Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island/Development

From Sonic Retro

Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island had gone through several changes over its development process. There are several rejected ideas, level designs, and other things that were left on the cutting room floor. The following details several of these things.

Development process

Sonic 3D was developed primarily by the UK-based studio Traveller's Tales, with elements of the design and creative oversight handled by Sonic Team. Head of Traveller's Tales, Jon Burton, wrote most of the code, while artistic duties were headded by James Cunliffe. In the beginning, the project was known as Sonic Spindrift, before becoming Sonic Blast' by E3 1996.

A two-player split-screen was originally planned for the game, but was cancelled due to difficulties seeing what lay ahead with the isometric perspective.

The graphics were rendered on Silicon Graphics workstations running SoftImage.

The full-screen introduction video was kept secret from Sega, and revealed only two weeks before the game was set to be finished.

Some music tracks, originally composed for Sonic 3D were left out of the final game. The planned "Knuckles bonus stage" theme, scrapped due to cartridge restraints was later heard as part of Twinkle Park in Sonic Adventure, while a different boss music track, dropped because Jon Burton didn't like it, reappeared in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I.

In addition to the original Sega Mega Drive version, Sonic 3D was later ported to the Sega Saturn to make up for the cancellation of Sonic X-treme. The game was ported in seven weeks, and uses the same Motorola 68000 source code of the Mega Drive version, albeit one converted into C through a special compiler created for the project. Any enhanced graphics or special effects run on top of the game and do not interact with the original source code in any way.

A minigame called Sonic Pool was considered for inclusion in the Saturn version but was scrapped in favour of a more traditional "tube" special stage.


Many prototypes of Sonic 3D have been found over the years. The first to be found was this 2006 cartridge prototype. Then in 2008 drx released 7 more Mega Drive protos: beta 73, beta 814, beta 819, beta 825, beta 830, beta 831, and beta 94. The 825 beta is quite similar to the 2006 cartridge prototype. At this same time a Saturn tech demo was also found.

Test Plan

What seems to be a checklist used when testing Sonic 3D has been found. You can find images of it here.

Prototype screenshots

Mega Drive

The images in this section only apply to the Mega Drive version.

Initial screenshots

Sega are thought to have released three screenshots of Green Grove Zone around the time of E3 1996. All are likely mockups - they each lack a heads up display and give Sonic a circular shadow, and the hedgehog is placed in impossible situations.


Green Grove Zone


The images in this section apply to the Saturn version only.


Spring Stadium


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