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. Just gonna pop in and say-

    SA2 is my favorite sonic game of all time (unleashed hd is second, including the werehog).

    I thought mania was amazing, and I've replayed it over and over again.

    I'm a huge simp for the adventure era, but I can give credit where credit is due. As an adventure fan myself, I don't hate the classic or 2010s eras of sonic at all (but that might just be because aside from sonic labyrinth, I absolutely inhale anything sonic). The concept that there are subsets of the fanbase and each one can only like the media produced in their respective era needs to die asap. Just cause I prefer the dark ages writing to pontaff doesn't mean I don't like pontaff period.

    Tbh, yes, I'm glad they're moving on. The meta era is getting to be too much now imo. But their writing isn't entirely to blame for that. I really love the scene in colors where tails is like "an evil... aquatic mammal? A porpoise? Oh, an evil purpose!" And sonic says "that's good Intel, keep working on it." The dynamic between sonic and tails was so fluid in that scene imo. Tails isn't a tech geek yes, but all the way back in sonic 2 it was established that he loves to tinker, and here we see tails just messing around, and sonic just chilling with him like buddies do. The pontaff writing wasn't entirely on point, but neither was the dark ages writing, and I can accept that, cause even though I'm an adventure fan, I love all aspects of sonic for everything they are, and I'm not solely focused on just one sector of media.

    Tl:dr, I like adventure stuff, I like classic stuff, I like 2010s stuff, and that's fine. More people I think should acknowledge that that's valid and not automatically assume that everyone's always out to hate on their favorite piece of media.
     
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  2. Mana

    Mana

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    I mean we were always on the internet we just had our own side. I spent a large amount of time from 14-17 on a Sonic forum with people around that age (oldest was 22) and we all loved Adventure 1 and 2 so much and considered them to be the peak of Sonic. We enjoyed Colors and Generations as well but of course we had our preferences and it was the story driven games of the 00's that got you deeply invested in the life and times of a blue hedgehog.

    The fandom had so many communities back then like Sonic Cult, Sonic Stadium, TSSZ, Sonic Retro, and those smaller sites I was on with people with my age and interests. Now a lot of those different sides have converged because a lot of smaller sites died and moved into Reddit, Discords, and Facebook groups and we realized our ideas of what the franchise is just don't sync up.

    I want my adventure Sonic back but I've had several conversations with members here about how they feel that becomes a slippery slope that ends in 06 having Sonic get stabbed and killed in an almost comedic scene. So I get their point but also think it isn't that black and white. Of course in 2010 if the adults who could pay for and purchase new games got pandered to because they were the best market to aim to at the time. Now Adventure kids are in the same boat and the game is over 20 years old now so nostalgia is at a high and it could make SEGA a lot of money.

    But this is the same fandom where some people are still hoping Jaleel White comes back as the voice of Sonic so you just can't please everyone. But my point is we were always there just not in a place where you guys would listen or care.
     
  3. BadBehavior

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    At the risk of derailing this topic further, I also like Mania. But it's just one of those situations where, while I can like it as a well-crafted game, the whole legion of fans exploding in unbridled glee, calling it literally made of gold, game of the year all years just has me going "O....k...". And if I'm purely honest, I think fangames like After the Sequel scratch the "classics but not the classics" itch for me better, mostly by virtue of being wholly original stages, but again, trying not to derail the topic.

    Maybe I would be acting like that if I grew up with those games, but I didn't. I didn't even game much until circa 2010, I wasn't there for the rise and fall of Adventure. My first Sonic game was actually Generations (cos I had a friend who was a big fan, and I was intrigued by the Nostalgia Critics review of AoStH+SatAm). I just liked the Adventure era more when I went back and played the whole series for the first time.
     
  4. Frostav

    Frostav

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    I don't really want to be like that, but I'm very tired of the idea that the Adventure titles--and really, just SA2B--are some forgotten mistakes that only a tiny weirdo subset of the Sonic fandom remember. I don't care if you think SA2 sucks or think it's the greatest sonic game of all time--the idea that it isn't a well-remembered (if not fondly-remembered) iconic game of its generation, for better or for worse. City Escape is as iconic a video game song as Green Hill itself.

