Sonic Forces Thread

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

  1. Josh

    Josh

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    And let's expand on @Sonic5993's second point: It gets worse each time.

    A common criticism of the classic trilogy before Sonic Adventure was even a thing was that they weren't innovative enough. I mean, consider that in about the same length of time we've had since Sonic Mania, SEGA released five mainline Sonic games (1, 2, CD, 3, & Knuckles) with identical core gameplay. Critics often compared this to how much less frequent, but how much more SPECIAL Mario's games were, and it did seem to hamper Sonic's reputation in the short term. However, the four years between &K and Adventure was more than enough time for people to miss Sonic, and running a GOOD THING into the ground matters a whole lot less in the long run, especially if you're refining the formula while you do it.

    The problem with the 2000s and the 2010s alike isn't JUST that the defining elements of each decade got overplayed, it's that the execution of those elements got WORSE over time. Compared to what we got, I'd love to live in a world where Lost World and Forces were exactly as good as Generations. :V
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2020
  2. Its' true what they say then, absence does make the heart grow fonder; in the time we got Sonic 1 to & Knuckles, there were only two mainline Mario games (World came out a year before Sonic 1). It does illustrate the companies philosophies though. Nintendo are quality over quantity, and will take as much time as needed to refine their games. The large gap between them ends up creating anticipation and the catharsis when the games actually come out. It might be annoying not getting constant Mario content, but it's a great long term business strategy and we see the results to this day.

    Sega are quantity over quality, because as you said, the first few games had very little that changed between them. It wasn't until the mid 90's to 98 where Sonic actually took a break, and it was unintentional one at that since they had originally planned to release one on the Saturn. Sega saturated the market with Sonic games well into the 2000's, but the difference is that since they dropped out of the console race, they no longer had a console to develop for and couldn't keep the quality consistent anymore, and it eventually led to 06. I think anyone can agree that up until SA2, the games were somewhat consistent with each other. It's only after where things got messy after going 3rd party. In the short term, saturating the market is a good idea to keep Sonic relevant...but long term, it simply wasn't feasible, especially given the rising costs of game development.

    So 2010 was this weird period where Sega tried to adopt Nintendo's approach of liming releases to focus on quality; it was fine enough for Colors and Generations (Sonic 4 aside...) but then Lost World was when the cracks started to show, and then we had a four year gap. The assumption was that Sonic Team was bringing their A game to the next game...and then we got Forces. So now we're at a point where the quality of the series is still up in the air, no matter how much time they take to develop it.

    Sega still treats this series like its in the 90's, but I don't think they realize their old business practices aren't practical anymore. If you're gonna saturate the market, the games need to be consistent enough to maintain interest. If you're gonna limit releases, then the game needs to surpass expectations. Sega gotta get their shit together; there's no reason we should be getting a game like Sonic Forces in the same year as Super Mario Odyssey.
     
  3. Laura

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    I think it's important to keep in mind though that Sonic 2 was also popular because it didn't fuck about with the core gameplay so much. In fact, Mario 3, Super Mario World and Zelda Link to the Past were a going back to basics after the experiments of Super Mario 2 and Zelda 2. Both of the latter are more appreciated now but were much more divisive back then. The 90s were a decade when originality in gaming wasn't as valued as much as it is now.

    Sonic was also getting passé even by Sonic 3. I know it's the preferred game in the series now but it wasn't particularly popular until years after its release. Sonic CD was a game which hardly anyone played because it was on a system which no one owned.

    Sonic Adventure was for all intents and purposes like a comeback.
     
  4. David The Lurker

    David The Lurker

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    Yes, there are reviews for both CD and Sonic 3 complaining about the similar gameplay. Didn't stop Sonic & Knuckles from getting a perfect score in GamePro, though! :V

    How often did people compare Sonic's release schedule to Mario's in the 90's? Because that's such a silly thing to focus on. Yes, from 1991-1994, we had five mainline games. From 1985-1990, Mario had five mainline games. Sonic had four handheld platformers, Mario had one. Sonic had Spinball, Mario had...um...Dr. Mario. Of course, this ignores the fact that Mario had a whole bunch of weird things come out at the same time Sonic was at its height. Nintendo had a gap between World and Yoshi's Island, but how different is that from the gap Sonic had from Knuckles to Adventure?

