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Sonic Forces Thread

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

  1. Laura

    Laura

    Brightened Eyes Member
    I'm an optimistic person and reject the extrene cynicism which is popular in socio-politics today. That said, Sonic has been in a dreadful position this decade. It's not wallowing in despair to say that, it's just a fact.

    The decade statted off very strongly with the Generations and Racing Transformed two punch but it's dropped off hard from then with the exception of Mania. I don't even mind the nostalgia pandering anywhere near as much as everyone else, but let's be honest, it's been pants. And yeah the mid 2000s were also awful, but at least Sonic was still relevant, his games were unintentionally funny, and he was big online. He's come back a bit after the movie, but the games are so aggressively banal now that no one cares about him.

    The issue for me is that there's seemingly no hope for the future since the end of this decade has been a mirror inverse of the beginning. They completely messed up Generations 2 (Forces) which should have been an easy bankable game. SUMO then fucked up with Team Sonic Racing, which I find unbelievable considering how Transformed is one of the best kart racers ever made.

    I only hope now that Team Mania come out with something new but that's looking more unlikely every year.

    I mean I dont think this is the most flatlime Sonic has been. The Sonic Runners and the 3D Flickiez Island period was unbelievably atrocious
    But it's not looking great.
     
  2. I'm glad you appreciated it; I've watched your videos, so you got a pretty nuanced perspective yourself, which I appreciate nowadays.

    I did the cynicism thing, thinking the franchise was doomed and all that, but I realized it was really bad for my mental health, so I took a break from the series for a few years. Came back, and now I'm much more mentally stable and able to see clearly now. I certainly have my biases regarding the series, but I try to not let them define the series for me...because the series is going to whatever the hell it wants to be regardless how I feel about it.



    I can't really say I'm positive or cynical right now. All I can really do is just wait and see what comes next; either Sonic Team are going to continue as they are right now because they're just stubborn like that, or they're going to change course and reinvent the series once again. I have a distinct feeling given how loud the Adventure fans have been these past few years, we're inevitably going to get something related to that, if not an outright Adventure remake. If Sega listens to one thing, it's the people who are shouting the loudest. But its just as possible that we'll just get the same lackadacial games we've been getting. Nobody knows for sure, but I think that's why people are so antsy; fear of the unknown and the fact that Sonic Forces doesn't exactly instill confidence about the franchise's direction.
     
  3. almeda

    almeda

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    Exactly like I'm usually more positive that this series will get somewhere but it's not looking too good at all. That's not to say that I'm going to be completely negative – I don't like letting that energy manifest, but there comes a time where continuing to be optimistic starts to become flat out delusion and babying. But when I look at things like the IDW comics, Sonic Mania, or the success that the movie had, I still think that Sonic has potential to have great run in the future if things are just handled right.

    If we're going to talk about the GP, a lot of locals / casuals around me don't even hate Sonic games that much at all, and in fact they usually love Transformed, Mania and really like SA2. But the issue here is that games like Forces aren't very good at all that they make no noise. Casuals will know what Sonic Racing is but ask them about Sonic Forces and I doubt they'll know what it is. When it comes to a success factor, there's also the fact that most people today obsess over whatever first-person shooter that's of the hype that Sonic gets overlooked. They need something really good that'll appeal to another target audience, or even possibly sway a few kids away from Fortnite or Call of Duty. Otherwise when they release games like Sonic Forces, most of that audience who would be interested just won't even care, and the GP wouldn't even notice.

    I will say that TSR was well-liked by people around me; I had a lot of fun with some of my relatives who usually like the most mainstream of things, and my little brothers and their friends really had a good time with it as well. It just aged really bad, and again, wasn't as special as Transformed and therefore made no noise. There was no longevity at all.

    At the end of the day, I personally don't care about what numbers they pull, as long as it's a great game that'll hold itself really well for a couple of years (Ctrl - SZA). But if that's what SEGA is interested in then that's what I have to say.
     
