Sonic Mania Will Feature Levels Inspired By Scrapped Mega Drive Stages

SEGA has revealed that the team working on Sonic Mania has been given access to a wealth of scrapped levels from past 2D Sonic games, opening the possibility of seeing levels like Dust Hill Zone and Genocide City in a completed form for the first time.

During an interview at EGX Rezzed in London, SEGA Product Manager Jim Dyer said that Sonic Team has shared a wealth of prototype documents with Christian Whitehead and Headcannon, the chaps behind the upcoming 2D retro platformer.

So far, SEGA has only revealed four stages – Studiopolis, Mirage Saloon and re-imaginings of Green Hill Zone and Flying Battery Zone. But Dyer hinted at levels that could be heavily inspired by previously-canned levels in Sonic 1, 2 and 3:

“There will certainly be other re-imagined versions of levels that we’ve seen in previous Sonic games. There will also be levels you haven’t seen before or have been altered so much that they are almost completely unrecognizable,” he said.

“We gave the team access to levels that didn’t make it into other Sonic games and they have been redesigned and re-engineered to work for Sonic Mania. You’re going to see lots of easter eggs and nods to previous games worked in that veteran Sonic players will certainly be able to spot.”

It’s unclear whether this sharing of information with Whitehead and Headcannon will result in realisations of levels once thought lost to limbo, or instead brand new stages that are inspired in some way by the scrapped material.

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that this has happened. In the iPhone re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Whitehead developed a working Hidden Palace Zone stage, complete with boss – a feat possible after studying leftover components of the original Sonic 2 Mega Drive cartridge.

There’s a lot more talk about Sonic Mania in the full interview over at Twinfinite.

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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.


  1. How many stages do they plan on including? We’re already at the half-way number that most Sonic games have in stage number, I can’t imagine them adding much more.

    1. Supposedly Sonic Mania’s gonna be longer than Sonic Generations so there’s no telling how many zones we’re getting.

  2. I’d love to see some beta stages brought back. The best thing I’d love to see is maybe bridge zone or an 8bit stage graphically updated, that would make some fans lose there sh*t 🙂

    It will be interesting to see if they make new music tracks for these new stages, some new genesis inspired original tracks? Awesome.

  3. Hmm I would love to see some early concept sonic 3 stages that never made it, but at the same time fear it due to having similar idea in a future fan game

  4. Heard that the japan inspired scrapped Sonic 1 stage may be changed up for the ninja like heavy. Could be cool!

  5. “60% of the stages are rehashes? Fuck this shit, I’m ou-”

    -Some of the stages were cut from the original titles-

    “… All is forgiven.”

    1. Actually, it’s based on Whitehead’s scrapped zone called Desert Dazzle that was going to be in his port of Sonic CD that used his Retro Engine. Sega didn’t like having a desert level in CD as it kinda went against the gritty nature of the game. There’s some elements of Dust Hill in it as well but the former seems to be the case.

  6. Okay. This is starting to sound (even) more like a fangame than an official game. I hate Mr. Whitehead’s obsession with shoehorning scrapped content into official games, like when he added the awful looking scrapped Amy sprites in his Sonic CD remake, completely oblivious to the fact that there was reason they were scrapped. This is why giving promoted fanboys too much power is usually a bad idea. Someone with more common sense than him needs to rein him back.

    Also, what’s the point of bringing back Genocide City? It’s literally just a generic industrial stage, and the name doesn’t fit at all; the only reason it was called that is that the Japanese devs didn’t know what the English word “genocide” means. Unless they go with its later name, Cyber City. Still, it feels pointless given that, again, it’s just another industrial stage, and its graphics were used in Sonic Spinball.

    Still, this could end up not being that bad. As long as they make an effort to stay professional and don’t shove down the player’s throat the fact these levels are based on scrapped stages.

    1. Genocide City was used as an example. They most likely won’t bring that stage back – it would just be Metropolis Act 3 with the leftover assets in Spinball. As others have pointed out, the inspirations will likely be loose, like how Mirage Saloon is a re-imagined Dust Hill Zone.

      I wouldn’t say Whitehad’s beta reimplementations are a bad thing. He could have poured in more of the unused sprites in CD, but he just did minor tweaks. I personally thought it was cool that in Sonic 1 and 2 mobile that you could enable beta elements through Debug Mode. It’s an optional bonus for Sonic enthusiasts. You can’t say there wasn’t some magic in discovering Hidden Palace Zone in the Pit of Doom. What we’ve seen in Mania have been nods to the inner circle, like Sonic 1’s unused victory animation. It’s a chance to revisit some old ideas with fresh blood.

      Be glad it isn’t going total-fanhack. We aren’t getting OCs, terrible palette swaps, and (that we’ve seen) terrible level design.

    2. Why is using scrapped content a bad thing when Sega did that already when they used scrapped content for Sonic 2 for Sonic 3&K? We don’t of any scrapped zones for Sonic 1 and Sonic 3&K so maybe they’ll use those.

  7. Mmm… Yes. Definitely hoping for a reworked Wood Zone, I can feel it already.

    Dust Hill and Desert Dazzle = Mirage Saloon, so that’s out of the way.

    I would like seeing a reworked Genocide/Cyber City, as long as it’s one of the last zones in the game, like say, I don’t know, maybe taking place somewhere before the final showdown between Sonic and Robotnik?

    Sonic 1 and Sonic 3&K didn’t have any scrapped zones we’re aware of, but I look forward to seeing what the team brings to the table.

    1. Whitehead explicitly confirmed that Wood Zone won’t be in the game. I think this tidbit from SEGA PR is just saying they were given ACCESS to this stuff if they wanted to use it, but Whitehead has previously stated that Mirage Saloon is the only one majorly based off a scrapped stage.

  8. My prediction is that there will be 18 stages total, bigger than 3 & Knuckles’ 14, which will include three stages each from Sonic 1, 2, and CD, six from 3&K, and three new stages. Besides the already announced, I’m hoping for Marble Zone and Spring Yard from 1, Chemical Plant, Aquatic Ruin and Casino Night from 2, Quartz Quadrant, Wacky Workbench and Stardust Speedway from CD, and Angel Island, Hydro City, Ice Cap, Mushroom Hill and Sky Sanctuary from 3&K.

  9. Well Mirage Saloon is already evidence of that since it’s using assets from Desert Dazzle.

  10. YUS! Give us all of the missed stages please! …or at least most of them…however many is reasonable for this game. I’m fine with entirely original stages too, though technically speaking anything that didn’t make it into a released cartridge as a fully playable level still counts as “new”.

    1. And yeah, Mirage Saloon is basically the descendant of Dusty Hill/Desert Dazzle, so I’d be up for seeing more new stages inspired by scrapped stages.

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