Sonic the Hedgehog Was Almost a Human Boy

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog is easily one of the most recognizable characters in gaming. Not only that, but he had quite a busy year with 2017, thanks to the release of two new games – Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania.

But what if Sega had kept the original design for Sonic – a human being?

Yep, it’s true. While speaking with John Szczepaniak on his Untold Story of Japanese Game Developers series, Sonic’s designer, Naoto Ohshima, explained that he had something completely different in mind for the character.

“I created the first design proposal for Sonic after three years in the design department,” he said. “Although it wasn’t Sonic then – the main character was a human boy. I remember the idea struck me right as I was going to bed, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t remember it in the morning. So I drew it quickly in the notebook and then fell asleep.”

Even with this somewhat interesting choice, Ohshima noted that the core of the design was intact with this drawing. “My pitch was that the maps of action games were, at that time, always full of squares, everything at right angles. What if we could make a game where a character was running over smooth terrain, running in circles through loops and such? So I presented my proposal to Sega, and they told me that it probably could not be done. But that if anyone could program it, it would be Yuji Naka. They said that if I could get him on board, we could proceed with the project.”

That artwork with Sonic as a human is now long gone, since it was based on a general outline anyway. But Ohshima noted that Sonic’s final form came with a competition inside Sega to create a new mascot. With that, he also mentioned that Sonic was…a rabbit at some point. But, alas, that changed, and Sonic would eventually take Hedgehog form. Thank goodness.

Sonic has been quite busy lately, with a forthcoming game announcement at SXSW next month, as well as a new movie hitting theaters in 2019. We’re just glad he’s doing it in this form, because we’re not sure how we would’ve received Sonic Boy. (But, hey, maybe that kiss with a human girl in the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog would’ve been a lot less awkward.)


You can check out Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC.

(Hat tip to NintendoLife for the scoop!)