[The following is a guest post about the Sonic 3 Remastered campaign written by Stealth, who with Taxman made the Retro Engine versions of Sonic 1 and 2 which can currently be bought for iOS and Android. They had also made a proof-of-concept of Sonic 3 running in the engine on the iPhone. This was originally posted on Stealth’s own blog, so it’s written in a way you can expect from a post on a personal blog.]
Before I start, I’ll first say that I’m speaking as an individual, and not on behalf of any other party, team, business entity, etc. As such, I will speak only for and of myself, without regard to other parties who may want to remain uninvolved.
With the exception of the anniversary presentation from October, I’ve remained relatively silent on the subject of remastering Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Naturally, this is expected of me as someone who has already contracted with SEGA, would be a part of the Sonic 3 remastering project, and would potentially perform work under contract for SEGA again in the future, however, I no longer feel that it’s appropriate to maintain near-complete silence in contrast to my own personal feelings as an individual and as a fan of classic Sonic the Hedgehog.
Fans and Bringing Back Sonic 3
I’m writing this to openly demonstrate my support for the #BringBackSonic3 / #Sonic3Remastered initiative. The initiative has been in its infancy since shortly after the October presentation, but appears to finally be gaining traction. If you haven’t yet heard of it, check out the site for some additional info:
In short, this is a combined letter-writing and petition campaign to attempt to convince SEGA to contract and fund the completion and release of the existing Sonic 3 (& Knuckles) prototype discussed and displayed in the aforementioned presentation.
To be honest, I personally have no idea how effective either portion of this campaign will ultimately be regardless of the level of support it receives, but it seems as if they may be our last available recourse. If you expect there to be any chance of this project being realized, I’d suggest that you participate in both the letter-writing and petition campaigns and ask as many people as you can gather to do the same.
Some Details About the Situation Regarding Sonic 3
The “restructuring” that SEGA has been undergoing for the past few years had finally taken its toll; almost right after Sonic 2 was finished, the available and relevant company contacts had been shaken up, creating a situation that was akin-enough to starting over.
This ultimately led to the development of the previously-mentioned prototype as a means to display seriousness. The prototype reached its current state just before E3 2014, where it was presented to a few relevant people. As can be inferred from various events that followed, the project was obviously not picked up. Silence was maintained on the issue until October, on the anniversary of the (complete) game’s release, when a presentation was made so that the work put into the prototype wouldn’t go to waste entirely.
This presentation gained a lot of attention, being mentioned by a few prominent gaming sites that brought it to a very broad audience. It’s reasonable to expect that this didn’t go unnoticed, but obviously, it did not cause the project to be picked up.
Over time, word has reached me from various sources that there is a legal issue of some sort regarding Sonic 3. Naturally, I don’t have any more solid information, since I’m not involved with the issue itself, however, it should come as no surprise because there had long been rumors of legal issues regarding some of the music that have reached the public from multiple sources. More recently, Cirocco Jones mentioned in early 2012 that there was a lawsuit “going on or about to go on” in relation to Sonic 3, and referred an interviewer to Bobby Brooks, who responded very negatively to being asked anything at all about it. Both quotes can be found here. Some people believe that this is in conflict with more recent releases of the game and the fact that they are still available, however, the last release of Sonic 3 (& Knuckles) was for Steam in 2011, the year immediately preceding the point at which Cirocco Jones mentioned actual, in-progress legal action, and about two years before the Sonic 1 remaster was begun. Also it’s not unreasonable to believe that whatever is happening doesn’t actually require SEGA to remove existing releases since we don’t know specifically what the dispute is and what terms may be in the works.
It’s not an absolute certainty that this is the one sole reason that the remaster project wasn’t picked up, but it’s a very distinct possibility, which is why I recommend preparing for a possible change in parts of the soundtrack, and making SEGA aware that this, being a necessary step to allow further releases of Sonic 3 due to the legal dispute, will not deter you from actually buying the game when it’s released. If you tell them “I want Sonic 3”, they read “I want Sonic 3, exactly like it was originally, no exceptions, and if it’s any different I actually won’t buy it”. You have to explicitly tell them “I want Sonic 3, and if it means that some of the disputed content has to be changed, that’s fine because the game will still be good and I will still buy it”. There is no guarantee that any current dispute will actually be resolved, so it should not be expected, but in the event that it is, it would be trivial to implement the disputed content in an existing remaster.
Personally, I had envisioned moving straight from Sonic 2 to Sonic 3 (& Knuckles) to complete the full trilogy, and then moving forward from there. I was (and still am) of the mind that “classic Sonic” should be revived as a separate branch of the franchise, running concurrently with the modern games from Sonic Team, and that this branch should be “true-to-form” as opposed to the changes seen in Sonic 4, using visual, gameplay, and design elements that mesh much more closely with the Genesis originals while still taking advantage of the modern benefits of looser color restrictions, blending, rotation, and otherwise greater processing power. I would have loved and would still love to be directly involved in the creation of this branch, and were I given the chance, I would exhibit the same care and quality that went into the existing remasters.
I think it’s important to make my own personal position on this clear – I wanted to create the Sonic 3 remaster, I pushed for doing it, I began and participated in developing a prototype for the purpose of pitching the project, the pitch was made, and I’m still just as disappointed as anyone else that it wasn’t picked up. If that were ever to change, I would definitely take up the project (once other obligations that were established in the interim are complete), and as of right now, I still desire to take a strong role in the continuation of a “classic” branch for the franchise.
If you want to see any of this happen, it’s probably a good idea to participate in the above-mentioned initiative; it would seem to be the best that you could do.
I have personally signed the petition, and will soon send a letter as well.
Good luck to all of us!