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

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

  1. See, and I disagree with that; the only truly poor games is just 06 and Rise of Lyric; every other game is, at worst, just passable. I think people highly exaggerate how bad some of these games are. Mediocre? Absolutely, but that's not the same as being outright terrible.

    And technically speaking, Sonic 2 and 3&K would count towards what I was saying. They're undoubtedly great games that build on what was there, but part of me just feels like simply doing that again wouldn't yield the same results.

    But then again, the expectations for Sonic are already low to begin with so *shrug*.
  2. That's my thought as well. I wouldn't mind if they rehashed Mania just once before taking things in different directions (with new art styles, two-button mechanics, and so forth). Time travel is probably the most interesting way they can change it up while still staying true to the original formula, and there are plenty of ways they can improve over the way it was done in Sonic CD. I wouldn't mind revisiting old zones again if they had new past and future variants (though obviously I'd like to see more new zones as well).

    Past that, like others, I'd love to see a full Sonic game with either a higher-resolution art style like Sonic 2 HD or a hand-drawn style like Sonic Freedom (or a hand-drawn Adventure/Advance-era style). For such a stylized series, it's disappointing that we haven't really seen it explore a ton of different aesthetics.
  3. RetroJordan91


    The REAL Blue Sphere Guy Member
    You know what.. that would be a real awesome idea.. with all the time travel ideas floating around, a sequel to Sonic CD, Sonic Mania style with a revamped time travel mechanic (maybe make it much faster in terms of loading the levels, etc.), introduce Amy as a playable character along with the main 3 since she debuted in CD originally, new zones with layouts for the past, futures, etc. probably won’t happen but it would be a very ambitious opportunity to expand on CDs gameplay mechanics.. the only thing is how would the special stages work if we have chaos emeralds and time stones to go after.. and maybe change the setting to a new planet as opposed to Little Planet for the 4th-5th time

    The talk about time travel reminded me of the missed opportunity of Sonic 4 Episode 2 where they tied that with CD and they even used a differently designed future post in one of CDs trailers (I think it was the launch trailer but IDR)
  4. Pengi


    Sonic 2006 and Rise of Lyric were train wrecks.* There's a large space between "train wreck" and "mediocre" that most Sonic games occupy - that's what I mean by poor. Below average. Sub-standard. Not notoriously awful, but not worth the average player's time or money. Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic Unleashed, Sonic and the Black Knight, Sonic 4, Sonic Lost World and Sonic Forces all fall in that category, with some (Black Knight, Sonic Forces) notably worse than others.

    Every Sonic game has its fans, and that's fine. Every piece of media ever made has its fans, that's all fine. And while I think it's reductive to place too much importance on a game's MetaCritic aggregate, these are games that weren't received well by the video game press. Sonic Forces did not get the reviews a decent, fun enough, middle of the road game gets. It got the reviews a crummy game gets. Same for almost all of the above. Same for the Sonic Adventure re-releases. It's not even one of those niche things where the critics don't get it, but it presses the all the right buttons for the established fan base. They're just sloppy games. Whatever your personal opinion of those games, they don't have a reputation of being "mediocre", they have a reputation of being "below average" or "bad".

    That's a reputation that needs to be acknowledged. It also needs to be acknowledged that the series began its life with a reputation for excellence with the core Mega Drive series, which have gone on to become evergreen titles.

    So when they finally knock it out of the park with a game that's very well received by both the critics and the fans, that also sells well, the sensible thing to do would be to make more games like that and attempt to rebuild the series' reputation. That's not something worth jeopardising. "What if people end up getting bored of too much of a good thing?" isn't something that should be on the mind of anyone working on the Sonic series right now. The series does not have the luxury to be concerned with "too much of a good thing".

    If Sega goes ahead with a Sonic Mania 2 or 3 and the worst criticism they get is that they're too similar to Sonic Mania 1, that's fine. That's a better outcome than a Black Knight, a Lost World or a Forces.

