Game developers are rarely able to showcase their efforts in video game preservation. Publisher and developer regulations may prohibit this material be preserved for future generations to learn and understand from to avoid competition and protect resources. In a rare opportunity developers may uncover unreleased materials they held in their personal collection. Some recent examples include prototypes of games such as the Super Nintendo version of Rayman discovered by series creator Michel Ancel or Twelve Tales Conker 64 dug up from Rare’s archives. Recently Traveller’s Tales founder, Jon Burton, has pulled out pitch videos and prototypes of his company’s earlier efforts on his YouTube channel GameHut. The most recent videos at the time of this writing the first known prototype of Sonic R for SEGA Saturn shown off to SEGA as well as prototype footage of Mickey Mania 2 running on Mega Drive hardware.
As described in the video the footage captured using an emulator that demonstrates the earliest content implemented into the game. The basic layout of Resort Island is there along with a 3D Sonic model that is able to run around the track, basic AI opponents and collision. No animation, no laps, just a very early in-progress version of the game. Jon also provides other trivia and insight for the game’s development along with a side-by-side comparison of the retail version of Sonic R on the Saturn.
Another recent video features prototype footage of a sequel to Mickey Mania originally released for the Mega Drive/Genesis and an enhanced version for the Mega CD. The aim was to make platformer levels from more classic Mickey Mouse cartoons. This prototype features a level loosely referencing the 1934 cartoon “Two Gun Mickey.” The marble mechanic now took advantage of physics and played a more prominent role in puzzle solving. Players can set off TNT crates and ricochet marbles off of walls and other surfaces that can work for or against Mickey. Traveler’s Tales ultimately decided to focus efforts on the Toy Story video game which ultimately put an end to Mickey’s platforming adventure.
Jon may have other prototypes of other classic SEGA titles. While it does not seem that this material will become available for the public to download, he encourages people to subscribe to the channel as he is uploading more videos that features developer insight and other trivia as soon as he is able to put up more content. You can check out other known pre release versions of Sonic R on Sonic Retro’s information page as well as the information page of the original Mickey Mania on SEGA Retro.
- Sonic R Prototype Video
- Mickey Mania 2 Prototype Video
- GameHut YouTube Channel
- Sonic R Information Page on Sonic Retro
- Mickey Mania Information Page on SEGA Retro