Alleged Sonic 4 Playtester May Release Game to Community

Alleged Sonic 4 Playtester May Release Game to Community

by February 19, 2010

That’s One Way to Supplement an Eyewitness Account

TSSZ News has learned a prominent member of the Sonic community claims to have playtested Sonic the Hedgehog 4, and has gone on the record willing to back up his impressions of the non-final build with a possible dump of the game for all to see.

In the words of Endri Lauson, a tech member of Sonic Retro and developer of the ongoing Sonic fan game Sonic Attitude, he may have nothing to lose by doing so.

“I believe I’ll get fired regardless tomorrow,” Endri said tonight, “Just for telling my point of view about the project.”

Endri made those remarks on Retro after giving a very detailed account of his impressions of the current alpha build of Sonic 4 that has circulated among Microsoft’s developer network, PartnerNet.  It came after several community members,, including a handful of prominent ones, doubted his words.  We have those remarks, in full, below.

“If you check my entire posting history here at (Sonic) Retro, you’ll see that I post nothing more than my own experiences,” Endri continued.  “But whatever, trying to prove my point makes me look like I’m really trolling.”

Among Endri’s remarks are that anyone with a Developer’s XBOX360 can access the game, there are only four proper zones to speak up in episode 1 of Sonic 4, and that the ESRB has already rated the game, making significant changes a hard sell at this point.

Thus far, Endri has not provided screenshots or video to back up his claim, and that has prompted many in the community to question his analysis, or whether he played Sonic 4 at all.

In the hours since Endri made his remarks, many Sonic Retro administrators are asking those interested to not consider the words pure fact until further developments ensue.

“Right now, given what is very ‘shaky’ terms (and I say that to be polite), I’d advise everyone to take this as rumor at best,” said Sonic Retro administrator Scarred Sun.   “I will say if this turns out to be false, there will be consequences.”

“Despite Endri’s words, which are already shaky for a number of reasons, he’s not presented any proof yet,” added GeneHF, another Sonic Retro staff member.

TSSZ News has made the decision to publish Endri’s remarks, in full, so you may decide yourself whether he speaks the truth of not.  (It will be made clearer why this was a decision more so than an automatic story in a public Special Statement we will make later Friday.)  The stakes for him personally are high if this is proven false, but the stakes may be even higher for the community if the words are true and backed up with a dump of the game, many months before a planned Summer release.

Friday could be a very pivotal day both with regard to Sonic 4 and community relations at large.  We will carefully monitor the situation here at TSSZ News, and we have filed this under our Rumor Alert segment, but in the meantime, you can respond to what’s disclosed in Endri’s remarks in our comments area.  Thanks to ThE InFoRmEr for sending this in to our News Tips system.

Early in the morning today, I, and a other few (un)lucky people, had the opportunity to play test the X-BOX 360 version of the game. In fact, any of you could do it as well, provided you own a Developer’s Console, or a J-TAGged system.

I’ll try to give a very briefly analysis of what were my thoughts about this game.

Graphically (and artistically, I must say), the game is very beautiful, even thought I can’t really eat that cel-shading effect they put in Sonic’s model, to make it look like a differed shaded Genesis sprite.Something important to notice is that, the 3D models are not really 3D models, instead, they are sprites of pre-rendered 3D models. SO we are pretty much dealing with a 2D game here. That goes for everything else but Sonic, since I’m not sure as if Sonic is really a sprite itself, but I pretty much think it is. That might explain the awkward animations.

