Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Laura, Dec 5, 2013.
"Contractors aren't permanent employees" shock. This happens all over the games industry.
This. Also when you try to look up which Unleashed/Generations devs went to Nintendo, it quickly becomes apparent that those examples aren't "just some examples" but most of the examples he could probably find. Forces, much like other recent Sonic Team games, is developed by a mix of people who are already at Sonic Team, contractors, and maybe some newcomers.
Also this is why trying to be an internet detective to try and figure out why a game is bad is a bad idea. Unless you were actually there or unless people who were there speak up about why, it's impossible to know why a game ended up like it did. Yeah, the reason can be "the dev team was just bad" but it's barely ever as simple as that or it might not even be close to the problem at all. The reasons why can also include bad leadership, toxic work environments, way too many work hours (which is almost guaranteed to be a factor in the game industry), too strict deadlines, higher ups wanting stuff changed, higher ups wanting stuff changed mid-production etc.
So tbh really what I'm saying is this thread is pointless at best, and only causes more misconceptions about how Sega or Sonic Team works at worst. No one here is going to figure out if people at Sonic Team know what makes Sonic good.
Does this mean Super Mario Mania is next? :specialed:
I'd buy the fuck out of a game like that.
People being not informed enough or not qualified enough to talk about a problem isn't going make the problem go away, though.
An argument can be made that (most) people on the internet are just simple forumgoers outside the industry (let alone outside the studio lot) have no idea on how Warner Bros. and DC works when it comes to producing films, writing scripts. That's not going to make people stop asking and speculating why do they keep fucking up so badly with the DCEU.
This particular topic only becomes without merit when the studio actually starts consistently demonstrating they know how Sonic works, or if the studio no longer holds (the largest amount of) influence over what happens to the series. Nobody questions Nintendo on knowing if they understand what makes Mario good. Or if Rare/Paon (still) understand the qualities of the Donkey Kong Country series, because the series now lies in Retro Studios' hands.
If we're going to throw around the argument that they were just "contractors" for a given title then I'll ask who are Sonic Team's full time staff?
We know Takashi Iizuka is one of them being the head and all but who else?
The difference is though, that how the film industry works and what film companies are up to is not that hard to find out. You can easily find out who are involved with a movie, what said people who are involved have done in the past, and how the movies are made. Blu-rays and DVDs often come with stuff like behind the scenes videos and director's commentary that paints a better picture of how and why stuff was done.
We don't get that with video games. And without that knowledge there's not much to discuss, and generally this topic is just going to revolve around misconceptions with more misconceptions about the development of modern Sonic games being created.
And yeah, we can fairly easily say that the current developers of Mario and DKC games know what makes those series so good. It's easy to say that those games were likely made by talented people working in the right conditions. However, we don't know the specific details on why those games turned out so good. Nintendo isn't open enough about their game development for us to know that. And those details matter a lot more when talking about why a game turned out not so great. It's not as clear cut as when a video game turns out good. If you know enough about the game industry it's easy to come up with lots of reasons for why it could have turned out bad, but even with that knowledge it's impossible to specifically know why a particular game turned out bad.
Like yeah, you're right, us not being qualified enough isn't going to make the problem go away. But that doesn't stop us from not being qualified to talk about it.
That's not entirely true. Key staff members of a game's development team do give interviews about the game's production, and talk about subjects like their roles in the game's production, the game's origins of development, their background of past games they've worked on, certain prototypes / pitches that didn't make it into the final game, how certain elements of their games are designed, and certain challenges that the dev team experienced, among other things. That doesn't cover more audiovisual / interactive materials like concept art and pre-release demos/builds/prototypes. Granted, it can be said that game production isn't as thoroughly documented as film production, so the above contents of what can be gathered about a videogame's production and development staff is significantly more scarce (and in certain cases, this material is only compiled and documented in any meaningful way by enthusiast fansites like Retro itself). But such background information does exist.
I didn't say anything about people speculating why Nintendo and Retro understand what makes Mario and DKC games good, though. I only said people don't question the capabilities of them understanding the formula at all.
"Not being qualified to talk about it?"
