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Thread: Behind the Design: Disney's Aladdin

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    Blast processor Melf's Avatar
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    Sonic Behind the Design: Disney's Aladdin

    Sega-16 takes a comprehensive look behind the making of a true Genesis classic. We've spoken to a dozen people involved at Disney, Sega, and Virgin Games, including programmer David Perry and former Disney Software Producer Patrick Gilmore. We even spoke to people who worked on the film! Read on to learn the full story behind the creation of this Genesis classic!

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    Hedgehog Lord Jesse813's Avatar
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    Great article Melf really enjoyed reading it

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    Bite my shiny, metal ***! Hero of Algol retrospiel's Avatar
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    Impressive amount of research, Melf!!! Can't wait to study the article in its entirety tomorrow morning at breakfast
    The Mega Drive was far inferior to the NES in terms of diffusion rate and sales in the Japanese market, though there were ardent Sega users. But in the US and Europe, we knew Sega could challenge Nintendo. We aimed at dominating those markets, hiring experienced staff for our overseas department in Japan, and revitalising Sega of America and the ailing Virgin group in Europe.

    Then we set about developing killer games.

    - Hayao Nakayama, Mega Drive Collected Works (p. 17)

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    Beat Em Ups Master of Shinobi cowboyscowboys's Avatar
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    Want that Sega CD version. Even if it just had enhanced music all the disney games should of had a CD version.
    Women Asian Please
    Beat Em Up- Streets of Rage 2
    Platformer- Sonic 3 and Knuckles
    Run and Gun- Gunstar Heroes
    Adventure- Story of Thor
    Action- Shinobi 3

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    VA1LT CHIP ENABLED Master of Shinobi OverDrone's Avatar
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    Really, really well done article Melf. I didn't even know about the original Blue Sky connection myself

    As for the game and it's status as a classic, I admit I am no Disney fan so never played it I hear from reputable sources that it has some niggling gameplay issues though, like the main character ending up too close to the edge of the screen etc.

    In that sense it doesn't surprise me that some people think Capcom's effort is the superior one.

    But overall, something as 'inconsequential' as that did nothing to stem the enthusiasm for the cartoon cell graphics and animation at the time as we can all recall.

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    Wow... Very impressive article.

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    Bite my shiny, metal ***! Hero of Algol retrospiel's Avatar
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    Question

    It was not unusual for the time that a video game developer wasn't granted access to the proprietary assets of their source material. In fact the opposite was the case. Aladdin for Genesis is the very first time that I heard about a company sharing assets to assist the development of a game. You can be sure that Capcom did the SNES game without any assistance from Disney.


    What is really weird regarding Sega and Disney is the odd distribution of licenses between Sega of America and Sega of Japan. Here's a quick list of who did what:

    1990:
    Castle of Illusion MD (Emiko Yamamoto, SOJ)
    1991:
    Castle of Illusion SMS/GG (Emiko Yamamoto/Aspect for SOJ)
    Fantasia MD (Infrogrames for SOA)
    Quackshot MD (Emiko Yamamoto, SOJ)
    Lucky Dime Caper SMS/GG (Emiko Yamamoto/Aspect for SOJ)
    1992:
    Ariel The Little Mermaid MD/GG (Blue Sky for SOA) (GG to SMS port: TecToy)
    TaleSpin MD/GG (Blue Sky? for SOA)
    Land of Illusion SMS/GG (Emiko Yamamoto/Aspect for SOJ)
    World of Illusion MD (Emiko Yamamoto, SOJ)
    1993:
    Aladdin MD (Virgin for SOA)
    Aladdin SMS/GG (SIMS for SOJ)
    Deep Duck Trouble SMS/GG (Emiko Yamamoto/Aspect for SOJ)
    1994:
    Legend of Illusion GG (Emiko Yamamoto/Aspect for SOJ) (GG to SMS port: TecToy)
    Bonkers GG/MD (Sega interActive for SOA)

    The games by Emiko Yamamoto/AM7 and Aspect are fantastic! When they let SOJ hire SIMS to do Aladdin for SMS/GG (which is excellent btw), why did SOA hire Blue Sky or Virgin for Aladdin on MD ? Why didn't Emiko Yamamoto/AM7 get to do more Disney games ? It seems she quit Sega after SOJ's contract with Disney ran out and she got to produce the Magical Quest sequels at Capcom.

