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Sonic X Shadow Generations announced, releases Autumn 2024

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by charcoal, Jan 29, 2024.

  1. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    God I'm replaying SA2 as we speak and I have to say I agree. Sky Rail is a well-designed stage but it's one of the stages that suffers most from that Adventure-era jankiness, imo. I found the Frontiers version more fluid and less frustrating, and using the homing dash to find ridiculous shortcuts made replaying it so much more satisfying for me.
     
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  2. Wraith

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    I agree that Sonic Team's categorizations aren't all that helpful, but only because I don't believe the fundamentals of 3D Sonic have changed all that much since SA2 came out, and I'm counting Frontiers in that assertion. There's a rising and falling interest in various combat mechanics to consider, and the proliferation of 2D sections into non-2D games, but the core, tempo based gameplay that Sonic Adventure introduced and Sonic Adventure 2 decided to lock in on has been present in almost every title since. Homing attack chains, straightaways, rail grinding, sliding under obstacles and light speed dashing. The boost is a pretty remarkable addition but imo it doesn't change the core of it. Some see 2D sections as a ball and chain holding the series back, but I see it as an admission that complex 3D level design has long been off of their minds.

    Sonic Adventure and Sonic Frontiers both represent half-steps into more vertical, player driven level design like you saw in the originals, but it wasn't the majority of what we got in either case. Sonic Adventure is just as fond of sections like Windy Valley as it is Twinkle Park's castle and while Frontiers has more potential for player expression than most 3D Sonic games it doesn't lean into that trait much.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2024
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  3. kazz

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    I don't understand how SA1 is more about "tempo based gameplay" than say Sonic 2, a game that gives you a continue for beating a level under a minute and also has simple hold-forward gameplay in its early levels.
     
  4. Blue Spikeball

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    I really don't think the addition of the boost and changes to rail grinding were such a game changer. In both SA2 and Unleashed you were constantly running nonstop. In one Sonic was automatically pushed by dash pads and automatizations, in the other you were pushing him by holding the boost button. Gameplay-wise they weren't that different.

    The simplification of the rails was pretty much streamlining to patch up the jankiness of the Dreamcast-era rail grinding. I don't think it's the paradigm shift some make it out to be. As people pointed out, SA2's maps are pretty compatible with Frontiers' boost gameplay.

    Eh, I don't see how button mapping has anything to do with it. In SA2, pressing the jump button on a rail while leaning to the side makes the character (attempt to) switch rails. That's consistent. It never does anything else (at least it never did for me).

    The problem is that the rail-switching side jump in SA2 doesn't always line up with the rail to the side. That's due to the (janky) way the mechanic was implemented. Mapping it to a separate button wouldn't fix anything.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2024
  5. kazz

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    In Sonic 2 you're also running nonstop, at least if Pyramid Cave and Crazy Gadget count as "running nonstop". There's already a much more direct candidate for what inspired Unleashed's boost gameplay, and its first level for that matter.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Zephyr

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    Like I said already though, this was always a very gradual process. Many of those automations were also present in SA1, and have roots in the 2D games (horizontal springs, actual boosters like in Chemical Plant and Hydrocity, Fire Shield's jump dash, etc.). SA1 even has the "spam dash" which more closely resembles the Boost than anything in SA2 (including the "speed up" in the 2 Player mode).

    And again, yes, clearly there's an evolutionary link between SA2 and Unleashed, but people who say they play "pretty much the same" I think are projecting the ways they play those games onto everyone else. I certainly wasn't just "holding forward" in every Sonic or Shadow stage. Not just because stages like Pyramid Cave and Crazy Gadget exist, or because items like the Ancient Light, Magic Hands, and Mystic Melody required you to come to a complete stop in order to use them, but also because the Adventure games had the Chao Garden as part of their wider gameplay loop, so hunting for animals was also a thing.

    Yeah, I suppose SA2's maps are "compatible" with Frontiers' (ie: Unleashed's) boost gameplay, but I don't really see what would make SA1's stages incompatible. I guess I'm also in the minority (?) who finds those cyber space stages to feel like complete ass to play, to the point that playing them made me wish I was just actually playing SA2 instead. The way I'd feel if I booted up the GBA port of Sonic 1. A pale imitation, made all the worse by how clunky Frontiers's cyber space stages (and other 3D games from Unleashed onwards) feel to control at lower speeds.

