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

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

  1. I don't think Wraith meant to say "Only Classic Sonic is good, and Modern is not" but rather that Classic just had much more effort put into its mechanics and establishing the identity of the series.

    Sure, they could put just as much effort into the mechanics of Modern Sonic games, but the reality of it is that they haven't as no Modern Sonic game has really come close to mechanical depth as the 2D games, even among the Modern 2D games like Advance and Rush.

    Note, this is not saying that those games are not fun or have no depth whatsoever, we're just comparing them to the 2D titles is all. And sure, there are plenty of people that still enjoy Modern Sonic games about as much as the Classic Sonic ones. And there are ones who don't. It's all subjective shit.

    But I do think its worth exploring why even passable Modern Sonic games tend to be much more divisive when the most well received game in recent years was a Classic styled title.

    Mania was a video game first and foremost as opposed to the cinematic and stylish experience that Modern Sonic games tend to be imo. And that's really what some people want, a video game that has fun mechanics to fuck around with. Modern Sonic games don't have to be style over substance, but that's the direction Sega have chosen to build these games on.

    If the Sonic brand is going to present itself as a AAA franchise alongside other major gaming IP's, then I feel its completely fair to judge it's mechanics to others. Super Mario Odyssey isn't exactly the best Mario game ever, but I'll be damned if he isn't fun as well to just run around and do shit with. I've never had this feeling with a Modern Sonic game since Sonic Adventure...



    The cynical part of me feels like Sega understands Sonic's brand power and knows fully well that the games will sell regardless of what they do. In 90's, Sega had something to prove and had to earn people's goodwill, so they were firing on all cylinders to establish Sonic's brand. They don't have to do that anymore since Sonic is wildly recognized as a household name nowadays despite the controversial aspects of its games. There's no reason Sega should put it in the effort we want them to since the games are going to sell regardless, speaking strictly from from a business perspective.

    And from that perspective, it's easy to see why so many of us are so jaded and annoyed. Because it feels like Sonic, a series built on style and innovation, is being put through the corporate ringer. It just feels wrong. It's something that really makes you wonder if Sonic becoming such a mainstream icon was really worth it in the end.
     
  2. I would likely be living a very different and much more depressing life, so yes- in the cosmic scheme of things, Sonic going mainstream probably means a lot to a ton of people.

    Also, just wanna casually drop it in here again that I don't hate classic Sonic. If I was held at gunpoint and could only choose one future for Sonic, I'd go classic 100%. But damnit while I still have the ability to vouch for as many people as I can, I'm going to lol. I'm willing to forego my own best interests in the name of giving everyone else the things they want. Even if it ever meant I'd drop Sonic for the rest of my life.
     
  3. LockOnTommy11

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    I don’t think it’s as serious as that, I think people play up to and exacerbate the divide between fans, to the point that the divide is talked about more than the actual divide.

    I don’t think many of us here have alluded to the notion that there should only be one or the other type of Sonic, but it’s clear to see that the Classic aesthetic is more pleasing to people overall (fans, gamers, normal people :V) hence why, even before Generations, merchandise still focussed on the classic design because it’s cleaner, more well known, pop-like and has all the appeal of other cutesy-cool characters.

    At the end of the day, the takeaway is that SEGA need to do two things:

    1) Alter or re-design Sonic’s current bland model, and make the games designs more consistent.

    In reality, earlier Sonic’s games levels haven’t ever stuck to one style but have always fit in with the universe. Starlight Zone is literally just a city with loops and nothing crazy, compared to Green Hill Zone which doesn’t look like any landscape, yet it doesn’t break the immersion because of how they’re designed and inplemented.

    2) Just make an all-round good game and stick with their designs. It’s really actually not that hard to do and they were doing it up until 2004 quite successfully.
     
  4. Wraith

    Wraith

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    I don't really care for the discussion around Sonics aesthetic. There's definetly a difference between classic and modern in terms of character design, but It's largely reasonable changes to accommodate to the shift in perspective 3D. For example " Classic Sonic pumping his arms when he runs is a pretty striking image from the 2D perspective, but in 3D his arms flowing freely behind him looks a little cleaner. Stuff like that. There are also a few tweaks to broaden appeal that you can nitpick at, like the more athletic torso, but I can take or leave that. It's minor either way.

    I also feel the same about the classic vs modern aesthetic with a few outliers. Sonic games may have a lot of wacky settings and characters at the core of it's brand, but they've also have had fairly grounded backgrounds and texture work for as long as I could remember so nothing in the Adventure series or the boost games really set off any alarm bells for me. 06 and Shadow did, but they're outliers that I don't really associate with the Sonic series anyway outside of when they get brought up here.

    (I also have a soft spot for 06's "ruined kingdom" setting but that's another discussion)

    I wouldn't like it if they abandoned that "Sonic feel" completely, but outside of some outliers I rarely feel like they have. I think the "look" of Sonic is overdiscussed from both sides of the debate when the real problems the 3D games have are mechanical.

