The greatest Sonic game we never got to play

It’s a “What if…” situation on a par with the dinosaurs not becoming extinct. Sonic games these days are the biggest joke in the gaming community, and 90% of the blame for their pariahship is rightly levelled at the miserable attempts to transfer the hedgehog into the third dimension. And Sega are well and truly out of the hardware business, having careened down a slippery financial slope ever since the Saturn failed to follow the success of the Mega Drive.

But a good 3D Sonic game? On the Saturn? Oh, how different things could have been. How beautifully, beautifully different. So what went wrong?

Well a hell of a lot went wrong. The story is one of the most turbulent and dramatic in Sega history, as well as one of the least-known. It’s a tale of political machinations, strained relationships, inhuman working conditions and a game that very nearly killed one of its developers. Interested in reading the full, gory story? Then click on, and we’ll recount to you the tragic fable of Sonic X-treme, the game that probably would have been Sega's Super Mario 64.

David Houghton
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.