New article by Retro gamer on the making of Sonic Adventure

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Laughingcow, Dec 31, 2018.

  1. Beltway

    Beltway

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    Considering Boom wasn't too long ago (despite being essentially dead as of 2019) and they're still trying to pushing classic and modern Sonic as their separate characters as of Forces (with classic Sonic/Mania even being established as another dimension, rather than just being modern Sonic's past like in Generations) I don't think the "pillars/branches" approach with Sonic is going anywhere. Especially so, given how the upcoming Sonic movie (the design, the backstory/mythology, everything) is shaping up to be....

    Moreover, I think the two paradigms of Sonic are entrenched enough that a "hybrid" attempt to please both worlds is just going to piss most people off, especially in regards to deciding what elements from each group get top priority/focus of the game design and franchise direction.
     
  2. TheKazeblade

    TheKazeblade

    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member

    I actually discuss this point in one of my videos, but I'll reiterate the point here too:

    Who cares if it pisses people off? It has been proven again and again that Sonic fans will buy Sonic games regardless of whether or not they adhere to their personal preferences. That's why the movie will also still do well even though we all know it's going to be pretty bad.

    If the emphasis of development is focused on quality, solid gameplay – and if there is even the slightest possibility that Taxman is connected to future titles in the future, that could certainly be the case – the window dressing will make zero difference. Because again, even the loudest complainers will still dish out the cash for it.

    Nail the gameplay and let the rest of the chips fall where they may. I seriously doubt you'll see huge swaths of the fanbase fall away. The complaints already exist with two separate pillars, so who cares if the complaints are consolidated.
     
  3. snubn0zemunkey!

    snubn0zemunkey!

    yo what up Member
    I remember reading these interviews from 2015 and thinking that the next 3D game would actually be some sort of hybrid that sort of fused modern and classic gameplay together:

    “Sega has publically apologised to the fans as the quality of console games in the Sonic franchise hasn't been acceptable over recent years. It's been tough translating that iconic side scrolling 2D experience from the 90s into 3D but 3D Sonic is still huge for us so the new games will be more inspired by how it played in its heyday.”
    source

    "When we look at bringing Sonic to modern-day gamers, we ... obviously want to appeal to as many people as possible but still focus on what it means to be Sonic and a Sonic game,"

    "Maybe that might lose some fans along the road, but we're picking up new fans that will hopefully grow with us as Sonic grows."
    source

    Bear in mind that in 2013 we had Sonic Lost World, a game that seemed to be fusing modern and classic design elements together, with modern Sonic now sporting shorter proportions and a stockier build and Tails flying in the classic version of the Tornado bi-plane. This was taken even further in Sonic Runners with modern Sonic becoming shorter & stouter than he's ever been.

    But in 2017 we got Sonic Forces, a game that tries a little too hard to please everyone rather than having one solid direction. So where exactly is this new game "inspired by how [Sonic] played in its heyday"? Was he referring to Mania? The wording of the interview makes it seem like it would've been a new 3D game. It definitely wasn't Forces either.

    Maybe an unannounced game still in development? idk but I hope so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
  4. Beltway

    Beltway

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    How are we still buying into this myth of people buying Sonic games regardless of quality? That hasn't been true since the late 2000s at best. Do you remember the last game before Mania that sold over one million copies worldwide? What about two million worldwide? What about three million? Where's the evidence about the Boom games (tie-in games to an entire new spinoff series) and Forces being commercial hits? The series has been in niche territory for years and that's especially going to ring true once the movie comes out.

    It's also fairly implausible to buy into the idea of a Sonic movie being successful when it's not just the franchise itself no longer being a powerhouse. How have other videogame adaptations done at the box office over the past five years? Ratchet and Clank, Warcraft, Assassin's Creed were outright bombs worldwide. Even more successful videogame films still underperformed domestically (US) and had to be saved by international grosses (Need for Speed, Hitman, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Rampage). Angry Birds is the only videogame film in this period that even grossed more than its production budget domestically (and the international gross was still over twice that).

    As Nicky Ali just noted, Forces can be described as an amalgamation of various elements of the franchise (classic/Adventure/modern/whathaveyou) and can be said to be within in the ballpark of what you're advocating. How many people are happy with the final result? How many people actually bought that game in the end? And that was their most recent attempt; we've already seen other attempts to patch together various segments of the series like Lost World and especially Sonic 4 to use as a reference.
     
  5. TheKazeblade

    TheKazeblade

    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member
    Forces is the PERFECT example of this being true. Forces was financially successful despite fans and critics alike panning it (if you'll recall, their financial reports after release stated that Forces performed strongly so there's your evidence).

