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Sonic Jump is coming to SEGA Saturn (Exclusive interview)

When we talk about new games for SEGA consoles, everyone always think about Dreamcast or Genesis, but how about Saturn? How about a new Sonic game for the Saturn? No, you didn’t read it wrong. One guy is creating Sonic Jump for Sega Saturn, but this is not a new project. If you look on internet you can find that this is a project from 2011/ 2012 and it’s possible to find a DEMO on where you can play it on your Saturn.

However, what happened with this project? Is the project still alive? SEGA Nerds has found the developer and we have good news! Here is an interview with FacundARG.

SN: Good morning Facundo Gonzalez, so tell me a little bit about you. Where are you from? What do you do in your life?

Hi, Luiz, my code-name is FacundARG (forums, Xbox Live, etc) and I’m from a town called San Luis (200.000 inhabitants) located in Argentina 😀 (The land of Messi and the Pope); I’m a Software Engineer for MercadoLibre.com, the most important WebSite for E-commerce  in Latin-America, and I develop tools and a lot of crazy things to prevent fraud with credit cards.

SN: Are there many SEGA fans in your country? When did you start playing SEGA games?

Yes, there are many SEGA Fans. I know a lot in forums, Facebook, etc. ,  But one is a special friend, named SaturnAR (Burno). I started to play when I was six on my Brazilian Mega Drive with the games Altered Beast and Zany Golf, a gift from my parents.

SN: Are you playing any SEGA games at the moment? 

At the moment, I’m playing Dark Savior on Sega Saturn, and Scorcher (I bought it in my last travel to São Paulo, Brazil).

SN: What is your favourite SEGA game? Why?

Ahhh what a question; Sonic The Hedgehog 2, because it’s fast, brilliant, and it has excellent soundtracks and a poke from Dragon Ball.

SN: What is your favorite SEGA Console? Why?

This is a difficult question; even though Saturn has difficult hardware, bad 3D ports, missing real 3D Sonic games, I love it and it’s my favorite.

SN: Why have you decided to develop Sonic Jump for Saturn? Is your game related with the Mobile game, Sega Jump?

Here comes the long part. I’ll try to not bore you. In 2008, I started to work for Gameloft. There, I grew up as a person and I improved my programming skills. I was also an official Game Developer (My childhood dream became true). I was in charge of a lot of projects (some were ports) for cell phones, tablets and the 3DS.  Some games examples include Assassin’s Creed Chronicles, Assassin’s Creed 2, Sonic Unleashed, Crazy Taxi, an ultra bizarre port of Resident Evil 2, and Street Fighter Alpha.

But the key of all this mess was a day in 2010 (During the South Africa World Cup) when my boss came to my desk and said, “I need a tool for disassembling (decompile) an old game because the source code is lost”, so then three weeks later we could decompile almost every game for cell phones.

I tried to decompile many games, and one of them was Sonic Jump and Splatter House. I failed to decompile it, though. I could only could extract images and some main patterns. Then, I decided to do it.

SN: Have you created any game by yourself before this?

In 2010, I officially started with a prototype of my own engine named Jumper Engine. Games…..officially I have created a lot, haha.

SN: Why Saturn? Isn’t it too difficult to program?

I chose Saturn because I love it and my goal was to give to the Saturn another spin-off Sonic game. And about developing for Saturn, yes it’s a mess. I started with an all-in-one development SaturnOrbit, and it was good to start because all you need is just do the code in ANSI-C. The fight with the Saturn Architect was HARD and another long story.

SN: Your game was in almost every forum back in 2011 and 2012. After that, there was a little bit of silence about the project. Are you still working on it? If yes, do you have some estimated date to finish it?

During those years I spent all my free time on that Sonic game. The game is 80% complete and it has a very early prototype of 3D specials stages. In late 2012 I contacted a Spanish guy called IlDucci; He was in charge of many PSX translations to Spanish, so I decided to contact him to know more about a game called Policenauts. I thought, “If I contact this guy, I will have access to see all the tools of translations for PSX, and Policenauts is on Saturn”. I changed my free time from Sonic Jump to this game.

During that time I got access to the tools and then BOOM; With just some fixes on the original tools, I could put English text on Saturn’s Policenauts. Later, SaturnAR contacted me on Facebook to give a hand with it and then he did all the rest (Because he is an awesome guy). By the way, I will try to finish the game. The new release will be the last. 🙂

SN: How do you see the homebrew scene for SEGA Consoles? Do you enjoy testing new games made by fans?

It’s poor. Almost all the developers works on Dreamcast or Genesis/MD; I don’t see anything “great” on Saturn. And for the second question, the answer is yes; I have tested brilliant homebrews like Wolfenstein 3D on Genesis, and I bought one copy of Pier Solar 🙂

SN: What advice would you give for someone who wants to start creating a game for a retro platform like Saturn?

My advice is, don’t mess with libs/sdk , just try to use an all-in-one development tool. There are a lot on the web; your time is gold and your goal is a game.

Thanks, it was fun.

Sonic Jump for Sega Saturn

For now, let’s just cross our fingers and wait for this game to be finished, it’s not usual a new game for Saturn and this one looks very special.

Luiz Nai

I'm huge fan of Sega, I have been playing Sega games for over 20 years and games like Shenmue, Skies of Arcadia, Panzer Dragoon Saga and also all the Arcades race games are my favorites. Besides of playing Sega games I have a post degree in Game development and I enjoy playing guitar in my free time.

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