Old Sonic Team were very talented artists and made some beautifully designed games like: NiGHTS into Dreams, Phantasy Star Online and also helped to make games like Shenmue, and Skies of Arcadia. But I wanted to provide some examples from the Adventure series and Heroes, as to why they are creative works of art. The Sonic Team of the late 90’s and early 2000’s were experts at creative texture work. And it shows in the Adventure games. There is just something about their vibrant use of color that can be found in all of these textures. It’s just artistic vision that really stands out to me as being something special! All of the worlds they designed are surreal and I wanted to provide some examples of that masterclass work.
In Sonic Adventure we see Sonic in Emerald Coast as he runs alongside jumping dolphins, in Windy Valley we see Sonic running across a trail of multicolored leaves as he runs along the swirling wind. And we can see each individual dandelion spore as they blow across the sky!
Sonic Adventure 2:
In Sonic Adventure 2 we see the haunting backdrop of Pumpkin Hill with pumpkin shaped mountains and the ominous yellow hue that fills the entire level. In Radical Highway we see the NiGHTS Hotel, a cool nod to NiGHTS into Dreams. In White Jungle we see the detailed texture work Sonic Team created with all of the individually drawn leaf textures and falling waterfalls. In Dry Lagoon we see a beautiful stain glass structure full of various multicolored butterflies. Even the rock face that surrounds the level is incredibly detailed. And lastly, in Final Rush we can see Sonic grinding along infinite rails amidst the backdrop of the planet.
In Sonic Heroes we see many of the islands Sonic is running on in Seaside Hill are actually shaped like Whales! We then can see the detailed sky box that Sonic Team made for Casino Park with a giant roulette wheel at the base of the city! As well as the cool neon trees that add to the level’s atmosphere! In Frog Forest we see how surreal all of the foliage is with the stage being filled with giant mushrooms, loops and giant frogs! And lastly, in Hang Castle we see the giant majestic full moon Sonic Team made with an ominous skull face looking back at you! That’s some awesome texture work right there!
So, I just want to say how much I admired the old Sonic team for all of the creative work they did in the past. Not just the Adventure games but all of the other games they contributed to as well. The Sonic Team of today is sadly a shadow of what they once were.
Also, here is some proof that members of Sonic Team worked on Skies of Arcadia and Shenmue:
Kensuke Kita ( Dungeon Maps Skies of Arcadia ) ( (Field Artists Sonic Adventure)
Satoshi Arai (Graphic Designer Skies of Arcadia Legends) (Enemy Art Support Sonic Adventure)
Takehiko Akabane ( Design support Skies of Arcadia ) (Enemy Art Support Sonic Adventure)
Haruo Nakano (Design Support Skies of Arcadia) (Enemy Art Support Sonic Adventure)
Chika Kohjitani (Character Models Skies of Arcadia) (Character Modeling Support Sonic Adventure)
Toshiyuki Mukaiyama (Chief Designer Skies of Arcadia) (Modeling Support Sonic Adventure)
Kazuo Komuro (Character Motions Skies of Arcadia) (Modeling Support Sonic Adventure)
Toshihiro Itō (Effects Skies of Arcadia) (Modeling Support Sonic Adventure)
Toshiyuki Takamatsu (Enemy Models Skies of Arcadia) (Modeling Support Sonic Adventure)
Satsuki Nagano (Design Support Skies of Arcadia) (Modeling Support Sonic Adventure)
Takashi Endō ( Sound Effects Skies of Arcadia ) (Sound Effects Sonic Adventure)
Tetsu Katano (Program Supervisor Shenmue 1 and 2) (Main Programmer Sonic Adventure 1 and 2)
And 32 other members from Sonic Team worked on the first Shenmue and 7 members worked on Shenmue 2.