Sonic Forces Thread

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

  1. Josh

    Josh

    Oldbie
    1,810
    491
    63
    USA
    That's the problem with the word "ambition," it's such a subjective criteria that it can be applied to anything short of, I guess, a New Super Mario Bros-style stagnation where a series just releases the same game over and over again. (And actually, maybe the Classic era wasn't even seen as ambitious by people who weren't growing up with it, given reviews like this. Older gamers in the 90s seemed to get burnt out on the series doing the same thing over and over again after Sonic 1 or 2, and early online fandom spent a lot of effort pushing back on the idea that Sonic had gotten stale. Heck, maybe one reason we came to agree that Sonic 3 was the best was because we spent so much time on the defensive about it, and found so much to appreciate ABOUT it through that process, haha.)

    I digress! Ambition is great, but it can be a tremendous detriment to a dev team that doesn't have the time or budget to actually follow through on their ideas, and in my book, that's been the problem with this series since, uh... longer than I even know, probably. And given that, it's easy to construct an argument that ANY Sonic game was ambitious and creative regardless of how it turned out. SA2 wanted to tell a more epic story, Sonic 06 tried to reinvent the series, Unleashed modernized the gameplay, Lost World featured a parkour system, Forces wanted to more cohesively weave storytelling into moment-to-moment gameplay. You could say that any of these ideas were creative and ambitious, but on paper, they were just POTENTIAL. That doesn't say anything about how well they were executed, and THAT they could be considered ambitious shouldn't be used to paper over or excuse problems, but to imagine what the devs were trying to accomplish and postulate how it might've been done better.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2020
  2. My problem with this criteria is as @Josh pointed out. This is such a broad term that it can literally be applied to anything ever; Sonic Unleashed reinvented the gameplay for the series, Lost World tried something new with Parkour, and so did Sonic Boom. Those are risky and ambitious going by your definition, but most Sonic fans would say that they are not ambitious at all.

    This is absolutely no offense, since you're entitled to your own opinions but I very much feel "Ambition and passion" are buzzwords used by fans as a way of voicing their discontent that the series has shifted in a way that they didn't like. It's such a broad term that doesn't actually encompass much, but fans pretty much use it as it is.

    Every game in this series has taken risks; they may not be games that personally appeal to you, but that doesn't mean the developers were trying to aim for something higher. Generations is absolutely as ambitious as anything made in the prior decade imo, even if it lacks a lot of things that appeal to me personally a a fan. Forces was probably the most ambitious game to date regardless of how many feel about it.
     
  3. Swifthom

    Swifthom

    A Friend Remembers... Member
    104
    32
    28
    Yes, it definitely is...
    And that is why its middle of the road result is so disappointing. I 100% agree Sonic Team approached this game with plenty of ambition - the avatar with 1000 times more collectables than most contemporary games, the grand story (arguably a misfire but definitely ambitious), the largest voice cast yet, a whole DLC extra episode with a new character... They put so much into it but they phoned home Sonic himself. They assumed that simply returning to the concept of Colours and Generations would solve their problems, big problems, after Boom and Lost World had such a negative response, they just wanted a Sonic that worked.

    I will defend Forces ambition as a video game - but for me its proof they want to move away from Sonic and start a new gaming franchise with a new lead character. Overall - if this had been given the 'Billy Hatcher Forces' label where Billy and a playable avatar have to free the world from the crow kingdom I would have been ecstatic :p

    I don't like Lost World but I recognise their clear ambition in the core game design. I would have liked to have seen a sequel that actually used the mechanics properly but hey hoh. I'm not surprised.

    I do not recognise ambition in the core game design (of the Sonic stages) of Forces - I see it around the edges and periphery. And if the core experience had been solid they would have been more than welcome but that is a critical design flaw. And - importantly - its one only Sonic Fans are going to get upset about. To the wider public the game is just 'a game' - and the good points from all those 'other' things are worth celebrating.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  4. This is why I said that nothing is really going to change about this franchise as long as Sega continue their approach; if the current guys at Sonic Team aren't cutting it, they'll just dump them for someone else, and similarly rush the game out for a holiday release, while putting unreasonable demands on the developers and compromising whatever ambition they had.

    They've literally been doing this since 1992, the only difference between then and now is that they could get away with it before and not suffer many losses in revenue. With games being a lot more expensive to make, there's a a lot more to lose now with a game that is ultimately mediocre, because then the company is losing money. And Sega lost so much money this past decade that it's actively affecting the franchise now with how heavily phoned in Forces and TSR were. Their questionable business practices are finally catching up to them, and we're seeing their disastrous effects.