    I also neglected to mention things like the Quick Step and the Drift that Unleashed introduced. Or the more classic styled rolling physics, and actual Spin Dash, that SA2 still had but were long gone by Unleashed. These things all add up quite a bit, especially if you play Sonic games for reasons other than speedrunning.

    "Relatively linear stages where you go fast with the help of automation" is certainly something both SA2 and Unleashed have in common, but that's such a surface level comparison that it doesn't really do justice to the experience of playing either. My experience of them, at least. Unleashed feels to me like a racing game that has a bunch of clunky-ass platforming elements intruding on it, but SA2 feels like a platformer where you can go pretty fast.
     
  7. Palas

    Palas

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    Not sure if @Wraith would use the term the way I understand it but it's a term Iizuka specifically used when talking about the development of Sonic Adventure 2, annd highlighting how you need to string different, but specific actions together and in sequence to proceed and proceed effectively. For reasons I don't really feel like laying out, Sonic 2 being faster doesn't necessarily mean it's tempo-based -- and getting a continue for being fast is sort of orthogonal to the concept. Speedruns are, sure, but that's almost by nature in any game, and not so much because they require doing things fast as much as they require doing things in a certain way for action not to stop. And it's something you can readily observe in Sonic Adventure 2, and much more so in Sonic Rush and Unleashed.

    Anyway since Iizuka was talking about Adventure 2 then, it's really not the case that Sonic Adventure can be so easily categorized as "tempo-based".
     
  8. kazz

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    "Stringing different but specific actions together to proceed effectively" also applies to Sonic 2. The fastest way through Emerald Hill requires badnik bouncing through the entire zone, and was clearly intended to be beaten that way. Does this not count because it's an optional challenge? It's also an optional challenge to "proceed effectively" in SA2 and Unleashed. Is an 'A rank' that's literally worthless in of itself more valuable than a continue? IDK, Iizuka's distinction just bothers me. I guess I'm somehow lying to myself as someone who liked SA2 but never liked Unleashed.
     
  9. Blue Spikeball

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    I'd say pretty everything you mentioned was both in the Adventure games and boost games in some form.

    Both SA1 and SA2 had you running nonstop in automated paths most of the time. SA2 just gave you a little more control and more things to do while running (at the cost of having more linear levels). You could now do tricks and such, like hitting the jump button on a ramp at the right moment to reach higher areas or earn a higher score, or hitting a grind rail on the side of the main path. I'd say Unleashed's quickstep and drift were pretty much an evolution of that.

    And yes, SA1 and SA2 had platforming sections. But those parts made up the minority of the overall game (unless we count the non-Sonic levels). Unleashed less of those due to the focus on speed, but Colors had plenty, and it's considered a boost game.

    The boost games might not have the spin dash (as it's made kind of redundant by the boost), but the sliding was functionally the same thing as the roll.

    As for things like hunting for animals, the boost levels had you hunting for optional stuff too. Unleashed had medals and collectibles. Colors onward had red star rings.

    I guess I just don't see how the boost games were such a paradigm shift. The differences people bring up feel rather superficial to me.

    I hold that the boost games weren't a major revolution, but an effort to put a greater focus on and tighten the aspect of the Adventure games that people liked (the Sonic levels' emphasis on speed and "rhythm").
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2024
  10. Palas

    Palas

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    "Was clearly intended to be beaten that way" is where it falls apart, I think. It was intended to be beaten, period. If we compare both games, we'll see the difference between A Rank and not being able to beat the stage at all is much narrower in SA2 for a few reasons:
    • The sections are much more clearly divided and cannot be backtracked under any circumstances. Challenges are portioned more decisively, an always oriented forward. While some stages in Sonic 2 do that, like Chemical Plant, you generally have leeway to walk around, and a reason to (collecting rings, mostly, because the life system matters);
    • Many challenges require sustained action, in which the penalty for failing is directly having to retry it (by virtue of dying), and can't be "stabilized". Homing attack chains are the most obvious example. Even in, like, Metropolis Zone, you can generally "stabilize" these long challenges (like with the blocks with protruding spikes) before trying to proceed;
    • A lot of actions don't follow the same core rules: there's nothing in the physics system that tells you a light speed dash would be possible, whereas there's virtually nothing in Sonic 2 that doesn't exist because of the physics system. (3&K is a little different, and closer to Sonic Adventure sometimes). So learning each part of a level can require its own skill or action that has very little to do with a skill you'd acquired beforehand. Not to mention you'll be able to actually do things you couldn't before, as in gaining permanent abilities;
    These aren't value judgements though. It's probably just about how each game is organized. Boost gameplay has its own stuff to talk about, but it doesn't mean the general idea can't have evolved from SA2. It's hard to say -- but I ddo think the divide between classics and Adventure 2 is a lot clearer.
     
