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The Sonic Frontiers *SPOILER* Thread (With Unmarked Spoilers)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by MykonosFan, Sep 29, 2022.

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  1. Starduster

    Starduster

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    @Laura As far as I understand what we've been told, the writing process is that SEGA provided Ian with the plot beats they want them to hit (i.e. the plot in broad strokes such as the Titans and Sage and the End and whatnot) and he fills in the details with the actual script, which is subject to feedback and revision from SEGA. When Ian submitted that final draft, he didn't do so with any kind of certainty that things wouldn't be further changed internally, and given how insistent Ian is about his NDA for Frontiers, I don't think we'll find out exactly who contributed what to the script for a long time to come. At any rate, I implore you to give the IDW book a shot. I very much appreciate that you're being respectful of Flynn within your critique of this game's writing, because it's not for nothing that he got this gig. He fundamentally gets these characters arguably better than any previous scenario writer for these games in my opinion and it is a shame that this doesn't shine through in Frontiers.

    Granted, I do disagree with the extent of your criticisms and I reckon I find a lot more merit in this game's writing than you do, but it certainly has issues with pacing and ambition. As I alluded to in my own write up, I think the overarching flaw of Frontiers' writing is that it rushes straight to the payoff. It takes for granted that everyone playing it is already familiar with these characters and events and I think tries to gratify fans quickly by addressing grievances that we've had with the past decade or so of Sonic writing, when perhaps a more gradual and earnest shift towards what we want from this characters would've been more organic. Of course, there are other factors, such as the nature of game writing being a different beast than comics writing but, while I think this stuff is important to understand in terms of how to go about improving the writing, I concede that this is all just context and at the end of the day all any of us can do is judge the final product that's given to us so, while I disagree with you in some areas (in animation and voice acting as well as writing), I don't think your criticisms are all that unfounded.
     
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  2. RikohZX

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    Honestly? I don't think The End and Sage were even part of the core story at this point. All of Sage's scenes feel different from the other scenes in the game besides when she tries to intimidate Sonic here or there. And The End being a voiceover and a purple moon with no animation reeks of "we don't have an asset, quick cook something up."

    The game's own ending not even referencing either, with Sonic seemingly forgetting what just happened to Sage altogether and no one batting an eye about anything involving The End, makes it feel like the core story never had those two involved until a final draft in the last stretch of development, where next to nothing was altered to accommodate for it besides her additional scenes tied with Sonic/Eggman and the memos.

    The fact that the final island is just non-animated Sage floating at various places to talk to without even a minigame in sight reeks of not just Ouranos being cobbled together but Sage not being the goal there before.
     
  3. Laura

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    Yeah I do want to be respectful of the guy. I've never read his comics. Maybe I'd think he's terrible! But I don't want to give the impression that people only like him because he writes dark and moody stories or anything. Lol.

    And yeah, I get the impression that some of the most annoying things, like how it's copying Shadow of the Colossus, are probably more on SEGA or Sonic Team. Just because it's not something I imagine he'd do from what I know about him.

    I agree with your critique. I think his general concepts are actually fine it's just very poorly told because of how most of the cutscenes essentially say nothing of value. I know he's conceded it was hard to write the story in the open world setting and it really shows in how tepid the open world cutscenes are.
     
  4. Taylor

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    This is more meta discussion but it's interesting seeing people experience Flynn's writings for the first time and being like "...this is it?", or even harsher as in the case of Laura. I blame his fans for hyping him up too much and not realizing how ball-bustingly restrictive video game development is.

    If Laura's interested in reading the comics then I think the Archie comics are better, because that's where most of Flynn's goodwill comes from. Instead of just ignoring Ken Penders' stuff, he wrote new storylines to organically remove it all from the story, or to repurpose it into something more interesting (eg, how a generic love interest for Tails was turned into a villain with attachment issues). I like IDW decently enough but it does feel like Flynn is running out of steam and/or can't play well with Sega's restrictions. There's some nice stuff in there (Dr. Starline is a good take on the "Eggman's assistant" archetype) but I think Flynn is past his creative peak, at least wrt Sonic.
     
