- Not to be confused with the real-world corporation Studiopolis, Inc.
Concept and creation
Studiopolis Zone Act 2 (at the time, it was Act 1) was the first Zone developed for Sonic Mania (which was known as Sonic Discovery back then). Back then, this Zone was presented to Takashi Iizuka of Sega to showcase the developers' capabilities.
This Zone is set up in a high skyscraper city decorated with studio equipment, cinema elements and theater objects.
The first Act takes place in the color-filled city, whose tall skyscrapers and buildings can be spotted in the background. Along the paths are street lamps with spinning rings inside, frail shop windows filled with TV sets, giant popcorn machines, satellite dish-mounted vans, TVs, director chairs, and giant clapperboards. Dotted around the Zone are LED marquees spelling out various phrases.
In the second Act, the action moves into a large television studio-like environment. This area is dominated by images in Dr. Eggman's likeness. Features here include stacks of monitors with Eggman's face on them, unstable stage lights, electric cables, flappable panels that reveal words and phrases, and giant glass spheres that are designed like lottery machines.
In Studiopolis Zone, Sonic, Tails and Knuckles burst into the Zone from a manhole, whose utility vault is connected to a pipe the trio entered back in Chemical Plant Zone. In this incredible city, the trio resume their hunt for Dr. Eggman and the Phantom Ruby. Along the way, they defeat the Heavy Gunner, one of the Hard Boiled Heavies, when he and his battalion of Egg-Robos attack them.
When the heroic trio finds Eggman, the doctor escapes after they defeat him. However, a news feed quickly appears on a nearby giant monitor, showing the Flying Battery flying over the Zone. This prompts Sonic and co. to take off, only for them to reappear on the monitor and grab onto the blimp.
Having dived into a sewer pipe in the Chemical Plant Zone, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty and Ray follow it until they emerge from a manhole in Studiopolis Zone. From within this city, the heroes continue their quest to retrieve the Phantom Ruby from Dr. Eggman. Outside a film studio however, the Heavy Gunner, one of the Hard Boiled Heavies, and his battalion of Egg-Robos, attack Sonic and co. Fortunately, the heroes are able to beat them.
Sonic and co. soon find Eggman in a film studio, and are able to defeat him. However, the doctor escapes. It is then that a news feed appears on a nearby monitor, which announces the return of the Flying Battery as it flies through the Zone. Reacting quickly, Sonic and his gang take off and are able to grab onto the blimp when it passes by.
Along the paths in Studiopolis Zone Act 1 are certain sections with TV shops in the background whose windows will shatter when the player passes by them at high enough speed. In terms of interactive gimmicks, Studiopolis Zone Act 1 features giant popcorn machines that can shoot the playable characters to higher areas when entered and interacted enough with, enterable vans that can transmit the player through satellite dishes across the Zone and out of TVs, director chairs that can take the playable characters to higher area when stood on, and giant clapperboards that shoot the player upwards like the Jump Panels. There are also panels with Eggman on them that, when flipped, will reward the player with a Monitor.
Studiopolis Zone Act 2 have a number of exclusive gimmicks. These include stage lights that can be used as platforms before they fall down from being stepped on, tiles that reveal different words and phrases when flipped, electrical cables that function like high-speed warp tubes, funnels that grant points the longer the playable characters take to pass through them, and giant flywheel-like film reels that can be moved into different positions. There are also giant lottery machines that when entered, will dispense four lottery balls that make up a sum equating to how many rings the player will earn. If an Eggman ball is dispensed, the player will instead lose rings equal to the sum of the other three balls.
Across both Acts of Studiopolis Zone are floating red orbs with a white star on. These orbs can repel the playable characters like a Bobbin when they hit them. However, they also move around like balloons when touched, so they may be difficult to bounce around with in controlled fashion. Both Acts also make heavy use of the Bobbin gimmick, which often appears in different formations.
Here, the player runs down a neon sparkling broadway that includes gimmicks unique to this Zone. In the second half of this Act, the gameplay changes to a chase battle between the player and Heavy Gunner.
In this act, the player is sent down a golden pathway filled with a variety of springs exclusive to this Zone, into a lottery machine, and from there is sent into a funnel leading into a blue checkered tube.
The boss of Studiopolis Zone Act 1 is the Heavy Gunner, one of the Hard Boiled Heavies. The Heavy Gunner starts out by coming out flying with the Egg-Robos and his own Police Copter. The objective of this fight is simply to knock back the blue missiles that are shot at the playable characters. The Heavy Gunner will shoot three missiles, two which actually harm the player and one that can damage the Heavy Gunner himself when knocked back at him with a simple attack. Knocking back four missiles will defeat this boss.
The boss of Studiopolis Zone Act 2 is the Weather Globe, a modified form of Dr. Eggman's Egg Mobile. The battle against Dr. Eggman begins as the playable character arrives in front of a large television monitor that reads "Egg TV". Dr. Eggman descends into the arena as the image of a Cluckoid appears on the monitor. On the monitor, a small panel will spin and reveal one of three attacks that Eggman will conduct while he floats back and forth across the arena. Hit Eggman eight times to claim victory.
