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Sonic Mania (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC) - WARNING, SPOILERS Developed by Christian Whitehead, Headcannon and PagodaWest

#10396 User is offline Yeow 

Posted 17 November 2017 - 02:02 AM

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It's the first Sonic game in over two decades to actually return to where the original formula was left off, and do so in an authentic way. Prior to Mania, the best case scenario for an official new classic Sonic game that wasn't a port/remaster/remake of the original titles, were either spiritual successors that went down a different path (Advance 1, Adventure 1 to a much lesser extent) or attempted revivals that either missed the mark (Generations, Forces even moreso) or missed the point so badly it raised questions on whether the original games were even good in the first place (Sonic The Portable Sonic 4). And they were the few exceptions to the rule--all of the other Sonic games throughout the years threw out the original gameplay in favor of doing something completely "new" and "different". "More of the same" would be a fair complaint to make if this wasn't the first game in 23 years that even tried (let alone succeeded) in being exactly that.

As for the large bulk of reused content, even fans of the game have complained about the game not having (more) new zones rather than remixed zones, nobody's really shying away from pointing that out. At the same time though, the dev team put in a lot of work with the existing material they had--new acts made from scratch, new level mechanics/gimmicks, new and retouched graphics / assets, and new / expanded boss battles. Far more than "just some sprinkles" thrown on top of it. To say nothing that having remixed levels wasn't even a call made by the dev team themselves, it was just one of (thankfully a few) stipulations they had to oblige to when given the greenlight to make the game.

And in both cases--if you're able to restore the original forumula to critical and commercial success, you're largely guarenteed to make a followup; it's not hard to imagine that from there, you can pretty much cut loose on bringing new content and ideas to the table. NSMB, DKCR, and Megaman were all able to get at least one additional sequel; and Mania's highly positive reviews and strong commercial sales virtually leaves the door open for Taxman and company to be brought back to work on another installment.
This post has been edited by Yeow: 17 November 2017 - 02:05 AM

#10397 User is offline Zephyr 

Posted 17 November 2017 - 02:17 AM

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Plus with each game they work on, Taxman and co. seem to have more and more freedom:

2011: Sonic CD: Can add Tails, but not Desert Dazzle or Final Fever.
2012: Sonic 1: Can add Tails and Knuckles, and remix a bit of the level design.
2012: Sonic 2: Can add flying!Tails and Knuckles, and Hidden Palace Zone (which comes with its own Boss)
2017: Mania: Can add several new Zones, and almost completely reimagine returning ones.

And I believe there's other stuff I've forgotten. Mania may only be Sonic 3.5 and Knuckles, but that's a smart place to step back to before fully moving forward, which hopefully Sonic Team will now finally allow.

#10398 User is offline segafanac 

Posted 17 November 2017 - 03:14 AM

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Any word on DLC for Mania? I would love to have seen the train scene in Mirage Saloon to have been the train boss from Sonic Triple Trouble, maybe a DLC release?

Not to mention, there are more levels from S1,2, 3&K to be re-imagined......
This post has been edited by segafanac: 17 November 2017 - 03:14 AM

#10399 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 17 November 2017 - 09:57 AM

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View PostCovarr, on 16 November 2017 - 06:56 PM, said:

Aaron even said in a stream that Mania ran at 60fps and that the classics didn't. I'm not really sure WHY he said that
Probably because it was on the list of things he had to say.

View Postsegafanac, on 17 November 2017 - 03:14 AM, said:

Any word on DLC for Mania?
That's the kind of thing that gets announced along with the game's release, so no.
This post has been edited by ICEknight: 17 November 2017 - 10:01 AM

#10400 User is offline big smile 

Posted 17 November 2017 - 02:00 PM

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View PostIrixion, on 16 November 2017 - 11:37 PM, said:

I really don't see all the humming and hawing about this. This feels more like a Sonic 3.5 & Knuckles than it does a full sequel. It's just a lot of the same with some sprinkles on it. Sure it's a great package, but there's a lot in the game that's reused, and that to me is a shame.


I felt a bit like this on my initial go of Mania. As awesome as Mania is, the recycled content slightly soured the experience. It felt like Sega had wanted a full length game but didn't want to give the Mania team the budget for it.

