don't click here

What gameplay features would you want in the next 2D Sonic game?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by RetroJordan91, Nov 15, 2020.

  1. Beltway


    The most grateful Sonic fan of all time this week Member
    Sega of Darkest Peru
    Artwork and classes
    If difficulty really is an issue for newer / younger players when it comes to 2D / Genesis Sonic, I think Sega taking some notes from Nintendo's 2D games or the Crash games, and giving them an anti-frustration feature would be the ideal approach to go. Give players who really are having a hard time with certain stages some special powerups or the ability to activate a computer to take the wheel and beat the stage for them (albeit with the tradeoff of not "officially" completing the level, for those who care about that). Even Lost World (given how much it was riding on Mario's coattails) had a feature where you can skip to the next checkpoint if a certain section was really throttling players.

    My main concern about addressing Sonic games being difficult is Sega taking the S4E2 / Generations route and just assuming people are nimrods who have never played a platformer before. In other words, resorting to this:

  2. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    Are you referring to the signs?
  3. Josh


    I agree. There's got to be a better way to signal to the player "be careful, this is a bottomless pit" than just plastering ugly caution signs all over the environment.
  4. kyasarintsu


    Kirby Squeak Squad had a signifier for death pits that wasn't nearly as obnoxious as a gigantic orange sign: just a subtle chevron pattern that glows rainbow. Certainly Sonic can have something unobtrusive as well.
  5. Myles_Zadok


    IDK Member
    I've thought that bottomless pits were kind of bad design in Sonic games anyway, as it punishes the player for making a mistake with death, as opposed to taking a slower, more platforming-heavy route. I think that's why Mania and even 3&K have very few bottomless pits. I'd be surprised if there were 10 bottomless pits in the entirety of Mania.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • List
  6. milo


    whoa!! Member
    Classic Sonic really flourishes when the level design is on point. Sonic Megamix comes to mind, I never get bored playing through a level in that game.

    I think it'd be really fun to explore more open levels, where there are 2 or 3 completely separate paths that end in different goalposts even. That would really up the replayability, as you'd be able to choose which "ending" to a level you want that run, with different secrets and rewards along each path.
  7. Lets go one step further with this. What if the alternate paths through the zone...took you to DIFFERENT ZONES? Like you start in Grass zone, and the bottom route takes you through a Cave zone, while an upper path takes you high up into a mountain zone? That would definitely allow for replayability, because by taking certain paths, you see certain zones and miss others! That would be super cool to see in a classic Sonic sidescroller.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  8. Antheraea


    Bug Hunter Member
    hehehe Kirby games do this to gate plot coupons or secret areas - for instance needing to hold onto a specific power to combine with another one at the end of the stage in Kirby 64, or needing stone/hammer to hit down a peg to open a secret door in Nightmare in Dreamland. Sonic can be a bit more forgiving as it's pretty normal now for checkpoint bonus levels to give shields...or it could be a bit more infuriating as you lose the one you have for another one you didn't want for that level.

    Beach, City, Sky = Advance 1
    Forest, Mountains = Advance 2
    With a decent amount of overlap in general for all the DIMPS portable Sonics


    Re: level total, I think the amounts in S3&K and Mania are fine because I virtually never, ever play video games in a single sitting anymore, and of the classic games, only 1 and 2 don't have save systems in their original forms, which I get around states :V (I have retroarch set up to drop a save state when I quit it even). Most games overall are also generally way, way longer than the likes of Mania and S3&K too, so I think their lengths are fine. Generally any fatigue I have with running through them in one sitting is due to the themes - which means I never feel burnt out when I play S3&K while I totally do start feeling it by the time Oil Ocean rolls around because that "block" of the game is three industrial-themed zones out of four levels.

    Re: level length, yeah, a couple of acts in Mania are just too damn long (I don't feel the same about any of the levels in S3&K). I get the time limit being present as it keeps you from basically exploring all the stage (and finding all the special stages) in one go though.

    I do agree that lives should go outside of an Encore Mode now though - deaths that instantly respawn you at the checkpoint are just so good now, and it's something that I again essentially already do via save states... but I like the pressure of Encore Mode whittling down your characters with each death - and with it your movement abilities, what parts of the level you can get into, and retry chances for that zone. When it's just the one character though...nah. instant respawn.