- Studiopolis Zone was the first new Zone revealed for Sonic Mania.
- Studiopolis Zone is the only Zone in the game where the music for the Act 1 boss battle is not the "mini-boss" theme ("Danger on the Dance Floor")
- Coincidentally, Studiopolis is the name of the post-production studio that records voices for the Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Boom series. Christian Whitehead himself said that the developers had alternate names, such as "Opening Night" and "Fame Plaza", if the studio would not like their use of their name.
- Studiopolis Zone Act 2 had a very different background in the footage seen in the Sonic 25th Anniversary reveal trailer.
- The animation sequence at the end of Chemical Plant Zone Act 2 has the character going through a tube that leads to this Zone, which could likely mean this Zone's location is possibly on West Side Island.
- The Studiopolis Zone features several references and Easter eggs:
- Studiopolis Zone Act 1 has neon signs with the words "Pink Bot" on them. This is a reference to the similar "Pine Pot" signs featured in the first stage of Sega's side-scrolling beat'em up game Streets of Rage.
- In Studiopolis Zone Act 1, the words "COPE" and "CPU" can be seen on a train in the background. These are references to the similar neon-colored words from Spring Yard Zone in the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
- In Studiopolis Zone Act 1 are television vans with the words "High-Class" and "Hornet" on them. This is a references to the NR2003 Hornet from Sega's arcade racing game Daytona USA.
- The sound effect the "Hornet" vans in Studiopolis Zone Act 1 make when the player enters them is exactly the same as the sound heard in Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball when the player enters doors.
- The teleportation rings emitted by the "Hornet" vans in Studiopolis Zone Act 1 are similar to those utilized by the Ring Shooter in the Death Egg Zone from Sonic & Knuckles.
- The popcorn machine gimmick in Studiopolis Zone Act 1 that is labeled "SegaSonic Popcorn Shop" is a reference to SegaSonic Popcorn Shop, an arcade vending machine released in 1993.
- In Studiopolis Zone Act 1, there are a number of LED signs that makes reference to previous Sega material:
- One sign says "LOCK-ON TECHNOLOGY". This is a throwback to the Lock-On feature for the Sega Genesis cartridges for Sonic & Knuckles.
- One sign says "GOOD GREAT AWESOME OUTSTANDING AMAZING". This is a reference to the announcer from in the Wii version Sonic Colors who shouts the same words when the player pulls off a Trick Action.
- One sign says "BY THE MANIA, FOR THE MANIA". This is a nod to the catchphrase Takashi Iizuka came up with during the development of Sonic Mania.
- One sign says "TO BE THIS GOOD TAKES AGES...TO BE THIS GOOD TAKES SEGA". This is a reference to the tagline used for the Sega Mega Drive advertisements in the United Kingdom.
- In Encore Mode, one sign says "HIT IT, TURN IT UP, GET DOWN". This is part of the lyrics for the theme song for Stardust Speedway in Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- In Encore Mode, one sign says "ENCORE", a reference to the Encore Mode of Sonic Mania Plus.
- In Encore Mode, one sign says "IF YOU'RE NOT SPINNING, YOU'RE NOT WINNING".
- In Encore Mode, one sign says "FROM TODAY ON, I AM INTERESTING".
- The rotating UFO-like street lamps in Studiopolis Zone Act 1 incorporate the unused UFOs from the Marble Zone in the original Sonic the Hedgehog into their design.
- In Studiopolis Zone Act 1, there are large vintage televisions with red, green and blue marks on them. These marks resemble the ones featured in the official logo of the Sega Game Gear. The small red switch light on the left side is identical to the power light seen on the previously mentioned handheld console.
- In Studiopolis Zone Act 1, there is an advertising sign in the background with the words "Club Spin AGES" on it. This is a callback to numerous Japanese arcade clubs under the title "Club Sega". The part "AGES" itself refers separately to the playable character with same name from Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed whose name is a reference to a past Sega motto.
- One of the four Egg-Robos during the boss battle with the Heavy Gunner in Studiopolis Zone Act 1 is piloting a larger helicopter-like vehicle loosely based on the classic Egg Mobile. Many design elements that this vehicle has in common with the Egg Mobile include its shape and helicopter attachment seen from the Egg Mobile design in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and pair of mechanical feet featured in the Egg Mobile in Sonic the Hedgehog (1991).
- In Studiopolis Zone Act 1 and 2, there are clapperboards containing the time that has passed in the Zone, and the Sega logo with the initials CW, HC and PWG, which stands for Christian Whitehead, Headcannon and PagodaWest Games respectively (the developers of Sonic Mania).