However, after subsequent playthroughs, I've changed my mind completely. Firstly, Mania has loads of new content that is hidden away some of which I am still finding. Secondly, and more importantly, the Mania team perfectly understand the classic Sonic mechanics and do a much better job of integrating speed and exploration than the originals. So even though there's recycled bits, the overall experience feels new and fresh. Even with the reused bits, it still manages to be one of the best Sonic games ever made.

Having said that I hope the Mania team get to do a game that is all new stuff. I don't mind the remixes of classic zones: It's the reused level objects and layouts that I am referring to. I really loved the creativity in the new Zone ideas (especially Studiopolis and Press Garden) and would love to see more.
This post has been edited by big smile: 17 November 2017 - 02:07 PM

#10401 User is offline /dev/sr0 

Posted 17 November 2017 - 02:10 PM

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View PostIrixion, on 16 November 2017 - 11:37 PM, said:

I really don't see all the humming and hawing about this. This feels more like a Sonic 3.5 & Knuckles than it does a full sequel. It's just a lot of the same with some sprinkles on it. Sure it's a great package, but there's a lot in the game that's reused, and that to me is a shame.

I think Sega was just testing the waters with this. Now it's been made completely clear that Taxman and Stealth can make great games that sell well.
I doubt the next game they do will have nearly as much shoehorned-in old things.

#10402 User is offline Frostav 

Posted 17 November 2017 - 04:07 PM

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View Post/dev/sr0, on 17 November 2017 - 02:10 PM, said:

View PostIrixion, on 16 November 2017 - 11:37 PM, said:

I really don't see all the humming and hawing about this. This feels more like a Sonic 3.5 & Knuckles than it does a full sequel. It's just a lot of the same with some sprinkles on it. Sure it's a great package, but there's a lot in the game that's reused, and that to me is a shame.

I think Sega was just testing the waters with this. Now it's been made completely clear that Taxman and Stealth can make great games that sell well.
I doubt the next game they do will have nearly as much shoehorned-in old things.


Don't get too optimistic. I would not put it past SEGA to think that Mania sold well because it was full of old zones and not because it was a good game.

#10403 User is offline /dev/sr0 

Posted 17 November 2017 - 04:12 PM

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View PostFrostav, on 17 November 2017 - 04:07 PM, said:

View Post/dev/sr0, on 17 November 2017 - 02:10 PM, said:

View PostIrixion, on 16 November 2017 - 11:37 PM, said:

I really don't see all the humming and hawing about this. This feels more like a Sonic 3.5 & Knuckles than it does a full sequel. It's just a lot of the same with some sprinkles on it. Sure it's a great package, but there's a lot in the game that's reused, and that to me is a shame.

I think Sega was just testing the waters with this. Now it's been made completely clear that Taxman and Stealth can make great games that sell well.
I doubt the next game they do will have nearly as much shoehorned-in old things.


Don't get too optimistic. I would not put it past SEGA to think that Mania sold well because it was full of old zones and not because it was a good game.

Surely the Mania team themselves understand what really made it great though. And as Zephyr said above, they are being given more and more freedom with each thing they do.

#10404 User is offline Chainspike 

Posted 17 November 2017 - 06:13 PM

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View PostIrixion, on 16 November 2017 - 11:37 PM, said:

I really don't see all the humming and hawing about this. This feels more like a Sonic 3.5 & Knuckles than it does a full sequel. It's just a lot of the same with some sprinkles on it. Sure it's a great package, but there's a lot in the game that's reused, and that to me is a shame.
I have to agree with this but I don't think Mania is a Sonic 3.5 & Knuckles. Sonic 3 & Knuckles had something that most of the other classic games lacked; plot. Sonic 1 lacked much of anything besides "Stop Robotnik" and Sonic 2 started out the same until Sky Chase zone. Sonic 3 & Knuckles really built upon this and used dynamic transitions and events for the entire game that helped it to be the game it is today. Sonic Mania begins in the same way but unfortunately the time travel teleportation gimmick is back and this really hinders the plot. This being said, it was still possible for more events to take place especially for the transitions (Fade to black? Seriously?). Obviously Sonic 3 & Knuckles had new and original levels and a unique story for Knuckles. (Mania had a few paths, 2 bosses and no true final boss for Knuckles) How much of this is Sega's fault is unknown, but the shoehorned Sonic Forces connection, time travel gimmick, and reused levels likely is. (99%) The level design is mostly preference along with level gimmicks though I'm not sure why they felt the need to reuse a TON of previous gimmicks. (Some were done really well though) Hope I did not come of as too harsh, this is a good step in the right direction if Sega does it right.

