When people tell the short version of the development of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, there are usually two names dropped: Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima. The former, though starting out as a programmer, soon became the figurehead of Sonic Team, his smiling mug plastered all over any material regarding the behind-the-scene events. The latter, of course, being the man who designed the characters including the star. However, there was a third man who, one could argue, shaped the title into the addictive game that people still play to this day. That man’s name is Hirokazu Yasuhara, who was the lead Game Planner of the original Mega Drive quartet, as well as the Director to Sonic 3 & Knuckles. While the designs to the characters were amazing, and there was a solid engine being built around it, the actual layout of the game would have been very, very different had Yasuhara not been there to design those level maps that have been burned into our minds over the last two decades. Who knows how things would have gone if he had flown to the United States when he originally planned instead of being delayed to shape one of the biggest video game franchises of all time?
That is why this news, for anyone who was there during the height of the Mega Drive’s success, is a bit crazy to take in. As of today, reported on Gamasutra and confirmed by his own LinkedIn page, Hirokazu Yasuhara is now employed at Nintendo Software Technology, a subsidiary of Nintendo of America. Best known for their work on the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, nothing has been said of what plans Nintendo has in store for the former Sega employee. Since he’s still in the United States, its very unlikely that he’ll have any role in one of the main Super Mario titles, but still. If you were to tell any 90’s kid that the man responsible for the layout of everything from the Green Hill Zone to Death Egg would one day be working at the house Mario built, would they have believed it?
Since the unveiling of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, Sega has been extremely careful to point out how the latest installment in the “Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Saga” has improved over its predecessor, and that they have been listening. From the physics to the art style to the implementation of new ideas, it is clear that the people behind the game are trying more than they did the first go-round. Sure, you can argue for hours on end if they have been succeeding, but regardless, there is one component of the game that has, until now, been missing from public scrutiny. I am talking, of course, about the original soundtrack to the game. There’s no need to repeat the jokes hurled at Episode 1‘s final score, but people have been wondering what sort of instrumentation the next episode would contain. Would it be a repeat of Episode 1, would it be something much closer to the classic Mega Drive sound, or would it attempt to be a bit more high definition? While bits and pieces could be heard over convention noise during the last time a playable build was available to the public, YouTube channel WounChannel have upload yet another runthrough of the beginning to Sylvania Castle, this time with no ambient noise of excited cell phone enthusiasts.
There you have it, the music to Act 1 of Sylvania Castle. While it might not be the huge change some people were hoping for, at the very least it clues us in as to how the rest of the game should be sounding.
You know, it’s almost hard to believe that it’s been fifteen years since SonicQuest: The Death Egg Saga was originally published. Coming out right at the tail end of the Golden Age of the Archie series, it promised to give the readers everything they were asking for, a fun little detour as the main series began to amp itself up for “Endgame,” the four part storyline that also is seeing its fifteenth anniversary this year. Causing far more controversy than the writers were intending, Endgame was designed to be the final chapter of the comic book if it was to see cancellation in the wake of the Saturday morning series ending, and although the series instead continued to be published (and still thrives to this day), it was certainly the end of an era. SonicQuest, though it has its faults, still exists in that pre-Endgame state of mind, surely assisted by the writing style of Mike Gallagher. In fact, there is only one more game adaptation before “Endgame” would change everything…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Picking up where we left off yesterday, we continue with SonicQuest: The Death Egg Saga, the pseudo-adaptation of Sonic 2, 3 & Knuckles, even though we already had adaptations of the latter two. So let’s find out what the heck’ll happen next.
A list with games that are coming to Xbox Live Arcade popped up on the popular gaming forum NeoGAF yesterday. While it contains games that were already announced such as Battleblock Theater and Sonic 4 Episode II, a bunch of unannounced games are included as well. Among these is Sonic Adventure 2, a game either fondly or not so fondly remembered by Sonic fans. This was posted by a forum member with only 8 posts with no information on where it came from though. Besides that, it also includes cancelled games like Bonk: Brink of Extinction and Saints Row Moneyshot, so there’s barely any credibility to this.
Or at least there wasn’t until Harmonix (the developer behind the Rock Band franchise) revealed Rock Band Blitz later on the same day, a game included on the very same list. Meaning there’s actually a possibility that the it is real and that Sonic Adventure 2 may be coming to XBLA, or was at least once in development. Other unannounced SEGA titles that may be coming to Xbox Live are more Vintage Collections with Golden Axe and Streets of Rage. The full list can be found after the jump.