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Sonic Superstars: A New 2D Sonic Game (Fall 2023)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by DefinitiveDubs, Jun 8, 2023.

  1. Chimpo

    Chimpo

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    It's important to remember that Sonic 4 came out during the "green eyes" era and before social media and "e-celebs" really took off. Any complaints about some new direction was just hand waved by the general public and press about us being mad at cosmetic changes. S4's complaints were brought up, but the overwhelming majority just told us to "Shut up, you're finally getting a new 2D Sonic, and enjoy it". Even the early reviews from the press were surface level. I mean, read these God damn blurbs from Nintendo Life and World Report.

    All check list, no nuance.
     
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  2. aria

    aria

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    Chimpo's entirely right. The reception around Sonic 4 from press was real weird. There was a general vibe that Sonic fans were being stuck up and spoilt, which is needless to say incredibly odd, even looking back at it today.

    I had hoped that Sonic 4 was fun in the build up to its release, but honestly, the moment the PartnerNET build leaked it was obvious it was a lost cause. Delaying it to try and fix up the complaints around the leak was maybe a good idea, but it was too little too late. Shame, as I think Dimps could have made a fun 2d modern Sonic platformer as based off their work on the Advance & Rush games but Sonic 4 was definitely not that.

    Weird too, as Sonic Colors DS was developed around the same time and was fantastic.
     
  3. Deef

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    True to those 3 previous replies. Jesus it was a dark time. That said, Sonic 4 : The Forums was a total blast.

    This whole conversation has made me feel sorry for the reminders of Sonic 4, and sorrow for the reminders of how there will never be that Sonic Mania-esque alignment of the stars again. I went on black-out for Mania, watching that opening animation for the first time on my own copy running at home. So good... Such a high in the IP.

    Anyway, it's good to see the comfort levels here about SS's physics.
     
  4. Sneekie

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    I prefer the atmosphere of Sonic Superstars' "oh, another classic 2D Sonic game? Sweet".

    I'm not particularly fond of how Mania has been... "mythologized", especially when it resulted in bothersome rhetoric like "Sonic Team is jealous" to justify why there isn't a Mania 2, how its treated as an exception and sometimes not even a "official game" when convenient, and a dismissal of anything that's not 2D, Genesis-styled classic Sonic made by the Mania Team: "Just make Mania 2", people say! It's a great game but I don't think it being good is why people put it on such a pedestal.

    Superstars by comparison is a humble "cool, another classic Sonic game", which is kind of how I like it. It's not going to "save the franchise", it's not "the only good Sonic game in a billion years", it isnt and doesnt need to be those things, it's simply, hey, more of what people like to see.

    And yes, either definitely preferable to the discourse around Sonic 4. I don't fault Sega at the time for its marketing (I DO fault them for so cheaply cashing in on nostalgia), but it's so... pathetic in hindsight.
     
  5. Chimpo

    Chimpo

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    What's nice is that the press also seems to love it. I don't think I've really seen a snarky write up or someone going on about the troubled history of the franchise.
     
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  6. Palas

    Palas

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    It's extremely important to mention the idea of "classic Sonic gameplay" as we understand it today did not, in fact, exist as clearly. Ken Balough would spend his days getting paid to convince people that homing attack chains and boost pads everywhere were, in fact, the natural evolution of classic Sonic abilities. After all, what else are you going to do in a stage other than go forward? And how do homing attacks kill momentum if what they do is, in fact, keep the action chain going?

    I don't think that was coping on his part as community manager. I believe that was what SEGA, Sonic Team and basically everyone in charge actually thought at the time, and not without some reason either. The idea that classic Sonic's distinguishing feature was that you could keep an uninterrupted chain of inputs was very prevalent, especially due to the success of Sonic Rush, Sonic Unleashed('s day stages) and Sonic Colors. So of course the analysis of Sonic 4 was surface level. All it ever needed, supposedly, was multiple routes in a stage.

    There was even a time in God's grey Sonic Retro when some autocorrect would change the term "pinball physics" to "I DON'T KNOW HOW CLASSIC SONIC WORKS", or something like that, if you posted it (unless this is a completely fabricated 15-year-old memory from when I was in my early teens and first joined Retro). The term was somewhat poorly understood and used aimlessly. A more sophisticated understanding of the importance of physics in the general gaming experience of Classic Sonic came about over the years, and Mania solidified it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2023
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  7. Felik

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    pinball physics
     
  8. qwertysonic

    qwertysonic

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    I believe you misspelled "I DON'T KNOW HOW CLASSIC SONIC WORKS".
     
  9. Sneekie

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    Weird flex but okay
     
  10. Zephyr

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    For me, Mania kind of represented an actual delivery of the "promise" (if we can call it that) Sega made with Sonic 4. A promise that they didn't have to make in the first place back in 2009/2010, and that by 2016 I'd honestly stopped caring about seeing actually delivered on.

    So, while I'd have loved to see Mania inaugurate a whole sub-franchise, it never really needed to for me. I was fine with it being something like a one-off culmination of the Sonic 4/Generations ride. It was more than I ever expected to get, so I made sure to not feel entitled to more.

    I see Superstars in a similar way. I never thought we'd get something like this. And while it might still shake out to be sub-Mania in quality, it's hard at this point to imagine it being closer in quality to Sonic 4, or the Generations/Forces Classic gameplay, than to Mania. And that's more than I ever expected to get from a team not lead by, say, experienced former fangame devs.
     
