Sonic historians may be familiar with the above illustration from very early in Sonic’s development. You know Sonic, you know Eggman, you may even know Madonna. But what’s up with those other freaky creatures? And the mysterious shadowy figure in the background?
Well, you may be surprised to learn, these characters were actually carried over from an even earlier game concept.
Naoto Ohshima has shared concept art for an unrealized project called “Twin Stars“, a game about two kids running fast. In the above sketch, you can recognize Sonic’s signature loops, palm trees, and that same spooky sky man from before.
“I made a draft of the game. An action game about twin brothers who protect the dream world from Nightmare World’s boss “Thirteen”. It evolved into Sonic.”
In this enemy design sheet, you can see the cannon, the exclamation point, and the lumpy rock guy (who even made it as far as the 1990 Tokyo Toy Show demo).
Ohshima elaborates on his draft in the replies:
“First, I make a draft by myself, get approval from the company, and then the project starts. The original draft at that time was Twin Stars. However, only smooth maps and loops and runs were approved. After starting the project, I thought about various characters.”
“What remained from the Twin Stars project was smooth terrain, loops, and the fastest run. When the project started, I thought about the player from scratch.”
But wait! There’s more! Former colleague Tetsuo Shinyu revealed the full 22 page pitch document for the game. Ohshima had given him a copy when he joined SEGA as a reference for writing his own proposals.
I’ll be looking forward to the fan games at this year’s SAGE.