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Early enemy concept art for the first game, showing early pre-badnik enemies, a bee-colored Eggman, and Sonic's girlfriend Madonna.
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  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • The original concept for the series was considerably different. Originally, the concept for the game while Sega was coming up with a new mascot to rival Mario was a speedy bowtie-wearing rabbit that grabbed objects with its ears. This idea was tossed because the team felt that such a mechanic would slow down the pacing of the game. The game Ristar revived the concept and is basically how the gameplay for that game would have been (only slower-paced and with the character being a star that grabbed stuff with his hands rather than a rabbit using his ears). The idea was abandoned when the 16-bit console couldn't handle hardware demands of the rabbit's ears, which were supposed to allow him to grab hold of things. Sonic had several early designs; most notably, a Theodore Roosevelt lookalike in pyjamas (who evolved into Eggman), a clown, what can best be described as a Mario/Bart Simpson hybrid, a wolf wearing an American flag t-shirt and a bulldog in a cool outfit. Interestingly, both of the latter were Fully Dressed Cartoon Animals. See them for yourself here. It's also noted that Sonic was chosen over an armadillo (the armadillo concept would later form the main basis for a secondary character in the series named Mighty the Armadillo). When it was narrowed down between just these two designs, Sonic was chosen due to his spikey look. Sonic was originally going to have fangs, but a team at Sega of America led by Madeline Schroeder asked for his design to be softened up for American audiences. Thus, the fangs only made it to a japanese promotional comic for the game. (But then the fangs would make a comeback in Sonic's model for ''Sonic Adventure''. And they also made an appearance in the ''OK K.O!'' special ''Let's Meet Sonic''.) This change led to various other elements being scraped or removed in order to make the series more appealing to western audiences. Sonic's human girlfriend Madonna was scrapped, the original enemy designs were changed into badniks, Sonic's rock band was scrapped from the game and only made it to the promotional comic like Sonic's fangs, his Mascot with Attitude behavior being toned down, and his design was cutened up. Sega of America later reused a cleaner version of the Mascot with Attitude personality, leading to Sonic's personality being snarky in American canon but laidback in Japanese canon (the latter personality later becoming emphasised in-series starting with Adventure).
    • According to the June 1991 issue of Computer and Video Games, Sonic 1 was going to be ported to home computers of the time such as the Commodore 64, Amiga and ZX Spectrum. Sega eventually scrapped the idea, presumably so that computer users of the time had a good reason to buy a Mega Drive.
    • There are sketches of Sonic with a blonde bombshell by the name of Madonna. It's said that she was supposed to have been Sonic's girlfriend, probably done to rival Princess Peach. The game likely involved saving her. Originally, the enemies in the games were actual monsters instead of Badniks. They can be seen in early concept art and in screencaps of the Tokyo Game Show demo. They were scrapped and replaced with the badniks.
    • Another concept that was forced to be dropped was the idea of Sonic being the lead in a band which would be used for a full-fledged sound test players could choose from the title screen. At one point (According to some early concept art) The band members would have appeared at the end of the game with Sharps the Parakeet saving Sonic from falling (in a way similar to Tails at the end of Sonic 2). While keyboardist Vector the Crocodile would eventually appear in the Chaotix game and became a part of the series itself, guitarist Sharps the Parakeet, bass guitarist Max the Monkey and drummer Mach the Rabbit were dropped completely.
    • In a Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works interview, Naoto Ōshima revealed that the sound test originally had Sonic performing Michael Jackson-like dance moves.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2:
    • This game is rather famous for the number of Zones that were planned for inclusion and showcased in promotional material (Wood Zone, Desert Hill Zone, Genocide City Zone, and Hidden Palace Zone), but was ultimately canceled, particularly the Hidden Palace Zone, of which there are traces scattered throughout the final version while its own music theme could be played in the Sound Test. According to Yuji Naka, the Hidden Palace Zone was supposed to be a secret stage accessible after finding all the Chaos Emeralds, which would end with Sonic transforming into Super Sonic. The stage was later revived as the Zone of the same name in Sonic 3 & Knuckles (albeit with new graphics, BGM and layouts, of course), which served mostly the same purpose (replacing Super Sonic with Hyper Sonic), although it was changed into being part of the story rather than a hidden stage.
      • A new HPZ loosely based on the original level using the same graphics and enemies but with different layout and gimmicks and stripped off its BGM, lore and intended functions was much later implemented as a secret level in the 2013 smartphone port of Sonic 2, courtesy of Promoted Fanboys.
      • One of the planned Sonic 2 Zones is still partially in the game. The third act of Metropolis Zone is a modified version of a scrapped one-act Zone called Genocide City Zone. Which would likely have been called "Cyber City Zone" in the final version (presumably after consulting with people with slightly better knowledge of English vocabulary), and been largely an Expy of the first game's Scrap Brain Zone; it's telling that Metropolis Zone Act 3 was actually included for the sake of using the map they designed for Cyber City Zone, lest they waste it.
    • It was revealed that Sonic 2 was originally meant to use time travel, but time constraints prevented this from coming into fruition. Sonic the Hedgehog CD ended up using the time travel idea.
    • According to the book Console Wars, Tails' original name was the Ironic Name "Miles Monotail" and he met Sonic when he was four. His finalized name is "Miles Prower" and he's assumed to have met Sonic rather recently (at age seven or eight) judging by flashbacks. Also, Tails' original design had no eye whites and his Tuft of Head Fur was supposed to grow out of the right of his head (not the center). Because kitsune were unknown to American audiences at the time, Tails being a kitsune was de-emphasized in exchange for him being a regular fox but with two tails.
    • Scrapped zones mentioned in concept art are: Blue Lake Zone, Sand Shower Zone, Ocean Wind Zone, Rock World Zone, Tropical Plant Zone, Olympus (possibly Aquatic Ruin), and Madness Mountain.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog CD:
    • There are quite a few sprites that were found in the beta version, but were left out in the final version. Some of these being: Sonic sneezing, turning black when being killed (perhaps as a result of being burnt?), hung from something, electrocuted, etc. You can see those as well as several others here.