    I've seen this sentiment from older Sonic fans who want to rewrite history and pass off the Adventure era as nothing but a completely pointless mistake and it annoys me. The Adventure era was the era where Sonic's reputation burned to ashes, yes. It is mostly remembered as a joke by non Sonic fans, yes. But people remember it alright. Not a single moment in the boost era is any bit as iconic as that "faker" scene in SA2, though. "Where's that DAMN 4th chaos emerald" is still memed about to this day. No, it's not good that people still bring up 06 and Shadow, but hey, at least people remember them.

    ...but I have to say that I don't actually think saying that the era is remembered solely as a joke is even true these days, because I've definitely noticed the trend changing from "the entire first decade of 3D Sonic was a mistake" to "the second half of that era was bad, but the first half was pretty decent, hey why don't they try that again". An attitude shift that I'm certain comes from people like me who grew up in this era and now are adults. Hell, I can't even criticize Heroes without a bunch of people getting defensive, even when around non-Sonic fans. SA1 got the brunt of the "3D Sonic is a glitchy mess" hate and SA2 mostly escaped it because it just plain isn't that buggy.

    So I definitely contest the notion that the Adventure era is nothing but a mistake, and only weirdo kids who played SA2 when they were five liked its tone and writing and everyone who isn't a Sonic fan thinks it's a complete waste. I think it's more nuanced than that. And I'm not saying that people now think SA2 is great or anything. But the opinion in the wider gaming community is absolutely more positive than just "it all sucks". People like the speed stages, the music, and the chao garden. Hell, I've seen more and more people admit they like the plot, as cheesy and goofy as hell as it is.

    So, bringing it back to this topic: it would be interesting to see Maekawa return to writing something, if he's still at SEGA. But I don't want him to just immediately make something like SA2 or 06 again. No one wants that. People want Sonic to have some kind of plot and stakes more complicated than "Eggman is a bad dude, go defeat him".

    And people like Overlord and Nova intentionally ignore this. They put "we want SA2 with all of its translation issues and its uneven pacing and its tonal whiplash all over again!" in our mouths. But we don't. That was Forces, and nobody liked Forces. We want "what SA2 was trying to do, and even succeeded at somewhat, but better". I know I do.

    And I know that isn't impossible, because the IDW comics already showcase it can be done even with a bunch of dumbass mandates. SEGA just has to actually care.
     
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  5. Mana

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    I've had several conversations with Nova about Sonic Adventure 2 and we both agree on the highs being the characterization and direction with the game itself being fairly fun too. He just feels like Sonic Team is not a company of restraint and SA2 led to Shadow the Hedgehog which led to 06 which led to Sonic becoming a laughing stock. And I can't see anything wrong with what he said because he's right. If they wanted to keep the level of tone they had with SA2 they could have but they just made it edgier and edgier until it imploaded.

    It's like what happened with Colors. Fine game on it's own but when you can trace the new dark age back to it then you start complaining about the flaws a lot harder because it got us here in the first place.

    Adventure nostalgia is more pronounced than ever especially because our communities have all pretty much banded together and 20 somethings are more vocal about their love of it so maybe we'll see a return to the style some day.

    I wouldn't mind Maekawa returning either with a clear idea of what Sonic is and an editor to help him realize what Sonic is not. When he's writing stuff like SA2 or Riders or Black Knight I don't think many understand who the blue blur is the way he does.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2021
  6. Another thing I want to mention.

    I grew up with the classic games. Sonic 1 was the first sonic game I ever played. I enjoyed mania... I still do not understand people acting like mania is the future of the series.

    I first heard about sonic adventure 2 at 6 years old on sonic mega collection. I asked my mom for it religiously for every birthday and Christmas for 12 years until I got it as my 18th birthday gift as a send off to my childhood (yes, I had more than enough money to buy it, and I had bought sa1 prior to this, but it meant a lot more to me personally to receive it from her- we both knew I was holding out for that, and she wanted to make it special, and she finally found a good copy for cheap, but I digress). I found sa2 to be my favorite sonic game of all time. It sailed past sonic 2. It sailed past sa1. And not just cause I finally got it, but because it was a genuinely good time to me, even after playing all these other games people claim to be better.

