Soft Reboots and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Sonic5993, May 13, 2021.

  1. Sonic is turning 30 next month, and this long hiatus and radio silence from the creators have fans on pins and needles on where the series will be going in the near future. Will they continue down the path they set forth with Unleashed, will they return to something more akin to the Classic titles or the Sonic Adventure series, or will the movie be an influence. Nobody knows, and people are anxious.

    So with all that said, I thought it was a good time to discuss the concepts of soft reboots and how its affected this series in the past, and how it might affect it going forward. Because let's be real, Sonic is going to constantly reinvent itself to stay relevant regardless of how anybody feels about it. And also, why does it need to keep reinventing itself.

    To anyone who doesn't understand, the concept of a soft reboot is simple; you're essentially creating a new "jump on" point for a new generation of fans to discover the series, without being bogged down by continuity or what have you. It's a clean slate essentially, without going the route of a hard reboot, which outright restarts the series from scratch. Sonic himself has kind of already undergone two soft reboots so to speak; the one that began in Sonic Adventure and ended with Sonic 06, and the second one that started in Sonic Unleashed and may or may not still be happening right now.

    It's so weird because I was essentially part of the crowd that "jumped on" with the later games, but I was completely unaware at how much things had changed. Even going back to playing the older games, I didn't really notice these "changes" people were up in arms about. So then fast forward to Sonic Unleashed and then Colors, and now some changes are becoming way more apparent to me while others are similarly saying that they haven't noticed any significant changes. Sonic is such a weird series in that it's constantly reinventing itself, but some people notice more changes than others.

    So why does Sonic (or any property for that matter) need to keep reinventing itself for a new audience? Why can't it just...stay as one thing like the Mario series can? Is Sonic's appeal so limited that it can only appeal to so many people before it needs to change itself?
     
  2. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

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    Sonic was designed to be cool. Unfortunately what was cool in 1991 isn't cool now. Trends change, so Sonic has to either follow suit or stick to its guns. Sega doesn't seem confident enough for the latter, so they do the former. They tweak personalities, gameplay, whatever in an attempt to keep up with the times, which is ironic because since post Generations most Sonic stuff has felt incredibly dated.

    I'd actually say Sonic needs another soft reboot. Because clearly something isn't working. Lost World sucked, Forces was frankly kinda pathetic, and TSR left you wanting more, as compared to like CTR Nitro Fueled, it has like 1/3rd the content and as soon as it was launched that was it, no post support, just dropped like a hot turd. Sonic's identity is a mess, so try again.
     
  3. Overlord

    Overlord

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    Reboots are almost always bad, and almost never needed.

    This applies to everything, not just Sonic.
     
  4. Laura

    Laura

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    The term 'soft reboot' is very nebulous. I've heard people refer to Sonic Adventure 1, 2, Sonic 2006, Sonic Unleashed, and Colors as soft reboots because they change the direction of the game's aesthetic or gameplay.

    In many ways you can call several games of any franchise a soft reboot because developers often want to take their projects in fresh directions.

    So if we are to have a discussion on this we need a clear definition of what a soft reboot actually is.
     
  5. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

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    Idk, the She-ra reboot was pretty great.
     
  6. As were the Godzilla reboots.

    Think its pretty extreme to say all reboots are bad with no exceptions.

    Its exactly as I described it; its pretty much the point when a series reestablishes or reinvents itself without necessarily rebooting the continuity.

    As mentioned, many would describe Adventure as a soft reboot given the overall changes and publicity it had after the series was on hiatus.

    Resident Evil 7 is similarly a soft reboot for that series in how it drastically changes the formula without reintroducing previous plot elements.
     
  7. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    Soft reboot is a continuation that sets itself away from other elements in the series. For instance, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a soft reboot: it takes place over 200 years after The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, when the series had taken place within 40 years by that point, and tells it's own story without much connection to the other four, beyond a couple of continuity nods you find in the game.