  4. Josh

    Josh

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    I'm concerned it's just the opposite.

    I never heard half as much vitriol directed at Forces (and the elements that it includes) as I have lately. Not that people weren't disappointed at launch, but it seemed like it took a few years for things to really boil over. A budget $40 release never should have been in the spotlight for this long.

    To be clear, I'm actually pretty anxious that an Adventure remake could happen. The biggest reason I've felt so disconnected from the fandom is because the people making the most noise want Sonic to go back to the way it was when *I* was most disconnected from it. Not to say I didn't love Sonic Adventure or that a remake couldn't be done well, but I don't know that it would be done to the satisfaction of the people most vocally pushing for it. Still, it definitely could happen.

    But I'm reminded of Nintendo circa 2013, when a niche contingent of angry Metroid fans had absolutely convinced themselves that Retro Studios was DEFINITELY working on Prime 4, and they generated enough noise to convince everyone else. And then Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze caught an insane amount of hate for NOT being Metroid.

    Sonic Team said they'd be looking at reactions to Mania and Forces to help decide the future direction of the series. And given how that went, I wouldn't exactly be surprised if at least one of the 30th anniversary games looked more like Sonic Utopia than Sonic Adventure. I do *not* envy the social media team if that's the case. :P
     
  5. I mean, this is exactly what happened...eventually lol. Retro are working on Prime 4 as we speak.

    But yea, I did say things could also just keep moving as they are, and it's just as likely we'll get another Classic styled game, at which point the Adventure fans would be absolutely nuclear with rage. Should be fun to watch if that were to happen.

    And yea, 100% about another follow up to Adventure; fans have been clamouring for a game like that for so long that they've built it up in their head as the best game ever, when given Sega's track record for things like that and how reimaginings are generally received by the older fans who came up with them, it's highly likely it'll be another Sonic 4 situation where said fanbase are burnt and the game doesn't meet none of the expectations fans set for it. I only have to look at the reactions to the changes made in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake to know what happens when you dare to change things.


    I do feel for Adventure fans though, they've been up a creek without a paddle for a long time now; the elements that they're attached to about the series have been absent for a long time now, or changed to be much "worse" in their eyes and unlike something like Mania, they've barely gotten any real lip-service so to speak. The IDW comics are a godsend in that regard because it's the only form of media that really caters to the type of storytelling they prefer. And if the next game is that 3D Classic gameplay, they're gonna feel even more alienated from the series, especially if the comics have to retool themselves to fit in line with them as they started off piggybacking off of Forces` continuity. Remember how people reacted when Project Hero DARED to switch to the Classic designs and lost a lot of fan support as a result?
     
  6. Josh

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    Yup. It's equal parts hilarious and sobering to see the cycle repeat itself so exactly, but in the opposite direction.

    Twelve or so years ago it was, "I hate green eyed Sonic, they need to stop trying to tell stories and having all these 'friends' that nobody cares about, and just focus on making a great (preferably 2D) Sonic game!"

    Now it's all, "I hate black eyed Sonic, they need to bring back the cast, get rid of 2D, and focus on telling a compelling story!"

    The loudest, most passionate voices in a fandom are often the least nuanced. Especially in a series where most fans get into it when they're very young. I've said it before, but that next generation of fans are going to be a lot more reverent of Forces (and a lot more spiteful about whatever Sonic is in 2030) than any of us are.
     
  7. Frostav

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    I dunno about that. Forces is mostly a game of nostalgia pandering to classic fans with stuff like Classic Sonic, the Death Egg, and Chemical Plant, and to Adventure fans, with the cast brought back and the vague gesturing towards a more involved story. But it does both of those so poorly--the Classic Sonic elements are hastily tacked on, the Adventure elements are so thin that the game actively throws the one new character it made out of the window at the end--that I can't see a huge contingent of fans latching onto it. There's nothing to latch onto. Those new fans you mention basically played a game attempting (that's a generous word to use) to pander to older people, not them.