    And do you really think the complaints about Forces actually stems more from Classic vs. Modern/aesthetic surface-level debates more than the fact that the game was linear, played itself, was horrendously short? Yes, you still get complaints about things like story, nostalgia pandering and supplemental aspects, but guess what else gets those exact same criticisms now? Sonic Generations. The only difference? Generations' gameplay was lauded; Forces was not. This is the point of my bolded claim.

    And are we really using Boom's lack of success in this subject? The one that got its start on a dead console? Even ignoring that, are you actually arguing that Sonic fans DIDN'T buy it? It's way more likely fans are the ONLY ones that bought Boom titles.

    Fans don't always make the titles successful financially, but we still buy them. We still give Sega money for them. Did you buy Boom? Forces? Will you see the movie in theaters? Well guess what? That's why fans complaints and preferences don't matter. Because the transaction ends with the cash.

    Do you believe that Mania ONLY was successful because it was a Classic 2D title? Something significantly more niche than most titles? You don't think its success didn't ride more on the fact that its gameplay mechanics were sound and the game itself was fun? And that after being lauded for that quality that Sega didn't leverage that good publicity in its marketing to turn over MORE sales? Because I'm pretty sure not just Classic fans bought Mania. Even Sonic fans who are tired of Classic bought Mania. Because fans buy Sonic even while grumbling about it. The only difference is when its a good game, it has the potential to do even better than just selling to fans. That's the point.
     
  6. Laughingcow

    Laughingcow

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    Which lead to the dissolution of Sega's Sonic division.
    http://forums.sonicretro.org/index.php?showtopic=38336
    While saying the game sold "strongly" can indicated that sales met expectations, if said expectations were low to begin with then it's just corporate speak to keep investors happy. Nevermind that Sonic Forces was itself only $40 instead of the standard $60 and we don't have any actual sales numbers unlike Sonic Mania where they proudly claim their million seller. While you can argue that this dissolution may be unrelated, I would argue that a profitable division would be expanding, not getting dissolved.

    The reveal trailer for Sonic Forces where everyone was happy UNTIL Classic Sonic showed up is telling enough. Essentially, what was special in Generations has been pissed away by Forces. This isn't an argument to consolidate anything, it's pointing out Sonic Team's typical missteps.


    Which invalidates your own argument for consolidation because you yourself admit you'll buy the games regardless. What makes your "complaints and preferences" different from any other Sonic fan? Nothing.

    Nobody is tired of Classic Sonic or Modern Sonic. They're pissed that Sonic Forces had Classic Sonic in it when it should have just been Modern Sonic & the Avatar.

    Lastly, the problem with making an argument of "Who cares if it pisses people off?" means that same logic can be thrown right back at you i.e. Who cares if it pisses YOU off? This type of short sighted logic only leads to people not buying the game (see Battlefield V) and undermines the complex nuances of a given franchise. Yes the Sonic franchise has had a problem with trying to please anyone but dashing straightaway to the opposite side is equally disastrous.
     
  7. TheKazeblade

    TheKazeblade

    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member
    I'm aware of my own biases and the fact that the end result may not be to my liking. That doesn't mean consolidation wouldn't have logistical benefits. Fewer points of contention in play will make for more focused products. Sega DOES cater to fan demands, but the reason they DON'T matter is because catering to one means scorning another or trying both and pleasing no one. Meaning people STILL complain and we get worse games out of it. An emphasis on solid gameplay first will result in better quality products all-around that would benefit everyone. Defining a singular Sonic with a "take it or leave it" approach will just help clear the waters.

    I'm confused as to why these things would be seen as bad things besides people screaming that their personal preferences aren't being met. Which they would be screaming regardless, because they already do now.
     
  8. Laughingcow

    Laughingcow

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    Your entire argument is based on "Screw these guys, listen to ME". How do you expect people who disagree to react? Furthermore, you also claim that "Sonic fans will buy anything" which I disagree but if that truly is the case, why would Sonic Team waste time doing said consolidation? Non-fans don't care and Fans will buy it anyway, from a business standpoint they are just making themselves more work. You bring up "solid gameplay" but that has little to nothing to do with making a ONE TRUE SONIC art aesthetic. What happened here is you misrepresented the problem of Classic Sonic in Forces to try to push this silly "ONE TRUE SONIC" argument which has zero benefits from a branding standpoint and does NOT inherently make the games objectively better. Furthermore you are blaming Sonic fans for the failure of Sonic Team to produce a quality game which is absurd and outright disproven by the existence of Sonic Mania.
     
