Sonic Forces Thread

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

  1. Josh

    Josh

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    While that is often true on the surface, let me build on it a little.

    You've got to remember, pre-Adventure, the 90s fandom revolved almost entirely around SatAM. It's not that older fans _didn't_ care about stories. I think it's more that they didn't care about the stories being told in the games. And it's probably because the entire canon got rebooted (from a Western perspective) in Adventure into something decidedly _different_ from what we'd grown up with. They took away "our" Sonic, just like they took away "your's," haha.

    It's also notable that Sonic games took a story-heavy turn right when a lot of Genesis/Mega Drive kids would've been reaching their teen years. They might've been especially susceptible to "cringing" at things that were too "kiddy" for them. Even if the stories of the 2000s had all been as servicable as Black Knight's, that would've been a factor.

    The fact that many of them were SO MUCH WORSE, to the point that they actively contributed to the downfall of Sonic's reputation, meant that by the end of the decade, there WERE a lot of people who'd decided the very concept of "story in Sonic games" was a mistake. That's why many of us became so apathetic about it.

    From Adventure onward, the equivalent complaint to "Sonic should be shonen again," was often, "Sonic should be SatAM again," or later, "Sonic shouldn't have dialogue." But these kind of boil down to, "Sonic should be what it was when I was a kid, BEFORE THEY RUINED IT again."
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020
  2. Sid Starkiller

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    I wouldn't say classic fans don't care about storytelling at all, we were just raised on a different type of storytelling. The classic games had plenty of story, but since cutscenes weren't really a thing in those games, all of it was conveyed through subtext. You understood things just by looking at them in a way that sometimes dialogue and exposition can't do. One very simple example is the idle animations. In Adventure when left alone, Sonic would stretch his legs and say to himself "Better get going!", showing that he didn't want to just sit around. In the classics on the other hand, he would be silently but visibly impatient: tapping his foot, checking his watch, in Sonic 2 lying on the ground. Sonic 3 even had him pointing forward, as if saying to the player "HEY! GET. MOVING!!!" All without a single spoken word. And after several games tried way too hard to have epic stories and cutscenes and failed miserably, it makes sense that some would want a return to that subtext-only storytelling.
     

  3. I feel like there is a distinct difference here though; SATAM wasn't the games when you get right down to it. Sure, there was perfectly good reason WHY they weren't like the games, but that reason no longer mattered after Sonic Adventure. Sega had decided on a story direction and all continuities had to follow suite. Naturally, that meant SATAM had long since served it's purpose since the games had now established divergent canon.

    With the shift from the 2000's to the 2010's however, that excuse isn't as valid. Because this isn't an alternate continuity that's being changed, it's the very same game. To make it simpler; SATAM!Sonic isn't Sega!Sonic, and I think we can at least agree on that. They are entirely separate entities that just happen to share the same name.

    However, Sonic from the last decade is supposed to be the same Sonic from the decade prior, there's no alternate continuity excuse to handwave it this time. So the shift is a bit more jarring, because if you grew up on 2000's Sonic, and then Sega just decided to shift gears after 2010, you have to find some way to reconcile that they are in fact the same character, in spite of the fact that the way he's written is vastly different.

    This is why people didn't mind Boom Sonic after a while, because everyone accepted that he was just his own thing separated from Sega!Sonic. How many people have you heard say Roger Craig Smith does a better Boom!Sonic than he does Sega!Sonic. Because Boom!Sonic's only VA was Roger, while Sega!Sonic has had two prior VA's that established what the character sounded like to people.

    Like yea, it really does come down to what you grew up with, but there's some nuance to be had here too.

    Oh and on the point about "cringe" inducing...eeehhh. I never felt that way, even when I felt the storytelling took a turn for the worse in the past decade, even I found some goofy charm in how bad Sonic's lines were. And there was still heartfelt moments where I genuinely liked it.

