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Sonic Colo(u)rs: Ten Years Later.

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Sonic5993, Nov 11, 2020.

  1. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    We've sure come a long way from talking about how Sonic Colors has held up
     
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  2. Josh

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    Sonic... Colors? I thought this was the "Multiple New Sonic Games" topic, or the "Sonic Forces" topic, or the "Next Generation, and how they learned from none of our mistakes" topic, or the "Love & Timelines" topic, or...

    Yeah, I guess all discussions have sort of regressed toward the mean lately.

    Sonic Colors, though! Here's an idea: Why WASN'T Lost World more of a direct sequel to Colors? I mean, Colors was one of the only times that both the hardcore Sonic fandom AND the parents of small children who give Forces thousands of 5-star ratings on Amazon were actually in agreement. You'd think making another Colors-type game as a Nintendo exclusive on more powerful hardware would be a slam dunk. (And I mean, it wouldn't have been a slam dunk because Wii U, but Sega didn't know that at the time.)

    Instead, Sonic Team went back to the drawing board after a trifecta of increasingly successful boost games, and started tanking 3D Sonic's reputation all over again.

    (I have an inkling of why they did this, myself, but I'll come back to this topic when I'm not on my phone, haha.)
     
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  3. Yes, and even recent games still sell more than what Crash or Spyro are putting out; I think you're severely underestimating just how much brand recognition this series has. Regardless of your own personal expectations for the series, I feel it's highly unrealistic to expect Sonic to be on the same level as he was in the 90's in 2020, even at his best but clearly you feel otherwise.

    But here's the thing, most people don't think the ideas of 3D Sonic games were inherently bad, but a matter of poor execution and implementation; grind rails were great idea where your momentum actually dictated how you would use them, as opposed to in later games where they became a pure spectacle piece.

    I get that, but that still requires downplaying and removing elements the series has had established for years now in the Modern games, and the only reasoning I'm being provided for that is "it's not what Sonic is, and therefore should be ignored"



    Anyway, yes this is getting off topic.
     
  4. What I meant was more that they really need to ditch the Sonic 1 style and make the in game art look like the cover art etc., or try something new outright. I honestly can't think of anyone who thought that the sonic 1 sprites were the best ones for mania. Most people seem to agree that they should've touched up the sonic 3 style, or used the toei/Hesse style from the opening movie to keep things consistent.
    Also, since when could only classic sonic have 2d games? I'm cool if classic is the only one to get 2d games going forward, but since when was this a must? Sega is perfectly capable of making a 2d modern game if they so choose, I don't see how it's a problem other than messing with brand recognition once again. If the game is genuinely good, who cares if it's classic or modern sonic?

    Edit: I was busy typing this post when the last ones were made. Yeah, I'll shut up now. I really like sonic colors ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
  5. SystemsReady

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    Ah don't forget, Persona is made by Atlus and had been cranking out high-level games in MegaTen well before they were bought out. Persona 4 is still considered one of the best JRPGs of all time but they made that back when they were owned by Index, several years before Sega bought them.

    The Yakuza point absolutely still stands though. I'd like to point out also that other games that Sonic Team makes tend to be well-received also, like Puyo Puyo Tetris.
     
  6. BadBehavior

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    And even then, Yakuza wasn't immune to the same need for reinvention that most desire for Sonic. The newest entry literally changed the whole gameplay style from beat em up to JRPG.
     
  7. Pengi

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    It's crazy. It's almost the exact same trajectory the series took from SA1/SA2 to Heroes to Sonic 2006.

    They established a relatively well received new direction for the series, with room for improvement, then refined the controls and gameplay in the sequel(s). Then instead of refining it further they went in a completely different direction for the next installment. Then they returned to the previous style of game for a new generation console, but it turned out worse than all the games before it.

    It would have been nice to see a Colours sequel that built upon Generations' more ambitious 3D level design, improved controls and presentation.
     
  8. You know what, I do recall a quote from Iizuka one time when asked why they don't return to older playstyles, and it was something along the lines of "That would be boring" .