  5. ChaddyFantome

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    Eh, I wouldn't go that far. For the record, I am a fan of Ian and generally like IDW. But I would say a lot of his writing and characterization of these characters didn't really become "on point" in my eyes until relatively recently.
    That said, I certainly prefer him over Pontac and Graff.
    I have my gripes with the game and I thought I was overly critical. Guess I was overestimating how much of a party pooper I can be. I overall enjoyed the writing personally. Sorry you did not.

    Isn't the whole deal with Chao that they are an endangered species and people making/supporting Chao gardens is the only reason they haven't died off?

    I certainly agree the "cult of personality" around him is most definitely a problem. I don't hate Ian at all. i quite like him actually as well as a lot of his work. But he is hardly flawless and it is grating how any try to paint him as a sort of almighty savior of the series for whatever reason.
     
  6. RikohZX

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    Yeah, post-Penders Sonic for Flynn has been.. rough. His issues of weak payoffs have only become more apparent now that mandates have only gotten tighter. The Cyber-Corruption in this game felt like one of those moments, where there's so much build-up and pressure and pain for Sonic and even those unused amnesia lines, but the moment it actually comes into play, as Laura said.. well, bam. Problem solved anti-climactically.

    Can't have a weak Sonic show defeat in any way that isn't quickly irreversible or he gets right back up! Not at all helped by needing him to go through one last island that was clearly just a piece of beta Kronos chopped off to make an unfinished endgame.

    The fact that they could even try to write "the characters wanna progress themselves!" into this story is a shocker when it's obvious the regulations for Sonic might as well be declaring he himself is unchanging, and even when the IDW comics tried to push that boundary (albeit questionably, Zombot arc is probably going down in infamy for how lengthy and excessively bleak it was), Flynn can't do what he could do in Archie.
     
  7. Knuckles is LARPing as a general, despite it making no sense for his character, because either Sonic Team or Flynn is introducing "military leader" as a core character trait for him in an attempt to make Knuckles a "more serious" character again and retroactively make his role as Commander of the Resistance in Sonic Forces less bizarre and OOC. I went more in-depth with Knuckles' characterisation in a previous post and what I assume is their rationale for it. It's weird because Flynn hasn't written Knuckles this way in the IDW Comics - granted, Knuckles hasn't really been in the IDW Comics for a while.
     
  8. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    Or he learned it from said events.
     
  9. Dr. Mecha

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    I assumed that the case, since Chaos purify the water for the chao to thrive near the shrine before the Knuckles Tribe came and ruined everything; It doesn't explain the sky sanctuary garden in the prologue though.
    Unless trained and raised properly, an average chao is fairly weak and fragile. This explained why the Knuckles Tribe bulldozed the effortly, they're Il-trained to defend themselves.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2022
  10. He learnt at some point off-screen before the events we see in Sonic Forces, yeah. Knuckles was already commanding large units during that game's story. His Operation Big Wave resulted in the loss of 80% of his troops, and it's WILD that Sonic Forces never addresses or dwells on that. Man just straight up "lost" thousands of people and it's acknowledged in a single line of dialogue. The idea of Knuckles being a general, or ANY of Sonic's friends being a general and commanding large scale assaults, is so weird for me in the game universe that I would have honestly preferred them just dropping the commander angle entirely, which is what happened in IDW up to now. That's why I was surprised by Knuckles' portrayal here. It's not a game-breaker or anything, though.
     
  11. Sneekie

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    Can't agree. The problem was solved by Sonic's friends having to sacrifice themselves again, forcing a new situation where Sonic and Sage have to actually work together to face the new threat.

    I wonder what people expected out of the plotline, because short of "suddenly having to play Sonic's friends (which even if Sonic Team was open to playable characters, three whole new characters at the last stretch of the game would be a mess)", not many other ways it can end.

    If it was actually anti-climactic, I'd say it would end with no consequences whatsoever, but it doesn't--it costs Sonic the reason why he got corrupted in the first place, as well as a new danger to face.

    For that matter, people said the ending was anti-climactic and bad, but actually getting to it... not really? But that's also influenced by people not seeing the full boss battle.

    Ian Flynn's first time writing for a game, which besides Sonic Team's own agency will be a hurdle because it's a massive departure from writing comic books, if the worst we get is "some plot point end somewhat abruptly," that's great.

