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March 2004 - Spotlight: Sonic X-Treme
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TheRedEye
The Internet's Frank Cifaldi
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Joined: 26 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 7:06 am    Post subject: March 2004 - Spotlight: Sonic X-Treme Reply with quote

Yes.
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Richter Belmont



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 269
Location: Murfreesboro, TN

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, now we finally know the dark secrets of Sonic Xtreme. I always wondered what the truth was behind the cancellation. Indeed, mascotmania was prevalent then. I remember so many cheesy anthropomorphic heroes from that era... Bubsy, Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel, Awesome Possum, Socks the Cat, and... oh, the horror... Mr. Nutz. The list goes on and on.

Fascinating article, as always, TheRedEye.
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Fredde



Joined: 27 Feb 2004
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! That was truly an amazing story, with a sad ending. Would make a good movie, methinks.
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TheRedEye
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Joined: 26 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richter Belmont wrote:
Fascinating article, as always, TheRedEye.


Thanks, but I didn't write it.
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Ancient Oldie



Joined: 28 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really feel bad for that guy. Not only did the game nearly kill him, but it was never published to boot. Was a playable version or demo ever released?
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B-zero



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not only is my multimedia professor (who has taught 6 of my multimedia courses) the head of the multimedia department of my college, but he also teaches about 7 multimedia classes each semester. After so many years of doing this, last semester, he was struck with sickness seemingly, much like Mr. Senn was. He was simply working himself way too hard. I'm pretty sure he's cut down to 3 or 4 classes this semester.
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Johnny Undaunted



Joined: 08 Sep 2003
Posts: 284

PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read an interview with Yuji Naka from Eurogamer.net, where not only Naka tried hogging all the credit (no mention of Naoto Ohshima, Sonic's character designer), he also badmouthed Yasuhara-san.

Quote:
Press Panel: What was your role on the original Sonic?

Yuji Naka: I was involved from the beginning of the creation of the game. I was responsible for designing the characters, and was the main programmer, while the mapping was done by the guy who left to join Naughty Dog to do Jak II. He was involved in until Sonic 3, and then he didn’t do anything at Sega. He was quite useless!


I also heard a bunch of other stories about Naka too. Is he really that much of an asshole?
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SlyphGlitch



Joined: 01 Apr 2004
Posts: 144

PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 3:15 am    Post subject: Flashbacks... Reply with quote

Another good article, it kinda shows why Sega tanked in the late nineties. From reading the article I kept getting flashbacks of Atari and why they disappeared. Just a couple of questions though...

Both SoA and SoJ were making 32-bit systems, what was the 32-bit system that was going to compete with the Saturn?

Also, I wonder if NOA and NOJ have a similar relationship at times?
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nixon
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's always seemed to me that NOJ has always had NOA under its thumb, and letting it trickle out things here and there, but god forbid that it do anything revolutionary on it's own.
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samiam



Joined: 02 Apr 2004
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I posted this on Sonic-cult.org's forums. I've found some incorrect information and errors in the article.

I see one major error:

From the Lost levels article:

Quote:

Disaster struck in August when Senn’s body, worn out from the nonstop work, couldn't take it anymore.

“I took on far more than was healthy... and after 2 years I became extremely ill... a nurse told me he thought I had 6 months to live, actually. I lost 25 pounds, was sick all the time, had cramps... and still went in to work... all due to too much stress,” says Senn.

This was the death knell for Sonic X-Treme. With Chris gone, Wallis realized the project was over. "I inform(ed) management that we (could not) continue and (would not) make Christmas." Management was disappointed, but had a backup plan.


From Mike Wallis's timeline:
Quote:

June/July/August 1996 - Chris Coffin, lead programmer and human dynamo, has been working non-stop to get this project out, comes down with pneumonia. Since he is leading the technology end and creating the engine, with him going down the project is over. I inform management that we cannot continue and will not make Christmas. The project is officially canceled.


There is a fairly major error with dates as well:

From the article:
Quote:

The decree was made, and SoA’s 32-bit system was killed, leaving the STI development team with only one console for the new game: the Saturn, which had a surprise launch shortly thereafter.


The author has placed the events relating to Sonic Xtreme roughly six months early. The Saturn's early release was in May of '95. Xtreme was on the 32X all through the summer of 95. Half of STI was working on Comix Zone and The Ooze until that autumn. SOA's next-gen system, the one meant to compete with the N64, wasn't scrapped until that winter.

