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View Full Version : Confirmed. SEGA Saturn 2 once existed.



Leynos
12-20-2019, 01:34 PM
In a recent interview with IGN Japan, Shenmue game director Keiji Okayasu said something interesting about the game's early development. Shenmue was actually remade twice: Once for a new Sega Saturn with an acceleration chip, and once for the Dreamcast. Only one of these consoles ever saw the light of day and became the last Sega system on the market. In 1996, Sega teamed up with Lockheed Martin to make a beefier Sega Saturn console. The system, described as Saturn 2, would feature Lockheed Martin's new 32-bit Real3D/100 chipset for more powerful consolidated graphics. These chips were also used in Model 3 boards for coin-op arcade machines. That plan never manifested. Then in 1997, Sega approached two of the industry's reigning graphics titans to make chips for their Saturn successor: 3dfx and VideoLogic. Sega actually had two Sega Saturn 2's in development at the same time. One was codenamed Black Belt, used 3dfx's Voodoo graphics tech, and was in development in the U.S. The other was codenamed Katana, used VideoLogic's PowerVR chips, and was in development in Japan. Game developers like the Shenmue team received devkits for Black Belt and started building their projects. Sega eventually cancelled Black Belt, triggering a lawsuit from 3dfx and causing big fallout between Sega Japan and Sega America. Developers had to remake their games for the new system, causing big headaches all around. Lots of internal R&D spending was wasted on the development of the now-cancelled Black Belt. Sega now focused exclusively on Katana, which eventually launched to consumers as the Dreamcast and ultimately killed Sega's hardware ambitions. There's lots of content chronicling why the Dreamcast failed, but the short answer is because of costs. The PS2 absolutely annihilated the Dreamcast thanks to its DVD player, library of games, and backward compatibility. Sony could also make its own chips in-house whereas Sega had to spend millions to customize third-party chips for its consoles. To compete with Sony, Sega already had to drop the Dreamcast's price tag, and supply and support in the U.S. were limited. The system just cost Sega too much in the long run and ended up crippling the company's competitive edge.

Read more: https://www.tweaktown.com/news/69323/shenmue-dev-confirms-sega-saturn-2-black-belt-console-existed/index.html

https://www.tweaktown.com/news/69323/shenmue-dev-confirms-sega-saturn-2-black-belt-console-existed/index.html

zyrobs
12-20-2019, 02:04 PM
These were reported in magazines back in 1996/7. It's nice to see they are "confirmed", but it's not exactly new info.

Gryson
12-20-2019, 02:33 PM
This is the entirety of what was said during the interview in question (https://youtu.be/aoJPBCwGAwk?t=1222):



Interviewer: It must have been difficult remaking Shenmue for the Dreamcast.
Okayasu: Yes, it was difficult. On the Saturn, we also made an upgraded version. Because it was impossible with the current Saturn, we attached some kind of expansion device. So we remade the game twice.
Suzuki: We attached a board with something like an upgraded DSP. It was like an acceleration board.
Okayasu: So we changed to making the game with that, and then after a while, we were told to switch over to the new console.


That doesn't really seem like confirmation of a "Saturn 2" to me, but clickbait titles will always win out.

The article also misunderstands what the Black Belt was.

SegaDreamcast
12-21-2019, 04:55 AM
Sounds more like the Nintendo 64 expansion pack. However, it would have been interesting to see a upgraded Saturn released like the current modern iteration of consoles like the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. Of course, that probably wouldn't have gone well with consumers back then, judging by the overall reception of the 32X.

roce
12-21-2019, 07:00 AM
N64 expansion pak is just RAM, some SNES and NES carts would be more appropriate. (or Virtua things for Gen)

Gryson
12-21-2019, 09:03 AM
Anybody know how this expansion board could be added? Through the MPEG card slot? I assume the cartridge slot couldn't handle it, but I don't really know.

zyrobs
12-21-2019, 09:59 AM
Anybody know how this expansion board could be added? Through the MPEG card slot? I assume the cartridge slot couldn't handle it, but I don't really know.

Both card slots could handle it since they have VDP2 digital inputs in them, but with the MPEG slot you'd be limited in interactions since you'd have to go over the SH1 to access it, I think. The regular cart slot would allow for all cpus to properly communicate with an expansion, since that one has cpu interrupt lines and the SH2 can read data from it directly.

But knowing Sega it probably wouldn't be so simple, but an entirely new console like that Pluto deal, or a bigass mushroom with its own power supply.

axel
12-21-2019, 08:44 PM
Yes this is just what Sega needed in the mid 90s. Another add-on, another bottlenecked design with extra CPUs, another way to split their base. Because the 32X was so successful why not build something else just like it?

Seriously I would have loved to see this. I wonder what kind of performance it would get, maybe something close to the Model 2?