  9. 360

    360

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    He was near definitely referring to Mania. At least that was my take when I read that interview and Mania was subsequently announced.

    Would also explain why Forces was just like Generations whilst Mania was an exact replica of the Classics. I'm almost certain he meant Mania.
     
  10. Beltway

    Beltway

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    Reports of how the game did in the US (NPD), Europe (GFK and various), and Japan (Media Create Sales) for retail charts as well as digital avenues (Nintendo eShop and PlayStation Network) pretty much pointed to it being a complete underperformer worldwide. If Forces was "successful" by Sega's standards in light of what we know; it was arguably a very, very low barometer of success; especially since we've never actually gotten the numbers for Forces' sales to begin with. Meanwhile, the contrasting performance of Mania [Plus] on those avenues (and a certain interview released by Sega/Iizuka back in April) speaks for itself as to how that game has sold.

    Your points here only make sense if we are supposed to believe that the inclusion and implementation of differing paradigms of the Sonic series bear absolutely no weight whatsoever as to how the games are designed, or how people receive them. Or that apparently the only difference between classic Sonic and modern Sonic are just green eyes and giant quills. Both of which are blatantly untrue.

    I seriously challenge you to state that nothing about Mania would absolutely change if Sega decided that Rush gameplay should be incorporated into it, and split up the gameplay Generations a la mode between the two playstyles. That nothing about the distribution of levels, new mechanics, playable characters, amount of zones et. al. would not be effected by the developers not only working with another playstyle, but another playstyle that is drastically different from the original.

    Or that the incorporation of Rush gameplay would had nothing to do with how the game was promoted or how it would be received. Mania was described by the developers as a passion project for the Genesis titles and that was replicated in the marketing. You don't think Rush gameplay being included doesn't compromise that "passion project" vision in any way whatsoever? Or that it being advertised as a new game explicitly based on the classics didn't have any impact in regards to the attention it got inside AND outside the fanbase?

    Or how about if we had Mania, but everything about its art direction and aesthetics was lifted from Shadow the Hedgehog. Nobody would question that or express doubt about whether Mania was actually a proper Genesis Sonic game? Or ask about why they went with ShTH aesthetics if everything else about the game was based on the Genesis games? How would fans of the Shadow game respond by seeing a game with ShTH visuals, but otherwise had nothing in common with the game they liked?

    As for Generations, a few things:

    a. People did complain about the gameplay; particularly classic Sonic's physics not up to scratch --it got a pass for not being Sonic 4 though-- and modern Sonic for having significant amounts of side-scrolling sections even though classic Sonic himself played entirely 2D. There's also some fans of Unleashed who think Generations gameplay took a step back to the increased focus on platforming. And while Generations' gameplay is considered good, few people are actually calling it some of the best of the genre; hardly anyone's describing it as on par with Mario, Donkey Kong, or Rayman's offerings. Generations' gameplay wasn't panned as Forces, sure, but calling it "lauded" is a bit of a stretch--maybe that's true for some in the fanbase, but certainly not for everyone else.

    b. Generations was released at a different time; the nostalgia card wasn't as overplayed now as it was then, and Generations was the first anniversary title to play up connections to past games in such a heavy-handed fashion (a very stark contrast compared to how Adventure 2 and Sonic 2006 celebrated the series' legacy as the official anniversary titles). When Forces did it, it was old hat; in Generations' day, it was novel (Sonic 4 notwithstanding) and people were thus more forgiving. The context is significantly different.

    Wii U had a high attach rate for it's games despite the console's failure (over 100M+ software sales for a console that only sold 13M+ hardware units) and games for the Boom brand were also released on the 3DS, a platform with over 70 million units sold. Pointing to the Wii U as the sole reason for the Boom games' failure (outside of the games themselves being poor) is misguided.

    Boom's also important to note because that was an attempt by Sega to sell the franchise to a new audience, rather than existing fans; and they poured a lot of resources into both segregating it from the main series (new designs, new characters, different setting/backstory) and pushing it with supporting material to match (TV show, games, merch, comic, etc.). Sega was pushing it to the point where people though it was going to replace the existing Sonic brands (for all the talk about having only one paradigm for Sonic, regardless if people complained--everything about Boom could had been exactly that if Sega wasn't interested in keeping the main and classic Sonic branches around.) And while certain fans may had "bought" that game despite it's quality and not being the target audience, it still didn't change the fact that the first two Boom titles were widely reported as the worst-selling games in the series at that point in time.

    I find it very hard to believe that you don't consider something like that important to the discussion. Even if you don't want it to.

