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

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

  1. HEDGESMFG

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    I think it's also possible that there are more legal complications behind outsourcing indie devs than it at first might appear. Doing it as a one time special event was great, but doing it on the regular may be difficult and hiring the Mania Team full time may either not be something they want, or may not be so simple to do when SEGA is still primarily a Japanese company and Team Mania had members across the world.

    Furthermore, I wonder if the game sold poorly in the Japanese market and that is somehow influencing Sonic Team's decision? Mania was a low priced game, but as silly as this sounds, we don't actually know much of anything about the budget that went into developing it. I assume Forces was a flop given how quickly it had price drops, but could there be other budgetary/profit margin factors like internal vs external dev costs to consider? Licensing fees for the retro engine? There's a lot we still don't know about what success for SEGA actually means with this game and what their expectations are (fair or unfair). Do they judge Japanese sales as more important than western sales? Or did Mania also do well in Japan and none of this makes any lick of sense at all? Even Iizuka seems to speak of the project fondly every time it comes up, but he just doesn't seem interested in making more than one for whatever reason.

    Or perhaps they truly are waiting for Origins to come out and see how that does with a new generation of players? I also have no doubt Frontiers 'is' taking up the bulk of the Team's resources at this point since it appears to be the largest Sonic game they've made yet due to its open world nature.
     
  2. Wraith

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    I think the intent with Frontiers is for it to be bigger than any of the other 3D Sonic games and outsell them too. It's definitely 'all hands on deck' but it's not like a project like Mania needs a ton of supervision anyway.


    Maybe the thought process is that if Frontiers goes the way they think it will, they won't need many spinoff titles like Mania? Or maybe the next side game is going to be focused on spotlighting Sonic Prime or the movies instead? I dunno.
     
  3. HEDGESMFG

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    I'm also starting to here rumors and heresay (mostly unreliable 4chan type stuff, but then some of that stuff has turned out true in the past) about Sonic team using a small internal team to develop their own internal widescreen version of the Retro engine for origins from the ground up, which is why we haven't heard much about it since doing that takes a long time.

    If true, that could be their new foundation for a future "Mania" title, but that also only works if the engine is well... good. And past attempts at this have been... mixed.

    That would also mean all the Retro port quality of life improvements would be gone, but oh well. We'll see.
     
  4. SystemsReady

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    Yes, the game was so hated in Japan that Sega elected to...announce that it had sold 1 million copies worldwide in Famitsu? (EN: https://www.siliconera.com/sonic-mania-reaches-1-million-worldwide-sales/)

    Meanwhile, in my search for concrete Mania sales numbers, of which there really aren't a lot by region, I came across people claiming that Forces was preferred to Mania...and then Forces flopping in Japan, which implies to me that there is some "common fandom wisdom" that is inaccurate with regards to how Japan likes their Sonic titles...

    Consider also that instead of calling out Sonic Forces as one of the factors helping Sega do well, they would rather call out Mania and Generations instead (oh and TSR). This implies that Mania is seen well within the JP side of the company.
     
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  5. Starduster

    Starduster

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    While of course unsubstantiated as of yet, I do think it's a feasible outcome, and I'm not too worried about it. I'm sure somebody would have the good sense to consult with people who worked on the original for advice and direction, unless it's well documented enough that they can manage it on their own.
     
  6. Blue Blood

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    I appreciate this post. It just highlights how much we don't actually know about the sales performances of both Mania and Generations. Mania performed well enough to get DLC and a physical release one year later, whilst Forces was also popular enough to become the second-most downloaded PS+ game by April 2022 (the rest of the top five being Shadow of the Colossus, Destiny 2 and two CoD games). Forces and Mania have also been released as double packs together and with other SEGA games like Monkey Ball and Puyo Puyo Tetris. Both games seem to have done well, but which did better than the other in terms of gross revenue, net profit, units sold etc etc is actually a bit of a mystery.

    There seem to be an implication that Sonic games in recent years have been relatively low-budget affairs; Mania was a 2D, sprite-based platformer made by a small group of indies whilst Forces was very light on content for a 3D platformer and recycled a lot of assets. All Sonic games in recent years have had budget retail prices instead of standard AAA prices. It's all guesswork on our end though beyond that, as we don't actually know what has been spent on the games. However, SEGA did say this in regards to Frontiers:
    So at any rate, Frontiers is almost certainly going to be more expensive to buy, because SEGA have spent more to make it. They're approaching it very different to other games. Mania was a smaller indie project though. It shouldn't be in the same league as big, 3D games made by enormous teams. Maybe they've just decided that they aren't interested in small fries anymore when they have the mobile games bringing in a constant revenue stream? Just a guess. I can't substantiate it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2022
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  7. shilz

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    I wish I could say I share this specific outlook on Sonic's "outside" perception, but it's hard to considering what would seem to even be some of the franchise's best most genuine and heartfelt offerings getting brushed off as unworthy with a "Sonic hasn't been good since the 90s, except once, and it was a game made by the fans".

