Sonic the Hedgehog 2 HD Remix May Become Reality

sonic2hd-project-header

Remember my post, “If Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Was in HD“? That image got salivary glands working overtime for old-school Sonic fans and turned into one of my most popular posts of all time. Now is turns out that a number of people in the Sonic homebrew community are working on bringing that vision to reality. Of course it is in the early stages at this point, but there are a number of established people involved already. (thanks to LewieP for the tip)

Digg!

Classic games such as Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Bionic Commando are already getting high-definition remakes. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is one of the best platformers of all time and is just as worth of the attention. Sega hasn’t stepped up in any way, so Sonic’s most hardcore fans are stepping up to bring us some Sonic HD goodness.

The Development Team So Far (Accepted proper official staff )

  • Blue Streak & Athelstone - General Project Coordinators
  • Death of Rats – Level and Zone art Coordnator
  • SANiK & Sm&k (I think) - Programmers
  • ScubaSteve – Music Coordinator
  • Vincent, Blue Streak, Drex, Master Emerald, Elratauru, Death of Rats & Sonica - HD Sprite Artists

Goals of the Project

As stated in their Project Summary post:
“The purpose of the S2HD project is to remaster Sega’s classic Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in high definition graphics, whilst at the same time precisely preserving the original gameplay. New features that were not present in the original will also be made available. The S2HD project is always searching for new talent to aid us in our endeavour to resurrect and improve a timeless gaming classic. All of those significantly involved with the S2HD project readily understand that the birth of this venture was entirely due to enthusiastic individuals showcasing their artistic talents in the Sonic community. Collaboration rather than competition and encouragement as opposed to derision are therefore our most central philosophies.

sonic2enhancedck4

Current Feature Aims

  • Remastered tiles, sprites and music
  • New graphical effects when collecting rings, skidding, spin dashing, dust being kicked up when jumping and more
  • Gameplay physics and collisions replicated from Sonic 2
  • Both original and new sound effects
  • 256 colors with 1 alpha
  • Mp3/OGG/VGM music support
  • Sonic & Tails as playable characters (Knuckles will later be added)
  • All the original Sonic 2 Levels available, with an added Hidden Palace zone
  • True 3d Special stages and a possibility of 3d backgrounds
  • 360 degree rotation for slopes and loops (optionally enabled or disabled)

Possible Post-Project Feature Aims

  • A possibility of more animated frames for characters and objects so that they look smoother
  • A possibility of a multiplayer mode with TC/IP support
  • A possibility of a fully functional level development kit for the community to design levels with
  • A possibility of an animated ending sequence

The HD Artwork So Far

Of course that original Death Egg mockup may serve as the inspiration, but the crew has been busy developing their own fresh graphical elements. Below are some sprite re-creations, but there are also some landscapes, enemies, and other elements that have also recieved a remaster.

sprite-remakes

Discussion & Details of the Sonic 2 HD Development

If you want to read more of the behind-the-scenes details of the project, look no further than the Retro Sonic forums. All the people involved in the project are busy organizing their plans, artwork, and coding within. Here are some of the main forum topics:

Want To Help Out?

If you have talents in the realms of programming, art, or music, the team would love to hear from you. (You can post examples of your work here). Again, read the Project Summary post for more info.

Would Sega Ever Pick This Up?

Looking at the recent history of game publishers (or big business as a whole) I would be quick to say that a company like Sega would sue the developers of a homebrew project like this before they would adopt the project and the team.
(Examples: Chrono Trigger Resurrection, Scrabulous)

But lets step back and think about what publishers should do. Sega is obviously in a funk right now. Many of its biggest names have left the company or aren’t nearly as active as they once were. There have released very few games that have lived up to it’s innovative legacy. In all honesty, they need all the help they can get at this point.

The smart thing to do it to hire anybody with a passion for the games and hire them for relatively low costs. Games like this would definately sell when on a system like XBLA, WiiWare, or PSN. Perhaps this is a conversation that is worthy of it’s own article…. what do you think about the matter?