    It's quite obvious however that the number of "fans" that have been buying the games has been at a historical decline, much like the sales for the games themselves. Fandom complaints and preferences do matter because they factor into fans voting with their wallets on whether to support new products or not.

    At this point who are you even talking about when you say that "fans" are still buying the games? People who will buy Sonic games if they review well and have good word-of-mouth? Or diehards who buy every and any Sonic product for the sheer sake of it being Sonic?
     
  11. TheKazeblade

    TheKazeblade

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    I have no retort to this because you're not wrong, lol. My entire thesis is based on if this is the way that they go. I think it has merit, but I don't imagine it will ever be the case.


    Two things are getting conflated here that aren't equivelent. One is detrimental to the effect of the other.

    In my mindset, the end all be all should be a good game. That can be undermined if the wrong message is being discerned from the fanbase.

    Squabbles like Classic vs. Modern, etc. I believe acts like a smokescreen to that ultimate goal. I believe the messages that are gleaned from the fanbase are these surface level things when the series would be WAY better served by them being ignored, and focusing on that singular goal. Taking the arguments off the table by committing to one approach I believe would help clear the air and allow actual beneficial consumer-level critique that aids that goal.


    I don't think Mania succeeded because Taxman and Stealth concerned themselves with the fanbases' pettiness. They succeeded with Mania because having been part of the fanbase they knew exactly what kind of arguments to tune out; their technical skills and knowledge of what makes Sonic games good from a gameplay perspective is what made Mania successful. The masterful art, sound and other aspects not directly associated with gameplay made the great game even better, and the references and window dressing added were just the cherry on top of the sunday. But the success I believe comes from a unified vision from the team, not from trying to please anyone except for fans of the core Sonic experience.
     
  12. snubn0zemunkey!

    snubn0zemunkey!

    yo what up Member
    Well either way, he said "new games" plural so here's hoping for the inevitable Mania sequel :v:
     
  13. Laughingcow

    Laughingcow

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    So again, you are blaming the fans because Sonic Team is unable to make a good game? A fanbase that has been around and peaked during the Genesis games? That's not how game development works unless I am to assume some mythical executive is sitting on Takashi Iizuka's shoulder shoving tweets into his head from random people. Even if something like Shadow the Hedgehog's gunplay came from fan input, the botched execution of said concept falls on them.

    ...Unless Sonic Team decides to listen to Chris-chan and make the new redesign Sonichu. You place your argument in an absurd perfect world that pretends Sonic Team are completely faultless for the product they create. No, that's not how business works. That's not how personal responsibility works. If your business goes under because you deliver subpar products it is YOUR FAULT. Why do I feel like I'm talking to Lucasfilms trying to justify the Solo flop at the box office?

    Or they were just competent game developers who decided that Sonic shouldn't get murdered and kiss a human princess in that order. You are blaming design aesthetics for every problem with the franchise while trying to absolve Sonic Team of any wrongdoing and (probably not intentional) downplaying the success of the Mania devs.

    And I repeat, your entire goal of this argument is for there to be a ONE TRUE SONIC which will somehow magically make the gameplay not suck. No, that's not how that works. When Crash Bandicoot got Punk redesigns in the Titan games, that didn't magically morph the games from Platformer to Beat 'em up. It was a developer decision to change the gameplay much like it was a developer decision to have Sonic turn into a Werehog and lose a foot race to Mario at the Olympics.
     
  14. Overlord

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    No, no, and no. As was pointed out above, both Boom and Forces did far worse than Mania - even fans won't mindlessly buy everything that's put out if it's crap.
     
  15. TheKazeblade

    TheKazeblade

    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member
    I've got nothing else to add.

    If my arguments aren't enough, then they need more work and evidence. I'm not convinced there aren't significant benefits to consolidation though.
     
  16. Wow what a cool article.
    I am going to agree with some of what is said here though, in regards to mention of a SA1 remake (I've been hearing that in the Discord/Telegram corridors of late)
    I think, a complete remake is OK, but they would do better to polish and port the existing game to HD and higher resolutions for the future.
    Remaking it might just destroy the character of the game, the things that made people love that game in the first place.
    If I was Lizuka and Sonic Team, I'd spend all that time and money making Sonic Adventure a trilogy rather. However, very valid point raised... Sonic Team now != Sonic Team of 1999-2002 era.
    I always held the opinion that when Naka left, they lost the plot.
     
  17. NiktheGreek

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    Heads-up UK people, there's only a couple of days left to buy this before it comes off the shelves - our Resident Evil 2 issue goes on sale on Thursday.