Sonic Mania (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)

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

  1. 360

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    Light Vision Overdrive Oldbie
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    Sonic Neon
    I think whilst pessimism on Sonic (and Mania's) future is second nature to a certain extent given the decade of disappointment we had to experience whilst Sega fucked up the brand and broke every single promise they repeatedly made - you have to remember that this decision to focus on retro pixel-art Sonic that is a throwback to the Genesis games did come from pretty high up hence why Mania even exists in the first place. You remember all those marketing execs talking about how Sonic moving forward would take inspiration from the Genesis games and "play like the games did in their heyday" and I even remember posting that thread here on Retro with Sega's comments and everyone had the unanimous kneejerk reaction of "like fuck it will" and everyone dismissed it as hollow intention and lo and behold, nine months or so later Mania is announced and it turns out those higher ups at Sega actually kept a promise they made for once and we got an extremely good Sonic game that echoes the classics, only held back by limited original content and a slightly rushed development schedule - but ultimately a fucking awesome game true to Sega's word.

    If that marketing speak is to be believed and Mania's very existence proves it should be, it does seem like Sonic had a complete re-think at Sega and Sonic Mania is representative of the new strategy they're going with and intend to continue. This is why I think Sonic Team has echoed similar comments in recent interviews - they're basically just following the higher executive orders, which if those interviews are to believed is to re-focus on classic "Genesis" Sonic and make it a mainstay for the brand. It wasn't vapid marketing speak, hollow intention and more broken promises this time, it was a stringent decision by Sega to re-purpose, re-focus and ultimately re-develop the brand, steering it in a new direction to appease the fans - which is how this Taxman and Stealth collaboration came about in the first place. Point being, Sega proved they had good intentions here, that they fully acted upon, and upon seeing Mania selling millions as a digital only release no less, receive glowing reviews and even be considered in Game of the Year awards - I think that's sufficient impetus to continue on the path they intended to trek anyway and even more so given Mania's insane success.

    TL/DR: Powers greater than Sonic Team demanded this, and they're very likely, upon seeing the money rolling in, to demand more of it. The optimism, in my honest opinion, is entirely warranted here.
     
  2. Sean Evans

    Sean Evans

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    Not to rain on this parade, but did Sega really "demand" this? If I recall this wasn't even a blip on their radar until Taxman approached Iizuka with it. I can believe they're targeting the fans, as both releases this year are pretty pander-y, but I highly doubt they're steering the series to benefit this classic model, especially given the fact that part of its existence is undeniably tethered to the series BIG release.

    Course Sega's gonna follow the money, and the team's compliance and skill has been beneficial to a potential follow up, but I doubt Sega just re-evaluates everything. They had a while to now, and even when they deliver it still feels a bit hollow.
     
  3. Lilly

    Lilly

    Muffin Taste Tester Member
    While I would normally say wait a couple of years before asking if a sequel is in the cards, I'm still concerned it might not happen at all. Taxman and Stealth were both publicly, though vaguely, cheeky towards the publisher's decision to include controversial DRM, after having a totally spotless record prior to that. The press reported their opinions everywhere too, even after Stealth deleted his.

    I'm not sure if that's even a big deal to SEGA. Still, it's one of many things on my mind when I imagine the chances of a sequel happening.

    I think the main thing holding back online multiplayer was all the different platforms Mania released on. It's not easy developing and maintaining netcode across four different platforms, more-so if you want cross-system netplay.

    As for Time Attack, while bosses might seem like a chore, it does throw in enough variance to prevent over-optimized Time Attack records on the stage itself. People also abuse the systems in place for a better in-game time, at the detriment of real-world time. Those exploits are the opposite of viable for speedrunning. (You wouldn't waste 30 seconds flying up to a carefully hidden Speed Shoes monitor just before the starting gate.) It is a thoroughly unwholesome, perfectionist setup for earning casual personal bests, and complicates competitive speedrunning, all at once.

    That sure put salt in the wound, after the whole pre-order mess wouldn't let me refund the game on principle of SEGA sneakily packing it with Denuvo. I tried not to let the disastrous PC launch sour my enjoyment of the game, but overcoming that pettiness is made more difficult with Time Attack, which is normally my most-played mode of any platformer, being so absurdly broken.
     
