Sonic Forces Thread

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Blue Blood, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. laughing_sun

    laughing_sun

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    I think the "classic era aesthetics" are an illusion created by the technological limits of their time and artists that tried to make due the best they could with those limits. (At least to an extent.) We've seen classic Sonic artwork of locations in the Sonic world. There are no checkerboard loops in Junio's Sonic CD animations. The glimpses we get of West Side Island and Angel Island in the Japanese manuals are not geometric shapes. They just look like normal tropical islands in a cartoon sort of style. One only has to flip through the Sonic 1 manual and then the Sonic 2 manual to see a huge difference in artistic direction. Oshima's original Sonic was a 30s style American cartoon. In Sonic 2 Yamaguchi turned Sonic into an anime character. The robots are goofy cartoon animals in Sonic 1. In Sonic 2, they are a bit meaner looking and heaps more detailed in their design. Looking at the game graphics Sonic 1 is very simplistic in terms of level art compared to Sonic 2 which adds way more greebling and effects to the tiles and this continues into Sonic 3 and Chaotix. How realistic was Sonic Adventure with it's giant pinball machines? How about Eggman's "play room" on the Egg Carrier? Speed Highway isn't surreal just because the asphalt texture on the roads is a photograph? Compare the "bricks" of Sonic 3 with those of Sonic 1. They are quite different.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020 at 12:04 AM
  2. Pengi

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    Other games were developed internally - Sonic Battle, the Sonic Riders series, Secret Rings, Black Knight. Sonic Team would also be involved with the games developed externally. Regardless, Aaron wasn't saying that these games took 12 months to develop, he was saying there was always a new Sonic game each year (often multiple), and several of them were put out into the world underbaked in order to meet this demanding release schedule.
     
  3. laughing_sun

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    Problem is, that was all 10 years ago, so it really doesn't excuse any of the modern titles. In other words, it's not applicable to 2020 because it's how they've been doing business for a while now. IE, nobody should expect a sudden INCREASE in the quality of the games, because they've already been operating in this manner.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020 at 12:15 AM
  4. Pengi

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    It seems very unlikely that Sonic Forces was given the time and resources it needed. Sega had so little confidence in the quality of the final product that they didn't send out review copies.

    Hyperfixating on Aaron's "Sonic game every year" comment is missing the forest for the trees - the point he was making, and Sega Games CEO Haruki Satomi was making, was that games were being released before they were up to snuff.

    Some games might need 2 years. Others might need 5 years. The number isn't what's important. What's important is that a game isn't released until it's one that they're satisfied is a high quality product. Apparently this is the new paradigm Sonic games are being developed under. As for whether that turns out to be the case, all we can do is wait and see.
     
  5. Sonic Forces was actually only developed in a year, from 2016 to 2017, so I think it's safe to say it was rushed. Much of what Sonic Team said the development cycle was was really just them working on the Hedgehog Engine 2.
     
  6. Beltway

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    The entire point of the Boom series was to introduce the Sonic franchise to a new generation, and developer interviews specifically talked about designing the games to appeal to people that weren't Sonic fans. The result of the first two games was that they were widely reported as the worst-selling Sonic games in the history of the franchise, as well among the worst-reviewed (especially in regards to Rise of Lyric). The Boom brand as a whole is by and large shelved, with focus going back to the main "Classic" and "Millennium" Sonic identities that have been in place for decades. If you don't think that is not an indictment against Sega being able to coast to easy sales by not listening to the hardcore audiences and just slapping average stuff together for normies as you said, I'm not really sure what else to say.

    Your commentary about requiring everybody out there to be in full agreement about one direction of the franchise and/or what's considered a good/fun game, goes back to what I said about your "unpleasable fans" assertion being kinda dopey for a handful of reasons:

    a. Dumping on fans for having so many voices on what they want out of the series only works as long as you don't acknowledge how this mess was created in the first place. Instead of scolding the collective community for having so many different opinions about the series, you could try asking Sega why they made so many games that have so many different directions with Sonic in the first place. On that note about the collective community...

    b. People aren't a hivemind of holding the same exact opinion on a particular subject and it's rather silly to assume everybody who follows a particular product are supposed to do so. This is true even for franchises that have had far more consistent and higher-quality track record in reviews and sales than Sonic has ever been. Mario fans have had their own debates about whether the linear designed 3D Mario games (Galaxy 1/2, 3D Land, 3D World) counted as "real" 3D games, "real" referring to the the sandbox games like 64, Sunshine, and Odyssey. These debates were at a fever pitch in recent years because up until Odyssey was announced and released in 2017, there had been no "sandbox" Mario game in the then-past fifteen years (and Nintendo themselves didn't shy away from recognizing this split, as you'll see below).