    • The 2011 enhanced port was set to have two bonus levels called Desert Dazzle and Final Fever, but they got the axe because Sega didn't want to stray too far away from the original game.
    • There was going to be a round between Palmtree Panic and Collision Chaos. It was going to be ancient ruins-themed ala Marble Zone, and an ending FMV depicting it was produced.
    • Palmtree Panic was originally called Salad Plains (possibly a temporary name), and then Palmtree Hill. Its past also used to used high-quality CD audio, implying that this was going to be done for all time zones before the developers converted the songs to PCM in order to save space. Fans have since restored the original CD music.
  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles:
    • Long before the game was split into 2 it was planned to be a 3D Polygonal Isometric Platformer game using the Sega Virtua Processor Chip (the Genesis version of the Super FX chip) that was used in the Genesis port of Virtua Racing, The idea was scrapped due to unsatisfying gameplay results and the cost of the (SVP chip).
    • This game has an item monitor that can only be accessed through debug mode. The item in question is just a blue "S" that grants the character their super form and 50 rings, even if the player did not collect all the Chaos Emeralds. Whether the item was just for bug/balance testing or something more remains to be seen. Graphics for the item have existed in Dummied Out form since the first game, and similar functionality has appeared as early as a prototype of Sonic CD.
    • The magazine Sega Magazin makes mention of a "Help item". Sonic would break a monitor and whistle for Tails who would then carry him about akin to a second player. Although not present in the final game, Sonic's whistling animation is still present within the game's code and a whistling sound is heard at the start of Doomsday Zone.
    • Concerning Zones in Sonic 3 & Knuckles Flying Battery Zone was originally intended to be a level in between Carnival Night and Ice Cap (a different level select icon for Flying Battery Zone can be found in the game that suggests this further), originally the cinematic at the end of Flying Battery involved Sonic breaking out of the ship and using a sheet of metal from it to Snowboard down Ice cap much like he does with the random snowboard in the final version of the game. This was changed to give the Sonic & Knuckles half of the game more Zones that played more traditionally (not counting Hidden Palace and Doomsday Zone which don't play like traditional Zones) so it wouldn't feel shorter than the Sonic 3 half, though this concept was re-used as the inspiration for Sonic Adventure 2's Hero Side opening cinematic and the start of the City Escape level a couple years later.
    • Sonic 3 was intended to have both Tails and Knuckles as playable characters but, after being rushed for time, only Tails was left in the game planning. He was still kept in Competition, but as his moves hadn't been fully implemented yet, he plays as a Sonic reskin. You can play as Knuckles with his full moveset in the S3 levels when the game is locked onto the S&K cartridge, however.
    • Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3 w/ Lock On Technology were intended to be a single large game, code named Project Blue Red in alpha and beta stages, Sega realized that the cost of producing this one game (which would need to be larger then their own self-set system cartridge limits allowed) would out weight the cost of splitting it down and making two games which could be linked together.
    • According to a Japanese magazine, Knuckles was originally more dinosaur-like. Another source has stated that, later on in development, he was an echidna but his fur was green instead of red.
    • The music composed by Michael Jackson was a relatively late addition. Before that, completely different tracks that were more in line with the rest of the game were used. MIDI renditions of these tracks made it to the original PC port.
    • The Drop Dash from Sonic Mania (or a very similar special move) was originally going to be in this game. Just like in Mania, it would have been a Sonic-exclusive mode.
    • On November 16, 2019, a much more earlier build of Sonic 3 was discovered, which revealed a lot more about the state of the game. This build, dated November 3, 1993, was from a point when the game was starting to be split. Sonic and Tails still retained their Sonic 2 sprites, though Sonic had a strange swinging animation for hanging onto Tails or swinging on certain vines. Knuckles also had a different head and a different introduction sprite for Angel Island. Special Stages were not yet implemented at this point. While Sandopolis and Flying Battery were in the game, they were in an unplayable state, as was Marble Garden and Carnival Night Zone's Act 2 endings. The most surprising thing was that the themes for Carnival Night Zone, Ice Cap Zone and Launch Base Zone were the ones used for the PC Sonic & Knuckles Collection, completely debunking the theory that the songs were created to get around the Michael Jackson/Jetzons-based music for the PC release.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball:
    • This game had its own version of the early Sonic theme before the switch with Sonic 3. However, the music development team found out that Masato Nakamura had owned the rights and not Sega as they assumed. Howard Drossin quickly whipped up a new jingle.
    • A prototype shows possible cut scenes or at least stills of Eggman viewing Sonic's progress through the Veg-O Fortress. The Machine stage also had a different tune.
    • The original name for the game was Sonic the Hedgehog Pinball.
    • Toxic Caves was originally two stages - Underground Caves and Toxic Pools.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble: Fang the Sniper was originally going to be called Jet the Sniper outside of Japan.
  • Knuckles Chaotix
    • An early story idea involved Sonic and his friends trying to escape from Dr. Robotnik's prison chained to a selected partner, This idea was scrapped early on.
    • There is evidence that this was originally going to be the cancelled title, Sonic Crackers. More specifically, the ring tether mechanic was present in a working form and the animations used for Mighty are very clearly drawn over Sonic's animations from the Crackers proof-of-concept (he even has the same Wheel o' Feet effect despite his primary character trait being his strength). Furthermore, the level music from Sonic Crackers became the game's theme.
    • If you get hit several times in a row in Crackers, your character becomes stunned for a while. Similarly to the slamming-on-walls quirk from the Sonic 2 prototypes, this was cut from the game.
    • It was originally going to be included in Sonic Gems Collection at one point, but was dropped, probably because of issues emulating the 32X. However, an entire mini-gallery of art from the game was included in the Museum.
    • One early screenshot of the title screen implied that Espio was supposed to be the main character or a major player of the game, with Knuckles just tagging along. He's given top billing in an early title screen, and the opening graphics to each level still put Espio's name over Knuckles in the final game.