    And that quote just kind of says it all right there lmao. The bizarre paradigm shifts this series constantly goes through because the devs just don't wanna work on one singular playstyle. It makes me feel like they very much treat Sonic like it's their personal tech demo for experiments rather than something you sell.
     
  9. Josh

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    Agreed, and that's exactly why it was easy to be so optimistic coming out of Colors and Generations, and why we were making images like this:

    [​IMG]

    There was no reason to expect things WOULDN'T just keep getting better from here. And playing Lost World for the first time, I was immediately reminded of Heroes.

    But I think those two games shared a design goal: Make 3D Sonic gameplay more accessible. Heroes feels like a clumsy attempt to reconcile the (still very young) fandom's desire for lots of playable characters (remember, we'd just rioted because we thought Tails wasn't going to be in SA2) with critics feeling like the Adventure games were bogged down by non-Sonic gameplay and convoluted story elements. Lost World kept a lot of the surface elements that had worked in Colors and Generations (Pontac & Graff were even allowed to write their own story, after being very well-regarded in Colors), but wrapped it in a completely new gameplay style that felt like it'd need another sequel or two to really find its potential. Lost World, to me, always felt like Sonic Team listening too closely to their worst critics. I always remember Aaron Webber going to trade shows and talking about how people hated running off ledges and running into things in earlier games, so they'd slowed Sonic down and given him PARKOUR. Neither team-based gameplay or Sonic parkour are ideas without merit, but they both were too clunky and undercooked to establish any sort of new paradigm the way Adventure and Unleashed had.

    The difference with Lost World was that Colors and Generations WERE so much more highly-regarded in 2013 than the Adventure games were in 2003, especially taking their GCN ports into account. So why even try to establish something new? I think time & budget was probably as much a concern as anything else when it came to Lost World. Developing for the Wii was much, much cheaper than developing for an HD system like the Wii U. And the primary criticism reviewers had of Generations was that it was too short. So if Sega could have found a way to make a longer Sonic game that could re-use more assets, they probably felt it was a risk worth taking.
     
  10. BadBehavior

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    Essentially the goal with heroes, between the gameplay change and dropping the Adventure name, was to appeal to a wider audience. If that's the case then it follows that the goal of Lost World was to do the same. Which is hilarious in hindsight given that Lost World was exclusive to the objective loser of the 8th console generation and Heroes was multiplatform, even if the worst version was on the best selling console. (Even if, as @Josh said, Sega didn't know at the time it was going to fail slightly less hard than the Dreamcast)

    I can remember Webber talking about how the flickies unlocked "extra content", which considering how their primary usage in Lost World was to gate off the entire rest of the game a'la sun & moon medals, felt like the "Well yes, but actually no" meme, and it was the first time I remember being burned by marketing weasel words. And I didn't even buy it until the PC version where they drastically lowered the number of flickies needed. (And removed the circus tent minigames, for reasons only Sega knows.)

    And, if Forces is any indication, they certainly got the "reusing assets" part down pat. Can't wait for the next Sonic game, coming in Stardate 50397.2 or whenever the hell it's coming, to have assets straight from a 2013 game whose console is only slightly more powerful than the X360. Now if only they could make levels that take longer to beat than it takes for me to make a cup of coffee.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
  11. XAndrew

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    Yeah. I know they made three Sonic ports before Sonic Mania. That said it says a lot about Sega and Sonic Team themselves when they were willing to let them just do a brand new 2D Sonic game, and not just ports. Sad thing is, I wouldn't even be assuming this if it wasn't for the quality of Sonic Forces.
     
  12. Gnidel

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    They were always willing to outsource 2D games. Ancient, Aspect, SNK, Dimps, Backbone, Sanzaru...
     
