This article pertains to the beta elements from Sonic Mania.
"Sonic Discovery" title
During the early development of Sonic Mania in 2016, the game was originally known as "Sonic Discovery". In fact, an early title screen from back then still exists in the game's files, which shows the full title of the game was "Sonic the Hedgehog Discovery."
In the PC version of Sonic Mania lies a secret developer menu that can be accessed by fiddling with the code. This menu was used by the development team to gain straight access to various aspects of the game. This menu includes:
- Presentation: Developer logos screen, Title Menu, "Thanks for Playing" screen, Level Select menu, Staff Credits, and Continue screens.
- Mania Demo: Access to the Green Hill Zone and Studiopolis Zone demos playable at the 25th Sonic Anniversary Event.
- Mania Mode: A separate Level Select screen.
- Encore Mode: Added in the 1.05 update, this grants access to the Encore versions of the Mania Mode levels.
- Special Stage: A selection of all Special Stages in Sonic Mania.
- Blue Spheres: Access to any Blue Sphere stage. It also includes the options for "Random" and "Random 2" which chooses a random Bonus Stage from the game's Original mode and Mania mode, respectively.
- Extras: Allows selection of Mean Bean mode and the D.A. Garden.
- Cutscenes: A list of the cutscenes in the game, which can be jumped to.
- Videos: The various ending animations.
In the data of the PC version of Sonic Mania, the sprite sheet with all of the Special Stage result screen headings has an unused sprite of the word "Hyper". This might indicate that at one point during the development of Sonic Mania, transformations like Hyper Sonic and Hyper Knuckles were going to appear. Due to the sprite being colored yellow like the "Super" headings, it might indicate that Tails was going to have a Hyper transformation too.
The Egg Janken is an unused mini-boss found in the data for Studiopolis Zone. Despite being a mini-boss though, the Egg Janken's files are stored in the files for Studiopolis Zone Act 2. According to Sonic Mania developer Stealth, this is because Studiopolis Zone Act 2 was the first Zone created for Sonic Mania before the developers pitched the game to Sega; the Egg Janken was placed into this Act for demonstration purposes, making it the very first boss to be implemented into the game.
This boss is akin to the Gapsule from Sonic & Knuckles, being a boss secretly disguised as a Capsule, only to transform into a robot when the player presses the button on its underside. Once the boss battle with it begins, the Egg Janken will cycle through different Rock-Paper-Scissors combinations on its two screens. Below each screen is a letter; the left one says "S" for "Sonic" and the right one says "E" for "Eggman". During the battle, the Egg Janken will also hover left and right above the arena while protecting the button on its underbelly by swinging its iron ball arms back and forth. Should the player manage to press the Egg Janken's button, it will result in the robot reacting accordingly to the Rock-Paper-Scissors combination displayed on its screens when its button was pressed:
- Draw: The Egg Janken displays a bored expression on its screens and will try to strike the player with one of its arms. These arms will damage the player on contact.
- "E" side wins: A buzzing sound is heard and the Egg Janken displays an angry expression on its screens. It then flips upside down, stretches its arms out to the sides, and proceeds to hovers towards the player before coming crashing down on the ground. Should it hit the player, they will take damage.
- "S" side wins: A ping sound is heard and the Egg Janken displays a distressed expression on its screens. It then shakes violently and stretches its arms out to the side before pulling them back in at high speed, causing it to damage itself.
After hitting itself three times, the Egg Janken will explode, ending the fight. Compared to other bosses in the final version of Sonic Mania, the Egg Janken has the lowest hit-count of them all.
Although not included in the final version of the game, the Egg Janken is fully functional and will operate correctly if put into the final version of Studiopolis Zone. However, no Goal Plate will appear once the Egg Janken has been defeated.
In the game files in the PC version of Sonic Mania, the Heavy Magician is designated as the "Heavy Mystic". This hints that the Heavy Magician may have had another name during the early development of Sonic Mania.