    Tl:dr (again)- taste is subjective. Even after growing up as a classic sonic kid with the genesis games (the supposedly right way to experience sonic, no less), I still like the dark ages games more. It's literally all subjective. You can like what you like. Other people can like what they like. The only reason why this is a problem here is cause sonic is only one guy, and I'd gather it's pretty hard to be a try-hard shounen anime, a slapstick stand-up comedian, and a 20s silent film all at the same time.
     
  7. Dude, I'm only two years older than you and me and Overlord were able to have an amicable conversation that ended with neither of us being upset even if we fundamentally disagree with each other.

    You can have a rational discussion about this if you calmed down for a second. We're all adults here, ain't no reason you can't have a calm discussion about what ultimately amounts to a video game.

    Flying off the handle and being so quick to retaliate against any perceived slight is exactly why many feel Sonic fans are immature manchildren, don't feed into that stereotype, because it really just makes your overall point weaker and makes people less willing to take you seriously.
     
  8. Wait, I'm not mad- I'm actually really enjoying this convo... where did I seem like I was "flying off the handle"? If I sound mad, please understand I'm not, I've never really been good with words. I'm just trying to explain that I'm an example of growing up with one thing and enjoying another. I apologize if I upset anyone.
     
  9. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

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    Pretty sure he was talking to Frostav.
     
  10. MykonosFan

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    Yes. Now let's roll this back on topic.
     
  11. Laura

    Laura

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    I prefer the Classic games, but if you asked anyone in the street about Sonic then they would probably say Sonic 1, 2, Adventure 2 or Heroes. From my experience, those games have by far more cultural impact than others in the series because they were the biggest game on each platform. I don't hear as many people talk about Unleashed, Colors, or Generations, but I think in ten years time either of those games might have similiar cultural impact.

    I do think, however, that quality isn't just preference. I love Adventure, but when I went back and played it you really recognise how many problems it had. Terrible dialogue and voice acting, very shallow, halfbaked, small stages beside Sonic, loads of repetition including bosses, bad camera, etc. I don't think you can really say that 'Sonic 2 is better than SA is just a matter of preference'. Sonic 2 cerrainly has its own problems, but it's a far more elegant and wellmade game.

    Ultimately people can like what they want. I have a soft spot for Losf World and think the plot is generally good and gets too much hate online. But I'm also not going to pretend that it's not a janky game with shallow villains and moments of melodrama.

    I just think people should be real about the franchise when going forward. I respect what Pontac and Graff did for Sonic but do accept that they overrelied on awful jokes and lost their touch a bit by Lost World. If SEGA can accomplish something better then I'm down for that.

    Because you can't just plesse fans and the word fan is a matter of question anyway. I consider myself a Crash and Spyro fan but never played the PS2 games. Am I a real fan?
     
  12. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    Everyone complaining about "Adventure-06" stories and "Colours onwards" stories can only mean one thing.

    Unleashed objectively has the best story of any modern Sonic game.
     
  13. Laura

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    Here's my truly controversial opinion! i hate Unleashed's story and think Chip is far, far cringier than anything Pontac and Graff thought up.
     
  14. Exactly. Unleashed, secret rings, and black knight had fantastic stories imo
     
  15. Frostav

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    Unleashed was basically the last story that had any sort of tonal similarity to the Adventure era, to be honest. The move away from edginess and towards less serious tone was starting, but there's still decent stakes, Sonic is his Adventure era self, and the plot involves Eggman uncovering some ancient evil monster. Really, I think that Unleashed should be considered as the very last Adventure Era game; Colors was the first "modern era" game, probably because Unleashed still received a lot of criticism so ST just said "fuck it" and finally got rid of every single but of Adventure-era storytelling.
     
