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. Azookara


    yup Member
    Boom is not solely written by them (worth remembering they did SOME stuff for it); rather it’s representative of the era as a whole.

    Sega wanted to make Sonic drop everything it was doing to be more of a light situational comedy in the past decade, and Boom (the show at least) is like a pure manifestation of that.

    Removing them alone isn’t going to make that go away, but them actively removing them and RCS could be symbolic of them changing their angle. Emphasis on could be.

    EDIT: If Maekawa wrote both Riders games then that’s maybe the only game since SA2 he was able to keep it together lol. Removed them from the post for accuracy, because my point still stands otherwise. An extreme shift in tone isn’t necessary.
  2. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

    size of a tangerine Member
    Zootopia isn't Pixar.
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  3. My fault, edited for misinformation.

    I mainly said that because Pontac and Graff working on the series didn't stop Boom from being what it is as you said.

    At the same time, Maekawa wasn't the only writer working that had similar tones as him in the 2000's. He's easily the most prominent given his involvement in Shadow's conception, but the point is Maekawa isn't really needed for things to shift in a more serious tone.
  4. Azookara


    yup Member
    That’s literally what I’m saying, man.

    They aren’t solely responsible for it, but they were hired and pushed to write the way they were for a reason, and that reason was to deliver what Sega wanted.

    My argument is that we could do much better than feeling like it needs to be one extreme or the other (since I see people pitting the SA2-06 era vs the Pontaff era), but instead we’re splitting hairs on my phrasing. Lmao
  5. 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
    yeah like, Sonic can have stakes, but the non-stop melodrama of pretty much all the non-Heroes games til Unleashed was poorly executed and in many ways poorly conceived. I really hope we're not going back to "it is time to give this new character a lengthy and tragic backstory; time to do 30 levels in dull realistic environments!".

    we...really didn't. Amy was still an annoying screechy fangirl in that game instead of being a bit more independent in her motives like she said she would in SA1, and that's something that bugged me as a literal child when SA2 first came out. and Knuckles says he'll guard the master emerald at angel island forever at the end of his......which doesn't make an appearance at all in SA2. He just shows up with it in pseudo-egypt arguing with rouge about it with no explanation. It's really bizarre.
  6. Azookara


    yup Member
    Knuckles’ story in SA2 starts you off in a cold-open state like Sonic’s where you didn’t see how the story began, as its assumed Rouge stole the emerald and Knux caught up to her at that location. That’s fine by me.

    Amy in SA2 is anyone’s guess but it doesn’t bother me. Her growing up some didn’t have to mean her personality and motives completely changed.

    It’s only by Heroes when the characters start to lack rhyme or reason altogether, and/or stagnate.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2021
  7. Well people are always going to prefer the stuff that they liked and grew up with for the most part, so no helping that.

    I personally felt like the stuff between SA1-Sonic 06 was fine for the most part, but obviously that's not a universal opinion and many felt it was part of the franchise coming to ruin and never want to return to it.

    But like I said, the Pontaff era was a deliberate response to said fans who felt the franchise was becoming "too complex", so I'm fairly certain this next decade will be a response to those felt the series was becoming "too juvenile". That's not to say we're gonna get something exactly like what Adventure-06 established, but I do feel like we're going to get something with a bit more meat to it.
  8. qwertysonic


    creating the biggest sonic collection
    we...really didn't. Amy was still an annoying screechy fangirl in that game instead of being a bit more independent in her motives like she said she would in SA1, and that's something that bugged me as a literal child when SA2 first came out. and Knuckles says he'll guard the master emerald at angel island forever at the end of his......which doesn't make an appearance at all in SA2. He just shows up with it in pseudo-egypt arguing with rouge about it with no explanation. It's really bizarre.[/QUOTE]

    Shadow's was the point I was trying to make... But even if you ignore Tails' character development, and Amy's to an extent, At least they had growth from SA1 to SA2. I hated Heroes so much because all of the character development in the Adventure games was ignored for "This time there's no way out of marrying me." And with the last decade they've just devolved more and more into 1-dimensional caricatures of themselves. I want consistency of characters across the games.