    I should probably mention something here: I actually don't really see three sides of the fandom as people generally envision it (Classic, Adventure, Modern). Rather, it appears usually that there's Classic fans, and post-Classic fans, in that I haven't seen a group of people who actively like post-06 Sonic primarily over the others. Rather, disparate parts of the other two groups like certain things about post-06 Sonic, but there's no one clamoring for the exclusive direction of those games. Classic fans liked Unleashed paring down the cast heavily and going for a much less dark story...but hell, Adventure fans liked the heartfelt story about friendship between Sonic and Chip. Everyone liked seeing old levels in beautiful new forms for Generations, but obviously that kind of retreading ground can't be done forever.

    But I've never seen anyone who likes Colors, Lost World, and Forces' structure of super tiny short levels fluffed out with gimmicks. No one is actively clamoring for wisps to remain, even those who liked them in Colors think their post-colors appearances are pointless and obnoxious. Even Classic fans who prefer less story in their Sonic games don't really like the stories of Colors or Lost World, they just like that they're meaningless fluff they can mash start through.

    I guess the point of my whole rant is that I haven't seen any kind of true Modern fanbase for Sonic--and look Unleashed came out in 2008, but I don't see a group of 17-20 year olds who played it at launch as their first Sonic game clamoring for it/Colors/Lost World and only them.

    "Modern" Sonic has no identity, no X factor that the Classic era and Adventure era had to hook fans. They are fine enough games...sometimes okay games, but who on Earth is going to look back at Forces and think "yeah, I really liked that one part". If they liked Classic Sonic they'd go into Mania, the Genesis games, and romhacks, if they like the characters and plot they'd become Adventure era fans.

    Sonic once made an entire subgenre of mascot platformers with 'tude. Now he's become the same kind of generic platformer that tried to dethrone him in his early years and all failed.
     
  8. Josh

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    First, I definitely disagree with the idea that the 2000s had a whole lot of thematic consistency. Even the two Adventure games were different enough that we've always had people who loved one and hated the other. If you hate nostalgia pandering, Heroes was the first game to really try to push a "return to form" as they put it. Then you had Shadow and 06 trying to spin these epic yarns while the Advance games were something else completely while at least seven Genesis compilations came out every year. Kids don't have any trouble reconciling this stuff, but it felt anything but consistent to many of us at the time. We definitely DID get a lot more games back then, at least.

    The reputation of Unleashed seems to have skyrocketed over the last year or two. For the longest time, the consensus said it was a less-polished take on Colors and Generations that was held back to at least some degree by the Werehog. Lately I've seen its soundtrack, graphics, and story praised like never before, and the reverent tone of this reminds me exactly of the people who argued a few years earlier in favor of SA2. It and Black Knight have kind of usurped SA2's spot as the quote-unquote "last good Sonic games" among that crowd, and it's reasonable to think it's because there are more people now who played them as kids.

    Don't get me wrong. I do see where you're coming from. I just think that generally speaking, it's because the 90s and the 10s have more thematically in common with each other than they do with the 2000s. I mean, Colors wasn't a breath of fresh air for no reason, you know?

    And if you started with Colors or Generations, there really hasn't been a significant tonal shift since then, so you don't have as much to complain about. It feels to me like we're still in some version of the era that Unleashed kicked off and Colors solidified.

    Beyond just getting older and mellowing out, I think this is why the classic fans don't speak up as much now. In the wake of Mania, there's not much reason to. The wheel that doesn't need grease won't squeak as much. But if, say, the Adventure style does make a comeback, I'm sure it'll be a breath of fresh air for some fans just like Colors was for others. But the pendulum will start swinging back the other way.