  16. Laura

    Laura

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    I completely disagree. Chip is far closer in tone to Colors than Adventure. It's just that Chip is awful.
     
  17. This started in Unleashed meaning it’s Sonic Team’s vision of the character and unlikely to change unfortunately, his introduction depicts him as a coward like Forces would more infamously repeat and the second he pulls out that tablet is the moment he became a boring exposition dump.
     
  18. Josh

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    Seconding @Laura : While I can see where you're coming from with Unleashed's story striking a balance, I completely disagree with the idea that it didn't define a new era for the series. But you're hardly the first person I've heard make an argument like that, and I think it goes to show just how much distance there is in the way different fans see this franchise.

    But from my perspective, it seems completely and utterly bonkers to suggest that Unleashed wasn't the start of a new era. It'd be kind of like claiming that Sonic Adventure didn't kick off the Adventure Era, just because, I don't know, freakin' Shiro Maekawa wasn't writing the story yet, and Knuckles was still on his first voice actor.

    Sonic 06 killed the Adventure Era, and killed it DEAD. For better and worse, Sega swiftly and irrevocably moved away from using any of the elements that were associated with that disaster, and that STILL hasn't really changed.

    Unleashed was the first game released after Sega Studios USA was integrated back into Sonic Team in Japan, the first modern Sonic Team title WITHOUT Yuji Naka at the helm, and most importantly, it premiered the boost gameplay that most 3D Sonic titles have used ever since.

    I think a lot of younger fans who weren't involved in the community back in 2008 only judge Unleashed's reception by what mainstream reviewers were saying, and don't realize that a LOT of fans had a lot of love for it. Even here, in the Sarlacc pit of Classic Elitism that is Sonic Retro. (Hi, me from 10 years ago!)

    But I think that may be the dividing line in how people see it: Does your primary interest in this series lie more in the gameplay, or are you more into it for the characters and stories?

    But I don't know. Even on THAT metric, Unleashed feels to me like it has a lot more in common with Colors than with the previous games. For the first time since SA2, Shadow WASN'T there, hogging the limelight and driving the plot. It was the first game where the story was self-contained, cut off entirely from the previous games, and centered on a smaller number of characters instead of shoehorning in a huge cast.

    And to this day, NOTHING screams, "Sonic is BACK," like that opening cutscene. Man, the way it felt to see that for the first time back in 08...

    Now, yeah, Chip was REALLY annoying, but to tell the truth, he was the last time anything in a Sonic story made me "cringe." With hindsight, I think his English VA was a bad casting choice, and I was still just young enough to feel self-conscious about "kiddy" dialogue. The story was largely out-of-focus for most of the game, but it was fun, and it never made me feel like the series was slipping into melodrama for the sake of pandering to the "mature" trends that were so en vogue back then, the way that previous games had.

    I don't know. I never felt like Unleashed got enough credit. To me, THAT was the point where Sonic Team finally turned a new leaf, THAT was the breath of fresh air. Colors smoothed out a lot of its rough, Werehog-shaped edges and made it more accessible to people who weren't dyed-in-the-wool Sonic fans, but it was still built on everything that Unleashed established. Unleashed to me felt like it kicked off a renaissance, Colors was that accessible-but-average little Wii game that came between them, and Generations brought the best elements of both together, and solidified that Sonic Team had FINALLY gotten things on track. I mean, they'd put out three games in a row that, while they weren't everyone's cup of tea, established a formula and refined it into something that a lot of fans and a lot of NON-fans actually ENJOYED, and the sky seemed like the limit. THEN, the next year, Sonic was in a Disney movie, and we got a racing spin-off that RIVALED MARIO KART. That was one of the only times I remember there being a feeling of actual, justified optimism among the community.

    And then Lost World, Boom, and Forces happened. But man, I miss that feeling.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2021
  19. @DigitalDuck was actually kind of on to something, even though he was making a joke.