    *Aspect also did the 8-bit Sonic and Asterix games, and the excellent 8-bit versions for Batman Returns, Taz-Mania and Jurassic Park - all of which are way, waaaaaaaaaaay better than the 16-bit games (aside of Sonic of course).

    Aladdin by SIMS:



    The Aspect 16-bit ports:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqrsLIF1YL0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spwPsZFrEqw (Motohiro Kawashima soundtrack!!!!)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QgRF7YAjMw
    Last edited by retrospiel; 03-12-2014 at 12:28 PM.
    The Mega Drive was far inferior to the NES in terms of diffusion rate and sales in the Japanese market, though there were ardent Sega users. But in the US and Europe, we knew Sega could challenge Nintendo. We aimed at dominating those markets, hiring experienced staff for our overseas department in Japan, and revitalising Sega of America and the ailing Virgin group in Europe.

    Then we set about developing killer games.

    - Hayao Nakayama, Mega Drive Collected Works (p. 17)

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    Wildside Expert Txai's Avatar
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    Intriguing article. Worth reading all the way through.

    Prince of Persia already had nicely done rotoscope animation. But that didn't stop this one from having groundbreaking graphics. And the characters are so vivid, like those guards doing the "come on" gesture (Gunstar Heroes did it first, but the animation isn't as fluid. don't worry, GH. you're still better in my book).

    I think it is safe to say that this game inspired the hand-drawn graphics and fluid animation in Boogerman. Later on, there would be more titles with characters that'd adhere to this style and look as lively, such as Metal Slug and Hard Corps: Uprising.
    Last edited by Txai; 03-12-2014 at 01:33 PM.

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    Blast processor Melf's Avatar
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    Sega didn't hire Virgin to do Aladdin on MD, Disney did. The common misconception was that Sega published and had Virgin develop. In reality, Sega published, but it had no say in development. That was entirely between Disney and Virgin. Sega's task was distribution and promotion. Both Sega and Virgin responded to Disney, who had the final say on everything.

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    Raging in the Streets A Black Falcon's Avatar
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    First, the article is outstanding! This has to be one of Sega-16's best articles yet. Really great work.



    Um, I don't know where you got your information, but I've never heard of any of these three games being developed by Aspect; they were developed by Sega. And looking at game credits on Mobygames, it's clear that yes, Sega made the games; I see one person who also worked on Aspect games on Castle of Illusion's staff, but all the others are clearly Sega only. And I don't see any evidence of Aspect working on Asterix either. You are wrong; they only made SOME games in these franchises, not all of them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Christuserloeser View Post
    Castle of Illusion SMS/GG (Emiko Yamamoto/Aspect for SOJ)
    Lucky Dime Caper SMS/GG (Emiko Yamamoto/Aspect for SOJ)
    Land of Illusion SMS/GG (Emiko Yamamoto/Aspect for SOJ)
    Again, Sega itself made the three above games. Aspect did not work on them. This is probably why they are actually good games; Sega was a good developer... unlike Aspect.

    These two below ARE by Aspect, and they're both quite mediocre and disappointing compared to the above games, or most of Sega's non-Aspect platforms as well.
    Deep Duck Trouble SMS/GG (Emiko Yamamoto/Aspect for SOJ)
    Legend of Illusion GG (Emiko Yamamoto/Aspect for SOJ) (GG to SMS port: TecToy)
    *Aspect also did the 8-bit Sonic and Asterix games,
    Again, nope. Aspect did NOT make the first Sonic game for the GG, and did not make Tails' Sky Patrol either, or Sonic Labyrinth or the other spinoffs. They only made Sonic 2, Sonic Chaos, Sonic Triple Trouble, Tails Adventure, and Sonic Blast, all of which are worse than Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog (SMS/GG). Heck, I even like Tails' Sky Patrol more than all of those games... but Tails' Sky Patrol is apparently by JSH (worked on the also good GG Ristar with Sega) and Sims, so yeah, it had a better team on it. As for Asterix, Aspect made the second GG Asterix game, but not the first one.

    Tails' Adventure might be Aspect's best GG game, but it's still kind of average...

    and the excellent 8-bit versions for Batman Returns,
    You're right about this one, Aspect did make GG Batman Returns.