Team Andromeda
12-22-2019, 06:00 AM
I also thought SEGA's Europe PR man Andy Mee, was getting mixed up with the 4 Meg add-on because he was the only one to ever confirm the add-on back in the day and in more than one interview too;There was a small interview with Jason Gosling when he was working on Tomb Raider II for the Saturn and he did mention the cart, but he didn't know what spec it was and then produced a wish list on what he would like to see in the cart.

Well, I take it back. For what its worth Andy Mee said it was to be add on that went into the back slot (not a cart) in the same interview he also said that GunBlade NY could be in development for the Saturn, so I guess that must have been true too.

Virtua Hunter
12-23-2019, 07:53 AM
I remember maybe the same interview by Sega Europe, where thay talked about the expaion cart aimed to Mdoel 3 games in partcular.
They also said that initial Model 3 games like VF3 would be identical, while more advanced Model 3 games like Sega Rally 2 could ve had some differences in the Saturn port.

Basically they confirmed that this espansion was real.

Team Andromeda
12-23-2019, 09:09 AM
I still have all my Mean Machines issues and was able to find one of the Interviews with Andy Mee

https://i.imgur.com/whzxOok.jpg

Gryson
12-23-2019, 09:12 AM
So we're basically talking about something like the RAM expansion cart but for 3D processing? It's an interesting idea, especially if the price can be kept to $50. Edit: that magazine interview suggests it would essentially be given away with VF3, although at likely a higher price than a normal game.

Team Andromeda
12-23-2019, 09:16 AM
So we're basically talking about something like the RAM expansion cart but for 3D processing? It's an interesting idea, especially if the price can be kept to $50.

Looks like a Cart that went into the back of the Saturn. Seems SEGA had the SVP bug and wanted it for the Saturn, its almost like Nintendo in the Snes and NES era and adding in extra chips for performance
I can't possibly see how it would offer Model 3 visuals mind, given even the DC had issues with Model 3 ports. I don't think it would have made any difference either, Final Fantasy 7 killed SEGA Japan and its brave fight against SONY

Gryson
12-23-2019, 09:23 AM
Looks like a Cart that went into the back of the Saturn. Seems SEGA had the SVP bug and wanted it for the Saturn, its almost like Nintendo in the Snes and NES era and adding in extra chips for performance

The success that Nintendo had with including extra chips in-cartridge shows that it could work, though. And of course Sega had plenty of games that made use of the RAM expansion. I doubt it could get to Model 3 levels of quality, but it seems that it was sufficient to overcome whatever hurdles the Shenmue team had encountered.

zyrobs
12-23-2019, 09:52 AM
The success that Nintendo had with including extra chips in-cartridge shows that it could work, though. And of course Sega had plenty of games that made use of the RAM expansion. I doubt it could get to Model 3 levels of quality, but it seems that it was sufficient to overcome whatever hurdles the Shenmue team had encountered.

The Saturn expansion slots had digital video input, so they could have put a graphics accelerator of any quality whatsoever, as long as it fits and the power requirements are handled.

They should've used the hardware from the genesis 3, that single-chip-megadrive, and used it for a backwards compatibility lock-on cart.

Virtua Hunter
12-23-2019, 09:52 AM
Yes that's was the interview. So maybe the part about "differencies in some Model 3 games" was added during translations by other magazine...

Too bad that it never happened, of course it was impossible to reach 1:1 model 3 graphics with a simple add-on, but I think it could've achieved a similar graphics.
Many rumors talked about the Virtua Fighter 3 port with 3D background, and Shenmue Saturn was amazing, better than some PSX title we seen at the end of the 32 bit era.

If only Saturn had little more success...

Team Andromeda
12-23-2019, 11:12 AM
The success that Nintendo had with including extra chips in-cartridge shows that it could work, though. And of course Sega had plenty of games that made use of the RAM expansion. I doubt it could get to Model 3 levels of quality, but it seems that it was sufficient to overcome whatever hurdles the Shenmue team had encountered.

With Nintendo, their games, that had extra chips didn't cost more than a standard game, whereas with SEGA their SVP made VR hugely expensive and their add-on like the 32X or Mega CD was expensive. Trying to give the Saturn Model 3 like visuals weren't going to be cheap.
Also, There was an interview with an old website called the next level and I seem to recall AM#2 saying all the footage that was shown off of Shenmue on the Saturn was done a stock Saturn. To me, those visuals would have been good enough for a 32Bit RPG

But it was SEGA and they were nuts and loved to use the latest tech. But with the upcoming DC project, I saw no need for a hugely expensive add-on that would only work for a few games and where the battle was lost anyway,

Team Andromeda
12-23-2019, 11:18 AM
Many rumors talked about the Virtua Fighter 3 port with 3D background, and Shenmue Saturn was amazing, better than some PSX title we seen at the end of the 32 bit era.