  4. 360

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    Sonic Neon
    I see where you're coming from - but Sega's comments (from that marketing exec in October 2015) pre-dates Sonic Mania beginning development. His comments were made in October 2015 but he would have been echoing something that would have been decided months and months in advance of that. As in, he wouldn't be deciding something that important and relaying it then and there. I'm leaning more towards Sega brainstorming this and it becoming a directive and then Sonic Mania naturally happening and being green-lit as opposed to Taxman jump-starting this entire thing without Sega having any prior intention or desire on a corporate level. I mean, it's all speculation, but this is something Sega was thinking and talking about way before Mania began. Months at the very least.

    I'm ultimately sticking to my guns - Mania was a huge success, Forces wasn't - and that'll determine the games we see next. Mania 2 or something akin to it is inevitable.
     
  5. Sean Evans

    Sean Evans

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    Does it, wasnt Mania pitched around late 2015?
     
  6. Chimpo

    Chimpo

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    If Sonic had a complete refocus at the head level like you're implying, then Forces wouldn't have turned out into the mess that it became. Hell, both Forces and Mania still suffer from a rush development cycle that's been with the series since it's inception so there's a lack of care right of the bat in this brave new path. Last time SEGA went back to basics, it landed us with Sonic 4. I don't believe Mania was anywhere near what they had in mind. The most that those knuckleheads would come up with would be "Sonic, but he's in 2D". They were just lucky that Tax and Stealth we're knocking on the door
     
  7. ICEknight

    ICEknight

    Researcher Researcher
    Seeing how they treated the remakes (mobile-only) and even Mania (no physical release), I don't think that SEGA had much faith in this project to begin with, or at least not as much as they had in Forces... So yeah, I also think they're still as clueless as ever and they were just lucky that they had "Team Mania" around.
     
  8. 360

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    I see your points guys - but the pessimism here seems to be latent anger and distrust of Sega after previously being burned by them and their broken promises and hollow marketing-speak hundreds of times as opposed to the notion being unrealistic. I still remember the Sonic 4 "Project Needlemouse" fiasco where everyone got hyped in to a frenzy only to be massively let down and that seems to be the spiral with everything Sega says - they promise the world and a re-invention or re-focus in the direction of Sonic promising he'll be steered in to a positive new direction full of amazing games and we've always been burned every time with Sega's words proving hollow.

    The difference this time is Sonic Mania came out, it was fucking amazing and it aligned with exactly what Sega said. They kept their word and delivered on their comments - some would say even over delivered given the quality of the game - so whilst speculation that Sonic Mania came about from an executive decision within the higher ups of Sega is somewhat difficult to automatically believe to a certain degree since it's assumed and not based on evidence - I don't think they would have told the marketing guys that 2D Sonic was to become a massive thing prior to Mania starting development without serious intention behind it - hence why Mania was so rapidly green-lit in the first place.

    This genuinely does seem like something Sega company-wide decided to do. Sonic Mania would have been absolutely unthinkable even five years ago. Something must have changed.
     
  9. Beltway

    Beltway

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    It's either late 2015 or early 2016, those are the time periods that have been thrown out in interviews. Either way, I don't think Sega's PR statement had anything to do with Mania's development, especially since they've spun out the "we're going back to the classic gameplay" line in the past. As I've said several times before, I think the only reason Mania was even allowed the greenlight was because Sega's attempt to rebrand the series with the Boom spinoff series collapsed into a flaming turd (with Sega of America paying the biggest price for it during restructuring the following year). While the reported music issues might had been the bigger culprit, don't forget that Sega turned down Taxman and Stealth's offer to remaster Sonic 3&K for mobile devices the very year Boom launched. They certainly weren't talking about making a new classic Sonic game then. If Boom worked out I don't think Mania would exist at all--their bungled attempt with revisiting the roots in Sonic 4 would had been the end.

    I'd say a few things have changed, but the status quo from the look of things is still the same. Free to call me paranoid I guess, but nothing about Sega's attitude towards Mania following its release really tells me it will have any real effect on where the series goes from here. The only people who have said anything about Mania potentially having any impact on future Sonic games...is Iizuka / Sonic Team themselves (see quotes from below). Who aside from having minimal involvement with Mania's development (outside of setting a few design parameters), and even doubting its success (again, see quotes from below), have also repeatedly shown that they aren't really interested in the classic direction in the first place. Their opinions and attitudes toward Mania and what it represents, based on those facts, shouldn't matter either way; but since they call the (final) shots, it pretty much does--and whatever actions (or lack thereof) they take reflects that.