    I do believe Sonic is a fluid game concept, and I think it should be seen for that, but it seems like people are fighting harder and harder for their personal continuity and perspective on the franchise.

    (I think a consequence of this and an issue with modern games marketed at kids in general is that you have people imparting their views via YouTube and Twitch streams and stuff turning what would be an unbiased new fan off of something they may have otherwise enjoyed. I've watched this in action before, it's genuinely sad.)

    All this to say: Sonic Mania sequel, not now, but also, maybe not never. hopefully not the same thing Mania was in most regards, if eventually.

    I think an interesting part of the passion dynamic could be the fact that 2000s fans, despite having the most Sonic content of anybody, actually don't really have much that seems like it'll follow the franchise beyond intended console generations, in the same way Mega and Gems collections did for Classic Sonic. It's all stuck to some proprietary control scheme or locked behind some publishing rights shenanigans, and if it does come back, it's in a way that's almost disrespectful to the original (360 / modern PC ports of Sonic Adventure DX and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle).
    They'll never get to play Sonic Unleashed Wii/PS2, Secret Rings, Riders series, Heroes, Shadow, 06, Black Knight, the Advanced series + battle, Rush series and Colors DS outside of their home consoles or emulators. Seeing Classic Sonic games get brought back all the time and even a "new game" probably stings, at least a little, from that alone.
     
  8. Mana

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    Where are you getting all these assumptions from my duds?

    Mania didn't cost a lot to produce. It had a very small staff and was considered a budget title. It sold, at least, 1 million copies by early 2018. Given all the sales and rereleases that number has at least doubled without the game going down in price at all.

    Forces didn't flop. Just because you didn't like a game means that others didn't and that it flopped. SEGA said it sold strongly during a conference. They can't lie to their investors so if they're saying it sold strongly it probably did.

    This is going more into speculation territory but the guy who leaked Sonic Forces early script, leaked Sonic Colors Ultimate existing and some other stuff said Forces did so well they chose to SCRAP ADVENTURE REMAKES. They chose to give us a new experience instead because Forces showed them the fans really wanted that.

    I love theories as much as the next guy but sometimes the most obvious solution is what happened. SEGA just didn't do enough to keep the Mania team around, and honestly maybe they didn't want to stay around. One of them on Sonic Retro (Falk) said he'd be damned if he's tied to one franchise for the rest of his career. That might speak for the opinions of more than just him.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2022
  9. Pengi

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    In episode #105 of his "Off The Record" Patreon podcast, Liam Robertson (of Unseen64, Did You Know Gaming and Nintendo Life) talks a little about the lack of Sonic Mania 2.

    He offers up his own speculation, which isn't particularly well informed (he doesn't seem to be a hardcore, in the weeds Sonic fan). Then he mentions what he did hear:

    * The Mania team did pitch a Mania 2. (This is the one thing Liam says he's certain of. He regards this as well sourced and not just rumour.)
    * There were going to be more characters. (Liam can't remember who they were, but thinks they were "kind of weird, left field ones that you wouldn't expect". Again, this is coming from someone who isn't a hardcore Sonic fan, so keep that in mind.)
    * It was going to be focused on new stuff.
    * There was a pay dispute and Sega would not buckle.
    * Sega gave them a "no" or a tentative "no", but then nothing happened.

    Then there's more speculation about why Sega might have done this.

    Take all of this with a grain of salt, because it's all second hand gossip at best. The only thing he said he was certain of was that a Mania sequel was pitched, but Sega didn't go for it.
     
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  10. Starduster

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    I wouldn't expect much in the way of substantive comments from anyone who may have been involved in Mania. If they're still up for making a follow-up in the future, they won't want to air dirty laundry like this, regardless of which side of it they're on, since it would almost certainly damage working relations. If indeed there was a pay dispute, then the independent agents involved in Mania forming their own team and building up their own stable of quality IP and titles will put them in a better position in the future with regards to achieving higher pay, given the prestige Evening Star could end up having in the future. But then that's all conjecture on my part.
     
  11. HEDGESMFG

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    You're missing the point of my speculation, because if Forces 'was' successful (I remember fast price drops which is why I said "it might be a flop" but I could be wrong on that, and that's fine)...

    ...that makes even more sense as to why Mania never got a proper followup. SEGA would rather buckle down on something they can make themselves with their own devs, which means that title could end up giving them a higher profit margin (because they are paying their own employees directly rather than negotiating with a 3rd party that will likely be more expensive to contract out too) rather than continuously fund external developers that aren't subject to their own employment rules and contracts. Was Mania profitable? I have no doubt. But was it profitable in Japan to Japanese executives who have a history of ignoring western feedback? That's a better question. Did Mania make more raw profit than Forces? That may be the real question, and I don't think it's as easy to determine as everyone thinks. If Forces made Sega a better bottom line than Mania did, no matter how good the sales of the latter was on paper, there's your simple answer. Why would SEGA make another classic title when they could just churn out so-so modern titles that make them more money and don't require development with an external team (one that might not even 'want' to make sequels regularly, for that matter)?