    *It's embarrassing that a series as high profile as Sonic should have one high profile train wreck of a game, let along two, only 8 years apart.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
  5. And I'll reiterate once again that some fans (such as yourself) need to stop caring so much what the general video game press thinks about Sonic, because the fact of the matter is that Sonic isn't really something a lot of people understand. Fans can't even decide on what Sonic's identity is, do you honestly think the gaming press knows anymore in that case?

    Yes, Sonic Mania was a great game that was widely praised left and right, but so was Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations and there's plenty of people both in and out of the fanbase who disagree on the quality of those games.

    The bottom line I'm trying to say is; there's no "right" way to go about making a Sonic game, and I think the fanbase is far too obsessed with finding that perfect Sonic game that's going to satisfy all of their personal niches, and put the series back in everyone's good graces and "return him to his former glory." This is the same attitude people had when Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations got good reviews. It's an extremely flawed mindset and I think people let high review scores cloud their judgement of that.

    The fact of the matter is that nobody is ever going to completely like the Sonic series no matter what it does, because Sonic is different for so many people; I'd rather the series just embrace that and do the best it can, rather than trying to satisfy an arbitrary focus group of people who probably won't play these games for more than a few sittings.

    Sega absolutely should capitalize on Mania's success and build off of it, but it doesn't have to be the central identity of the series going forward either while shunning everything else.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
  6. Uh, regarding Sonic in the Third Dimension there may not be a consensus on how to make a quality game, but for the Second Dimension there absolutely is. We all love the classics, even if we have different rankings. Sonic 1 established a core formula and solid mechanics that the sequels adhered to. No fundamental aspect changed from Sonic 1 to CD, or Sonic 1 to 2, or 2 to 3 and Knuckles. Sonic Advance stuck to the same plan and was/is generally well-regarded. The later Advances toyed with the mechanics by bringing in elements from the 3D entries and ultimately suffered because of it. Mania went back to the core Sonic gameplay and was rightly heralded as something of a masterpiece.

    We know damn well what the components are to make a quality 2D Sonic game, all we have to do is hope Sega just sticks to what works.
  7. Pengi


    Here's the thing - my opinions on the Sonic series do line-up with the video game press, for the most part, and I think most people's do. In art, there are rules of craft, but ultimately whether something is good or bad comes down to personal opinion. The only thing we can measure is the reception something gets in reviews, word of mouth etc. There's often a consensus. There's a consensus that Citizen Kane is a good film. There's a consensus that Aladdin is better than The Return of Jafar. There's a consensus that Super Mario Galaxy is a good game. When you called out Sonic 2006 and Rise of Lyric, you were recognizing the consensus that they were very poorly received games. Critical opinion, casual player opinion and hardcore fan opinion all generally agree that Sonic 2006 and Rise of Lyric are very poor games and Super Mario Galaxy is a very good game.

    The consensus on most 21st century Sonic games is that they're sub-standard.

    Sega is in the business of making video games that have the widest commercial appeal possible, especially with their flagship brand. Sometimes a game can make a decent profit even if it's poorly received, but poor reviews and poor word of mouth will lead to fewer people buying that game. If someone does buy a game and is disappointed with it, they're less likely to buy the next one. If this keeps on happening, a bad reputation is built. Poorly Received Sonic Game X might turn a profit, but it would almost certainly have turned a bigger profit if it was an excellent, well received game, in a long string of excellent games.

    So when something like Sonic Unleashed comes out, and the critics, general gamers and hardcore Sonic fans all largely agree that the Werehog levels were weak and dragged the game down, the sensible thing to do is take that feedback into consideration. If everyone loved Werehog, couldn't get enough of Werehog, wanted more Werehog, then we'd maybe have gotten a Sonic Unleashed 2.

    Instead they got rid of the Werehog, built upon the well received parts and ended up with a better received game in Sonic Colours.

    "But some fans hate Sonic Colours!"

