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What are the core fundamentals of a Modern Sonic game?

#16 User is offline HedgeHayes 

Posted 08 September 2018 - 07:44 PM

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What Zephyr says sounds qyuite right and fits on my perception of modern game series as different spinoffs while they don't make the real main games, Mania being the exception when finally a main game has been released. As Pengi pointed first, "modern" is a very vague term after having so many titles with little consistency, mostly having only the difference Laughingcow does, Adventure Sonic and Boost Sonic, as a relatively solid reference for a playstyle. But, even inside those titles, there's constantly the spinoff complex, having short lived mechanics or alternate playstyles in an attempt of giving the game an identity through a filler or at least disruptive add-on.

If you ask me, Modern Sonic is the same as releasing a fantastic 4 film just before losing the rights for those characters: they have to do something with Sonic so the franchise keeps being there, but they're not really worried about the franchise itself, so they follow the super sekrit doc Yeow quoted (I know it's fake, but sounds absolutely real), and make a "something" after another. There's no core besides filling the quota of speed and wrong understood coolness. Well, this impression is not very objective, but it's so hard to find anything that makes sense or keeps consistency in these games, and I'm so pissed off about that whole shit after finally having a classic styled 2D game, that I don't want to have an objective point of view, just less spinoffs and more real main games.

For the record, I loved SA2 and I would play another game like that, the day that gameplay also returns in a polished condition (not Shadow or '06), I'll be happy having 2D main games and 3D spinoffs.
This post has been edited by HedgeHayes: 08 September 2018 - 07:44 PM

#17 User is offline dot.kh 

Posted 08 September 2018 - 07:46 PM

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Sonic changed many times, but not for no reason. A "definitive" version of modern Sonic has yet to be determined because many people have very different opinions about him. Hell, some say he should always kick Mario's butt for example.

#18 User is offline Yeow 

Posted 09 September 2018 - 03:44 PM

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View PostICEknight, on 08 September 2018 - 05:27 PM, said:

View PostZephyr, on 08 September 2018 - 03:40 PM, said:

things

Now that's a wall of text that I'd recommend reading!

However, I'd argue that the platforming could be refined rather than just removed from Modern's racing-style gameplay.


But in the context of the Boost gameplay, what exactly are you going to refine the platforming elements into, and how?

Meaningfully-designed platforming isn't really homogeneous with the Boost gameplay's almost absolute focus on providing consistent high-speed thrills; and that lack of cohesion rears its ugly head anytime the Boost games steer away from constant breakneck speed. The one core mechanic that the majority of the playstyle is built upon is suddenly discouraged by the game once you enter a platforming section; when that happens, the result is the gameplay pace hitting the metaphorical equivalent of a brick wall. Sonic's controls prove themselves to be extremely clunky at slow speeds; his 360 degree movement is slow as molasses and his standard jump is super-floaty with minimal inertia. Meanwhile the actual level design for these platforming sections almost never goes much deeper than having to making precision-based jumps across platforms hovering over bottomless pits. The platforming sections seriously clash with the established gameplay flow the playstyle provides.

I do think the designers for Unleashed were aware of this, because 3D platforming segments in that game were uncommon in occurrence in the daytime levels (whereas the "actual" meat of 3D platforming design went straight to the Werehog); and even the 2D sections were designed to be test the player's reaction skills as opposed to their platforming skills, so they're don't significantly slow the level progression down as a result. Subsequent Boost games ignored this approach, with Generations putting a greater emphasis on the 3D platforming segments; while Colors and Forces took the approach of merely chucking the majority of platforming elements (most of which are of the aforementioned precision type--aka "blocky platforming") into 2D sections and making those 2D sections the real meat of the games.

If there's some way to marry concentrated fast movement with proper platforming design; none of the existing Boost games have bothered to actually achieve that. (By the way--I know it's become a popular point of comparison, but please don't say Cloudbuilt; that game does not prioritize speed in its game design anywhere near the level of the Boost games do, and that game also follows on a markedly different design philosophy for both its game mechanics and level design structure.)