    You know, Sega probably should have just kept Sonic more consistent from the beginning. :V
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020
  9. I do think there is a point to be made about how "not being hated" isn't exactly the same as actually being liked and revered. When you really stop and think about it, not much has honestly occurred with this franchise in the past decade...at least if you're a fan who grew up after the classic era. If you are a fan who grew up with the classic era, then the last decade was basically just getting getting rid of all of the stuff that probably alienated you from the series to begin with and perhaps brought you back. But that's the thing...it removed things, but did it add anything that truly defined the series for the next generation? Compare the 2010's with the previous decades.

    The 90's established what the franchise was, and the 2000's redefined what it was (for better or worse)...the 2010's...just kind of undid everything the 2000's established while paying lip service to the 90's. Can anyone truly say this decade has given us anything as iconic as Sonic 2, Sonic 3, or Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2? The closest you can say is Sonic Generations, but that game relies heavily on what came before it, and doesn't really do much new. It's a damn great game mind you, and a perfect tribute to the series, but the fact remains is that it didn't really establish anything new for the series. Sonic Unleashed was definitely the beginning of them cutting back, but there was still enough of what came before to keep people invested, and I think even Adventure fans wouldn't have minded Colors had it not defined the series for the next decade.

    But the fact is, the 2010's did NOT have a generation defining game like the 90's and 2000's did. They certainly had good games, but nothing you can really call groundbreaking. Mania is the closest thing to a groundbreaking game this decade had, and that's mainly because it's the first time a fan has worked on an officially licensed game in the series. But even some Classic fans agree that it's not QUITE on the level of Sonic 3, and it hardly feels like a true sequel, but more like a "greatest hits" version of the classics ala Generations. In other words, it didn't exactly tread new ground for the franchise. And I think that's why Adventure fans have something of a bone to pick with it beyond the jealousy of "their" Sonic falling further into obscurity. Keep in mind, I am NOT throwing shade at Mania, I love that game and I have bought it twice. BUT, Mania got so much praise and reverence in spite of the fact that it didn't really do much in innovating the series...to Adventure fans. I'm aware of what the game means for Classic fans, but that's kind of meaningless if you just aren't a fan of Classic as you are with Adventure and I've seen plenty of that. Adventure fans don't hate Mania, they respect it for what it is BUT there some lingering resentment with how people are treating it like it's the holy grail of Sonic games and should define the series going forward in spite of the fact that, as most have admitted, it's basically a 1997 Sega Saturn sequel to Sonic 3.

    To make it simpler in case I've lost anyone; Sonic 2 put the series on the map, Sonic 3 made the series iconic. Sonic Adventure redefined what the series was, and Sonic Adventure 2 was basically Sega's swan song as a console creator. Sonic Colors, got rid of everything people and reviewers were complaining about, and Sonic Generations pays homage to the aformentioned Sonic 2-Sonic Adventure 2. Notice how games from the 90's and 2000's marked some type of significant event, while the 2010's were just backpedaling on everything due to controversy?

    And the funny part about it, had Sonic Boom not failed, IT probably would have been that redefinition of the series for the 2010's. It's rather obvious too, given it's the biggest push Sega gave for the franchise at that point. But Sega gave themselves and out and emphasized that Boom would NOT be replacing the main series like Adventure did for the classics, just in case things didn't work out and they could just write the whole thing off as a bad experiment, which is exactly what happened. But I'm almost 100% positive had Boom been successful, that's what the series would have been going forward. And it's not like it was unpopular either, ROL aside, people loved the TV show.

    Really, the movie is, against all odds hilariously, probably the biggest shot of adrenaline the series has had. Everyone wrote it off as a failure, but then it ended up being the third highest grossing film of the year, and the highest grossing video game film of all time. COVID aside, that's pretty damn impressive. And look, people can (and have) downplay the movie all they want; it's a generic family film with Sonic's name on it, there are flaws that people are overlooking, Sonic doesn't really act like Sonic, but none of that really ended up mattering. The movie was a ROUSING success, whether we like it or not. And it's damn impressive when everyone was ready to accept it as another blot of mediocrity of the series.