    Sure. But at the time of release, the general reception in reviews, on general gaming forums, on Sonic forums, etc. was that Sonic Colours was a much better put together game than any home console Sonic title from Heroes-Unleashed. Not all-time Hall of Fame stuff, like Sonic 2 or Super Mario Galaxy, but a solid, enjoyable, above average game. Ditto for Sonic Generations.

    Reputation matters in business, it's a recognised intangible asset. Quality, subjective as it may be, matters in commercial art. Reputation is a long-game. You've said before that it's unrealistic to expect Sonic to review or sell as well as Mario or Donkey Kong or Kirby. I don't think that is unrealistic. I think if Sega had maintained a certain quality standard then Sonic would be able to compete with the latest Kirby or Donkey Kong Country at the very least. It only seems unrealistic today because Sega spent 20+ years undervaluing the brand, being poor stewards of what was once a AAA game series.

    It's in Sega's best interest to make great Sonic games.

    And that's in my interest, because I want to be able to play great Sonic games.
  8. Azookara


    yup Member
    I would agree, but Sonic Rush Adventure kind of proves that the classic standard isn't exactly a formula they have to stick to 100% so they can make a good 2D game.

    Rush Adventure is my favorite 2D game outside of 3K & CD, probably because of what unique things it brings to the table. You get a nice, lighthearted story with proper character interactions, some really fun waverunner mini games, the ability to chart your destination across a map, a treasure gathering mechanic at the end of each level, a microscopic hub that lets you look at the treasures you've gained, ranking systems, tricks.. there's a lot of unique things going on in it! And I think a lot of it play in favor of the title's replay value, and keep that title fresh in my mind all these years later.

    While I think mechanically both in 2D and 3D Sonic shouldn't really stray away from the rolling-focused gameplay of the original titles, sure, sticking too hard to the structure of past titles in every other way will make for games that are way too samey.

    It's why I ultimately agree with both Sonic5993 and Pengi here on this subject. While there is a common consensus to follow for making better games, I believe Sonic fans like to box in their expectations a little too tight trying to be a crowd-pleaser. If Sonic games no longer took the risks that they do (which is a thing that almost every major franchise does, btw), a new title wouldn't be exciting anymore. Consistent scores aside, I would never want Sonic to go the way of classic Mega Man or Kirby.
  9. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

    size of a tangerine Member
    What is it with this generous "mediocre" defense? Just because a game isn't worse than '06 doesn't make it not a bad game.

    This is exactly what I'm thinking is the problem. Games like '06 lowered the state of the franchise so much that people think it's the only bad game in the series now. Apparently anything that's not quite as bad is now "okay."

    I think it's safe to say that the majority of the fans who didn't like Mania were Dark Age fans who were resentful of the classic games already. Basically everyone else (speaking in generalization) in and outside of the fanbase thought Mania was, at the very least, a good game, if not a great game. It certainly has had the best overall reception of any Sonic game for the past ~20 years, both in and outside the fanbase. The reason for that is because it brought back the core gameplay elements from the classic games and treated those elements with respect. Should they arbitrarily change those core elements in a follow-up game, there's a chance that something important will be lost and the game will be worse for it. As long as we get one or two more "mission pack sequels" that improve on Mania and, most importantly, give us all new zones, I'll be happy to play more legitimately good Sonic games. I don't even think the most highly of Mania as it is, but that's still of a quality that I don't see the 3D games reaching any time soon, even if the 30th anniversary game is enjoyable.
  10. I wouldn't lump Rush Adventure in with the Classics, nor Rush despite my love for it. They both followed mechanics established in Advance 2, which was the first 2D entry that deviated from the core gameplay and mechanics of the Mega Drive games by pulling concepts from the Adventure series. Rush Adventure was a pretty significant deviation with its broken up levels and abundance of gimmicks with the vehicles and trick system. Even the non-committal to a single character for the duration of the game was a significant departure from any game before it.

