Headcannon “Unhappy” With Sonic Origins, Claims SEGA “Made Major Modifications” to its Work

Headcannon studio developer Simon Thomley (aka Stealth) has expressed dissatisfaction with his experience working with SEGA on the recently-released Sonic Origins, claiming that the publisher made modifications to his work that led to the existence of bugs and glitches in the game.

“This is frustrating. I won’t lie and say that there weren’t issues in what we gave to Sega, but what is in Origins is also not what we turned in,” Thomley wrote in an extensive Twitter thread. “Integration introduced some wild bugs that conventional logic would have one believe were our responsibility- a lot of them aren’t.

“Regarding Origins, we were outsiders creating a separate project that was then wrangled into something entirely different. We knew going in that there would be a major time crunch and we worked ourselves into the ground to meet it just so this would even be made and released.

“Again, I can take responsibility for my and my team’s mistakes, and there were some. Some actual mistakes, some overlooking, some rushjobs, some stuff we noticed but weren’t allowed to correct near the end. It’s absolutely not perfect and some of it is from us. It’s complicated.

“I’m extremely proud of my team for their performance under such pressure, but every one of us is very unhappy about the state of Origins and even the Sonic 3 component. We weren’t too thrilled about its pre-submission state either but a lot was beyond our control.

“We asked to do major fixes near submission but weren’t allowed due to submission and approval rules. We asked about delays early and repeatedly but were told they weren’t possible. We offered to come back for post-release fixes and updates- we do not yet know if this is happening.”

Thomley’s studio was contracted to develop a new version of Sonic 3 & Knuckles using the Retro Engine for Sonic Origins. SEGA’s internal studio was responsible for the rest of the compilation’s development, licensing the Retro Engine from Whitehead’s Evening Star studio and modifying it to create new content and features in Sonic 1, 2 and CD such as the drop dash and Mission Modes.

But according to Thomley, SEGA’s involvement also included reworking Sonic 3 & Knuckles builds submitted to them by Headcannon, which left the door open to gameplay changes. “[SEGA] made major modifications to the build we did submit, Some Origins-related, some not. It affected some of our work… [the] changes to our submission changed how it performed.”

Sonic Origins was released on Thursday and is an anniversary package containing enhanced versions of Sonic the Hedgehog’s major 16-bit adventures – Sonic 1, Sonic CD, Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It received a pretty positive critical reception – including from The Sonic Stadium.

However, a pocket of dedicated fans have taken to chronicling the glitches they have experienced in the compilation since it launched (you can see a thread about this on Sonic Retro, here), so it is possible that Thomley made the statement in response to a lot of this kind of feedback.

So far there has been no response from SEGA on the matter, although it is worth noting that a Day 1 patch was issued for Sonic Origins (at least on PlayStation consoles), although it is difficult to ascertain what it fixed. Hopefully there are more patches coming from the team in the future.


Editor’s Note: During The Sonic Stadium’s time with the game for review, which was based on the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 version, we encountered no game-breaking bugs or significant glitches that hampered the play experience – this experience, which we acknowledge is not shared by others, was the basis for our 5-Star score.

Published by

Dreadknux

Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.

12 Comments

  1. Yeah, that all checks out. This is why I was so unhappy when I learned that Sega was in charge of the whole thing and Headcannon and everyone else actually good at their jobs were just contributing. It also explains a lot of why none of the other old games got any new enhancements.

    It’s almost comforting to know that even in 2022 that Sega still rushes games for Sonic’s anniversary when they’re unfinished. Like, I worried when nothing was released for his 30th that maybe something had happened and that, god forbid, we’d just get releases when the games where done no matter what time of year it was. But no, it’s still the same old Sega back in top form for his 31st.

    1. I’m going to buy “Sonic Origins” and “Sonic Frontier” as well. I haven’t played the old Sonic game series in years since I had the core Sega Genesis 16 bit console. That and Nintendo’s cool Super NES were cool systems back in the 90s. Me and my middle brother at ghe time rented a Super Nintendo game console with games from “Blockbuster Video” and one of the games 2 of the games I remember playing was “Super Mario World” the 4th Super Mario Bros game and a Street Fighter II as well.

  2. Well, if patches are allowed by SEGA, let’s hope they will let Christian Whitehead put his own “R2” level and new final boss in SONIC CD, then maybe other “lost” level in SONIC 2 (please, add Wood Zone to the game) and create expanded versions of the “2-players” level of SONIC 3!!…
    It would be such a gift for SONIC fans to celebrate Sonic’s birthday!!…

    1. What on earth do you mean by ‘standard’? Literally when has he or his team ever blame shifted before? He’s pretty blatantly admitting his team’s mistakes with these port sand taking at least partial responsibility for their issues. What he’s accusing Sega of is setting a unrealistically tight deadline that forced the studio into crunch and not giving them the opportunity to the fix their work as well as making unprompted modifications to it.

