What is it about SEGA...

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Lostgame, Sep 24, 2020.

  1. Yeah, the daytime stages of Unleashed, the entirety of Colors, and the modern stages of Generations are what I think of when I imagine what Sonic could be today. I'm still convinced there's still tons of untapped potential in the boost gameplay that could really make a new boost game shine. They're arguably the closest Sonic Team has gotten to recreating the reflex-based spirit of the Genesis games in 3D.
  2. Vanishing Vision

    Vanishing Vision

    Sometimes I think about a future boost game that could actually take elements from the adventure gameplay for a kind of hybrid. Generations seemed to be going this way with the more involved 3D platforming and better low-speed control, which made Forces' problems that much more disappointing.

    A long while back, I thought up a game that would have both gameplay styles in each stage. Just as the boost games switch between 3D and 2D gameplay, this game would be fully 3D with seamless transitions between Unleashed style "Top Speed Areas" and SA1/2 style "Athletic Areas". This could potentially be more trouble than it would be worth, and I'm just now thinking about how switching between two control schemes might present a problem, but I still think it could be a cool idea.
  3. Crasher


    Why hello there! Member
    While I don't disagree with you, isn't this exactly what Frostav was saying? :V

    To reiterate, the initial claim was that no fan, in 20 years, had made a finished fangame that was better than an official Sonic game. The issue with this is that someone has done exactly that. Before and After the Sequel are generally considered to be on-par with the original trilogy - I'd look up direct quotes, but I'm far too lazy to - and much better than most of the entries that SEGA had offered up to 2012.

    Saying that those don't count retroactively, because of a game that came out half a decade later, is silly. Especially when many people consider it to essentially be an official fan-game.
  4. Ayu Tsukimiya

    Ayu Tsukimiya

    UGUU~ Member
    It's been like this for so long, too. Are actual people behind all these bad decisions, or is it some kind of workplace environment that breeds a certain mindset?
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
  5. MH MD

    MH MD

    There are many aspects i forget to mention, it's a result of me randomly commenting in a middle of discussion so some things can't be clear.

    The initial discussion i thought was primarily about 3D Sonic fangames , something i consider different than 2D Sonic games, so when before\after the sequel got brought up, i thought both about :1- They aren't 3D games in the first place, and 2- there exists a professional product which is better than them in the same 2D space.

    But i failed to remember and mention that....in some time in the past, those 2D fangames, were actually in fact better than official 2D offerings from the franchise like Sonic 4, but i both kinda forgot about their existence, and consider them going in different direction than classic Sonic games, which SEGA hadn't actually attempted until Mania, for it is the only 2D game that actually attempt to do what the fangames scene were doing for like the past 20 years, and did it better imo -while i respect and love the great fangames offerings of course!-
  6. Pengi


    Opinions are always going to differ, but I don't think those two games come close to Sonic 1/2/3&K/CD. Nor would I expect them to measure up to some of the finest games of their time and genre. The level design isn't quite there, the object and enemy placement isn't quite there, the graphics and presentation aren't there. But they're impressive as fan works and they paved the way for the more polished Spark games. Everyone who worked on them should be proud.

    The only really embarrassing thing for Sega, regarding fan games, is that several of them replicate the controls, feel and physics of the Mega Drive Sonic games better than they were able to manage in Sonic Generations and the abysmal Sonic 4 and Sonic Forces. That's something Sega/Dimps should have prioritised getting right. Hopefully, in a post Sonic Mania world, it's a mistake that won't be repeated. Beyond that, I'm not sure there's any lesson Sega could take from 2D fan games.

    For 3D Sonic games, the fan projects show that there's demand another fully 3D Sonic Adventure style game, with more emphasis on rolling physics and less linear level design. But I've yet to see anything that takes it beyond the conceptual stage and into something that would work as a game.
  7. raphael_fc


    Overthinking Sonic timelines. Member
    I love that kind of 3D level design that Sonic Encore has. A full game with just more and more levels like that would be awesome in my opinion.
  8. Pengi


    I don't think it works. The camera is too wobbly and stuttery, too motion sickness inducing. The level design is more focused than a lot of other fan made 3D Sonic demos, but is still mostly Sonic running through the environment and not engaging with any of its gimmicks, hazards or enemies.

    It's very impressive that a fan could create something like this, but it's not in "showing Sega how it should be done" territory.
  9. Lostgame


    turntablist, dinosaur goddess Oldbie
    Toronto, ON
    The O.I.C.
    I think this is my overall point. It's not so much that Sonic Team is bad - it's moreso that this community is often laughably better...do y'all remember the 'Sonic 1 Genesis' (GBA) debacle? I mean; they shat out that turd to supposedly celebrate Sonic's 15th, and Stealth jumped out less than a year later with an actual; honest-to-God port. One dude, not paid.