    There is character growth visible between Sonic Adventure and its sequel. Tails' character arc in SA1 was to grow as a person, to not be so reliant on Sonic. How's the theme go?
    In the classic games, that is what Tails does - he follows Sonic, emulating every action. In Sonic Adventure, we see Tails "having the same adventure" as Sonic. He's taking charge of the conversation, he fights Chaos 4 on his own, Amy has to prevent Tails from destroying Gamma. It's only at the end, when Tails confronts the Egg Walker, that the audience gets to see what is really happening. Tails is talking himself up, saying he's not scared, because this is presumably the first boss fight he's ever had against Eggman on his own. He fights, he wins, he is proud of himself. He doesn't run around in SA2 going "ugh I need to grow and be my own person" because he already has! He takes the initiative to rescue Sonic from Prison Island, he fights Eggman on his own more than once, he conceives of the plan with the fake Chaos Emerald to save everyone! He is not in Sonic's shadow, he is stepping out of it and standing side by side with his hero.

    Amy is chasing Sonic, yes. But her only claim at the end of the first game is that she is going to make Sonic respect her. Sonic Adventure, for the most part, still had her in that damsel in distress mold. At the end, she breaks out, defeating Zero on her own. In Sonic Adventure 2, she steps out to prove herself even further - she goes to Prison Island to rescue Sonic, just like Tails does. Except she's the one who actually frees him. Yes, she asks him to marry her, but when he says "no way!" what does she do? Does she walk away and let him sit in the cell? No! She immediately frees him. The game is still there, but its changed. She wants to prove she can join him on adventures, be as reliable as Tails. What better way to do that than to free Sonic from G.U.N.?

    Um. Rouge stole it? Knuckles wasn't just hanging out there, presumably he followed her to get it back. We don't need to see her steal it, what's important is that she has. And to be fair, what happened the last time Knuckles jumped up to get the Master Emerald from Eggman? That's right, he got zapped in the Hidden Palace Zone. Might be easier to just break it, which also lets the player. Y'know. Play Knuckles' levels.

    Eggman wasn't flailing about in SA1 He had a plan! He had infrastructure! He was standing on top of that building watching Chaos fight, because he had just broken him out of the Master Emerald and wanted to see what would happen!

    Now, things weren't flawless post-SA2. Amy's declaration in Heroes is weird, Shadow and Sonic's first meeting post-Shadow's death is woefully underplayed. Faults of trying to make a simple story while following up on things that wouldn't work in the more simple setting. But there was a sense of continuity and growth, even if they were small. Shadow has an arc from SA2 --> Heroes --> Shadow, which ties into Battle, and features an evolved character in 06. Tails isn't presented as a weak sidekick, but more a little brother/trusted friend. When people get excited about the stories from this era, they think of those elements. Having Tails then retroactively be unsure in Sonic Forces, to be more scared than he was in Sonic the Hedgehog 2? I can see why people who care about the story get frustrated. You need to show how a character can get to that point, which Forces doesn't bother to do. If they had? Then maybe the complaints wouldn't be there.

    The core ideas of the Lost World story are there, but the execution is where it all falls apart. Tails being a bit snarky with Sonic makes sense, just like Sonic can be snarky with Tails. They've been on a number of adventures together, they've grown, there is a comradery that allows some gentle rib poking. But then you have the "you trust Eggman more than me" scene, which...feels way out of place. Not that you can't have a moment that touches on the same theme, but it needed to be done in a completely different way. Something that makes sense to the characters and their history. There are a few ways it could be fixed, but instead we get what we have.

    Personally, one of the issues I have with the modern Sonic game stories is how they're presented to the player. It's a lot of standing about and talking. Like, after Tails is captured. He confronts Zor, asks what happened. There isn't a scene of fighting, or a chase, or anything. It's Sonic talking to Zor, then Zor hops away while Sonic stands there confused. Sonic does that a number of times. If some of the lines were said during an action, or even removed and shown visually? That would go a long way to make the stories more plateable. This is definitely an issue (oh man back on topic) in Forces. There's a hint of action when we're told Silver is fighting Infinite, we see it for a second, then...oh time to make a joke about long walks on the beach. There's the moment E-123 shows up to make an ineffectual shot, but...oh I mean it doesn't do much better talk some more. Even the "final battle" where everyone is fighting everyone comes off as flat. Because for the most part, it's a sea of half-finished create-a-characters fighting the same five models of bad guys. There is nothing dynamic, there is nothing engaging. Sonic is a game all about speed and flow, of movement, of kinetic engagement! When the story comes across as flat, it feels way more out of place than a bad joke.

    It's unfortunate the most interesting parts of the story seem to be offscreen. Just like the most interesting parts of a level you could run through are in the background. It's a game that teases you, that there could be something great just beyond, but the level abruptly ends and you never get there.