    But really, the 2010's were what I'd call the "safe" era, as in the era that sanitized itself so thoroughly to avoid controversy. You know how people usually complain about how homogenized the Mario series can be? Yea, that was Sonic in the 2010's. It kept things as safe and consistent as possible, but as result it didn't really break into any new ground either and has kind of stagnated as a result. And I think its that stagnation that's got people so annoyed. In 2000's, the series was constantly trying new shit, regardless of its actual success. Nowadays, that experimentation is gone in favor of "safe" and consistent games. And since games are a lot less frequent, there's not much to really stave it off. Forces is the embodiment of that safeness, because in spite of its advertising, it's just as "safe" and unassuming as every other game in this decade but was advertised as being something more. And that's after four years of radio silence.


    Regardless if you're a Classic or Adventure fan, I think both sides can agree that this last decade hasn't really led to much of anything and the series needs to do something with itself again. Despite that Sega says, I'm sure you can make a game that satisfies enough people. If they actually put their best effort with Forces, it could have very well been that game because even both sides can agree the game should have been way more than what it was.

    Holy hell this got ranty :V
     
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  10. Josh

    Josh

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    Well, I like that a helluva lot better than what the cynical types have been calling it. :P Great post!

    You raise some compelling points. The fact is, Sonic's reputation in the late 2000s was poisonous. I think the context of the post-06 years would tell anyone that Sega NEEDED to pair things back, make some smart and safe moves, and instill some goodwill in the brand again, and in the early part of the decade, they did. Delisting poorly-received games, taking the criticism to heart, bringing back Classic Sonic for the 20th anniversary, and most importantly, sticking with a gameplay style that suited Sonic for multiple games, iterating on it, polishing it, and balancing it for accessibility and depth alike. Generations was the culmination of that. Sega had finally worked the kinks out, gotten Sonic back into a good place, and built a solid foundation to build from. Sonic was in a Disney movie and in commercials for insurance companies. He felt more relevant than he had since the 90s. We even got a phenomenal spin-off kart racer that you could argue was better than Mario Kart!

    And actually, comparing 2012's Racing Transformed to 2019's Team Sonic Racing is a pretty good summary of what happened after that. Sega abandoned the foundation entirely, spent a baffling few years failing to reimagine Sonic AGAIN in projects like Lost World and Boom. Generations was great, but they'd somehow failed to keep the momentum going. Instead of the next game being bolder and more creative, Lost World was SAFER and duller.

    I was SO RELIEVED when we saw the boost gameplay in Forces, because I'd hoped they were coming back to what worked... but then they executed on it worse than they ever had before.

    (This pattern, frustratingly, mirrors what they did in the 2000s: Built a good foundation in Adventure, abandoned it in Heroes, muddled about with Shadow, and tried what had worked before but worse in 06. It's almost no wonder 00s fans are now where 90s fans were a decade ago; Sega's put us all through the same cycle!)

    The movie was a bright spot, and Mania shines more spectacularly than anything has in at least 20 years, to the delight of some fans and the frustration of others. But I agree, it doesn't change the fact that Sega failed to keep ANYTHING going after 2012, and let what could have been a renaissance for Sonic slip through their fingers.
     
  11. Laura

    Laura

    Brightened Eyes Member
    I think Black Knight getting so much praise for its storytelling is a perfect example of how terrible game stories like Forces will get nostalgic appreciation in a decade or so.
     
  12. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    Black Knight has a decent story. Forces? Hell no. I'm not exactly sure what you're getting at.
     
  13. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    I think the difference between a good Sonic story and a bad one is just how catastrophically it fucks up. Black Knight, dumb premise or no, has some of the least fuckups of any Sonic story. I don't think the same will happen for Forces.
     
  14. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    We're forgetting that Forces has Oscar-quality writing, such as "we're going in hard and fast". (I'm surprised "Sand Hill" is more of a meme than that.)
     
