The Sonic Adventure scout road trip conducted by the Sonic Team in South America.

The travel blog, in Japanese, was found in a prototype of Sonic Advenutre. Its translation, from Japanese to French, may seem approximate. I apologize in advance, it's really not easy.

The Sonic Team in South America part 1

In the fall of 1996, approximately six months had passed since the end of the development of Night Into Dreams on Sega Saturn. The Sonic Team was already working on their next game: a new Sonic.

At the start of its development, the six key members of the team had conducted research overseas to find ideas. The region selected was South America. It was necessary to see the ancient ruins that existed with their own eyes rather than through books and TV documentaries .

The world of the new Sonic began on a sunny island, a casino district, and ancient ruins lurking in a dense forest. Sonic 2's "Casino Night Zone" level was filled with pinball machines and slot machines. The map was greatly appreciated. The rendering of this area was probably due to the studio's trip to Las Vegas during the development of Sonic 2.

"Nothing is more useful than the experience you gain yourself. Seeing ancient ruins with your own eyes may lead to new ideas and a new world."

Preparations for this scouting trip were quickly made. In November, they took the plane. There were two main destinations on the program, first the Mayan ruins, scattered throughout the rainforest of Central America, and then the remains of the Inca civilization, from the South American continent. It was the first time that they had all traveled together for a project of this magnitude.

Sonic Team Road Trip 1

Everyone in Tulum

Inhabitant of Machu Picchu

Sonic Team Road Trip Yuji Naka

Take a nap at Tical

Sonic Team Road Trip for Sonic Adventure Dreamcast

Dining in Cancun

Sonic Team Road Trip for Sonic Adventure Dreamcast 2

Exit to the sea

Sonic Team Road Trip for Sonic Adventure Dreamcast 3

On a llama

Sonic Team Road Trip for Sonic Adventure Dreamcast 5

The Sonic Team

Sonic Team Road Trip for Sonic Adventure Dreamcast 6

The Sonic Team in South America part 2

On November 26, a flight took them to Narita Airport in Cancun (Mexico) via Dallas Airport in the United States.

On the 27th, after getting used to the jet lag, they set off to visit the first archaeological site, the ruins of Chichen Itzer, the largest Maya site in Mexico. They were able to admire sculptures of snakes resembling deities, pyramids appearing in the distance, murals on walls, crumbling towers, exotic plants and uprooted trees cluttering the path between the various buildings. Some of these elements will be found in ... Sonic Adventure!

"The landscape of the Castillo stone pyramid made us realize that we were very far from Japan".

On the 28th, they headed for the ruins of Tulum. Tulum directly faces the Caribbean Sea. The smell of the sea and the local wind blew strongly. At the entrance of the Mayan city appeared stone houses in the middle of a pasture of well-tended green grass. A huge temple rose above a cliff overlooking the sea. A coral reef delays its erosion. The contrast between the blue of the water and the green of the forest was striking.

On the 29th, they took a boat to the ruins of San Herbasio on the island of Cozumel. The floating ruins are not those of Sonic 3!

Chichen Itzer

The Sonic Team in South America 3

The adventurers

The Sonic Team in South America 4
The Sonic Team in South America 1

Hotel in Cancun

The Explorer

The Sonic Team in South America 2

The Sonic Team in South America part 3

On the 30th, they flew this time to Guatemala to admire the Tikal ruins in the tropical forest.

Shortly after entering the jungle, a lodge (a kind of campsite), the starting point for exploring the site. The path looked like the one used by cattle. Under their feet, enormous ants made their way, nests of tarantulas buried themselves in the ground. Wild animals were spying on them. The monkeys fought in the trees while the peacocks strutted past them.

A monkey in the jungle

Voyage de la Sonic Team en Amérique du Sud 1

As they walked up the main staircase to the top of the Mayan temple and then looked down, they felt like they just kept going. Trees blocked the view once we got to the top. What they saw as they climbed the stone roof of the temple was an endless expanse of trees. In this wilderness, all they could hear were the cries of monkeys and the chirping of birds.

The next day, December 1, they drove to “Washaktun Ruins”. The road was impassable, mud formed a swamp. A guide told them about the history of the Mayas in front of the Washaktun pyramid, which has a unique style.

By December 2, they had gone to other temples in Tulum that they had not been able to visit the last time. They arrived in Lima on the morning of the 4th. The destination is known for the famous geoglyphs of Nazca.


Voyage de la Sonic Team en Amérique du Sud 2

They climbed it !!!

"This journey was like an Indiana Jones story with the jungle, the Caribbean and the desert."

When their little Cessna (passenger plane) passed through town, the landscape below was nothing more than a grain of sand. They had seen a number of ruins which amazed them and branded them with a hot iron. The most majestic, the most impressive of them were undoubtedly the Nazca lines. In a place where there is nothing, a huge image emerges on the ground. The emotion was at its height!

Voyage de la Sonic Team en Amérique du Sud 3

Is this plane small?

Voyage de la Sonic Team en Amérique du Sud 4

There is nothing

Voyage de la Sonic Team en Amérique du Sud 5

What show

Voyage de la Sonic Team en Amérique du Sud 6

The Sonic Team in South America part 4

On the 5th, they took the road to Cusco, a town in Takayama. Cusco was once the capital of the Inca Empire nestled at 3400 meters above sea level. After its destruction, people continued to live there.

On the 6th, they went to Machu Picchu, a citadel city lurking in the high mountains. It is said that director Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke) visited this place as well. Stone houses appeared and disappeared in the clouds. It was raining, the mist invaded the site. The ghost town was reminiscent of Laputa, the legendary flying garden city of the Japanese director.

lack of oxygen

Sonic Adventure, road trip de la Sonic Team 1

On December 7 they were heading to their last destination, Pachakama. As they descended the mountain by bus, the desert stretched out as far as the eye could see. The temple of Pachakama had many very narrow passages and was like a labyrinth. When they climbed to the top of one of the buildings, the Pacific Ocean appeared to the west.

This is how our six friends ended their longest journey with exhausted body and mind. There was only 30 hours of flight time to get home.

The different places they visited were summed up with the word “ruins”, but each was different and had a special charm. They were able to feel the history of the past emerging there. Their eyes were filled with happiness.

coca tea

Sonic Adventure, road trip de la Sonic Team 2

This road trip strongly inspired Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast


Sonic Adventure, road trip de la Sonic Team 3

The train to Cusco

Sonic Adventure, road trip de la Sonic Team 4

The sonic team is here!

Sonic Adventure, road trip de la Sonic Team 5


Sonic Adventure, road trip de la Sonic Team 6


Sonic Adventure jungle dreamcast

Bonus photos of the premises of the Sonic Team, June Senoue and other musicians:

June Senoue Sonic Adventure Dreamcast

Download the photo pack and the HTLM file containing the blog

Pack photo + htlm link

Download the Sonic Adventure Planet Web prototype containing the set

Sonic Adventure Planet Web V0.500 1999/06/10

Some prototypes related to sonic: