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Why Didn’t Sonic Mania 2 Happen (Game Informer Article With New Comments from Taxman)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Snowbound, Jul 26, 2023.

  1. Londinium

    Londinium

    People actually read these? Member
    I refuse to believe 2027 is closer than 2017
     
  2. astroblema

    astroblema

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    Sonic Mania 2 not existing is unironically the bane of my existence
     
  3. Ah yes, the date when the next main 3D game is going to come.

    Well, unless the game ends being 10/10 and then we have to wait until 2029... yay!
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2023
  4. Lilly

    Lilly

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    While I refuse to stick my head in the sand on politics and world events, I have been genuinely happier for actively avoiding more game industry news and gossip. So, today was the first I heard of any of this.

    There are some things out there that don't make you feel better educated and informed for knowing; all it does is damage your outlook on humanity. Even if what Zippo said was true, he would still deserve exactly what he's getting right now: More confirmation that his behavior is damning and repulsive. It's just a nice bonus that Taxman proved him 100% wrong, in the limelight no less.

    If there really were issues about pay and impossible deadlines, that's still none of our business. Don't we all have enough our own problems to worry about?

    This is the only thing I lament. A nice pixel art game is an exceedingly rare treat from the commercial sector, ever since the DS and PSP's generations came to an end. Until 2014 and beyond rolled around with a deluge of strong 2D indies releases going commercial, I used to be really depressed about what seemed like the death of colorful pixel art games, for a time. And thus far, indies are still filling what would otherwise be a void in so many genres.

    While I do like 3D games, and certainly look forward to Penny, I still love 2D games just as much. (My playtime on Steam/Switch is a patchwork of 2D and 3D.) I would have liked at least one more pixel art sequel to Mania before they fully moved on to 3D, so learning all this is sad to me.

    I understand, but I wanted to see a fully original 2D Sonic from Evening Star :(

    As somebody who is spending money on pixel art commissions for my next game project, and personal time on making assets for my current project- Oh yes, pixel art is deceptively more expensive than most people realize. (Especially if you want to pay people fairly for their time) Nobody makes high-quality pixel art games to be frugal; it's genuinely an artistic choice.

    3D is enormously more expensive and difficult to scope for, however, even with increased accessibility in recent generations' middleware tech. (Such as Unreal) I don't even want to know how much Penny cost to make. If anyone has an uncannily-educated guess, please don't tell me; I'm serious :(

    Life spent all of last year teaching me, there are some things we are better off not knowing.

    Now that is 3rd degree pettiness. How does it feel being infamous? :V The bruised ego of an adult child never forgets, lol
     
  5. That One Guy Josh

    That One Guy Josh

    Speaks English AND Balanese. Member
    I remember there was this one game that had 3D models converted to 2D high quality sprites. It took them 1 year and 4 months to make a single character.
    Actually, it's two games: King of Fighters XII and XIII.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2023
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  6. Chimpo

    Chimpo

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    A very pretty game, but it came at a heavy cost, not just financially, but gameplay wise because of the HD resolution they were targeting. Characters lost moves from previous entries due to the high costs of creating them.

    Pixel art really only makes sense when you target lower resolutions. You start blowing it up and you end up losing all the benefits that pixel art provides you. Details you could get away with by adjusting a few pixels or colors now require far more tweaking. Grids in your tile work that you try to mask becomes a lot more obvious. For pixel art, sticking with lower resolutions like Mania did is the way to go. But even then that isn't any cheaper or easier depend on the amount of detail and animation quality you want to squeeze in.
     
  7. LordOfSquad

    LordOfSquad

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    Pixel shaders for modern 3D engines are getting more and more trustworthy. It's not as soulful as doing it right but it's a good compromise and I think we'll see some cool games using it more prominently in the future.
     
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  8. Chimpo

    Chimpo

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    Do you have any current examples? The only thing that comes to mind is Dead Cells and Rain World, which are fine but those have a very specific look. t3ssel8r has been doing some pretty cool stuff for his game, but I would also say his game's look falls more into the previous examples.
     
