Art Styles in Sonic Games

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by The Joebro64, Feb 4, 2020.

Favorite Art Style?

  1. Sonic 1/2/CD/3K/Mania

    47 vote(s)
  2. Adventure series

    12 vote(s)
  3. Heroes/Shadow/Colors/Generations

    2 vote(s)
  4. Advance series

    1 vote(s)
  5. Rush series/Colors DS

    1 vote(s)
  6. '06

    0 vote(s)
  7. Unleashed

    3 vote(s)
  8. Lost World

    1 vote(s)
  9. Forces

    0 vote(s)
  10. Other (anything not listed here)

    0 vote(s)
  1. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

    I felt like this would be a fun thing to discuss. What's your favorite art style in the Sonic series? Is it the simple, colorful pixel art of the Genesis games? The bright and cheery art style of most modern games? The creepy realism of '06? Or some other art style I didn't even mention? All are valid!

    Just a few notes:
    • I listed all the Genesis Sonic games plus Sonic CD and Mania together for simplicity and the fact they're not too far removed from each other (for instance, Sonic 3 is obviously more detailed than its predecessors, but its levels would still look in place in other games).
    • I listed Heroes, Shadow, Colors, and Generations together because I think they're all pretty similar art style-wise. Same enemies, environmental looks, and character designs.
    • Unleashed is separate because IMO it's too realistic to be grouped with games like Colors and Generations, but not enough to be grouped with '06.
    • I separated Lost World and Forces because while they use similar designs and stuff, one was too colorful and cartoony, while the other was melancholy and somber. You can guess which is which.
    Anyway, enough of my rambling. What's your favorite art style?
  2. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

    Virginia, USA
    Paying off student loans
    Honestly, with the obvious exceptions of 06 and the Soap Shoes of SA2, I really don't know the differences between the different versions of Modern Sonic.

    Having said that, Classic Sonic, mostly for not having the baggage of the worst games in the franchise attached to him.
  3. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

    Yeah the Sonic design has been pretty consistent since Heroes, with the obvious exception of '06 (that design was used only in '06 [duh] and SSBB). But I'm mostly talking about the series' overall art direction, not character design.
  4. SystemsReady


    I Have No Idea What I'm Doing At Any Given Moment Member
    The Twin Cities
    trying to not fall asleep while writing Selenium tests
    I'm pretty fond of the "early 3D polygons but also colorful surrealism of the original 2D games and Mania. To me, it is the most unique thing about the Sonic games visually, and Mania is really the only game since 3&K to nail it because it's trying to emulate it.

    But I am most fond of the aesthetic the Mania special stages have. It's the most 90s thing and yet it's so pretty - I love art that makes you wish you were there yourself.
  5. Overall, classic Sonic.

    As far as artist's styles within the various iterations of Sonic, I liked the way Sonic looked on the cover of SA1 and Toei Sonic. The NA Sonic 1 cover is also great too imo, but that's solely based on my nostalgia. lol
  6. Adventure and Advance style for me. Really like Uekawa's bendy, expressive art from those days. The newer art, both 3D and 2D, looks so stiff in comparison these days. I really liked the aesthetics for those games too. And, while not on this list, I really loved the 2D art style for the first Riders game. Has a nice, bold, 'graffiti-like' style going for it. As for Classic, I like the CD/OVA style, as it still captures Sonic's 'cool factor', but as for the other Classic-era stuff, I'm generally indifferent to it, I guess. As far as in-game aesthetics go, 3K would be my favorite from that era, followed by Jam's Sonic World and Sonic R.
  7. SuperSnoopy


    I like Sonic Advance Member
    Lyon, France
    Improving my art and studying Japanese
    Yuji Uekawa's art is peak Sonic for me.
  8. DigitalDuck


    Arriving four years late. Member
    Lincs, UK
    TurBoa, S1RL
    I like the art styles of CD, Chaotix, Heroes, and Colours.

    I don't understand why these would be grouped in with other games when they're completely different.
  9. RDNexus


    I selected Adventure days style, since it was when it really blasted in my face and got my creative mind racing regarding Sonic's Story.
    But the Classic style, overall, made me wanna play those games time and again.
    And Sonic R and JAM's Sonic World's 3D models still feel mystic and appealing to me nowadays xD
  10. Diablohead


    Indie dev Oldbie
    Near London
    You just can't beat the original trilogy (and cd & mania).. mania especially nailed it perfectly.

