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November 14 in Sonic Games
So, Sonic Xtreme is one of or or maybe THE most well-known cancelled games of all time.
Meant to come out in Holiday of 1996, it brang a few more attention to the Sonic the Hedgehog francise after it's dip in popularity after Sonic 3 in 1994.
Game was being developed by STI, going trough many versions during a 2 year period before landing on the name "Sonic Xtreme".
As you know Sonic Xtreme's horrible development cycle would lead to it's shameful cancellation in early 1997.
But imagine an alternate universe where Xtreme did released in '96. From all the footage, playable builds, video and images. Do you think that Xtreme would have been a good game or go into the pile of bad sonic games?
Compare X-Treme to its contemporaries; Mario 64, Tomb Raider, Spyro, Crash, Banjo Kazooie, Croc, Gex, Ocarina of Time, Jam's Sonic World and eventually even SA1. X-Treme looked dreadful. It was a 3D platformer using pre-rendered 2D sprites instead of 3D models and it's environments were unapologetically made up of cubes, and there was that gross fish-lens used to compensate for the lack of true 3D. Other leading 3D platformers of the mid- to late-nineties on similar hardware were fully 3D, with rich and environments. X-Treme went through several iterations because the team were struggling to make 3D Sonic work on the hardware that they had. And probably too because they weren't entirely sure what they were doing.
I don't think that X-Treme was shaping up to be a particularly good game. I don't think that X-Treme was shaping up to be a particularly good game. And it's not just visuals either. The gameplay looked like a hot mess.
A valiant effort from STI perhaps, but the results were not good by any means,
I grew up with the magazines that would publish the few screenshots of this game and...
It looked horrendous.
The only good bits that you ever saw were the still renders and models, those images looked really good and they still look very appealing today.
But when you saw the in-game screenshots and even the video footage of demos and trailers, good lord it looked bad! in the 90's we'd get the odd piece of video on TV shows and even VHS magazines and even they looked REALLY bad.
It's one of the few games in history where looking at still images of it can make you feel dizzy, watching video footage of it is awful.
In fact I'm currently editing together a video on Sonic Adventure, at one point I mention X-Treme so had to find video of it in action... The section is about 5 seconds in length and I had to think VERY carefully about what footage I wanted to use because most of it is so bad that it makes the viewer feel dizzy to look at.
The only footage I could find which I considered 'safe' was the old tech demo which was posted a few years ago and the Metal Sonic Boss Fight re-creation. I just couldn't risk using anything else because the visuals, camera, draw distance is so bad even by early 3D tech.
Sega's standards for Sonic games were pretty low even back then so the fact that they didn't ship it says it all I think.
Don't think Sonic Xtreme being made with fake cube 3d and 2d sprites would have been a super big issue, other Saturn platformers like Bug!
and Clockwork Knight:
also only had basic 3d geometry and 2d sprites.
And both did well enough to get a sequel.
Of course, netiher become a giant succes and neither's really remembered these days. They were just good enough for their time to fill up the platformer slots of the Saturn.
Sonic Xtreme looks very gimicky and headache inducing, tough. I think it's too weird to be succesful, it just doesn't work.
Credit for it not being a generic platformer like Bug!, but don't think the innovation for innovation's sake is making it any more fun.
By the end of the day, I'll play Bug! a hundred times over before ever wanting to touch Sonic Xtreme.
Even as a kid discovering it existed, I've always thought it looked like complete and total ass. The fish-eye lens looks disorienting and the gameplay isn't a proper transition from 2D Sonic to 3D at all.
Hard to say. Well, not hard to say, because while I did not think it was horrendous back then, and thought it was kind of cool, now it looks like it would not have aged well, and was not really great looking even. I understand why most here thought it would not have been great.
No wonder why the higher-ups at Sega had problems with the game that led it to getting cancelled when Sega Technical Institute was making the game.
It always looked terrible. Sonic Adventure 1/2 may not have aged that well but I legitimately believe Xtreme would have done immense damage to the Sonic brand the way '06 went on to.
The only time X-treme looked anything close to passable was with that Sonic Mars Demo and the tiny polygonal Sonic running around. And thats only if they managed to make the level design better.
But the way X-treme was shaping up was a mess.
And I really doubt a great 3d Sonic could've been made on the Saturn before it was too late. They should have just had STI make a good 2d game.
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