    • Other staple mechanics from the Sonic series were intended at points in development. Data and artwork for loop de loops and water areas still exist in the final game but were left unfinished (a likely explanation for the game's more limited level designs).
    • As mentioned above, glitches versions of what seem to be Tails exist in prototypes of the game. Mighty's blatantly tweaked sprites from Sonic's Crackers art suggest both characters were intended to be playable early on before making it at A Day in the Limelight for Knuckles.
      • At one point in development they were considering the Dummied Out character called "*********" by the game to be replaced by a new character named Sharps the Parakeet seen in some concept art, as well as possibly Ray the Flying Squirrel from SegaSonic the Hedgehog.
    • To top it off, what became Knuckles' Chaotix was originally going to be an actual successor to Sonic 3 & Knuckles for the Sega Saturn.
    • According to early screenshots, "Nat the Armadillo" was an unused Dub Name Change for Mighty.
  • SegaSonic the Hedgehog was planned to be localized and, to do so, was set to swap out Eggman's sprites with that of Sonic Sat AM's Robotnik.
  • Developer Realtime Associates was contracted by Sega of America to develop a Sonic game for the Saturn's launch. However, Sega of Japan did not approve of the deal and thus Realtime Associates concentrated their effort on their original IP, Bug (which Sonic himself would end up cameoing in). It wouldn't be until 2008 that a Sonic game developed by Realtime would be released. That game being Sonic the Hedgehog for Leap Frog Didj.
  • Sonic X-treme is one of the most notorious examples, as, unlike most of the games here, the game was never finished:
    • At one point the game was a tie-in for the 90s incarnation of the Sonic the Hedgehog film that never got made for the same reason as this game. See the "Film" section below for more on that.
    • Intended for release on Christmas 1996 for the Sega Saturn, it would've been Sonic's first true leap into the third dimension. However, it was canceled after undergoing a Troubled Production of legendary proportions (the killing blow came when the head of the project contracted pneumonia and would only have six months to live if they kept working), with Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island ported to the Saturn in its stead.
    • The storyline for Sonic X-treme was one never set in stone and there were many storylines made for the game and were eventually used in future Sonic games
      • (Sonic Mars) Sonic saving both a virtual world and his friends.
      • (Sonic Saturn) Sonic stopping 6 shadowy demons that were trapped in the Master Emerald.
      • (Sonic Twisted) Sonic making a date with his girlfriend... Wait, what!?
      • (Sonic Doom and Sonic Boom) Sonic getting a cure for a virus that he was infected with concept for sequel where sonic has to seal the doom virus.
      • (Sonic PC) Sonic being kidnapped by a giant robotic spider.
      • (Sonic X-Treme) Sonic traveling from planet to planet in order to destroy the Death Egg which was BIGGER THEN THE PLANETS THEMSELVES while rescuing little aliens called Mips along the way.
      • (The Red Shoes Diaries) Sonic searching for and finding the Rings of Order, This story was seen in magazine articles at that time.
    • Plans for characters for the game were bounced around through the writing and development prosses as well.:
      • Amy Rose was going to appear in the game alongside the classic trio of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. She was scrapped early into the development of the Saturn version of the game when it was decided that, instead of thinking of multiple playable characters, the development team should focus on getting Sonic right first.
      • A character named Tiara Boobowski, a Manx cat (originally named Tiara Cyberooski) was originally planned for the game in being a rival love interest for both Amy and Princess Sally and that she was initially described as being smart, spunky and swift— more than a "match" for Sonic, but her appearance was later scrapped from within the game's development in order to focus more on Sonic rather than the new characters themselves. She would later cameo in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic as a background character.
      • Gazebo Boobowski (Tiara's father), who was originally conceived into being a cyber king then later changed into a wizard doctor.
      • The Chaos Elementals, 6 shadowy demons that can control machinery, The Chaos Doom: a brotherhood of 6 magical monks warped in both mind and body whilst on vacation in the Master Emerald,
      • The Mips: a race of ball-like aliens that power badniks that Sonic must free.
      • The characters from the Sonic Sat AM (mainly Sally Acorn and Bunny Rabbot) was planned to appear as playable characters or at least a designated cameo.
  • Sonic Adventure:
    • After the cancellation of Sonic X-treme, Sonic Adventure was announced as a Saturn game, and according to a prototype video, it was going to use the same 3D models from Sonic R. The "Sonic World" hub in Sonic Jam was actually Sonic Adventure's engine test. Once production switched from the Saturn to the Dreamcast, Sonic Team touched it up a little and added it to Sonic Jam as an extra.
    • It was originally planned for the player to be able to go Super Sonic in any level, like in the classic games.
    • There was originally a robotic dragon Sonic and Tails had to face in one of their flight stages. The data is still there and, when hacked back in, reveals that it would have been in the first flight stage.
    • The Super Sonic story in the final game has no autosaves and has to be completed in one go. This was evidently not always the case, however, as can be shown by deliberately not picking up one of Sonic's non-essential upgrades until starting this route, forcing an autosave and showing you a Now, Where Was I Going Again? recap screen when you reload. The game then crashes every time it tries to continue, forcing you to start a brand-new save file and redo all six stories if you ever want to see the ending.
    • One piece of music, "Open Your Heart" by Crush 40 (their first song, actually), was not written with a video game in mind, though at least composer/guitarist Jun Senoue was working on the game already.
    • Knuckles was originally going to speak with a Jamaican accent in the dub.
    • Perfect Chaos's redesign in Sonic Generations was what they originally intended for him to look like, but due to technological limitations at the time, it wasn't possible.
    • According to concept art leaked from a presentation in 2018, Windy Valley, the Tornado levels, Angel Island, and Mystic Ruins were created during the Saturn days.
    • A storyboard of the first scene in the game shows that Sonic kept his classic design quite a bit into development (this is also supported by a Dummied Out icon showing classic Sonic). The storyboard also features a different sequence. Instead of noticing police cars and following them, Sonic is standing in the middle of a street when Chaos jumps on his head and runs off. Sonic dodges the police cars chasing after Chaos and then decides to follow them.