Also why does Tails get a super form with the chaos emeralds. I thought he was younger and thus wasn't able to fully extract the power?

#10405 User is online Okamikurainya 

Posted 17 November 2017 - 08:39 PM

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View PostChainspike, on 17 November 2017 - 06:13 PM, said:

Also why does Tails get a super form with the chaos emeralds. I thought he was younger and thus wasn't able to fully extract the power?


Gameplay cohesion. There aren't any Super Emeralds here and I guess they didn't want Tails fans to be left out while both Sonic and Knuckles can go Super. Tails also lacks his flock of Flickies, so I guess that's now his Hyper form?

#10406 User is offline /dev/sr0 

Posted 17 November 2017 - 09:08 PM

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View PostOkamikurainya, on 17 November 2017 - 08:39 PM, said:

View PostChainspike, on 17 November 2017 - 06:13 PM, said:

Also why does Tails get a super form with the chaos emeralds. I thought he was younger and thus wasn't able to fully extract the power?


Gameplay cohesion. There aren't any Super Emeralds here and I guess they didn't want Tails fans to be left out while both Sonic and Knuckles can go Super. Tails also lacks his flock of Flickies, so I guess that's now his Hyper form?

I think someone said once that it was because Tails wasn't experienced enough with using the emeralds to have a normal Super form.
I guess he can transform just like Sonic and Knuckles now that he's had some practice with the Super Emeralds.
And yeah, I think the flickies of death were his "hyper" bonus despite not having a "hyper" form at the time.

Speaking of hyper bonuses, what do you guys think Sonic's hyper bonus is now that he has the drop-dash?
Seeing how Super Sonic shakes the screen the same way Hyper Knuckles does with his screen-clearing move, my guess is when Hyper Sonic drop-dashes it destroys all enemies on screen.
I think if Hyper forms are ever brought back in a Retro Engine game, Knuckles is going to get something else as his hyper move, because the wall-slam kind of sucks.
Really, this all is a bit unlikely, but I still have hope.
This post has been edited by /dev/sr0: 17 November 2017 - 09:18 PM

#10407 User is offline Frostav 

Posted 17 November 2017 - 11:13 PM

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View Post/dev/sr0, on 17 November 2017 - 04:12 PM, said:

View PostFrostav, on 17 November 2017 - 04:07 PM, said:

View Post/dev/sr0, on 17 November 2017 - 02:10 PM, said:

View PostIrixion, on 16 November 2017 - 11:37 PM, said:

I really don't see all the humming and hawing about this. This feels more like a Sonic 3.5 & Knuckles than it does a full sequel. It's just a lot of the same with some sprinkles on it. Sure it's a great package, but there's a lot in the game that's reused, and that to me is a shame.

I think Sega was just testing the waters with this. Now it's been made completely clear that Taxman and Stealth can make great games that sell well.
I doubt the next game they do will have nearly as much shoehorned-in old things.


Don't get too optimistic. I would not put it past SEGA to think that Mania sold well because it was full of old zones and not because it was a good game.

Surely the Mania team themselves understand what really made it great though. And as Zephyr said above, they are being given more and more freedom with each thing they do.


Mania Team can't do shit if SEGA forces them to add remixed zones in the next game. After all, Sonic Discovery was meant to be all-original, then Iizuka forced Whitehead to make it a remix game.

#10408 User is offline Glaber 

Posted 19 November 2017 - 12:13 AM

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honestly, I prefer what we got over another stab at episodic content. Sonic 4 never got to be completed under that model, and I don't think Mania would have worked as well as it did if it tried the 4 zones per episode thing.

