Will we ever get another good 3D entry?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by urlogic, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. urlogic

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    The last good 3D entries in the Sonic series that feel like they had any amount of effort or passion involved were Sonic Generations and Sonic Colors. Every single game since has been passable at best. Sonic has truly felt dead to me since 2011. There is SO MUCH you could do with a sonic game, and I am utterly clueless as to why SEGA can't pump out one title that doesn't seem completely rushed. I am truly sick of waiting for fans to "fix" the latest 3D titles. They will never put in enough work to fix these games, and they will never have the correct tools to fix these games. Nobody will hire them to do it, so nobody will pay them to do it or give them the tools they need to do it. Sure we have Sonic Mania but it is just one giant rehash that shows how low the Sonic series has fallen. Don't get me wrong I'm happy that prominent members of Sonic Retro were recognized and got to develop their dream game for SEGA, but SEGA themselves also forced them to make 90% of the game unoriginal. It doesn't exactly count as a genuine Sonic game. It's just a corporate funded fan game.

    What I'm mainly curious about here is one thing... is there ANY reason to believe SEGA will ever start caring about Sonic enough to start releasing quality games again? Has Sonic Retro done any research that lets them come to the conclusion that just maybe, we will get an actual good game sometime in the next few years? Somebody here has to be snooping around.
     
  2. Dark Sonic

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    I mean that's hard to say. What team is behind the game? What budget? What amount of passion? Maybe we'll get the Mania equivalent of the Adventure series one day.

    Now that Mania has done gangbusters I think Sega will probably reevaluate their strategy for Sonic which they basically haven't had prior. Passionate fans with technical knowledge + money = profit. They obviously know people want chao gardens and SA3. I think they're waiting for the right time now
     
  3. Unfortunately, whether SEGA will release a good 3D title will probably depend more on company politics than actual talent on the current team. This has always been a problem for SEGA.

    I think it's a good bet though that we'll see plenty more quality 2D titles from now on as they require less risk and a smaller budget. Which is fine by me.

    Imo, the only way modern/3D can be 'fixed' is by ripping up the rulebook and starting again, with a strong creative director as lead.
     
  4. tokumaru

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    What do you mean "another"? I'm still waiting for the first good 3D game.
     
  5. Beltway

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    As long as Sonic Team and their attitudes towards design hold the keys to the 3D Sonic kingdom, I'd suggest just abandoning your hopes for 3D Sonic altogether.

    Maybe Mania (Plus)'s success might get Taxman/Stealth (and Friends) enough clout to design a 3D game on their own terms, but that's a longshot dependent on whether Sega/Sonic Team would even entertain the idea (and give them the proper resources to pull it off) and whether the former group would even be interested AND available to commit to such a project in the first place.

    Sega could also find an external studio to take a shot too; but that's probably even less likely after SoA shit the bed with how they handled BRB and Boom: Rise of Lyric.

    Also this. The few 3D games that aren't widely considered terrible/subpar (the Adventure titles, Colors, Generations) are stained with at least one of the following qualifications:
    > they were games that were "great for it's time," but have aged poorly since then
    > "3D games" that are actually mostly 2D/sidescrolling games
    > games that aren't so much "good" than they are "good enough/mostly good/have good parts"
    > spark controversy on whether they are actually good games or not

    There's still yet to be a 3D Sonic game that can be commonly agreed to be good on core fundamentals alone.

    edit:

    At this point, all I can do is just laugh at comments like these. The way certain fans go out of their way to shit on Mania and its undisputed success for being an "nostalgia-pandering glorified ROMhack" in light of how the "official" 3D Sonic games have fared (especially Forces) is outright cathartic.
     
  6. Laughingcow

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    I would hesitate that Sonic Unleashed was the last game to see the proper scale of a big "Oh my god this is AAA" even if the Werehog dragged it down.