    (Which is..what I was trying to highlight in my Initial post, but It's clear I need to side step the 'classic and modern' shit entirely next time to make everything clear so whatever)
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2022
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  5. You're never going to completely sidestep this divide tbh. We can talk about how big or small it is, but we can all agree that it's there and it influences these discussions.

    I can tell people Black Knight is a mediocre ass game to play, but most Sonic fans only really care about its story.



    There's a whole ass Radio Drama on YouTube created by a popular community member as a pure love letter to the Adventure games.


    Its a lot easier for fans to talk about aesthetics than the gameplay
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2022
  6. jubbalub

    jubbalub

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    I just wish they'd make a good sonic game for once.

    The last truly good "main-line* Sonic game in my eyes was Generations, and that was a decade ago at this point. Just make a good game :(((
     
  7. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

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    To be fair, making a 3D game with the equivalent mechanical depth is way harder, so I tend to be as forgiving as I can with them while I get pissed off a lot more when 2D games (including 2.5D games) fail to have it. The "corridor" games also trigger this when they're supposedly 3D games but are designed as 2D games seen from a different perspective, to the point they sometimes would be 1D if it weren't because Sonic can jump.

    Now, the real thing is something people have mentioned in one way or another at times: the history of this franchise is so muddied that we don't have many clear references of what worked in each game to gain its fans.

    The fans of SA2 onwards might not worry that much about mechanics, but they would have liked those games more if they had better mechanics, and the fans of the good old Sonic 2 would probably have liked that game more had Sonic Team had the chance to make that time-travel plot real with all the cutscenes it would need, and the kids who liked Forces would have liked it more if, along with the "easiness" of it they got longer levels or something more to look for than repeating levels for collectibles. Those are easy examples on how to improve or gain appeal from more people, but Sonic '06 and RoL also worked for some people (and I think RoL would work for me if I had the chance to play it), yet it's hard to defend them on the technical side of things given their bugs and how big they were supposed to be as opposed to how the final products turned out to be. There's a line somewhere between the obvious cons and the probable pros of those two examples there's also present in more straightforward cases, but it's hard to know where to draw it. In my personal case, I liked the gameplay of Shadow the Hedgehog (the game) more than that of Sonic Heroes, yet it engaged me a lot less and played it little more than to get the final story, whereas I spent a lof of time trying to get all the not-emblems in Sonic Heroes.
     
  8. MH MD

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    wonder what "officially" means, cause we know the game was in development since 2015, and more than a year before release, they showed actual gameplay from the reveal trailer, they couldn't have made it from thin air at that day, so obviously it was in development for a decent time before it

    sorry it i misunderstood your overall point though

    Cause they mainly make 3D sonic games, which is expected of them? the most they did for a "small side project" for a sonic game was Sonic Runners, which didn't last long

    and let's be honest, would people really be happy for a new 2D sonic game from Sonic Team? or possibly outsourced to DIMPS again or some developer you didn't hear about? probably not, so i would say it's for the best -even if i would like to see the classic levels from Generations expanded into a whole game-

    Gotta say though...people actually really overestimate SEGA's care of the brand in the 90's, sure the 3 or 4 classic games were good -and let's ignore some bad development environments of them for a minute-, but the 90s had that bad cartoon that didn't resemble the games, the other bad one that also didn't resemble the games, or the first cartoon for that matter, and then there was the third one that was even further from games or previous cartoons that people don't even really remember anymore

    and there is a lot of mid or bad spinoffs at the time, bad "ports", weird games made with the sonic brand, that weird comic, SEGA already went off the rail since the very beginning and made a lot of crap back then, so it's not like they had the utmost care for the brand even back then, there were already doing a lot with the brand "cause the games/cartoons/comics are going to sell regardless"

    it just happened that the main games that were made were good cause of the developers talent

    while we are at it, people also really overestimate the "Sonic was a cultural cornerstone in the 90s! he will never reach those heights again ,you had to be there to know it" , and you know what? so were a lot of franchises at the time, Street Fighter was never more relevant than it was in the 90s, so is Mortal Kombat, so is Pokemon

    does that mean those franchises are not popular right now? of course not, some of them even selling more now then they were in the 90s, but are actually not more relevant culturally, no one is talking about pokemon now the same they were talking about it when the original games released and the anime were airing -Pokemon GO was close though, wasn't even a main game from main developers-, same for Street fighter or Mortal Kombat, but does it really matter? i would say not

    Sonic may never reach those heights again, but that goes the same for most things that were made in the 90s too, it's enough that the franchise is alive and popular as it is, with the movie alone being one of the most successful videogames adaptations...of all time, Sonic cemented his place that he is still alive today and will be always recognizable for the foreseeable future
     
  9. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

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    Sega cared about it with the first game because it was a market strategy to beat Nintendo, the rest was franchise's good recent position that kept them investing in successful titles. But we usually say that about games; in the 90s no one would expect a good TV adaptation of a comic or videogame (THOSE Spider-Man and Captain America movies, ugh).
     