    I have a soft spot for adventure 1 style but 2 while cool was not like the first, and by first I mean the DC version not the gamecube models.
  11. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

    size of a tangerine Member
    Favorite art style for me would be Sonic 1, 2, and CD. Sonic 3 is aesthetically removed from the first two to the point that it doesn't hold the same feeling for me, and Mania is too fond of extremely bright colors and high contrast, though this is mainly regarding the sprites, and the level art in those two games are beautiful as ever for the most part.

    I also really like the Adventure games style, both in game and cover art. Specifically the Dreamcast versions though, SADX looks like trash. SA1 has a better in game style than SA2, but I really like the character models and mocap animations in the SA2 cinematics. They're charming.

    Heroes is also its own thing IMO, and I love almost everything about it aesthetically. It really captures the feel of the classic titles.

    Regarding best Sonic art in general, I would definitely say Yasushi Yamaguchi's Sonic 2 art, along with the official airbrush art from Sonic CD, and of course Ohshima's classic art. Honorable mention to Yuji Uekawa's SA1 art.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

  12. Powpuck


    To me, Sonic Adventure 1 (DC) feels more akin to 3D Blast (Saturn) than it does to Adventure 2, in that they use "realistic" yet vibrantly colored textures. Adventure 2 and SADX are comparably more subdued (not to mention SADX's character models are incongruous). I do wonder if SOJ had more of a hand in Saturn 3D Blast, or if they drew influence from in when creating SA1's worlds.

    At any rate, I do love the "mixed media"/collage look of the ST-produced Special Stages:


    Will Eisner and Jack Kirby used photo collages in their works too. Not that it's the only way of approaching Sonic, but it's a good strong graphical design. The geometric shapes and tessellating patterns are there, and they ARE undeniably what makes Sonic Sonic for me.

    A counterexample:


    It's some kind of dark wizardry how just a handful of shapes and colors really sell the distant craggy mountain ranges of Underground Zone. It really works for me, and I can't think of anything comparable within the same title let alone the series as a whole.
  13. Gestalt


    Sphinx in Chains Member
    That’s a tough question. When 2D games were still in their infancy, video game companies didn’t immediately know what to do with all these pixels. Then Sonic 1 came around and suddenly everyone wanted to be a nerd. You can’t top that! But something like Unleashed, minus the Pixar-esque characters? I’d be down for that. I also liked Sonic Runners and Free Riders.
  14. Ayu Tsukimiya

    Ayu Tsukimiya

    UGUU~ Member
    I'm personally torn between Classic Sonic's design from the CD-3K era, and his look from the Saturn era.
    For Modern Sonic, his Adventure-era design.
  15. Prototype


    Ultimately I prefer Classic Sonic, but even then there were a lot of inconsistencies in early Sonic designs. I'd say the 1/2/3/CD/K sprite designs work best for me, and in particular the Mania variant. That's kind of the stock answer when you're a Classic fan though. The early 3D renders always looked goofy outside of S&K's title screen and made him way too chubby in the belly. I will say that the design in Sonic Mania Adventures captures the best of classic Sonic in terms of motion and personality.

    While I don't really like the Modern Sonic design as a whole, I understand why they went for it, and I do really like the early Sonic Adventure/Sonic Advance style artwork, because again, it managed to capture both personality and motion. That design without the motion falls flat though.

    Most stuff these days are just your stiff motionless 3D renders with zero personality outside of a never changing butthole smirk.

    Ideally I'd like a game in the Mania Adventures style. If they could manage to capture that same sense of fluidity and energy that Tyson's art did, and put in a nice Cel shader or something, I'd be thrilled.

    All I can say is that it's a very tricky design to get "right", even when including all the familiar elements. Maybe when it comes to Sonic, much like the games, the design requires fluidity and motion?
  16. Jenuall


    "Classic" is best (although I still don't like what they did with the 3K sprites so they don't count for me!) Mania did a great job of updating the classic S1/2/CD look with some excellent new sprites, but the colour change on Sonic himself was a bit wonky.

    As others have said I don't really see a huge difference amongst the 3D sonic designs that we have had since about Adventure 2. I don't mind them but they aren't "my" Sonic!
  17. TheWrongCentury


    The best part about memories is making them. Member
    I definitely prefer the S1/2 art styles, though I may have a bias with S2 being one of my favourite games. It isn't just the art style, it's the way the sprites moved. I enjoyed their quirks and personalities.

    I appreciate the art style in the Adventure series, but I find it awkward to look at sometimes, depending on the angle.

    I did really like the art style in Unleashed. If I could vote for 2, I'd pick S1/2 and Unleashed.