There’s a wealth of information to be gained from these previously unseen images!
It turns out that Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Hirokazu Yasuhara was in Krakow, Poland to hold a presentation at the Digital Dragons Conference Centre. And with him, he brought some interesting new insights into the development process of the first two Sonic games!
First is the real revelation of the whole presentation; Sonic 2 was going to have a time travel plot! It sounds like Sonic CD, but the execution seems to have been rather different, as seen in the story structure below.
It’s more linear than Sonic CD’s very loose and optional approach. It’s also a massive co-incidence; Yasuhara has stated that he had no idea that Ohshima had come up with a similar idea back in Japan (since Sonic Team was split at the time). You can further see how the idea was to be more linear in the execution of the levels;
The entire game was to be set on one island (the same one as in Sonic 1, given the presence of Green Hill Zone and how similar it looks to the Sonic 1 8-bit map). You can see in the present time that Metropolis Zone was in there early on, as well as the scrapped Wood Zone and the previously unknown concepts Ocean Wind and Sand Shower Zone.
The other map images show different versions of the same island in different time periods depending on what had happened. You have Hill Top Zone, Chemical Plant Zone and Dust Hill Zone as Green Hill Zone’s past, future and ruined present respectively, the infamous Genocide City Zone and Casino Night Zone being the future of the other zones that were in the present and a bunch of previously unheard of zones occupying other time periods. It’s a fascinating look into the very early thought processes for the story and game layout!
There was also Sonic 1 concept art shown off. These pictures demonstrated some unused swing bridge and log bridge mechanics (with a very different looking Sonic, and the original level layout of Green Hill Zone. You can easily see how things changed in the final version…and Yasuhara’s Sonic is very cute!
For all the newly shown off images, please see the gallery below. Even after 25 years, we’re discovering brand new information about these classics, who knows what else there could be to find in the future!