    And as a serious game and app developer; it drives me even more nuts. Like; 'just let me at the source code and fix it!'

    I'm not sure if it's the right word; but the...the barrier of believability(?); of being able to stay immersed and engaged in a game - requires it to be solid enough for you to be able to be immersed in it. If you know you could do better, and you're watching your friends do better in their spare time, it's hard to take it seriously.

    It'd be like being a film editor; being forced to watch a remake of your favourite childhood movie - except instead of these big ass flashy reboots, you can literally see the strings holding the props up, boom mics are in half the shots; the rewritten script is laughable, and instead of learning from these mistakes, the studio chooses to rush out the next movie in the exact same fashion despite the intense negative critical reaction.

    Indeed. I think a lot of this has turned into discussions over Sonic's style.

    That is not my point. I don't care less if Sonic makes an new awesome 3D sonic game in Adventure style, heck; I mean, where the hell has SA3 been all these years? SA2/SA2B has widely become the new 'standard' Sonic game almost everyone has played; people liked it, despite its flaws - I sure as hell did.

    Do Sonic Mania, an awesome 2D classic Sonic game. Do Sonic Adventure 3; mimicking exactly what made those games work in the first place. Just stop with the gimmicks and you'll have something quality.

    We don't need a werehog, we don't need more new characters; we don't need a weird team dynamic (Heroes; Sadv3 - as much as I love Chaotix; and spent years hacking it, it honestly proved, if anything; that concept didn't work) - and we certainly didn't need an abomination like 'Sonic the Hedgehog 4' bending our childhoods over and telling us to take it hard.

    Sonic 4 is not 'good', it's not 'decent'; it's not 'acceptable'... I had read a couple comments stating, oh; its just being compared to the previous games, it's not actually that bad...here's my response to that. Would this have ever passed by QA for 1, 2 or 3K?

    Would you have published this? I can *still* replicate this on my iPhone.


    Come on, guys. You have the formulas for, and with it; have made some of the greatest 2D games of all time - and a couple pretty alright 3D ones; too. If I found the secret formula to make coca-cola; you can bet I'm not going to be making some shitty dollar store off-brand soda.
  10. It's important to remember that Sonic 4 wasn't even supposed to be a mainline game - it was supposed to be a mobile-exclusive spin-off called Sonic the Portable. Again, it was incompetent Sega management that resulted in it being made multiplatform and called "Sonic 4". It's the classic example of Sega prioritizing profit at the expense of giving the developers time to polish their work.
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  11. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

    Back on track Member
    Bilbao, Spain
    Upgrading my own life to pro edition
    Some 3D fangames are nice and all, but I still don't feel I'm playing something on par with the classics when I try the best ones of those, I can feel I'm playing something better than the DC games at best, and only regarding some of the stuff in them, not the whole thing.

    I hate boost gameplay, wisps and everything they bring, so the only game I consider good for me from "the boost trilogy" is generations, where boost has less impact and wisps are restricted to their home level. OK, Unleashed doesn't have wisps, but it's hardcore boost. It's ok if people like it and find it well done stuff, but it's the opposite of why I started playing Sonic games in first place. Had the franchise started in Unleashed, it would get a lot more respect these days, but I wouldn't be a fan of Sonic by any means.

    If you ask me, we need back the "one action button" philosophy, even if it has to be two or three buttons on 3D: it gave priority to simplicity in controls, and the games designed that way controlled the best for more reasons than just the single button because they knew how important that is.

    And yes, corporate stuff does the most harm, I definitely think there are work dynamics inside Sega which go against good development, and the higher-ups don't seem to get it after all these years. One can only wonder what would have happened in a timeline where Xtreme released and was as great as it seemed it could have been, a timeline where they would have also released the true third Ecco the Dolphin game, etc.
  12. I had a massive ramble on SSMB about how 3D fangames seem to miss the forest through the trees. It's a bit long, so I'll put it in spoilers.

    People get too caught up on trying to be 1:1 to the Genesis games that they lose sight of making a game feel tight, dynamic and focused. People also tend to act like that a lot of the decisions for level design and game feel in the SA games weren't things they actively decided to do with good reasoning.

    Though I used to believe this in the past, I don't think trying to pursue some super perfect physics and making really ambitious level design is the answer to Sonic. Despite everything being said about how 2D Sonic works there's still something to remember about it: it's simple. All of what it introduces is not only easy to understand, but easy to the point that there's no vagueness to it. In order for Sonic gameplay to reach an equilibrium, it needs to run on as arcadey principles as it can get while still maintaining a depth.