    I don't really see where risk-taking factors into anything here. Barring CD, the classics [1-3K, adv, Mania] didn't take risks. They updated or changed the art, sure. Sonic acquired the spindash in both CD and 2, and then there were the elemental shields in 3K. Tails was added as a proper character in 3 along with Knuckles, but you never had to actually play as them. The zones simply got longer and arguably more complex. Perhaps there are some percieved risks I'm missing herer? Advanced added Amy who played radically different than everyone else, but the rest retained their playstyle and the zones were scaled back from the scope of 3K. No real risks there short of the addition of another optional character to play as.

    Frankly, Mania didn't play it remotely risky until Plus came along with two more optional characters and the optional Encore mode. I'm also a fan of the Megaman series, in particular the X series, and I always looked forward to new entries for the new levels and new bosses. A new Sonic that doesn't muddle with the mechanics and simply gives us new zones and bosses is precisely what I want, and is what was granted to us back in the day.
  11. Pengi


    Sonic Rush Adventure is a great game.

    But there's a time and a place for veering off-course, and I think right now it would be insane for the next 2D Sonic game to not be a continuation of Sonic Mania. Just like we had Rush, Rush Adventure, Colours DS and Generations 3DS maintaining a certain style of gameplay.

    Sonic Rush Adventure is an interesting case though. The level themes were all more original. The trick system was improved upon. The stage gimmicks were more varied. The enemies were more varied. The level design was a lot better and fairer (fewer un-telegraphed bottomless chasms). The annoying parts of the original were discarded (Tails/Cream talking during a boss, "defeat X number of enemies" rooms, the weird suddenly isometric bits). It was Sonic Rush, but better.

    But a lot of people slept on it, and I think it's almost entirely due to the extraneous parts, namely the sailing mini-games, the chart mapping, the material collecting. I know people who liked Rush but didn't buy Rush Adventure because all of that stuff was off-putting. I didn't mind any of it, but I can absolutely see why it was a deal-breaker for people. Even putting the word "Adventure" in the title, I think gave people the wrong impression of what the game was. I reckon if they'd called it Sonic Rush 2 and just stuck to the core gameplay then more people might have checked it out.
  12. Josh


    I loved Rush at the time, and bought Rush Adventure after seeing how much the fans were hyping it up... and dropped it about two levels in, exactly because of all the extraneous BS it was asking me to do instead of playing a Sonic game. :P (I also didn't care for the soundtrack nearly as much, but that's tertiary to the point, haha.) I literally haven't picked it up again since 2007. And while I'm sure I'd be more patient with it now, I hate that all that stuff got in the way of a lot of elements I'd have really enjoyed.

    Maybe I should just download a 100% save file and play the stages that way, haha.
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  13. Azookara


    yup Member
    Ya'll are boring as hell, haha.

    I don't want to see Sonic become Mega Man or Kirby where it's just the same structure every single game with very little changing about how it works. Sonic 3 & Knuckles might be the best game in the series, and building off of it may be a great idea, but emphasis on building off of it and not just replicating what it does. I already find the 2D Sonic formula to be a little tiring these days anyways, as I find just making level packs to not be worth my time, especially if it means getting things so similar to 3K that 3K's traits become a commodity.

    It's absolutely why a Mania 2 is not the next game I want out of the series. Eh.
  14. Antheraea


    Bug Hunter Member
    the idea of thinking that not wanting a mediocre-if-generous 3D Sonic title is "caring about what the critics think" is...sooooo depressing. I also severely disagree with the idea that the 3D games aside from 06 and Forces are "good" - not when we have PS2-era platformers that realize their mechanics with far more depth and polish than the 3D titles. I want better. The concept of the modern 3D Sonics are sound but they are always, always underbaked in some way - or their sister mechanics like Classic Sonic are - and I want a new 3D Sonic title to make me fuckin blissful like Mania did.