68 Comments

  1. NEo says:

    Lets hope SEGA doesn’t kill this…great news btw. :D Hope they finish it by christmas rush :D

  2. Dig says:

    High-Definition Sonic 2? *orgasm*

    Seriously, I am liking the looks of this project. Looking at that animated gif in their forums with sonic running made it look like a project that will actually be finished instead of one with a lot of high hopes.

    *raises glass*
    Here’s to an eventual release.

  3. ryan says:

    unfortunately when in HD sonic doesnt look badass, he had kindo serious looking eyes and stuff now it looks happy, o well its still gonna be a blast to play.

  4. Abras says:

    This really highlights the increasingly common trend of gamers taking things into their own hands when the companies don’t give them the games they want. Fan games have been around for awhile, of course, but pretty much none of them could compare or compete with the commercial releases. This game (and the two Metroid 2 remakes projects floating around) looks like something Sega might have made themselves. Unfortunately, the more impressive a fan game is, the higher the chances are it will be shut down…

  5. Narles says:

    Oh man, this looks great. Don’t you think this should probably be kept on the down low? I’d hate to see this project go the way of Chrono Trigger Resurrection and not just because I am super excited to play Sonic 2 in HD but because of all of the hard work that these teams put into fan projects like this.

  6. racketboy says:

    The word is going to get out one way or another. Keeping something like this is near impossible on the Interweb. If I don’t mention it, somebody else will.

    At least Sega is usually a bit cooler about this type of thing than the likes of Nintendo or Square Enix.

  7. racketboy says:

    Another thing — wouldn’t you (or the developers) rather it be taken down before too much work is put into it than have it most of the way done and then taken down.

    It’s less painful for fans and less wasted work for those on the project.

    Worst case scenario/Heaven forbid, of course.

  8. Uhhh RacketBoy I think you are forgetting that you can already play Sonic in HD on the Xbox Live Arcade. [/bad PR joke]

    This is awesome stuff, Sonic 2 is my favourite of all the Sonic games and what is already in place sounds awesome. Huge props to these guys for attempting such an incredible feat. Thanks for sharing this exciting news with us.

  9. GSZX1337 says:

    Eh, I liked Sonic the Hedgehog 3 better, but still, can’t wait for this game to come out! :-)

    “Unfortunately when in HD, Sonic doesn’t look badass…” Sonic was about being “cool,” not “badass.” Two different things.

  10. Tancred says:

    Disgusting. Down with remakes!

  11. Lee says:

    Looks and sounds absolutely amazing. Keep up the outstanding work guys!

  12. blah says:

    Sega will shut this down, hire their own offshore programmers and artists to do the same project, put out a lame effort, and when that effort fails in the marketplace, then they will blame “lack of interest” and “piracy”.

  13. Lord Majestros says:

    If Sega wants a truly good Sonic game to come out they know they won’t be making it! Hopefully this game makes it.

  14. rabit says:

    Neat idea! I’d love to see this happen with other games too. Who knows, maybe the next trend in emulation is to patch old games and give them brand new high-res graphics. If you want the game to look really amazing, you’ll use a 2D vector engine that can do anti-aliasing and can zoom in/out smoothly.

  15. Jon says:

    I think it is great to see independent projects like this. However, I have to say that the art direction you are taking is way off base. Pixel art is sacred in video games, and if you are going to make it high resolution, than you better add some more detail and shading. For an example of a higher resolution sprite, take a look at street fighter 3. Or for a higher resolution example, Steam Brigade. http://www.pedestrianentertainment.com/images/9.jpg

    These are only examples of directions you can take artwork.

    Actually I just realized you have a perfect example of what the ideal sonic would look like. Look at the logo at the top of this page. THAT is what an idealized HD sonic should look like.

    You know what, you should really just make your own original game, and not focus too much on the graphics. The key is fun gameplay, and charming characters. The developers of Sonic are not gods, they are mortals. You can do better if you really want to.