    It's honestly hard to tell what the future holds for this series at this point, but if they continue as they've been doing for the past twenty years, then expect the series to get less and less budget until it's ultimately a footnote in Sega's repertoire.
     
  5. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

    Member
    1,046
    190
    43
    Virginia, USA
    Paying off student loans
    Sometimes time and budget aren't the problem. In a lot of media, finding ways to circumvent their limitations is what leads to a game/TV show/film/whatever to greatness. See Jaws for a good example. In Stop Skeletons From Fighting's video on Yooka Laylee, Derek talks about the subject a bit:

    "[Something] to consider: the limitations publishers and studios push onto these career developers were, ironically, what made their game great in the first place. 'This is the game we always wanted to make!' is a great pitch, but we often forget that we didn't fall in love with the unmitigated image of their creativity; we fell in love with their scrutinized, compromised final project. Creativity needs to be questioned, needs to be challenged."

    The best example I can think of for what he's saying is (since Star Wars has been mentioned here a couple of times): When George Lucas was a young upstart director under the thumb of a studio, with execs and other filmmakers butting into "his" movie, he made Star Wars. When he got older and more famous, and had complete creative control of every aspect of "his" movie, he made The Phantom Menace.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  6. If we think of the Original Trilogy as the Classic Sonic era, and the Prequel Trilogy as the post-Dreamcast Era; what does it honestly say that the "inferior" products still managed to carve out their own niche and build a solid fanbase despite the vocal criticisms towards them, and how going back on those products has caused yet another schism with people.
     
  7. Josh

    Josh

    Oldbie
    1,810
    491
    63
    USA
    I mean... it's hard to know if it says much of ANYTHING. Kids like all kinds of trash, and like me with Power Rangers, it's not unusual that people get older and find some sort of nostalgic attachment to whatever they grew up with. I guess one useful metric might be: How would general audiences with little pre-concieved notion of what Star Wars movies or Sonic games are "supposed to be" perceive them? Do they hold up to scrutiny, or are they just something that'll appeal to kids, who'll then grow up with reverence for them? For example, I don't have to test it: I VERY MUCH doubt anybody who didn't grow up watching Power Rangers is going to watch it now and see it the way I do, or really, see much value in it at all... but like, that's okay, it doesn't invalidate how much I still enjoy it.

    Admittedly though, age is a factor with video games, and ESPECIALLY early 3D games, in a way that it isn't with movies from the 90s. The Phantom Menace still meets the expected modern standards of film, but Sonic Heroes is anything but modern. Is it fair to judge a game that old through a modern lens?

    When Attack of the Clones, Sonic Heroes, and Sonic Forces first came out, they got middling reviews from critics, but fans at the time (at least, the vocal ones on the internet) angrily rejected them, and used them as examples of everything that was going wrong with the series. How much of that came down to a failure to live up to our expectations and our nostalgia for how we saw them when we were younger? Does the presence of a younger contingent who enjoyed Heroes indicate that older fans were being too harsh?

    I don't think there's an easy answer, but that's why media criticism and the noticeable impact of generational groups within a fandom are so fascinating.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2020
  8. BadBehavior

    BadBehavior

    Member
    187
    44
    28
    Thats another angle we haven't considered. We've discussed whether Sega are too controlling of Sonic Team, but could the possibility exist that they aren't controlling enough? That they just let Sonic Team do whatever they want so long as it makes a profit and isn't liable to excessive memeage like parts of 06.

    I remember Bioware falling victim to this, gamers often assumed that EA is too strict with their releases, when a lot of things would suggest that the opposite is true, that they just let them do whatever they want with minimal oversight. I remember one of the founders saying that they "gave them enough rope to hang ourselves with".

    And it shows if their products like ME:Andromeda and especially Anthem are to go by: a game that languished in pre-production for far longer than reasonable (including shenanigans involving the engine) before making a mad dash to its release date. Sounds remarkably similar to Forces when I say it like that.
     
  9. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    180
    53
    28
    I don't know. It's an interesting theory, but a lot of evidence suggests that Sonic Team (in whatever form it is) is burnt out on working on Sonic games and take a lot of shortcuts to meet some sort of deadline. If the Sega Brass wasn't baring down on them, I'm not sure we'd be seeing this.