  10. MH MD

    MH MD

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    for sure, they took great care in conceiving Sonic to be as iconic and cool as he is, once they did that though, they wasted no time at all using -and abusing- his appeal for selling products of various quality, so it's not like a thing that only happened in 2000s or 2010s, it's not like there was a gradual shift into this.... it was there from the very beginning , the inherent cool appeal of Sonic was always a core part of his success and prevalence to this day

    If anything, there is more control for the image of the franchise those days, so you won't get those crazy different cartoons again, even the comics now are more restrained with a lot of mandates from SEGA that wasn't there before

    Movie sonic is close to be the most different though, and even then, to my understanding from impressions, the sequel is closer to the games

    those 90s terrible TV adaptations have their own charm tho, when like every videogame somehow got one
     
  11. I didn't grow up in the early 90's, so I don't really give a shit about Sonic's cultural relevance as much as most others who did. But I do know for a fact that despite the 90's not exactly being perfect, the main games themselves were great mechanically and that's what I care about. Sonic can make as many shitty spin offs as he likes as long as his mechanics stay interesting.

    But they didn't stay interesting, so we were getting shitty spin offs and shitty main games too.

    I understand the difficulty of 3D game design, but let's not pretend like Sonic Team have really ever been interested in actually replicating the mechanical depth of the 2D titles. In the Adventure games probably, where more focus was on the character's movement and forward momentum, but afterwards? Naw, no way no how. They practically doubled down on the automation and spectacle and stripping as much control away from the player as possible, culminating in a playstyle that while I still generally liked, is built on watching how fast Sonic goes and guiding him as opposed the player being able to dictate the pace of the game like before.

    The focus of 3D Sonic has shifted from How well Sonic controls in 3D to how fast they can make him go.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2022
  12. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    At the risk of further derailing the topic back into "Why Sega and Sonic Team do what they do" territory, it's very possible that they're simply reacting to what they perceive people want. To the general public, Sonic is all about speed and "gotta go fast" as opposed to complex mechanics. We know they seem to chase trends so it's only natural that over time they chased that trend as well. Sonic is a trend-chasing franchise, always has been, always will be. The fact that Sega and Sonic Team follow trends badly or misread trends seems to be the problem. Could also be why a lot of creative control of the brand has shifted to the American office (or so I'm told, I'd love to see a quote or article on that one).
     
  13. LockOnTommy11

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    On the topic of changing topics…

    Sonic Mania is currently £10 on Switch eShop until 17th April. I have it on PS4 already but the notion of being able to use the Retro-Bit / 8BitDo controllers is tantalising…
     
  14. I feel the lack of interest or care for the Classic aesthetic is because SA2 was many fans' first Sonic game, and that game dictated the direction of the franchise for the entirety of the 2000's until 2008 when the direction started to dial back. But that's almost an entire decade. To many, that Anime aesthetic just what Sonic is in same vein you feel the Classic aesthetic is what Sonic is.

    So we have two generations of fans who have entirely different ideas of what Sonic aesthetic should be.


    I personally feel like the aesthetic from the 2000's was a natural evolution of the Classic Era and something Sonic was shifting towards as far back as Sonic 3. The shift in SA2 isn't as drastic as people make it seem, but I dunno.

    People keep swearing SA2 is some massive departure for the series and I just don't see it. Maybe it's because it was my first Sonic game too and I played the Classic games after that, but none of that really feels jarring to me, even nowadays.

    So I can't really say I share you and other people's views about it being such a radical departure that needed to be toned down. Shadow and 06 sure, but not SA2. If anything, I feel the Colors era is a massive departure and I know I'm not alone in feeling that way even among Classic fans.
     
  15. Pengi

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    Between Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Unleashed we had:

    Sonic Heroes
    Sonic Advance 1-3
    Sonic Battle
    Sonic Rush & Sonic Rush Adventure
    Sonic Riders & Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity
    Sonic and the Secret Rings
    Sonic Rivals 1-2

    I don't think any of them look particularly SA2 inspired. Some, like Advance 2, Heroes, Rush Adventure and Riders, are wildly different.

    Even Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, which both build upon stylistic choices SA2 established, go in very different directions.
     
  16. All of these games generally make direct references to each other and generally share concepts between them.

    Sonic Battle references the events of thr Adventure games, even tying Emerl's origins back to Prof Gerald and then Sonic Advance 3 is a sequel to that.

    Sonic Riders Zero Gravity makes direct references to GUN, which was another recurring concept through that era. Those GUN robots are also in thr first Sonic Rush.