  16. Blue Streak says:

    Hey everyone, I’m one of the sprite artists on this project and I just want to thank everyone for your support. Just so you all know, this project has only been under development for a month and a half or so and we’re still organizing things and getting our feet wet. I don’t think that image of the title screen is in anyway going to be the final image and lots of elements may undergo several improvements. Also, the aim here is to replicate the original game first with higher quality art and music; extra features that aren’t in the original game are certainly possibilities, but we have decided to focus on recreating the original game first. In response to those who think we should create an original game instead of updating Sonic 2, this is the first time this has been approached at this level and if it’s successful (and if Sega gets it in their head that this is a good thing for the franchise) we will start considering original projects at this level. There is a lot of interest in this project and we’re going to do our best to bring one of the best video games ever made into the new millennium.

  17. racketboy says:

    Thanks Blue Streak, for the clarification and insights.
    I look forward to hearing/seeing more!

  18. Evan says:

    Those graphics look sweet! I agree though, Sega is more likely to sue than to pick up the project. Keep it going though!

  19. Blue Streak says:

    Racketboy, we’d be honored if you’d continue to cover the status of this project in the future. There are a good many years of knowledge and experience behind the community trying to make this project happen and we’d all love to see it be a success. Readers should know that there are no real timelines at this point, but so long as there’s interest there will be progress. And if Sega tries to interfere, well, that is in some sense their right to do so. But, hopefully they’ll realize we’re trying to do them a favor by helping people remember Sonic for how great he used to be.

  20. racketboy says:

    Sure thing man — and take your time — quality is most important :)

  21. fdouble says:

    “Hope they finish it by christmas rush”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

    Don’t get me wrong – I love fan remakes of any kind, and I believe making one is such a valiant thing to attempt… but dude, these things always take a lot of time to be finished, if at all. This is people doing an entire game in their spare time, for free. And risking possible project-ending legal battles.

  22. Louis Lang says:

    Hi,
    I own Sonic2HD.com and would like to donate it to the project! If anyone is interested please shoot me an email at:

    louis.w.lang [at] gmail [dot] com

    Thanks :)

  23. kashif says:

    Great News for me coz im a huge fan of sonic retro games and this one is all time favorite. thanks for making in HD. and what about sonic 1 & 3 and sonic & Knuckles?

  24. TheWatcher says:

    Sonic 2 was fantasic and why stop there? Streets of rage 2 and Desert strike would also be worthy of a high-def make-over.

  25. Sam says:

    hey , is this gunna be a real game to download?? its sounds great

  26. Pineconn says:

    Or, you (as in Jman) could always get this onto AGN…

  27. Thrash says:

    to be completely honest, If Sega’s legal team was to rear it’s ugly head, I’d suggest continuing the project underground(pun not intended) and releasing it as a torrent on several torrent sites. The fact no money is being made however should mean that Sega lets this slide.
    I wish you guys all the best and can’t wait for the beta.

  28. ~G~ says:

    Yeah the project looks great so far.

    Sega tend to be fairly cool with fan stuff. I think as long as you don’t try to make money off the game they won’t have a big problem with it all.

    It’s when money is involved that things become messy.

    Keep up the grand work!

  29. Mark Salmela says:

    Hey this is an amazing thing you guys are doing. I would love to be updated on the project as often as possible and would love to cover your game for our site 411mania.com . Please let me know when it’s done, I have a special place in my heart for Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

  30. kerbyninja says:

    They should get the people from Project Chaos(http://s3k.ocremix.org/) to help with the music, they did an amazing job remixing the Sonic 3 & Knuckles soundtrack.

    Keep up the amazing work guys!

  31. Cinossu says:

    .. could you please take my name off of this? My music isn’t specifically for this project whatsoever, so I’m not part of any development team. It just happened to be popular in a thread on improved music for this.

  32. Anónimo says:

    I forgot to add this in previous message:

    Will the game be in 16:9 resolution?