    Like everyone around me was talking about how "cringe" and kiddy Sonic was and I was just vibing. But keep in mind I had very little self-awareness when I was a teenager. I was type of kid who brought Pokemon to High School and unironically play it in front of people, and when asked "Dude, are you playing Pokemon?!" I would just answer yes in the most matter of fact tone ever. I don't think I knew what embarrassment was in my teenage years.

    Yea, but that was case of being limited by the technology at the time, not a thematic choice. Nintendo kept Mario silent as a way to keep him as an everyman character. The second the technology was available, Sega gave Sonic and the cast distinct voices. If Sega had the tech, they would have likely given Sonic voiced lines from the beginning. The only reason they likely never gave Classic Sonic a voice in the Modern games is because they knew the Classic fanbase would have flipped out, but it's also very jarring when he's put next to the modern characters who DO talk.

    And while it's true I understand being turned off by Sega's attempts at "epic" storytelling, the Classics had about as much plot as much story as you'd expect from a standard Sonic game. The only difference is that it was told through supplemental material, because as I said, the technology just wasn't there at the time for the types of stories they likely wanted to tell. I mean nobody really balks at Sonic Adventure's story in spite of being just as guilty as the shoddy productions of later games. But it's story is connected enough with the classics that people were willing to give it a pass.

    It's only after from Sonic Adventure 2 onward that people began to turn against the storytelling and point out it's faults. Because it abandoned the type of storytelling you grew up with, which I get. But Sonic Adventure 2 is still one of the most popular games within the series and part of that is because of it's plot, and established Shadow as the face of that renaissance on par with most of the Classic cast to this day.

    I'm not saying the games didn't have problems with their storytelling, because they absolutely did. But with the exception of 06 (because ShTH had mixed reception despite what many will tell you), these games held pretty solid popularity. It was only after 06 that the vocal minority of fans, haters, and game reviewers that demanded "NO STORY IN SONIC GAMES" and that's what led to where we are nowadays with lazy storytelling and characters simplified to their most basic.

    So we got rid of all the "bad" stories, but now nobody cares about the stories anymore, even the people who DID care at one point :V
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020
  4. Dissent

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    This is partly my fault. I streamed the entire game for 4 hours with my early copy, #retro tuned in and made up their minds on the spot.

    I feel very much like Josh right now. Cognizant and worried about the same things, but also seeing a lot of positive possibilities on the table because of the last few years of developments.

    Also, I've said it before in this thread and I'll say it again; Forces is tolerable. A young kid could absolutely enjoy this game as much as any of us enjoyed a Sonic back in the day. I 100%'d it entirely and found that the fun moments came when I mastered the stages and tried to break them. A resilient kid with a handful of games and a lot of free time will hit that point.

    It makes me wonder how much true QA revisioning was done, it's almost like the stages were only playtested in-dev by the devs themselves because the flow feels awful until you know more of what to expect.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020
  5. Laura

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    Everyone thought Black Knight had a dumb story for ages, it's only recently when people's minds have changed. I find ir funny that people think it's more light-hearted when it's trying to be really epic in its own way. It has this pseudo-Final Fantasy save the world thing going on.

    I don't think the story is as atrocious as the one in Unleashed, but that is also getting appreciation now, which I find weird. Chip's voice acting is horrendous and the cutscenes come across like a bad saturday morning cartoon. I'd honestly prefer the bad anime vibe of SA2 over it.

    And you knpw, I'll say it, the stories of Colors and Lost World are much better than that of Black Knight and Unleashed. Not because they are barely there, but because the characters actually speak to each other like people (rather than talk exposition at each other) and the humour is way les forced (even considering we ars talking about Pontac and Graf here) People say the jokes are cringey, and they often are, but I don't know how anyone could think they are even more cringey than Chip's humour.