I'm.. Not sure what you even mean by that. No, we most certainly are "qualified" to discuss the information we have available and critique the end result of whatever situation might arise. The only "qualification" here, is that we consume the game and are paying Sega money to do it. As consumers we most certainly do have a qualification to talk about why their recent game marketed to us fell short of expectations. Since that's the reason the game exists; for players to play and enjoy. If no disclosure exists from Sega's end in terms of what happened and why, that doesn't suddenly inoculate them from said criticism. That just means the criticism that's now being levied is even *more* frustrating since there's seemingly no real answer as to why.
That's like saying a food critic isn't qualified in their critique of a restaurant because they have never worked in the restaurant industry within the past 8 years, hasn't owned or operated within the business, and isn't privy to the hiring, firing or management decisions the restaurant made that led to the food tasting like crap.
Um... No, not really. That information would most certainly be helpful, but that doesn't suddenly fix the problem or provide the company cover.
Anyways, regarding the original topic.... What we do know given the scant interviews regarding Sonic Forces and information from gleamed from the credits, the indicators of cut/reduced content, and the obviously missing aspects of gameplay, there clearly was a tumultuous development ordeal that went on behind the scenes of Sonic Forces. The following is what was gleamed from that interview with the development team of Sonic Forces that was translated into English and posted in the spoiler thread.
*Most of the people from Generations ended up either moving on from Sega, or getting pulled to work on Sonic and Mario at the Olympic Games series, because fuck Sonic's best talent working on his own exclusive game series :v:
*The original idea they had from the start was rejected by corporate and forced (ha ha..) Sonic Team to go back to the drawing board with trying to make the game.
*Sega then demanded that they develop the game for the Nintendo Switch as well. This again would obviously cause major headaches for development. From what's been disclosed from outside developers, The Switch is very difficult to develop for... And now mid-stream, Sonic Team had to do so.
If this situation doesn't sound a little familiar to people, it should. Let's not forget what we witnessed and discovered with Sonic 2006's horrifying release. Sega is brutal when it comes to their development deadlines. And they have no qualms forcing game developers, specifically Sonic Team, to churn out a Sonic games regardless of their progress or polish, especially if it's for the holiday season. While Sonic 06 began development in 2004, it was only just out tech demo status in May 2005 when Sega demanded it be finished for the Nov 2006 holiday season. This deadline was enforced even after the head developer resigned, the development team was split in half so one half could work on middling Nintendo spin off games, and while the remaining development team were essentially a team of neophytes expected to develop co-currently for the PS3 and X-Box 360 in less than a year. This resulted into the raging tire fire now known as Sonic 2006.
Now Sonic Forces wasn't nearly as disastrous but I think a similar situation resulted in a weakened and unrealized game that was far too ambitious for what the development team had in mind and were capable of. While this is all conjecture, it appears that the delayed development, split off team members being sent to work for Nintendo games, and the sudden inclusion of development for the Switch led to this game no longer being the ambitious successor to Sonic Generations... And more of a middling budget ware title meant to cash in on Sonic's popularity and offer children a brief distraction for the holiday season.
Look at who they brought back as veterans for this game's development. Developers from Sonic Lost World. The game's reusing assets from Lost World and Generations, while a bunch of newbies are shoe-stringing it all together with only one level designer trying to make the game work. This reeks of a title who's developers were neck deep in 'Crunch' and offered very few resources, time or manpower to make this game what the original developers wanted it to be.
Again, this is all conjecture but I feel it makes the most sense given what we know and see. From the numerous examples we've seen in the past, Sega's demands for Sonic games are absolute and they've always wanted the games released regardless of quality. And when the developers are constantly reshuffled or reassigned, there's only so much a team of humans can do. Which sucks for us since that means the games suck and why we're in this situation now. Until Sega learns that if they want Sonic games to sell, they have to actually be good, Sega's going to continue to cut corners and treat Sonic and its developers as expendable red-shirts, marched headlong into disaster with no thought of the consequences.
I'm not saying Sonic Team's games can't be criticised. I'm saying we can't criticise the production of the games, because we know nothing about that. Yeah we can say there's obviously stuff going wrong, but we cannot say with any certainty what is going wrong with there being barely any details about how their games are made.
A food critic criticises the restaurant's food and service, they don't criticise how the restaurant is run unless maybe they got a closer look at how the restaurant handles things. Which, well, we don't.
That being said: if you want to criticize someone for the game being put out like it was, it's usually better to criticize the publisher rather than the developer. With the publisher it's a sure thing that they were at least part of the reason for the game being put out like it was. With the developer it's kinda hard to know unless some people on the dev team start being really open for whatever reason.
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