    I mean, aside from Mania's development resources presumably being significantly limited as it is; some choice quotes from Iizuka and Nakamura themselves from these three interviews probably tell you all you need to know about cluelessness and internal lack-of-faith:

    As for Forces, I do think Sega put more stock in Forces than Mania, but it wasn't by much. The game's marketing up to release was hilariously miserable (only announcing the game with a CG trailer / tentative title; taking eight months to reveal just a title and 30 secs. of gameplay; showing Green Hill/Park Avenue for months until a month before release among others) and even at launch there was hardly any push aside from the launch trailer. Don't forget Sega also refused to send advance codes/copies of the game prior to release, alongside other things like the Japan-exclusive timed demo. If anything, Mania might have had the stronger promotional push in comparison when all is said and done.
     
  10. Sparks

    Sparks

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    There's an almost odd admiration in Sonic Team not willing to give up, even after how far Force has flunked, with how they seem very interested in learning what made Mania "work." Hopefully the Mania team is invited to give Sonic Team some insight on what they believe made Mania work in that sense. I think there's a lot of ways Manias success could end up being interpreted by Sonic Team, I just hope they take those meanings beyond a superficial, facial value of ideas like "it's old school looking," "it brings back old levels," etc. Sonic Manias success is so much more than that; the game is a love letter to people who grew up with the older games, and had a deep admiration of the details of said games. Sonic Mania doesn't just carry on "more" of Sonics Genesis classics, it full blown expands and evolves the formula in ways the original games could never do on their native hardware.

    To put it simple, Sonic Mania has a genuine heart to it, at a time when circumstances were pretty much pinned against it, yet it still bloomed and thrived.
     
  11. JcFerggy

    JcFerggy

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    I had this random idea earlier that I wanted to share. If one of the reasons they didn't re-release Sonic 3 on mobile was music rights, would a remake similar to Mania be unique enough to get around that? Then I thought how cool it would be if they released a Sonic Classic Collection, Maina/Saturn styled graphical remake of all 4 major Sonic games. I know it is something a lot of people will whine that it's just more remake stuff, but it's also crazy enough to make sense.
     
  12. Chimpo

    Chimpo

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    I don't see your point. You're overly optimistic based on an assumption that marketing knows what they're talking about (they never do). We're pessimistic because we've heard that line before. Multiple times, a good chunk of it documented and we've seen the results of their promises failing to deliver tomorrow and time again. Mania was a stroke of luck because the right people were working on it. The fear is that they're not going to come back for a new project and their input and contributions will be ignored. And who wouldn't be worried? Sonic Team doesn't even listen to themselves when the whole world is telling them they're on the right track.
     
  13. VectorCNC

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    “Shun Nakamura: It was very interesting for me to see Sonic Mania come out, get very high scores and have people praise the game. From the team's perspective, we're still going to be making 3D games for the audience that likes that style of Sonic - when we see the reactions that Mania got, the entire team sat down and thought it was really interesting, and we should break down what people liked about Mania, and in the future - when we build our 3D games - see what essence we can take from Sonic Mania and put into a 3D world, to give people what they're looking for and that they've found in Sonic Mania.”

    You know, I rewrote my response to this about 3 times, but it all just felt pointless. What more can you say in response to this than, “isn't that cute”.

    To those of you familiar with this scene, basically exactly this...

    https://gfycat.com/firstmarvelouscranefly
     
  14. TheOcelot

    TheOcelot

    Scooty Puff Jr sucks! Member
    They'll probably continue to shoehorn classic Sonic and the drop-dash into the modern games, missing the point completely.


    All we can do is to keep showing SEGA how much we love the classic games & Mania and hope they realise they can profit by returning to the 2d pixel formula again. A Mania 2 with all original content would be the dream, but I also want SEGA to keep re-releasing the classics games for modern consoles. It's crazy that the mobile remasters haven't made it to consoles...yet.

    Okay, yes the three-game exclusivity deal with Nintendo a few years back prevented the remasters coming to consoles and Iizuka wanted re-imagined levels for Mania (instead of just bundling in the remasters with a small original game as per Taxman's initial pitch), but surely there's no reason not to bring the remasters to consoles now.

    If SEGA don't make the most of Mania's success then I just can't see a good future for Sonic games.
     