    Having carved my way through Sonic's entire 3d catalog recently, the Adventure era suffered from every game being worse than the last which showed a severe lack of refinement from game to game that is baffling. Sure they cranked these games out every two years but that itself is plenty of time with enough staff. Things didn't start improving until Yuji Naka left and the reigns were taken over by Akinori Nishiyama who was the interim leader of Sonic Team before Takashi Iizuka took over. Granted I don't see what came afterwards as true 3d.

    If I'm gonna be honest, a good 3d Sonic game can be made if and when Sonic Team establishes a simple rule book of gameplay fundamentals for them to follow. I mean, when it comes to Luigi's Mansion, Nintendo as the strange but rational rule that, "Luigi isn't allowed to jump". I made a thread awhile back trying to decipher just what the core fundamentals of a Modern Sonic game would be to which EVERYONE came to a unanimous conclusion that there aren't any. This is compounded by Takashi Iizuka seeing all 3d Sonic games from Adventure to Forces as just "Forward Moving 3d Sonic".
    http://forums.sonicr...showtopic=38184

    Edit: On that note, can someone confirm to me if the current Sonic games use hit detection instead of say old fashioned Hitboxes? I bring this up as this is the reason Street Fighter 4 still plays like the previous game despite using 3d models.
     
  7. DigitalDuck

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    It depends entirely on your definitions of "good", "3D", and "entry" are.

    If you're asking for a 3D game that plays like the original Mega Drive games did, then there's yet to be one, at least with the "Sonic" name on it.

    If you're asking for a competent 3D platformer, we have Unleashed, Colours, and Generations which are all incredible in my opinion; but they're very different from the classic games, and generally more frequently 2D than 3D. I still think they should focus more on what Unleashed did with the level design instead of the awkwardly shoe-horned in stop-start platforming that the latter two games did.
     
  8. tokumaru

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    Elaborating a bit on my previous post: while there might have been (subjectively) enjoyable 3D Sonic games in the past, none felt like actual Sonic games as established during the Genesis/MD era.

    What I'm waiting for is a proper Sonic game that takes the game mechanics from the classic era and makes them work in 3D.
     
  9. Qjimbo

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    Sonic Robo Blast 2 is probably the closest we'll ever get to that. SEGA just don't seem very interested in going that route. Generations got close though.
     
  10. Beltway

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    Generations is a fine game, but it doesn't really follow on the Genesis Sonic parameters to a meaningful degree. Classic Sonic has gimped Genesis physics and mechanics (albeit with, IMO, not-quite-classic but still solid level design), while modern Sonic is firmly established with the Boost playstyle (which while fun is aiming for a clearly different format of gameplay). And all of the 3D sections the game does have also belong to modern Sonic anyway.

    The original Adventure still remains the only official 3D title to visibly incorporate elements of the Genesis playstyle into the gameplay; and even so, they exist more as a background element, rather than the core focus. I guess Adventure 2 might "technically" also count, but whatever Genesis properties exist in that game are buried and/or butchered to the point that they barely matter.
     
  11. tokumaru

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    The fact is that Sonic became something else when he transitioned to 3D. Some like the new iterations, some don't. I remember being super hyped when Sonic went 3D, and I bought a Dreamcast exclusively to keep up with Sonic, but the experience was... well, less than exciting. While I didn't hate the Adventure games (the only Dreamcast games I ever bought), I wasn't impressed by them either, and that was enough for me to stop caring about Sonic.

    The couple of PS2 games I tried (Heroes and Unleashed) didn't help, instead they made me firmly believe that the Sonic I used to like was gone for good. I recently tried Generations, because it was cheap on Steam (which I started using because of Mania), and unfortunately I didn't think it was that good either. Better than it's predecessors I guess, but it didn't keep me interested for long.

    I honestly don't know what the problem is... I fell in love with Sonic because the levels were captivating, and interesting to explore, but now it looks like you're supposed to zip through while basically ignoring the levels. And badniks became boring as hell, they don't have memorable designs or behaviors, they mostly just stand there from what I could see. Going through the levels is just no fun.
     