  11. Blue Blood

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    Back in 2010, there was a filter on this board that automatically changed "pinball physics" into what Felik just said.
     
  12. Sneekie

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    (I know, that was my joke, lol)
     
  13. I was only casually lurking back then, so I’m curious: What was the accepted phrasing back then to describe “Sonic” physics?

    I remember hearing “pinball physics” a lot back then, and then it gradually morphed to “momentum”/“momentum-based platforming.”
     
  14. Vertette

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    I remember being in my teens at the time of Episode 1's release and the positive reception it got baffled me, because even to my young impressionable mind it played like Chinese bootleg Sonic. I will never, in particular, forget the Destructoid article where Sterling basically told Sonic Retro to shut up and play Sonic 2 if they wanted to play a game with good controls. A real voice of the consumer, that one.
     
  15. HEDGESMFG

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    Sonic 4 was what kicked off our understanding of "momentum" being essential precisely because we saw how bad things could be without it.

    Before that, the main issue was stage design itself, (and to a lesser extent, the total absence of playable super forms), with dimps era designs being too linear compared to the classic titles. Save perhaps Sonic Advance 1, which was actually a pretty faithful classic game in its own right, but often tends to get ignored because it wasn't a mainline title and because 2 and 3 deviated so much.

    And again, it should be reiterated... 2D Sonic Games are actually quite difficult to build from the ground up, even when you get the engine locked down. Our most cherished classic title actually had the budget of 2 full mainline games built into it.

    Bluntly put, Sonic games are not easy or cheap to make. You have to understand the formula on a deep, deep level to get them right. The classics were the brainchild of a few, at the time, genuis talents that are hard to replicate if they don't have our levels of obsession. Even when Tax/Steath/And Co. did it with Mania, they had to use extensive shortcuts like recycling old assets/stages to truly make it work. Which will always hold back Mania from being the top title for me even if I love it.

    SuperStars is closer to what I want from a new game, but whether or not it actually hits that level of brilliance remains to be seen. The physics look right. The stages look complex and interesting. The music is good. The visual design ranges from passable (a bit flat or too many recycled tropes still) to excellent (there's still a lot of detail and I think the final experience will look better in full 4K60FPS).

    But as with anything else, it remains to be seen if that experience is consistent all the way through. Even if music, visuals, and physics are great... stage and boss design are the final obstacles to overcome, and they are... to say the least, tough to get right. You have to be able to provide young kids with an experience that holds their hands enough to make it fun, while also rewarding players who enjoy exploration. And as the latest Frontiers DLC shows, you must balance difficulty appropriately and avoid restoring to cheap tricks to increase it unfairly and trap the player in unwinnable scenarios.

    In fact, most other 2.5D Sonic titles have struggled with the last part. Colors has excellent visuals, but there's a lot of stages that are mediocre or rely on unfair gimmicks. Generations avoided this in the primary stages, but relied on it in side missions and the main 18 stages can be beaten in an hour or 2 and still don't really offer much exploration. Advance 2-3 became very famous for cheap death gimmicks, and the Rush/Boost titles weren't much better. Forces was Generations with a budget and even worse design.

    I think Hirokazu Yasuhara was honestly the most important member for making the games actually work, and he's never come back into the fold. He had an incredible design workflow that let him create inspiring stages quickly and pushed the 2D classic trilogy to their limits, and he then seemed satisfied with what he did in S1-3K and moved on after. Many brilliant designers/artists do a trio of games, movies/whatever and move on. Maybe Naoto Ohshima's team can compensate for it, but it's a tall thing to ask for.

    Still, I see positive signs so far. And I think the game will be a success no matter how much I may or may not nitpick it. I will be truly shocked if they blow this one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2023
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  16. Zephyr

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    Having recently gone through some of my old posts, throughout 2009 alone I used several variations:
    • "Momentum based physics"
    • "Momentum based gameplay"
    • "Pinball momentum physics"
    • "Rolling and momentum"
    • "Momentum and speed"
     
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  17. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

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    Super Monkey Ball physics
     
  18. Palas

    Palas

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    There, I found what the word filter replaced the term with. Apparently it was around until 2017! Crazy thing to think about.

    However, mentions of the actual term are somewhat scarce prior to the filter taking effect. It was from the announcement of Sonic 4 on that it really kicked off. Unless I'm completely missing something.

    It's interesting to try to track the origin of the term, because the only thing it more or less accurately describes that's particular to Sonic gameplay isn't even the presence of momentum/inertia: it's the jump-at-a-normal-angle quirk. How it became a shorthand for Classic Sonic Gameplay, I'll never really understand (but people had a really hard time explaining it!). Also noteworthy, the term doesn't seem to appear almost anywhere before 2009. Of course, much of Sonic discourse is now lost -- SEGA Forums, SSMB before server changes, TSSZ as a whole -- but you simply won't find it. Which is weird.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2023
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  19. charcoal

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    Isn't one of the lead devs on this game the guy who literally created Sonic
     
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  20. There was an old site that I recall using the term it broke down a lot of the physics and level design concepts, I remember it comparing using slopes in lower sections to reach higher ones to skateboarding. The sites name might have had South Island in its name and may have named it’s sections after Pocket Adventure’s zones.