Ken Pontac and Warren Graff are implied to be no longer writing for the series.

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Sonic5993, Jan 29, 2021.

  1. Nova

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    I genuinely really like their stuff for the series. It comes across as like a Saturday morning cartoon, which is kind of what I want out of Sonic. The worst thing for me would be any sort of return to Maekawa. I don't understand the appetite for his return, honestly - his writing is one of the main reasons Sonic was a laughing stock to non-fans during the 2000s if you ask me.
     
  2. kyasarintsu

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    The cheese of the 3D era was dumb as hell but I found it lovably so and occasionally resonating. The stuff we've gotten starting with Colors is just some annoying, banal crap that isn't even fun to mock.
     
  3. Overlord

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    100% this, entirely agree. Please don't take us back to the awful dreck of the series' writing between SA2 and 06.
     
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  4. Nova

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    That's just the thing though, I don't want cheesy and fun to mock. I want something that, despite being light-hearted, makes the general gaming public take Sonic seriously and not as that weird franchise with dark, anime-esque storylines and a weird fanbase.
     
  5. James Smith

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    I highly doubt that will happen. I think Sonic Team might just do the English dialogue themselves going forward.
     
  6. RDNexus

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    They just needed to make sure it didn't go that way... "xD
     
  7. JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    Except that is exactly what Sonic is currently to the gaming public and has been so for 15 years.

    There is a reason people still only bring up Sonic '06, and now, how Sonic looked in the FIRST movie trailer whenever they need a quick cut to footage from the franchise.
     
  8. big smile

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    Yes. YES! YES!
    Ken Pontac and Warren Graff were awful writers. They just wrote generic cartoon stories without any care for the character's personalities. The best example of this were Cubot and Orbot which they proudly boast about how they had to fight to include because Sega felt Eggman wouldn't have such sidekicks (and Sega were spot on, they shouldn't have backed down). Sure, Eggman always had a comic side, but Cubot and Orbot just made him feel like some bumbling single parent.

    Tails was another example: He was turned into a snarky know-it-all.

    To be fair, their comedy was funny. And Colours and Generations were written by Sonic Team (they just fleshed it out), so it's not like everything is their fault. However, Lost World was more their doing and it wasn't a good story.

    I hope Sonic Team go back to doing the stories by themselves.
    Sonic Runners was wholly written by Sonic Team and it nailed the characters while also working in a strong sense of continuity with Sonic's world (even explaining things like why Knuckles isn't stuck to the ME 24/7). They even managed to make Cubot and Orbot work.
    M&SatLO was also done by Sonic Team (I think) and that also managed to be decent.

    They should just start the next game with Cubot and Orbot being upgraded into boss characters that Sonic finishes off (with Eggman joking about how he's finally over his midlife crisis).

    I agree that SA2 to 06 suffered from being overly convoluted. But what followed just went to the other extreme. Games like Colours and LW set up a big threat, but then the characters spend most of the time goofing off with puns until the final boss shows up. Hopefully Sonic Team will finally get the balance right (which Runners mostly does, it's just that it's plots tended to lack a sense of scale and could be repetitive at times).

    I don’t think I've been this excited for the series since Generations.
     
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  9. Nova

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    Right, which is why I think they should keep going in the direction they have been, or a similar one. Going back to the style of the 'dark ages' wouldn't do this franchise any favours.
     
  10. Pengi

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    Since this is a 90 minute interview, does anyone have a time stamp for the relevant section?
     
  11. Its always fascinating how divided people are about Sonic's tone; you got people who despised the animesque storylines from before and felt pontaff were a breath of fresh air.

    And then you got the opposite of people who despise pontaff and felt they ruined what said animesque storylines setup.


    Around the 48 minute mark

    Well I'm a millennial, and loved those Anime storylines so suck it Boomers :V
     
  12. big smile

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    For me personally it's a bit more nuanced than that. The simpler direction would have been fine if they had just treated the characters with respect. Tails is not snarky. Eggman is not daddy day care. It just felt like they knew nothing about Sonic, dusted off some lines written for something else and shoehorned them in. I think there was an even interview where Pontaff admitted that they didn’t even check any of the past Sonic stories before writing.
     
  13. Just gleaming the interview, they seemed to more or less do their own thing and didn't really care much for the series itself, it was just a job to them at the end of the day. They weren't writing Sonic characters, they were writing their own specific interpretations of them.

    Which is completely fair mind you, I'm not going to knock them for that. But at the same time, you can't just disregard prior storylines and characterizations and then not expect people to be somewhat upset.

    People may not like Maekawa's writing, but I at least felt like he respected the characters more. People will always point to that interview about him not liking Sonic, but Black Knight is wildly considered one of his best interpretations ever so even if that were true, it didn't really influence giving Sonic his due.

    I dunno, I think people are just too quick to denounce everything that came before simply because its not to their liking. In any case, its a moot point now given Pontaff are gone.
     