  9. I want to address these two posts in particular, because I simply want to be informed. Particularly as somebody who enjoys that "awful dreck" from the series.

    Why is it that when people bring up their preference for Pontac and Graff's writing, it's almost always in the context of not liking the 2000's games? Do you like the writing on its own merit, or because you just absolutely cannot stand the 2000's games, and would accept anything besides them? Genuinely curious.

    I ask because I almost never hear praise for those games on their own merits alone; it's almost always with a backhanded "Well at least it's better than the 2000's". I'm noticing a contradiction where people who hate the 2000's games are quick to mock individuals like myself who liked all of those gross edgy anime tropes that were popular in children's media back in that time, while at the same time needing a constant reminder that Sonic is in fact, a franchise for a children that you shouldn't take seriously. Does anyone else understand the irony of this?

    People will mock a character like Shadow for being stupid and overly edgy for this series, in spite of the fact that he's still among the most popular characters in the franchise to this very day enough to get his own campaign in the latest mainline game, and the be first additional character added in Sonic Boom besides the ones who debuted in the Classic era.

    I dunno, it just feels like such a backwards way of thinking to me.
  10. Amy's arc in sa1-sa2 wasn't "I'm not gonna obsess over sonic anymore", it was "I don't need an idol, I can be strong on my own".

    A girls version of tails's arc, if you will, but whereas tails focused on stepping out of his hero's shadow to become a hero of his own, amy was about not needing someone stronger to always be by her side, and how she can be an independent go-getter on her own. At least, that's what I picked up. :p
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  11. qwertysonic


    creating the biggest sonic collection
    Exactly! And that's shown by her being the one to save Sonic from Prison Island, and by her convincing Shadow to help them in their cause at the end.
  12. I do agree with everyone though that heroes was a huge step back for amy. Literally her entire tilt is an over the top marriage proposal disguised as a 3d platformer adventure.

    I think she was a tad better in 06 though. Still a little sonic happy, but she was back to being strong and independent again, helping silver and elise to no end (until sonic happened again lol)
  13. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    Honestly, while a bit bland in execution, I kinda like how Amy isn't quite as obsessed with Sonic and steps up as a leader in Forces. It feels like a natural progression of the "I'm a strong capable woman" arc that started in Adventure. I think part of that (for me at least) may come from Cindy Robinson's performance being informed by a more serious, less obsessed Amy in Boom combined with the odd if an ultimately good idea to make her a leader in the resistance. I can't say how different it comes across in the Japanese dub, but I think it's a rare instance of positive character progression in Forces.

    You have to consider that in CD and most of Adventure, her first response is "Sonic help me" or to go running to Sonic for help. Thereafter, Amy was always doing things for herself (even if Heroes hyper fixated on her fangirl tendencies).
  14. I feel like as annoying as it tends to be, an Amy that doesn't fawn over Sonic just isn't really Amy at the end of the day. They toned down that trait significantly in the last ten years, and Amy has become an almost entirely different character as a result. Sure, she's not annoying, but she's also really bland now too and has none of the traits that she's known for.

    When I was kid, I didn't care about her and thought she was kind of annoying but I was also in my "girls are whack" phase of adolescence. I'm 27 now, I got a bit more maturity under my belt.

