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Sonic Forces Thread

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

  1. Antheraea

    Antheraea

    Bug Hunter Member
    I am extremely curious what work went into the latest engine that was earmarked for making it compatible across multiple things, because uh...well....if not, this game getting pushed back to a time where new consoles are coming out is extremely unfortunate.
     
  2. I can't comment for anyone else, but even as someone who has much more perspective than I did when I was 10 years old, there's a reason people praise those games highly and I don't think you can just chalk it up to nostalgia.

    There was just more of an attempt at trying to tell a legit story in those games; no it wasn't perfect and I've heard enough criticism towards them to know that, but I think people are so focused on the game's flaws that they never tried to see any of the pros, as few as they may be.

    Even Forces, for as much as it disappointed me, had potential to be good. Nobody is asking for Sonic to be this final fantasy tier plot, but it can at the very least try to be competent if it's going to tell a legitimate story. It's clear they have the potential for it otherwise the little they do get right wouldn't be so well received even by fans who come in later. It's just that they bungle the execution more often than not and people just grow apathetic to it all.

    Like come on, how fucking hard can it be to tell a simple story about what essentially amount to a bunch of Shonen manga archetypes; it's really not that difficult and yet this series continues to struggle with it. It's baffling honestly. Like...can you just let Ian Flynn write for this series already? The fact he's been such a prominent figure in the Western community for over ten years now, and Sega hasn't once acknowledged his existence. Let somebody who actually likes these characters write them instead of people just collecting a paycheck and writing whatever they read on a wikipedia article.
     
  3. Josh

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    Sure, I wasn't saying nostalgia was the only factor. I'd agree there's more to it than that! Tastes and preferences are subjective. But with a series where the vast majority of fans are made when they're kids, tastes tend to be shaped by those formative experiences, and while there's nothing at all wrong with that, it's important to be aware of the biases that can cause. Sonic is an inconsistent series. People who didn't grow up with "my" Sonic probably won't see the series the way I do, and that's okay.

    Oh, I'd agree with that, full stop. SA1 and 2 in particular got a raw deal, looking much worse in 06's aftermath AND being these super-ambitious, poorly-aging games that originally released on a console that didn't sell well. Criticism piled onto the early 3D games 10 years ago was every bit as overblown as what we see with the past decade's titles now, and it was probably WORSE.

    Preaching to the choir, here. Especially on Ian Flynn; I've been hoping they'd hire him for the games for... uh... 14 years now. Geeze. Like, a story is never going to make or break a Sonic game for me, it's just too far down my reasons for playing them. But if they're going to bother, and for the sake of everyone who DOES care about stories more, it'd be nice if they were actually _enjoyable_ for, y'know, folks outside of the target demo. And I mean, really, that's been the crux of the problem for at least 20 years now: Sonic is too important a series with too great of a legacy to be mishandled the way it has.
     
  4. Beltway

    Beltway

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    Since some of us are talking ratings--on the whole I predicted Forces would be thoroughly mediocre, and the game hit those expectations on the nose as soon as we saw enough leaks of the gameplay and story. It hasn't really strayed from that, although I personally really, really hate the level design/gameplay on how shallow/automated/lazy it got at times.

    But sometimes I do side with Laura in saying Forces is worse than mediocre, if you really sit down and think about the context of its release. I think most people weren't expecting Forces to live up to the potential it had or the goals it set out to do; but it did have a lot to live up to in regards to the environment that had been set by previous games and the platforming genre.

    * Forces marked quite a few prolific "firsts" due to what it immediately followed on. First 3D console Sonic since the fiasco that was 2014's Boom: Rise of Lyric. ST's first Sonic game after the oddball experiment that were 2013's Lost World (and 2015's Runners if you count smartphone games). First multiplatform game overall since Generations back in 2011 (since LW and Boom: RoL were Wii U exclusives). So it was effectively a game that broke the hiatus for plenty of people. And with Forces cited to have been in production since Lost World's release, it has a longer development period than arguably any other Sonic game to date.
    * You just had Mania release to widespread success a few months prior as a real return to form for Genesis/2D Sonic; and the best-reviewed Sonic game in over a decade, proving the series could reclaim its lost pedigree as a serious showcase for platforming games. It also helped bring a lot of goodwill back into the series after the bleak aftermath that was the Boom launch/Sega restructure and the subsequent air of uncertainty/radio silence on where Sonic would go afterwards. So of course, being the next Sonic game to immediately follow up on all of that was a tall order; especially with Sega themselves saying Forces was the major Sonic game of that year and Mania was considered more of a side game/smaller project.
    * While not as strongly pushed compared to the likes of Adventure 2, 2006, and Generations; Sega was still trying to promote it (and Mania) as something of a belated 25th anniversary title. (The game liberally reusing old zones/level assets and having classic Sonic in there despite being "not Generations 2" wasn't helping its case.)
    * Forces was being released in what was essentially the start of a renaissance period for 3D platforming titles. Crash came back from the dead in a big way with his successful N-Sane Trilogy remake in June. A Hat in Time (a throwback to early 3D collect-a-thons) had been released to good reviews earlier in October. Knack II, released in September, was considered a genuine improvement over the first game, if still far from a great game. :V And finally, the big mustachioed elephant in the room: Although by this point, nobody worth their salt was seriously buying into a Mario vs. Sonic horserace; Super Mario Odyssey coming out a week prior to Forces' release and being immediately showered with acclaim as a new GOTY set for Forces a seriously tough act to follow up on as the next big 3D platforming game.

