Which Sonic Games are Mainline?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Swiftbix, Aug 7, 2021.

  1. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    It's also not a crime to poke fun at the games. Especially since he only poked fun at the games, and not their fans.
     
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  2. Blue Spikeball

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    Yeah right.

    Saying something like "You like game A? Then go play game B, it has equally shitty gameplay and its story is just as dumb :V" only strikes me as a thinly veiled way of shaming someone for their opinion under the pretense of sarcasm. I usually expect better from Josh's posts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
  3. Josh

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    I'd be a massive hypocrite if I said it was, considering I was one of their biggest defenders back then.

    And sure, I was being a bit of a sarcastic jackass about it, but the sentiment was genuine: Sonic Forces' approach to story, its inclusion and focus on a huge cast, its world-conquering stakes, its "tragic" antagonist with an edgy vocal theme song... all this struck me as the most blatant throwback to the 2000s the series has ever done. When I said, "cheesy, stupid nonsense," I didn't say it was entirely a *bad* thing. That cheese factor is exactly what I enjoy about the 2000s stories, and Forces hit me in a very similar way. So it's weird to see a lot of fans lamenting how they wish the games could be /more like that/ again, when from my perspective, that's exactly what the most recent entry was attempting.

    This is getting pretty far off-topic, isn't it? :V
     
  4. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

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    It is very true that many people began to think that the light stories from Colors on were bad precisely because they were light, because a darker story is supposedly better (I don't think Colors' or Generations' stories are bad, but Lost World's is). Then Forces came with a dark story that was bad, and these people realized that good or bad story has nothing to do with tone.

    It is also very true that this conversation has nothing to do with the thread :eng101:
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
  5. Yash

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    Sonic 1, 2, 3K, CD, Adventure, Adventure 2, Heroes, 06, Unleashed, Colors, Generations, Lost World, Mania, Forces are the easy ones. Those are all represented in Generations (up to Colors), Lost World and Forces were the next Sonic Team games and Mania has storyline implications on Forces.

    From there I'd also broaden that scope to include the Dimps games (at least, the ones that weren't modeled after home console games) - the Advance trilogy, the Rush duology, and both episodes of Sonic 4. Sonic Pocket Adventure is a bit of an edge case for me because it came out on a console barely anyone's heard of, but should that obscurity really be a strike against it? Bear in mind I also include the Game Gear games - at least, Sonic 1, 2, Chaos, Triple Trouble and Blast. I don't make any distinction against regarding handheld games as mainline entries, but that's subjective.

    My really controversial pick is 3D Blast.
     
  6. BadBehavior

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    Much like how fans lamenting how they wished for more 2D games even after Sonic 4 gave them what they were asking for.

    Also to many fans, Forces attempts at throwing back to that style were muddled by them including Green Hill and Classic Sonic, much like how Sonic 4 wasn't a "real" mega drive throwback because it had Modern Sonic doing the homing attack in it.
     
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  7. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    Ok real talk, Sonic 3D Blast is mainline
     
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  8. Josh

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    Yeah, that's an astute comparison! Fans tend to be a lot more insulted if you try to give them what they want and "do it wrong", than they would've been if you hadn't tried at all. Actually, that's why Sonic Heroes felt like such a betrayal to me in 2004, haha. Although I still maintain that a Sonic Forces that was exactly what it was, but *didn't* have any Classic elements (or a Sonic 4 that *did* feature them) wouldn't have actually made much difference in terms of its reception. The issues run a lot deeper than that.

    I remember at the 25th anniversary party, how Aaron Webber just kept saying, "Don't worry modern fans, we've got something for you, too," effectively leaning into the broken base, and I just got a REAL uneasy feeling. I knew it wasn't going to go well.