There is an earlier version of the Drillerdroid boss that exists in the game data and is designed for an earlier level layout for Lava Reef Zone Act 1. This version differs in that the drills are not plated in armor and do not have an active hitbox. When the boss drops in, it will drill in its position and cause an eruption that will not damage its armor, but will cause it to open to allow its systems to cool, exposing its weak point. It will then make the rock platforms collapse, causing the player to drop downwards.
The player will then have to goad the boss into landing in the approximate center of the lava pools to cause another eruption and expose its weak point. If it misses, it'll continuously drill on the spot before attempting to jump on the player again. The player must also watch out for the constant stream of fireballs that jump out of the pools. It takes six hits to defeat this version of the boss.
|Act 3||General||Unused Act 3 graphics.|
||Sonic and Tails' wearing goggles||General||Unused animations for Sonic & Tails looking up and looking straight ahead while piloting the Tornado.|
|"PERFECT"||General||Meant when collecting all Rings in either the Special Stage or Main Act Levels.|
|"SPEED"||Could've gone on the HUD and shown the player's speed.|
|Fireball||Green Hill Zone||The fireball from Hill Top Zone's boss in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, with its original graphic. It was replaced with a more detailed burning animation in the final game for bridges.|
|Totem pole||Green Hill Zone||Totem pole sprites from the original Sonic the Hedgehog with updated graphics. However, they still go unused.|
|Checkered ball||Green Hill Zone||The checkered ball from the original Sonic the Hedgehog makes an appearance as an object that can be placed with Debug Mode. It functions similarly to the 2013 remake of the original Sonic the Hedgehog.|
|Love Tester||Studiopolis Zone||In the PC game files for Sonic Mania lies the sprites for what appears to be an unused Love Tester gimmick. While it is unclear from the sprites as to how the machine was actually to function, it can actually be placed in Debug Mode. When a playable character jumps in, they are displayed on the top, and the slots cycle between the other four characters. After the slot stops cycling, every playable character has two results that give 100 points, one that gives 400, and one that gives none.|
|Studiopolis TV||Studiopolis Zone||An unused TV monitor with a background graphic and gradient. It is larger than the one seen in the Weather Globe boss arena.|
|Egg Jacken||Studiopolis Zone||A boss very similar to the Gapsule from, Sonic and Knuckles, was cut from Act 2. In the game's internal object list, its name is the "Egg Janken." In order to beat the boss, the player would have to play a Rock, Paper, Scissors game from its eyes.|
|Wing Fortress turret||Flying Battery Zone||A unused turret that is similar to one that appeared in Wing Fortress Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.|
||Metal panel||Flying Battery Zone||Unused metal panel.|
|Wing Fortress Zone retracting platform||Flying Battery Zone||An unused Wing Fortress Zone object.|
|Spider Mobile's electric bolt||Flying Battery Zone||A larger version of the Spider Mobile's electric bolt that generates plasma orbs.|
|Sky||Flying Battery Zone||An unused tileset for Flying Battery Zone.|
||Early Juggle Saw sprites||Press Garden Zone||This early design of Juggle Saw does not have googly eyes and its legs do not move than in the final game.|
|Woodrow's early design||Press Garden Zone||This version of Woodrow is a lot more hammer-like than the finished design, which looks more like a woodpecker.|
|Texture placeholders||Press Garden Zone||Two placeholder images for Woodrow.|
|Alphabet blocks||Press Garden Zone||Unused backward alphabet letter blocks.|
|Green crates||Press Garden Zone||Unused green crates.|
|Color ink||Press Garden Zone||Big jars of cyan, magenta and yellow ink. When Tails or Knuckles enters the jar, they will be tinted into the following colors. Sonic does not get affected by the objects. During this, there are splash graphics for those jars. In the set of sprites, there is also a high-speed ink wiper to wipe off the ink that the player you has on and big printers on rails to create platforms using the colors from the paint the player has on, while the second printer has a button at the top that the player has to step on to operate. Pressing it will cause it to pause a bit, then go from one side of the rail to the next. There are also on/off lights for both printers, and a sprayer that removes the ink that the player has on.|