  15. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    Black Knight's story is absolutely not terrible. It's not great of course, either. It's...there.
     
  16. Josh

    Josh

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    In the original Black Knight thread here on Retro... well, hardly anyone seems to have bought it, but even those who did didn't have much to say about the story. Here's a selection of what I could find:


    For the better part of a decade after it was released, I didn't hear much about it. I don't think people really felt strongly one way or the other; It wasn't AWFUL the way 06's was, but it must not have featured anything particularly notable, either. It was an inoffensive story kids would enjoy. Exactly like @Sid Starkiller said.

    And then, all of a sudden, BOOM, I start seeing tons of people praising it as the BEST, MOST "ACCURATE" PORTRAYAL OF SONIC'S CHARACTER THE FRANCHISE HAS EVER SEEN, and also IT WAS THE LAST TIME SONIC WAS GOOD.

    Now, I still haven't played Black Knight (though I have watched a few of the cutscenes) so I don't have comprehensive knowledge on the story itself. BUT seeing the consensus be ONE thing for many years after release, and then suddenly push SO HARD in this incredibly reverential direction does lead me to believe that, yeah, the people praising it probably grew up with it, and see it through the same starry gleam of nostalgia that makes me love Sonic R so much. :P Nothing wrong with that, of course. You see it all the time with children's media.

    But Black Knight was absolutely a game directed at the young demographic, and time has shown it worked. If a critical turnaround like this can happen with a game as widely-derided as Black Knight was, it can definitely happen for Forces, too. (Especially given those PSN numbers, whoo! How many kids are gonna revere it as their first Sonic game because of that?)
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020
  17. Pengi

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    Sonic 1 was an instant hit, which is why Sonic 2's launch became an event. By 1993 Sonic was already a merchandising juggernaut with toys, comics and two TV cartoons. Sonic was video game royalty before Sonic 3 was released.
     
  18. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    Not to mention that Sonic 1 is still one of the bestselling games of all time.
     
  19. As someone who does subscribe to Black Knight being a great story, I think it's important to make some distinctions about it. I don't think people are praising the storytelling (which is quite honestly about as much you'd expect from a children's game) but so much, the praise is for the CHARACTER writing. And even that's not particularly impressive in of itself, because it's still pretty generic Shonen Anime stuff.

    But that's kind of the appeal of Sonic to many people, and why the game gets the praise that it does. Black Knight is unapologetically anime as fuck, and if that's your preferred interpretation of the series, then of course you're going to think fondly of it. Personally speaking, I think Black Knight shows off the best parts of Sonic's character. But of course, if you're somebody who already doesn't really care about Sonic stories to begin with or the characters, then of course you won't really understand or care why people like it.

    I'm not throwing shade either, but I do notice that older Classic fans just have very little to no attachment to storytelling at all in this series. It's understandable mind you, it's simple shit for kids at the end of the day and can be safely ignored, but that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed. I'm 27 and I read My Hero Academia weekly like it's a drug.

    But beyond that, there's nothing really WRONG with Black Knight's story. There's no egregious tonal shifts or shoddy plot writing to be found, it's just a simple Sonic adventure but it's dedicated to just showing Sonic's character in the best possible way. Forces is so all over the place, it doesn't really shine in one particular area. I've seen people praise Infinite, but still admit that he was ultimately wasted as a concept.


    Black Knight's story quality depends entirely on how you feel about Sonic storytelling: If you don't care about stories at all, then it's just an inoffensive piece. If you are someone, like me, who care about the cast and their plights, it's some of the better character writing in the series, even if it's not perfect.
     
  20. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    Black Knight had entertaining cutscenes and the story didn't take itself too seriously. Forces is a half-hearted attempt at an epic story that ends up being predictably underwhelming. In addition, BK isn't appreciated for its plot (which was just there), but for nailing Sonic's character. It proves that you can have a lighthearted story without reducing the title character to a parody of himself, something later Sonic games failed to realize.
     
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