    I personally don't consider it mainline, but I wouldn't be opposed to it, either. It might be the biggest edge case in the whole series. Several Sonic Team staff members, including Takashi Iizuka, are credited for "Game Concept Design." Hirokazu Yasuhara himself gets a credit for Playfield Design. And IIRC, wasn't Sonic Team entirely responsible for the Special Stages for the Saturn version?
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
  9. Sonic 1
    2
    CD
    3k
    Adventure 1
    Adventure 2
    Heroes
    06
    Unleashed
    Colors
    Generations
    Lost World
    Forces
    All the rest are handhelds and spinoffs imo


    I think Shadow could be considered one as well, but I go back and forth on its inclusion
    Same with Mania. I lean no on both.
     
  10. Blue Spikeball

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    Wasn't it stated that they deliberately designed S3DB to be different from the core games?
     
  11. grantpa

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    You are correct. And yeah it's definitely fascinating with how much of a close call it is for being "mainline" or not. Personally I do think it counts because of the input of Iizuka and Yasuhara, and because of how it was marketed as the Sonic game of the time for both Genesis and Saturn.

    3D Blast is also funny/interesting to me for how it, on paper, seems to check a lot of boxes for what I theoretically want from a 3D Sonic game — no bottomless pits, interesting/engaging enemy design, and its a bit of a collectathon that encourages exploration. Of course, in execution, it's a complete mess and not at all fun to play, but it's an interesting case!
     
  12. Beamer the Meep

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    As far as the Saturn Special stages go, I'm 90% convinced it was developed for the Saturn version of what became Adventure due to the character models and animation. When the whole Xtreme situation came to a head and they rushed to get 3D Blast to replace it, I wouldn't be surprised if Sonic Team just sent what they had available. I don't think it was at the point where they decided to move the project onto Dreamcast as 3D Blast was November '96 and Jam was July '97 when we know they had made the decision. Jon has stated somewhere in his videos that it was a standalone application that was sent to him by Sonic Team that he had to tie into the main game's code. I wish I could remember which one it was now...

    Anyways, that digression aside, 3D Blast is another one of those iffy titles as far as "mainline" is concerned. I'm kinda with you that I could go either way on it.
     
  13. Forte

    Forte

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    I played Forces, the game is a boring, automated mess :V.
    I agree that they tried to reference the 2000 titles, but those games balanced the humor and the seriousness well.

    The seriousness and humor of Forces are infantile at best.
    And we are talking about games with talking hedgehogs, ultimate life forms, Space Colonies shooting lazers and magic gems...

    Infinite's music was pretty cool though.

    Back on topic:
    Sonic Pocket Adventure - This is the only game where Eggman changes into his Adventure clothes. So it should be considered canon. I think?
     
  14. Hitlersaurus Christ

    Hitlersaurus Christ

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    Pocket Adventure is a footnote in Sonic’s history. “Mainline” sonic games should be the ones that are actually meant to be the big tentpole titles, IMO. I think the Advance/Rush games are quasi-mainline because of they were treated closer to them than other non-big budget games, but they’re not quite on the same level of marketing push etc.

    So I guess:

    Sonic 1
    Sonic 2
    Sonic CD (more or less)
    Sonic 3&K
    Sonic Adventure
    Sonic Adventure 2
    Sonic Heroes
    (If Sega didn’t consider it a spinoff, Shadow could go here since it was pretty much treated like the next Sonic game at the time)
    Sonic 06
    Sonic Unleashed
    Sonic Colors
    Sonic Generations
    Sonic Lost World
    Sonic Forces

    Sonic Mania could be there before Forces but it was a fairly low budget downloadable title.
    Sonic 4 is a sequel in name only, and also originally a mobile spinoff, so I wouldn’t count it at all.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
  15. Aerosol

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    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    You could consider them "tentpole" with the propertional budget of being on a portable console. At least I do. Sega at least took the Advance games very seriously.
     
  16. Zephyr

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    What I personally consider "mainline" are the games that were successively iterated on in order to bring the overall gameplay template of the series to where it is today (which includes games building on other games' engines). So, this may be opening somewhat of a can of worms, but I consider NiGHTS into Dreams more of a "mainline Sonic game" than most games with "Sonic" in the name.

    Quoth the wiki:
    There's also the matter of the A-LIFE system being the very foundation of the Chao Garden of the Adventure titles.

