Background Info & Development
Sonic X-Treme is an unreleased Sonic The Hedgehog game for the Sega Saturn, that was meant to be released during the Christmas season of 1996. The game was originally conceived in three stages. Once conceived as an untitled isometric platformer for the Genesis akin to that of Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic Labyrinth & SegaSonic The Hedgehog, then as a game for the Genesis named Sonic-16 (A more slow-paced, story-driven platformer that was based on the then popular Saturday morning cartoon series, Sonic The Hedgehog a.k.a Sonic SatAM, but was then scrapped when Yuji Naka gave it the thumbs down.) The project was then moved to the Sega 32X as a game called Sonic Mars, which was meant to be the first 3D Sonic game, but scrapped due to the commercial failure of the 32X & it's system limitations,. The project was moved to the Saturn, & evolved into the game we know today as, Sonic X-Treme. A PC port was also planned during development, but later scrapped due to time constraints & shortage on money.
199(?)- The untitled isometric game (Genesis/Mega Drive)
1993- Sonic-16 (Genesis/Mega Drive)
1994- Sonic Mars (32X)
Sonic X-Treme was meant to be Sonic's foray into the third-dimension, the first Sonic game for the Saturn, the first mainstream Sonic platformer since Sonic & Knuckles, and was meant to be the big seller for the Saturn, which was lagging in sales & popularity outside of Japan. After the release of S&K, SEGA wanted to keep up the momentum of the Sonic franchise, realizing it's potential. With varying spin-offs being released after the release of S&K, SEGA gave the Sega Technical Institute (a division of Sega Of America known for creating games such as Sonic 2, Sonic Spinball, The Ooze, Comix Zone, Kid Chameleon, among others.) a big assignment, to create the true successor to Sonic & Knuckles. The project would be directed by game designer, Chris Senn. He would later be crucial to sharing information about the game's history and development, which he would share on the Sonic X-Treme Compendium, and at the Sonic X-Treme section of his own personal forum, the Senntient.
Two teams would be working on the game. The first making the stages, directed by Chris Senn & programmer Ofler Alon. The second, who would be programming the boss fights was led by programmer Chris Coffin. With few development items at their disposal, the team asked the new CEO of Sega Of America, Bernie Stolar for the engine used in NiGHTS Into Dreams. A few days later, the team obtained the engine, and had gotten familiar with it, Shortly after that, Yuji Naka had found out his engine had been taken without his consent, and threatened to quit Sega. SEGA took warning, and the team was forced to go back to square one, and create their own custom engine. Though, things would later take a turn for the worse.
With the Christmas season of 1996 approaching, and not much work getting done, the team was in trouble. With the huge number of concepts and ideas bustling around, and a very small number of them intended to make the cut, the lack of a cemented story, and two crucial people in the dev. team having medical problems (Chris Coffin & Chris Senn). Coffin had been working almost nonstop on the game, with only a few hours of sleep in the office. He was eventually overtaken with pneumonia due to overworking, the doctor told him he had 5 months to live if he kept it up, therefore forcing Coffin to leave the project. Senn had developed major medical problems also due to overworking. And just in general due to time constraints, and tons of things going on at once. It would come to realization to the team that the game would not be ready in time for Christmas.
With official word saying the game had been postponed. But in reality, the game would never reach store shelves. After years of production, Sonic X-Treme was finally cancelled in early 1997, and the Sega Technical Institute soon fell apart. To make up for the game's cancellation, a port of Sonic 3D Blast was released for the Sega Saturn, including enchanced graphics, a new special stage, and a whole new soundtrack by Richard Jacques.
We wouldn't see a 3D Sonic game on the Saturn until the the release of Sonic Jam, and it's "Sonic World" portion, & Sonic R. Though, Sonic's full-length 3D adventure would be Sonic Adventure on the Sega Dreamcast, released in December 1998 in Japan, and internationally in 1999.
No story was officially cemented for Sonic X-Treme, with as much as 7 ideas for a story for the game. The best known out of all is one that came out of a magazine article called Red Shoe Diaries, which explained the enemies & characters in the game.
The proposed story involves Sonic receiving a "bluestreak" distress signal, and runs to the home to two people, Professor Gazebo Boobowski, & his daughter Tiara Boobowski. (Tiara is a new character who would of been introduced in the game as a love interest to Sonic. Her species is a minx kitten.)
