Though he's currently more infamous for being the heavily redesigned star of an upcoming live-action movie, Sonic the Hedgehog is still one of the biggest names in video games. Many of these games, namely of the classic era, are regarded as pillars in the platforming genre.
Unfortunately, some of the gaming icon's planned games throughout the years, for one reason or another, have gone unproduced. Here's a list of Sonic games that Sega canceled faster than a sonic boom.
As its name suggests, Sonic's Edusoft was an attempt at using the hedgehog as a vehicle for an educational game. Gameplay consisted of various minigames involving mathematics, spelling, and matching while the use of the Sonic license involved Sonic himself being a participant/instructor for the minigames. Other assets from the first Sonic the Hedgehog, such as Robotnik's Badniks and the Green Hill Zone, also make appearances.
Intended to release on the Sega Master System in 1991 (the same year as the original Sonic the Hedgehog), the game was canceled because of its unofficial nature as Tiertex, who developed the game without Sega's consent, was apparently unable to acquire the license to use its flagship character.
The strangely named SegaSonic Bros. seems to recall SegaSonic the Hedgehog, but is unrelated to it other than in name. SegaSonic Bros. was a puzzle game meant released in arcades in 1992, and featured fairly traditional puzzle gameplay in which players match similarly colored "Sonic Bros." to the accompanying drops to clear the board. The red and yellow Sonic Bros.' color schemes echo both future Sonic allies, Tails and Knuckles, as well as Ray the Flying Squirrel and Mighty the Armadillo, who first appeared in the aforementioned SegaSonic the Hedgehog. The music and backgrounds were also based on the first game.
Though it saw a limited initial release in Japanese arcades, its failure to catch on commercially saw it quietly removed, leaving its existence a mystery until 2016.
Another canceled Sonic game with a weird name, Sonic Crackers was an unfinished prototype in which Sonic and Tails were essentially tethered together via a ring. The main levels resembled the typical side-scrolling Sonic gameplay, while the "field" sections were isometric in nature, somewhat resembling future title Sonic 3D Blast.
Possibly intended for release on the Genesis, the game probably served as more of an engine test than anything. Its gameplay, music and stages were the very obvious origin for the Sega 32X title, Knuckles Chaotix. This spin-off gave Knuckles the starring role, tethering him to Mighty the Armadillo, Vector the Crocodile and others to defeat Eggman and Metal Sonic.
Sonic-16 (titled that way because it ran on 16 megs) was an American-developed title for the Sega Genesis and was meant to tie into the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, even featuring a matching art style. It also included characters from the cartoon and spinoff Archie comic books, such as Princess Sally Acorn. The gameplay was notably slower than traditional games in the series and was also meant to be more story and adventure driven. Along with traditional sidescrolling mechanics, Sonic could also travel up and down the screen.
Unfortunately, one of Sonic's original developers, Yuji Naka was unimpressed with the project; causing its development to end.
Also somewhat based around the popular Sonic cartoon, Sonic Mars was going to be a title for the 32X. This game was meant to be the first 3D entry in the series but was canceled for various reasons. One was, once again, Yuji Naka's distaste for what he had seen of the game.
The 32X itself was also a commercial failure, and with a growing disinterest in framing the game around the show, the game was postponed to be developed for the upcoming Sega Saturn. From there, it would become the more well-known, Sonic X-Treme.
Sonic X-Treme is possibly the most well known canceled Sonic game, and emblematic of the development issues plaguing Sega in the mid to late '90s that eventually saw it leaving the console race entirely.
The game's own development was greatly beleaguered, with its lead programmer actually having to quit from the near-fatal stress. The then-upcoming title was pushed heavily to market the failing Sega Saturn, which had so far failed to catch on. The title, like Sonic Mars before it, was meant to be the first fully 3D Sonic game, and had Sonic trying to stop Robotnik from stealing magical rings from a princess named Tiara Boobowski. The "fish-eye" style camera made the levels seem to move around Sonic himself.
The game was canceled amid the conflicting politics of Sega of Japan and Sega of America, which was seen as a big reason for the Saturn's failure. Elements of the game would go on to inspire Sonic Lost World, however.
Though it sounds related to the previous game, Sonic Extreme was actually a proposed hoverboarding Sonic game. The prototype was developed by Vision Scape and meant to imitate the feel of the Tony Hawk games. The revealed footage shows Sonic and Shadow hoverboarding (rather clumsily) around an environment resembling Green Hill Zone. When Vision Scape tried to show their prototype to Sega, the response it got was "silence," leading, as you might expect, to the project being dropped. Sonic Extreme does resemble, however, the then-upcoming Sonic Riders games, which were perhaps inspired by it.
As Sonic is currently entering a bit of a renaissance, following the positive reception of Sonic Mania, Team Sonic Racing and the movie character's redesign, Sega is sure to develop more titles for the Blue Blur. Let's just hope that they actually see the light of day.
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