Imagine Mania instead of getting massive praise, getting slammed for being even shorter than the total of 8 stages of Sonic Forces.
This post has been edited by Glaber: 19 November 2017 - 12:14 AM

#10409 User is offline The Growler 

Posted 19 November 2017 - 02:15 PM

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View PostChainspike, on 17 November 2017 - 06:13 PM, said:

View PostIrixion, on 16 November 2017 - 11:37 PM, said:

I really don't see all the humming and hawing about this. This feels more like a Sonic 3.5 & Knuckles than it does a full sequel. It's just a lot of the same with some sprinkles on it. Sure it's a great package, but there's a lot in the game that's reused, and that to me is a shame.
I have to agree with this but I don't think Mania is a Sonic 3.5 & Knuckles. Sonic 3 & Knuckles had something that most of the other classic games lacked; plot. Sonic 1 lacked much of anything besides "Stop Robotnik" and Sonic 2 started out the same until Sky Chase zone. Sonic 3 & Knuckles really built upon this and used dynamic transitions and events for the entire game that helped it to be the game it is today.
Wasn't that what game manuals were for back in the day (other than teaching you the controls [etc.] that is)? I mean, since they were limited in what they could do due to technology, they couldn't create much of a storyline just using sprites, so they had to have some kind of backstory in the game manuals instead; heck, not forgetting a short bio for the characters when it comes to Sonic 2 onwards. Mario is probably in the same boat too - if not more so: rescue the princess was always what it's about.


This post has been edited by The Growler: 19 November 2017 - 02:18 PM

#10410 User is offline Yeow 

Posted 20 November 2017 - 01:51 AM

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View PostGlaber, on 19 November 2017 - 12:13 AM, said:

honestly, I prefer what we got over another stab at episodic content. Sonic 4 never got to be completed under that model, and I don't think Mania would have worked as well as it did if it tried the 4 zones per episode thing.

Imagine Mania instead of getting massive praise, getting slammed for being even shorter than the total of 8 stages of Sonic Forces.


If the game still had the level of quality put into it as the final release did, I really doubt it would had been widely panned as you're saying. Complaints about the game's small scope would ensue, sure, but I really doubt people would overlook everything else and throw the game under the bus solely on the basis of its content.

Concerning the episodic model, it should be noted that model only works if you are actively working on one project and you're periodically releasing chunks of it under a established schedule roadmap. Which absolutely was not the formula Sonic 4 was following on.

Under an episodic plan, you usually intend to distribute all of the episodes for a game within the span of a year, gaps between episodic content take place between one-three months. Sonic 4 however seemingly intended to release new "episodes" every two or so years; had Sonic 4 gotten a third "episode", the entire Sonic 4 saga would had spanned an entire six years. And I'm using the term "episodes" loosely because it's pretty clear that both Episode I and Episode II in Sonic 4 are quite clearly two different projects. An Episode II to Episode I would had been the equivalent of Sonic & Knuckles to Sonic 3--it would had effectively been Episode I but with new zones to play in and maybe some other additions that are also backwards compatible to Episode I due to them using the same framework (and in the case of Episode I, was also designed to be forward compatible with new additions).

The actual Episode II we got? Completely different graphics, a shifted gameplay focus to co-op, a 3D special stage, new moves like the Rolling Combo...and none of them are actually backwards compatible to Episode I. The best attempt they could come up with concerning "lock-on technology" between the two episodes was the pitiful Episode Metal, which provided a Metal Sonic palette swap running through a few ROMhack difficulty levels from Episode I, with cutscenes spread throughout. The change in projects was so drastic, the Wii platform was skipped entirely on getting Episode II (remember that?). With all that said, I don't really think anyone here was calling for the episodic approach to Mania as it is. Iizuka already clarified the game would have no DLC.

As for the hypothetical abilities about what Mania could had been as a whole; I think it kinda goes without saying that clearly the decision could had been made to expand the original scope of the project and still have entirely new zones. Or at least go for a larger ratio of new levels compared to old levels (like having an even number of six remixed zones and six new zones; if not doing the complete inverse and having four remixed zones sprinkled between eight original zones). Of course, that would had meant a longer production cycle (the game was only made in a year according to Stealth; having existing assets, layouts, and mechanics of existing zones arguably helped sped up the process) and presumably needing more staff; which is something I personally would had been fine with. It really doesn't help that Sonic's been drowning in nostalgia throwbacks and rehashing old zones as it is over the past few years. We can only take so much Green Hill remakes/knockoffs in a short period of time.

But given how great Mania turned out to be as it exists (especially in light of the amount of work the developers put into rehauling the existing zones for their secondary acts, and how it's literally the first authentic successor to the original games in years); I do feel largely content on not taking Sega to task too much on this point. I and many others do expect a Mania followup to have mostly new content though; Mania has at least proven the classic Sonic formula still holds up, and Mania's new zones are frequently pointed to the highlight of the game.
This post has been edited by Yeow: 20 November 2017 - 01:57 AM

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