I'd also like to personally note that when I say that the Boost gameplay should be retooled into racing genre, I don't say that to envision racing as the future of 3D Sonic platforming games, I'm actually saying the opposite. Boost games occupying a genre better suited towards their design allows them to reassigned as a separate line of games (re: flagship racing series, a la Mario Kart) while 3D Sonic games can return to following traditional 3D platformer design (whether it be in the footsteps of the Adventure games, Lost World, or something different).

View Postdot.kh, on 08 September 2018 - 07:46 PM, said:

Sonic changed many times, but not for no reason. A "definitive" version of modern Sonic has yet to be determined because many people have very different opinions about him.


Pretty sure you have your statement backwards. How do you think the very different opinions about Sonic came about in the first place? The fanbase didn't decide to split themselves into two times ten out of nowhere.
This post has been edited by Yeow: 13 September 2018 - 12:02 AM

#19 User is online Laughingcow 

Posted 09 September 2018 - 05:03 PM

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View PostYeow, on 09 September 2018 - 03:44 PM, said:

If there's some way to marry concentrated fast movement with proper platforming design; none of the existing Boost games have bothered to actually achieve that. (By the way--I know it's become a popular point of comparison, but please don't say Cloudbuilt; that game does not prioritize speed in its game design anywhere near the level of the Boost games do, and that game also follows on a markedly different design philosophy for both its game mechanics and level design structure.)

One need to look no further than Crash Bandicoot who was designed to be a pure platformer without any BS. Jump, Double Jump, Slide, Spin, Belly Flop, and Crash Dash; Sound familiar? Crash Bandicoot has everything but the homing attack (unless you count his awesome Bazooka). Platforming entails a player stopping to analyze the situation then plan their movements according. Such things are incompatible with Modern Sonic whose design places Speed Boosters every couple feet to push you forward against your will or homing attack chains that ensure you cannot go back from where you came (not to say there aren't levels with points of no return in Crash Bandicoot but they are few and far inbetween). The emphasis on the "Go fast" button (which itself is unnecessary) ensures that there can be no proper platforming, just lots of running, boring boring running.



#20 User is offline dot.kh 

Posted 09 September 2018 - 08:50 PM

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View PostYeow, on 09 September 2018 - 03:44 PM, said:

View Postdot.kh, on 08 September 2018 - 07:46 PM, said:

Sonic changed many times, but not for no reason. A "definitive" version of modern Sonic has yet to be determined because many people have very different opinions about him.


Pretty sure you have your statement backwards. How do you think the very different opinions about Sonic came about in the first place? The fanbase didn't decide to split themselves into two times ten out of nowhere.


:objection: The fanbase is not "split".

Due to the radical change of his position in the market, miscommunication occured. Sonic was designed to overtake the competition, namely Mario, but SEGA's course didn't pay off in the long run because Nintendo didn't play along. Remember kids, using the competition to get people to buy your games is NO GOOD. Please, consider that Sonic has been associated with that rivalry for many years. It lost its charm. SEGA doesn't make consoles anymore. The Mega Drive was crucial during the development of Sonic 1. Fans may be chasing a phantom. I demand a rhythm game!

#21 User is online Laughingcow 

Posted 10 September 2018 - 01:43 AM

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View Postdot.kh, on 09 September 2018 - 08:50 PM, said:

View PostYeow, on 09 September 2018 - 03:44 PM, said:

View Postdot.kh, on 08 September 2018 - 07:46 PM, said:

Sonic changed many times, but not for no reason. A "definitive" version of modern Sonic has yet to be determined because many people have very different opinions about him.


Pretty sure you have your statement backwards. How do you think the very different opinions about Sonic came about in the first place? The fanbase didn't decide to split themselves into two times ten out of nowhere.


:objection:/> The fanbase is not "split".

Due to the radical change of his position in the market, miscommunication occured. Sonic was designed to overtake the competition, namely Mario, but SEGA's course didn't pay off in the long run because Nintendo didn't play along. Remember kids, using the competition to get people to buy your games is NO GOOD. Please, consider that Sonic has been associated with that rivalry for many years. It lost its charm. SEGA doesn't make consoles anymore. The Mega Drive was crucial during the development of Sonic 1. Fans may be chasing a phantom. I demand a rhythm game!