  14. big smile

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    I would knock them for that. If you were writing a WW2 novel, you couldn't just suddenly make Churchill a femme fatale or whatever. You'd have to do something that's true to the character. If it's a reboot like Boom, then fair enough. But this wasn't a reboot. So I think you are spot on when you say you can't just disregard prior storylines and characterizations and then not expect people to be upset. And the fact that in that interview he doesn't seem to grasp this is disappointing.

    I think the only problem with Maekawa's work is that it was often unnecessary convoluted with lots of lose ends. I appreciated the sense of drama in Maekawa's work and (usually) the characterisation, but it always felt like a first draft effort. Plus also, as stated in an interview, Maekawa didn’t like the classic games and so re-wrote everything. Although, I can give him a pass for that, because at least the characters felt through and there was a sense of continuity with what came before.
     
  15. Blue Blood

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    Maekawa was in my opinion, and in the broadest terms, on the right tracks. That is to say, I'd rather see Sonic games with bad storylines and some semblance of continuity than any more of the crap we've had from Generations to Forces. I understand it's not entirely Pontac and Graff's doing and they're largely responsible for the scripts rather than the entire scenarios, but the scripts have been garbage. Like actual, steaming piles of dog poo. However, I have to also say that as much as I loathe the storylines and scripts of Generations, Lost World and Forces, they all did the series much less harm than Shadow and '06.

    Colours was a refreshing change of pace after years of laughably dark and convoluted stories. Unleashed already bucked that trend and gave us a perfectly fine story and atmosphere (and it wasn't written by Maekawa) but it was Colours that finally gave us character personalities again and gave us a plot that had zero baggage. It was a real treat to see Sonic and Tails just kinda having some friendly banter again, ripping on Eggman and being pretty chill in a very simple storyline. I'm not going to pretend some of the jokes weren't awful, but it was a solid effort. It was the following games where it became clear that the writers had virtually no knowledge of the series before they joined, where the characters' personalities were mangled and the plot became full of holes lacked context.

    Give me more stories like SA1, Unleashed and the oft-forgotten Riders series. Seriously, Riders and ZG, especially ZG, just have really good plots, character involvement and interaction. SA2 on the other hand never sat right with me to tell you the truth, and I feel like its worse elements were the basis upon which ShTH and '06 were then based. Maekawa was obsessed with making Sonic games dark and brooding. Even if he did treat the characters pretty well generally, he was very guilty of character bloat, playing favourites (Shadow) and expanding the cast needlessly every game. Everyone else got cast aside when a new face showed up. This series got a huge and rich cast that doesn't need to be expanded upon all the time and can be cycled through as necessary. And he wasn't against introducing unnecessary plot holes and retcons for which the nonsensical answers can't be found in the games but instead only on his Twitter.

    Let's just talk about a couple of specifics real quick: the Blaze plothole is just as egregious as the Phantom Ruby plothole. Both are elements introduced in one game, then completely retconned in another and fumbled around with like a game of pass-the-parcel where the music doesn't stop playing. Maekawa was responsible for the mess regarding Blaze, and I'm not really sure who's to blame for the silliness regarding the Phantom Ruby. Eitaro Toyoda is credited as writing Forces' story, so maybe him? Regardless, both are really stupid and have no reason to exist.

    So if you put a gun to my head and told me to choose between another '06 story script and another Lost World/Forces story and script... I'd probably pick '06. But I'd also consider saying "just pull the trigger" because frankly, both options are awful. New writers can't be much worse than what we've had in the past. Maekawa is guilty of a lot, but others have been guilty of many of the same things. Didn't Iizuka himself write ShTH? I'd love to see Flynn finally get his break into the games.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2021
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  16. And you see, that's the Gray area. Because whether I like it or not, some people DID like their interpretations of the characters as we can see here in this topic. Sure, in might be in comparison to the Maekawa era because people simply didn't care for the direction he took the series in and loved that they dialed it back, but the fact remains.

    Think this just comes down to Sega refusing to establish a definitive interpretation of Sonic, so writers were just free to do whatever the hell they want as long as they kept his same basic characteristics. It was brought up in another thread actually, but it very much feels like Sega treats Sonic like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; a set of characters with very basic and simple traits that are completely open for interpretation by writers.

    So because of that, you're going to get very different interpretations that only share superficial qualities.
     
  17. Just wanna note that Maekawa's Shadow bias is only really prevalent in SA2 and 06; he's pretty neutral otherwise with Secret Rings and black Knight.
     
  18. Dark Sonic

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    Yes please don't return to that writing. That wasn't good either. I feel like some people think those are the only 2 options, SA2 story or Lost World.

    Either way, good. Sounds like they're shaking things up.
     
  19. big smile

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    Yeah, I think Sega does deserve a huge chunk of blame. And again the Cubot/Orbot example illustrates things perfectly. If they felt they didn’t suit Eggman, then they should have stood their ground. Obviously, there has to be give-and-take, but there is a sense that Sega just wasn't doing a good job of providing oversight.
     
  20. RDNexus

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    Maybe he got forced to take a neutral stance in those cases...