The Sonic Adventure Beta

Sonic Adventure PAL DC-front

Sonic Adventure; one of Sonic’s first fully-3D games. But, there were many scrapped ideas, concepts and objects. So, in this article, I will be talking about the beta of Sonic Adventure.

Before Sonic Adventure was even considered, there was another game in development. This game would be called, “Sonic Xtreme”. This game was originally being developed for the MegaDrive, ported to the 32X, and rewrote again for the Saturn. However, it was stuck in development hell for many years, so the game was cancelled in 1997.

Sonic Xtreme
Sonic Xtreme

Many considered Sonic Xtreme doomed from the start. The future head of Sonic Team simply shook his head and said, “Good luck”. Sonic Xtreme is considered one of the main reasons the Saturn failure outside of Japan. Sega tried to fill the gap left from Xtreme by releasing a port of Sonic 3D Blast for the Saturn. They also released Knuckles Chaotix on the 32X.

The game designer for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles began creating concepts for an RPG game. This means that Sonic Adventure was originally going to be an RPG, similar to how Banjo-Kazooie/Dream originally started. It would be on the Sega Saturn and was supposed to be Sonic’s next big game.

But, with the new 3D capable systems (the Sega Saturn, and its competitors), they dropped the RPG elements of Sonic RPG, and decided to focus on the main storyline.

While the game was being developed on the Saturn, Sega started to show the Dreamcast to developers. Sonic Team didn’t want to abandon their current project, but they wanted to develop the game on the new system.


So, because of this dilemma, they released the prototype of Sonic Adventure on the Saturn as a Megadrive compilation called, “Sonic Jam” (the prototype was in the game under the name, “Sonic Worlds”). They also decided to start the project again on the Dreamcast. This meant they didn’t scrap their Saturn prototype, and they could utilise the new features on the Dreamcast.

During development many wrote into Sega, requesting a new character that would shoot enemies. Sega thought that giving the characters a gun would be odd, so the team decided to create E-102 Gamma (so it only affected his character). The development team then wanted to break up the intense action, so Big the Cat was added to the game.

The Chao Garden was also added to break up the action. It was designed to give players time to get used to the controls.

A blurry screenshot of Sonic Adventure was leaked to the public. This was thought to be an unrelated motorcycle game, but we now know that this was just Speed Highway.

A leaked screenshot of Speed Highway
A leaked screenshot of Speed Highway

The stage Windy Valley was originally meant to be played by all the characters (including Amy and Big). This stage was designed for running through as fast as possible. There were many half pipes and structures to confirm this.

On August 31st 2008, a user of SonicRetro published the E3 Demo of Sonic Adventure. Even though this was released 6 months after the Japanese release, there was one change; Knuckles’ voice changed.  The voice has a deeper tone than the final.

May 21th 2013; this was the day the Sonic Adventure auto demo was published online. This was originally given to select Japanese retailers and was to show off various cutscenes and gameplay in a loop. Hackers have broke this loop, and most of the game was playable. In this demo, some music tracks were different, there were a few test stages left in and some test objects. The prototype of Windy Valley was also built into this demo.  Sadly, the game crashed if you tried to load it.

Some of the beta music is quite interesting. There is a playlist of all the tracks. So, here are the music tracks, placed in a playlist.

In the beta, the Chao had 4 extra emotions. While we don’t know what these are for certain, the star is most likely spoiled, the cloud is most likely depressed, and the one on the right is most likely embarrassed. However, the second one is unknown.

Unused Chao Emotions
Some unused Chao emotions

In Sonic Adventure, there is an unused image of the developers holding a realistic picture of a hedgehog.

The development team holding a picture of a realistic hedgehog.
The development team holding a picture of a realistic hedgehog

The Japanese level list also includes 3 extra levels: Mushroom, Jungle and Desert. They are very broad titles. This means they may be placeholders, or ideas that were never expanded upon.

There is an unused voice clip from Tikal, that talks about Super Sonic. This means you were going to start the game with all chaos emeralds, and be able to turn into Super Sonic at will. However, this was changed, as the development team didn’t want to redo everything again, just to fit Super Sonic into the game.

Well, that was the beta of Sonic Adventure. Many things were removed, added, and changed during the development cycle. Sonic’s adventure into the 3D was a long process. If you still want to learn more about the beta of Sonic Adventure, check out this link.


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