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  13. XAndrew

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    That's true, but it really comes down to the timing of it all when it comes to Sonic Mania. How we didn't have a new 2D Sonic game with Classic Sonic (In both look and play) on a home console since the 90's. Aside from ports of older games from Whitehead and Co, we have had Modern Sonic 2D games on handhelds, (Sonic Advanced/Sonic Rush GBA/DS) we have had an outright terrible port of Sonic 1 on again a handheld, (Sonic Genesis GBA) we have had a home console 2D Sonic games, but again those were Modern Sonic 2D games, and well...It wasn't even CLOSE to the Classic Games in terms of play at all, (Sonic 4 Episodes 1 and 2 PS3/Xbox 360/Wii) and I believe we had Meta era Sonic games that had handheld versions. The DS versions of Sonic Colors and Sonic Boom.

    Again Sonic Mania just stands out of all of these due to it being a brand new 2D Sonic game, with Classic 90's Sonic in BOTH design and feel, on home consoles. And...I guess kinda console to handheld hybrid if we count the Switch version. And again back to the timing of this. Sonic Mania Was announced on what...2016? This was just a 2 years after the disaster that was Sonic Boom Rise Of Lyric. Coming off what I would consider Sonic's darkest days yet, even darker than his days on the Saturn and even the days of Sonic 2006, and the latter days are still called the dark age for Sonic, despite 2013, 2014 and 2015 existing for the Blue Hedgehog. The timing of Sonic Mania's announcement just seemed too much of a coincidence, for me to believe that Sonic Mania was just something that Sega just said to Whitehead and Co "Yeah. That sounds like a neat side project, while we keep doing our things, and not figure out what we want to do with Sonic in 3D" It seemed like a call for desperation to me.

    And Sonic Forces and the circumstances around it only makes me believe that further.
     
  14. Josh

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    Random thought, but...

    Claiming the modern/boost era started with Colors, and not Unleashed, would be a LOT like claiming the "Adventure Era" started with SA2. In both cases, yeah, the sequel brought in the writer(s) that would define the era. In both cases, you can retrospectively see the first game in the style as a bridge between eras, retaining a few more elements of what came before than the sequels would.

    But I always saw Adventure and Unleashed each as the point where the paradigm shifted. I think that's one reason Colors' initial reception rubbed me the wrong way, just as much as its harsh re-evaluation does now. Everything positive I heard about Colors back then, and most of the knocks I hear against it now, I'd felt more strongly with Unleashed.

    Unleashed was a breath of fresh air, it abruptly shifted the tone to something lighter and less story-driven, it paired back the cast and focused on Sonic, it brought in elements and Sonic's irreverent, cocky personality from the old Western canon, and most importantly, it set the foundation for what 3D Sonic would be going forward. This is where boost gameplay, with its 2D-to-3D perspective shifting and its spectacle platforming originated. If anything, I see Unleashed this way even MORE strongly now, given the impact it had on the direction of the series.

    (I remember I was SO sure that Sega was going to reinvent the wheel AGAIN due to Unleashed's mainstream reception, and how surprising it was to see them actually stick with boost.)

    Because of the Werehog (and I get it!), I never felt like Unleashed got the credit it deserved outside of Sonic diehards at the time. And for the people who dislike where Sonic ended up, I don't feel like it catches the blame it deserves for everything it established, because... I don't know, because of who localized it (or more pointedly, who didn't)? Because Jason Griffith was still there?

    Like I said, I remember many of the Adventure Era's biggest detractors STILL had a lot of affection for SA1, because it retained more elements from the classics, more of what they wanted Sonic to be. Unleashed is similarly transitional, and I can understand why someone who loved the Adventure games might find more to appreciate in it than what came after. But Unleashed was STILL the kickoff point for everything that's defined Sonic ever since, even if future games refined and/or doubled down on it. It was, for better and worse, Sonic Team putting everything it had into getting out from the shadow of the previous few years, and reinventing the series for a new era after 06.

    also chip annoyed me more in one scene than every corny joke in Colors combined, but maybe i was still too self-conscious to not cringe when i noticed i wasn't in the target demo in 08 :V
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
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  15. Shaddy the guy

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    I was nine years old in 2008, and I still hated Chip, so I don't think it was too much a demographic problem.
     