    Sonic Adventure, I suppose would qualify, since it sets itself as having had a break between action since the classic games... or apparently they never happened, I can never tell with SEGA's determination to run continuity off a cliff. Or Sonic Heroes, since it doesn't bother itself with Chaotix.

    The Heisei era, a good'un.
     
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  8. RDNexus

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    If done well, and in the right direction (whichever it may be, truth be told), I'd like a reboot of the franchise.
    Something I'm quite sure nowadays that will never happen, given how much SEGA seems to care about Sonic.
     
  9. Laura

    Laura

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    Under that definition you could say Sonic Adventure 2 is a soft reboot. I've always thought it's interesting how the story has almost nothing to do with the original Adventure. But would the gameplay stop it from being so?
     
  10. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    Actually, looking at it, the game firmly establishes ties to the prior game. While the stories aren't directly connected, you have elements like the giant echidna ruins, the Artifical Chaos, events from the prior game having direct effects on the plot (Tails' Chaos Emerald), etc.
     
  11. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    I'm not sure if I really agree with this. I mean, in most cases you don't need a reboot, but in some cases, it's necessary if the continuity has become a total trainwreck. Take the Batman movies for example: as much as we like to joke around in Discord that Batman & Robin is unironically a work of cinematic genius, there's a reason it killed the Batman film franchise for eight years.

    That being said, Sonic doesn't need really need rebooting. The series isn't plot-driven, and we already have gameplay styles that work, so just take what we have and improve it.
     
  12. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

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    Idk, I think some aspects could use rebooting. Personalities, characteristics, gameplay styles, hell I'll even say in some cases designs (or at least art styles. What they've been sticking with since the Unleashed models ain't working anymore, it's stale).

    I could take a Mania 2 with no changes and love it. But as far as the 3D stuff goes, it's been so long since a good 3D game. Something needs to change and Sonic needs to get back with the times, or innovate like they used to. Currently all they do is rehash (GHZ, CPZ, all of Forces) and copy (Lost World = Mario Galaxy; Forces Avatar = cheap copy of modern game customization).
     
  13. I wanna address what @Dark Sonic said about how Sonic's inherent nature as a "cool" franchise means it needs to constantly reinvent to stay relevant. I don't know how much I agree with that, because you only have to see Sonic's contemporary "cool" mascots and how they died off as a result of not being able to adapt with the times.

    Sonic, through all odds, seems to have amassed some level of timelessness. Even nowadays when the likes of Spyro and Crash can barely stay relevant with the current generation and only have the nostalgic memories of the older crowd who grew up with it, Sonic is still very much popular with his target demographic in spite of it all.

    If nobody cared about Sonic, then his movie design wouldn't have garnered the backlash that it did. Yet, it was enough for not just the hardcore fanbase, but mainstream media to call absolutely foul and change it.

    Mario may have surpassed Sonic as a cultural icon ages ago, but Sonic is second only to Mario when it comes to mascot platformers nowadays. And I really wish Sega understood that. People DO want to see Sonic succeed, you just have to focus on the things that people love about him.
     
  14. BlackHole

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    I think the best example of a 'cool' character that Sonic should be like would be Dante from Devil May Cry.

    Not in the theatrics or anything like that, but because he basically does his own 'cool'. He's not going to floss or any of those Fortnite dances, but he's gonna kick ass and look cool doing it. Like when he destroys the Hell Gates in Devil May Cry 4.



    Basically, Sonic shouldn't care about looking cool, he should just be cool.
     
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  15. Dante has an edge over Sonic in that the former is treated like an actual character for the most part.

    That said, I believe there's a reason DMC doesn't stay within the public consciousness for all that long and why Sonic does. For better or worse, Sega have cleaned up Sonic's image. His "tude" has been largely scrubbed out, and he's pretty much THE hero of his world; he's the one who takes care of EVERYTHING, and is everyone's moral support and all that. He's very much treated like a mascot nowadays, not unlike what Nintendo does with Mario. Sega want Sonic to be instantly recognizable without the baggage of narrative or deeper characterization, and for the most part, that's worked. As much as I dislike the current direction, I can't deny that it hasn't helped Sonic's public image somewhat, Sonic Boom notwithstanding. Especially in comparison to the 2000 era games.