  • Sonic Adventure 2:
    • Early versions of this game supposedly only had Sonic, Knuckles, and Eggman as playable characters (Shadow and Rouge would have always figured into the plot). Fan demand caused Shadow and Rouge to be made playable, and Tails to join the roster. This is the reason why each new addition is an Expy of one of the three existing characters. They receive a slightly lower amount of stages than the first three, most of which reuse locales and objects from levels meant for the original three characters.note . Shadow only has four levels period, the least out of anyone. He also doesn't participate in the true final stage, Cannon's Core, but the reason for that is plot-relevant. There was also to be a branching storyline affected by the player's decisions; an idea revisited in Shadow the Hedgehog.
      • There's even more to the development than that. Rumors have it that Sonic Adventure 2 was going to have Adventure Fields akin to Adventure 1.
    • There were also a number of cut scenes and clips:
      • After Sonic's first boss fight, there's a clip where he complains that "Those robots are a total pain in the-" before encountering Shadow.
      • When Rouge and Eggman first join forces, Eggman had a clipped line where Eggman says that they may be partners, but he doesn't trust her, leading Rouge to ask if he's having a bad day.
      • In the cutscene leading to Cannon's Core, Sonic was to call Eggman an "egghead".
      • There are three clips featuring the president and his secretary, the first two with the president being skeptical of the heroes' chances of victory and Rouge and Amy trying to reassure him while the third made the president believe in heroes once more. These deleted scenes were notably included in the anime adaptation in the Sonic Team-produced Sonic X.
      • The finale had a few extra soundbites to it with Tails and Eggman that does away with the ambiguity of a possible Eggman Heel–Face Turn by having Eggman declare his next plot will be through his own power and not through the schemes of others.
    • The original Dreamcast version of SA2 missed out on five special menu themes that got brought over into the Gamecube version - Shadow, Amy, Omochao, Maria and the president's secretary. These exist in the game as on disc DLC and can be enabled with custom theme files.
    • Originally, if players were able to get an A rank in the Green Hill Zone, players would have unlocked Super Sonic and Super Shadow for the two-player mode.
    • Early concept art for Shadow depicts him as looking more like Sonic. He also has a huge scar over his left eye. Other concept artwork of Shadow involved him with amputated limbs and missing eyes. He may have been the original final boss, instead of the Biolizard.
    • Concept designs for Rouge depict her with a more punk-inspired aesthetic, a Tuft of Head Fur, and earrings.
    • Shadow's original name was Terios (which means "reflection of" in Latin) and Rouge's original name was Nails.
  • Sonic Heroes:
    • There were originally going to be 6 teams and 18 characters, before it was changed to 4 teams and 12 characters. According to the one of the devs, the teams were: Sonic-Tails-Knuckles, Amy-Cream-Rouge (with Cream being the Fly type), Chaos-E102-Big, Espio-Charmy-Vector, Fang-Bean-Bark (predating the latter two's Adaptational Villainy in the Archie comics by several years), and Metal Sonic-Ray-Mighty.
    • There was internal arguing on whether Shadow should remain dead and whether Chaos was considered dead. There was even a "Shadow: DIE or NOT" meeting where part of the team wanted Shadow to remain dead and the other didn't.
    • There are many unused voice lines in the game's files. Each character has variations of the same lines. Some of the more interesting ones include:
      • Exclaiming that something is really heavy.
      • Expressing relief at seeing a teammate returning.
      • Talking about an Omochao that has something to do with a gate. Omochao and its corresponding "gate" are not present in the final game.
      • Giving tips for the lasers on the grind rails in Final Fortress. They explain that each rail's color corresponds to each laser's color - in the final game all the grind rails are the same color, which is likely why these lines were unused.
  • Shadow the Hedgehog:
    • Originally, enemies were going to bleed red blood, the opening showed a G.U.N. soldier getting shot down, and in the intro, Shadow's flashback to Maria's death was actually going to show her being shot on-screen. But the ESRB threatened Sega that they'd slap the game with a Teen rating if these were kept in... which you may end up finding weird given the game was actively advertised as more mature than predecessors. What happened? Turns out ESRB introduced "Everyone 10+" rating in the meanwhile, and Sega of America decided to go with that. So the blood had to be changed to green, the opening scene cut out the shooting part, and the Maria flashback fades to black as we hear the gunshot. However, the final game does show a monochrome still image of Maria getting shot just before the Heavy Dog boss fight. The same image appears in color on her card in Sonic Rivals.
    • The game was meant to have used the voices of characters that had appeared up until Sonic Heroes. However, when Deem Bristow passed away during production, Sega hired Mike Pollock (Eggman's VA for Sonic X) before they decided to hire all of the Sonic X voice actors, whom stayed with the series until Sonic and the Black Knight. Except for Pollock, who's still Eggman.
    • There were two themes that were unused and replaced: "Who I Am" by Magna-Fi (replaced by "All Hail Shadow" by the same band) and "Broken" by Sins Of A Divine Mother (replaced by "Chosen One" by A2). "Who I Am" was scrapped due to Executive Meddling from the band's record company resulting in it eventually ending up as the first song on their final album, VerseChrousKillMe. (Seriously, hearing it with Shadow in mindnote  is hard to unhear.) The latter was scrapped because they could not find the artists name to credit them. In the final game, Shadow still says "This is who I am!" in every ending cutscene as an Orphaned Reference to the original theme.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) is no doubt a rushed, unfinished game, but this is only made worse by the fact that it looked promising at one point:
    • Early tech demos from 2005 promised an actively changing day/night feature, an advanced physics engine, and a "free play" mode allowing players to control any of the characters, unbound by storyline. What we got is clearly a different story, but there are still remnants of the good ideas that once were: Crisis City is a graphically impressive level, for example, and if one digs around in the code of the game enough, the developers wanted to include Super Sonic as a playable character. Here's an example of an early trailer for '06
    • Also uncovered in the data was evidence that Metal Sonic was going to be given his own part in the game, such as missions, and even a story.