    This is why the homing attack, as it stands, already works. It makes things easy, and it has a simple trade-off in function: you either get a sure shot into an enemy while sacrificing momentum, or you don't but the reward is more retained speed. The homing attack doesn't need to send you flying forward; if anything fangames like Sonic GT (and other games made in, say, HedgePhysics/Bumper Engine) only teach that it shouldn't because it's really, really squirrely. Sure, you could always say not to do homing chains excessively because that's bad, and that'd be correct, but that's also just a simple "don't" instead of an entire plot recoursing.

    Speaking of 'momentum', fangames are obsessed with that. To a fault, even.

    The Sonic Adventure games put Sonic under a speed-cap when running, and pull back Sonic's speed and control the longer he's suspended in air. People can see these as limitations that hold back the gameplay from being what it truly is, but I think these things are meant to make control better. 3D movement allows for a lot more exploitation of building forward speed than a 2D game does, and fangames have only proven that when you don't try to cap Sonic's movement speed (especially in air) then there's a lot of soaring over massive chunks of environment, skipping entire setpieces and sometimes having air hang-time run into the 10+ second range. SA's lower speeds and "simplified" physics, while imperfect, were elaborate in design.

    "But Azoo", you may ask, "why don't the levels just be made bigger to accommodate that?". This is many people's answer, but I don't think it's the right one. Again, Sonic needs to retain a simplicity to it, and expanding these maps out to blown up size just to make up for how easy Sonic is to fly off the handle kind of proves... a problem. Sonic shouldn't need a massive map just to be considered viable, because big maps are overwhelming and confusing when the objective is "get to the goal". And you may argue to just change the game to be something else, but (as fun as that is to think about) Sonic shouldn't need a big reinvention of his game progression in order to work in a 3D space; and (before one brings it up) just because Mario did that doesn't mean they had to, as Mario's 2D gameplay works in 3D just fine (see Mario 3D World).

    I think a lot of these issues, most of all, come down to a misunderstanding of 'flow'. That became a huge buzzword for Sonic games in the past several years and what people want, but honestly I feel like the sentiment is misplaced. People seem to think 'flow' means 'move at a constant high speed from start to finish of a level', but forget that the very games they criticize (ie the boost games) are constructed on that while the games they praise (the classics) do not.

    'Flow' in traditional Sonic gameplay is not about moving at a consistent high speed, it's about the level design organically flowing from one pace to the next.

    Classic Sonic games are constantly speeding up and slowing down the level design, with slower more trepidatious platforming areas, steady upward climbs, moderately quick slopey areas, and speedy set-pieces relying on semi-automation. This formula is honestly.. pretty much kept in the Adventure games, give or take maybe using dash panels too much. And sure, it's mad simple in comparison, but I'd give that less to the limitations of the game design and more so the limitations of what could be done then; whether that's due to time, money, understanding of 3D, or the hardware (which in the SA games' case, probably all four).

    Anyways, I typed a lot more than I intended to, but I think the honest truth is that we've already had classic Sonic gameplay in 3D. People just refused to take it or accept some of the decisions made, and I believe some of the decision-making done when converting Sonic to 3D only make more sense when you see how fangames tend to falter in mechanics or level design.

    Does that mean SA1/2 can't be elaborated on and that it's already perfect? Well uhh fuck no of course not, those games are kinda buggy and didn't get the chance to refine the concepts enough. But does that mean we already had the groundwork and all it takes is just applying what it learned? Absolutely.

    People just.. gotta slow Sonic down, give him some air resistance, and make tighter, compact level design that cares less about some cosmic philosophy to how Sonic should be and more about making a fun, varied platformer.

    In short I really don't wanna dog fangames since they're much less about "being better than SEGA" like people want to view them, and more about being a Sonic passion project that people spend time on for fun. But I ultimately think there's none out there that really feel as solid as any of Sega's 3D attempts. Even SRB2 has level design problems (mostly in the later stages) that I don't think would fly in what we could consider a 'good' 3D Sonic game.

    The quest for whatever that means today continues, I guess.
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  13. BadBehavior


    We already got that with Forces. You can beat the whole thing just holding down 1 button. :V
  14. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

    size of a tangerine Member
    I agree with this. Sonic Adventure is the closest we have to classic in 3D, and I wish that was refined. When I refer to fan games having better ideas than Sega, I'm sort of talking in a vague generalization. I actually have always felt that the prominence of fangames allowing Sonic to "fly" as much as they do is not really the right way to go. I definitely have criticisms of many fangames, and even the more promising ones have things I dislike, but that doesn't really have an impact on how I feel about Sega's problems.

    Super Monkey Ball and Marble Blast/Marble It Up are decent examples of how simple, physics-based arcade games can be done well. Of course Sonic shouldn't necessarily take level design cues from them, but they should be acknowledged I think. The problem with adapting classic Sonic to 3D is that there is always going to be a sacrifice. A 3D environment with 3D control cannot be treated exactly the same way the classic Sonic games were. What can be done as far as I'm concerned, is closely recreating the feel and philosophy of the classics. As you say, a big part of that is simplicity. Speed caps and air resistance are definitely good. I think taking SA1, giving Sonic legitimate ball physics to work with (make him move with reasonable accuracy to the classics), and relying less on boosters and homing attack chains, would be a good direction.