    Taz-Mania and Jurassic Park - all of which are way, waaaaaaaaaaay better than the 16-bit games (aside of Sonic of course).
    Wrong again. Taz-Mania for GG was by NuFX, an American team. It's not that good. Jurassic Park was by Sega of Japan. It's alright, I guess, but isn't "way better" than the Genesis games. Aspect did make the sequel, The Lost World, but that's a very mediocre, incredibly short, bland game that you can finish in almost minutes; it's by far the worst Lost World game on a Sega platform.
    Last edited by A Black Falcon; 03-12-2014 at 03:37 PM.

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    The development insight was fascinating and it's a fine piece of craftmanship from a technical standpoint. Though as a game I have a pretty dismissive attitude towards it. It was released at a point when platformers were as saturated as cinematic shooters are today, and Aladdin just doesn't do anything special at all to hold my interest for long. That's why I find it kind of funny when they talk about really needing to set it apart from the bulk of platformers coming out at the time, but then focus almost entirely on the graphics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonmaster Lou View Post
    Wow... Very impressive article.
    Agreed.

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    Bite my shiny, metal ***! Hero of Algol retrospiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Black Falcon View Post
    Um, I don't know where you got your information, but [...] looking at game credits on Mobygames
    SMSPower.org & SMSPower forums, GDRI, Wikipedia are what I use mostly when looking for info on Sega's 8-bit games. I found a thread at SMSPower that listed Aspect's inolvement in many SMS/GG games, although GDRI ultimately decided not to credit most games to Aspect unless they were solely made by Aspect staff.

    Last I checked Mobygames they listed "Sega of America" as developer for Castle of Illusion. I submitted the correct credits but it got rejected. Mobygames fucking sucks. They also (used to?) group tons of different games and ports by their common title, what a train wreck.

    Quote Originally Posted by A Black Falcon View Post
    it's clear that yes, Sega made the games
    Great info, really. Very helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by A Black Falcon View Post
    You are wrong / wrong wrong wrong / they only made SOME games in these franchises, not all of them.
    Ok, if I am wrong about something I love to be corrected but with you... I really don't like your condescending tone. Never did. You are working straight up towards my Ignore list dear sir. However awesome your avatar might be.


    Quote Originally Posted by A Black Falcon View Post
    Wrong again. Taz-Mania for GG was by NuFX, an American team. It's not that good.
    What the? did you even bother reading? I listed the SMS version not the GG version. I even LINKED to a Youtube video for the SMS version...


    As for the rest of your scribbling: I never claimed Aspect made Sonic 1, and you are not correct either: Ancient (Yuzo Koshiro's team) made Sonic 1. I thought that was common knowledge around these parts.

    And what is your problem with Aspect anyway ? I fucking wish we got these games on MD too, not only on SMS. They'd be better than 75% of the MD's existing library. Or more like 90% probably.


    Anyway: point of my previous post was that I wonder why SOJ was kept out from future Disney games? They had the talent, SOA did not (see Fantasia, Ariel, TaleSpin, Bonkers). I really desperately wanted more Emiko Yamamoto games on MD, but for some reason they never made any more since 1992 but kept making a couple more for SMS/GG and then stopped altogether. Why was that ?
    Last edited by retrospiel; 03-12-2014 at 04:54 PM.
    The Mega Drive was far inferior to the NES in terms of diffusion rate and sales in the Japanese market, though there were ardent Sega users. But in the US and Europe, we knew Sega could challenge Nintendo. We aimed at dominating those markets, hiring experienced staff for our overseas department in Japan, and revitalising Sega of America and the ailing Virgin group in Europe.

    Then we set about developing killer games.

    - Hayao Nakayama, Mega Drive Collected Works (p. 17)

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    Master of Shinobi Bottino's Avatar
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    Awesome article Melf, congratulations.

    Aladdin is a game that always puts a smile on my face, and it's great to know how it came to be.

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    Raging in the Streets A Black Falcon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christuserloeser View Post
    SMSPower.org & SMSPower forums, GDRI, Wikipedia are what I use mostly. I found a thread at SMSPower that listed Aspect's inolvement in many SMS/GG games, although GDRI ultimately decided not to credit most games to Aspect unless they were solely made by Aspect staff.
    You do seem to be right about this, but there's a huge difference in gameplay, design, and quality between the titles that had Sega people leading development with some Aspect people maybe helping out lower down, and the titles that Aspect actually made on its own. I like most of Sega's (and Sims', and Ancients') GG platformers, and dislike all of Aspect's except for maybe Tails' Adventure. There are exceptions of course -- Tom & Jerry: The Movie is one of the worst games I own for GG and that one is by Sims -- but generally Aspect's games are weak.