    • Originally, Silver was going to have a purchasable 'Light Chip' item that would allow him to run the same speed as Sonic and Shadow. But due to the game being rushed out the door before being completed, the powerup was left out and he remained slow.
    • Silver was originally conceived as a Mink named Venice, going through at least 5 different designs, one of them having a headband, and another with a yellow tuft of hair rather than the white-on-silver he has in the final game.
    • The resume on former Silver the Hedgehog actor Pete Capella's website lists "Sonic the Hedgehog: Awakening" on it. Not much is known about this, but given that the list is in chronological order and Pete was replaced by Quinton Flynn for Silver 2010 onwards, it seems fair to assume this is a project that was ultimately scrapped. Judging from its placement in the list, it's possible that it was a planned DLC expansion or sequel (!) to Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
    • Developmental character profiles for the game say that Blaze wears a cape and is troubled by her chest size. These elements were scrapped by release.
  • The studio Vision Scape Interactive pitched a skateboarding game called Sonic Extreme for at least the Xbox, but Sega declined the pitch. The studio had previously worked with Sega on Sonic Heroes, hence why they had the models for Sonic and Shadow. The demo was a Dolled-Up Installment of a canned Rocket Power game. The game was later retooled into the PC-game Tech Deck: Bare Knuckle Grind.
  • When Sega held auditions to replace the 4Kids cast in 2010, Ryan Drummond was contacted to re-audition for the role of Sonic. However, because of Drummond's union status and his refusal to quit it, he was eventually declined the role. While Roger Craig Smith certainly isn't doing a bad job, many fans would've loved it if Drummond voiced the blue blur again.
  • Sega Superstars:
    • In Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, ToeJam & Earl were reportedly going to be included, but the developers could not obtain the license to the characters in time. Vyse was also considered, but the game was nearing deadline, so he was added into the roster in Transformed instead.
    • According to this forum post, Bayonetta was considered for Transformed, but they couldn't keep her in-character without the game rating going up. Ironically, Bayonetta would later appear in another game geared towards younger audiences (Super Smash Bros.) without that many changes to her character or mechanics.
  • The Christian Whitehead-spearheaded smartphone remakes of Sonic CD and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 had Boss Rush stages planned out, with 2's Boss Rush stage using graphics from the canned Sonic Crackers demo. Though they're still in the game, they had been Dummied Out as Sega felt that altering the game too much would be majorly problematic. Players also discovered what was called "Proto Palace Zone", a recreation of the original Hidden Palace Zone. Christian Whitehead confirmed it was just to test things out.
  • Simon "Stealth" Thomley developed a a proof-of-concept of the classic Sonic trilogy for the Nintendo DS when he heard leaked news regarding a Compilation Re-release called Sonic Classic Collection (which was developed by The Creative Assembly). All of the games were recoded for the DS, and included the following extra features: Tails and Knuckles were added to the original Sonic the Hedgehog, the elemental shields from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 could be used in the first two games, and Sonic 3's Special Stages had a Level Editor that included two new spheres — green ones that turn blue when touched, and pink ones that act as teleporters to another random pink sphere. Later in development, Stealth even wanted to include Sonic the Hedgehog Megamix in the collection, but he was unable to contact Sega during the first "Sonic Boom" event, and eventually realised that pitching Megamix as a commercial game was infeasible. Ultimately, Stealth was unable to make his take on the collection into a commercial game, but elements of it have since lived on in his collaboration with Christain Whitehead regarding the smartphone versions of Sonic 1 and Sonic 2. Considering that he is once again working with Whitehead on Sonic Mania, it appears things have gone full circle.
  • Sonic Generations:
    • Sonic Generations almost had a Playstation Portable port.
    • There was supposed to be signs in Sonic Generations that referenced the Archie comics, Fleetway comics, three 1990s cartoons, and Sonic X. Sega vetoed these references.
  • Sonic Synergy, the game that would become Sonic Boom: Rise Of Lyric, is full of What Ifs. There's also a lot from Sonic Boom itself:
    • The game was designed for an unspecified third-party system. It was not supposed to be a Wii U game and most of the quality issues stem from the developers trying to downgrade their game for the console.
    • The game originally was less comedic and more serious. While there were speedy portions, the game would have deemphasized speed in favor of exploration and story.
    • The first trailer for the game is nothing like the final game in terms of plot. Sonic's friends discover "an ancient land" which isn't in the final game. This is because that plot was changed in development. There were plans for a more serious story featuring a backstory for how Eggman and Sonic met, as well as a story involving past societies of hedgehogs and echidna (hence the echidna statues and wall carvings). It was all scrapped because of Sega's regulations involving what plots the series could handle. The team was asked to make the plot more similar to the upcoming cartoon, which would become Sonic Boom.
    • Combat for Sonic and Tails were different as Sonic would use his feet and legs more than Spin Attacks and Tails would have used various guns and other armaments.
    • Personality-wise. it seemed that Amy would have been a lot more sassy and adventurous than her old counterpart and Sticks would have been someone completely different than the conspiracy nut that we know now.
    • In the final game, Sticks is a NPC in a town full of characters. This doesn't make sense when compared to the cartoon, where she's a major character and she shuns civilization, but it makes sense from a developmental POV. Sticks was never meant to be in the game. She was added in at the last minute to tie into the cartoon.
    • The game had a hub world that was cut because the Wii U couldn't handle it.
    • Perci is a NPC but there's a line of dialogue that shows she was originally going to be playable (or at least, she was a tagalong). In one of the missions, the game left in Amy's "Good job, Perci!" line.
    • Cliff is a minor character who acts as an archaeologist. He was originally an inventor, but Red Button Entertainment was forced to change his occupation due to a mandate Sega has where the only inventors can be Eggman and Tails.
    • Lyric was supposed to appear more often. A few references in the final game still imply that he's fought Sonic more than depicted.
    • A scrapped plot point was that Sonic was a loner who learned to work with his friends through the course of the game.
    • There's a lot of unused dialogue implying a scrapped plane level.
    • Sonic has the cut line "Ooh shiii-ooooooot!"
