8 Lost Sonic The Hedgehog Games

Sonic hasn't had the best history in video games, but there were some games that for whatever reason never made it to release. This month's feature takes a look at those games that fans missed out on for better or for worse. You might fancy yourself a Sonic fan but chances are there are a few titles here that even hardcore fans never heard of.

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On Feb 1, 2019

Sonic DS

We are starting with an easy one that isn't all that old. Back in 2004 Sega took the stage to show off a new Sonic game for the then relatively new Nintendo DS. The game would not only have marked the first appearance of the blue hedgehog on the Nintendo portable, but it would have been the first 3D Sonic game on a mobile device. Things looked pretty good on the surface as the game looked darn impressive, even on the Nintendo DS, but those that got their hands on a demo during the show had their reservations.

While Sonic DS looked a beauty, it featured some very bland gameplay. The game was more endless runner than 3D platformer and that hurt it in the eyes of those that played. Swiping the stylus back and forth on the touchscreen make Sonic speed up and jumping is handled by a single tap. The problem was that the demo never relied on the jump all that much. The game ended up being canceled, probably due to the fact that it was simply a bit boring as even at sonic speed you looked like you were walking at a snails pace.


Sonic the Hedgehog: The Animated Series

Now we are really mixing things up with a Sonic game that even hardcore Sonic fans might not even know once almost existed. Sonic the Hedgehog: The Animated Series was to play of the then quite popular Sonic animated show from the 90s. For those that remember, Sonic the Hedgehog: The Animated Series was the show that introduced Sonic's love of chili dogs, for better or for worse. The games creation was an interesting affair, with the Sega Technical Institute working on the game. This was a U.S. based team that had little to no involvement from Sega of Japan.

The game, code-named Sonic SatAM, was a much, much slower affair than other Sonic games, choosing to rely on stealth and using the famous rings as weapons. One of the members of the team behind SatAM would go on to create Comic Zone, a game that took a lot of inspiration from this canceled project. The only shame here is that we don't have any high-quality videos of images for the project. Fingers crossed the internet uncovers some in the future.


Sonic Mars

A Sega console would not be Sega console with having some manner of Sonic game on it. So when the 32X add-on was announced, Sega got to work utilizing this new (well, newer) technology to bring Sonic into the 32-bit age. Much like Sonic SatAM that we talked about above, Sonic Mars was set to be based on the then current animated series and feature three playable characters from the series. The game also served as a test-bed for a 3D based Sonic the Hedgehog game after being moved from its very early concept phase on an Amiga 3000.

While Sonic Mars was supposed to be the very first true 3D Sonic game, the project ended up falling apart with elements being shifted over to Sonic X-treme. While the limitations of the 32X and its poor sales helped to kill Sonic Mars, the biggest factor leading to its cancellation was a lack of interest from the development team themselves. It's pretty funny to hear of a game about speed being canceled because the people working on it got bored. At least the 32X got a Sonic spin-off game in Knuckles Chaotix.


Sonic Xtreme

Once Sonic Mars was abandoned, work on the game was shifted onto the Sega Saturn. Sega was looking to get Sonic into the 3D generation and wanted the blue hedgehog on the system ASAP as they knew he would help move consoles. But an internal Sega issue not only derailed the project, but probably lead to its eventual cancellation. Production was coming along nicely and Sega even demoed the game at a number of conventions, but they had a serious issue surrounding the game's engine.

During production Sega heads saw Sonic X-treme using the NiGHT'S 3D engine for boss battles and demanded that the entire game be shifted to use it. The team agreed and worked to make this happen scrapping much of their original work, more side-scrolling oriented work. The problem came about because NiGHT'S creator Yuji Naka was angered that Sega had used his game engine that he worked to create. He went as far as to threaten to leave Sega if the team didn't stop. Sega, not wanting to lose the industry legend, agreed and had the team once again start from scratch. This third restart would later get itself a small demo, but would eventually end up being canceled.


Sister Sonic

If there was one game on this list with almost no information out there it would be Sister Sonic. The idea of Sonic having a sister isn't all that crazy, but the game itself would have been. Sister Sonic was being developed for the Sega CD as an adventure RPG game of all things, something that would be be tried until 2008 when Bioware took a crack at it with Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. Sega was never a console with a ton of RPG games, especially in the West, so a Sonic based game was meant to cover a lot of bases.

The interesting thing about this one is that it wasn't going to be a Sonic RPG built from the ground up, but instead was going to be a port of the Japanese RPG Popful Mail, only with Sonic characters swapped out. In essence it would have been the Mario 2 of the Sonic universe. The main reason for its cancellation: Angry letter that Sega received regarding the changes being made to Popful Mail. Word of the game was teased in gaming mags and gamers flipped. You'd think it's bad now with the internet, but you can only imagine all those complaints in letter form back in the early 90s!


Sonic the Hedgehog

There was a time before Sonic the Hedgehog released that it was going to be on more than just the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. But with the massive success of the game, that must have even surprised Sega by the looks of it, our favorite Hedgehog stayed on Sega consoles until the fall of Sega and it's consoles. US Gold, a non-US developer by the by, had acquired the rights from Sega to port Sonic to home computers in Europe. This meant even getting the game on the 8-bit computers of the time like the ZX Spectrum, C64, Amstrad and more.

These home computers were gaming machines in the loosest sense (aside from the C64) that featured lower specs than the NES. So you can only imagine how a Sonic game would turn out on these 8-bit's, some of which output only Black & White graphics. Although, the Amiga port could have worked as it was built from scratch including re-drawn graphics. That machine could do some impressive things as we would later see with ZOOL, their own Sonic killer.


Sonic Extreme

Sonic seems to have a thing for the eXtreme moniker with this being the second game (on this list at least) to have it attached to it. But even though this title that was pitched to Sega for the original Xbox by Vision Scape Interactive, it was a painfully slow experience. It's like it took ages before developers would be able to translate speed into that third dimension. And on top of that Sonic Extreme removed the running bit and had Sonic of a floating skateboard thing, so the lack of speed was almost laughable.

The game also featured a 2-player split-screen battle mode so the project looked to be pretty robust for a pitch demo. And this mode played far more like Tony Hawk than the core racing game, including trick scores and everything. Sega, of course, passed on the demo to focus on other things and the only reason we know of it is from a demo copy being found on an old Xbox Developer Kit that was sold some time back. It should be noted that Sega would actually take Sonic and friends the hoverboard route sometime later in one of the worst Sonic games ever in Sonic Riders.


Sonic’s Edusoft

Our last game on the list goes back to a console that predates Sonic and the Genesis/ Mega Drive. Sonic’s Edusoft was planned to hit the outdated Sega Master System, of which was still doing well in several parts of the world. It was being developed by Tiertex (who handled the terrible home ports of Street Fighter 1) and with a intended release by US Gold. As the name suggests it was to be an educational title that would teach kids basic skills with the help of the popular Hedgehog. The game got fairly far along in development to the point that the team tested the project in a local primary school, of which they gained valuable insight.

Word is that the kids loved the game, but it was intended for ages five and under, and kids at that age love anything colorful. Sega knew the game was in the works, but for whatever reason they never approved the use of Sonic for a proper release. An educational Sonic based video game would eventually come out much later on the PC after Nintendo made a play for the same educational market with Mario Teaches Typing and Mario's game Gallery.