    Something that I also feel a game after Mania needs to pull back on are the length of the bonus levels. The glowing spheres S3&K bonus level is pretty much THE highest length I think any of them should naturally Mania gives special stage-length bonus levels and then a lengthy pinball one after you clear all of them. I'd prefer any as short as the gumball machine bonus.

    As for "things that aren't just in a list of changes from Mania"...
    • I want the next game to have 100% all new levels. Not even new themes (god knows Emerald Hill is just brighter Green Hill), but new levels. I can't believe I even have to say that but here we are.
    • I'd like Amy or even a "classic" Blaze to show up. Amy would require a lot more reworking and also I don't like her classic design all that much, but Blaze isn't technically Classic even as she has the most complete moveset of any of the "new" characters in a 2D space.
    and...uh...thinking about it, that's it. Honestly I just want More Classic Sonic Gameplay in new and colorful locales to run through.
  9. So I'm going to be that guy, and say we need a bit of an overhaul. I love Mania to death, but I'm really not fond of a mission pack sequel unless they truly outdo themselves with it. So I guess I'll break this down between two types of sequels. The "Same but more" type of sequel and the 'Everything is different, but keeps the spirit" type of sequel.

    If we get a Mission pack Sequel, then it kind of goes without saying that we'll need more levels, and all of them need to be (mostly) original. Keep all of the playable characters from Mania+, and add Amy into the mix. The only problems I can see with this, is that more levels would probably lead to them being somewhat shorter in length. Mania already has just about as many zones S3&K, and it's almost a tall order expecting 20 odd levels with that length.

    If we want to change things however; I'd update the artstyle. I have no problem with Mania's aesthetics, but the fact remains is that it still looks too similar to the Genesis games. I know that was the point as a deliberate throwback, but that aesthetic can't stay forever. Maybe something more cell-shaded? Like Mega Man 11, I think you can add a new gimmick that expands on the existing gameplay. I dunno, power up shoes that give you different abilities maybe? Maybe adding a new move to Sonic's arsenal like the Drop dash?

    Those are off the top of my head.
  10. Gnidel


    My wishes are completely against what Mania set as a standard. I would like a Modern Sonic 2D game with big focus on story, with sprite-based voiced cutscenes. It would be nice if it had similar story structure to Sonic Adventure 2, where we could play as bad guys in 2D, including Eggman. In story mode characters would be specific to a stage, but there would be also unlockable Arcade Mode where it would be possible to play through all zones as one selected character.

    Team Sonic: Sonic, Cream, Gemerl
    Team Eggman: Eggman, Fang, Infinite

    I wanted an unusual cast, so I excluded Tails, Knuckles, Mighty and Ray, but they could be unlockables. Even Classic Sonic, because why not, it would be no effort to copypaste them from Mania. Amy with her Advance gameplay could be another unlockable.

    The game could even keep classic 16-bit art style, something like this:

    And no reused zones. Zero. All original.

    Personally I view the timeline of Classic Sonic as a tumor. Tumor that sucks blood from Modern Sonic 2D games because Mania was so acclaimed that new 2D Modern Sonic are unlikely to be made. Just like GTA Online was so successful that it killed future GTA games for entire generation of consoles (or maybe even two or more).
    Classic Sonic himself as a character is fine, I was fine with him being past Sonic and I enjoy the growth of the hedgehog, but not Sonic from alternate timeline/dimension with games that don't impact the world of Sonic we experienced years of adventures. The only reason I tolerate Mania being in different timeline is that it impacts Sonic Forces, but I would prefer it to be just an adventure set between S3&K and SA. Because it impacted the events of Forces, it would be a good cut-off point. However I would be fine with Classic Sonic games that happened in the Modern timeline.
    Rant over, the point of it is: this is why I would prefer the game to be set in the world of Modern Sonic, starring Modern Sonic, expanding world and lore of Modern Sonic. Just in 2D and using classic gameplay style, like Sonic Advance.
  11. Pengi


    I think "Our once great but long troubled flagship series has had its most critically acclaimed and beloved game since its heyday. Let's immediately abandon that!" would be the wrong approach to take.