  • A few things from Sonic Mania:
    • An original storyline behind Mania would have had Dr. Eggman retire after his loss in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, becoming severely depressed by this major loss. The Hard-Boiled Heavies would have been heavily modified Egg Robos who'd rebel against Eggman and do what they wanted to.
    • Titanic Monarch has a Egg Prison hidden away that fully works that can only be accessed via Debug Mode.
    • Egg Reviere has extra platforms and background items, suggesting it might have been a bigger stage at one point.
  • Sonic Forces:
    • Cut dialogue implies that Null Space was originally going to be a much longer area. There is also concept art of Infinite within Null Space, suggesting he or at least his likeness may have made an appearance there. This combined with the seemingly rushed nature of Infinite's real final encounter (a reskinned Metal Sonic boss fight) makes one wonder what a truly climactic final confrontation with Infinite in Null Space could have been like.
    • When one messes with the game to go inside of Infinite's ghastly "longboi" apparitions in Capital City, a blue water-like texture can be seen within. Some believe this implies that Perfect Chaos would have made an appearance in the level instead of Infinite's "longbois", but it's also possible that they were simply created using existing Chaos textures and assets.
    • More cut dialogue from the Episode Shadow DLC reveals quite a lot was scrapped or changed:
      • Identical lines were recorded straight from the prequel comic Sonic Forces: Looming Shadow when Shadow goes to investigate the cause of Omega's disappearance at Arsenal Pyramid. This implies it was a full stage in the game at one point, and explains why the comic ends so abruptly with little explanation as to what happens after Shadow speeds off.
      • In the virtual reality Green Hill Zone stage, Shadow would have confronted Infinite's illusory Rouge on whether she was the real Rouge or not after she mixes up some information about the exact time of Omega's defeat.
      • Lines were recorded of an unknown encounter where Shadow appears to be fighting multiple enemies at once, calling them a "whole horde of chumps" and being surprised when they actually put up a fight. It's very likely that this is referencing a scrapped encounter with Infinite and the Jackal Squad during Shadow's flashback. In the final game the encounter was just a cutscene where Shadow fights Infinite one-on-one.
    • Several species, including monkeys and dragons, were considered an option for the Custom Hero, but were later removed.
    • Eggman's prison was going to be a darker version of Green Hill Zone instead of the Death Egg.
    • The Resistance base was originally set to be in the Mystic Jungle.
    • An early design for Infinite was of a buffalo. A later design features him as a jackal but wearing a different mask and covered in bandages.
  • There's a piece of concept art of Sonic, Ray, Mighty, Vector... and a bipedal parrot with sunglasses and a jacket named Max. Max's design is reused from an old design for Sonic. The same piece of artwork also depicts Mighty as lankier than Sonic, instead of the two being identical in build. It's unknown when the image is from however it's speculated to either be related to Chaotix or be from the period between Sonic 1 and Sonic 2.
  • Cream the Rabbit was originally meant to be a character exclusive to Sonic X, but instead she became a character in the main franchise starting with Sonic Advance 2.
  • Tails Skypatrol:
    • Tail's Skypatrol is a Dolled-Up Installment of a Mickey Mouse title. Early footage of the enemies still depict them looking Disney-like, including the Bearenger boss having a different head that looks a lot like Pete.
    • The game was originally intended for an unreleased console with specs similar to the Game Gear. Later on, it was intended to be a Game Boy game called Boon Boon Kabun with redrawn assets, before finally being retooled into Tail's Skypatrol.
  • Sonic R:
    • A very early build shows an unused city level similar to Radical City.
    • Further snippets by Jon Burton reveal development plans such as:
      • The game's original title was to be Sonic TT (amusingly not related to the company initials and more in style with other racer abbreviations such as "Time Trial").
      • A couple ditched modes including a Relay Mode (using different racers per lap) and a Mirror Mode (reversing the display of the track). Both were ditched due to time and hardware constraints.
      • Originally, the game was an unrelated Formula 1 racer. A new Sonic title was needed after Sonic X-Treme was cancelled, so Traveler's Tales reused the engine for a Sonic racer instead.
      • The Flame Shield was cut for being too similar to the Thunder Shield.
      • Resort Island originally took place at sunset. This was changed because the theme to the level is all about sunshine.
      • An older box art was changed because it spoilered Metal Sonic.
      • Originally, many of the game's textures (such as the grass textures) resembled Sonic 3D. This was changed later in development.
    • Tails' original model was more accurate, featuring his Tuft of Head Fur and whiskers, but they had to be removed for optimization reasons. Other elements were changed for similar reasons, such as the orange on Knuckle's shoes.
    • Amy had a saw-blade attached to her car early in development. It was used to act as an attack. Eggman originally had a bomb, not a canon.
  • Climax Studios pitched a few Sonic the Hedgehog game to Sega in the 2000s but were declined:
    • Sonic: The Shadow World was a Rivals-style Playstation Portable title where Sonic journeys into Shadow's world, the Shadow World. The aim was to find a way out before Sonic is trapped in it forever.
    • An unnamed sidescrolling platformer was pitched but declined.
  • In the 2000s, Backbone Entertainment pitched a hoverboard racing game for the Game Boy Advance called Sonic ExtReme.