  12. This. I Can't believe SEGA never had a proper stab at it.

    I lost interest really after SA1 due to number of things - mostly Sega consistently disappointing me with sub par hardware and a decline in quality Sonic games.

    Plus I was coming out of my teenage years, and SA2 was just too damn cheesy for me - I already struggled with the music and dialogue in SA1. I also thought that the nice balance SEGA had between western and Japanese audiences had been ditched for a purely US aesthetic, which left me feeling alienated. Wank-rock and San Francisco references? No thanks. Would have felt the same if it was UK garage and London. Real world Sonic is just awkward.

    Would be interesting to know if anyone else felt that way back when it came out...
     
  13. Laughingcow

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    For all the times of "adapting the Genesis/MD gameplay" comes up, does anyone have any concrete meaning of what that means? Simply stating it doesn't feel right doesn't do the argument justice. This is a bit off topic, yes but I'd actually like to hear the people with that complaint actually explain what that means in gameplay terms. If I were to make very surface comments on what that means, it would be:

    1) Sonic rolls into a ball and reacts accordingly
    2) Levels have multiple paths (using verticality in a 2d space)
    3) Platforming
    4) Levels have slopes of varying degree
    5) Short action set pieces
    6) Speed used as a tool for shortcuts/to get to a different path

    Yes, this is an oversimplification but in the absence of in-depth criticism, this is better than nothing. I've yet to see anyone give any thought to just what it means to adapt Sonic in a 3d space with things like Sonic Utopia/Green Hill Paradise coming off as modest attempts but I don't see viable video games being built on them.
     
  14. Prototype

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    I think that Lost World was the best attempt at rejigging the 3D Sonic gameplay style, and while opinion varies on the game, I think the parkour system was actually pretty good. It would've been cool to see that style of gameplay improved over successive games. I was disappointed that they went back to the Boost gameplay in Forces.

    I'm glad that they released Mania as it sort of stood as a modern comparison of the various gameplay styles for Sonic Team to draw on, as any previous attempt to recapture the past only did so superficially (to diminishing returns). While I'm not a fan of the 3D Sonic games going to 2D sections, I'm glad that they did in Forces purely for comparative purposes.

    The biggest thing that I think needs changing is just a consistent direction for the series or subseries, both in style and gameplay. I think that they need to pick a visual identity for the series outside of just adding Rings and Springs into ill-fitting locations.

    As to what they could do for 3D Sonic to improve it, I'm not actually sure.
     
  15. Beltway

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    The highlight of the core gameplay of the Genesis games has been about the focus of building, maintaining, and essentially playing around with momentum; and this is very important to note because this style of design was what set the series apart from many other platforming games back then and even today. The ability to toy with momentum is reflected in Sonic's base controls, his mechanics, and the level design; and the underlying physics engines allows these elements to work in tandem with each other.

    Rolling's the main star that showcases this best (and not without good reason--in the original games, rolling is the only way to hit maximum speed in the classics, this is most visible with the running speed caps in Sonic 1 and CD have; but it's true for all of the original games), but this extends to Sonic's basic movement (walking, running, rolling while jumping*, jumping, and bouncing) as well as secondary mechanics (the insta-shield, the drop dash, Tails' flying, Knuckles' gliding, Mighty's ground pound, Ray's flight). They allow Sonic to interact with the general environment in a wide array of options.

    Where the post-Adventure games differ from the Genesis games is that there is not only hardly any interest in momentum-based play like the original titles did; the gameplay is highly static and and heavily directed by the designers. Genesis-era mechanics like rolling, the spindash, etc. have been gradually dumbed down and/or stripped out entirely. Level objects that offered some sort of dynamic activity have been changed so interactions are entirely scripted (i.e. springs that players needed to jump on >>> springs the players just need to run into). The various new mechanics that have been introduced do not provide any meaningful momentum play in their design whatsoever (homing attack, light dash, grinding rails* boost, slide, etc). The structure of the level design has zero say on how Sonic reacts; they are also at parts even scripted--ramps that the player could freely move off of in any way they pleased, are now programmed to have the player move in a pre-defined arc.

