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Thread: Confirmed. SEGA Saturn 2 once existed.

  1. #1
    The Future is Yesterday Hedgehog-in-TrainingESWAT Veteran Leynos's Avatar
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    Exclamation Confirmed. SEGA Saturn 2 once existed.

    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...ted/index.html
    https://www.tweaktown.com/news/69323...ted/index.html

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  2. #2
    Master of Shinobi
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    These were reported in magazines back in 1996/7. It's nice to see they are "confirmed", but it's not exactly new info.

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    This is the entirety of what was said during the interview in question:

    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.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingNameless One SegaDreamcast's Avatar
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    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.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingRoad Rasher
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    N64 expansion pak is just RAM, some SNES and NES carts would be more appropriate. (or Virtua things for Gen)

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    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.

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    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?

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    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Team Andromeda; 12-22-2019 at 11:28 AM.
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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingRoad Rasher Virtua Hunter's Avatar
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    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.

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    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    I still have all my Mean Machines issues and was able to find one of the Interviews with Andy Mee

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  12. #12
    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Gryson; 12-23-2019 at 08:17 AM.

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    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    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
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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    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.

  15. #15
    Master of Shinobi
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    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.

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