    Film 
The film took many, many years to escape production limbo, and so there are a number of concepts and ideas that were devised and subsequently trashed that can be researched through a Google search:

  • In 1994, MGM optioned the rights to produce a Sonic the Hedgehog film. With Pen Densham (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) as executive producer, MGM commissioned a script by Richard Jefferies (The Vagrant), titled Sonic the Hedgehog: Wonders of the World, which revolves around a divorced couple's son, Josh, who plugs his Sega Saturn running the ill-fated Sonic X-treme game into his father's computer, which he attempted to use to help finish his school paper revolving around a test pilot named Sonic that was killed in a freak accident (a Shout-Out to the original backstory of Sonic during development of the first game), that allows Sonic to enter the real world via CGI. At first Josh is impressed and Sonic forms a kinship with him, but things start to go awry when Sonic ends up causing trouble throughout the city, to the point where it starts to drain his power down. To make matters worse, Dr. Eggman also escapes the console and plots to take over the real world by revamping an abandoned amusement park, turning all the kids visiting there into his Badniks, and then, using the technology developed by Josh's father combined with the Chaos Emeralds, plots to turn the world's natural wonders into digital copies so that he can program virtual reality experiences of them and charge high prices to those who want to see them. Sonic and Josh are chased by the kids-turned-Badniks throughout the park, and Sonic allows himself to be captured to help Josh escape. At the film's climax, Sonic and Josh team up to fight Dr. Eggman, and eventually all three are sucked back into the game console. With Sonic's power now restored, Eggman is ultimately defeated in the ensuing battle, but escapes to fight another day, and Sonic decides to stay in the game in order to protect his world from Dr. Eggman. The film ends with Josh returning home and reuniting with his family, though after promising to put away the computer Josh starts to play his console again. Jefferies had submitted the treatment to MGM before the studio pulled the plug on the project, citing creative and financial issues. After a failed attempt to pitch the film at the newly-formed DreamWorks, the film was ultimately canned for good.
  • There have been rumors about an earlier screenplay, reportedly devised by MGM executives (and briefly touched upon by the Console Wars book), which had the title character actually be a teenage schoolboy who, after a freak accident, gains the ability to transform into the blue hedgehog, powers and all. This In Name Only adaptation was, reportedly, quickly vetoed by Sega.
  • Five years after MGM's attempt to bring Sonic to the silver screen failed, Ben Hurst, one of the writers for Sonic Sat AM, attempted to pitch a movie in an attempt to revive the old Saturday Morning universe, this time fully animated. However, it's said that Ken Penders, then-head writer of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, got wind of this attempt and, after initially working with Ben, apparently killed his attempt by claiming to Sega that he was trying to co-opt the franchise. To add insult to injury, Penders then brought up his own concept for a movie in 2002. The concept, titled Sonic Armageddon, had four concept pieces created, and Penders even made a homemade pitch video to show to SEGA executives. The movie seems to work in the idea that Mobius would have been destroyed and that roboticization would be a much more gruesome procedure than was shown in the cartoons and comics. A number of major characters are not shown and a few of them have major redesigns (the biggest being Snively, who's now more cyborg-like). DreamWorks Animation, whose then-parent company had a partnership with Sega, was Penders' choice to produce the planned film. There was some interest, but at the time Sonic X was being made and they felt it wouldn't be worthwhile to have two running series in two different continuities, so it was backburnered, then dropped completely. This page elaborates further on what happened behind the scenes, with Hurst providing his point-of-view of the failed project.
  • When Sega finally got a film idea and clinched a production partner (in this case Sony), screenwriters Brad Bird (who declined due to his commitments to Tomorrowland), Wernick & Reese (who would go on to write Deadpool), Phil Johnston (declined in favor of Zootopia, though he did co-write The Brothers Grimsby with star Sacha Baron Cohen for Sony later) and David Berenbaum submitted drafts of their own takes on the franchise to Sony in a bid to write the screenplay for the film. Sony instead hired newcomers Evan Susser and Van Robichaux to write both the story and screenplay.
  • According to Robichaux, Sony aimed to give Sonic a Darker and Edgier, yet more comedic, story-line in the hopes that it would clinch a PG-13 rating to boost its box office chances. However, when Tim Miller, who had just bailed on directing Deadpool 2, was hired as executive producer, a rewrite of the script was ordered in order to make it more family-friendly like the games (the film retained most of its action-oriented material, however).
  • Following Miller's hiring, Susser and Robichaux were fired and replaced with other newcomers Patrick Casey and Josh Miller (the latter known for the Blur Studio short Gopher Broke). However, Susser and Robichaux's story remained the basis for future rewrites of the screenplay.
  • After several years of little progress (not helped by the fact that the studio was still reeling from the massive cyberattack provoked by The Interview), Sony considered cancelling the film via turnaround due to Lone Star Funds, who was Sony's film financing partner during the film's production, pulling out of its deal two years early. Producer Neal Moritz, whose relationship with Sony had deteriorated under Tom Rothman's leadership (along with Passengers, which Moritz produced, being a box office failure), left the studio for Paramount, taking the film rights and production staff with him so that the movie could finally move forward.
  • The budget was set at $100 million at Sony, but Paramount had it reduced to $90 million when it became clear it wouldn't be a summer blockbuster.
  • Tom Cruise, Christian Bale, Paul Rudd, Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, Jake Johnson, Michael B. Jordan, Ansel Elgort, Bill Hader, Milo Ventimiglia, Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Jack Black and Owen Wilson were all candidates to play the role of Tom Wachowski. Rudd was almost secured for the role until he dropped out due to commitments to Avengers: Endgame, resulting in fellow Marvel movie alumnus James Marsden being cast.
  • Adam Pally, who would later be cast as Tom's deputy, was looked at to play Tom as well.
  • Hader, Pratt and Rudd were also looked at to voice the title role instead of Ben Schwartz. Other studio suggestions for Sonic included Tom Holland, Josh Gad, Andy Samberg, Will Forte, Jim Parsons, Charlie Day and Adam Devine.
  • Production of the movie was slated to take place in Atlanta, but a crowded production schedule for the city and budget cuts led to Paramount deciding to shoot at Vancouver instead.
  • The original script that was written prior to Tim Miller's hiring had a moment where Dr. Robotnik makes coffee with a machine he affectionately refers to as the "Mean Bean Machine." The scene was rewritten in the final film to where Robotnik gets a Large Ham moment when Agent Stone offers him a latte.
  • Sega tried to have Dr. Robotnik be referred to as his Japanese name, Dr. Eggman, but Paramount executives insisted he be called Dr. Robotnik.
  • Early promotional material for the film showed Sonic wearing Nike sneakers. These were changed to Puma shoes in the final film.