  9. LordOfSquad

    LordOfSquad

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    I wish I did, just been sparse little tech demos here and there that I didn't keep track of.

    It's a pipedream to be sure but when I see stuff like this it makes me hope that we miiight just get a "Pokemon Mania" some day if we're lucky.
     
  10. Lilly

    Lilly

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    In addition to all these good points by the both of you, there's a certain point where the more advanced pixel art techniques are no longer relevant at HD resolutions, as well, (For instance, sub-pixeling and dithering patterns, which the likes of Freedom Planet 2 uses heavily.) and it stops being pixel art; it becomes cel-shaded digital painting with more (painful) steps. Pixel art as an art form needs to be low-res for most of its techniques to matter.

    360p touches the ceiling of where pixel art makes sense for a given art direction, I think. It's especially difficult to budget for. (Too expensive for most indies.) With 480p and beyond, one might as well start painting their sprites for HD

    I'm still treating my next project's pixel art as if it was a 240p game, like Mania, and simply take advantage of the improved visibility that 360p provides. Kind of like how Mario and Sonic's sprites in the classics are small relative to their respective game's internal resolution, to avoid "screen crunch".
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2023
  11. drx

    drx

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    I'm probably wasting my time writing this, but I would encourage you to consider corporate politics, and how career lifers use them to their benefit.

    I'm purely responding to the responses here, but this article proves nothing except the absence of ostentatious bad blood. Sonic Mania 2 is a no-brainer $-wise, and if the decision makers wanted Sonic Mania 2 to happen, it would happen. Since it didn't, there has to be a reason, and I think it's obvious the motivations that went into it not happening.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2023
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  12. expansivelovestories

    expansivelovestories

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    Yes; in certain ways Mania 2 would have potentially competed with Frontiers, Superstars, and Mania "1" for attention and sales. Penny's Breakaway too, maybe!!

    And from a developer's perspective, trying to meet all of the expectations, with a followup to any runaway success story such as Mania, it would be really challenging, whether it could be done or not. Mania 10th Anniversary DLC/patch, if something like that happens, will be much, much better than a new standalone IMO!!
     
  13. HEDGESMFG

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    I hate to say this, but if you're going to allude such, please don't be vague. Name some names and clarify your points. I don't think the motivations are quite as "obvious" as you think.
     
  14. Sneasy

    Sneasy

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    People who want to make this a bigger deal than it is love to push "Sonic Mania 2 would make so much money". Which is true. That's why Sonic Superstars exists.

    But evidently, when people--and the developers themselves--say "Sonic Mania 2", they mean a 2D pixel art game.

    Iizuka stated several times that Sonic Mania 2 doesn't exist specifically because they do not think pixel art has an audience draw. Sega and Sonic Team want to sell Sonic games at $60, and to new players. A tough sell for a 2.5D game like Sonic Superstars, now imagine it being $60 and looking like a Genesis game.

    The person who would best know how much a game would sell (because it's his job) is saying that it's not a no-brainer. Sonic Mania did more than Iizuka expected but that's only because he had low expectations in the first place. He thought it would sell only to hardcore Sonic fans; it did, there's just more than he thought. Sonic Mania was never a priority and it didn't do well enough to be a priority.

    Sonic Frontiers comes out with poorer reviews and worse word of mouth than Sonic Mania and sells 3-4 times more in less time and at a much higher price. That's the kind of game where a direct sequel is a no-brainer.

    Evening Star said "we agreed, and we even made a prototype for a 2.5D Sonic" and then leaving to make a full 3D game of their own. You'd think Penny's Big Breakway would also be pixel art if they cared that much about it.

    They gave you a reason, and you dismiss it as "nothing" or "corporate politics". So what's the "actual" reason that Sonic Mania 2 doesn't exist?
     