The level design. I played through Splash Hill Zone entirely up until Casino Street Zone. Splash Hill Zone is pretty much Neo Leaf Forest Zone (for those who don’t know, Sonic Advance 2’s first stage). Everything about it looked like Leaf Forest. Hell, even the level art itself reminds Leaf Forest some way or another. The level design pretty much encourages the player to keep going to the right, except when the levels abruptly decides to force you to go in the opposite direction by inserting unexpected walls, making you jump, jump to the left, jump to the right, keep running to the right. It is especially strange, considering the level layouts encourages you to keep running right. The acts are actually considerably huge in size, but quite short in time, much like Sonic Advance 2 stages. I don’t remember any level specific gimmick on the first stage, which is pretty unfortunate. You gotta love Casino Street Zone, since it’s freaking Casino Night Zone. It’s exactly identical. The colors, the tiles, everything. The level layout however is much like Music Plant Zone from Sonic Advance 2. A level that right encourages speed. Ha, about the Special Stages, they are quite fun actually, it is Sonic 1’s Distorted Dimension, but with a new twist: instead of controlling Sonic, you control the stage itself. So yeah, my oversight was right after all. In terms of difficult, I found it harder than Sonic 1’s Special Stages (and provided, they were rather easy). I believe they are going to be even fun/harder with the motion controls of the Wiimote/Six-axis/DualShock3, since you have to rotate the stage using the trigger buttons in the X-BOX 360 version (RT rotates to the right, LT to the left, etc). Looks like a pinball of sort. Oh, don’t let me get started on the boss fight. You might already imagine how it is by now.

The gameplay is pretty solid, actually. Which is a great thing. However, the game pretty much have the physics of Sonic Rush. I hate I hate I hate I hate I hate, I can’t stress enough how I hate the jump! Fucking jump! It’s the worst jump I’ve ever seem in a Sonic game to date. Apparently they tried to mimic the ‘the longer you hold down the jump button, the longer you accent’ mechanic of the classic games, but as a result, they fucked the freaking cake with it. The jump is all over the place: if you rapidly tap the jump button, Sonic almost don’t jump; if you hold a little and release, Sonic starts accelerating, but he breaks to the floor as soon as you release the jump button. If you hold the jump button all the way down, Sonic jumps like if he had touched a spring, he jumps so high and almost no gravity, it’s like you are jumping on the freaking moon. And I thought the jump in the Rush series were bad. This one is even worse. The jump is so bad that I prefer to keep running right to win really. Don’t let me get started on the spin dash. The spin dash don’t have enough power, no matter what. It behaves much like Knuckles’ Chaotix spin dash. Running rewards you with much more speed than spindashing.

My final remark of this game? It’s freaking Sonic Advance 2! It’s written Sonic Advance 2 all over the place. It is Sonic Advance 2 all over again. In fact, they could have named this game Sonic High Speed, and I wouldn’t mind it at all. But it is supposed to be Sonic fucking 4. To be honest, the name Sonic High Speed would fit this game better.

I am afraid to say that we are actually dealing with the very final product here, folks. Since the developers already sent the software for the Microsoft Evaluation Procces. Additionally, the game’s software was sent to ESRB game content analysis team. Considering the game is already been analyzed and rated by ESRB, the development team cannot overdo any significant change in the game, visually or otherwise, which therefore pretty much means that this is what the game looks like.

I didn’t say the game was bad. The game is fun (if you ignore the jumping, however, that I must say, it sucks badly), but not the fun I’d expect of a Sonic 4. It pretty much looks like SEGA has entrusted Dimps to develop the game, so SEGA goes to them and say: “Hey, we want you to make a sequel for the 2D Sonic games, you know, the forth installment.”, so one employee goes to the head director and gives the message “Hey boss, SEGA wants us to make Sonic Advance 4! Yay!”, and they all go to the development process. After the game is done, SEGA comes and says “What have you done?!?! It was supposed to be Sonic 4!!!!!!”, and Dimp says “What? It wasn’t suppose to be Sonic Advance 4? You came all the way here and said us to create a sequel to the 2D games, the forth installment!… Oh, not our 2D Sonic game… … “, and SEGA goes all like “Hurry up! Change the game’s name to Sonic 4, no one will notice the difference. It’s 2D Sonic game, right?”

It’s a joke, much like what Sonic 4 itself is.

Answering the question, apparently there are only 4 zones really. I’m really digging that Labyrinth stage, but it is still locked. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll have the opportunity to play a little more. Also, I don’t have any idea how to access the Special Stages in-game. I played it via level select, since it was already unlocked.

Right now, given what is very “shaky” terms (and I say that to be polite), I’d advise everyone to take this as rumor at best.

I will say if this turns out to be false, there will be consequences