  11. Wraith

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    It's a shorthand that's useful to ME because Iizuka himself used it when describing the difference between games. I can't speak to your experiences with the games, nor did the categorization imply that Sonic Adventure 2 fans were expected to enjoy the whole line, or that there were no nuances between the two that made one more desirable game than the others(I also like Sonic Adventure 2 but dislike most of the "boost" games.) I'm not sure where...any of this tangent is coming from, honestly? This feels more like prodding at semantics, but I'll humor it:

    You mention the bounce attack in Sonic 2, which has many uses, relies more on positioning and pre-existing level knowledge than the timed button presses SA2 emphasizes, and is overall something you're expected to learn through experimentation with the game's core rules and not something that could be reasonably done on the first time depending on your reaction time.

    Contrast with SA2's somersault. It's a move with a few specific functions where the challenge boils down to a well timed button press to keep your flow going. It has a few uses outside of that context such as breaking boxes, but I think it's fair to say much more of a Quick Step than a bounce attack. Sonic 2 doesn't bloat Sonic's kit with stuff like this. It doesn't have any context sensitive abilities that rarely have a function beyond call-and-response style gameplay. It has a few multifaceted abilities and a core ruleset that is manipulated by a wide variety of mechanics employed by the level design

    This is the foundation of how I define tempo based Sonic: knowledge of the level layout, the nuances of Sonic's kit and how those two intersect are de-emphasized in favor of pressing the right button at the right time. Pulling out the right move for the right obstacle with the biggest skill check being reaction based. Sonic Adventure 2 does not kick the can as far down the road as Unleashed does in this regard. It has moments where the physics and the level design come into play just as I'd argue SA1 has plenty of examples of more tempo based gameplay, but Iizuka's wording is a helpful indicator of Sonic Team's intent to push that game in a tempo based direction over SA1's lean toward the old way. It might even help explain why Unleashed pushed these elements toward flanderization territory.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2024
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  12. charcoal

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    A simple metaphor I use is that SA1 and the classics are more like Super Mario 64, the game is primarily based on the depth of Mario's moveset and how you can most effectively use it to traverse more open-ended levels, while SA2 and the boost games on the other hand are more like Crash, the focus turns towards precisely executing specific inputs to complete very linear stages, with the only wiggle room appearing in the form of defined shortcuts laid out by the designers.

    While these focuses (depth vs perfect execution) arent mutually exclusive and have plenty of areas where they overlap (see: Frontiers' open zones), theyre still useful as broad categories to define these games into.
     
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  13. Zephyr

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    The commonalities people are bringing up between SA2 and the Boost games (as contrasting with SA1, for instance) likewise feel superficial to me. I can see where you guys grouping SA2 with Unleashed are coming from, if I really squint my eyes. That said, I can't fathom how you could see the drift or quick step as an evolution of jumping off of a ramp. I don't understand how a type of jumping evolves into a type of steering. Apples and oranges.

    What makes Unleashed feel like a major revolution is all of its new developments in tandem. If it was just one of them, or if each was added very incrementally, I'd be more inclined to agree with you. But the drift and quick step and boost and 2D sections all debuting in the same 3D game at the same time? That is not an insubstantial paradigm shift. It might not be a significant shift in aim, but it is a significant shift in execution.

    I think the fact that we're even having this disagreement is a testament to how much of a inbetween stage SA2 represents in the evolutionary path from SA1 to Unleashed, given that its similarities to one is more salient to some, while its similarities to the other are more salient to others. The same could be said for SA1 as an inbetween stage in the evolutionary path from 3K to SA2: some people group it more with the classics, others more with SA2, depending on which similarities and differences are more salient to them.
     
