Unseen64 has reported on Sonic The Hedgehog Extreme, a previously lost Sonic-themed hoverboard game prototype its developers believe sparked the creation of Sonic Riders.
Sonic Extreme was an early 2000s prototype built in just a week by little-known developer Vision Scape. Vision Scape, based in San Diego, California, used tech it had already created for a cancelled skateboarding title and Sonic CGI animation work it had already created for Sonic Heroes to get the build up and running so quickly.
Unseen64 spoke with ex-staffers at Vision Scape who told the channel they pitched the unsolicited prototype to Sega and Sonic chief Yuji Naka, and as far as they were concerned, all parties agreed to move forward with the project.
But then Sega went silent, refusing to respond to Vision Scape's follow-ups. In 2006, Sega released Sonic Riders, which resembled Vision Scape's prototype.
Vision Scape founder Matt McDonald told Unseen64 he asked about the legal situation around Sega apparently basing a game off of his company's prototype pitch, and was told that because it featured Sonic, the prototype belonged to Sega, so nothing doing there.
Was there a link between the prototype and Sonic Riders? It's difficult to say. Unseen64 asked Sega and Naka for comment, but both declined.
We'll never know how Vision Scape's Sonic Extreme might have turned out had Sega carried it forward, but the video offers an interesting peek behind the curtain at how independent developers work with big publishers - sometimes to no avail.