    *Grinding rails gets a special mention here because in their debut in Adventure 2, they did actually provide some momentum-based properties--similar to rolling down slopes, you would build up speed the longer you could manage to stay on them. They are one of the few, if not the only, post-Genesis mechanics to actually take momentum into meaningful account. Alas, these properties was effectively nixed come Heroes.

    It's a bit hard to explain these differences without proper gifs/video footage (Lange has a great collection of classic Sonic gameplay examples, but I can't recall where they are) or particular; but this image summarizes things pretty well.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Laughingcow

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    The problem with this fairly accurate depiction is that it is disingenuous in that it doesn't show these effects in a 3d space. Worse is that such things are possible in the adventure era games (I made note of this in Shadow the Hedgehog where I launched myself off slopes with the spindash just to see that I could) but due to the nature of being in a 3d space, don't have the utility they have in a 2d space i.e. as a way to direct the player vertically at a given angle. You'll find speed boosters placed at slopes simply for the reason that having to charge up a spindash before slope in many of the cases is cumbersome granted the later games took this to its logical extreme and suffer because of it. There are also the multiple characters who don't have the spindash but let us forget about them for a moment. Yes, launching off of slopes into space with the spindash is FUN. In a 2d space, this has minimal issues but in a 3d space you end up with a possibility of bypassing the entire level if this is unchecked. While not a perfect example, this happens in the boost games

    There are less bullshitty examples in Unleashed but this is what happens in a 3d space. To counter this effect, Sonic Adventure has a built in deceleration effect when in the air but it feels incredibly unnatural as a result. You could argue that the games aren't built around that but that would mean the levels would be designed either as A) Interior areas with roofs to stop this or B) Open island areas with deathpits in all the "off-path" areas. It is this exact design philosophy which makes Cloudbuilt work so well without having the player break the level design.

    Correct, it is what I deem the "Roller Coaster effect" on which Sonic slows down when going uphill and speeds up when going downhill (Mario has this in Odyssey). This is how Sonic reacts in the games of the Adventure era (granted far more poorly in Heroes and Shadow) but we come to the same problem as before: Working in a 3d space. Sonic bouncing up and down and all around in a 2d space doesn't:

    1) Cause the players' controls to shift as a result there only being "Left" and "Right"
    2) Mess with the player's perception i.e. the camera

    This was a problem going as far back as Sonic R where Resort Island has a loop which you can see first hand what happens when you go through a loop in 3d. Hell, they put a speed booster before hand because they understood this problem. There is also the camera which is a presentation issue i.e. what is the point of a spectacle piece if the player cannot see it? The solution to this was automation which brought about a different problem yes, but I've yet to see anyone give a viable solution to this. Going through a loop in say Sonic Utopia feels like busy work because the camera just stays behind me. It seems to be an argument of either keeping control or keeping the spectacle sight where the only possible solution is to have a "Run" button like a racing game.

    You argue about dumbing down but you don't take into account the consequence of having an additional "Z-axis" i.e. why you can hit a spring from any angle and still bounce. The momentum in a 2d Sonic game exists on a practical level as a way for Sonic to be launched in the air via spindash or booster in order to get to a higher path. In a 3d space, this itself is depreciated in that you have an additional Z-axis to place routes along with the Y-axis. This is most visible in Sonic Adventure 2's version of Green Hill Zone which adapts the level to this new found freedom in design.

    You argue for the need for momentum but don't understand what this means in a 3d space. A perfect example is the morphball sections in Metroid Prime which use a static camera in such areas in that "building momentum" involves going from one direction then another repeated in sequence. Sonic's spindash cheats this a bit and using a slope to build speed is present in the Adventure era games but are inherently less useful without vertical paths in the level design which is why the player would want to launch themselves in the first place. In the end, level gimmicks which build momentum would be relegated to a static camera in a 3d space as this is the only way they could work.
     
