When Sega unveiled a new take on Sonic the Hedgehog and friends earlier this year, reaction to the redesigned cast of Sonic Boom was, at best, mixed. Seeing Sonic wearing a scarf, standing next to a burly Knuckles, while everyone was inexplicably wearing so much tape was something of a shock to longtime fans and followers.
But things could have been very different.
Concept artists who worked on pitches for Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric showed off some early Sonic redesigns on Facebook recently, as spotted by NeoGAF, and earlier takes were far more radical. In some, Sonic the Hedgehog is wearing clothing ... over a large portion of his body.
"Needless to say Sega wasn't down with these... HAHA," concept artist Craig Harris said on his Facebook page.
Other designs took a more flat, but still highly kinetic interpretation of Sonic. Some actually look vaguely like real hedgehogs.
Maybe the biggest departure from established character design was this interpretation of Eggman. No longer is he a barrel-chested or spherical bodied, mustachioed megalomaniac, at one point he was envisioned as something of a hillbilly mechanic or dorky engineering savant who's shaped like a beanpole.
While these concepts may be divisive, they could have certainly pushed Sonic the Hedgehog in a more interesting direction than what we got in the final product. But Sonic Boom is more than just a video game; it's an animated TV series, comic book and merchandise, and that kind of endeavor requires something a little safer.