Sonic Mania director on the origins of the Mean Bean Machine boss battle - Nintendo Everything

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Sonic Mania director on the origins of the Mean Bean Machine boss battle

Posted on October 6, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch

One of the more interesting boss fights in Sonic Mania is the Mean Bean Machine. As a tribute to the original game on the SEGA Genesis, it has you battling Doctor Eggman with falling block pieces.

Sonic Mania director Christian Whitehead touched on the origins of the boss fight in an interview with IGN. He shared the following:

“The Mean Bean Machine boss was probably the most complex boss to create, since it was essentially a game within a game. I spent some time researching the rules of the game and replicated them in the engine, getting the core chain mechanic and scoring system working.”

“The ‘Amoeba Droid’ chemical mini boss in Act 1 was already an evolution on the type of boss the original Sonic 2 Zone had, so Act 2’s boss needed to use chemicals in another way that was distinct, yet fun. …The idea of different colored chemicals with various properties was already decided upon for Chemical Plant Act 2, so I just had a moment where it clicked and thought “What if those colored chemicals were being used to make Mean Beans?”

Whitehead added that, originally, the design “was a really dumb random input generator”. But thanks to some help from programmer Hunter Bridges, more robust AI was added in, eventually allowing for an unlockable Mean Bean Machine mode.

Whitehead also said that he was “not really expecting [the boss] to get approval from Sonic Team, since it was a different license, but they thought the idea was funny” and helped out with having it fit in with the Chemical Plant world.


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  • NintendoPSXTheSecond

    Why does this article not even use the word Puyo Puyo. This saddens me.

    • DonSerrot

      Because the specific game that is being referenced ISN’T Puyo Puyo. It’s Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. Yes, Sega just used the normal Puyo with the Sonic cartoon theme but they didn’t use the Puyo name with that game and I don’t believe Puyo had a presence in the US at that time so a lot of people were first introduced to Puyo Puyo as Mean Bean Machine. People who constantly try to correct Mean Bean Machine to Puyo Puyo just because Sega finally decided to use that name in the US well after Mean Bean Machine sadden me.

      Think of it like the Harvest Moon situation. Just because the series is using a different name now (Story of Seasons) doesn’t make the old games any less part of that series. The only thing that changed was the name on the box.

      • Jop

        “Harvest Moon” to “Story of Seasons” was just a name change, same game.

        “Mean Bean Machine” wasn’t just a name change. They replaced the entire story with a fake one. Same for “Kirby’s Avalanche”/”Kirby’s Ghost Trap”.

        It had absolutely zero to do with localization. It’s no different from NES bootleggers who replaced the main character with Mario in every game.

    • JasonBall

      The same reason no one here says Super Mario Bros 4. It isn’t called that here, it’s called Super Mario World. Localized names hold water.

      • NintendoPSXTheSecond

        That’s like saying Tetris Attack or Pokemon Puzzle League shouldn’t be called Panel De Pon. It’s highly false.

        • JasonBall

          Well, if I’m playing Kirby’s Avalanche, or Pokemon Puzzle League, I’m going to say that’s what I’m playing. When I’m playing EarthBound I’m not going to call it Mother 2. I’m not japan-centric like you obviously are. I’m an American consumer, and if a product is sold to me under a name, I’m going to use it.

          But when talking about the history of their series, yeah of course I’d mention the original names and messy localization history.

    • Hidden Flare

      Mostly cause they are referring to the sonic version of Puyo Puyo, not the… Normal version? But think about it, outside of mean bean tell me all the things puyo puyo relates with sonic… Not much at all.

      Mean bean is like saying ‘sonic’s puyo pea’ cause when you think of the two series you will likely think about this game. Don’t take it as anything negative towards Puyo Puyo (in fact this should be positive) just take it as a reference to the same series with a different name.

      • NintendoPSXTheSecond

        I didn’t mention that the game itself should have mentioned Puyo but doing a short sentence saying that MBM is actually Puyo Puyo would have been nice addition to the article imo.

    • Jop

      Agreed. An article about a clone/bootleg/whatever that doesn’t mention the real thing is pointless at best and evil at worst.