    The monolith attitude is especially weird because it doesn't address that people can have overlapping interests and tastes (or a lack thereof). There's people out there who like both the linear and sandbox approaches for 3D Mario, myself for one.

    c. Producing distinct types of games within a series for distinct groups is a viable concept that can be taken for a series. Going back to Mario, Nintendo demonstrated being able to do this by going from a linear game like 3D World to a sandbox game in Odyssey, which both clearly demonstrate different philosophies in design. And with the success of Odyssey I'm sure they'll keep alternate between the two in the future (they're preparing an enhanced port of 3D World with new content to the Switch as of this writing). They even made a point of making this distinction themselves in their Nintendo Switch presentation when Odyssey was announced:

    [​IMG]

    (The text in the arrows translate to "course-based 3D" for the top yellow arrow, and "open-world 3D" for the bottom red arrow.)

    The same could definitely be taken for Sonic, with Sega has even admitted trying to do so on two different occasions. Despite the different approaches taken, 3D Sonic has managed two pretty broad camps in people who prefer the Boost gameplay and those who prefer the Adventure gameplay. You could argue about camps who like games such as, say, Secret Rings, 3D Blast, and Boom: Rise of Lyric (yes, even the Boom games have their fans); and how they would want that to be a direction, if not the sole direction, for Sonic as a franchise to take. But I think pretty obvious to most that they don't have anywhere near as large as an audience compared to the former two. When taking critical reception, sales, and popularity into consideration, across people who are and who aren't Sonic fans, there are certain Sonic games that are more favored than others and a good rule of thumb would be to cater towards those most popular/most successful groups. (Rather than, say, trying to please virtually every fan at once with one game.)

    On a final note, I would advise being more cautious of where you get your sources from. The "3 million" number for Generations is most commonly sourced from VGChartz, who is a notoriously unreliable source. Sega's own internal reports only puts Generations at 1.85 million copies sold (across the console versions on the 360, PS3, and PC as well as the handheld version on the 3DS) at the end of its fiscal year. For what it's worth in regards to Laura's comment, Mania was the first Sonic game since Generations to sell more than one million copies. The only other sales reports given for Sonic games following Generations was Lost World (which sold 710,000 copies across both the Sonic Team Wii U game and Dimps 3DS game) and the first two Sonic Boom games (which sold 620,000 copies across the Shattered Crystal game on 3DS and the Rise of Lyric game on Wii U).
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020 at 2:27 AM
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  7. Just a minor nitpick: this isn't exactly true. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed and Sonic Dash (when it was a paid app and not freemium) both sold over a million, the latter well over that. (Also Forces definitely sold over a million, given that its player count on PS4 prior to being added to PS Plus was a solid 1.17 million.)
     
  8. Mana

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    I wonder why SEGA didn't just push back Forces considering Mania gave them enough good will to ride out the year. Giving it until June 2018 or so would have allowed for a stronger project and I don't think anyone would have been upset considering we still remembered how BOOM and 06 worked out because they weren't delayed.
     
  9. Frostav

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    That may have been true now, but the funny thing about stuff like this is that people end up fondly appreciating the "compromises" the artists and designers came up with and seek to recreate them, but intentionally and not out of limits. To use Studiopolis Zone yet again: STZ is a zone that could only exist in a "modern" Classic game. It is taking the artistic style born from those limits you mention, but intentionally uses it and cranks it up to 11. And personally, when I say "classic Sonic aesthetics", I mean that: the willful celebration of that style, cranked up as far as possible, no longer a compromise, but a fully intentional thing in its own right.

    The sprite artists of the SNES and Genesis were always trying to stretch the limits of their machines, and weren't intentionally doing the pixel art style, yes, and they probably would have been baffled at the idea that the compromises they took would become an actual celebrated art form. But it isn't 1993 anymore, and we can look back at what they made and think "yeah, I wanna do that but even more."
     