    I know this is mean to say, but I really do think a lot of Sonic fans now unironically like the bad storytelling of the bad games and want it back. They want the ott and melodramatic stakes of Black Knight, Secret Rings, SA2, Unleashed etc. They dislike the fact the story centres around the main character even though it should. They like the more generic writing of past games where Sonic is unamiguously heroic and doesnt really have a character apart from being the good guy and nice.

    Pontac and Graff's biggest weakness is that they sometimes overdo it, especially in Lost World, but I think they are very obviously superior writers. They actually give the character's distinct personalities and give the games stakes without getting into melodramatic bad anime vibes.

    I know I might be in the minority gor thinking this, but I really do.
     
  6. I'll say, talk about throwing an entire section of the fanbase under the bus...

    I'll be the first to say Sonic storytelling is far from shakespearean material, but it's quite honestly just dumb fluff for kids at the end of the day. That doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed by people outside of that age demographic though, and it's rather obvious from the reactions to older games that the stories resonated with people on a personal level, so it's not really any wonder why people want it back.

    I don't get why this has to be a "this or against us" thing. Can't we just...accept we like some things and not like others? Like I definitely prefer the older storytelling, but I'm not going to call out people who like the current games either and I wish I got that same respect, but Sonic fanbase I guess :\
     
  7. Josh

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    Gotta say, it's nice to read an opinion I can agree with for a change, haha. While I'd still never play it JUST for the story, Colors is still my favorite story the games have ever told, and like @Laura said, it's not because it's "barely there," it's because I actually ENJOY it. Ian Flynn is still the ideal, but I'd take Pontac & Graff over the 2000s writers any day. It's been an eye-opening experience over the past year to try to stretch my brain and see things from the Adventure fans' perspective and relate to THEM how it felt to US, and like, that's one thing I love about discussions like this! But y'know, it can get a bit exhausting when it feels like it's the only thing you do. :P

    Even with Forces, as nonsensical as the plot was, I still enjoyed a lot of the dialogue, because I enjoy the characters' personalities. Again, it's not a patch on Flynn's writing in IDW, but most of the VAs have really come into their own.

    And @Sonic5993, I'm sorry a take like this makes you feel like your fandom is getting thrown under the bus, but I'm sure that's not anybody's intention. I get it though. When I see fans lately dump on Classic Sonic, or the boost games, or even Colors' story, it's hard not to feel the same way. But a critique of even your favorite elements of the series _probably_ isn't someone trying to disrespect the people who like those elements.
     
  8. Laura

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    Some people like the automated gameplay of modern Sonic. Should we just let that continue because some people like it?

    I understand liking terrible stories. I like Sonic Adventure's story even though the voice acting is awful, the cutscenes cycles through a small number of animations, the writing is terrible, etc. But Im also not going to pretend it is actually good narratively. That's my issue with this recent trend. It isn't just that people like the stories of Black Knight and Unleashed, they argue that they are actually good and how the series should be going forward.
     
  9. You know, it is possible for someone to like a product in spite of its' flaws. Like nobody is saying these stories are flawless, just that we liked the stuff that's there is all. I think it's extremely unfair to judge and write all of that off because it didn't resonate with you personally.

    I would never advocate getting rid of the things that didn't personally interest me in this series, so I don't understand why people are so willing to say "Screw you" to the things other people liked because they didn't personally like it.

    Comments like that are what fuel these neverending fan debates.
     
  10. Dek Rollins

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    I'm sorry, but I can't fathom thinking that "Pontaff" wrote the characters better than they had been before. Tails is the worst, turning into the most painfully generic "nerd" character who does nothing but spout nonsense technobabble. I'm not even saying the "Dark Age" had good writing, just that the "breathe of fresh air" to come after it wasn't and still isn't actually better.

    I do legitimately think SA1 has had the best story in 3D Sonic, mostly because it actually resembles the tone of the classic games, and despite the poor presentation. I also think SA2 has a decent story, and it definitely has the best presentation of the story we've ever had, localization aside (which admittedly has little to do with the actual writing, but still).