    Sega doesn't really lean into Sonic being "cool" anymore; he's largely a cookie-cutter hero who makes a snarky line or two, but is pretty morally upright for the most part. A perfect mascot to market for the general public and kids, but not much of a character in and of himself.
     
  16. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    Wasn't his entire image in the 90s, when he was at his peak and most recognisable, that he was a cool dude with 'tude?

    Honestly, a properly snarky Sonic who would sit on Robotnik's mech's shoulder watching it 'crush' him would be more entertaining and more memorable.

    Still, this is about Soft Reboots, not characterisation. There's an entire thread for this topic.
     
  17. Yea, but that was the 90's, this is 2021. Like I said, there have been tons of mascots designed after Sonic and they've all died off because they focused too much on being "totally radical" and I feel like had Sonic leaned too hard into that, he would have met the same fate.

    They're kind of related; after the soft reboot of Sonic Adventure, Sonic's "attitude" was severely toned down into something more palatable for general audiences. Sonic did more heroing than snarking; there's a reason why many people felt like Sonic was becoming "boring" by 2006, but that was also a byproduct of characters like Shadow getting all of the character development and focus.

    So after the next soft reboot, now the series is kind of heavily leaning on Sonic for all fronts. He snarks a slight bit more now, but for the most part, he's still just as cookie cutter as he's always been, except now he's the only character who actually matters in the narrative.


    I feel like a "cool dude with a tude" Sonic can work, but it would require for Sega to actually write him as a character and not a mascot. Have him exist as just another character in a world, as opposed to the entire setting revolving around him and bending in his favor, or he's just an insignificant part of someone else's story. I feel like that's been a big issue with the previous soft reboots; Sonic either matters too little, or he matters too much within the scope of his own series. So I feel like Sega need to establish what kind of setting do they want.
     
  18. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    Actually, I believe there to be a very different reason for why Sonic succeeded where the others failed, and it's why it's hurting the series now. I'm just trying to work out how to relay it...

    YouTube, Twitter...
     
  19. I recommend using your own words as opposed to relying on someone else's.
     
  20. Blue Spikeball

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    I'd be all for a soft-reboot that fixes the characterizations, particularly for the main characters. Make it so that Sonic and Eggman no longer act like parodies, Tails is no longer a uncharacteristically snarky scaredy cat, Knuckles isn't a complete bozo and comedy relief, etc.

    Plus I'm not big on the tone of most of the modern titles. Dark Sonic posited that the changes were done in an attempt at keeping with changing times, and I think there's a lot of truth to that. It's like the current games are ashamed of being Sonic games. Old games felt more sincere to me, whereas more modern games like Colors or Lost World feel like they view Sonic as a goofy character of the past, so they mock the series with their self-referential humor, wacky tone and over the top characterizations. Ironically, said humor feels pretty dated to me. It's like they're aping self-referential platformers from the mid 90s to early noughties.

    This so much. I've always found motor-mouth Sonic from the Pontac games and various western adaptations (the DiC cartoons, the movie) who is constantly spewing over the top cheesy lines rather irritating and cringy. I prefer him less talkative and more of an "actions speak louder than words" kind of guy, like he was in Japanese portrayals (the OVA, the Sonic Adventure series (particularly in the Japanese script), Sonic X) and the Tyson Hesse shorts. The latter comes off less as a try-hard and more as a natural to me.

    Not that he needs to be completely silent and no-nonsense. He can still be cocky and mock his opponents during fights, but he shouldn't talk like a ten year old trying to be cool ("That was cool, pun entirely intended" "No copyright law in the universe is going to stop me!"), calling his opponent names like "Baldy McNosehair", or acting like a deliberate meme bait character in my book.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2021