  33. Here’s my magical prediction: Sega will threaten legal action. In response to legal action, this project will be shutdown or forced under the radar. After seeing the profits other companies make from creating HD remixes of popular 2D games, Sega will rush to cobble together a HD remix four years later. Sega’s official HD remix will stink. When Investors demand to know why the S2HD remix game sold less than expected, Sega will point back to this and claim that “piracy” is the reason their HD remix sold so poorly.

    Call me cynical.

  34. ehal256 says:

    samsonlonghair:

    Tweaker’s already said: “To be perfectly blunt, I don’t give a damn if they send us a C&D. Unless I have a legal notice saying that I am about to be sued, without question, for monetary compensation or something retarded like that, then they can f**k off as far as I’m concerned.

    And even then, we can just move the server to Sweden or something.”

  35. Steve Ch!snall says:

    I think that Tweaker was being a bit tyrannical about the issue of gradients on the level name cards. I agree that garish gradients are a VERY bad idea but I think that if kept subtle, would be a nice touch. Maybe add a menu setting to turn those little touches on or off?

  36. Game Quiz says:

    You guys are onto something great here. Even if a C&D is sent, what kind of pull can that actually do since they aren’t selling it. Even so, just release it on forums with no centralized website and call it a night.

  37. maiki says:

    Is this going to be FULL HD or which compatible videomode is going to be used? Is this going to be another stretched “like-to-be HD” Xbox Live-like crap? By the way, what kind of display do you aim to use since LCD can hardly ever replicate the original CRT smoothness of this ultra-fast multi-scroller.

  38. Mike says:

    I hope this gets finished – the sprite work looks brilliant. Thanks for doing this guys – when it gets finished, I’ll probably play it in tears. :)

  39. So… I’m actually the programmer for the graphics engine. Any questions yall would like me to clear up for you?

  40. Oceanwave says:

    I Agree with tweaker . Fuck Sega , Any time fans want to create something that a company never would do or invest effort in time into , They want to sue for something they never would of made a theoritical profits . The Japanese Branch of Sega probably wouldn’t sue . It more the American corporate mentality that the problem .

  41. Null1024 says:

    This looks like a very cool idea. And the art shown looks really good. One question though? What are you making this in? (Game Maker, C++ and SDL/Allegro, MMF2, etc.)

  42. me says:

    This sounds amazing!!!

    How about a Pandora version someday?

    I mean the new handheld at openpandora.org

    PLEASE!

  43. Renegades says:

    I’ve tried to sign up to Retro-Sonic, but cannot gain access to the forums, This project is a dream come reality, when does registration for the forum open again? Thanks in advance.

  44. Hey, guys, any chance that you’ll be adding more frames of animation than what is actually in the original Sonic 2? I think smoother animation would greatly compliment HD sprites!

  45. Pingfa says:

    Ahhh! :O How did I miss this!?

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Racketboy. :D

    A high definition remake of what might possibly be the best game on the Genesis? I’m all for that.
    I think the title screen could use a little work – looks great, though. Seeing as it is meant to be a remake rather than an overhaul – which is good because design and animation in Sonic are already impressive – the only real cause for concern, for me, is that they’ll overdo it.
    Sonic is a gem still in immaculate condition; don’t scratch it. =_=

    See you next time.

  46. racketboy says:

    The title screen was just temporary — the final product should be much better.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  47. Mike says:

    I though Sonic 3 and Knuckles was the best 2D sonic game on the genesis?
    Oh well, this will be a blast to play in the future.

  48. Chaoman60 says:

    SEGA, needs to adopt the project and the team. Otherwise, it will be all over the news: homebrewers are better than SEGA!!!!!!

  49. Sonica says:

    I know, I am now S2HD staff:
    This needs updating.

  50. Vincent says:

    Hi everyone!
    I’m Vincent, S2HD Project Leader and Character art creator.

    First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for your nice comments! We are working hard to bring justice to our beloved Sonic the Hedgehog.

