Sonic the Hedgehog has always been a paragon of coolness — for better or worse —and in the early 2000s, skateboarding was the coolest sport around. It makes sense that Sonic would try his hand at the extreme sports genre, but footage unearthed by Unseen64 marks the first time we’ve ever seen the character’s failed attempt at a skateboarding game.
Sonic the Hedgehog Extreme “was originally developed without Sega’s knowledge,” according to Unseen64’s Liam Robertson. Vision Scape Interactive worked on a prototype of the game as a pitch to Sega sometime in the early 2000s. Conceived for Xbox, GameCube and PlayStation 2, Sonic Extreme never made it beyond this early pitch phase.
What remains is this early build gameplay, which gives Sonic fans a sense of what a Sonic skateboarding game could have been. Sonic Extreme seemed to combine the tenets of Sonic titles — Chaos emeralds, rings and brightly colored stages — with the half-pipes and grind rails of series like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
Sonic fans may be reminded of Sonic Riders, a hoverboarding game Sega produced a few years after this prototype was made and abandoned. Sonic Riders took the skateboarding concept and made it more futuristic and competitive-focused, unlike the more open-world stylings of Sonic Extreme. (As Unseen64’s video points out, Sonic Extreme may also get them thinking of “City Escape,” the opening level of Sonic Adventure 2.)
Maybe there’s hope for a Sonic skateboarding game yet, although the hedgehog seems to have stepped away from athletic outings in recent years. Next up for Sonic is the retro throwback Sonic Mania, due out this summer.