Sigh, just stop. You're arguing that there was never any merit in Sonic's core gameplay and that his success was entirely due to being the anti-Mario. If you really believe that then why are you here? Not here as in this thread but in this forum full of amateur game designers?

Back on topic, I think we are close to a definite answer to my original question seeing as we are shifting from the question of "what" Modern Sonic gameplay is and into what we want on an individual level.

That said, remember that execution of ideas is a hundred times harder than thinking them up. And even after spending days getting said idea to reality, it may just suck.

Modern Sonic with it's Speed focus fails for me personally cause I want a solid platformer just like in the Genesis games. In trying to cater to someone like me with tacked on platforming sections, it only dilutes the speed element and vice versa. Nobody is happy. I say this as a person who liked Sonic and the Secret Rings.

#22 User is offline dot.kh 

Posted 10 September 2018 - 03:42 AM

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View PostLaughingcow, on 10 September 2018 - 01:43 AM, said:

View Postdot.kh, on 09 September 2018 - 08:50 PM, said:

View PostYeow, on 09 September 2018 - 03:44 PM, said:

View Postdot.kh, on 08 September 2018 - 07:46 PM, said:

Sonic changed many times, but not for no reason. A "definitive" version of modern Sonic has yet to be determined because many people have very different opinions about him.


Pretty sure you have your statement backwards. How do you think the very different opinions about Sonic came about in the first place? The fanbase didn't decide to split themselves into two times ten out of nowhere.


:objection:/>/>/> The fanbase is not "split".

Due to the radical change of his position in the market, miscommunication occured. Sonic was designed to overtake the competition, namely Mario, but SEGA's course didn't pay off in the long run because Nintendo didn't play along. Remember kids, using the competition to get people to buy your games is NO GOOD. Please, consider that Sonic has been associated with that rivalry for many years. It lost its charm. SEGA doesn't make consoles anymore. The Mega Drive was crucial during the development of Sonic 1. Fans may be chasing a phantom. I demand a rhythm game!

Sigh, just stop. You're arguing that there was never any merit in Sonic's core gameplay and that his success was entirely due to being the anti-Mario. If you really believe that then why are you here? Not here as in this thread but in this forum full of amateur game designers?


Not true, I'm questioning how many of the millions of PARENTS who've bought the systems and games for their KIDS were doing it for the gameplay. It should be considered.

#23 User is offline Sid Starkiller 

Posted 10 September 2018 - 04:40 AM

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View Postdot.kh, on 10 September 2018 - 03:42 AM, said:

View PostLaughingcow, on 10 September 2018 - 01:43 AM, said:

View Postdot.kh, on 09 September 2018 - 08:50 PM, said:

View PostYeow, on 09 September 2018 - 03:44 PM, said:

View Postdot.kh, on 08 September 2018 - 07:46 PM, said:

Sonic changed many times, but not for no reason. A "definitive" version of modern Sonic has yet to be determined because many people have very different opinions about him.


Pretty sure you have your statement backwards. How do you think the very different opinions about Sonic came about in the first place? The fanbase didn't decide to split themselves into two times ten out of nowhere.


:objection:/>/>/>/> The fanbase is not "split".

Due to the radical change of his position in the market, miscommunication occured. Sonic was designed to overtake the competition, namely Mario, but SEGA's course didn't pay off in the long run because Nintendo didn't play along. Remember kids, using the competition to get people to buy your games is NO GOOD. Please, consider that Sonic has been associated with that rivalry for many years. It lost its charm. SEGA doesn't make consoles anymore. The Mega Drive was crucial during the development of Sonic 1. Fans may be chasing a phantom. I demand a rhythm game!

Sigh, just stop. You're arguing that there was never any merit in Sonic's core gameplay and that his success was entirely due to being the anti-Mario. If you really believe that then why are you here? Not here as in this thread but in this forum full of amateur game designers?


Not true, I'm questioning how many of the millions of PARENTS who've bought the systems and games for their KIDS were doing it for the gameplay. It should be considered.