    To go broad, I will say that I think writing a Sonic story is both the easiest thing in the world, and the hardest act to accomplish. Story has been a part of Sonic since day one. It wasn't the most important element, of course. Having a strong engine with tight gameplay and engaging physics, made fun with intriguing level design, displayed with surreal graphics that are just an inch away from reality, with a banging soundtrack to keep you going? You need to have all that locked and loaded. But having a story? If you're going to include anything, you have to make it as strong as possible, too. One more solid reason to go through zone after zone. The story conveyed in the final act of Sonic 3 & Knuckles can still draw me in 26 years later. Just like the interwoven plot threads of Sonic Adventure that lead into the final story also can draw me in. Both those games know what they want to convey, to present an interconnected world, that wants you to care about the characters you are controlling, all while having fun doing so.

    Sonic does not need to be just one thing. If it's just a simplistic plot with no depth, that's no fun. If it's only a melodramatic tale striving to be as "epic" as possible, that's also no fun. There can be balance. Elements from the classic games storytelling, of the Adventure games, of Unleashed and Colors? They can be managed, to tell something great. Some can be single episodes, a window in the world of Sonic the Hedgehog. Others? They can link together to try and tell something grand. Sonic can do it all. You just need people there who can convey that. Writers, storyboard artists, animators. People who understand these characters. And I don't mean that a hardcore fan is the only one who can do that. I mean...in some instances, it's better to not have someone who is obsessed with the lore, who can look at things in a new and different way.

    You just need a story with heart. You can have stakes, you can have jokes, you can have it fully voiced or pantomimed. Sonic is a video game character, but he was designed as a cartoon. He can do it all across the board. You just need the right people in the right places to execute that vision.
     
  5. BadBehavior

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    Idk whos looking at quality content like "baldy nosehair" and asking
    [​IMG]
    ...but then again I'm not the demographic for this stuff.

    Or am I? I did like the story to Crash 4: It's About Time and that's basically the same thing so maybe I'm just a hypocritical and biased little gremlin.
     
  6. JuiceCake

    JuiceCake

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    Now, my question is
    How does this thread still live

    I think comments are drifting into hyper mode
     
  7. BadBehavior

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    Cos Forces is the most recent mainline game in the series and it's the closest bellweather we have to the direction the series is taking?
     
  8. Sid Starkiller

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    Because we are currently starved for content/news and need to talk about something.
     
  9. JuiceCake

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    Hopefully, they do a 180 on that

    I can tell, haven't even been active for the last 3 months. This is the most boring time of a blue rat fan. SEGA hasn't update publicly announcement for the past months, no old past early releases found of a Sonic game. And most importatly, drying the crap of what we have left.
    I myself can notice i've played other games, far away as the core Sonic gameplay goes, to take some fresh air out of that chemical stink slowly building up in the Sonic-Hype-Corner.

    The only thing that is keeping me here for now, is the breif discoveries to post on Sonic Retro and monthly IDW comics. But I feel the storm comming next year, bad or good
     
  10. BadBehavior

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    I hope so too.

    On another note, I was perusing earlier entries in the thread and I saw Josh mention how part of the house cleaning done in the post 06 era was to delist all the badgames. This is interesting to me cos 1. they did delist Sonic Unleashed but they kind of backpedalled on that by making it backwards comptaible on Xbox One (and presumably Series X) and 2. I'd love to see them do that to games like Rise of Lyric* and Forces to prove they're series about quality control. Just fire them out of a cannon into the sun and it'll look more amazing than any solar eclipse.

    *Can anyone check if they haven't already done this? Can you buy RoL on the Wii U eshop?
     
  11. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    I no longer have my Wii U, though a cursory glance at Nintendo's site shows Lost World and all the 3DS games intact where I can't find Rise of Lyric.
     
  12. I think the delisting was only Sonic Team games. The Boom games were Big Red Button and Sanzaru, so I don’t think they would have been covered.
     
  13. Frostav

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    I think a thing a lot of Genesis oldheads don't realize is that when younger fans like me praise the writing of the Adventure we don't like, actually think it's flawless. Okay, some dumbasses do, but no one actually wants that kin of writing to return with zero improvements whatsoever. I don't feel like making a big post but we just think the potential in that kind of narrative focus is more appealing than what Sonic is doing currently.

    No one wants Heroes and Shadow's shitty dialogue and meme lines. No one wants SA2's weird as hell translation. No one thinks that 06 has a good plot. What we do think is that it was really cool that Sonic attempted to have some form of narrative in a genre that normally doesn't. I find the complete lack of narrative in mainline Mario games to be incredibly vacuous and boring. There's nothing to make me attached to the characters. It's why I like the spin-off Mario games way more because they give the Mushroom Kingdom and its residents personality. It's why TTYD is so beloved, or why people miss the elaborate openings of Camelot's sports games--the characters actually got a chance to be characters.

