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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. Sneekie


    Sneasy Member
    I agree with prx about one thing:

    If Sonic Mania 2 was a priority to anyone--to Iizuka, to Evening Star, to Sega--it would've been done. But one of the first things they agreed on was not making a 2D Classic Sonic game with pixel art--and again, to everyone, that's what "Sonic Mania 2" is.

    Sonic Mania was a success and they got a lot out of it, yes. But making a direct follow-up was not in their interest. Maybe if it sold multiple millions. Iizuka says its success surprised him, but Sonic Frontiers was also a surprise, and that gave Sonic Team and Sega a boatload of money, expanded Sonic Team, and put Iizuka into an executive position. I'd be surprised if the next game from Sonic Team ISN'T Frontiers 2. That's a priority. We never have to worry about whether Sonic Team is making a new game, actually.

    More to the point, it "not beng a priority" is a counter to the oft-claim idea that a Sonic Mania 2 is an "obvious moneymaker"--but is it really? Is Sonic Mania 2 such an obvious success in the making that there must be a sinister reason why it doesn't exist? I don't think it is, and evidently the creators agree. The reason why is simple: they just didn't want to make one. But if they're going to throw away such easy money, then either they're bad at making money (which, knowing Sega, isn't out of the realm of possibility, but Frontiers kind of shits on that idea), or... it wasn't a priority.

    If Sonic Mania was in any way a failure, Sonic Superstars wouldn't exist. But it wasn't, because Superstars does exist. But Superstars does away with the one thing people apparently think makes "Mania 2" (because otherwise, no one would be asking "where's Mania 2") for a reason. And that's because Iizuka and Evening Star believe it would hold its success back, and they have a good reason to think so.
  2. Blast Brothers

    Blast Brothers

    I think you're mostly on point in your post, but to me, the idea of "Mania 2" was defined as much, if not more, by TaxStealth being the ones making it, compared to the game using 2D pixel art. Mania was a good Classic game at a time where I didn't trust Sonic Team to make a good Classic game. It was the fact that I trusted them not to screw up that formula that made me want it.

    But, Superstars seems to be at least most of the way there, so I don't have that worry anymore.
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  3. Overlord


    Now playable in Smash Bros Ultimate Moderator
    Long-term happiness
    I think you're deliberately under-emphasising how well Mania did to promote Frontiers more, as how the franchise should look in your opinion. Mania did exceedingly well by just about any count, the primary reason a direct sequel hasn't happened was - as per the text from Sonic Team staff - simply that they don't want to do another pixel-based game (a bad idea imo, but I'm not going to pretend that I'm speaking for what Sonic Team wants to do). Sonic Superstars is the art style they want going forward and indeed, per what's been said, the Mania team was involved with it early on, with the main reason they left being scheduling.
  4. Snowbound


    I think a lot of folks are making the mistake of comparing Mania’s sales numbers to Frontiers’ without accounting for the fact that Mania and the Movies helped create the positive consumer image for sonic that allowed for Frontiers’ success. Obviously the movies were more consequential in terms of generating new young fans… but Mania helped gamers and critics move on from the “meta-era” 2010s slump (with that slump re-opening the wound of 06). For the first time in a long time, people who aren’t sonic fans are taking the franchise seriously. That’s a big deal, and that wouldn’t have happened without mania
  5. shilz


    getting my daily allowance of vitamin kk
    This is all in regards to its performance and their capitalizing on its maximum potential performance when it did do better than they expected, not its projected performance. And just because it did do surprisingly better than expected, doesn't mean doing another in the same way but scaled up at the same price (which was probably another factor in its success) wouldn't be another risk, especially if they have to scale up the budget in any way to fund all the design going into the new levels. The returns are simply not going to scale up. This is more specifically why they're making something else in a similar vein that is unmistakably new to a casual audience, visually and structurally, with all the changes to make it make more sense in today's gaming climate and nice looking graphics to make up for the higher price point. That has a chance at scaling up in terms of profit with everything else, so it's easier to justify making on any other occasion than "Let's do something special, for the fans, and release it around Sonic's anniversary" (And note that Sonic Origins and Origins Plus had almost exactly the same intent... How's that performing casually, by the way?)
  6. Linkabel


    My point that I'm making is that Sega did consider the game a priority even if they had low expectations for it, and it definitely became a bigger priority once it did well.

    People seem to forget that they were hyping up the game and doing stuff even before it released because they quickly realized they knew they had gold in their hands.

    Sneekie specifically said it didn't do well enough to become a priority, but it outsold the more current games around that time that were Lost World and the Boom games.

    And again, did well enough to get a physical release and DLC.

    Again, Sega wouldn't had highlighted it in their reports if it didn't do well.

    As for Sonic Origins, not only is it a bit hard to get as excited for a re-release of old games, and there were complaints about some of the choices made for it. But it actually did well enough for Sega to said that Origins and Pachinko managed to save their butt during one of their quarters and overall year. I'm assuming it did well enough to get a physical release as well. (The Sonic 2 movie release probably helped boost its sales)

    Again, I'm not arguing about a potential Mania 2 or the choices and circumstances that led to Superstars. I'm arguing that Mania was a priority for Sega even before its release, and became a bigger deal once it became a success.
  7. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    I think a big factor which is often not considered is Sonic Team and SEGA always want to do something different. It's easy to say they are motivated by money and they often are - the nostalgia pandering is a great indication of how they are aware they need to generate profit. But Sonic Team and SEGA are both clearly uncomfortable with not innovating. A major criticism of Sonic Team in the 2010s was that they kept changing gameplay styles. They only went back to Boost with Forces because of how Boom and Lost World tanked. The playing it safe games always suck because Sonic Team's heart just isn't in it. They dont even play it safe with spin offs, as has been seen with TSR's team mechanic.