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  15. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    I doubt it matters at this point so I'll say it: take this with a grain of salt, but I heard down the grapevine that the Evening Star Sonic game was most likely a COVID casualty. Sega had been hit hard by the pandemic and the demo that the Evening Star team made would've been far more expensive to develop into a full product than Mania was, so they opted not to move forward with it.

    Again, take with a grain of salt, as I'm not certain it's 100% true, especially how it apparently didn't stop Sega from going forward with Superstars.
     
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  16. expansivelovestories

    expansivelovestories

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    no one's reputation precedes them per se, but given that it's literally drx posting that,
    i feel confident that he isn't being just vague!! What he writes here is basically the best way to conceptualize what may have happened, without starting rumors or arguments!! :) :)
     
  17. Laura

    Laura

    Brightened Eyes Member
    I think we can get a good summary with the new information.

    Team Mania wanted to move away from 2D sprite games after Mania. This doesn't surprise me. Whitehead had polygonal aesthetics design for years (his tagine is 'for pixels and polys alike' and he said years ago on Retro that he wanted to make a 3D platformer). SEGA also wanted to move away from sprite games and move to 3D (confirmed by interviews). I don't think this series of events can really be doubted. Makes sense to me.

    What's more up to speculation is what happened afterwards. Could be any reason, we just don't really know. I do agree with @drx that we should consider the statement as politically considered. But even that said, I think it's been a fortunate good end for both. SEGA hit a few series of success with Sonic and EveningStar have a promising new start with Penny. Ultimately if they had any differences it is probably water beneath the bridge now anyway.

    The big speculative mystery to me is why Stealth did not join EveningStar. And you could really speculate here, but it is ultimately not respectful.
     
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  18. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    If I had to speculate, I would guess Evening Star and Headcannon both would rather not be seen as Sonic Team Jr. They’re talented people who have a lot of great ideas that don’t need to be shackled to a single IP they don’t even own.
     
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  19. Snowbound

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    In the Nintendolife interview I posted on the last page, Taxman said that Evening Star “spent a couple of years working on our engine tech”. During that time Evening Star created “a lot of novel tech” such as a way to alter 3D levels design and art at the same time.

    This has me wondering if Sega and Evening Star parted ways due to Evening Star needing time to develop tools/tech for their 3D/2.5d Star Engine. In an online panel at Sonic Revolution, Whitehead spoke about having to crunch when working on Mania so I doubt Sega execs wanted to give evening star more development time for a 2.5d Sonic. Time is money so this doesn’t necessarily contradict with what Joebro heard:
    That said, the increased cost of evening star’s project could be due to others aspects of their demo (hand drawn graphics?). If Evening Star’s concept differs greatly from Superstars, then I hope they are able to realize it someday. Until that day, I’m fine not knowing more about the demo. It’s prob best for Taxman to be discreet
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2023
  20. Linkabel

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    I'm not disagreeing with a lot of your points, but in what world was Mania not a priority?

    -It did well enough to always getting the top billing in Sega's quarterly reports, even over Forces once that came out.
    -The sales of did well enough, even outperforming past 3D titles.
    -You mentioned that Iizuka thought it was only going to attract hardcore fans, which is correct. But, he's also said that it found a general audience, attracted new fans into the franchise, and surprisingly did well enough with kids/grade schoolers.
    -To this day it has been the game that has gotten more animations.
    -The only Sonic game that got 2 collectors editions for the whole world and not limited to one region.
    -Tons of merchandise that still sells or takes cues from what they did with Mania.
    -And did so well that it eventually got a physical release and DLC.

    Frontiers did better in sales, and it's getting DLC that's substantial. But to put it in perspective, even then it has (for whatever reason) not gotten a lot of the same treatment Mania did all those years ago. Like, it was non-stop Mania from various avenues from 2016 when it was revealed to 2018 when Plus came out.

    You made great points and I'm not disagreeing with those, but I do feel like this narrative that "Mania was this cool indie title Sega released and it did okay-ish so it came and went" is forming which is far away from what actually happened.
     
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