    I don't want Sonic to be SA2 again. I don't want it to become God of War. But I'd love if it just got a bit of a heart again.

    Sonic Adventure 2 is a game where a black hedgehog unironically calls himself the "ultimate life form" and man, I want Sonic to be as unironically self-serious as that again. I don't have any particular fondness for Black knight, but love that Sonic Team was high enough they unironically made something so ridiculous and ran with it anyway.

    I guess what I mean is that I'd rather the writing either be like IDW or just embracing the inherent ridiculousness of the concept and doing with such completely unironic self-seriousness that it makes it work.
     
  14. Josh

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    There are a vocal group of people literally saying that the best thing to do for the series would be to let Shiro Maekawa write the stories again. I have to believe SA2 is exactly what they want.

    But this is a problem that affects far more important things than just Sonic discourse: A group will be judged by those outside of it by whatever sub-sect makes the most noise. I know logically it's just a tiny, TINY fraction of the "Sonic should have epic stories" crowd that harasses the official Twitter account with "#MaekawaForSonic" tags, but it's hard to keep a balanced perspective when that's what you keep seeing.

    And when it comes to fandom in-fighting, negative discourse can make even reasonable opinions and preferences into hardline beliefs, as people dig in their heels and over-defend their positions. I'm sure a ton of kids who grew up with the Adventure games liked the stories just fine, and are perfectly willing to laugh at how ridiculous they are now while still finding 'em nostalgically charming... but when "oldheads" (:eyebrow:) keep insisting that those stories had NO redeeming qualities whatsoever, and especially if you feel like they're attacking YOU, it's easy to judge all Genesis-era fans by the way the jackasses act, and in the course of pushing back on them, get married to the idea that these nostalgic elements were PERFECT AND NEVER SHOULD HAVE CHANGED.

    I get that. I've had to be extremely mindful of my biases in the OTHER direction, and I haven't always been successful at remembering that my preferences are not my BELIEFS, haha.

    EDIT: Just looked up what "oldhead" means. Great, another word to separate "them" from "us," just what we need.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
  15. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    Maekawa also wrote Black Knight, so it actually fits in pretty well.

    For what it's worth, I think the Adventure stories suffer way more from translation and presentation problems than the core of the writing being outright awful, but it's still not up to par with what I want for the series, which is something more like Flynn's comics.
     
  16. SuperSonicRider

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    I said this in another thread a while ago but I think Sonic's writing and characterization in Forces is actually pretty good. Helps that Roger sounds more comfortable in the role too. I don't really get why the Sonic Team games from Colors - Forces are characterized as "meta" or "ironic". Sure, these stories take themselves less seriously, but labeling the overall tones those games took as "meta humor" never sat quite with me. IMO it's more appropriate to attribute that to Sonic Boom and sometimes Sonic social media. There are definitely moments though ("I'll stick with aliens if it's OK with everybody," "it's been generations").
     
  17. The funny thing about the worship of Shiro Maekawa is that there are fans who legitimately think he is the only person capable of writing this series.

    To go further, some Adventure fans despise any Western interpretation of the series, period. And that includes Ian Flynn.

    So yea, you got some pretty fanatical opinions from both sides. And since these people refuse to stfu, it creates an internal bias if you so happen to be someone who doesnt prefer the older stories.

    Just look at how many people expressed disbelief at how anyone could like the writing from Pontac and Graff's writing, as if it's impossible for that to be the case.
     
  18. BadBehavior

    BadBehavior

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    I mean, you say that, but I legitimately cannot see the appeal.
     
  19. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    Think of the children!

    But seriously, their style of humor is exactly the kind of thing little kids would get a kick out of.
     
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  20. Josh

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    Right, but there's a difference between not seeing the appeal and ACCEPTING that other fans might feel different, versus deciding that everyone with a different opinion must be lying, or ignorant, or 12. I'm not accusing you or anyone else *here* of falling on the wrong side of that. But echochambers can reinforce your perspective, and lead to this sort of incredulous disbelief of outside opinions. When I say I enjoyed elements of Forces now (but especially the story), the reaction I see is the same one I used to get for saying I enjoyed elements of 06.

    This is somewhat off-topic, but since we were talking earlier about how the 2010s have been on some level a repeat of the 2000s, I thought this post from u/Russ_N_HOU on Reddit was pretty funny.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020