Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Naoto Ohshima surprised fans this past weekend with a bombshell: The Blue Blur that we know and love was inspired by a human boy from a concept game he had sketched called Twin Stars, and he shared art to go with it.
The designer revealed on Twitter Saturday (via CBR) that, before Sonic became one of the most famous video game characters in the industry, Ohshima drafted Twin Stars, an action game revolving around twin boys who defend their dream world from an evil entity named Thirteen, who hails from Nightmare World. The early concept art Ohshima shared showed the human boys having spiky hair and running around just as fast as Sonic the Hedgehog, but one of them had blue hair that was a few shades brighter than that of the blue hedgehog he eventually evolved into. If you look even closer, the character’s clothes have a red, white, and blue color pattern that Sonic was designed with — even the yellow star on his shirt would turn into his golden shoe buckles.
I made a draft of the game. An action game about twin brothers who protect the dream world from Nightmare World's boss "Thirteen". It evolved into Sonic.
私はゲーム原案書を作った。 ナイトメア世界のボス「サーティーン」から夢の世界を守る双子のアクションゲーム。 ソニックに進化した pic.twitter.com/nJECKnsI4w
— Naoto Ohshima (@NaotoOhshima) January 21, 2023
Twin Stars never materialized into a full game, but some elements from the world in the concept art made their way into Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis: the loop-de-loop, palm trees, and the rocky terrain that became the iconic Green Hill Zone. To demonstrate the differences between the two games, Ohshima shared early artwork of Sonic with Dr. Eggman, who was originally dressed as a bumblebee, and Madonna, Sonic’s human love interest who would ultimately not appear in the series.
Further down in the thread, a fan asked if there was any truth to the claim about the first Sonic game taking place in a dreamlike world a la Alice in Wonderland. “It was an idea for a game that I came up with on my own,” he replied. “We became a team, we became Sonic, and the idea of speed and balls was born. And evolved into the current Sonic. Since I switched to Sonic, I needed time to create a Sonic world.”
We’ve seen plenty of concept art for Sonic’s design in the past, from a rabbit to a man with an upright spiked hairdo, but a human boy with a hairstyle somewhat similar to his was unheard of. Then again, we have seen fan art of Sonic as a human teenager on DeviantArt, albeit in the style of the Adventure series.