    It's depressing as all hell that we went from the classic titles, which both had ambition and the effort to implement it, a distinct aesthetic that makes it clear what Sonic looks like and is, and broke out of its esoteric nature by being good enough to get non-Sonic fans obsessed with it - to uh......this? And then look at Mania which did all those things I just mentioned about the original classic games and go "well we don't need this and also it's not fresh anymore". Gimme that digital joy over spitting out a generic, at-best "okay" title to be "different from the last one" any day of the week, and I suspect I wouldn't be the only one that feels that way too.
  15. Antheraea


    Bug Hunter Member
    kirby and megaman actually had good games in the past decade, and in the case of megaman its return to the "formula" in modern titles was praised for being a return to form. 2D Sonic has not had a good game using """the formula""" since S3&K, almost two decades.
  16. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

    Virginia, USA
    Paying off student loans

    If not fixing what ain't broke is "boring", then yes, I'm goddamn proud to call myself boring.
  17. Azookara


    yup Member
    I do think it's pretty boring to think Sonic games can't move too far into any new direction if it means contradicting or moving beyond what a previous highly-acclaimed game established, yes.

    I don't think stagnation is a good philosophy for game design. Crazy stuff, I know.
  18. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    I don't think the classic series is in dire need of a shake up right now. If the next game copypastes the S3&K formula like Mania did and is as well designed, I'll most certainly love it. But it would be nice to see some innovation and progress eventually.

    The Sonic series as we know it wouldn't even exist if Sonic Team hadn't decided to fix what ain't broke. When they made Sonic 1, they could have made a more conventional platformer, but they decided to put a twist on the genre instead, having a greater focus on speed and physics.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
  19. Crasher


    Why hello there! Member
    I mean, most of the games in the Sonic franchise aren't bad. They're mediocre. They reviewed poorly, but other, better games also reviewed poorly or just as well as these games.

    I wouldn't trust any of these publications, when they can't even hold a standardized opinion across their site. Gamespot favorably covers Unleashed during E3, but then gives it a 35 (the lowest score Unleashed received, according to Metacritic!). IGN gives a literal shovelware title (Imagine: Party Babyz) a 7.5, while giving games that are much better score lower. Why? Who knows - the mystery that is the games journalism sphere is an enigma to us all.

    To call the 2000-era Sonic games bad, not based off of their own merits, but how they reviewed, is silly.
  20. SuperSonicRider


    I think, in general, a lot of people who played Mania have said things about wanting 100% new levels and a playable Amy in a hypothetical new classic Sonic game. Much as I love Mania and the way Mighty and Ray were incorporated into the game, it's a shame that the only Amy rep we got was the robot in Metallic Madness' boss. Now with Mania, it was ultimately fine to me because I think it's truly so awesome that they took a risk by adding Mighty and Ray and reintroducing them to the core cast. It's the first time they have been playable with abilities made for them, and the way they convey personality in their animations and in the likes of Mania Adventures makes it feel like they never left. But if this hypothetical new classic game didn't have Amy playable, it would be a little odd considering the demand for her.
    As for the old levels, considering the circumstances of their inclusion in Mania I was fine with it, but if a sequel had any beyond maybe using one for a one-act "Final Zone" type setting it would, again, be odd.

    There's other more random things that could be improved upon too, like how, in Mania, the save files don't save the act you're in, only the zone. This always just felt like a weird carryover from Sonic 3, because the remastered versions of Sonic CD, 1, & 2 all saved the act you were on until you completed the game IIRC. I've also seen enough complaints about Mania bosses that a sequel may allow the devs to improve on their approach to bosses. (I personally don't mind most of them and I think in general they're an improvement over the Hidden Palace boss in S2 2013, but Heavy Gunner (Studiopolis 1) and Spider Mobile (Flying Battery 2) are probably my least favorite.)

    Something that could benefit accessibility in a classic-style Sonic game is an optional tutorial level, so new players can get used to using rolling and spin dashing effectively to gain momentum. One other thing I'd like to see is an online versus mode. They could basically use the Mania Plus version, except allow people to pick the same character, and I think that would be pretty solid.