Sonic Generations: one of the best modern Sonic games to date. This game features Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic, running through old levels from their past, in glorious HD. However, it wasn’t always like this. So, in this article, I will talk about the beta of Sonic Generations.
Generations started out as a game codenamed, “Sonic Anniversary”. In an interview with a SEGA representative, it was leaked that it would be a combination of 2D and 3D gameplay, and would be for the Wii, PSP, PS3 and DS. When he was asked about the Xbox 360 version, he indicated that talks were still ongoing. The cut ports (Wii, PSP and DS versions) were most likely cancelled not far into development.
Ryan Drummond (one of the original voice actors for Sonic) was contacted by SEGA to re-audition for Sonic. He would have played Dreamcast Era Sonic. However, due to a fundamental professional disagreement, he declined the opportunity. Classic Sonic was also going to have a speaking role. Aaron Webber (the brand manager, at the time) said it would have to be Jaleel White. However, Jaleel was never contacted about the game, meaning the idea was dropped early on, and they made Classic Sonic mute.
While looking through the game, hackers have found Sonic Unleashed Debugger files. This wouldn’t be that interesting, if it wasn’t for the extra files that were found. They found multiple files leftover from an install process, more debug files and an old video renderer.
There were images that would be used in an install process. However, they weren’t images from Generations. It had Modern Sonic, but it also had Werehog Sonic. Generations most likely started out as a port of Sonic Unleashed to the PC platform. However, since the 20th Anniversary of Sonic was coming up, and the poor reception of Unleashed, they worked on a new game (instead of a simple port).
Other debug files include a Werehog icon, Japanese text (that say “Hint” and “Target”), Unleashed font, an icon to enable/disable environmental sounds and a matte for the Unleashed save icon.
Hackers also found an Unleashed renderer. This also hints at Generations starting as a PC port of Unleashed. Unfortunately, all of the textures are gone due to the levels supporting the new renderer, and not being compatible with the Unleashed renderer. Despite this, hackers found the Unleashed shaders, and created a mod that allows users to play Generations with the better graphical effects.
The Sonic Colors Wisps were originally going to be an unlockable skill, after Planet Wisp. In the final version, the skills cannot be unlocked in the Skill Shop. However, the skill entries still exist.
Unused music includes an invisibility theme for Modern Sonic. This song was cut, as there are no invisibility boxes in Modern levels. This tune ended up in the 3DS version of the game. An unused 1-up jingle was also present (this tune was unused in Sonic Adventure, Adventure 2 and Generations). Another unused song is an early remix of Green Hill Zone (this would’ve been used in the Hub world).
In Planet Wisp, Sonic Team created the environment map from the team’s development program. You can see the red wires, indicating a 3D rotation tool. The last two sides are also duplicates of the first two. This was probably done as Sonic Team had less time to finish the last levels, and needed to finish the game on a deadline.
Finally, let’s talk about two differences between the console versions and PC version. In the console versions, you can play Sonic 1 as an unlockable (if you buy a Megadrive controller from the Skill Shop). This is completely removed from the PC version. Also, the PC version uses a binary-complied format for some parts of the game. However, the PC version is also compatible with the Lua Script from the console versions. So, that is pretty strange.
That was most of the Sonic Generations beta content. Very interesting, especially compared to the Sonic Adventure beta (as you can see how much care went into making each game the best quality).