The road trip for Sonic Adventure (and its prototype) made by the Sonic Team in South America.
The travel blog, in Japanese, was found in a prototype of Sonic Adventure. Its translation, from Japanese to French, then from French to English, may seem approximate. I apologize in advance, it is really not an obvious exercise.
The Sonic Team in South America part 1
In the fall of 1996, about six months had passed since the end of the development of Night Into Dreams on the Sega Saturn. The Sonic Team was already working on their next game: a new Sonic.
Early in its development, the six key members of the team had conducted research abroad to get ideas. The chosen region was South America. It was necessary to see the ancient ruins that existed with their own eyes rather than through books and TV documentaries.
On a lama!
Go to the sea!
The world of the new Sonic started on a sunny island, a casino area and ancient ruins lurking in a dense forest. The "Casino Night Zone" level from Sonic 2 was filled with pinball machines and slot machines. The map was very popular. The rendering of this zone was no doubt due to the studio's trip to Las Vegas during Sonic 2's development.
«Nothing is more valuable than the experience you get yourself. Seeing ancient ruins with your own eyes can lead to new ideas and a new world.»
Have a nap at the Tical!
Dinner in Cancún!
Everyone in Tulum!
Resident of Machu Picchu!
The Sonic Team!
The preparations for this road trip were quickly done. In November, they took the plane. There were two main destinations on the agenda, first the Mayan ruins, scattered in the rainforest of Central America, and then the remains of the Inca civilization, on the South American continent. This was the first time they had all traveled together on such a large project.
The Sonic Team in South America part 2
On November 26, a flight took them to Narita Airport in Cancún, Mexico, via Dallas Airport in the United States.
On the 27th, after getting used to the time difference, they left to visit the first archaeological site, the ruins of Chichen Itzer, the largest Mayan site in Mexico. They could admire sculptures of snakes resembling deities, pyramids appearing in the distance, murals on walls, ruined towers, exotic plants and uprooted trees cluttering the path between the various buildings. Some of these elements will be found in... Sonic Adventure!
Chichen Itzer !
«The landscape of the Castillo stone pyramid had made us realize that we were very far from Japan.»
Hotel in Cancún!
On the 28th, they went to the ruins of Tulum. Tulum is directly facing the Caribbean Sea. The smell of the sea and the wind of the country were blowing strongly. At the entrance of the Mayan city appeared stone houses in the middle of pasture of well maintained green grass. An immense temple rose above a cliff which overhung the sea. A coral reef held back its erosion. The contrast between the blue of the water and the green of the forest was striking.
On the 29th, they took a boat to the ruins of San Herbasio on the island of Cozumel. The floating ruins are not the ones from Sonic 3!
The Sonic Team in South America part 3
On the 30th, they flew this time to Guatemala to see the Tikal ruins in the rainforest.
Shortly after entering the jungle, a lodge (a kind of camping), the starting point of the exploration of the site. The access path looked like the one used by the cattle. Under their feet, huge ants were making their way, tarantula nests were burrowing into the ground. Wild animals spied on them. Monkeys fought in the trees while peacocks strutted before them.
As they climbed the main staircase to the top of the Mayan temple and then looked down, they felt like they were going on forever. Trees blocked the view once they reached the top. What they saw as they climbed to the stone roof of the temple was an endless expanse of trees. In this wilderness, all they could hear were the cries of monkeys and the singing of birds.
Is this airplane small?
There is nothing!
The next day, December 1, they drove to Washaktun Ruins. The road was impassable, with mud forming a swamp. A guide told them the history of the Maya in front of the pyramid of Washaktun which has a style apart.
On December 2, they had gone to other temples of Tulum that they had not been able to visit the last time. They arrived in Lima on the morning of the 4th. The destination is known for the famous geoglyphs of Nazca.
A monkey in the jungle!
«This trip felt like an Indiana Jones story with jungle, Caribbean and desert.»
What a show!
The Sonic Team is here!
They climbed it!
As their little Cessna (passenger plane) flew through the city, the landscape below was just a speck of sand. They had seen a number of ruins that amazed and scarred them. The most majestic, the most impressive of them were undoubtedly the Nazca lines. In a place where there is nothing, an enormous image is drawn on the ground. The emotion was at its maximum!
The Sonic Team in South America part 4
On the 5th, they took the road for Cuzco, a city of Takayama. Cuzco was once the capital of the Inca Empire nestled at 3400 meters above sea level. After its destruction, people continued to live there.
On the 6th, they went to Machu Picchu, a citadel city nestled in the high mountains. It is said that the director Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke) had also visited this place. The stone houses appeared and disappeared in the clouds. It was raining, the mist invaded the site. The ghost town reminded of Laputa, the legendary flying garden city of the Japanese director.
The lack of oxygen!
The train in Cusco!
On December 7th they were heading to their last destination, Pachakama. While they went down from the mountain by bus, the desert spread as far as the eye could see. The temple of Pachakama had many narrow passages and was like a labyrinth. When they climbed to the top of one of the buildings, the Pacific Ocean appeared to the west.
Tea of coca!
That's how our six friends ended their longest travel with an exhausted body and mind. There were only 30 hours of flight left to go back home.
The different places they visited could be summed up with the word "ruins", but each one was different and had a particular charm. They were able to feel the history of the past that was there. Their eyes were filled with happiness.
This road trip was a great inspiration for Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast
Download the photo pack and the HTML file containing the blog:
Other photos from the prototype of Sonic Adventure
The prototype of Sonic Adventure Website Dreamcast
The content of this prototype is particular, the Sonic Adventure website is stored inside. This GD-R must have been used to test the website dedicated to the game before its release in the US.
This is the first time we are confronted with this process on a Sega confidential disc.
There is nothing else than the website and the notes of its update. The game cannot be played. The information is however consequent!
You can download this build of Sonic Adventure PlanetWeb Dreamcast below:
In connection with the Sonic franchise: Sonic Shuffle Dreamcast (prototype with Debug Menu) - Sonic Adventure 2 Dreamcast Preview prototype - Sonic Team Road Trip (article with a prototype of Sonic Adventure) - Photos of the French launch for Sonic 3 Mega Drive (article) - Sonic The Hedgehog Character Manual Official Stylebook Binder (downloadable document) - The European Sonic Speed Challenge, a contest on Sonic Adventure (article) - The 1993 European Formula 1 Grand Prix (article)