Sonic the Hedgehog "2006" (lost complete build of Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 platformer; 2006)
Sonic the Hedgehog (commonly known as Sonic 06 or Sonic the Hedgehog 2006) was a game released in 2006 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for the series' 15th anniversary.
It was critically panned but sold well enough to achieve platinum status on Xbox 360. The game was almost instantly universally hated and is still seen today as one of the worst games ever released.
The "final" game we got was a much earlier build than what was planned to have been released. During development, the head of Sonic Team, Yuji Naka, left to form his own company, PROPE, causing the team to lose direction and order. At the same time, the Wii was revealed, and SEGA, hoping to also have Sonic the Hedgehog on Wii, ordered development kits, only to discover that the Wii was nowhere near as powerful as the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
Because SEGA still wanted there to be a Sonic game on the Wii, available for launch, they split Sonic Team in two, one half to finish up Sonic the Hedgehog, and one half to start work on what would eventually become Sonic and the Secret Rings. The development of both games became even more troubled as both teams were split again, this time with a third of Sonic Team now working on NiGHTS Journey of Dreams.
Upon trying to boot Sonic the Hedgehog on Xbox 360 and PS3 hardware, Sonic Team couldn't get the game to stop crashing, and with the release deadline coming up, and no clear, easy fix, were forced to resort to using an earlier, more stable build. The manual for the game supports this story further by detailing features and items that were never included in the retail build, such as power-ups not included in the game, and the energy bar at the bottom of the screen being used to power the various gems Sonic could equip. A clean rip of the game's announcement trailer shown behind doors at TGS 2005 is also considered lost.
In many early trailers and promotional videos, including the very first gameplay ever released to the public at TGS 2006:
- A day and night cycle can be seen in action stages.
- It is also shown that Silver the Hedgehog, who, in the retail build, moves much slower, originally moved at around Shadow's speed.
- Found deep in the files is a rainbow gem, which, like the game's other gems, would have been available for purchase at one of the shops found in the game, likely after completing all 3 stories and the final story. The rainbow gem would have allowed Sonic to transform into Super Sonic at will. In the game's announcement trailer shown at TGS 2005, Sonic transforms into Super Sonic after supposedly being killed by machine gun fire from Dr. Eggman's mechs, so it may have been possible at one point, to use the rainbow gem as a last resort if one were killed and had the gem equipped.
- The final game includes an icon for the rainbow gem, along with a transformation animation for Sonic. The gem was left out of the retail build for unknown reasons.
- Along with these changes, there exists a rumor that the game, upon booting for the first time, would immediately start with an action stage, showing the opening credits as the player received in-game tutorials, and guided Sonic through the outskirts and streets of Soleanna at night, on the way to the festival of the sun, which is where the retail build of the game opens.
- Much early footage also shows the game constantly playing at full speed, unlike in the retail build where the game slows to a crawl whenever chaos drives appear on screen after defeating enemies.
It is theorized that the builds have shown off at TGS 2006 and E3 2006 were running on a powerful PC, as they ran so smoothly despite having many more variables and particle effects than the final.