    When you tally it all up, Forces just comes off as that much worse in retrospect, and you can feel that sentiment in some of the conclusions by reviewers at the time it came out.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  5. Yea, I'm not saying the way I see Sonic is better than anyone else's, just that there is some merit despite what some would think. It's why I, probably against my better judgment I fully admit, want a remake of the first two Adventure games. I want to know for sure how those games would hold up towards modern audiences, and if Sonic Team even had the chops of remembering what made those games special to begin with. By all rights, it should fail, especially given ST's recent output, but at least then I can just put that chapter of my life to bed and safely move on.

    Like, I've grown similar to you that I've prioritized story a lot less in Sonic, but given I still grew up on Adventure 2 and subsequent games, it'd sure be real nice to have a game where I can care about these characters I like. I WANT to care about Sonic and his world, but it's been really hard to do that as of late and while I don't let it dominate my thoughts, it somewhat frustrates me to know they can't even get that much right.




    All of this really compounds just how lacking Forces was; keep in mind this was the same year the Switch launched and we got BoTW earlier that year. 2017 was just a renaissance in general for gaming, and then you have Sonic Team's mediocre as hell product, after they just released Mania, the most critically acclaimed game in years.

    I'm not holding my breath, since it's happened before with 06, but I really hope somebody at Sega finally realizes they've been half-assing this series, a series that once stood on par with other gaming juggernauts. I'm sure it's not born out of malice or apathy towards the series, and I'm sure most people in Sega have the best intentions for Sonic, but the fact remains that a franchise with as much prestige and inconograpy as this one has been consistently mishandled and pushed out products of varying degrees of quality. I don't think anyone expects perfection, sometimes shit happens. But they're still making the same mistakes they've been making since the early 2000's and that's honestly appalling that they haven't been able to overcome those problems after two whole decades.
     
  6. Jason

    Jason

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    At the risk of getting further off the topic of Forces, I honestly hope there isn't a game planned for next year. Announcement is fine, release not so much. But tying a game to an anniversary has been risky for the series overall. At this point in the franchise's life you can't please everyone with a single game. Especially within the current structure and development environment of Sonic Team, as evidenced by Forces. We haven't heard a peep about what is in store, and it's not hard to guess that Mania has caused a radical rethinking of what people want from Sonic games.

    I'm willing to keep waiting, if necessary, for a well executed game, but Sonic Team's output over the last decade doesn't instill confidence. I need proof of talent and direction before I can get hyped, and the cancelled plans for this year would have had to been incredible to chance my tune. The pressure is on, and I don't expect them to meet expectations.
     
  7. Antheraea

    Antheraea

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    like at this point it takes them so damn long to make a game that it feels like every title they come out with is an anniversary title and I'd really like it to stop honestly. Sonic should exist for its own sake, not for Sega trying to act like Sonic's anniversary is this important. It's really not.
     
  8. Pengi

    Pengi

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    The only Sonic games released in 2016 (the 25th anniversary year) were Mario & Sonic at Rio Olympics and Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice (which was delayed from its originally intended 2015 release date).

    The last anniversary game was Sonic Generations.
     
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  9. Blue Blood

    Blue Blood

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    Both Mania and Forces were announced at the 25th Anniversary party and were similar to Generations in one way or another. They were touted as anniversary titles and even if they lacked any banner on their boxart and we're released the following year, they were still anniversary titles in every way that really matters.