    Last I checked Mobygames they listed "Sega of America" as developer for Castle of Illusion. I submitted the correct credits but it got rejected. Mobygames fucking sucks.
    Mobygames is by far the best English-language source for game credits; no other site is even close. They do have some issues with developer attribution, but all sites have that, and Mobygames is at least a lot better than GameFAQs there. The site does have somewhat high requirements for submissions, though, that is true, but that helps keep out some bad stuff too... (you know, bad edits, etc.)

    As for GG/SMS Castle of Illusion, Mobygames currently credits Sega Enterprises, Ltd -- that is, Sega -- for developing the game. They do not credit Sega of America. I don't know if they did before.

    Great info, really. Very helpful.
    If you look up game credits on Mobygames, they list all the staff of these games. I do see a few people who worked on both the Sega-credited and Aspect-credited games, but most of the people on the Sega-credited games only worked on those and not also the Aspect games. If those people credited with both were working at Aspect on the Sega titles as you say, they clearly weren't the lead developers on the games... unlike Aspect's own games that Aspect does have credit for.

    Examples of Sega-attributed titles, with mostly Sega people and a few who indeed do also show up in some Aspect games:
    http://www.mobygames.com/game/sega-m...mouse_/credits
    http://www.mobygames.com/game/sega-m...-mouse/credits
    Unfortunately no credits for Lucky Dime Caper, but I imagine it's similar.
    http://www.mobygames.com/game/sega-m...strix_/credits

    Compare those to Aspect-only titles, with almost exclusively Aspect staff:
    http://www.mobygames.com/game/sega-m...-chaos/credits
    http://www.mobygames.com/game/game-g...enture/credits
    http://www.mobygames.com/game/sega-m...-duck/credits\
    etc.

    As for the rest of your scribbling: I never claimed Aspect made Sonic 1, and you are not correct either: Ancient (Yuzo Koshiro's team) made Sonic 1. I thought that was common knowledge at this place.
    You said that Aspect made "the 8-bit Sonic" games. No qualifiers. So yes, it sure sounds like you said that Aspect made it. You're right now though, yeah, Ancient made the first one... and it's fairly good.

    What the? did you even bother reading? I listed the SMS version not the GG version. I even LINKED to a Youtube video for the SMS version...
    Oh, the SMS version... I hadn't realized they were different. Looking it up on Mobygames, they credit Sega with development, but the actual staff... hmm. Look at this: http://www.mobygames.com/game/sega-m...-mania/credits Other than one guy who's clearly Sega, the rest of the staff only are credited with this game and Sorcerer's Kingdom on the Genesis, which was not a Sega title... so I don't know who made that exactly? Maybe the game was actually partially outsourced to Technical Wave, the team who did Sorcerer's Kingdom, though it's credited to Sega? I'm not sure.

    Anyway: point of my post was that I wonder why SOJ was kept out from future Disney games? They had the talent, SOA did not (see Fantasia, Ariel, TaleSpin, Bonkers). I really desperately wanted more Emiko Yamamoto games on MD, but for some reason they never made any more since 1992 but kept making a couple more for SMS/GG and then stopped altogether. Why was that ?
    I would imagine that if SoJ stopped making Disney games, it's because they chose to do so... there's no way that SoJ could be "kept out" of Disney development if they wanted it, given that they are the main branch of the company.

    Also, Sega of America cut back on Disney too, didn't it? I mean, they made lots of licensed games later on the Genesis, but few of them were Disney games... and we see a hint of that in this Aladdin article; Sega chose to have Blue Sky work on Jurassic Park, instead of focusing on Aladdin. Of those four games you mention, the first three released while SoJ was also still working on Disney games. Only Bonkers came later. After 1992, Sega of America mostly moved on from Disney to instead do Looney Tunes, Jurassic Park, etc. licensed games.
    Last edited by A Black Falcon; 03-12-2014 at 05:02 PM.

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