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What approach should 3D Sonic take next?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by The Joebro64, Mar 23, 2020.

  1. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

    I've been thinking about this for a while and I've formulated the steps I think should be taken for the next 3D Sonic game. I'm going to list my ideas, and I also want to hear what others think.

    So, here we go. This is what I think is most important:
    • Presentation: I think it'd be cool to sort of combine the hub worlds of Unleashed and Colors and give players freedom to choose which level they'd like to tackle. Basically, in my mind there would be a relatively small 3D hub where you can chat with NPCs, unlock extras, and sort of just explore. From this 3D hub you access the main zones, which are presented as maps a la Sonic Colors. Each zone would have four acts (three main and one boss).
    • Characters: the playable characters should go back to just Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, with the option to switch between them at will in hubs. Sonic controls as Sonic does in the boost series. Tails is slightly slower than Sonic and can't homing attack, but can fly. Knuckles is the slowest, can't homing attack, and jumps lower, but can glide and climb.
    • Customization: customization would be a huge aspect of my ideal game and would build off the skill shop from Generations and the Avatar system from Forces. You can choose which abilities you want the characters to have and what designs they'll use in-game, and unlock more using rings. You could choose between the boost and the spin dash, the slide and the roll, the stomp and the bounce, etc. The costumes would be based on past Sonic designs (Classic, Adventure, '06, Boom, etc.), and you can mix and match to play as your ideal character.
    • Gameplay: For a new 3D game, I'd mostly stick to the Generations-style boost gameplay. However, I'd give players the options to toggle Sonic's physics between "Adventure" and "Modern" styles. It's sort of self-explanatory, but I'll explain anyways: in Adventure, the controls are more responsive and you have more control over Sonic, but he's slower and not as easy to control when he's going fast. In Modern, the controls are just like they were in Generations (a bit stiff, but easier to control when going fast and to maintain speed). The level design would accommodate both styles, and include alternate routes and paths only certain characters can access.
    • Progression: Instead of a linear progression system like all the other Sonic games, it's more like Mario 64 or Banjo-Kazooie: progression is determined by the number of red star rings you collect, and you're free to choose which level you want to go to next. In my ideal Sonic game, red star rings would be more plentiful and easier to spot, so it's not like you would have to constantly backtrack.
    • Art style: how about going back to Unleashed's?
    • Story: I would continue from Sonic Adventure 2 without necessarily contradicting what's happened since then. The story wouldn't be needlessly complex, but it would have a big presence and would see Eggman trying to up the ante and outdo his previous plots, and Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles setting out to stop him.
    What do you guys think?
  2. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

    size of a tangerine Member
    You lost me at "boost."

    But really, I'm not sure I understand why the Adventure style would be less easy to control when going fast. If that's referring to Sonic moving back and forth when running in SA1, I don't think people who like the Adventure gameplay want all the buggy/jank aspects of that game.
  3. Vanishing Vision

    Vanishing Vision

    The "safest" idea for a new Sonic that I've had ever since Forces is simply Generations with modern Sonic only and original level themes, and regular 2-act zones instead of classic for 1 and modern for 2. Maybe have it be all 3D, maybe make one act 2D and the other 3D, or just keep the mix for both acts.

    I feel that 80% of Forces' problems was just the level design, and that returning that to the quality of Generations would be more than enough to get a solid new 3D Sonic going.
  4. Fadaway


    Sonic Utopia is still my fave 3D Sonic ever even though it's a fan game. So, I'd obviously lean towards something like that. More exploration and less rail jumper. Open world is fine, too if it is done really well. But, my tastes may not be that of the masses. I dunno.
  5. Frostav


    A large part of the jank in the Adventure games comes from the fixed camera anyway. Utopia shows that free camera control on the right stick allows you to make nice smooth turns by simply rotating the camera horizontally, as Sonic in that game always tries to face straight when you're holding up. Moving the actual left stick then is for more complex/slower platforming and when you need to make a super sharp turn for whatever reason.

    Many franchises struggled with only one stick in the early 3D era, but Sonic was one of those that was absolutely crippled by janky cameras. At least SM64 Mario didn't go fast enough for it to be a problem. Sometimes, I wonder what timeline we'd be in SEGA hadn't been stupid enough to give the Dreamcast controller only one stick...
  6. Faseeh


    I honestly still am lost why they didn't do that after Generations, and maybe I feel they did feel it'd get boring/stale and didn't know where to build it beyond that. While I do enjoy the Adventure and the Boost gameplay, I feel Lost World tried to combine the ideas of all of them, innovate on it but really fell flat. 06 got the Adventure formula wrong, and Forces got the Boost formula wrong. At this point, I'm really okay with any gameplay style because a lot of ideas that SEGA has come up with are not flawed from the ground up, they just really don't get the execution right. All I want now is a Sonic game where Sonic feels fun to control and move (honestly, I think Adventure 1, Generations, Utopia are still the best he has felt in 3D) and with level design that radiates the competency of Generations' or 06's best moments.