Line art of Tiara Boobowski, by Chris Senn, director of Sonic X-Treme.
The two are the guradians of "The Rings Of Order", and also knowing about the ancient art of ring smithing. Dr. Eggman had learned of the rings, and wants to have them to his own. The professor wants Sonic to get the rings before the evil doctor can.
A final story, authorized by Hirokazu Yasuhara & Richard Wheeler involves Eggman creating a new Detah Egg larger than the planet Earth. The gravity of the new station causes other planets to fall into an orbit around the space station. Tails uses a teleport pod to bring Sonic to the new Death Egg to defeat Eggman, but Tails' pod is intercepted by one of the planets in orbit, and Sonic finds himself on a strange new world, and discovers the badniks are now powered by strange alien beings called Mips. Eggman had knew that Sonic might have attempted to reach his new Death Egg, and successfully brought him into his trap. Now Sonic must free the captive Mips, destroy the new Death Egg, and save the world from the clutches of Dr. Eggman!
There were also story drafts including concepts of having characters from Sonic SatAM involved, but never made it past that stage.
As mentioned before, the goal of Sonic X-Treme was to put Sonic in a fully 3D environment, encouraging more exploration & a "go anywhere & run through" concept. The levels are constructed in a tube-like fashion, with the fish-eyed style camera, giving the player more surroundings of the level, and due to the tube-like structures of the levels, help point you to your ultimate destination. Sonic is also able to run up walls and ceilings to reach different destinations.
Video showcasing Sonic's gameplay in Sonic X-Treme.
(For more gameplay videos, go to the person's channel for more)
During development, other characters were meant to be playable. These were Miles "Tails" Prower", Knuckles The Echidna, & Tiara Boobowski. Tails would have have the camera positioned behind him, and having gameplay similar to that of the classics. Knuckles would have the camera at a top-down view, and players being able to see a maze around him. Tiara would have played like a traditional side-scrolling platformer. All of these characters would be scrapped all for in favor of Sonic being the only character playable, due to time constraints. Amy Rose was also considered to be a playable character, but only went so far as a sprite of her being made.
New moves are also proposed for Sonic, such as a "Power Ball" (allowing you to defeat enemies below), "Super Bounce" (a higher jump, but with less control), a ring shield allowing you to create a shield depending on how many rings you have, and "Sonic Boom" which would have killed all enemies on screen. A ring attack, in which you throw a ring at an enemy to destroy it, was also considered early during development.
4 levels were completed before cancellation. Jade Gully Zone, Crystal Frost Zone, Red Sands Zone, & Galaxy Fortress/Death Egg Zone. Many other levels were conceptualized during development, but were only mentioned in documents, or were never made due to the game's cancellation. Numerous test levels were also made during development to test the game's engine.
Bosses in this game were built to be in a NiGHTS-esque area, where they would fight an oversized boss. Two of the most well-known bosses in this game are Metal Sonic & Fang The Sniper/Nack The Weasel, which would've made this game their first 3D debut. But due to the game's cancellation, they would not make a 3D appearance until the release of Sonic The Fighters in arcades in 1997. Many other boss fights were conceptualized, but never made it past that phase.
Sonic X-Treme is the Sonic game we will probably never be able to fully play, and only look back on what effects it could of had on the series, and the Sega Saturn. Some say it could have helped make the Saturn of success, some say it possibly could have potentially killed the franchise. (i.e. The Sonic '06 of the 1990s.) Though, I did play the game myself (sorta..) by playing a demo of Crystal Frost Zone, from the fan remake of X-Treme called "Project AXSX." The fish-eye camera was a bit iffy to me at first, but I found my experience with it very fun. The game might have gotten lukewarm reviews at best, but it probably would've sold pretty well.
What are your thoughts on Sonic X-Treme and it's ideals? Could it have been the success SEGA was hoping for if released in your eyes? Could it have brought down the franchise when released? Do you think it would've been enjoyable to the gaming public & Saturn owners?
This is the general Sonic X-Treme thread. Discuss!
The Sonic X-Treme Compendium: http://www.senntient.../sxc/index.html
Senntient - Sonic X-Treme: http://www.senntient...forum.php?id=21
Edited by Felix, 28 July 2012 - 09:58 PM.