    Furthermore, what have we had between the 20th Anniversary and now?
    • Sonic 4 Episode 2, which prematurely killed off the Sonic 4 saga
    • Lost World, which has absolutely no identity of its own and just apes everything from the Classics and Mario. It introduced a new art style that didn't stick.
    • The entire Boom sub-series that SEGA bombed hard and SEGA pretends it basically didn't exist.
    • Runners, a mobile game that bombed so hard it got discontinued only a year after launch.
    • Dash and Forces Speed Battle, a couple of endless/Lane runner mobile games
    • Mania, a true 2D Classic Sonic with 2/3 of its levels remakes of Classic stages
    • Forces, which is in many ways just Generations 2 and got a horribly mixed reception
    • Team Sonic Racing, a kart racer sorely lacking in content that was dead on arrival
    In the 10 years between SA2 and Generations, so much happened that was formative for the Sonic series. In the 9 years between Generations and now, basically everything that's happened has been "HEY REMEMBER GREEN HILL ZONE AND THE GOOD OLD DAYS?", and the only thing to be well received was Mania. Everything else was forgettable at best, or outright disowned by SEGA at worse. Forces may have sold well too, but it was not met with positive reception and still lacks any identity. There's nothing to celebrate. Sonic has done virtually nothing since Generations.
     
  10. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    All-Stars Racing Transformed?
     
  11. Josh

    Josh

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    Dude, that's part and parcel how plenty of folks were talking about the 2000s back around 2010-2011. I can shift myself into that mindset:

    The point is, this sort of cynicism that rises up out of a potent mixture of nostalgia, expectations, and Sega's mismanagement of the series runs a lot deeper than *just* the past 10 years. Heck, you could argue that the series took a downturn with the Saturn, and it NEVER really got back on track. What's wrong is always available if that's what you want to focus on.

    But so is what's right. The fact is, we've only had a grand total of TWO mainline 3D games since Generations, and that's an awfully small sample size to be declaring the whole thing hopeless. In the past 10 years, Taxman & Stealth rose and rose through the ranks, and made the most well-received Sonic game in 25 years. Tyson Hesse can be credited to basically saving the movie, it went on to be more successful than ANY game movie ever has been, AND his animations have been highly-regarded. Characters designed by Ian Flynn are appearing in official games. On top of all that, Aaron Webber is a Sega of Japan employee, now! I trust all of these guys to champion the series well. Especially coming off of the success of Mania and the movie, I think Sonic is in a better position RIGHT NOW than he's been since Sega dropped out of the hardware business. Whatever the next game might be, it IS just potential, but I'm still excited to see what comes next.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
  12. Beltway

    Beltway

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    In light of SystemReady's and Blue Blood's comments, I decided to do a prolonged check of the amount (and type) of Sonic game releases for previous anniversaries (on the anniversary year and the immediate years that came before/afterwards), just to measure how things have changed over time.

    My format and criteria: Original games across console platforms, handheld platforms, and arcade/smartphone platforms. (Mainline anniversary games are italicized and underlined. Games with multiple versions with substantially different content are counted as separate games.) || Individual re-releases of old games and compilations, physical/digital, to consoles/handhelds/smartphones.

    Games are counted by the year of their original/first release. Mobile phone (pre-smartphone) games and handheld/arcade versions of console games aren't included in this list.

    5th Anniversary (unofficial):
    1995: Chaotix, Sonic Drift 2, Sonic Labyrinth, Tails' Skypatrol, Tails' Adventure || Sonic Compilation
    1996: Sonic 3D, Sonic Blast, Sonic the Fighters
    1997: Sonic R || Sonic & Knuckles Collection, Sonic Jam

    Total: 12

    10th Anniversary:
    2000: Sonic Shuffle
    2001: Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Advance 1
    2002: Sonic Advance 2 || Sonic Mega Collection

    Total: 5

    15th Anniversary:
    2005: Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic Rush || Sonic Gems Collection
    2006: Sonic 2006, Sonic Riders, Sonic Rivals || Sonic 1 Genesis (GBA), Sonic 1 (VC), Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (VC)
    2007: Sonic and the Secret Rings, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Sonic Rush Adventure, Sonic Rivals 2 || Sonic 1 (XBLA/iOS), Sonic 2 (VC/XBLA), Sonic 3 (VC), Sonic 3D (VC), Sonic Spinball (VC)

    Total: 18

    20th Anniversary:
    2010: Sonic Colors, Sonic 4: Episode I, Sonic Free Riders, Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games || Sonic Classic Collection, Sonic 2 (iOS), Sonic Adventure (XBLA/PSN)
    2011: Sonic Generations, Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games || Sonic CD (iOS/PSN/XBLA)
    2012: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Sonic 4: Episode II, Sonic Jump || Sonic Triple Trouble (VC), Sonic Blast (VC), Sonic Adventure 2 (XBLA/PSN/PC), Sonic Heroes (PSN), Sonic the Fighters (PSN/XBLA)

    Total: 19

    25th Anniversary:
    2015: Sonic Runners, Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom || Sonic 2 (eShop)
    2016: Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice
    2017: Sonic Forces, Sonic Mania, Sonic Forces: Speed Battle

    Total: 8

    30th Anniversary:
    2020: *none*
    2021: TBD
    2022: TBD

    Total (as of 2020): 0
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
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  13. Pengi

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    Being announced on an anniversary and getting released over a year later doesn't make something an anniversary game. Having Green Hill doesn't make a game an anniversary game.
     