    I'd love to see a lot of other things, but right now I'd be so happy to just get that haha
  7. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

    Virginia, USA
    Paying off student loans
    I wouldn't mind a competent dev taking another stab at the Adventure gameplay (but still Sonic only, get him right before adding others).

    But it's hard to say what I want, since I'd also be fine with Sonic taking the Kirby approach to 3D.
  8. Gameplay: I just want the of the Sonic/Shadow gameplay from the Adventure games- including the bounce attack and spin dash, with the turning/movement/camera and rolling mechanics/slope physics from Utopia; along with the score/ranking system from SA2. Just keep the focus on getting to the goal, no weird gimmicks or alternate playstyles. Level design would be like SA1 and 2, but with some extra routes mixed in to add to replay value.

    Characters: Start with the main trio, I guess. Other characters can show up in later games.
    • Shared abilities: Every character can roll, spin jump/attack, and spin dash.
    • Sonic: Fastest character, can use the homing attack, light-speed dash/attack, wall-running, and can grind on rails. Homing attack trails, ring trails, and rails are used to take exclusive routes for him.
    • Tails: Second-fastest, can fly, use the Tail Swipe attack (on both the ground and in the air), throw dummy ring bombs/snipes, use gadgets, etc. Flying, using those green booster hoop things from SA1/Riders/06, and using gadgets like the Miles Electric to hack blocked off areas are used to find alternate routes.
    • Knuckles: Slowest, can glide, climb walls, punch enemies/obstacles, and dig/burrow. His abilities let him punch through obstacles others can't (think S3K and Riders), glide over fans (think Heroes), and burrow through tunnels (think the Boom 3DS games and the Yellow Drill power up in Colors/Lost World) to find alternate routes. Digging in certain spots can also be used to find hidden items and power ups like in the Adventure games.

    Power-ups: Bring back the Elemental shields and expand upon them. Make new shields on top of the original 3, like a Wind Shield, an Ice Shield, a Steel Shield, etc to tackle different situations and terrain. Have them actually do more like how the Flame shield burns bridges in Mania's Green Hill. They enhance the characters' abilities, rather than changing the gameplay entirely. No more Color Powers/Wisps.

    Customization: Have unlockable costumes/skins for each character, such as the classic designs, Riders outfits, SA2's Soap shoes, Boom designs, movie designs, etc. Other bonus outfits like the ones in SA2's multiplayer, Rivals, and Holiday themed outfits would also be appreciated. Maybe have custom outfits and accessories like with the Avatar in Forces.

    Art style: A mix of the Adventure games, Secret Rings/Black Knight, and Unleashed/Colors/Generations. Maybe take some inspiration from the Saturn-era games like Sonic Jam and Sonic R too. Fantasy, some stylization, and surrealism, but with some 'realistic' details to make it feel 'grounded'. Something along those lines. Also, if humans are ever brought back, I'd probably prefer a more 'anime' style for them like SA1 than the weird Pixar style Unleashed went with. Also for the love of God, Sega, make the character models expressive again. I'm tired of the stiff awkward animations we've been getting in the more recent games.

    Progression: Offer two modes from the start:
    • Story/Adventure mode: where the main story takes place. There's hub worlds, NPCs to interact with, optional side stories/missions to complete, collectibles like Emblems/Medals/Red Star Rings to unlock extra content, optional minigames (Pinball, going fishing with Big, dance battles, Sonic DJ-ing for a night club or something, you know fun, silly stuff like that), etc. Take some inspiration from Yakuza and Persona to make the world feel 'alive', and have a lot of fun side stuff to do. In this mode, there's no lives like in Forces, so it's easier on less experienced players, and there's no ranking here like in SA1 and Lost World. If Chao Gardens and Chao minigames ever came back, they'd be accessed from these hubs, like in SA1.
    • Classic/Arcade mode: think the EGG Shuttle mode from Colors, basically. It's like the Genesis/Mega Drive games and Mania, where you just go through the stages and bosses back to back with a set of lives. Story is minimal or nonexistent here, and there's no hubs or filler to slow you down. Instead of being ranked per stage, your rank will come from the score you tallied up from your entire run through the game. This is for the people who don't like dealing with stories in Sonic and just want to get straight into the action.
    • After clearing one of these modes, you'll unlock Score Attack mode, where racking up points matters and you rack up extra points for playing stylishly and skillfully (think SA2), and you get a rank after clearing the stage; and Time Attack mode, where you're ranked based on the time it takes you to clear a stage like in Unleashed Wii/PS2 and Lost World. Maybe also have a Hard Mode/Very Hard Mode like SA2/06/Unleashed as well for people who want extra challenge in Sonic games.