  10. Beltway

    Beltway

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    Although the Sonic series and its cast are given a prominent featuring role, the argument could be made that ASRT is more of a general Sega game due to its cast of Sega characters/representation of Sega properties, rather than a Sonic-specific game (like, for comparison's sake, Team Sonic Racing), which is why I didn't include it despite considering it at first. Concerning Dash, we can include paid smartphone games if you want, but we would also have to admit the differences in budget/scope/pricing in smartphone games compared to those of the console/handheld games.

    All that told, I believe the main point Laura was emphasizing there with the Mania sales talk was how it was the first Sonic game in some years --and, after some highlighted underperformers in Boom and Lost World-- to be considered a notable sales success. Which, in fairness, would still count if we did count ASRT and Dash--they were both released at the end of 2012/early 2013.

    As for Forces, I'm not really sure why people have been latching onto the 1.17 million number of players so much over the past few months. The site it's being sourced from outright says that the numbers of players counted a game has does not equate to the number of copies sold.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020 at 2:18 AM
  11. Pengi

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    Even within that distinction, there's a stark contrast between the Galaxy games and the 3D Land/World games. I'd say Galaxy has more in common with 64 than it does 3D Land. So that's at least 3 different styles of 3D Mario games.

    The Super Mario brand remains strong because no matter what type of game they make, it's always fun and intuitive to control, superbly designed, highly polished and achieves what it sets out to. Gold standard craftsmanship that can't be denied, whether it's someone's particular preference or not.

    Nintendo can't please all Mario fans all of the time, but what they can do is consistently release high quality Mario games. So they do. And they're widely recognised as such by critics and audience alike.

    And that's Sega's problem with Sonic - not that they can't please all segments of the fan base at once, but that they repeatedly choose to release games that just aren't good, that didn't have the time/budget/talent/direction they needed. They'd rather release a sub-par Sonic game on schedule than take the necessary measures to make it great. That's not how an A-tier property should be handled.

    The next Sonic game won't give every segment of the fanbase what they want. Ultimately, that's not important. What's important is whether the game is good or not.
     
  12. laughing_sun

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    So I got down to this portion and was a bit confused. I think clearly there is some kind of misunderstanding because I don't remember "dumping on fans" or "scolding the collective community for having so many different opinions." What I actually did was make an observation that you apparently agree with: that there is diversity of opinion. Therefore, no matter what direction SEGA chooses to go, there will be people that do not feel catered to. Therefore, SEGA should try and identify not the "hardcore" audience but the audience that will maximize profit. This would be people enthusiastic enough to make a purchase, but not necessarily *the most enthusiastic among them* - the "hardcore" if you will.

    It may also be in how these fuzzy terms mean different things to different people. When I think of a "hardcore" fan I think of someone who gets really into the game. Whether they play it 100 times or do fanart or fanfiction or theory craft or speed run, or look for glitches or make mods for it or whatever. In other words, people that really get into it. That kind of thing. Maybe "hardcore" fan means something different to you, I don't know. Thing is, a hardcore fan's $60 is just as good as anyone else's. So if 90% of customers play a game once and then toss it, SEGA still made their money making that 90% happy. If 10% worship at the altar of Sonic and are unhappy? Honestly, who cares? That's what I was pointing out. The number of the customers matter, not the type of customer.

    Honestly, if all this was as easy as just taking advice from people on message boards, don't you think SEGA would have already done this by now? (Maybe they already even have, it's just not *this* message board.) Or do you just think they hate money? Or are completely incompetent?

    As far as the Sonic Boom stuff goes, I could care less about that. It has nothing to do with the point I was making. You keep setting it up as being the type of game I was talking about, but it wasn't. Boom games, portables, story book series, kart racers, all that stuff I just ignore. They aren't real Sonic games. All I'm concerned about is what the main franchise does and therefore, my comments were directed toward the main franchise games, not spin-off titles.