Parents buy things for their kids either to make them happy or to shut them up, often not considering or even KNOWING the content. The basic idea of the ESRB and similar systems is to quickly tell parents what is and isn't appropriate for their kids without needing detailed knowledge of the content. So no, I don't think that should be considered.

#24 User is online Laughingcow 

Posted 10 September 2018 - 04:42 AM

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View Postdot.kh, on 10 September 2018 - 03:42 AM, said:

Not true, I'm questioning how many of the millions of PARENTS who've bought the systems and games for their KIDS were doing it for the gameplay. It should be considered.

No, it is irrelevant as this is a discussion about game design not game sales. Do you have any thoughts or personal impressions on Modern Sonic game design or just hyperbole recycled from these guys who just don't like Sonic games?




Boy would this video be embarrassing if a Sonic game just like this came out with critical acclaim and excellent sales after their amazing analsis.

Edit: General sales of Sonic games tend to be quite good. Outside of 06, Lost World, and Boom, they all tend to break a million units. Could be Forces really was just a safe game after two commercial failures.
https://en.wikipedia..._Hedgehog#Sales
This post has been edited by Laughingcow: 10 September 2018 - 06:57 AM

#25 User is offline dot.kh 

Posted 10 September 2018 - 09:37 AM

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Do you want me to watch this? :v:

I love modern Sonic, he's such an amazing character. SA1 is one my favorite games of all time, so is SA2. Both look really nice and the controls are surprisingly intuitive and easy. Really appreciated the improvements in Heroes, especially the voice acting and CGI, even though the setting is quite different. Shadow was able to grab onto ledges and pick up weapons, but personally, I would have liked if he had played like in Heroes. Despite its wonkiness, the storybook series was a nice change of pace. Gotta say. The battle against Erazor Djinn at the end of Sonic and the Secret Rings looked pretty impressive by Wii's standards. Unleashed and Colours were nowhere near as sloppy as their predecessors and I remember thinking they're taking a big step forward. Since then Sonic's bumpy career culminated in the release of Sonic Generations. That's how I see it.

It starts the moment you see the SEGA logo.

#26 User is offline Yeow 

Posted 10 September 2018 - 12:13 PM

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View Postdot.kh, on 09 September 2018 - 08:50 PM, said:

Due to the radical change of his position in the market, miscommunication occured. Sonic was designed to overtake the competition, namely Mario, but SEGA's course didn't pay off in the long run because Nintendo didn't play along. Remember kids, using the competition to get people to buy your games is NO GOOD. Please, consider that Sonic has been associated with that rivalry for many years. It lost its charm. SEGA doesn't make consoles anymore. The Mega Drive was crucial during the development of Sonic 1. Fans may be chasing a phantom. I demand a rhythm game!


So are you actually here to hold a legitimate discussion about the thread topic or are you here solely to take the piss and derail the thread.

#27 User is offline HedgeHayes 

Posted 10 September 2018 - 03:06 PM

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View PostLaughingcow, on 10 September 2018 - 01:43 AM, said:

Back on topic, I think we are close to a definite answer to my original question seeing as we are shifting from the question of "what" Modern Sonic gameplay is and into what we want on an individual level.


It's really hard to answer that question, that's why you asked in first place, didn't you? It's too evident that boosting is the only thing those games have in common, but the game design around it is quite different on each game, and then there's lost world in between, so, is the boost a real reference? I only liked that playstyle in Generations, which, as you've seen before, doesn't get a very objective opinion from me, but the fact that I liked it in one game and hated it in the rest says a lot about how inconsistent the experience is.


I don't think there's any deliberate core fundamentals in a modern Sonic game besides some sort of engine reusing when they don't want to risk anything, but, if I go this way, I'll end up throwing the same speech as always, "people at Sonic Team don't know what they're doing", and all that stuff. I don't want to do that, I just want to point out that it's too easy to fall on individual expectations when games themselves give us so few clues, if any.