I'm not a fan of comparing an unfinished game to a finished game, I don't see it fair or where one can gage a comparable performance. I wonder how well Shenmue would have run on the Saturn if it was finished and they had to handle player controls and player camera movement Ect.

Its so sad we never see how well Saturn Sonic Adv and Shenmue would have looked and run. In a Sega Ages interview, Rieko Kodama also confirmed that Skies of Arcadia started life as a Saturn project too.

Virtua Hunter
12-23-2019, 04:56 PM
Also, There was an interview with an old website called the next level and I seem to recall AM#2 saying all the footage that was shown off of Shenmue on the Saturn was done a stock Saturn. To me, those visuals would have been good enough for a 32Bit RPG


Yep, AM2 staff said that Shenmue Saturn footage used a stock Saturn.
I wonder if it's still true, and if there is another version of Shenmue Saturn with the 3D accelator, things are getting a little confusing.

Virtua Hunter
12-23-2019, 05:04 PM
I'm not a fan of comparing an unfinished game to a finished game, I don't see it fair or where one can gage a comparable performance. I wonder how well Shenmue would have run on the Saturn if it was finished and they had to handle player controls and player camera movement Ect.

Its so sad we never see how well Saturn Sonic Adv and Shenmue would have looked and run. In a Sega Ages interview, Rieko Kodama also confirmed that Skies of Arcadia started life as a Saturn project too.

So many cancelled/moved projects :(
With games like VF3, Sonic Jam as a complete game, Shenmue Saturn etc. the final years of Saturn could've been amazing.

Team Andromeda
12-29-2019, 08:20 AM
So many cancelled/moved projects :(
With games like VF3, Sonic Jam as a complete game, Shenmue Saturn etc. the final years of Saturn could've been amazing.

I expect games to be moved up to the new system, I only wish SEGA did that with some of the Mega Drive games like Comix Zone, Streets Of Rage 3 Ect. I would have rathered saw Deep Fear moved up to DC production too, but to me, Sonic Adv should have come out on the Saturn and the project should have started long before the end of 1995

stu
01-02-2020, 11:46 PM
https://www.tweaktown.com/news/69323/shenmue-dev-confirms-sega-saturn-2-black-belt-console-existed/index.html


Sorry but most of that article is bullshit, using 25 year old long since debunked Edge articles and an ancient thread from 2012. I seem to recall that members of nspace (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N-Space) ( all of whom were former GE/LMC engineers who worked on the Model 2 Tank game) were asked in an interview about LMC's involvement in a potential Saturn 2 and they said that LMC were eliminated from running at an early stage as their tech was going to be too expensive to be incorporated in to the system. I can't find the actual interview but I seem to recall it was in a magazine like EDGE or similar. There was actually another "Saturn2" project that was started by SOA and Nvidia called the Saturn V08 or Nvidia NV2 project, you can google both of these and find info on it, it has also been mentioned on Sega-16 in interviews and in the "Blast Processing" section in the forums

http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthread.php?25639-Thoughts-on-Sega-s-quot-clean-quot-hardware-design-aspects-and-the-Saturn/page24

Mega Drive Bowlsey
01-05-2020, 03:13 AM
Hey TA, I read that interview you posted from Mean Machines Sega (great mag!) with SOE's Andy Mee back in '96 and this line from him caught my eye, "We have the view that in ten years time the shape of video game entertainment will be radically different." Prophetic words indeed... Back in 1996 it was just unimaginable, especially here in the UK, that by 2006 Sega would be reduced to only being a software company.

TheGreyGhost
03-16-2020, 06:16 PM
I just appreciate when people post this stuff so I don't have to go looking for it. So thank you! This is what Im here for, just look around and read interesting stuff on what I enjoy in my spare time.

vexatious
03-16-2020, 09:18 PM
There was an interview with an old website called the next level

Please tell me about the old website called next level. What was the URL name? Where is it now? What else was available on the webpage? Where can I find it?

Thanks.

Team Andromeda
03-17-2020, 01:52 AM
Please tell me about the old website called next level. What was the URL name? Where is it now? What else was available on the webpage? Where can I find it?

Thanks.

https://www.the-nextlevel.com/features/interviews/am2/



European Correspondent Ali and his associate Heidi Kemps (a.k.a. Zero-chan) bring us this second Sega developer interview straight from Japan. Very special thanks to Taku Kihara (AM2 PR team) and Shin Ishikawa (Shenmue II Xbox team leader) for taking the time to talk with us.

TNL: First of all we would like to congratulate you on a great year and wish you the best for the new year.
A: AM2: Thank you.

Q: What kind of games do you enjoy playing yourself?
A: I like action games like Mario or RPGs like Dragon Quest.