|Swinging platform||Press Garden Zone||Act 1's version of the swinging platforms, which are only seen in Act 2.|
|Placeholder graphics||Press Garden Zone||A bunch of placeholder graphics for what would become the level's objects and gimmickry, most of them being imported from IceCap Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 3, along with some shooters from Aquatic Ruin Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.|
|Comedy and Tragedy||Stardust Speedway Zone||Comedy and tragedy mask constellations, which are meant to be seen in Act 1.|
|Crusher object||Stardust Speedway Zone||An unused crusher resembling the one used in Marble Garden Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.|
|Spinning Signpost||Stardust Speedway Zone||The spinning signposts which were seen in the original Stardust Speedway in Sonic the Hedgehog CD, but make no appearance here. They are found in Debug Mode but they use the original graphics from the 2011 remake of the game.|
|Dirt piles||Stardust Speedway Zone||A smaller version of the large dirt piles that the vines sprout out of.|
|Hotaru's movements||Stardust Speedway Zone||Unused frames related to the Hotaru. It can also be placed in Debug Mode, but uses the original graphics from the 2011 remake of Sonic the Hedgehog CD.|
|Hooks||Hydrocity Zone||Early hook graphics, which were replaced in the final game.|
|Piñata Ball Hog||Mirage Saloon Zone||An unused piñata sprite of the Ball Hog.|
||Cactinaut's flash||Mirage Saloon Zone||The Cactinauts, on the seesaws, were supposed to flash, similar to the Sols in Hill Top Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, along with a surprised animation when they are launched in the air. However, they are completely static in the final game.|
|Horizontal booster||Oil Ocean Zone||A horizontal version of the booster objects that propel the player into the launchers. These also went unused in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.|
|Switch||Oil Ocean Zone||An unused gold variant of the silver switches, which are seen in throughout Act 2.|
|Ash Embers||Lava Reef Zone||A separate foreground layer of embers.|
||Fireballs||Lava Reef Zone||Earlier versions of the fireballs in Act 1 from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.|
|Conveyor belt and a spiked platform||Lava Reef Zone||Spiked platforms on conveyor belts, which are seen in Act 2 of this Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, are not present in this game. A corrupted version of the conveyor belt can be found in Act 2 in the lower layer of Knuckles' area.|
|Crystalline boulder||Lava Reef Zone||An updated version of the boulder that Knuckles chucks at Sonic and Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.|
|Giant Chain||Lava Reef Zone||A giant chain link, which can be found in the Heavy Rider's sprite sheet.|
|Super Emerald||Lava Reef Zone||An active version of the Super Emeralds in the Hidden Palace Zone. In the final game, they are nowhere to be seen and replaced by stone relics.|
|Stage editor icons||Lava Reef Zone||Two icons for a stage editor. The "CVYR" graphic shows up in edit mode, but for some reason the white text is not displayed so it is just just a black circle. The "DROP" graphic does not appear at all.|
|Spinning cylinders||Metallic Madness Zone||A spinning version of the cylinders in Metallic Madness Zone, along with an animation labeled as "Barrel" in "MMZ/Platform.bin", which represents the infamous "Barrel of Doom" from Carnival Night Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.|
||Small Tails lifting||Metallic Madness Zone||Two sprites of shrunken Tails lifting something.|
|Tileset||Egg Reverie||A big chunk of of unused tiles, both normal and crystalized form.|
|Slopes||Egg Reverie||Slopes that do not show up anywhere in the stage properly, but they are seen outside of the boss fight.|
|Slopes||Egg Reverie||Quarter-pipes, both normal and crystallized However, the normal versions of the slopes and quarter-pipes are actually just palette swaps of tiles seen in Titanic Monarch Zone.|