  15. Sir_mihael

    Sir_mihael

    DON'T TRUST THIS MAN Member
    It gets pretty bad when I look at Sonic 4 I and II and actually feel relieved that Dimps couldn't rehash Chemical Plant. We shouldn't be living in a world where Sonic 4 is winning favours.
     
  16. Dissent

    Dissent

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    I've started playing through Sonic 1/2/CD again on my Pixel 2 XL and I keep holding jump in the air and it's making me so angry when I don't take off in a drop-dash. I can't believe I'm saying this but I think it's the best extension of a mechanic since the spindash in 2. Grinding? Homing? Insta-shield? ...Wisps? Nothing compares.
     
  17. https://schedule.sxsw.com/2018/events/PP99104

    If Project Plus is anything real, this is where we'll hear about it.
     
  18. 360

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    Good to post this here so everyone definitely sees it, so thanks for doing that, though I already started a dedicated thread for it when the news broke here.

    You are right though, whatever they've got planned is supposedly set for 2018 which isn't enough time to develop/release Mania 2 but ample time for DLC or an enhanced re-release.
     
  19. Beltway

    Beltway

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    Mania ended its original run on the Switch eShop charts last week. Didn't appear in NintendoEverything's Switch eShop charts for this week (2/10), though it is certainly possible Mania may resurface on the charts in the future. (Will update my posts on eShop chart listings with this. I also better get around to adding them to the Wiki).

    All things told, Mania still had a good run, as it charted on the Nintendo eShop for 25 weeks straight. Which is roughly for half a year / six months since the game was originally released.

    In other news, Mania was also the #14 most downloaded Switch eShop game in January 2018 in Europe and the #13 most downloaded Switch eShop game in January 2018 in Australia and New Zealand.

    On a personal last note about sales, I am wondering about the amount of units Mania has sold as of now (or at least, the SXSW panel if they do reveal individual numbers). For me, my personal expectations / hopes for Mania would be the following:

    At least 1 million - The floor. Mania selling one million likely wouldn't mean it was a flop, considering how Sega likely didn't foot much of a bill on the project; but for a game with the quality, reviews, and legacy gameplay it has, it should be doing better. This performance would place it squarely within the same performance threshold of most Sonic games in a FY period (mainline games such as Heroes, Sonic 4: Epi. I, and Generations, and the better-performing spinoffs, such as Shadow the Hedgehog and the All-Stars Racing titles). This would be a disappointment IMO.

    At least 2 million - The ceiling and the most realistic goal. Selling over two million in its FY would place it in a rare rank of sales for mainline games that has only been achieved in recent memory by Unleashed and (just barely) Colors. Still not ideal in my opinion, but it would at least far and away establish the game as selling significantly better than the aforementioned other Sonic titles. It would also set a new realistic floor for how a Mania followup could surpass it if the cards are played properly.

    At least 3 million - IMO this would be the ideal goal, albeit it's also a somewhat unrealistic one. Unrealistic since no mainline Sonic game in its first FY since probably the 90s has sold this much (though regarding spinoffs, this is is where the third Mario & Sonic game resides, by the way), but it's also why I would consider it the ideal goalpost. I want Mania's success to be unprecedented in how most Sonic games perform, it needs to have sold in a way that shows how much money Sega / Sonic Team has left on the table not making classic Sonic games and not making great Sonic games. Mania needs to not only be the best-reviewed game in years, but also certainly the best-selling game in years as well.

    At least 4+ million - lol. This to me would be pure gravy on just surpassing 3 million alone, but it's also a pipe dream scenario--only the first two Mario and Sonic Olympics game and [presumably] Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 back in their heyday has sold this much in their first FY. Stranger things have happened though, and it would be absolutely insane if Mania did sell that supremely well.
     
  20. SuperSnoopy

    SuperSnoopy

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    I just want to take the time and thank you for doing these little round up every once in a while, since I'm definitely too lazy to go and check myself.

    Mania seems to be a success, maybe (beside the fact that it's a great fucking game) because there's a lot of YouTube video about it. I think a lot of popular YouTubers played it, and it definitely helps, especially when they enjoy the game. It also spawned a lot of clickbait YouTube reviews that try to explain why the game isn't that great and 2d Sonic was always flawed, and I'm kinda happy that Sonic is back in a position when these type of video can happen (I'm weird I know)

    Anyway, now we wait and see how Sega is going to handle this. It's such an unpredictable company that there's really no way to know.