    Presentation: Make the game look stylish, including the UI and menus. Generations and Forces were pretty good in this department, I think, so I think they can pull off something nice on that front. Also bring back the 'Stage Select Map' from SA2 and/or Forces. I like it when they do stuff like that.

    Story: basically just do what they were doing in the Adventure era and the Storybook games. Just give me my shounen anime cheese and my B-action movie camp, and I'll be good. Having jokes and humor is also fine, just as long as it isn't too cringe-y, and they're not forced/out of place. No more memes or meta jokes though in the games, please. Leave that only for the social media stuff. :V
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
  9. ForgeCircuit


    I'm not sure that there is an easy approach for the next 3D Sonic. I feel like they need to go all the way back to the drawing board. The 3D momentum-sandbox fangames we've seen over the last couple of years should be the jumping off point to really sit down and nail the feeling of what Sonic should be. In a way, the Sonic Utopia and Green Hill Paradise Act 2 games have already done the groundwork. These games have even gone somewhat viral (Utopia especially), with millions of views (and thousands of upvotes for many, many comments amounting to "this would make me like Sonic") for the various videos that show them, presenting a compelling case for SEGA to take notice.

    The feedback for what 3D Sonic should be has been difficult to qualify and describe. The viral popularity of Sonic Utopia videos should be the clearest feedback you can imagine. They have to know about this stuff.
    The fundamentals of acceleration, deceleration, friction, jump heights, time to apex, and all of sonic's other movement parameters need seriously re-examining, away from an established "adventure" or "boost" system. And even then, once you have Sonic running around with good-feeling movement, then you need to add rolling, and make that feel awesome, and with its parameters (including its relationship to the running state) seriously studied and looked at hard. Make it fun to pilot Sonic the Hedgehog, even on an infinite flat plane.

    Then, you also need to make sure that all of the above interacts in a fun, intuitive way with curved surfaces, springs, enemies, and a large, large number of quirky, interactable, level-specific objects to the point where absolutely zero scripting is required and high movement speed emerges. All in full 3D from start to finish. The SA games got closer to this than the boost, for sure, but still relied on scripting for loops and springs had no air control.

    Luckily for SEGA and Sonic Team, a lot of the preliminary work on a new take on 3D Sonic has been done by fans. They can use games like Sonic Utopia to their advantage, as a jumping off point. The prototyping stage has, in a way, already been done for them.
  10. Gestalt


    Sphinx in Chains Member
    Sonic Utopia looks like that kind of game you would find on a friend’s computer at a LAN party. You only play it when you’re massively bored and you’re glad you didn’t spend money on it. It’s also struggling with motion sickness. When I was watching Somecallmejohnny’s playthrough of it I literally got dizzy looking at the screen. I think it would have helped if there were NPCs or side quests spread around the map like in, let’s say Mario Sunshine.

    But other than that, it’s an interesting project/experiment, which begs the question, why it hasn’t been done before. What if you split its map into a bunch of interconnected sections that allow the player to travel back and forth at will? That way there might even be room for some automation here and there without ruining everyone’s fun. Forget the mainstream for once, let’s get nerdy. :specialed:
  11. MH MD

    MH MD

    I would argue that Unleashed already attempted something similar with the medals system, really it works all the same, you got to collect predetermined number of medals, and then you have some 2 stages or more that you are free to choose where to go next .

    And we all know the fandom didn't take that lightly and most hate it with passion - i didn't mind it personally- , a full game based on that system will not go well with the fanbase at all.
  12. Wildcat


    Utopia and GH Paradise 2 look very nice but I don’t know how a whole game can work like that. If Sonic can cross an entire landscape in seconds with ramps everywhere it makes enemies and obstacles pointless. That would fit better for a hub world.

    Everyone probably wants something different. If I could choose I guess I’d go with something like the first Adventure. A bigger hub world where you enter stages from. I like the idea of adding a bunch of side stuff for the fun of it. I also want Avatars to return with more features.

