assertion is supported by the fact that the clip itself still remains in the sound files programmed for every Modern Sonic stage in the game. Via modding, fans have been able to access these. As it turns out, Sonic Team simply muted the “Ready? Go!” voice clip instead of removing it. A number of hackers have been able to undo this change so the line can once again be heard within the game.

Like Act 1, there are some minor contrasts in the stage design, too. Towards the end of the level, Sonic must homing attack a chain of buzz bombers and extra spikes were present, also. A trick rainbow ring, which sends the player in the wrong direction later replaced these enemies.

Sonic’s blue aura effect, in this version, followed him whenever he uses his jump dash, stomp or homing attack moves; similar to how he did in Unleashed. Furthermore, the game is much more generous with the amount of boost power it allows the player when they use tricks in mid-air.

Unused Cutscene?

In some of the pre-release trailers SEGA used to promote the game, you can get a glimpse at a CGI cinematic which was never included in the final release. Whether or not this is a genuine unused cutscene that was dropped, as opposed to merely something created for promotional purposes remains unknown.

It can be seen towards the closing of the ‘Rivals and Bosses’ teaser and features Sonic and Tails confronting the Time Eater in Green Hill.

Thanks to The Neo JoyIvo Robotnik and Runaway for their contributions!

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The Crucible: Evil Within [Cancelled – PS3 Xbox 360]

The Crucible: Evil Within, AKA “The Box” or “The Ritualist” originally was a Silicon Knights-developed (developer of Eternal Darkness and Too Human) open-world horror pitch for PS3 started in 2004, which was accepted for full production by Sega in March 2005.

“Silicon Knights has a rich history of developing great games that push hardware technology, so we expect this relationship will result in a powerful, new, and highly commercial franchise.”
Simon Jeffery, President and COO, SEGA of America

In 2006, Sega revealed some game details in an online survey. Until then, the game was internally known as “The Box”. The survey however led to “The Crucible: Evil Within”. Later, however, it was renamed to “The Ritualist” instead.

“An open free-roaming action horror game where the player undertakes a terrorizing journey of suspense, fear, power and discovery, and where every decision has multiple consequences… Uncover an ancient chest with unimaginable power that seduces you into evil, sin and corruption.”

Court documents from Silicon Knights’ legal battle with Epic Games reveal that The Box was initially planned to be finished by February 27th, 2007. It was later amended to extend the delivery date to November 4th, 2008. In August 2008, Sega decided to cancel various external projects, including Aliens RPG: Crucible, Aliens: Colonial Marines (later restarted), Cipher Complex, and The Box. However, Silicon Knights was able to find a new publisher with THQ, which also dropped the project in early 2009. As a kind of compensation, team members of The Box were asked to help on Vigil Games’/THQ’s Darksiders.

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Streets Of Rage 4 [Dreamcast – Tech Demo / Cancelled]

Early in the Sega Dreamcast production cycle, demos tentatively titled Streets of Rage 4 were made by Sega of Japan to bring the Streets of Rage series to the platform. This tech demo showed a character similar to Axel fighting off a group of enemy characters. Various changes in gameplay had apparently been planned, including the introduction of new team attacks and a new first person perspective. However, allegedly due to new management at Sega of America being unaware of the series and its past success, Sega did not follow up on it and the game never advanced past the demo stage. Video clips of a demo were eventually leaked online. – [info from Wikipedia]

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