    This is also an important aspect of the "simplicity" Sonic needs. Yuji Naka's desire to keep inputs as simple as possible was a strength in my opinion. At most, the four face buttons should be the most inputs needed IMO.
  15. Frostav


    But the entire reason games like Encore, GT, and Utopia are more fun than anything Sonic Team has shat out in a decade is because they don't have the same awful speed caps of SA1 and SA2 lmfao

    Like, Sonic being able to effortlessly fly via ramps and slopes is Good Actually. So long as it requires effort and skill on behalf of the player. That's the ENTIRE POINT of a momentum physics system.

    Remember the Sonic CD intro where Sonic did exactly that and everyone went "wow, I wanna play a game like that?" Now we have (fan)games like that and suddenly people don't want that. Huh.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
  16. Yeah, and the results are levels that are really, really sparse. Speeds so high that the maps need to be wide and long to accommodate. Like a Trackmania level with a jump button, lol.

    The philosophy of a "momentum physics system" and "wanting to play the Sonic CD intro" has been a mantra the fanbase has preached to itself so hard in the past decade (or longer) that once we found out we could do it we took a far extreme to it, and can't even acknowledge when it becomes an issue trying to make games around it because we act like it just can't be the wrong way to go about things.

    I mean if you love barreling at top speed non stop through one hundred mile long obstacle courses, then don't be afraid to just accept that, because it's fun! But it's worth acknowledging that the boost games are basically just that too, and this makes it's style no more valid of an answer to what 3D Sonic is than those. And sure, this might be a bit more freeform, but there's not much more gained when the biggest difference is "hold this button but with a meter" vs "hold this button but down a hill".
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  17. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    I would like to think that it's the type of workplace environment that fosters the current mindset at play within Sega. It's funny that Xiao brings up Xtreme, because it's a good example of how Sega's mindset shifted during the 90s and, I would also argue, affected the mindset within the company today.

    Sega in the early 90s had a mindset of getting games out as fast as possible to meet a deadline. This could work in the 8-bit and oftentimes the 16-bit era since games weren't as huge and easier to develop relatively speaking. This is something that has consistently been a struggle within Sega over the past 30 years and aside from (maybe) really recently following the release of Sonic Forces; Sega still operates on these ridiculously short development cycles.

    As for the reason why, you have to bear in mind that in the early 90s SoA was doing dramatically better than SoJ in terms of sales figures. Tom Kalinske was making very good decisions that proved effective in taking a sizable portion of the game industry at least in America. According to Koliske, Chairman Hayao Nakayama would chastise SoJ staff for not being as successful.
    By the time 1996 and Xtreme came along, those same chastised employees rose through the ranks and became upper level management. While Xtreme was more "supposedly" Naka's doing, we do know that during that period SoJ would repeatedly sabotage efforts by SoA to develop a better console with Silicon Graphics in favor of their own Saturn for seemingly irrational reasons. Specifically, Hideki Sato who handles hardware said the chip was too big and wasted too much silicon. This is a large reason why Kalinske left SoA. Sato would later become president from 2001-2003 and former AM3 employee Hisao Oguchi replaced him until 2008. Sato was very likely one of the employees that Nakayama would chastise and Oguchi probably had to follow suit with his policies when he was an assistant President of AM3. This in turn likely informed his style of running Sega during his tenure.

    Japanese companies can be incredibly traditional and it's very likely that's why this culture has persisted within Sega. It's set up an expectation of management to make certain decisions that, while following company tradition, are rooted in pettiness against another branch and stubbornness to admit that innovative policies might be more beneficial simply because that branch suggested it. This is not to say that SoJ is still trying to one-over SoA today, but the precedent still remains for SoJ and is compounded by Sammy's forced merger with Sega.

    So as a result, we have a Sega that has stubbornly refused to budge on their short development cycles, makes terrible decisions in part because of that culture and in part because of a merger with a Pachinko company that Sega didn't want to merge with. This is the oversight Sonic Team has to deal with and only time will tell if it changes for the better or not.
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  18. Pengi


    The heart desires what the heart desires. But if Sega released something like that as an E3 Demo it would be torn to shreds. Running through a big empty field where you don't interact with anything and jump over 80% of the map is not a good framework for a game.
  19. Frostav


    yeah bro linear hallways with scripted automation every two seconds is definitely what Sonic needs and a better fit for the series
  20. Boost games (bar Forces) were definitely a lot more than that, but sure, we can be reductive.