    Sonic Team has been notorious for most of its history for ignoring western feedback and just doing whatever it wants to do, this is despite the fact that Sonic is far more popular in the rest of the world. That disconnect has been with us for a long, long time. Mania seemed like the exception, but that seems to have been an anomaly rather than a trend. SEGA of Japan was constantly fighting with SOA in the 90s, despite the latter creating successful marketing campaigns that ended up funding much of the former. There's a great documentary on Paramount Plus covering the 90s console wars that goes into these disputes in-depth with some pretty solid interviews, and Sonic's success and early history takes a large chunk of that documentary's air time. Or look up the history of Sonic X-Treme for another classic example, or even just the development era of Sonic CD and Sonic 2 tell a big tale about the disconnect.

    Plus, if there's any truth for the above "pay dispute" rumor, this would be why. SEGA may not want to pay external devs as much as they probably deserve to be, since internal employees in the gaming industry are easier to exploit, abuse, force to do crunch time, and often get paid less per-working hour. An external development studio has more leverage to demand better working conditions, and more money for their time spent, which means every copy of a game sold makes SEGA the publisher less cash directly. And a big publisher like SEGA (especially in Japan, where overwork culture is borderline mandatory) may just not be interested in that kind of contract.

    Having said all that, I also think Frontiers is going to be a notoriously expensive project that SEGA wants to make back a lot of money from, so at least they aren't trying to just spit out a low effort Forces 2/Generations 3 with no thought put into it. Or at least I hope they aren't doing that. We'll see.
     
  12. Laura

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    Sounds very believable to me. This is pretty much what i imagined went down. Becoming a game developer is really difficult and i think it's extremely unlikely that the Team wouldn't have taken a offer unless it was dreadful. Remember this is their job and how they get paid. Stealth has said to me that he would want to work on another Sonic project with SEGA but nothing has ever gone through.

    But now that EveningStar have moved onto their own project and aren't working on Sonic Origins i think it's time to accept what we've all known for years. it's most probably over now.
     
  13. Wraith

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    Lol, if this new game by them is as good as I think it will be they won't need to make another Sonic game.
     
  14. I dunno. Sonic games may be crap more often than not, but the name on the box is what sells, not the product itself.

    Developing a new IP from scratch, especially from a studio without much fame under their belt, is a riskier endeavor.


    Yes, its a terrible ass scenario where Sonic's trash games will sell, but the genuine effort from an up and coming studio are overlooked.
     
  15. Professor BV

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    I just hope we don't have another Balan Wonderworld on our hands... I'm confident in Evening Star, and Private Division seems like a much more amicable publisher than Square Enix, but that possibility still lurks in the back of my mind.
     
  16. MykonosFan

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    We haven't even seen the game yet.
     
  17. foXcollr

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    I don't think there's any reason to believe Evening Star's IP would end up like Balan Wonderland. For one thing, I've heard it alleged that part of the reason that game turned out so awful was that Square Enix failed to give the team the support they needed. For how many resources the folks at Square have, somehow Balan ended up looking like a PS2 game and being buggier than Sonic Colors Ultimate at release. Second, I take that first point with a grain of salt because, as much as we all love Naka, he has been churning out some pretty unimpressive bargain bin quality games for a while now. Even if Naka wasn't given the ideal environment to make the most technically impressive game, there's no reason the game needed to be so damn un-fun to play.

    Evening Star is working on their title fully independently, and even if the game turned out to be mediocre, they have so far established a track history of not putting out buggy, unfinished, products that clearly were not QA tested. Also, seconding that we haven't even seen the game yet. Moreover, we don't even know what kind of game it is (I suppose we can assume it's likely to be some type of platformer) and we haven't seen any of its art. If it's a good game I'm sure it'll do fine critically and sell decently well, and for a boutique studio there is a lot of pride in whatever profit they can make from these projects. They don't need to outsell a 30-year old global IP like Sonic, they need to make enough to pay themselves and recover their investments, and secure enough profit to fund their next project.

    I'm genuinely very excited to see what they're cooking up.
     
  18. SystemsReady

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    re: Balan Wonderland too, a lot of the criticisms I saw of its gameplay are also issues that cropped up in Sonic, namely the one that caught my eye was the "multiple actions mapped to a single context-sensitive button" concept, aka "the thing that killed me numerous times in Sonic Adventure 2 as Sonic shot straight down into a pit instead of using the Light Speed Dash", which is a philosophy that Naka has been pretty vocal about. Some of Wonderworld's issues are due to those philosophies, not because no one knows how to make a good 3D mascot platformer these days (which is a lie, Ratchet and Clank is still alive and kicking).
     
  19. Dark Sonic

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    I'm glad Unleashed onward ditched the one button philosophy. I can't go back to light dash on B, when I go back to play SA1 and 2 I use codes to remap light dash to Y
     
  20. Iggy for Short

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    And yet it's the one (two? What did Lost World do again?) game to take the Homing Attack off of the Jump button so it could butt heads with the new Boost button. :eng99: