Hidden Palace Zone uncovered in cancelled “Astropede” prototype

After the discovery of the Treasure Tails mock-up, former SEGA Technical Institute member Craig Stitt has given fans more details about scrapped Sonic content that never got to see the light of the day. Unlike Treasure Tails, this recently uncovered project got to the prototype phase, and it uses a level that is known by every Sonic fan.

Stitt uncovered a prototype named SEGApede, or Astropede. Set in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe, it would’ve been about a robot centipede named Zip that was created by Dr. Robotnik, with the function of collecting “Chaos Dust”.

Check out some concept art made by Stitt himself during the pitch phase, with some description about his ideas for the game, from Facebook:

I don’t think I posted this already, but this was one of the pieces of concept art I did to pitch the idea of ‘Astropede’ to SEGA (another working title was ‘SEGApede’)

The segents in his body worked as power ups which you would find along the level. They would detach and start rolling away if you took a hit. You then had to snatch up the pods before they rolled too far away.

You also needed to find a ‘caboose’ pod to secure the other pods to the train or they could fall off if you got going too fast or took a turn too sharp.

He was also going to have a play two character that was little hornet/wasp whose abdomen could be swapped out with the same pods the main character carried in his train.

I finally found the design document for this!!! I had completely forgotten the background story I had worked up for this and how it was supposed to tie into Robotnik and the Sonic Universe!

His name was to be Zip!

Craig Stitt, former SEGA Technical Institute employee

A few days later, Stitt released 12 minutes of gameplay from the prototype he got to work on after the pitch got the approval of SEGA. The art was done by Stitt himself, with programming by Ken Rose, and music created by Howard Drossin.

Sonic fans will notice that this prototype used Hidden Palace Zone, a scrapped level from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 known for its’ presence within the prototypes found over the years.

You might recognize the art as being from Sonic 2’s lost “Hidden Palace Zone”. I figured since it didn’t get used in Sonic 2 I might as well use it here and save a lot of time.

Craig Stitt, former SEGA Technical Institute employee

Craig recently also gave some details on the game’s plot, and how it would’ve been set in the Sonic universe.

I had forgotten SO much of the story and characters that I had orginally pitched to SEGA when this was to be a game in Sonic universe.

Without going in to too many details (just in case this ever get’s made in some form), Zip, the protagonist, was actually one of Dr. Robotnik’s creations.

The story and goals of the game were to be similar to those in the 1966 movie “Fantasitc Voyage”, with Zip fighting to save a life by cleaning up and collectiong ‘Choas Dust’ that had infected a particular evil doctor.

Craig Stitt, former SEGA Technical Institute employee

The fact that Hidden Palace Zone almost made it to another SEGA game makes this level’s history all the more fascinating. The level was officially released for Sonic fans to enjoy in the 2013 mobile port of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

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