My stance: Sega will either get it right, or go bankrupt trying and be bought out by someone who can.
New Challenger is Approaching:
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Truly though, Sega can probably stay afloat on what they have going on right now. But to really answer this question, we have to look at the whole company, because Sonic Team is now a nebulous brand label stuck on to anything remotely relating to anything Sonic Team did in the past. Even Journey of Dreams, which was made by Sega Studio USA got the Sonic Team label. The real problem comes to light: Outside of AM2, Sega kind of sucks right now. Sammy's pachinco machine sales are floundering right now, so instead of cutting development in those areas, they've been cutting R&D departments within Sega. Damit, Sammy, Sega is MAKING MONEY, not losing it. This worries me, Sammy seems to be acting independently of reality, making it seem that they'e problem goes way past stupid, they are insane. Basically, I'm woried that Sammy might cut their good development studios, they have sort
of already done this with Amusement Vision. Is AM2 next? Sammy also doesn't seem to realize that the pachinco market is saturated, and there's no point in making very many new machines at this time.
The point is, there might not be any good developers left at Sega to make a good Sonic game.
Another problem is that no one, neither at sega nor in the fanbase, really knows
how Sonic should work in 3D. Sonic Adventure got very close, but was let down by some questionable level design. As corny as this might sound, the biggest problem with the newer games is the prevalence of bottomless pits. Sure, if the camera was a team player and let you see the pits, it would be better, but that's more of a band-aid fix, one that is strangely more difficult to apply than the real one, but they keep soldering on. I am also beginning to doubt that anyone at Sega even knows how Sonic should work in 2D any more. It seems they've been misguided by the very marketing strategy the company made in the 90's, it's come back and has actually screwed up games rather than sales this time, though. But with Damizean's engine, we might know soon how Sonic can work in 3D.
Sonic Adventure 2 was where they REALLY screwed up, that is to say, it was the first game that emphasized speed and totally radical anime moves over the traditional physics toy platformer. Sure, you might say that Sonic Adventure 1 had it's share of Hot-Wheels-tracks-in-the-sky levels, but those were in the minority, and typically came before or after a segment of actual platforming. In Sonic Adventure 2, ALL the levels (worth mentioning) are like that. I'm not saying that speed is bad, it's just there's no flinging yourself into the sky off a ramp action, or regular platform to platform jumping, just a twelve foot wide track suspended above a giant pit.
At this point, I could go either way on Sonic Unleashed. But what I fear the most is Sonic Unleashed merely being good. I would rather it be terrible than just good, or else the problem will never really be fixed. All the Sonic X tards, are already guaranteed sales, and if a Sonic game is even technologically sound, it will get good enough reviews that it will sell (Sonic 06 has a 43 on Metacritic, I think it deserves a zero). I'm also worried by the Werehog sections, not because it's "Totally not Sonic", or because of the stretch Armstrong arms, but the possibility that it is being used as a "dump" for regular platforming. Sonic games (including the 2D and 3D ones) can be ranked based on how many quarter pipes there are in them, and that ranking will roughly match how they are held in general regard within the Sonic Scene. The problem here is that is Where Sonic cannot go fast enough to shoot himself straight up off a quarter pipe (and there aren't any in the night levels, afaik), creating that this Sonic game will have no Sonic gameplay. I haven't seen enough daytime to tell whether what I'm looking for is there, I have seen a few quarter pipes though.
I hope they can figure something out. I don't mind waiting. Maybe when the Sonic X tards stop buying the games, they'll be forced to re evaluate the franchise.
E: Metal Man, Sonic Adventure 1 is my favorite Sonic game, in spite of it's underwhelming bosses and occasional glitches. It came SO CLOSE to a perfect 3D Sonic game...
This post has been edited by Phos: 21 August 2008 - 11:25 PM