|Egg Reverie Zone Icon||Egg Reverie||An unused Save Select icon for Egg Reverie Zone, suggesting that the player would originally been able to start at Egg Reverie Zone instead of having to play through all of Titanic Monarch Zone, just like Doomsday Zone in Sonic 3 & Knuckles.|
|Chaos Emeralds||Blue Spheres||Sprites of the Chaos Emeralds and Super Emeralds redone for Mania with two extra frames and a different color palette These emerald sprites were polished up version of the unused classic sprites.|
|Debug Objects||Blue Spheres||Sprites meant to be used for Debug mode.|
|"TIME TO ESCAPE!"||Special Stage||Possibly if the player grabbed the Chaos Emerald, they had to find an exit to escape before the timer goes out.|
|"HYPER"||Special Stage||A "HYPER" Graphic suggesting that a Hyper form might've been planned.|
|Early Screens||D.A. Garden||Graphics with buttons and screens would have been used in the D.A. Garden and may resemble the Sega CD's UI.|
|Placeholder Icons||Miscellaneous||A few icons for a stage editor|
|Early Splats||Green Hill Zone||The original version of Splats, from Sonic the Hedgehog, which can be placed in Debug Mode in both Acts.|
|N/A||Woodrow Badnik||Press Garden Zone||Graphics for Act 2's Woodrow, which are loaded in from Act 1's enemy sheet.|
|Lava stream and turret||Lava Reef Zone||A stream of lava that falls from the ceiling and a turret enemy that fires bullets when Sonic is near. Defeating it opens a door. There were seen in the early version of the game.|
|Caterkiller||Metallic Madness Zone||The Caterkiller taken from, Sonic the Hedgehog, seemed to have been planned to appear in this stage.|
|Sonic 2 and 3 corrupted objects||Miscellaneous||
Lava Reef Zone
Act 1 prototype layout
Unused objective line
In the game files on the PC version of Sonic Mania lies the sprites for the Special Stages' HUD. Nested among the graphics is an unused headline saying “Time to escape!”. This might indicate that in the early builds of the Special Stage, the player's objective was to escape the Special Stages or some kind of pursuer.
Unused Chaos Emerald sprites
Unused Super Emerald sprites
Unused sprites for Super Emeralds in the Bonus Stages.
Leftover Sonic the Hedgehog (2013) sprites
|Chemical Plant Zone|
|Scrap Brain Zone|
|Hidden Palace Zone|
|Miscellaneous/Various leftover sprites from the mobile ports of Sonic 1, 2, and the failed attempt at a Sonic 3 mobile port. These were later removed in Version 1.03.0831.|
The DA Garden features an unused BGM track named "Egg Reverie Pinch Mode" (listed as #42), suggesting that it would have played if the player is either running low on Rings or is very close to beating the Phantom King and Klepto Mobile boss fight in Egg Reverie Zone. It is also featured in the game's Sound Test in Level Select as "2A"
|MonarchBG||An unused 3D model of the Titanic Monarch mech seen in the background of Titanic Monarch Zone.|
|Sonic||A 3D Sonic model from Sonic Jam.|
Prototype image differences
Green Hill Zone
- In one of the early screenshots, there is a shot of a prototype sprite for Tails airlifting Sonic. This sprite featured Tails showing a much more exaggerated facial expression, with cheek puffed out in exertion. In the final version of the game, Tails' face was redrawn with a much less exaggerated expression.
- In some of the pre-release screenshots, Sonic is shown riding a Zip Line. This Zip Line appears to comprised of a loop of vines with a wooden handle. In the final version of the game, the Zip Line was recolored so that the loop is metal and the handle purple. This change in color scheme also occurred to the circular connectors at each end of the line - the earlier version is metal with a green outer rim, but in the final version of the game, it is purple with a metal outer rim. The Zip Lines are also depicted with their early coloring on the promotional artwork produced for the game's vinyl sountrack.
- In one of the early screenshots, Sonic is shown riding a Zip Line that clip through the wall above it. The same screenshot also depicted a palm tree with a gab in its trunk where a spiked log crosses it. Both of these errors can be contributed to rough tile layouts. Those were fixed in the final version of the game.
- In early screenshots of the Heavy Gunner boss fight, it is shown that the Heavy Gunner was missing the golden "HBH" star badge in the centre of his chest. However, the badge is present on the Heavy Gunner's sprite in the final version of the game.