    Things like that go a long way at making everything feel connected even if they don't share the same exact traits. And that's something they kind of stopped doing after Unleashed.
     
  17. Pengi

    Pengi

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    They have story continuity links, but completely different aesthetic sensibilities. They're very different things.
     
  18. Wraith

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    They didn't really stop. Colors has stuff from Unleashed in it, Generations acknowledged every 3D game that came before, Lost World featured the wisps from colors and Forces features characters from all the titles. The idea that they care less about continuity now is mostly fandom BS.
     
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  19. Wow, so people believe Mania 2 isn't happening.

    I have to admit, a few years ago I saw it as a virtual certainty that a follow up of some form would happen, even if not called Mania 2. I'm much less certain today. I can't think of a good reason why either. Maybe SEGA of Japan is petty about the fact that they were outdone on their own game by a group of western indie developers. Mania's success next to Forces was so glaring, it must have been embarrassing on some level. But I have some doubts about this, Mania had a number of Sonic team developers contribute and they seemed to love making the game. Everyone involved did from what I read. But that makes it hard to imagine why there wouldn't be a followup.

    In all honesty, I've been waiting on that true blue translation of the classic game play into 3D for over 20 years ever since SA1 did a rough first attempt. It never happened and I've been waiting on that to finally exhale. S3K was the perfect climax of 2D sonic, I didn't really think that game could be outdone and still don't. Mania was about just as good as it could be and having a bunch of sequels to that game play might dilute it on some level. Or rather, they shouldn't drop every year. As stable as Mario's gameplay is, not having a new mainline mario release ever 1 or 2 years allows people the time to get the most out of the game and yearn for another, to embrace the mechanics and full depth of the game. If a new classic series were to spawn out of Mania id want it to be like that and I'm slightly concerned that it could easily have gone in the direction of milking every drop out of it......but then the opposite seems to have happened. Maybe some time after Origins we will find out for certain.

    We just can't have it our way, can we? It just makes the moments we cherished in the franchise all the more sweet and nostalgic. And nostalgia isn't the primary reason the classic gameplay is loved but the emotion is almost obligatory because of how rare successes seem with sonic. I hope that changes with Frontiers and possibly whatever spawns after Origins.
     
  20. Professor BV

    Professor BV

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    I think SEGA's desire to appeal to general audiences' perception of Sonic is a part of it, but I also think that Boost gameplay is reflective of Sonic Team designing games based on Sonic as a character, rather than Sonic as an abstraction of game mechanics. The feeling of being Sonic, or being in his world, seems to take greater precedence over mechanical design in most 3D Sonic games.

    Scripted setpieces and impressive camera angles have been increasingly prioritized over complex level design. The parts in Sonic Forces where the player is expected to actually engage with the mechanics instead of just dashing like a maniac seem rudimentary, almost as if they're designed as an obligation. Most new overarching gameplay concepts introduced since SA2 come in the form of tacked-on button mashing combat (Heroes, the Werehog, Wispons), novelties without much impact on the way levels are designed (06's gems, Generation's upgrades), or diversions from the base gameplay of running and blocky platforming (Wisps).

    Meanwhile, the amount of cutscenes and dialogue being so great, even in story-light games like Colors and Lost World, ties into Sonic Team's desire to immerse the player in the setting and story. Forces, while not succeeding in many fans' eyes, has levels clearly designed to be spectacular and triumphant moments, such as Sonic's escape from the Death Egg, the escape from Null Space, and the final assault on Eggman's stronghold.

    I think this approach could be the result of the original creative forces behind the Sonic games having left active development of the series long ago, or perhaps SEGA's prioritization of Sonic as a multimedia brand rather than as a video game series. However, Lost World, for all its flaws, shows that Sonic Team is willing to drastically depart from this approach. Lost World is the most inventive and mechanics-focused 3D Sonic since Adventure 1, even if most of that invention comes in the form of half-baked one-off level gimmicks. While Lost World is getting on in years now and Sonic Team has become a bit notorious among the fandom for supposedly high turnover, there is an overlap in staff between it and Forces.

    While Lost World was clearly not a highly prioritized game, Sonic Frontiers is. This gives me some hope that Sonic Team will focus on creating mechanically original and interesting concepts while also having enough time and resources to make the best of their new ideas. While Sonic Team does chase trends, the trend that they're hopefully chasing here is Breath of the Wild's emphasis on inherently interesting traversal and interaction with the world. This is the bread and butter of Classic Sonic, not to mention that interviews from shortly after Forces indicate that Sonic Team is taking notes from Mania's success (granted SEGA puts out a puff piece about going back to basics every time a Sonic game does poorly with critics, so that's to be taken with a grain of salt). While we may not get another Classic Sonic game from SEGA, we could yet see a proper transition of those games' design philosophy into 3D.