  14. Palas

    Palas

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    Only recently have I taken to understand the Boost gameplay seriously on its own terms, even though I don't like the gameplay style, and for now I hold that it's also fundamentally different from whatever SA2 had going on. It seems like it benefits of an intended tempo that harvests the elements on the stage rather than its geometry-- making it closer to a rhythm game than a platform one. There is virtue in harnessing the most of the player's time and input, eliminating any and all "rest" times (which air times were for in classic and adventure style games) in favor of enhancing the pleasure of executing tricks and preserving action chains. Red rings, in this context, end up being basically path checklists: they test how much you're able to make different choices in specific moments, more than the ability to spot "weird" geometry or solve mini-puzzles.

    In this sense, the stage is a resource that must be depleted with the invincibility and the speed required to get rings/destroy enemies/find Wisps so you can keep harvesting these same elements. It's a gameplay loop in which mistakes in execution must be punished harshly because you need to be brought back to a point in the stage where you're ensured to be able to collect enough resources for an execution good enough to succeed. SA2 isn't quite like that.

    This was maybe obvious to everyone who always loved it, but it was never obvious to me-- especially because people insisted, once upon a time, the boost was just a natural evolution of previous Sonic gameplay, and it feels like a completely different framework.
     
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  15. Wraith

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    The boost games to me are just 3D twitch platformers. Your Meat Boys, Celeste, Dustforce etc. I like these types of do or die execution heavy games but most of their depth is derived from their difficulty which is counterintuitive to the goals of the Sonic brand. Unleashed is usually the go-to favorite for people who are really into these games for a reason. Despite all the issues I have with it the day stages maintain a strong difficulty curve that's pretty satisfying to climb.

    But yeah, the difficulty thing is why I don't think it makes sense for Sonic to take that angle. Sonic Team never wanted these games to be difficult, so they should embrace a style of game that allows for more flexibility so more skilled players can make their own fun instead. I'm saying this as someone who prefers "twitchier" games. The Mario Odyssey/Sonic Adventure style "spam one broken tool to soar over a wide open environment" type game never really clicked with me as much personally but I think it makes more sense for what those developers are trying to do.
     
  16. Laura

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    While I can see why people say SA2 is the foundation of the boost gameplay I also think it is worth pointing out that SA2 is still far more freer in vertical movement. Say Metal Harbour's opening sequence. It isnt major but you have real freedom of movement. The Boost gameplay is not just linear but also heavily guides the player to move horizontally. To such an extent that Generations Green Hill secret bridge sequence is memorable because you go straight down. And I'd say Sky Sanctuary and Seaside Hill are often considered the best modern level because they have more vertical gameplay going on than say Speed Highway or Chemical Plant.
     
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  17. KaiGCS

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    I don't think Iizuka was saying that everything from Sonic Adventure to Sonic Forces was exactly the same. The style evolved, concepts were tried and abandoned, some things stuck and some didn't. But still, there's an evolutionary trendline that can clearly be ascertained.

    I do think that most of the fundamental strands that would eventually coalesce into the boost formula came into focus with SA2, but it's still a few evolutionary leaps removed from Unleashed.

    But from Sonic Team's perspective, I think it's a much simpler question of what sort of game they were trying to make:

    "First Generation" style games are speedy 2D action platformers where you get from one end of a level to the other.

    "Second Generation" style games are 3D action platformers where you get from one end of a level to the other.

    "Third Generation" style games are, so far, just Sonic Frontiers. It has 2nd Gen-style stages in it, but the "Open Zone" is now the primary focus. From a developmental standpoint, this is at least as significant a change in Sonic's design philosophy as 2D->3D was! And there's just as much that needs to be reconsidered for this approach to work.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2024
  18. Kilo

    Kilo

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    S1 - Metal Sonic's Challenge, Sonic 1 Rev01 ASMX Disasm
    New animation for Sonic X Shadow Generations was announced, called Dark Beginnings.
    upload_2024-5-14_11-3-0.png
    Stephanie Sheh's going to be present at the Anime Expo panel for this animation. She's a VA and has no previous ties with Sonic nevermind she voiced Zeena, although has done work for Yakuza and Bayonetta, so I think she may be a new voice for Maria?
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2024
  19. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    Stephanie Sheh? Does she have a connection to the series aside from voicing Zeena? I assume that character is not making an appearance in this short.
     
  20. Yeah she's probably playing Maria, since she hasn't had a voice in the series since Shadow the Hedgehog.

    Ngl this is making me a lot more interested in Shadow Generations, more 2D animations is always a blessing.