Astropede

Astropede, also known as Segapede - is a canceled STI game that was revealed by Craig Stitt, artist on Sonic Spinball, The Ooze, Comic Zone, etc.

Here's what he says:

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“After the original pitch to the executives at SEGA America, they gave us the go ahead to make a playable version. Myself and Ken Rose went to work.You might recognize the art as being from Sonic 2’s lost “Hidden Palace Zone”. I figured since it didn’t get used in Sonic 2 I might as well use it here and save a lot of time.


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I also reworked the basic lattice in the art to create the art for the background in the first Astropede video I posted here. In that case, I reworked the art signiicantly, but if you look you can see the underlying nature of the pattern is the same. I also used the art from HPZ as the foundational art for Sonic Spinball’s Toxic Pools level. (clealy I really liked that little peice of artwork).”

also:

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“The only surviving video of ‘Astropede’, a game I pitched and went into production at SEGA (STI) circa 1994. Unfortunately after 14 months it was shelved after being starved to death by a lack of resources. The character had a train of pods with various power ups that would be pulled behind him. If hit, the pods would fly apart similar to Sonic and his rings. (my original intent was to have it be part of the Sonic universe) Somewhere I have a playable prototype… I just have to find it and hope it can be made to work!“

And they were going to give him a p2 hornet/wasp friend that could also use the segments.

Video of the prototype was just released, and you can see right away why it got canceled.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJrvXvh2hXI

What a missed opportunity this game is. You have a lot of clear sonic allusions (the segments are rings, the hornet is Tails, you go fast on slopes etc), but then... you've just got a gun to shoot things with as you try to negotiate your fiddly jump.

What would've made this thing stick is using the pods for actual stuff. Use your body like a whip! use the segments to grab on to ledges, or coil it up like a snake to bounce higher! Get different segment chains, like three of the spikey one or whatever, and you get an ability!

I mean I'm just napkin designing here, but that's sonic+ where this is just sonic but your hit box is way bigger and it's harder to do attacks.

I can also see Sega Japan being like... typical america, they want it to be part of the sonic universe but gave the character a gun because they couldn't think of anything.

Anyway, interesting to see something like this that got 14 months into development (which clearly be much further along than this video - maybe they did some of the stuff I mentioned or similar, as they went along?) and canceled, when, if they continued along this path you can really see why it should be canceled.

Interesting nonetheless!

It‘s a cliche to make fun of the output of other companies as being “Sonic, but not” but it’s pretty striking how much Sega did it itself.

It's gobsmacking to me STI would still be working on Mega Drive protos in 1994 when the Saturn came out that year, but Sega, so actually, of course they were.

The color palette and shading on the dunes in that second level are super slick! It‘s a shame it’s also, like alien egg trypophobia zone