    Unleashed is probably the most balanced when it comes to the perceived preferences I've been seeing here on Retro, and generally what's the dividing line between Classic and "Modern" fans. The gameplay was seen as a breath of fresh air by almost everyone at the time (This was before we knew what the Boost gameplay would eventually morph into, and let's be real, anything was a step up from 06) with the only real hiccup being the Werehog itself, and even when the game actually came out, while the Werehog wasn't exactly popular, many agreed that it was solid for what it was, it just came at the worst possible time where gimmicks were the last thing fans were looking forward to in a Sonic game. It wasn't really until Sonic Generations that people were starting to get tired of Boost gameplay, because it was definitely the most popular style of gameplay the series had in Unleashed and Colors. Sure, you had detractors here and there, but even mainstream coverage concluded that Boost gameplay was legit. The game got it's mixed reception because, as I said, another gameplay gimmick was the last thing anyone wanted after 06, and Sonic Team had failed to read the room on that, so that's on them.

    The story, while nowhere near as convoluted as it's immediate predecessor, still had a lot of heart put into it. But I did notice that a LOT of people hated Chip, and he was in fact one of the many things people derided as being "too kiddy" for this series with his constant antics in the background. But the main distinction Unleashed has from the writing in the subsequent games is that it relies way less on jokes, and is more line with how stories had been told up to that point....lots and lots of exposition. It's just that there's way less exposition due to the plot being pretty simple this time around; it all basically amounts to "Go to temple, and fuck shit up" and Chip's backstory, which isn't anywhere near as complicated as Shadow's. So while Chip may have been annoying to some, he was a character that Sonic Team tried to give some genuine Pathos with as they had been doing up to that point, he wasn't just a function to serve a specific purpose like say, the Deadly Six. The story is even structured similarly to Sonic Adventure with Eggman unleashing an ancient god that he tries to harness the power of to build Eggmanland, but ends up being betrayed by it with Sonic needing to go Super to beat it. It has many of the same story beats that were staples of the series at that point. The story is inoffensive enough for Classic fans to enjoy, while simultaneously having enough Pathos for Modern fans to latch onto. Neither too juvenile, or too convoluted. As a certain purple titan once said, it's perfectly balanced, as all things should be.


    And beyond all of that, Sonic Unleashed is easily the last Sonic game where Sonic Team went all of the fuck in on the PR. The hype period for this game was fucking enormous; not only did we have our expectations high due to this being a follow up to Sonic 06, Unleashed just had a flair of confidence in it that we just never really saw anymore until Mania. The game knew what it wanted to be, and presented it proudly.



    Besides the leaked footage of what would become Savannah Citadel, this was the first ever footage of Unleashed which told you the type of game it was going to be. From that point on, Sega periodically released a trailer showcasing what every level looked like, when was the last time they did something like that? The Summer and Autumn of 2008 was the best time to be a Sonic fan with all of the shit we were getting. Sega has never built up a game like this since. And it all culminated in this trailer airing on July 15th, 2008



    This trailer is so well crafted, because it's just a showcase of what Sonic is all about (at least until the Werehog comes on, but let's ignore that); it showcases the gameplay while also showcasing the establishing cutscene in the story, all with buttrock blaring in the background. It's simple and to the point and I cannot stress how amazing this trailer is. It is to date, the ONLY time I legit lost my mind while seeing a trailer, and I had this shit on repeat almost every day until release, and I was already fifteen years old.

    You had a new lighting engine that pushed the system's hardware, tons of collectibles to get, and a whole ass world to explore. Sonic team really sold the "World tour" aspect of this game very well. So I think that's why Unleashed tends to get a fairer shake than it's predecessors and successors. It hits a lot of the highs for many people, while avoiding most (But not ALL) of the lows. And for a series that tends to operate at extremes at all times, it's kind of refreshing to have one that sits comfortably in the middle
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2021
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  20. Laura

    Laura

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    I see Sonic Unleashed a bit like Hitman Absolution. I strongly dislike both games, but they led to far more elegant, well-designed games in Colours, Generations and the new Hitman trilogy respectively. I think Sonic Unleashed is more like a cross-generational title in that it keeps a lot of the stupid design philosophies of the mid 2000s but laid the foundation for the future.