  • Infamously, early promotional materials and trailers for the movie feature a significantly more realistic and ghastly-looking Sonic model, which more resembles a naked, dead-eyed little person covered in fur than any previous incarnation of the hedgehog. The reaction from fans and non-fans alike was so swift and so unforgiving that the movie was delayed from its original late-2019 release date to give the character designers and animators time to create a model with better appeal, leading to the more cartoonish, expressive Sonic from later trailers.

     Miscellaneous 
  • Sonic the Comic:
    • Johnny was intended to have a crush on Amy, however this element ended up scrapped.
    • The original writers wanted Amy to be a scrappy, playful Girly Bruiser (akin to a character out of a screwball comedy) who teases Sonic a lot. Executive Meddling put an end to that quickly. They wanted a more role-model-ish female character. This resulted in Amy's character change into a more tomboyish, level-headed character.
  • Sonic X:
    • The infamous "Nazo" character is (supposedly) an early Super Sonic design that was scrapped for being too derivative.
    • The pitch trailer shows that the anime took place on a World of Funny Animals. The finalized anime instead went with a common ground between the game's Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My! and this idea: Sonic lives on a world naturally without humans, but he and his friends end up transported to Earth.
    • Other things seen in the trailers are different designs for the X-Tornado and the Chaos Emeralds.
    • Concept art depicts Lindsey with longer hair and different shaped eyes.
  • Sonic Sat AM:
    • Prior to SatAM, a different cartoon was in production that featured a blonde-furred Sally and other Freedom Fighters (known as "the Freedom Team").
    • Early concept art depicts Sally as a bikini-clad human and Doctor Robotnik as either a horned, green humanoid who looks nothing like his game incarnation or a pig-looking enemy with a ponytail. Bunnie had three variations, as well - one had her head mounted on a crude robotic body with her ears done up in a braided ponytail, a second made her a cyborg, but more slender and only her legs were robotic, whi,e a third design leaned closer to her finalized form, where only her arm and head were still flesh and blood. Antoine was actually much more strong and dashing before his later lanky and cowardly look. There was also a design for a "golden glow" Sonic, which probably meant they were going to translate Super Sonic at one point.
    • An animatic of an unused intro that can be seen on 2007 boxset. Of note, Sally is depicted as looking much more like Ricky, which could suggest that was an earlier design. The intro was fully animated but the only known footage of it is from a 1993 convention. Sally's design is slightly different in this version of the intro.
    • The show would have gone on to feature Snively working together with Ixis Naugus as the new villains of the show, but it was canceled at the end of the second season. One of the writers has said that he's actually got ideas for most of the third season, but it's unlikely it'll be picked up again after so many years. One of them was that the Freedom Fighters would have befriended a magician named Nate Morgan, who was a tall and lanky black man. Nate would appear in the Archie Comics, but only his name and race would be transferred over, as there, he was a short man who was into science.
    • Plot points for the never-produce season 3 include The Reveal that Mobius was Earth All Along.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog... ay, yi, yi, the stories!
    • Originally, Endgame would have revealed that Sally was permanently dead with the Sally waking up in the end supposedly being revealed to be a robot once she started acting more and more out of character.
    • Knuckles: 20 Years Later. The story was meant to be part of the Sonic Super Special title and would have started with the Wham Line of Julie-Su being pregnant. The title was cancelled before the story could reach there and was repurposed a few years later as back up stories.
      • On the subject of the back up stories, had Penders not walked, the story would have revealed that the time travelling attempt was a dud and nothing changed.
      • There is a scene in Ian Flynn's continuation where King Sonic is crying. He was supposed to be crying intensely, but Sega has strict regulations on Sonic crying and made the artist redraw the scene.
    • The Sonic Adventure adaptation was meant to go through the main title, Knuckles' title and Sonic Super Special. However, at the very last minute, Knuckles' title was cancelled, forcing them to cram the entire storyline into Sonic's title.
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • The show was supposed to be a prequel to the SatAM show, with a strong Stern Chase plot, Robotnik as a Knight of Cerebus, and his Robomatic functioning more like the Roboticizer from SatAM. Everything else is still the off-the-wall wackiness that defines the actual show.
    • According to character sheets, Adventures was originally called Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, in the same vein as The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3.
    • Early series bible shows that the show was going to have more game elements and references, with Emerald Hill being a major location, and Mystic Cave appearing as well. Even more evident in the pilot, which shows Emerald Hill and Hill Top in their game look, and features game elements such as loop-de-loops, Robotnik's wrecking ball, and badniks in their game designs. The final show still had the appearance of game locations and badniks, but most of them looked completely unrecognizable.
    • Also as shown in the pilot, Jim Cummings was originally brought on for the voice of Robotnik. When the series premiered, the role was given over to Long John Baldry, although Cummings would voice Robotnik in the SatAM series.
  • Kellytoy has a prototype for the Werehog but it was never released. PatMac owns the only known plush.
  • PatMac has made a video on an unreleased Jazwares plush of Big the Cat.
  • A photograph of a Kellytoy showroom circa 2011 shows that a Cheese plush was in development, but for whatever reason it never made it to retail.
  • The first draft of the Sonic the Hedgehog Bible is the earliest known western backstory for Sonic. It shows major differences between the first and second draft. The story was used in media like Sonic the Comic and Sonic the Hedgehog Promo Comic but with elements removed. In the first draft, Sonic, then called "Sonny", was a hedgehog living in Nebraska with his mother in the early 21st century. His father died when Sonic was only a few days old. Sonic grew up poor but he was happy and was a good athlete. It's shown that Sonic had a lot of hedgehog attributes, like eating mealworms (alongside burgers), aging faster than humans, and hibernating in the winter. Humans lived alongside animals but animals couldn't communicate with humans. Sonic meets a man named Dr. Ovi Kintobor who uses a machine on him so they communicate. The rest of the backstory - with Sonic turning blue and Kintobor turning into Robotnik - is the same but there are added details, such as Kintobor working for the government.
  • Sonic Boom: Perci and Staci were originally a set of identical triplets, not twins.
  • There was a cancelled cartoon circa 2007 and 2008.


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