#28 User is online Zephyr 

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View PostYeow, on 09 September 2018 - 03:44 PM, said:

I'd also like to personally note that when I say that the Boost gameplay should be retooled into racing genre, I don't say that to envision racing as the future of 3D Sonic platforming games, I'm actually saying the opposite. Boost games occupying a genre better suited towards their design allows them to reassigned as a separate line of games (re: flagship racing series, a la Mario Kart) while 3D Sonic games can return to following traditional 3D platformer design (whether it be in the footsteps of the Adventure games, Lost World, or something different).

Yeah, I'm in full agreement with this. The Boost gameplay, even in its optimal form (hell, especially in its optimal form), is no substitute for what Sonic Team had been working on between 1996 and 2006. It's a completely different beast. In the mid 90's, Sonic Team's aim was to create a 3D platformer, not a racing game. They've shown that they know how to make a potentially bitchin' racing game, to succeed where Sonic R failed, but that still doesn't solve the problems they had with their attempts at a 3D platformer, it just pushes them to the wayside.

In my own perfect world, we'd have three distinct styles of game going forward: tried and true Mania styled 2D platformers (which, as Plus shows, can still innovate and push the envelope in their own ways, without going so far beyond the pale that we end up with something like Sonic Rush), Boost-but-better racing games (as roughly outlined in my previous post), and 3D platformers. And if we're to talk about a 3D Sonic platformer, I think it's ideal, if not crucial, to translate the nuances of the 2D gameplay, as much as is possible, into the third dimension.

I can forgive Sonic Adventure for not fully implementing the fundamentals from Sonic 1; technical limitations being the biggest reason. Given what came before them, you can see that they were actively in the process of implementing them, so huge props there, there's nothing wrong with the third time not being the charm. Over the years, though, they seemingly stopped caring about completing that task. Adventure 2, Heroes, Shadow, 06, and (much later) Lost World completely lost sight of what made the 2D Sonic games fun, and, thus, what would make a fan of the 2D Sonic gameplay want to see Sonic in 3D in the first place. Were these mechanical gameplay fundamentals anything shy of inherent to the appeal of the gameplay, then it wouldn't matter how the game played; if the novelty is simply that we're playing as Sonic in a 3D space, then you could just make a hack or a mod of some random other 3D platformer to have Sonic, and it would scratch that itch just as well. It's because that wouldn't scratch the itch (for me, at least), that I find fan games like Green Hill Paradise, Utopia, and Islands fascinating and important. They're essentially picking up where Adventure 1 left off. They in no way represent a completion of the multi-team, multi-work creative thread that first began with NiGHTS, but they represent the first step forward since 1998, the first step forward in two decades.

I certainly wouldn't suggest "Sega just hire the people who made these fangame tech demo proof of concepts and all of your problems would go away!", but if they wanted to make worthwhile 3D platformers, following in their footsteps is an important starting point. I don't know if the people calling the major shots and doing the major leg work at Sonic Team simply don't want to do something like this, or if that's just not where their talents lie. If it's the latter, then this team would need to, in this ideal scenario, be put in charge of developing the aforementioned Boost-but-better games, because they've shown that they're able to make solid race tracks; they just need to cut the clutter, and tactfully diversify the content. On the other end of things, in order to officially pick up where Adventure 1 left off, they would need to create a new team; perhaps there are people within the company who would indeed actually be useful for this endeavor; perhaps Taxman and co. could, at the very least, play some sort of role, be it advisory or hands-on; and, perhaps, some of the people behind some of these fangames could indeed follow in Taxman's footsteps and use their knowledge and talent to help out.

That all may seem to escape the intended scope of the thread, but it's part of my larger point. The core fundamentals of modern Sonic seem to be making a "Sonic Simulator", which at best would entail making a racing game. Unfortunately, that would entail abandoning pretensions of 3D platforming. Given Mania's existence (and the hope that more similar games will come down the line), I'm okay without a 3D platformer Sonic game; however, from NiGHTS, to Jam, to Adventure, and now to these fan projects, we can see a clear forward progression toward seeing something as mechanically distinct and nuanced as the 2D Sonic games manifest in the third dimension, and it would be a shame to not eventually see that broad creative thread bear official fruit.