    I’m not really bothered with recent gameplay styles except maybe Heroes where you’re forced to change on the fly all the time. Again it’s probably just me that didn’t get used to it. I’ve been fine with the controls and physics.

    As long as the stages feel challenging but fair. Forces was too easy. I even feel like Generations and Colors were on the easy side too. If you just stuck to the main quest.

    For story I’d like the tone to be Adventure/Unleashed/06/Forces. Mostly serious with some lighthearted parts. I wish they’d finally bring the Freedom Fighters like Sally and Bunnie. I know some think that will never happen but I do, eventually. Not yet though. I’d have to think about details.
  13. Crappy Blue

    Crappy Blue

    Knuckles' Chaotix is a perfect game with no flaws Member
    You're missing the forest for the trees, there. The reason people dislike the medals system in Unleashed is because of a compound of issues:

    1) They're blink-and-you'll-miss-it levels of easy-to-miss in the daytime stages, thanks to those stages' linear structure and blazing pace.
    2) They're out-of-the-way in the nighttime stages, which are levels most players lose the patience for exploring very quickly.
    3) They're required for progression, despite never being the goal of any levels. In 3D "collectathon" platformers like most of the 3D Marios, the goal is always very clearly laid out as "grab this thing" or "grab these things".

    A Sonic game actually designed around guiding the player to collect things for progression wouldn't be structured like Unleashed was.
  14. Wafer


    Find me on Twitter instead Member
    I feel like I'm in the minority here, but I think that fangame approaches like Utopia and SRB2 are the worst inspiration that Sonic Team could look to.

    Yeah, they're technically impressive, and they make for nice firework shows for people who watch the videos on YouTube, but I can't imagine most people being willing to tolerate the twitchiness of that kind of gameplay. For me personally, those kinda things always felt like the worst parts of the Adventure games only if my hands had been in an ice bucket before playing.

    I don't have an alternative, but I didn't want this particular popular opinion to go uncontested.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
  15. Mana


    Good! Great! Awesome! Outstanding! Amazing! Member
    I want an open world Sonic game where you unlock new moves as you progress through the game and go back to areas and use them like a Metroidvania. I think the Lost World Zelda stage is a good start to what I would like.
  16. EmerlForgotten


    Sonic Music Curator Member
    Honestly, I'd be fine with them sticking to the boost formula with one exception: please keep the 2D sections to an absolute minimum. I often find myself having tons of fun in the 3D sections only to be put to a screeching halt with 2D sections being interspersed. Control-wise, they're ok but they're not the reason I wanna play Modern Sonic in a boost game.
    • Agree Agree x 3
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  17. Lapper


    Lappering Tech Member
    Sonic Studio, Sonic Physics Guide, Kyle & Lucy, Freedom Planet 2
    I'm sure whatever Sonic Utopia is doing behind the scenes to improve & refine on the 'aimless' sandbox demo will be what I'd want from an official game. Got a ton of faith in that.
    Even the demo, as plain as it is, if you ignore what it doesn't do, what it does do is pristine. Totally get the motion sickness argument though, even if I don't experience it myself.

    Anything that has a glint automation is dead to me, I'd like to have a real loopdeloop or running experience, not a fake one. If they make a game fun without needing a boost to mostly ignore enemies and force a wow its fast factor, they on the right track.

    I'd only fully enjoy a Sonic game which stays true to what sonic games started as, momentum and slope physics as a core gameplay element : P That doesn't mean I dislike games that don't do all that but ...this is Sonic. The games we get now feel like a Paper Mario level spinnoff from what it should be.
  18. Fadaway


    The currently available demo for Utopia, sure. One sandbox level and all. A fully fleshed-out game with a lot of work poured into multiple worlds like that would feel a bit different. Sounds grand to me. I do like what they were trying to do with the Adventure games—especially the first—but felt it went in some wonky directions. Generations felt decent enough and a lot of work was obviously put into it, but it felt too linear to me a lot of times.
  19. Frostav


    This is a very impressive comment. It's literally fractally wrong in every concievable facet. How do you have such an objectively bad opinion?

    This one's pretty close though given that SRB2 is the greatest 3D platformer ever made
  20. Gestalt


    Sphinx in Chains Member
    If you’re talking about my English, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to come off as rude. It’s just that I think we’ve got to look harder, instead of just talking about fangames and what Sonic Team can learn from them. I don’t think badly of Sonic Utopia, I just didn’t see the need to say anything positive.