    I feel like Amy's arc in Adventure 1 was discovering that she's capable of doing great things without relying on Sonic's help, and strives to be someone who can stand beside the guy as an equal rather than just being a damsel to be rescued. Adventure 2 doesn't really contradict any of that; she went to Prison Island on her own to help Sonic with no prompt from anyone, and convinced Shadow to help everyone as well. She doesn't get much focus in SA2, but that's not really her fault.
  15. This. You put it perfectly in a way I couldn't. I now consider this to be my go-to statement on Amy's arc.
  16. kyasarintsu


    I'd rather the writing be good on its own merits, too. I'm not really interested in saving the series's public image or anything, though.
    As it is now, I feel that the Adventure games had my favorite writing. I like its odd mix of "something interesting enough to get me invested on a first playthrough" and "really fun to joke about with friends in hindsight". They're endearing, which is more than I can say about Colors-style writing, where characters just stand around in boring locations with boring camera shots, spouting boring lines while boring music plays. Colors had some big stakes but you can't really feel it with just how low-energy everything is.
    The "Saturday morning cartoon" approach is something I would like if they could at least make it something exciting. If I were a kid I would never get up in the morning to watch something as tedious as Sonic Colors. I don't have any problem with this series taking itself as seriously as it did in SA1 and SA2.
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  17. Nova


    オ カ エ リ ナ サ λ Site Staff
    In the context of Sonic, I take this presentation more seriously than shit about Shadow's gritty past or apocalyptic alien invasions, yes.
  18. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    I think Pontaff and Graff were good for the series and that their unpopularity in the fanbase is very unfair.

    They were far better than anything that had come before Colors. They wrote characters who talked to each other like people actually do rather than just spout exposition at each other. That's the main problem with the Adventure games, in that the plots were generally good (if very melodramatic in Adventure 2's case) but the dialogue script was absolutely dreadful outside of a few heartfelt lines.

    I mean, take Sonic and Tails' meeting in Sonic Adventure:

    Tails: Hey Sonic. Long time no see, huh?
    Sonic: I'm just glad you're okay. What happened anyway? You're too good of a pilot to just crash like that.
    Tails: That was a test run using a new prototype propulsion system. It's got a few bugs to iron out.
    Sonic: Why not just use my plane, the Tornado?
    Tails: Thanks, but you gotta check out my newest power supply! Ta dahhh! [takes out a Chaos Emerald]
    Sonic: WHOA! A Chaos Emerald!
    Tails: Yep! I just happened to find one of the 7 Emeralds during one of my test flights. This thing has unlimited powers, ya know... So I figured, why not use it to power my plane. Super charged! You gotta come over my workshop, Sonic! I've got something I've gotta show you! It's in the Mystic Ruins. The fastest way is by train. Let's go!

    This is how most dialogue in the Sonic games was until Pontac and Graff came on board. Adventure 2's dialogue is a lot better and more natural, but still falls flat on its face sometimes in spouting exposition:

    Sonic: [Looks up] What?

    [A black colored hedgehog is seen on top of the defeated Big Foot holding a Chaos Emerald.]

    Shadow: [Holding up the Chaos Emerald] It all starts with this...A jewel containing the ultimate power...
    Sonic: [Surprised] That's the... Chaos Emerald! [Walking toward Shadow] Now I know what's going on! The military has mistaken me for the likes of you! So...where do you think you're going with that Emerald!? [Starts running toward Shadow] Say something! You fake hedgehog!
    Shadow: Chaos Control! [Activates Chaos Control and quickly warps past Sonic]
    Sonic: [Surprised] Wow...he's fast! Hey, it's not his speed. He must be using the Chaos Emerald to warp!
    Shadow: [On top of a building] My name is Shadow. I'm the world's ultimate life form! There's no time for games...farewell. [Uses Chaos Control to warp away]
    Sonic: [Blinded from the light] Kuu! Shadow...what is he?

    Pontac and Graff definitely deteoriated in Lost World, but their writing was still chops above the above, presenting genuine characterisation and interplay between the characters' different personalities:

    Dr. Eggman: I hone your abilities, I equip you with the most powerful mechs I can create, I even give you a giant sandwich, and you still disappoint me. [Blows on Cacophonic Conch and the Deadly Six fall to the ground] I'm a compassionate man...
    Sonic: That shell looks like trouble.
    Tails: Hold on a second... Sonic? I think that thing in Eggman's hand is--!

    [Sonic jumps up and kicks the Cacophonic Conch out of Eggman's hands.]