    I don't want the future of Sonic stories to take after the past decade of Pontaff, but I also don't want a return to the Dark Age. I do understand why younger fans want to return to that though. My problem with the ongoing debate about where the future of Sonic stories should lie is that what I think is the best direction hasn't hardly been done at all. I want more classic/SA1 stories. Preferably without every game having a godlike final boss like SA1 set precedent for; making Eggman the final boss is something I can get behind. Bring back some more classic subtext storytelling like Sid Starkiller mentioned.
     
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  11. Mana

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    I actually enjoyed the story from Sonic Forces and found it to be engaging. Sure it doesn't sync up perfectly storywise with the other games but it succeeded in keeping me invested in the characters and their accomplishment's.

    Each character was given a role in the rebellion which gave them a chance to be more than they have in years in terms of character roles. Knuckles isn't just saying generic rival lines to Sonic, he's leading a rebellion that is trying to save the entire world. Amy isn't just some Sonic fanboy, she's a strong capable commucations expert and the heart of the team. And Sonic....this is my favorite Sonic since Adventure 2.

    He's cool, witty, kind hearted, and overall a heroic person that inspires others to find their own personal strength. I even love the English script because Sonic saying corny jokes that are funnier to him than they really are to others fits his personality too. My favorite scene is when he playfully asks for the secret of Infinite's power then through the course of their fight reveal he's gotten MUCH stronger and Infinite won't be able to beat his as easily this time around. He's written exactly how I want Sonic to be written and I love it.

    Infinite is even a good villain because he feels like a parody of the edgy OC characters from the 2000's. His reception is the same I think Chaos and Shadow would recieve without their sympathetic backstories. He's insane and it's a pleasure to watch him in every scene, especially because he causes his own downfall with cockiness which is why I think he was written the way he was on purpose.

    Wow, the fandom really is divided so much on what they want from the games now. I wouldn't mind a story with this quality again but I know others might disagree.
     
  12. Blue Spikeball

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    Nearly every cutscene in BK had Sonic arguing with his snarky talking sword, or interacting with Arthurian Legends characters played by Sonic's friends. If you think that's the game trying to be serious and epic, then... I don't know what to tell you.

    Whereas I dislike Pontac and Graf's work for turning Sonic and Eggman into over the top caricatures, or derailing Tails' character. The stark contrast between the humble young sidekick who's slowly gaining self-confidence and independence and is capable of saving the day on his own when Sonic is out of the picture (SA1/SA2) and the whiny and snarky kid who's useless in a fight and needs to be rescued by Sonic (Lost World) was pretty glaring.

    About the jokes. Both types of humor are cringy, and I don't think I've ever seen people defend Chip's humor. But I find this one to be the less offensive of the two, as it doesn't twist the characters' personalities for the sake of meme-bait "comedy".


    As for the rest, I feel Sonic5993's responses were good enough.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020
  13. Like @Josh and @Sid Starkiller said, we all just value different things at the the end of the day.

    Some think Sonic stories should be as simplistic and inoffensive as possible, while others think they should be over the top fun.

    Neither is particularly more correct than the other, and really the problems generally stem from which stories people even think are good to begin with. We just had two people who think Sonic Colors was a great story superior to the stories from the 2000's and two others who disagreed.

    There's a huge ass generation gap in this series, which was probably inevitable given how long its been running for. I see similar debates between people who swear the DCAU version of Batman is superior to any other version while others might feel the Adam West version is superior.


    In an ideal world, we'd all get what we want but that's obviously not gonna happen. Someone's gotta burned unfortunately; either the series continues with this simplistic and inoffensive storytelling and alienates the modern fans. Or it tries to tell more "complex" narratives which alienates classic fans.

    Think the real problem is that the series is trying to do both; it wants to tell a story, but then downplay it so as to remain inoffensive. At this point my attitude is basically is either tell a story or don't, but this half assed shit has gotta stop.
     
