SAGE 4 Interview: ‘Sonic Adventure Neo’ Developer ShadowHermit

ShadowChaos & Hermit Dude are the heads behind ShadowHermit Production House. After a solo outing, these two joined forces and combined to form a joint fan game developer. Showcasing Sonic Adventure: Neo at SAGE 2002. Visit their site here.

TSS: ShadowChaos and Hermit Dude, thanks a ton for being here today, in both your persons.

S&H: No problem at all.

TSS: ShadowHermit Production House has three titles going at the moment, can you briefly explain what these are about?

HD: Sonic Adventure Neo is basically a 2D take on Sonic Adventure. It follows a linear gameplay structure, with levels linked by cutscenes.

SC: Sonic Robo Blast TgF is a remake of Sonic Robo Blast, but with added features, more levels, and, needless to say, better graphics.

HD: The gameplay there is fairly classic in style, with mall variations depending on which character is being played.

TSS: Can you give away the basic plot of Sonic Adventure: Neo and SRB TgF?

SC: SRB has a plot? First I’ve heard… Seriously, the plot is the same as the original, with minor adjustments to accommodate the new playable character, Tails.

HD: SA: Neo’s story basically centres round the reappearance of Dr. Eggman, a few months after the events of Sonic Adventure 2. Most of the plot is… uh… a big secret (read: not properly written, designed, or decided yet), but so far we have Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as playable characters, tied together in various ways. Sonic is aiming to directly stop Eggman’s plan, Knuckles is aiming to retrive the Chaos Emeralds after they were stolen by a Metal Sonic, and Tails is basically in the middle, helping both.

TSS: What kind of feel are you guys trying to create with your two Fan Games?

SC: Well, SRB TgF is completely nostalgia-trippy, with no advanced engines or whatnot, just plain simple fun.

HD: The basic feel I wanted for SA: Neo was something that combined the best of all the classic Sonic games, along with a Sonic Adventure-style story.

SC: We’ll get to show off our uber-leet static/ball engine later in Neo, too. ^_-

TSS: You also have a third game in development too at ShadowHermit PH… Sonic Adventure: Exodus. Is this game meant to be a sequel to SA:Neo, like a series of games from you guys?

SC: Nope. Not at all. It takes place eight years after Sonic Adventure 2. Eggman escapes prison, Shadow returns, and basically all hell breaks loose on Earth. The plot is going to be extensive, quite dark and frightening towards the end, with (hopefully) Sonic CD style cutscenes.

TSS: What special features will be present to make SA: Neo and SRB: TgF stand out from the rest of the SAGE games on show?

SC: Well, SRB didn’t make SAGE (MMF buggered up the night before)…

HD: For SA: Neo, eventually, a very nice static engine, which should be on a par with several of the current ones… and probably some other stuff which I’ll implement as we go. Possibly saving, loading, etc. And lots of subliminal advertising.

SC: *Laughs* The boss AI is also pretty advanced. Though not fully showcased in the Demo, the game will have intelligent bosses that change their pattern depending on what you do.

TSS: How long has development taken for both SA: Neo and SRB: TgF?

SC: Ah crap, SRB has been in development since late November, so about three months for that…

HD: Ooh, I know this one. Um, well, the First SA: Neo was started early October last year, then after a lovely screw up with MMF, I started a new version in late November/December time.

SC: We need more reliable click programs, eh? 🙂

HD: 1.5 is a BIT better…

TSS: Can you reveal roughly when you expect the games to be ready by?

SC: I’m hoping to have SRB done by September 3 (my birthday!), but SA: Exodus is a looooong way off. Possibly 1-2 years.

HD: … And probably SA: Neo will be out summertime-ish. I have GCSE’s coming up in May, so I’ll be revising (yeah right) for those soon, but after that I’ll have ten weeks of Holiday \o/. I hope to finish it then.

TSS: Any major hitches you guys have come across in development? What’s been your biggest development problem so far?

SC: Well, MMF f***ing up is one big problem for me.

HD: Yes, MMF screwing up the first SA: Neo was bad, as it destroyed a couple of months work… but also helped, as I then changed to ball movement and we are now progressing to a static engine to eliminate all problems.

SC: But with Sonic Adventure: Exodus (and Neo), the big problem is the engines. Both are highly advanced StaticBall engines that take a looooong time to develop.

HD: And it seems, once you fix one bug… up springs another.

TSS: How well do you guys feel your Fan Games are progressing at the moment?

HD: Not too bad. Although I’m generally lazy, so I haven’t done too much work on it recently. I blame school.

TSS: How do you see your chances winning the SAGE booth polling against the others this year? Usually they have a poll period at the end…

SC: Not too wonderful, as this is our first SAGE. Hell might freeze over, though. ;D

HD: We could use liquid nitrogen. It can be arranged.

TSS: Finally, what’s the most promising game you have seen at this year’s SAGE?

HD: Hmm. Its hard to choose a favourite… I’ve particularly enjoyed SV2’s new engine test, Bladerunners SX new engine, and Team Infinity’s Shadow Returns.

SC: Sonic Ki, by Showoffboy. And I’m not just saying that because I have the sprites and engine test. =P … Oh, and SA: Neo, of course.

HD: =P

TSS: ShadowChaos and Hermit, of ShadowHermit Production House, you are truly a mad bunch, like myself. I salute you! Thank you for your precious time to answer my questions.

SC: You’re welcome.

HD: Now back to lazing around…

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Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.