    The appeal of these plot points and stories isn't having Sonic be irrevocably damaged for the sake of doing that, it's putting him into a position that has to reveal something about him. Sonic as a character is not designed to "grow", per se. He is a static character whose role as a character is being put into different kinds of situations. That's why the story has characters change around him. And it doesn't matter for Frontiers if the next game doesn't follow up on it, the point is that it creates narrative and themes that make Frontiers' story stronger than if it didn't.

    Even if the next game doesn't follow up on it, it's big that they took a narrative risk like that.
     
  12. BlackHole

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    Indeed, they should have brought back the G.U.N. Commander, since he is literally the head of an armed organisation, and had him in the role of leader. But that was the height of Two Worlds Canon...

    If I had to only have Sonic cast members, I'd have gone with Silver: he comes back from the future, saves half the cast from a surprise attack from Robotnik and Infinite, and is set up as leader as a result. Have his story focus on his stress trying to save the future again.

    Meanwhile, Knuckles has 'disappeared' because Robotnik attacked Angel Island to try and claim the Master Emerald for a power source, since Sonic Forces' Phantom Ruby has a power issue, but Angel Island instead crashed into the ocean: Knuckles shattered the Master Emerald again, and collected the pieces but hasn't reformed it just to keep it out Robotnik's hands...
     
  13. jubbalub

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    You know what I would've KILLED for? A playable cyber-corruption segment. Everyone was theorizing a new "cyber" super form for the final boss, but I'm thinking something more cinematic. Like instead of it just taking place in a cutscene, you'd have to just... run around in a silent, empty red void trying to find your friends to bring you back to the real world. Something along the lines of the World of Nothing in Super Paper Mario.

    I really wish they did more with that entire concept, because it was honestly really freaky seeing Sonic just slumped over unresponsive. He basically DIES. But it's dealt with in a cutscene in a standard "true power of teamwork" fashion, and I thought that was a little lame.

    Hot take, I really loved the entire towers segment. It felt very climactic, like I was building up to something important every time I disabled one. The fact that it was the ONLY thing you could do was also telling. It also has some of the most difficult and involved platforming in the game, and left me wanting more.
     
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  14. RikohZX

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    It's not about having Sonic be irrevocably damaged or even a sense of needed permanence. It's having stakes that feel more like some genuine problem or threat rather than "characters said it's bad so therefore it's bad". The guy got his mind stripped out of his body and trapped between real and virtual reality, treated like he effectively died, and then the characters.. re-seal themselves 3 minutes after it happened, without any context, explanation they could do that, and for some players, not even realizing what they did to make it go away.

    It makes it feel like the entire point of just seeing Sonic in deathly pain was to create that feeling of serious stakes and then say it's enough, lets move on.

    I'm not asking Sonic to heccin' die and get replaced by other characters, or to be scarred or changed or heavily altered. But for what was meant to effectively be the big climax point of the plot, and multiple hours of emphasis that Sonic's health was degrading right down to his idle animation clearly being in constant pain from Chaos Island through to the end of Rhea, burying the plot point under the rug so swiftly felt plain wrong.

    Heck, if the game was more finished, I'd straight up think the final island being within Cyber Space itself where Sonic is trapped in the memories of the Ancients and has to go stop The End personally before it even escapes would be a more interesting conclusion than Ouranos.
     
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  15. Fadaway

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    What is or isn't Sonic depends entirely on Sonic, for what it's worth. I've always wanted Sonic to be open world. So, I'm ok with this even if it is just a beginning. I do think the physics may be a bit odd. A good direction if nothing more.

    Plus, I am definitely receptive to adding combat.
     
  16. Sneekie

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    Sonic was literally dying. The attempt at saving his friends was killing him. It gave a personal, immediate consequence on top of the cryptic, looming consequence.

    Resolving a plot point isn't pushing under the rug. The plot line concluded: Sonic got cured, but it cost him his friends and now he has to stop the threat that came as a direct result of his actions. The fact that Sonic needed help to be saved and couldn't save himself is also a cap to his friends' involvement in the plot line. The story moved to the final phase and a different context. If the corruption never happened, it would never get there, and if it continued, it would never get there.