  17. Beltway

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    You're right in that my post doesn't address those factors, but that wasn't the point of my first reply. You asked for what the differences that defined the Genesis gameplay and post-Adventure gameplay are, and that is what my reply was focused on. Whether Genesis gameplay can be properly adapted into a 3D space is a valid discussion, but that's more of a different topic from the current thread (and also different from the current tangent we are now).

    With that said, however, I will push this quick rebuttal that my comparison of the pre-Adventure and post-Adventure gameplay does not apply exclusively towards the 3D games. These design elements are also present in the 2D games that have followed--even though the Genesis games survived just fine without them (and as of Mania, still hold up), they gradually overwrote 2D Sonic gameplay to support these changes, all the way up to where we are now with the sidescrolling gameplay as designated by Rush/Unleashed. To the point that the designers/studio heads thought they could get away with marketing a random Sonic game with this gameplay as a long-awaited direct sequel to the Genesis games that promised an "unrivaled classic Sonic feel". That to me reads as the managers in charge of Sonic gameplay making the changes they did on both sides of the aisle (2D and 3D) not because they are actively trying and failing to make the ideal changes for them in a new environment; but because they simply aren't trying at all and they just don't give a damn. I am emphasizing this particular point because the design changes I've pointed out are usually justified as necessary for a 3D environment. Why they also exist in a 2D environment, however, seems to be a total mystery.

    Moreover, I also note that both contemporary and former major (pseudo-)platforming series, 2D and 3D, don't rely on this type of heavily automated gameplay the post-Adventure Sonic titles have either, which makes the post-Genesis Sonic titles a true auteur in that sense (rather than merely contrasting with the classics). Mario, Crash, Spyro, Donkey Kong, Banjo, Rayman, Jak & Daxter (namely referring to first game, IDK about the sequels), Knack, Ratchet & Clank, Sly Cooper; none of those series bank on heavily automated gameplay in their design in the same way post-Adventure Sonic does. And considering the historical reception of the 3D Sonic games and that I hardly if ever see Sonic games praised for their automation, I'm also going to reply no to the usual response that because Sonic is a special exemption on this subject, solely on the basis of being a fast character with fast gameplay.

    On a final note, I will also add that when I talk about bringing Genesis gameplay into 3D, I'm not talking about wanting a pixel-perfect conversion of physics and controls, desiring something like Marble Madness as a Sonic game. I'm talking more about wanting a 3D game that is correct in the core components that the original titles are built upon. I've already described as Adventure 1 in this and past threads as an example that gets some of the basic ideas right, while also being interested in doing other things.
     
  18. Dr. Mecha

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    I think fangames, such as Sonic Utopia or Sonic World, have a better shot at this than whatever SEGA ever produce.
     
  19. SuperSnoopy

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    Uh, about that...

    But seriously, the only thing I want them to do in the future is ditch the boost formula. Unleashed is the only game that really benefited from it in my opinion. All the other boost games tried their damn best to make the boost as useless as they can (expect maybe Forces)
    I also think it's time for a new team to take the torch. I know it's been said time and time again, but both Odyssey and BotW were made by newbies, and it showed. And it seems like Pokemon is going to follow the same path, with Junichi Masuda stepping down as a director from gen 8 onward. Meanwhile, Izuka has been here since 94, and while I don't have a hate boner against him unlike a lot of people online, I still think he should step back as a producer. He just don't get Sonic anymore.
     
  20. DigitalDuck

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    I half-agree, but I love the boost games and want them to keep going; as I said, the problem with Colours and Generations is that they tried to force it to be a platformer with sections that just don't work with the boost gameplay.

    If they stick with the boost, they need to let it loose and stop trying to make it superficially like a classic Sonic game. If they want something like a classic Sonic game, they need to ditch the boost.

    They could pick one, or do each in two separate sub-series, but trying to do both in the same game is essentially saying ,"Hey, you know that game you want? Here's half of it mixed with another game!" (much like the Adventure series, Unleashed, and Generations did more directly with its characters)