    Dimps got to make about a dozen Sonic games that were all over the map in both approach and quality. Ideally, Evening Star should get at least one attempt to do a Sonic Mania sequel with all-new levels. Sonic and the Haunted Hockey Stick can wait, now is the time for a traditional 2D Sonic game.
  12. foXcollr


    Resident Dolphin Member
    I definitely agree; Mania was the most critically acclaimed Sonic game in 25 years (Metacritic aggregate), and - although idk if we have exact sales numbers - we do know that Sega was VERY happy with its sales performance, despite the base game being a fully digital release (apparently happy enough to give it a physical release later down the line). Moreover, Sonic Mania got people actually talking. It wasn't the big popular game of the time, but lots of reviewers and streamers and LPers were talking about Sonic Mania and riding off of the hype wave. It was the first time in quite a while that Sonic was a big talking point in a refreshing and positive way.

    But even so, the fact that Mania was designated to a different studio / group of studios means it's very unlikely that Mania is what is holding modern Sonic back. Sonic Team was actively working on a modern game the entire time and Mania didn't get in the way of that. And SEGA/Dimps hasn't tried making a real dedicated 2D modern Sonic game in YEARS, meaning it's probably unlikely they planned on doing it anyway. The most we've gotten is the handheld versions of games like Generations and Colors, maybe Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice if you count that as a "modern" game. I guess Sonic 4 might be a modern game because Sonic 4 doesn't even know what it's supposed to be.

    Obviously, different strokes for different folks. I might prefer classic gameplay, but others may definitely prefer 2D modern Sonic games. But I think it's a bit unfair to say that Mania is in any way responsible for SEGA's inability to make a decent 2D modern Sonic game.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  13. Beltway


    The most grateful Sonic fan of all time this week Member
    Sega of Darkest Peru
    Artwork and classes
    I think there's a bit of irony about asking for a new 2D Millennium Sonic game when that's pretty much what the 3D games have become by this point; half 3D/half 2D games if not outright 2D games with some 3D sections. Until Sonic Team (or some other studio) finally puts an end to that nonsense and starts making proper 3D platformers again, I think fans are going to be stuck in that rathole.

    That and as previously mentioned, Mania's just one proper Genesis entry following an entire two decades' catalog of Millennium 2D Sonic games that have been released after S&K. The majority of which (Sonic "as you truly imagined it" 4 included) abandoned the original gameplay in favor of doing their own thing and/or following the template of the 3D games. So I personally don't share the same sentiment in getting a new 2D game on the Millennium half of Sonic in the immediate future.

    Although to repeat an suggestion I offered months ago. Nix the 2D sections from the 3D levels from the Boost games, in favor of giving them their own game mode in the same project. Lets the 3D Boost levels actually focus on being 3D, and vice-versa with the 2D Boost levels. You could even go a step further and reformulate the 2D Boost levels/campaign into being new Sonic Rush games, included as an extra campaign of the 3D Boost titles instead of being separate handheld games.
  14. Gestalt


    Sphinx in Chains Member
    As much as I enjoyed Sonic Mania, what I'd really like to see would be a true 2D game with 3D optics. Making Sonic Adventure 2D could be a lot of fun (-> the very first section of Sky Deck). But I guess there are just too many things that need to be considered to make it really work. Just look at Sonic Generations. At first it seems like they really nailed it (Green Hill Zone, Chemical Plant Zone, Sky Sanctuary, they're all faithful recreations of their 16-bit counterparts), but then you start playing and you realize that they play nothing like they did on the Genesis/Mega Drive. There must be a reason for this. My best bet is that they didn't have enough time to think it through enough. Is Sonic's classic pose in Generations and Forces actually inviting you to play with him or aren't we just waiting for the game to play itself? It's not just about the graphics or the physic engine.

    Nostalgia pandering games always expect a certain familiarity with the series they originated from in order to understand all of their mechanics, but what if Sonic Team was actually given the chance to redo it all from scratch? Shoulder buttons for spin-dashing/curling into a ball, BRAKING, omg!!!1
  15. Swifthom


    A Friend Remembers... Member
    Sonic Team have never understood what we meant about 'returning to 2D' until Mania.
    The Advance series went hardcore classic, then veered wildly with innovative new ideas. The rivals games were interesting but (in my mind) failed expeirments. Then Sonic 4 had broken physics. yes, they were all 2D but mechanically few of these games were sound.

    I mean, the Donkey Kong Country games (both the very old and the very new) show that you can use 3 dimensional models to animate characters in a 2D plane and have it look awesome!
    But Sonic team, both in Sonic 4, Sonic Generations and Sonic Forces are relying on 3 dimensional physics engines to manipulate a 2D playing field and doing it badly. I'm not married to the concept of sprite art but I think there is something freeing in game design of just saying 'this character is a box with an avatar in front of it' that lets developers seperate the art style from the gameplay mechanics. This is my personal observation but the aforementioned '3D in 2D' games all push for 'in game 3D physics engines' that just feel... off.