    In this mindset I can understand why they are hesitant to make another Sonic Mania. They don't like retreading old ground and they have openly said many times that they worried sprite based games would turn people off for being old fashioned. They always want to keep going forwards, even if I don't usually agree with what they consider progress.

    Its not unique to SEGA and Sonic Team either. Its very similar to how Square Enix keep innovating Final Fantasy and refusing to use turn based combat because they think it is old fashioned and people won't like it. I think in part it is the problem of focus testing, but I also think in many ways it is the sad reality that many game developers see their games as art, understand the fan passion, but also don't understand the brilliance of the design which often they themselves created. It reminds me of how Rubin thought the Crash Bandicoot revival was primarily nostalgia and was somewhat baffled by the recent success of the new games. He thought the Crash games were old fashioned and too much focused on PS1 design sensibilities for people to want to play. I find it sad in many ways.
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    For all intents, I'm sure Superstars will be a fine game that closely mirrors what I would've wanted in... dare I say... a post Saturn 2.5D title. Something of a natural alternate history of 2D Sonic that skips 1996-2011, if you will. An S1-S2-SCD-S3K-(Chaotix?)-SMania-SuperStars evolution line makes sense for the classic 2D mainline console titles.

    However, there remains something specifically novel about pixel art Sonic that I fear may be lost if it truly is forever abandoned by the company now. It's correct to say that I didn't want "Mania 2". I wanted "Fully Original Pixal Art Classic Sonic Sequel", which even Mania turned out not to be in some respects, though it came close.

    I've still never had that itch fully scratched, as Mania only had 4 original zones, compared to many more recycled (though 'very' well built) stages. And now I may never. I've enjoyed plenty of other Sonic titles that aren't this in the past 25 years of my fandom, so oh well.

    But, again, pixel art Sonic remains something truly special. I question if SuperStars can release that status, regardless of whether it's a good game (which i think it will be).

    It's fine to be frustrated that no one in SEGA wants to create this kind of title anymore, for whatever reason. But it appears to be something we may have to come to terms with soon, and Laura has correctly pointed out how developers often prefer to make unique projects with new ideas rather than just building the same game over and over again with tiny variations. That idea can count for both Evening Star and Sonic Team themselves too, as neither is obligated to stick to one Sonic formula for eternity.
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  9. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

    Working on my art!
    I’ve expressed this before but I’m glad they moved away from pixel art. Pixel art with Sega seems associated with nostalgia. It’s almost impossible to have for former without the latter rearing it’s head in yet again. And I’m tired of endless rehash and the “oh look it’s Sonic 1 again.” And it’s not like it’s 2004 anymore, the 2D pixel art fangames can look absolutely spectacular now and while they aren’t official it’s not like we’re starved for sonic pixel art content.

    Id of maybe preferred hand drawn graphics, but I like what we got. Like I always thought Generations Classic stages looked really good, I liked the camera tricks they could do. And now we got that with the right physics (and a better Sonic model). And hey, new fang model! But ya seems like all parties involved wanted to move away from sprites and I’m inclined to agree with them.
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  10. Snowbound


    I don’t mind Superstars, or future classic sonic games, being 2.5d. I just hope “no pixel art” doesn’t become a hard rule for all future titles. Like I’d love to see Headcanon make a new pixel art Sonic game (whether it’s a classic sonic platformer, a 2D modern sonic, or a pixel art spin off that’s a different genre) but it sounds like that may not be a possibility. Then again, there are still sprite-based games they could remake in the retro engine (I would LOVE a retro engine Advance 1 remake) so we’ll just hafta see what happens
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2023
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  11. Lilly


    United States
    Shang Mu Architect
    I want to hold-out a similar hope, with the mention of Headcannon

    One of the most prominent memories of my teen years was making a DIY PC adapter for SEGA Genesis pads, (among others) and the first thing I did with it was replay Taxman's Retro Sonic demo. It was so inspiring to see classic Sonic gameplay near-accurately remade in C++. It played so nicely, and looked good doing it; I loved Egg Garden Zone's aesthetic, too.

    I really liked playing with that demo now and then. Even back then, I wanted to see what a fully original classic Sonic game would be like in Taxman's hands. And we almost got there with Mania. (4 original zones out of 12) Almost. Then, we all got our hopes up about a new pixel art sequel to followup Mania's tremendous success.

    Please, nobody go back and tell teenage me that Egg Garden was all we were ever going to get :(

    I do still wish Sonic Superstars well, and I think it's nice to see Classic being treated in a health way, right beside the modern games. (And it's heart-warming to finally see Amy included in almost everything now) The child in me just wanted a fully original pixel art game from all these great people before they moved on, you know?

    So- if Headcannon ever got the chance, I will be all over it :) It would be such a nice compliment to 2.5D games like this
  12. LordOfSquad


    bobs over baghdad Member
    Winnipeg, MB
    making cool music no one gives a shit about
    Just fire up the old demo, play Egg Garden and Warehouse, have someone knock you out and set up a modded copy of Mania with just the original zones, and then play that when you wake up. 2+4=6, which is the same amount of zones Sonic 1 had. Simple! :eng99:
  13. synchronizer


    That said, even Superstars seems to have Green Hill checkers in many places. Sega’s still relying on a bit of visual nostalgia and zone tropes.
  14. Josh Cristan

    Josh Cristan

    I'm not even going to pretend classic 2d pixelated Sonic is something we need to move on from. Do we fuck! We should be on Sonic 37 by now, or Mania 4.

    It's a bit hypocritical of Sega to say "no more 2d pixel Sonic because change/innovation/the future" and all that bollocks, and yet you know that while denying us a new classic, they'll keep finding new ways to milk the fans with more re-releases of 1-3k and CD.