  14. Sid Starkiller

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    Just FYI, if (like myself) someone is using the Blue 5 style, those pastels you used make the post basically impossible to read.
     
  15. Beltway

    Beltway

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    Noted and updated accordingly. Also slightly adjusted criteria, modifying entries in the process.
     
  16. Xiao Hayes

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    Late reply to Josh:
    I played SA2 when I was 21, and have similar feelings about that game to those of the guy who was about 10. Age may be a factor for bias, but the content was there and kids aren't stupid.
     
  17. almeda

    almeda

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    Reading this section of the thread really made me realise just how much potential this series has, added to its legacy and "iconography", that it's practically criminal for them to assign new level designers for it. I probably sound harsh and excuse my little hyperbole there, but it just doesn't sit right with me... Every time I think of how Forces had boringly linear level design, or unexcitingly short stages, I think of all the potential for a great games we could get if it wasn't for a few painfully stupid choices.

    Looking back into 2006, when they released that tragedy of a Sonic 1 port for the GBA, the fact that a fan managed to port their own game miles better than they did speaks levels and should've been enough to raise eyebrows.

    I'm not saying that Sonic Team have to completely go or whatever, I'm not sure if I've reached that conclusion yet, but they seriously need to get it together.
     

  18. It's amusing how these two posts are basically a "Glass half empty versus Glass half full" dichotomy. Neither side is particularly right, but I do feel like there's more of a reason to be somewhat cynical about the state of the franchise, especially if you haven't really been caring about it's output for the most part.

    That said, I'm honestly impressed that you can be so optimistic Josh; I wouldn't say I'm as cynical as most of my contemporaries, but I certainly can't say I'm enthusiastic about the series either. Usually when I see people being positive about the series, I usually just assume they're young and still are impressionable about the series, and they'll eventually get burnt out just like we all did. It happened to classic fans, it's happening to Adventure fans right now, so I have every right to assume it's gonna happen to the next generation. And then you're like "Things are looking up" and you're as close to the older classic demographic as you can get.


    I guess apathy is a good way to describe my feelings; I've gotten over the cynical sad sac phase, but Mania aside, can't really say I've had much enthusiasm either. The series just kind of...exists right now. It's not worth getting upset or excited about to me if that makes sense. I hope things improve if I'm being perfectly honest, but I'm certainly not going to lose any sleep over it if they don't.
     
  19. Josh

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    Genuinely: Thank you. I've been having a rough time lately, both in this fandom and otherwise, and it honestly made me feel so much better to hear something like that. I've really enjoyed what you've been posting, too. You have a friendly, nuanced perspective, and it's nice to see someone who's NOT totally given in to cynicism. It's always been my least-favorite quality.

    But also, c'mon, I'm not THAT much of an Oldbie, am I? :P I came in on the last year of 16-bit, and I always felt like a baby compared to the fans a few years older than me who were just at that PERFECT age to be surly teens about the Adventure games.

    But hey, I've always been like this:

    upload_2020-10-31_3-19-31.png
     
  20. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    In terms of 3D games, I actually think the 2010s were a way better decade for the series. I replayed almost all of the 3D games since quarantine started, and if I averaged out the general experience of Heroes, Shadow, 06, Secret Rings, and Unleashed, it would lose in a second to Colors, Generations, Lost World, Rise of Lyric and Forces. Unleashed is better than RoL and probably better than Forces, but the rest of the games in each decade are much worse and mostly better respectively to the point that it's an exception. Going from Heroes to Shadow to 06 to Secret Rings was such a perfect 4-hit combo of badness, nothing can compare.

    I tried doing this with the 2D/portable and racing games, but the racing games list was more boring and I haven't played Rivals or Riders, and the portable curve was thrown way off by Lost World 3D and Mania, so it's not really as easy to make an example of.

    We can spend hours listing off titles of games and going into thorough dissection of each and every entry to try and pseudoscience a way into every decade being the best decade for Sonic, but ultimately, there is so god damn much Sonic the fucking hedgehog. There is so much. I mean, we're all fans of other stuff, right? I like Homestuck, Dragon Ball and Star Wars, and none of those have been great for several years, more than twenty for the latter two, but I never have as hard a time with those fanbases (well, I don't interact with Star Wars because of much less-fun reasons) wallowing in franchise doubt.

    There will be more good Sonic games, and there will probably be more lame ones, just as there always have been. Staying afloat and not slipping into the doomer-brain is all a matter of attitude and knowing where to look. That obviously doesn't mean my opinions are objective, or that you shouldn't have your own and discuss them, but our happiness as fans is in our control, not Sonic Team or SEGA.