    And it's rather obvious what they did, since they're not around after and Eggman is. No, they didn't give a techno jargon explanation but they didn't need to. They saved him by giving up what he got corrupted to have in the first place. People will understand that fine enough.

    If not for Sonic's corruption, then Sage wouldn't have developed as she did anyway. She also needed to see how badly Sonic is willing to go to save his friends to develop.

    Sonic stopping the bad guy before the bad guy even does anything would be a terrible conclusion to the story, I'm sorry, lol. Removing what little agency Sonic's friends, Eggman, and Sage have in the story so a single plot point can last until literally the end of the story is in my opinion not a good end.
     
  17. Starduster

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    I am extremely dissatisfied with how Sonic's cyber corruption is immediately solved as soon as it has a meaningful impact on the story. I was entirely ready for a quick change of pace in gameplay, either by taking control of Eggman or Sage or doing an End of the World styled segment a la Sonic 06 where Knuckles, Amy and Tails each get a short gameplay segment. At the very least they could've gone down the Darkspines Sonic route of bestowing upon him a transformation born of dire circumstances, but this time being a core gameplay augmentation. Perhaps he could've taken inspiration from Sora's Anti Form in KH2 or something?

    With regards to Ian Flynn in particular, I admit I'm perhaps one of those who put him on a pedestal. Maybe he is past his peak. After working with this IP for almost 2 decades straight, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest, but as far as I'm concerned he delivers the most consistently satisfying material going within this franchise and has done since starting on Archie. With Archie in particular, I greatly emphasise with people that do miss that book, especially in the post reboot where there was this balance between being this wacky toybox of every disparate Sonic canon while better reflecting the games rather than Penders' schlocky Star Trek knock off, but on the flipside I appreciate IDW Sonic for its even truer representation of the games that allows it to much more effectively supplement those games than Archie ever could. Personally, I feel that provides me with a more meaningful experience and goes a long way to filling out the tapestry of the Sonic mythos rather than weaving its own separate tapestry.

    On Knuckles...I don't think it's the most egregious thing in the world that he's commanding the Koco in a military style. At the end of the day, he is the heritor of a warmongering warrior tribe so I don't think it's too much of a stretch to rationalise this with "he's using stuff he learned from what was left behind by his ancestors on Angel Island", though granted that's my own suggestion that is headcanon at best (and perhaps not even my own), so I don't resent anyone for taking or leaving it. I do think there's a desire to retain as much as possible and, while this is something that nobody would really miss, I have also already suggested that perhaps Frontiers largely pivoting too quickly to where we want these characters to be is the flaw in its writing, so yeah dropping altogether in the very next game may have been a little weird if that had been done.
     
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  18. BlackHole

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    To be fair to Flynn, it's not like this is a problem limited to Sonic Frontiers.

    Who remembers that time Sonic was tortured for six months, and then we see him casually cracking jokes?
     
  19. MastaSys

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    From snippets i saw from the story seems to be in line with the Adventure games, it's perfectly fine for a game that has a 7 in a green box slapped onto it.

    I wonder what you all guys want from it.
    From someone that grew exclusively on the Mega Drive games as a Sonic medium i sure hope it's not some Archie weirdness.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2022
  20. Sneekie

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    It's pretty nuts to say that Flynn is past his peak because his very first game story is only good with some flaws and isn't perfect, not gonna lie.

    I guess you guys did overhype him, but what we got is more or less in line with what I expected: a good, serious Sonic story. Just like the rest of the game. And also like the rest of the game, I can't wait to see how what happens next and how they improve.

    In this case, I feel like the corruption wouldn't actually be a bad thing if it turned out that it helps Sonic directly, which kind of ruins the point of the plot point. Darkspine Sonic was not actually a bad thing or spawned from a bad thing, he simply gained powers related to his negative emotions, but it's not like he sacrificed anything for it.

    Speaking of Secret Rings, remember the plot point about the flame slowly sapping Sonic's life, and it didn't affect him in any way besides the knowledge that he would die if it goes out, and ultimately it gets resolved unsaid because we just assume that going Darkspine safely extinguished the fire?

    That is anti-climactic.
     
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