  16. XAndrew

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    I actually like Chip. His little kid mindset matched perfectly for Sonic's teenage charm. It's like a big brother to little brother deal. Something that started with Tails, but Tails learned how to do things on his own since Sonic Adventure (Well at least up till the 2010's) so he really doesn't fill that role anymore. Chip However made for the perfect little brother type of figure to Sonic. Seeing him just be in awe of Sonic, and Sonic doing what he can do protect him because Sonic just that good natured is the reason I view Sonic Unleashed as one of the best Sonic stories.
     
  17. Josh

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    Admittedly, I haven't actually seen most of Unleashed's story scenes since 2008, so I'm really just remembering how I felt then. At the time I was still very much in the mindset I'd been in since Heroes, like, "This is making me self-conscious. Sonic needs to stop being for kids and appeal to REAL FANS like me!" when it came to the series' narrative approach. I think a lot of fans go through that at some point. :V

    I'll be replaying the non-daytime stages part of Unleashed for the first time since then next year, so maybe I'll see it differently now!
     
  18. I was a teenager when Unleashed came out, but I never felt particularly self-conscious about it, so Chip never annoyed me all that much, he was kind of endearing in some ways.

    Something a lot of fans fail to understand as they grow older is that Sonic is, and always will be, a series marketed for kids. Even as you grow older, that's not gonna change. Sucks when you start outgrowing something you loved as a child.
     
  19. foXcollr

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    See, what I can't seem to figure out is why Sonic Team just kinda gave up on full 2D games. Is it a lack of confidence, or do they just think they're too good to have the main studio working on a 2D game?

    Since Sonic Advance I don't think Sonic Team has even given it so much as a thought
     
  20. Pengi

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    Traditionally, video games cast a wider net than most other forms of entertainment, in terms of demographic. Games in general often have universal appeal. Were Space Invaders and Pac-Man for children or adults? Are Monopoly and Checkers for children or adults? Is soccer for children or adults?

    Sonic has always had characters and graphics with a lot of kid appeal, but there was nothing about the old games that would be actively off-putting to an adult who enjoys platformers.

    When fully fledged, fully scripted, fully voice acted stories are inserted into games, it becomes trickier. It's difficult to craft a story that's as universal as soccer or Checkers. If the Pac-Man video game interrupted gameplay with scenes from the TV cartoon series, it would instantly lose a lot of its universal appeal.

    There's a sweet spot that can be hit, like a Pixar movie or Batman: The Animated Series episode, where you have a tightly crafted plot with a strong thematic and emotional core, witty dialogue and excellent voice acting, all without talking down to children but also not presenting them with anything too complicated to understand.

    That's not easy to pull off in general, let alone in video games where story is a secondary concern.

    I think it's fair to say that scripted/voice acted Sonic games have never hit these standards, and have in general been lagging behind the rest of the video game industry. So Sonic 3 & Knuckles' story, such as it is, holds up better and is less off-putting to an adult audience than any of the 3D games. Sometimes it's better to just not do something, rather than do it badly.

    This gets back to what I was saying earlier in this thread. They're out of touch with how the marketplace has evolved for platform games. In the '80s and early '90s all platform games were 2D by default, and so was Sonic. In the mid-90s, trends shifted towards polygonal 3D platformers - that was the exciting new technology and play experience, if you wanted your game to get to number 1 in the charts, it had to be 3D. So Sonic followed suit. Towards the very end of the '00s, 2D platformers had a big revival, but for whatever reason, Sega ignored that. They've held onto the 1996-2008 idea that a tent-pole platform game needs to have 3D as a selling point, but at the same time started introducing (heavily compromised) 2D sections into those games, because they've made the 3D gameplay too fast and too shallow to sustain a full game.

    Sega doesn't seem to realise that they have a crown jewel of the 2D platform game genre, and how popular and viable that genre is, without needing to be attached to a 3D game.
     
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