Q: Have you worked on the previous DC Shenmue games?
A: I have worked on all Shenmue versions.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about the unreleased Saturn version? How long had it been worked on, and did it use the experimental Saturn expansion cartridge or the 4meg RAM card?
A: Nearly two years of work was put in the Saturn version. It didnít use a booster cartridge nor did it use the 4meg RAM card, so yes, the game was programmed for, and the footage seen as an extra on Shenmue II is from the code running on a stock Saturn.

Q: Wow, thatís very impressive! Is the Shenmue series likely to continue on the XBox?
A: Maybe, However, I donít know yet if I will be the one producing them.

Q: Why on the Xbox?
A: The hardware is very powerful, so that makes it easier for us to realize our visions for the series.

Q: Shenmue II was AM2's first Xbox project. What do you think of the hardware compared to other high-end hardware like Naomi 2 - which AM2 is working with, and how does the Xbox compare to Naomi 2?
A: They are both high-spec machines. Xbox has a little bit more trouble with transparencies, but overall I think they are comparable technology-wise. Each has their own weaknesses and strengths, but I wouldnít say that overall one has the edge on the other.

Q: Why did you decide to package Shenmue: the Movie with the game?
A: We knew that there would be players new to the series and we wanted them to get a feel for the story. And also as a memory boost for those who had played it when it first came out.

Q: Is there a possibility of Shenmue II being released outside of the U.S.?
A: Yes, Microsoft has already picked it up for release in Europe. As for other markets, we can't comment on that right now.

Q: Did you have any trouble converting Shenmue II to the Xbox?
A: Apart from the aforementioned difficulty with transparencies, no, not really. The Xbox was easy to work with.

Q: How long did it take to convert the game?
A: The entire project took eight months, which is quite short for a game this big.

Q: Can you tell us more about how the chapters relate to the game, like which chapters are included in Shenmue II and which will be included in the prequel and eventual sequels?
(At this point Mr. Ishikawa gets up and writes the timeline on the board, so check the attached picture for a timeline of the chapters.)



Q: Ah, Chapter 2 is not in either game - thatís the chapter on the boat, right? Was this chapter ever planned to be made for either the DC or the Xbox?
A: No, we never intended to include that chapter in either game.

Q: The European DC version of Shenmue II was the most imported game in the U.S. ever, so much so that it must have eaten into some of the sales of the Xbox version. How did you feel about that?
A: We are happy that so many people felt so strongly about the game that they wanted to import it. It was proof that the fanbase for the game is very strong and helped us in the decision to make more Shenmue games.

Q: About Shenmue III then: I see that it will start from Chapter 7. Will it take place in China as well?
A: Yes, Shenmue III will be in China as well. Those of you who have finished the second one know that the story will expand enormously, and we will try to incorporate many exciting elements of Chinese culture et cetera into the game.

Q: Interesting. Will it be entirely in China or will Ryo leave China at some point?
A: I'm afraid we can't give that sort of information yet.

Q: When can we expect Shenmue III and further sequels to release?
A: That has not been decided yet.

Q: Okay, aren't you afraid that if you take a long time between the games that interest in the series will dwindle down?
A: The series continues because of very strong fan requests. The fans want them, so we make them. We can't say yet when the sequels will be released, but we will do our best to not let the fans down. So, I would like to say to the fans: please look forward to more Shenmue games on Xbox.

Q: Thank you. How do you feel about the entire series and all chapters (including those not yet released)?
A: I can't answer that at this point, I'd need to see how Shenmue III turns out first.

Q: Years ago, before Shenmue I, there were rumours about a Virtua Fighter RPG. That turned out to be Shenmue III. How has Virtua Fighter influenced Shenmue?
A: We incorporated moves and fighting styles from VF in Shenmue, so we took some of the martial arts themes and settings and used those in the game as well.

Q:There are a lot of rumours circulating about the Xbox-based Chihiro arcade hardware. Can you tell us more about that and about eventual further Xbox plans?
A: (Takuan replies) At the moment we can only confirm Virtua Cop 3. We would rather not discuss more at this point.

Q: Sega anounced a slew of remakes of older games for PS2 and Xbox recently. Will we see any older AM2 games added to those, and who decides wich games get the make over?
A: We decide which games get remade together with our partners.

Q: Nice, what about remakes of AM2 games for Xbox then?
A: If there is enough demand by fans to release a remake of a certain game, we will try oure best to accommodate.

Thank you both very much! I'm sure Shenmue fans worldwide will appreciate this interview.


Feedback and flames (as always) are welcome at ali@the-nextlevel.com. Note: This interview was conducted for TNL and BeGN (http://www.begn.be) by Ali and Zero.

gamevet
03-18-2020, 02:04 AM
Please tell me about the old website called next level. What was the URL name? Where is it now? What else was available on the webpage? Where can I find it?

Thanks.

It still exists, only as a forum. I've been a member of those forums for what seems like forever. They just turned off the ability for new members to join, because of all of the people joining just to spam the forums.