  14. Pengi

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    The English dialogue and acting is livelier in the newer games, rather than sounding stiffly translated from a foreign language. But in the process so many characters became snarky wise-crackers where they weren't before. Tails suffered the most because it's so contrary to what he was before, plus he's already the smart guy, so it makes him come across as arrogant. Instead of plucky and precocious he ends up coming off as a snarky know-it-all, which are traits that are especially grating with kid characters.

    It's good for characters to have negative traits, but I don't think they intended Tails to be as unlikable as he's become. Nor should he be, it's not his role and it breaks the character.

    I appreciated the return to a simple, straight-forward plot, like Sonic 2 or Sonic CD, but it lost me at the end. The opening premise was that Eggman had secretly built a theme park in space, under the pretense that he had gone straight. None of this was public knowledge yet, Sonic and Tails discovered it early. But the end game was that he had built a mind control ray he was going to fire at the world. So why the amusement park and why the ruse? Surely the story should have been that he planned to lure civilians to the theme park and then mind control them. But for Eggman's plan to work, the civilians have to NOT be at his theme park. It doesn't make a lick of sense.
     
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  15. See @Pengi this exactly why I'm not fond of the newer games. The characters act too contrary to what they've been established as for so long.

    Like, I get the appreciation for the voices being more lively and the script less stilted, but what's the point if it comes at the expense of the character's personality?

    I don't even mind Tails being more snarky than usual, but he has none of the humbleness he's generally known for. And even then, we have Sonic as the snarky one, so why does Tails need to have that role too. Their usual dynamic is that Sonic is the cocky and impulsive one while Tails is humble and cautious. They balance each other out, but if they're both snarky then the dichotomy is ruined and you just have two snarky characters.

    To say nothing of the likes of how Shadow has changed...


    Sonic Colors plot is simple on paper, but it falls apart once you scrutinize it more. But people either praise it for being simple if they like it or just write it off as "its dumb simple stuff for babies" if they don't, its a very unfair double standard I feel.
     
  16. Laura

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    I agree that Tails is too snarky - it fits into the problem I have with Pontac and Graff where they go too far. But still, I consider that better than his character before Colors, which was basically non-existent. To be fair he did have a character arc in SA1 (getting more self-confident) and had moments of characterisation in SA2 (being a dumbass with the fake chaos emerald) but otherwise he fell into the general trap of 2000s Sonic stories where he would just speak exposition at the characters. I think part of the reason why Shadow was so popular in the mid 2000s was because he was one of few characters who actually had a personality, even if it was super edgy and easy to make fun of. Tails doesn't really do anything in SA2, Heroes, Shadow, 06, Unleashed, except spout exposition.

    In Colors and Lost World they tried to build a friendship arc between Sonic and Tails. They constantly joke among each other about Eggman, even though it does often give eye-rolling with the constant "baldy mcnose hair jokes". And while a lot of people think Tails is too snarky, it's often that he speaks that way precisely because he is good friends with Sonic. He's usually right too: he's right that Sonic didn't trust him to take down the Zeti without Eggman (and he predicted that he could operate any machinery without Eggman). He was right that Sonic shouldn't go in guns blazing and take out the conch. So when he is being snarky and whingey, it's melodramatic at times for sure, but he is usually right.

    I mean don't get me wrong, Lost World has many storytelling problems. The Deadly Six are trash one dimensional characters, the dialogue can be very ott, Knuckles and Amy don't have fleshed out roles, but it's still probably better than the mid 2000s games. It's a 6/10, which is better than the 4/10 stories we'd had before Colors.
     
  17. Well those stories weren't really about Tails to begin with, so of course his role would be drastically reduced. Tails wasn't even supposed to be playable in SA2, Heroes is more of an ensemble piece and even then, Shadow is the only one with an actual plotline surrounding him. ShTH is, naturally, about Shadow and not Tails, and the same is true for 06 and Unleashed. All of these games that just aren't about Tails, so his reduced role is justified.

