In the January 1993 interview with the game's programmer Yuji Naka published in the Beep! magazine, he was asked when development began. He responded:

"It was around November of last year. At that time, it was just me and one other programmer. Then we added a third person, and after that we gradually increased the team size. However, like always, I feel like I’ve left something out of the game. There’s still so much I want to add. For Sonic 2, we had to remove so much due to memory limitations. We actually made about five more zones, but in the end, we had to cut them all. We actually cut one zone at the absolute very last minute. Even though it was basically complete, we couldn’t use it because of a lack of memory. There just wasn’t enough space."
Contributed by ProtoSnake