    And it's not just Sonic team. I'm currently replaying Nier Automata which also switches from 3D to 2D and the controls are off when in 2D - you can't jump high or far enough to feel natural but i KNOW it's the same as it is in 3D. but as the game mechanics are not momentum based but about swinging a sword and combat it doesn't jarr as much.
  16. Antheraea


    Bug Hunter Member
    whoo boy I disagree strongly with the advance games being "hardcore classic" in both physics and level design. The jumping and flying/gliding physics have always felt pretty bad to me, and 2 but especially 3 were terrible with the enemy placement and bottomless pits. The controls for the special stages are also extremely stiff and terrible. At least 2 is actually exhilarating to play though.

    I also disagree with the notion that games should just be 2.5D or use 3D models to imitate a 2D perspective. It is extremely hit or miss whether that looks and plays good - the chasm between frigging Hades and Mighty No 9 is vast, and I think you are more likely to end up at the Mighty No 9 end of the spectrum there or just straight forgotten like all the other sidescrollers and similar types that tried (that is why it is a big deal when games pull it Hades). I also feel that not a single one of the 3D Sonic titles has gotten down the Classic aesthetic, and I don't think they'd suddenly get it down this time either.
  17. Swifthom


    A Friend Remembers... Member
    That sentence is meant to be read in order.
    Advance 1 was trying to be SO representative of the original games - even though they didnt get the mechancis spot on I do believe it is dimps best interpretation of 'classic' sonic.
    Then Advance 2 and 3 both brough very odd new ideas to the table. They were 'innovative' - whether it was a good or a bad innovation is down to taste but you cannot say they were not at least trying to do new things.
  18. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

    Working on my art!
    I want them to move away from the pixelated style. Mania, I get, it was a return to form. But mix it up please. Like what if the whole game looked like Sonic Mania Adventures? I'd love that (that Sonic Freedom fan game is kinda doing this). But if they're going the 2.5D route I'd prefer like the Generations style than the Sonic 4 style (Episode 2 was ok).

    I'd also like new shield power ups. The main 3 are great, but I'm sure they could do more.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  19. VectorCNC


    CNC Sculpture/Artwork
    I would like to see at least one more pixel Sonic before they move onward. We waited SO unfairly long for a return to form and it was a wild success, can we please not immediately throw away what works - just this one time? Which means SEGA will of course do exactly that. What would SEGA use beside pixel art, and execute it well? If they use 3D models you can be certain they will cut the number of enemies and use bland basic trash-can models. One of the great things about the Mania was the lack of financial investment required by SEGA.

    My personal take on the Advance style is that it would be a massive step back from Classic. The fractured fan-base certainly has its niche of Advance lovers, but I don’t think it strikes the same cord with the wider audience that Mania tapped into. I won’t go further into that, just my opinion.

    Anyway, the one other thing I would love to see in a Mania follow up, would be more of the same. Keep the classic form and continue to expand in limitations of the past. I would like for the levels to have more little scenes and areas which stick out from the rest of the zone. Maybe there are sometimes hidden areas with a collectible or a little sprite animation. People love those zone transitions, well perhaps a little extra story like that occurs somewhere hidden in a zone, and when you find that you are rewarded with a collectible and an alternative ending, like Sonic CD.

    For example, say you are in some Forest Zone, and if Sonic launches high enough from a slope, he can land in some hidden area, and there you find Tails with the biplane stuck in some bushes, so then Sonic just spin dashes and clears the bushes so Tails can take off again. Or maybe you find a “biplane propeller” and then hand that off to Tails in the second level. I remember when I was young playing Sonic CD and being so fascinated by the Metal Sonic projectors, and Amy waiting for Sonic in Collision Chaos, more of this please!

    It could be anything, but the idea is just to give a little extra detail to the world and the story. Give the player reason to explore the levels, not just speed through. People love sprite animations just for the sake of them really.
  20. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

    size of a tangerine Member
    Every time Sonic has been presented in "2.5D" with 3D models/environments it generally looks pretty ugly and busy. I don't like the weird shifting perspective.

    I think one more game at least in the Mega Drive style would be great, and if they want to "modernize" the look of future 2D games, it should be hand drawn 2D graphics like Sonic 2 HD or Sonic Freedom.