      Stealth is a well respected member of the community and has been for many years, I don’t think he has a reason to deflect or save face when the subject matter concerns something he is very passionate about. He’s not going to be disengious to the fans when he is one himself, his love for Sonic is literally what got him into the position he’s in right now and Mania likely would’ve never existed if that wasn’t the case. Bearing in mind that most game devs aren’t given the opportunity to speak up or choose not to.

      [Edited by moderator due to length]

  3. I got the PS4 version and haven’t really encountered any issues, the new music is honestly not bad at all but it is very disappointing that the new songs totally lack the punch of the original beta songs. Really missing that high pitched tinny Genesis slapping.
    Overall though I loved Origins. I just finished story mode. I never played the modern port of 2 so when I fell into the mystic cave trap and ended up in hidden palace I lost my fucking mind.
    Plus now I can finally get all the true endings without having an emotional breakdown because I can spend coins to restart the bonus stage.

  4. Well, there goes any hope of a Sonic Mania 2. It was unlikely as it is, but all of the bridges are burned now. 2D Sonic is officially dead.

  5. I was going to say, your feelings from the review are your own, so fair, but I agree with Stealth since I did encounter many problems with Sonic 3&K in the release we currently have and I am not happy with this version we have at all.

    I did have mostly good times with 1 and CD, and I do consider 2 on there to be the definitive version, but 3&K just has too many issues. The music I can forgive, so that isn’t one of them. All my issues relate to gameplay.

  6. Sega either never learns or doesn’t care. Here we have them asking Sega to delay the game to ensure the quality of the product and Sega says no. Do they really need to make the money from this game in this financial quarter THAT bad? Sonic is still trying to recover from 2006. If money is all they care about, then they should know that in the long run, rushing games damages their franchises and thus lowers their profits. Apparently they can only think a few months in advance. I would love to know who exactly said no to the delay. Anyone of us could do their job better. This is disrespectful to Sonic as a character and to their loyal fans. Endless frustration with Sega and Sonic Team. But I’ll also always have endless love for Sonic no matter what they do to him.

  7. I just finished story mode for Origins, and can see what Stealth meant about the problems with S3&K. It’s mainly auditory issues I found with some sound effects not playing quite correctly and the music always restarting from the beginning when getting a 1up(Coin in Anniversary). Also for the S3&K portion of story mode, Tails would stay on the ground when hitting those gold spheres in the special stages. It was rather distracting to say the least…

    I did find some potentially game breaking bugs in Sandopolis Act 2 where a particular pulley and zip line did not spawn where they were supposed to. Thankfully, I could use the Mania-esque Tails assist to get through the first one, and the other just costed me one route I normally run through… So, just avoid doing any Sonic alone play throughs until they get those object loading bugs fixed. One bug that is a problem and could break the game is the Emerald progress bug where the game randomly sets you to Emerald 2 and going after Emerald 1 in the original order of the original version of the game. You’ll know it’s happened to you after getting the Super Emeralds when in the S&K portion you find a normal giant ring instead of a super giant ring. Fortunately, as long as you don’t finish the stage, you can go to main menu and restart from the beginning of the act this happened on. At least, it did for me with Lava Reef Act 2, don’t know if it will work should the bug happen on Act 1 of any zone. But given how it worked for Act 2, I think it will work on Act 1s as well. To any mods, please make an article detailing this work around for that bug. It’s a pain to go through, but it will hopefully save some play throughs that happen to experience this. (If in Hidden Palace Zone, well, you’ll know what to do when you see the lack of Super Emeralds when you know you had them. Sky Sanctuary and Death Egg, you’ll just have to grab 50 rings and try transforming if you’re not sure.)

    Finally, I feel like Sonic’s acceleration has been decreased in S3&K, as the part of the Death Egg Act 2 boss where you’re chasing Eggman, I died Sonic not being able to get up to the proper running speed a few times when hitting Eggman from below. It never happened before, and while likely to happen if you nail him from behind while chasing him, I never once experienced a deceleration death from hitting him from the bottom. Had to actually position myself just right to nail him from the front so I wouldn’t die from lack of acceleration. Of course, I’m sure there’s a ton of posts on youtube and Twitter detailing these things. For the record, I own the Nintendo Switch version, so not sure if that helps with anything…

    1. I am so glad you listed some actual issues instead of just “bro this game has issues”. I will definitely be on the lookout when i hit S3&K. Having a blast reliving the first game right now, almost done with it

  8. Anyone else notice the audio in the game is an absolute mess. The fidelity of the audio is bitcrushed, distorted and muffled (especially sonic 3). And in general the music is very quiet compared to mania. Also it sounds like all the songs are playing slightly out of time. Almost like a sloppy band haha. You can hear the midi tracks flamming, slowing down and speeding up if you listen closely. Totally kills the groove. If you listen to marble zone in the sound test and keep restarting it, you can hear sometimes the intro drum fill is tight and sometimes it’s a flamming mess. How did this happen!?

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