- In Studiopolis Zone Act 2, there are various flippable clusters of tiles that when touched will show one of four messages that reference previous Sega material:
- One set of tiles shows "GENESIS DOES". This is a throwback to the quote "Genesis Does What Nintendon't" slogan that was used for the Sega Genesis in the United States.
- One set of tiles shows "LOCK ON", again referencing the Lock-On feature for Sonic & Knuckles.
- One set of tiles shows "WELCOME TO THE NEX LEVEL". This is a throwback to the tagline used in Sega commercials between 1992-1994. Due to how the panels are set, the "t" in "NEXT" is absent.
- One set of tiles shows "EGGMAN PIRATE TV". This is a throwback to "SEGA Pirate TV", a mock pirate TV station which was part of a European Sega ad campaign in the early 1990s.
- In Encore Mode, one set of tiles spell out "LET'S GO". This is could be a reference to an unused sign from Spring Yard Zone in the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
- In Encore Mode, one set of tiles spell out "THIS IS COOL", which is a reference to the Sega Saturn's "This is COOL" slogan that was printed on its Skeleton and Derby models. It is also in reference to the Sega Saturn's Cool Pad controller.
- In Encore Mode, one set of tiles spell out "DOOR INTO SUMMER". This is a reference to the Isolated Island's theme in Knuckles' Chaotix.
- In Encore Mode, one set of tiles spell out "TOOT TOOT SONIC WARRIOR". This is the a part of the lyrics for the song "Sonic - You Can Do Anything" which is the opening theme from the Japanese and PAL version of Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- The name "Gallop Lotto" on the lottery machines in Studiopolis Zone Act 2 is a reference to the NR2003 Hornet from Sega's arcade racing game Daytona USA.
- In Studiopolis Zone Act 2, the sound effect heard when entering a funnel is the same one used for similar gimmicks in Casino Paradise Zone and Angel Island Zone from Sonic Advance.
- In Studiopolis Zone Act 2, there is a path inverter gimmick that is seemingly based on a similar gimmick in Mushroom Hill Zone in Sonic & Knuckles.
- During the battle with the Weather Globe in Studiopolis Zone Act 2, the figure that can be seen on the TV screen in the background is a Cluckoid, a Badnik from Sonic & Knuckles.
- The sun symbol used in the weather forecast during the Weather Globe boss battle is a reference to a similar symbol seen in manuals for Sega Mega Drive games which was used to warn owners about exposing game cartridges to direct sunlight.
- After completing Studiopolis Zone Act 2, if the player listens carefully, a buzzing sound can be heard. This is the same buzzing sound that constantly played throughout the Sonic 25th Anniversary Party Livestream (where Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces were first announced). The livestream was quite infamous for having several technical issues that made it difficult to watch.
- At the end of Studiopolis Zone Act 2, the numbers 072216 can be seen on the test card that is shown on the TV screen in the background. This is a reference to the date of Sonic 25th Anniversary Party (representing the date of the event on 07/22/2016).
- In the transition cutscene from Studiopolis Zone Act 2 and Flying Battery Act 1, the banner on the monitor says "BREAKING! FLYING BATTERY RETURNS!", alluding to the fact that this was the first time Flying Battery made an appearance since Sonic & Knuckles.
- The cameras seen in the act 2 zone are from Amazing Arena.
- Studiopolis Zone is featured as the setting on the regular front cover of the now-cancelled Sonic the Hedgehog #293. It is likely that it was going to be the main setting of the issue.
- In the game files, it was discovered sprites that indicates that at some point in the development of Sonic Mania the Act 2 boss fight would be a Rock-Paper-Scissors battle, which references to Alex Kidd, another classic Sega title as well as the predecessor to Sonic as Sega's mascot.
- In the game files are leftover unused sprites for a Love Tester featuring Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy and Dr. Eggman. The objective would have been to gain more points.
- The music for Act 1 of Studiopolis Zone, titled "Lights, Camera, Action!", is featured as a track in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
|Lights, Camera, Action!||Tee Lopes, Falk Au Yeong (mixing)||3:08|
|Prime Time||Tee Lopes, Falk Au Yeong (mixing)||2:23|
- Live Sonic Mania Developer Playthrough (1:35:20). Stealth (20 August 2017). Retrieved on 22 August 2017.
- Headcannon (10 September 2017). Back In Action. Tumblr. Retrieved on 7 October 2017.
- Sonic Mania official website (Japanese). Stages: Studiopolis. Sega. Retrieved on 14 April 2017.
- Sonic Retro (22 December 2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2017.
- 7 Sega Easter Eggs in Sonic Mania & Sonic 2017. YouTube. Retrieved on 24 July 2016.
- 7 Amazing things that went unused in Sonic Mania. The Sonic Stadium (4 September 2017). Retrieved on 7 September 2017.
- Tee Lopes on Twitter. Twitter (23 June 2017). Retrieved on 24 June 2017. “Tee Lopes: So many people talking about how much brighter and clearer Studiopolis sounds! That my friends, is the @baldfalk magic...”