    Now if THAT'S the actual problem, then I understand. The 2000's were increasingly pushing out the older characters in favor of the new guys like Shadow, Blaze, and Silver while the OG's were just background elements. On that front, I can at least understand the aversion, because nobody likes seeing longtime fan favorites pushed to the side.

    So of course Sonic Colors come off as a breath of fresh air by returning the focus on the two main characters. My problem is that direction persisted for the next decade and Sonic & Tails are the only characters who get focus anymore. It got boring by the time we got to Lost World, and after their botched attempt at drama between the two, I was just kind of sick of seeing them.

    It's extremely apparent that Sonic & Tails haven't really interacted with any other character besides each other and Eggman in the past decade. It's even egregious in Forces where every character is present, but Sonic & Tails just feel so isolated from everyone else.

    Sonic & Tails get this heartwarming scene about how glad they are to see each other again after the intro cutscene, but Amy and Knuckles get a single line or two with that.
     
  18. Beltway

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    Sonic5993's comment above I feel is reflective of a big problem in regards to the writing for Sonic games. The people they get to write the games don't know when to quit and/or take away the wrong lessons if they hit on something that is generally approved; and then proceed to run it into the ground. You get one game in Adventure (2) or Colors which sets up a very particular approach, and that ends up being used as a template for all immediate stories going forward. Even in cases where the game in question is clearly trying to do something different, henceforth the "half-assed" stories that try and fail to run with two distinct approaches to storytelling at the same time.
     
  19. SystemsReady

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    In terms of tone, I prefer the more anime-esque attempts of SA1 and even SA2 (even though I hate the direction it took the series) than the later "serious" games or the western writing (especially Archie and SATAM, which hate for simultaneously being too drab but also trying to be too serious with the crap, awful characters they invented - I'm looking at you Antoine, get in the sea).

    This is probably because even dull-ass SA2 had an air of just grandiose ridiculousness to it that it took deadly seriously regardless - technicolor space stations, water gods, boulder chases, secret pyramid bases, spies running around doing mysterious things, mad science - and didn't have very much in the way of Chip like in Unleashed to just completely destroy any gravitas, or be completely cut off at the knees by its issues like 06, so some of its very earnest handling of its ridiculous subject matter still comes through even if all the characters have the same two animations like in SA1.

    -

    Re: character portrayal and development, ANY argument one could have about Tails or the like having any kind of development in the pre-Pontac games is immediately derailed by SA2 literally throwing all of said development out the window. Tails never makes mention of trying to become independent from Sonic in SA2. Amy is still chasing after Sonic like a lunatic in SA2 despite saying that she was gonna make him respect her at the end of SA1. I still don't know how the Master Emerald made it to Not Egypt at the beginning of SA2 and it seems ridiculous that Knuckles would bring it there when he's meant to protect it, or break it apart instead of just wrecking Robotnik literally a foot higher than it. If anything, Eggman was the only one with any kind of development between the two games because he's not randomly sitting on top of a building cackling anymore, he has a infrastructure and a plan, and relatives with a backstory.

    So, in light of that, I feel that discussion about development is pointless because of all the characters since SA2, and Shadow since 06 got retconned, got all of their development patently ignored by the next title. Continuity has never really been Sonic's suit in that regard.
     
  20. This goes beyond storytelling to be fair, it's basically the Sonic formula at this point.

    1) Sega Sonic team finally make a game that mostly satisfies fans and critics alike
    2) Sega decide to milk said game and direction for years, and it gets worse each time.
    3) Fans and critics criticize the games and blame the original game for starting this direction
    4) Repeat Step 1.

    They just have a nasty habit of running things into the ground without innovating enough. 06 to Sonic Adventure and Forces to Sonic Colors.