Read the interviews, contained mostly on Sonic-cult.org and in the timeline from Mike Wallis to see for yourself.

I don't mean to nit-pick, especially with something presented to me for free, but these are some pretty major errors. Perhaps some correcting is in order?


Last edited by samiam on Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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samiam



Joined: 02 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Johnny Undaunted wrote:

I also heard a bunch of other stories about Naka too. Is he really that much of an asshole?


Sounds like it, doesn't it? I'm guessing that since he's the last one left from the original team, he's claiming more credit so that he can exert more control over the current Sonic Team...not to mention he probably enjoys the status overall. Meanwhile, that "other guy", Yasuhara, was arguably the most important person in the creation of Sonic. What could be more important to a platforming game than the design of its platforms? Mike Wallis has said that Yasuhara told him he created Sonic, and that he believes him. I don't think he came up with the character(s), but I wouldn't be surprised if he designed ALL the gameplay from the ground up.
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Johnny Undaunted



Joined: 08 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to the credits of all the Sonic games from Sonic 1 to Knuckles, Hirokazu Yasuhara is credited as "director" and/or lead game designer for all the games, whereas Yuji Naka is credited only as the lead programmer for all those games. Yasuhara-san clearly had more to say in the game than merely designing levels judging by his attributes. While I'll admit that programming a game is an important aspect of the game, you can't just hog all the credit for yourself and then undermine your coworker's work.

Same thing probably happened with Phantasy Star, seeing how some people tend to attribute the Phantasy Star series as Naka's creation (which probably how he got his team to do the Online series), when most of the staff is now at Overworks.
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Richter Belmont



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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Location: Murfreesboro, TN

PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheRedEye wrote:

Thanks, but I didn't write it.


Whoops, sorry! You're absolutely right. I guess it slipped my mind.

Fascinating article, Jonathan Allen.
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ICEknight



Joined: 15 Dec 2003
Posts: 549

PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I also heard a bunch of other stories about Naka too. Is he really that much of an asshole?

Well, eurogamer.net says that there were some problems with the translator in that interview, so Naka probably didn't treat Yasuhara in such a despective way... But yes, he's known to give out incorrect info, such as Sonic CD not being in Sonic Mega Collection because of space restrictions.
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Smeg
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 7:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Flashbacks... Reply with quote

SlyphGlitch wrote:
Both SoA and SoJ were making 32-bit systems, what was the 32-bit system that was going to compete with the Saturn?


I'm not sure, but I'd hazard a guess that it would be the so-called "Neptune" project - basically, a 32X/Genesis in one unit.
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samiam



Joined: 02 Apr 2004
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Flashbacks... Reply with quote

Smeg wrote:

I'm not sure, but I'd hazard a guess that it would be the so-called "Neptune" project - basically, a 32X/Genesis in one unit.


No, that was separate, and I think it was actually being developed by SOJ, but I'm not sure. SOA's mystery machine was supposed to be very similar to the N64. In his Sonic-cult interview, Mike Wallis says that Sega had a partnership with nVidia at that time, and that they were incorporating Riva TNT technology into the system.

I'm going to guess that that is why Sonic Xtreme began its first serious development on PC; the new console would have had video hardware very similar to what they could work with on a PC.
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ICEknight



Joined: 15 Dec 2003
Posts: 549

PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2004 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Said Senn: “Everyone else in the company (literally) was working on a different version of the game... based on a game engine Ofer had created before.”


Unless I misunderstod that, I'm guessing one of those "different versions" was the game that was later transformed into Sonic 3D Pool. Peter Morawiec told me that it was based on another Sonic X-Treme project.
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Evan



Joined: 17 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2004 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice article!
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DarkStalker



Joined: 04 Apr 2004
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Location: Bah.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2004 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure if it was possibly used as a source for the article or not, but I believe it was in an old Gamepro. They had started a six-part series on game development, one for each month of their mag and the project they were following was Sonic X-Treme. Only one or two parts of the series made it into the magazine before the game was presumably canceled. It's too bad because I remember there being maybe 6-8 pages per issue of some pretty interesting stuff.

Anyone else remember the article?
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TheRedEye
The Internet's Frank Cifaldi
The Internet's Frank Cifaldi


Joined: 26 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2004 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was Game Players. I stole their screenshots for the article, actually.
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