    Boom may have been an attempt to capture an audience that you think I was describing but even if it was, why did it fail? Because that audience doesn't exist? Or because the product didn't cater to the desired audience? That's two different things. And I would submit by the way that people that play games - but not Sonic games - outnumber people that play games that are Sonic games. So that audience most definitely exists. And again, not sure how listening to the "hardcore fan" would have made Boom games palatable to the non-hardcore fans, the supposed target audience you are suggesting. An audience that, by your own admission, is already NOT BUYING Sonic games. So just because they failed at attracting that audience doesn't mean it's impossible to attract that audience or it shouldn't even be attempted. That's just weird. Plus, if the mainline games aren't great such that the hardcore fans are criticizing them, then maybe Boom wasn't either and that's the problem? Not that it went after a different audience. So it's just a weird example to use.

    The games I was actually referring to were the modern 2.5D boost games of the last ten years, which, in my opinion, are shallow and unrewarding experiences, but SEGA seems to be sticking to the concept, so perhaps they should continue doing what is generating sales and not listen to people like me who would be overjoyed to hear that the 30th anniversary game is a direct sequel to the 10th anniversary game and ignores everything that occurred between them.

    The point is, in every corner of the fandom, people think *they* know the secret to a great Sonic game: just make the one that they want! All I was pointing out is that the game I want or the game you want or the game anyone in this thread wants may not be the game that is consistent with SEGA's long-term strategy for the brand and what is actually going to maximize profit.
     
  13. SystemsReady

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    the classic style is supposedly a technical limitation, yet 3D representations of Green Hill still kept the polygonal palm trees for instance (which, in a recent start at Generations, I oohed and ahhed at). Forces Green Hill also keeps the very simple sunflowers. these small things can be done, and I have faith that the "full" thing can be done too, especially given, and I keep emphasizing this, Mania's special stages, which were pretty much THE representation of the aesthetic I wish 3D Sonic would go in.
     
  14. Dek Rollins

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    I believe the 3D geometric aesthetic was very much intentional, even if it was informed by limitations. Detailed, somewhat "realistic" pixel graphics were definitely possible if they wanted all the zones to look like that.
     
  15. Wildcat

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    Manias special stages were cool but I would NOT want an entire 3D game that way.

    It was obviously intentional because it was supposed to look like it came out in the 90s when 3D graphics were just getting started but that's not how 3D Sonic games should look going forward. They would not have looked that way to begin with if today's graphics were possible back then.

    I think that would be a big step backwards. I know Mania is full Genesis style but that's part of the point. It's basically meant to be a Genesis game.

    Having modern, 3D Sonic look geometric or whatever you wanna call it would be really out of place imo. Unless it too was meant to be a 32 bit era "lost" Saturn game or something. I know that look is used in fan games but for a modern game that takes place now it would be off putting to me.
     
  16. Blue Spikeball

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    I for one don't want all 3d Sonic games to look the same. I like variety. I like my series to keep things fresh. Experiencing Sonic Adventure's "realistic yet surreal" world after playing the MD games was a revelation, as was seeing Sonic Team's modern take on Green Hill in Heroes (Seaside Hill), or boosting through highly-detailed realistic urban and natural environments in Unleashed, or going through Colors' surreal theme parks. If series like Zelda can get away with completely changing the art style for nearly every 3d entry (and even get praised for it), I don't see why Sonic couldn't.

    So basically something like this? :V
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Frostav

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    Zelda is a weird option to pick: all Zelda games have a distinctly "Zelda" theme to their visuals. None of them look "not Zelda". That is what I want for Sonic. A core visual theme. Not so much an art style. Just cohesive theme to the visuals as a whole that is unmistakably Sonic.

    And that Speed Highway pic is nice but it doesn't really have the surreal vibrancy of Studiopolis. I don't want 3D Sonic to just be geometric shapes, I want it to have the same sense of surreal wild vibrancy and colorful exaggeration of the classics.
     
  18. Shaddy the guy

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    Beaverton OR
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    [​IMG]
     
  19. RDNexus

    RDNexus

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    What's that?
    An image from a prototype of the game?

    Or some altered image from the game?
    This one seems most likely.
     
  20. Frostav

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    Of all the Sonic fan gatherings on the internet, Sonic fucking Retro was the one I least expected the completely milquetoast statement "I wish 3D Sonic had the same vibrancy of the classics" to be responded with passive-aggressive wankery, that's for certain