#29 User is online Laughingcow 

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View PostHedgeHayes, on 10 September 2018 - 03:06 PM, said:

It's really hard to answer that question, that's why you asked in first place, didn't you? It's too evident that boosting is the only thing those games have in common, but the game design around it is quite different on each game, and then there's lost world in between, so, is the boost a real reference?

Yes, boost is the correct reference but I use the term "Modern Sonic" instead because Forces decided to revert back to that particular style instead of keeping with the "Parkour Sonic" of Sonic Lost World and I personally only see Sonic Rush and Rush Adventure as "Boost Sonic" games. If that sounds too complicated well, it is. Hard questions tend to have complicated answers, unfortunately. All Hail Shadow was a damn fine song, just sayin.

Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic and the Black Knight, Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors, Sonic Generations, and Sonic Forces are the games I consider under the "Modern Sonic" formula with Secret Rings and Black Knight under a "proto-modern Sonic" position similar to how Sonic Advance 2 & 3 were "proto-boost Sonic" to Sonic Rush and Rush Adventure. Shave off the gimmicks (Sword, Werehog, Classic Sonic, Original the Character) and you have the core mechanics of Modern Sonic. The part that may throw a person off (aside from the stupid nonlinear naming structure) is the changes in level design. Yes, the level design (which is where the meat of the quality problems resides) can swing from Sonic Unleashed's "Memorize or die" to Sonic Forces' "Was that it"? This is where my question comes to an end, I think.

We can build a set of core fundamentals on say the "Classic Sonic" formula because we have five and a half quality games to pick apart on what they did right. What the majority of people find "fun" about them. Modern Sonic doesn't have that or rather none of the games are THAT DAMN GOOD. Instead, we can just point at the flashes of brilliance like Mortar Canyon in Sonic Forces (a level where we are spiraling down into the center of Eggman's base surrounded by bombers and turrets, yes please). Because of that, we constantly shift toward what we think would make the games better to which everyone seems to be in agreement that the answer is to trim the fat.

I went back and replayed Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic Heroes. I like them but I understand what Yeow meant about them not properly adapting Classic Sonic. It has platforming but not momentum based platforming which isn't surprising in hindsight. Neither of those games have Sonic as their focus which makes Modern Sonic and its "You only play as Sonic" philosophy all the more baffling. You can launch yourself off of ramps with Shadow's spindash BTW.

#30 User is offline UpCDownCLeftCRightC 

Posted 13 September 2018 - 03:34 PM

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This is one area in which I'll have to general agree with what Iizuka said in 2012, paraphrasing: "Forward moving 3D Sonic"
(as opposed to the side-scrolling pixel sonic he compared it to.)

Other than the fact that they exist in a 3D space and the player largely propels Sonic forward instead of to the right or left, that's kind of it. Between SA1, SA2, Heroes, Shadow, and '06, there are so many details and aesthetic choices that differ between the games that they exist almost independently of each other. Even SA1 and 2 as we know, are very different games. They share similar physics and control but the level design and aesthetic (and music and many other things) are hugely different between the two.

The three games that are the most consistent with each other in the Modern franchise are Unleashed, Colors, and Generations. But while the character control is different in these games, the primary style of gameplay and level design is very similar to the much earlier SA2. A lot of fans complain that the character feels like a tank to control in the later iterations of Modern (I agree)...but the control works much better with the level design and style of gameplay. So really, the earlier iterations are just a more primitive version of the same style of gameplay even though the physics are different, since they are equally as linear and constricted (as opposed to being more open as some like to pretend they are) as anything that followed them in the franchise. And even with the physics and control, these are different among every last one of these games including the most recent ones.

Modern has no core fundamentals. It really doesn't. Its fundamentals have been literally, no fundamentals. A dart board to throw ideas at.

….Which is why, even though I have some attachment to portions of the Modern games and there are a lot of fans that are frankly batshit crazy about many other Modern things, I think SEGA and Sonic Team should strongly consider dumping the Modern era in favor of a more solid foundation. But that's a different thread.
This post has been edited by UpCDownCLeftCRightC: 13 September 2018 - 03:37 PM

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