    Arguably "the first real 3D Sonic game" is then made within (the special Christmas version of) NiGHTS:


    Sonic 3D Blast (Saturn)'s Special Stages were basically Tetsu Katano's first stab at programming 3D Sonic proper (just the A-LIFE programmer, prior), iirc. Sonic Jam's "Sonic World" was made using existing material from the Saturn incarnation of what would become "Sonic Adventure". It doesn't seem terribly more complex than Sonic into Dreams. So I'd consider that "mainline" as well.

    Shadow the Hedgehog is an easy include in the "mainline" series, for me, given how much it builds on Heroes' existing gameplay template and engine, and more importantly Iizuka's role in it as (Director and Lead Game Designer).

    ---

    A separate but related can of worms is Sonic and the Secret Rings specifically (or the Storybook games in general). We know Secret Rings has its roots in the never-made Wii port of Sonic 06. An auto-running game that builds off of 06 makes me suspect that it's specifically the "Mach Speed" sections that were focused on and polished into the core game. Moreover, it appears transitional between the "Mach Speed" gameplay of 06 and the Daytime "Boost" gameplay of Unleashed. (I'd love confirmation either way from the devs of these games if my hunch is anywhere close to correct)

    Black Knight is cut from the same cloth as Secret Rings, Colors, Lost World, and Forces, so I'll include that, too.

    ---

    So, here's my list:

    Sonic the Hedgehog 1
    Sonic the Hedgehog 2
    Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
    NiGHTS into Dreams
    Sonic into Dreams
    Sonic 3D Blast (Saturn) (Special Stages)
    Sonic Jam
    Sonic Adventure
    Sonic Adventure 2
    Sonic Heroes
    Shadow the Hedgehog
    Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
    Sonic and the Secret Rings
    Sonic Unleashed
    Sonic and the Black Knight
    Sonic Colors
    Sonic Generations
    Sonic Lost World
    Sonic Forces

    ---

    If given more time and thought, there's more I would include, like Mania, but the implications of including that are far-reaching. And at that point it would become less interesting for me to simply say "this is the main series", and more interesting to say "this is the trunk, and these are the different branches" (like a Dimps branch, a "hacking/fangame scene" branch(es), a "Traveler's Tales, feat. Yasuhara" branch, etc). But I don't have the time to do that analysis justice right at this moment, so that's for another post!
     
  17. Here's a random thought-

    If Sega can freely change what is or isn't canon to the games at any given time, why can't they theoretically change what is or isn't a spinoff?

    P.S. Suddenly remembered that Sonic & Knuckles was branded as a spin off game in Sonic Mega Collection, so take that as you will.
     
  18. Aerosol

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    They can absolutely arbitrarily decide what is and isn't a spin-off, but since they haven't actually done that, this topic exists to talk about our personal interpretations of what is and isn't a spin-off.

    I do wonder what the original Japanese text in Sonic Mega Collection days about Sonic & Knuckles though. We all know it and Sonic 3 were conceived as one game, so I suspect localisation mangling is to blame here.
     
  19. Josh

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    I'll try to check JP Mega Collection some time. Where does this "spin-off" text appear in the original release?

    And how's this for another edge case: Sonic Runners!

    It's definitely an action-platformer, it was, per Wikipedia, "designed to resemble the Sega Genesis Sonic games," it stars Sonic, and it was developed entirely in-house by Sonic Team. The music was even composed by the usual Tomoya Ohtani band. The story, such as it is, is certainly in Sonic Team's canon, explaining many criticisms and inconsistencies, like why Knuckles doesn't seem to guard the Master Emerald, and why the Wisps are still around.

    Of course, it's also
    • A mobile game
    • Delisted from all app stores and officially unplayable
    But does this disqualify it from being mainline? Can a free-to-play mobile game be mainline? Going by my own rules, I said a mainline game had to come out on "flagship hardware," but I didn't define what that meant. Or, is it a moot point, because an endless runner with a gacha mechanic is too much of a break from the action-platformer genre?
     
  20. Aerosol

    Aerosol

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    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    Another one down to personal interpretation. My personal disdain for freemium games without an endpoint will skew my judgement on that one though!