    The images on this article are really early and horrible compared to the new art done.

    And it’s with pleasure the S2HD Staff announce a big “surprise” coming this September 15Th! :D
    Keep tuned!

    P.s. The Staff list is also not correct, when Sm&k announced his role in programming?
    Drex unfortunately left the development Team one month ago.

    See ya!

    Vincent

    S2HD Staff

  51. herreraz says:

    the game will demo in which section of the forum?

  52. evilsin says:

    hey this is too good….sega better not shut this down….and yes i owuld liek to see a good remake of mortal komba 2 that woud be amazing

  53. Narles says:

    The just released a tech demo of this and it looks really really good. Makes me very excited about this project.

    Get it here: http://forums.sonicretro.org/index.php?showtopic=12056

  54. cody says:

    this is a reat idea. i think they should do it with all old like NES and sega games. keep the games and story exactly the same but just with better graphics.

    i want them to do it for NBA JAM foe SNES. i thought i was the only one

  55. Shaun says:

    Read about this a few days ago and I’m completely psyched. Sonic 2 was the first one I’ve ever played and the fact that they’re re-vamping it is so awesome. I just tried the 4 demos and it’s gonna be great! They’ve got my support. Hopefully Sega will let them continue. *fingers crossed*

  56. Sonica says:

    Hi I am Sonica, one of the Sonic 2 HD artists. Would you mind updating some of those pictures? See new ones on
    http://forums.sonicretro.org/index.php?showforum=42

  57. Sonica says:

    but besides that, thanks for the support and good comments about the project. Loads of hard effort has been put in to this and yes, it WILL be finished.

  58. solidsnake says:

    some people thank shadow is cooler then sonic in my opinion shadow sucks sorry i just thank that sonic is better

  59. ummmm says:

    Haven’t heard any news of this in a while, was it all too good to be true?

  60. racketboy says:

    Well, good work takes time — especially on volunteer time.
    Progress is still being made
    http://forums.sonicretro.org/index.php?s=160ff0aea4433cce11516af285d28865&showforum=42

  61. Jamesidude says:

    If this game was to come out on Xbox Live arcade and PS3 classics then I would buy both !!!

  62. PleaseDOit says:

    This is definitely the best idea in history of best ideas.
    I would buy it. 100%

  63. Canned Karma says:

    Hello everyone. I’m Canned Karma, the General Project Coordinator for S2HD.

    Since this article was originally posted, there have been a great deal of changes seen. The staff has gone through many changes in key members, the artwork has been updated in almost every imaginable way, and our commitment to producing the ultimate version of Sonic 2 has never been stronger.

    The staff is hard at work putting together a playable build for you all to enjoy. Please be patient with us; we know the kind of excitement a project like this can generate, but we won’t be releasing an alpha build until it is guaranteed to wow all those who play it.

    I can tell you this — you won’t have to wait much longer.

    If you have any questions regarding the project, or would like to contribute to it, please look us up on Sonic Retro’s S2HD forum.

    Regards,
    CK
    S2HD Staff

  64. Spetsnaz says:

    I would actually like to see this get adopted by Sega but allow the original creators have control. I love it when people are passionate about excellent games like this…and FYI I would pay for these as DLC for every 2D Sonic game…gladly pay $15+ if it’s made to have to same feel with updated gfx and sound…not just a lame pixel smoother they used in the Sonic mega collection.

  65. Spetsnaz says:

    oh and I forgot to say thank you for this…Sonic always has been my favorite video game character and it’s just so great to see that I’m not the only one who still remembers him fondly

  66. RanReloaded says:

    I don’t see the point of going HD yet retaining 256 colors… I say go the full monty 32bit RGBA!

  67. Admin says:

    I’m looking for former and a lot of new artists . I’m also looking for new programmist who will be not crazy like loST of my Sonic 2 HD Fan Game Project . Here is the link http://sonic2hd.open-board.com/

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