- A screenshot of Studiopolis Zone Act 2 shows an earlier version of the background. The middle section has the most differences, featuring more rows of monitors as well as pink and blue lights and columns which are absent from the background in the final version of the game. In the final version of the game, much of this is has been replaced with curtains and a window through which a single row of monitors are shown, and some sort of large reflective surface. The giant mixing desk in the lower background is also arranged differently, with only a single row of dials etc. before the giant knobs and buttons begin, rather than three more spaced-out rows as in the background in the final version. Finally, no area matching the one seen here exists in the finished Zone.
- This area is briefly seen in motion in the initial announcement trailer for Sonic Mania.
- A screenshot of Studiopolis Zone Act 2 shows an earlier version of both the background and the Act's lotto machine gimmick. The lotto machine lacks the "Gallop Lotto" logo and rainbow surrounding it in the final version of the game. This image also shows two spinning bars in a "+" shape that shows the central ball's movement; in the final version of the game, there is only a single horizontal bar. The area surrounding the lotto machine also does not appear in the final version of the game.
- This area is briefly seen in motion in the initial announcement trailer for Sonic Mania.
- A screenshot of Studiopolis Zone Act 2 shows an earlier version of both the background and the foreground monitors. In this shot, the monitors' screens are completely white; in the final version of the game, these monitors show the "EGG TV" logo animation on a loop, which has a scanline effect even on the blank white frames. An area similar to this in the screenshot, though not identical, appears near the end of the finished Zone.
- This area is briefly seen in motion in the initial announcement trailer for Sonic Mania.
Flying Battery Zone
- In an early screenshot, the pipework beneath the ground is shown having been laid out in a broken manner just like in the original Flying Battery Zone from Sonic & Knuckles. This was eventually fixed in the final version of the game.
Press Garden Zone
- At Licensing Expo held in Las Vegas on 22 May 2017, a prototype screenshot of Press Garden Zone Act 1 was shown. This shot depicts the level vastly different from its final version: the large ramps in the Act are in different colors with the ramp being colored grey and the connectors at the end being colored copper; in the final version of the game, the colors of these two elements were swapped. The background appears to be much brighter and more summer-like than the final. The foliage on the ramps is also red rather than green as in the final version of the Act. The highest background layer featuring the printing presses also appears to be missing. Finally, the white column in the flooring to the left extends right up to the white floor tiles; in the final version of the Zone, these columns are rarely placed directly beneath the floor. Even in the instances where they are, a band of ornate green under-floor tiles always separates them from the floor itself.
- It is speculated that this is an early version of Press Garden when it was known as Pulp Solstice (found from the game's music files). However this has neither been confirmed or denied.
These are beta elements that were unused at one point but were later added into the game or Sonic Mania Plus in some way or form.
"I'm outer here"
In the source code of Sonic Mania, there are the unused animations and sound clips of Sonic yelling "I'm outer here" before he unceremoniously jumps off the screen, resulting in a Game Over. This is a callback to Sonic the Hedgehog CD, where Sonic does that exact thing if player hangs around too long idling. As of RC 1.05.0713, this animation is no longer unused as the animation for it is used in the redesigned main menu for the Exit option in the PC version only.
Chemical Plant Zone cutscene
Both Sonic and Knuckles have special intros when entering this zone, where they react to a drop of Mega Mack falling on their heads. In Tails' case however, he does not react to it when it falls on him. In the game's files is an unused animation for this event, in which he reacts and blows off the drop with his twin-tails. While appearing to be finished, it is unknown why it went unused. this animation is no longer unused in Sonic Mania v1.04.
An updated version of the animation was later added in to Sonic Mania Plus, overwriting the sequence where it originally went unused.
In the game files, there are unused sprites of an unknown Badnik. This Badnik is designated as "Sweep" in the files. It is unknown if it is related to the Sweeper Badnik, an enemy that first appeared in Sonic Adventure. Whatever the case, it functions similar to the Amenbo from Tidal Tempest in Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
Sweep can be found in the object list for Chemical Plant Zone in Debug Mode. When placed, its vertical position snaps to the water's surface, and it skates back and forth while occasionally firing a spiked projectile from its nose.