This Lost 2005 Sonic the Hedgehog Game Pitch Was Seriously Dark

A digital games curator at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York has unveiled details about a Sonic game for the PlayStation Portable that never made it past it’s initial pitch in 2005. “Sonic: The Shadow World” had an interesting, if not strange, premise that should undoubtedly raise some eyebrows!

Climax Studios, responsible for games such as Sudeki and Silent Hill: Origins pitched a game to SEGA 14 years ago titled “Sonic: The Shadow World.” While we have no screens aside from a presentation slide with some company logos, we do have some details about the undeveloped title.

According to Andrew Borman, who uploaded the video from which this information was obtained, the premise of the story would reveal that Shadow the Hedgehog came from a realm called “The Shadow World” – in which the game would take place. In contrast to the usual environments filled with the iconic lush green hills, Shadow’s realm would be filled with dark, arid canyons and molten lava, from which Sonic must escape. Basically, it would be the thematic opposite of Sonic’s world in every way.

Most fans would realise that this premise would conflict with Shadow’s backstory (at least before Shadow the Hedgehog’s game managed to make it even more convoluted.) Other details revealed include the fact that Sonic and Shadow would both be playable, enemies would consist of monsters rather than robots, and would have multiple modes of play.

While one could make note of how such a dreary setting is unfitting for a Sonic game, be mindful that later that year we would see the aforementioned “Shadow the Hedgehog” and soon after that, the problematic “Sonic the Hedgehog 2006”, so perhaps this setting would have been more in-line with the aesthetic presented in those titles. Given this rather edgy season in Sonic’s history and Climax Studio’s development history with the Silent Hill franchise, it’s probably not surprising that this was the theme they elected to pursue.

Would you have liked to see this come to fruition, or are you glad this idea remained in the shadow realm? Let us know in the comments!

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Indigo Rush

AKA Alex Ventrella, Indigo Rush is a longtime member of the Sonic Stadium's message boards and has something of an affection for a blue hedgehog you may have heard of. If you're into memes, check out his Meme Bean account on Twitter for shenanigans of the Robotnik variety! https://twitter.com/memebeanregime

8 Comments

  1. I was 100% expecting “even more convoluted.” to be a link for the ALIENS meme.

    I’ve always liked Shadow the Hedgehog (the game), I just thought the gun theme was dumb and out of place, and if they hadn’t made the menu sfx gun sounds I would’ve been more accepting but no, they needed to go all the way, and for what? So that people can have more reasons to bash the series? To not even be worth referencing for Sonic’s 25th?

    I think 06 struck up the perfect balance between dark and serious. But in some cases Shadow did it better, for example the egg pawns (along with other egg-themed robots) were absent in 06 for more “realistic” designs, I didn’t like that, and for some reason Unleashed also had the bland robots as well.

    To me ShTH is an important part of Sonic history, to SEGA it’s an insignificant mistake that will forever remain on 6th gen consoles.

    1. I’m sorry but Sonic ’06 took it too far (and gave us such a clumsy script), and is one of the main reasons why fans across the internet rag on that game (and the modern franchise in general). It’s also the reason why SEGA actually dumbed down the tone and writing of recent Sonic games. It’s SEGA mistakes with Sonic ’06 and their inability to recognize what they did wrong that gave us all the current problems we have with the series.

      Sonic Adventure 2 was the perfect balance . A modern Sonic game should feel like late 90’s/early 2000s Toonami promo, not a page out of Kingdom Hearts/Final Fantasy/Path of Radiance/Phantasy Star Universe. The franchise does not need that level of over-the-top melodrama.

  2. “Sonic: The Shadow World” had an interesting, if not strange, premise that should undoubtedly raise some eyebrows!

    We could say that about basically at least half of the released Sonic games from the last 15 years, so it would have fit in just fine.

  3. Not huge on the Shadow World thing from a lore perspective but given that it has shades of Shadow and 06’s settings which I genuinely enjoy, this would have piqued my interest. I would definitely need a more fleshed out concept before saying yes were I in SEGA/Sonic Team’s position.

  4. It kinda sounds like Sonic’s version of Twilight Princess. While I probably would have bought it being the Sonic sheep that I am, dark storied/themed Sonic titles have an established track record of being pretty bad from both a story and gameplay standpoint. Just look at Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic 06, Sonic Chronicles (personally I loved that one, even if critically panned) Sonic & the Black Knight and Sonic Forces.

    While this game could have broke the mold and been a good “dark” title, It’s probably for the best that it never came to be as going off the previously mentioned titles, it probably would’ve just been another barely justifiable entry in SEGA’s already marred catalogue of Sonic titles.

  5. How was Shadow the hedgehog contradictory? Dont remember anything in it that made no sense storywise.
    This game sounds dumb tho and WOULD have been contradictory to what was already Shadows backstory.

    1. Hi, Master Board! There is no point in the article where I wrote that Shadow’s game was ‘contradictory’. However I did say it was convoluted, meaning it is complicated and can be difficult to follow, especially if you’re faced with multiple endings with different ‘revelations’ of Shadow’s identity. His backstory as of Sonic Adventure 2 was strange enough as is, and they felt the need to retcon certain details. This is what I am referring to when I say “convoluted”, however I did not say it was contradictory or nonsensical, just needlessly complicated.

  6. I remember reading somewhere that during SA2’s development Shadow was originally a demon (or something like that) hedgehog that came from a dark place under earth. This pitch kinda reminds me of that.

    In any case I’m glad this pitch didn’t happen. As others here have mentioned, it would’ve just been another infamous title like certain other Sonic games.

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