The greatest Sonic game we never got to play

A brilliant 3D Sonic game? On the Saturn? It very nearly happened. We talk to one of the designers of the one that got away

Meanwhile, Alon and Senn had been undeterred by the earlier rejection of their work. Still believing in what they had created, they had continued their version of the game to pitch to Sega’s PC gaming division. Alas, despite all of their efforts, the pitch was rejected and their vision of the game was essentially killed. As a result, Ofer left Sega. Unsurprisingly given the state of things by then, Chris Senn believes the rejection wasn’t the only reason for his departure.

“Ofer was a genius,and it was this genius that led him to prefer solitude with his work. Rather than manage other people, he chose to act out his title as Lead Programmer by trying to create the best possible product. Unfortunately, this seemed to rub certain team members the wrong way. I found myself defending Ofer to other people - management included - because they’d refer to him as ‘just a programmer’ and similar designations which I found incorrect seeing as he had such a heavy hand in co-designing the game. I believe the nasty web of politics were partially to blame for both Ofer’s departure and for the demise of the game itself.”

Things weren’t going well for Chris Coffin either. After a summer of working himself into the ground for the benefit of a small blue hedgehog, his body couldn’t take the strain any more and he caught pneumonia. He had pushed himself past his own physical limits and had leave the Sonix X-treme project before illness and stress finished him off.

And that friends, was about the end of the whole sorry saga. Without Coffin, Sonic X-treme could not be completed in time for its Christmas release date, and Sega decided to can the entire project and replace it with a port of Mega Drive game Sonic Blast. The main Saturn marketing push that Christmas eventually went to NiGHTS.


Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.
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