    Sonic: Gone. Eggman's shell is gone.
    Dr. Eggman: That was a mistake.
    Sonic: Whatever! When is it a mistake to take your toys away?
    Dr. Eggman: When it's the only thing keeping six angry Zeti from controlling my mechs, you moronic hedgehog!
    [The Deadly Six take control of Eggman's badniks and make them aim at Eggman. Then they make the badniks shoot.]

    Zavok: Strike, brothers! Make the fool pay for our abuse and enslavement!
    [Sonic is seen dodging and lasers. Orbot and Cubot are dodging lasers too. Cubot's body gets dis-attached from him and Orbot catches his head. In the process, his voicechip is ruined]

    Cubot: Yar! Shiver me timbers!
    [Zazz and Zomom jumps onto Eggman's Egg Mobile. As Zomom jumps onto it, Eggman falls out. One of the lasers burns his mustache. Sonic is seen destroying a few badniks while dodging lasers. The rock Tails was hiding behind is destroyed and Tails falls. Sonic comes and picks him up.]

    Sonic: I hate to run away from a fight Tails, but I don't want to see you get fried.
    Tails: Not getting fried would be nice...
    Dr. Eggman: Orbot! Cubot! We are leaving!

    The above scene has a perfect example of what is good and bad in Pontac and Graff's writing. It has a strong focus on characterisation but a very unfortunate penchant on awful jokes. But in all fairness, it isn't just spouting exposition and is far above the standards of the Adventure games.

    If they do bring in a new standard writing team I hope they were at least better than who worked on Forces, which really was like regressing fifteen years.
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  19. big smile

    big smile

    Eggman had a lot of problems in Adventure to 06. The biggest was how repetitive it was to have his plan usurp him at the last minute. And then of course Adventure to 06 were horribly convoluted and Eggman was often caught in that convolution.

    But on the whole I think Eggman worked better in Adventure to 06 when he didn’t have sidekicks for him to dump exposition. It kept his plans a secret and so his plot would unfold over the course of the game, thus providing narrative thrust to the game. One of the biggest problems with Colours onwards, is that his plot is more or less spelled out in the first couple of scenes so the rest of the story is spent killing time until the final boss.

    But also I think Eggman works better when there is less of him. He feels more treating that way and then when he does appear, he usually steals the scene. One of my favourite Eggman moments is in 06, when Shadow busts in and Eggman is like "Wouldn't the door have been easier?". It was a simple line but it just oozed Eggman's personality. Ever since he's had his sidekicks to dump exposition on, he's lost a lot of those scene stealing moments. Of course not having sidekicks doesn't mean that he can't interact with any one. He still should interact with other villain characters and even his creations. But just having some sidekicks that have no other purpose than for him to bounce exposition of don’t do the character any favours.
  20. Honestly, the biggest problem I have with the games post-Colors is probably not even their fault, but the general direction the stories are told.

    I'm gonna be blunt and say Sonic dialogue is horrible. Pure fucking shit, everything from Adventure to Forces has been pure dog shit. It's either bland exposition or corny ass jokes nobody above 10 years would genuinely laugh at.

    But you know what distracted from that, seeing Sonic do shit like tear off a piece of helicopter and use it as a makeshift surfboard, or watching Sonic barrel through an army of robot with a cheeky grin.

    Its so easy to distract from shifty lines if the cutscene direction is filled with as much energy as the above examples. But after Colors, the games relied more on character dialogue than action to sell the narrative, and sure, some of it is pretty good; I like how natural some lines are written, but it doesn't really change that thr games are just boring to watch now. A cartoon character like Sonic needs a lot of movement and energy to sell his personality. Imagine a Mickey Mouse cartoon where the characters just stood around and talked for the entire length of an average short, you'd get bored real quick.

    A thought experiment, watch the opening cutscenes to Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Colors with no sound, don't even read the dialogue, just watch the general direction of both scenes and tell me which one has more energy in it.
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