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Would Sonic X-Treme have "saved" the Sega Saturn?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by DesertWarrior, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. You specifically cited the 10 million sales number, and that is worldwide sales, not regional ones. It's too late to move this goalpost. (And before you go off on me about using Wikipedia, every sales number it mentions is citated.)

    There is enough wrong with this statement that I might need to separate my thoughts here into numbered bullet points.
    1) You accuse me of invalidating Japanese sales and then pull the "arcades were dying" argument, which arguably was not even the case western-side yet (We didn't even have DDR machines yet at this point and light gun games were just starting to peak), but especially would not be true in Japan when Sega was still outputting it's best arcade software and hardware at this point. You know who was competing with Sega at that point? Namco. You know what the ACTUAL first games that got people buying Playstations over Saturn were? No, not FFVII. They were Tekken and Ridge Racer, which had better, more arcade-accurate port jobs than the Saturn's clearly rushed and unoptimized Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA.
    2) Trying to downplay "better documentation", like WTF? Sony became the market leader in the PSOne era because of their relations with third parties, and aspects such as documentation and ease of development are NOT factors you can just pass off as insignificant.
    3) In Japan, Playstation was selling at a faster rate than Saturn by 1996, a year before Final Fantasy VII came out. (Playstation was outselling Saturn at the onset in America due to the botched launch - hopefully that does not need to be contested.)
    4) Final Fantasy VI sold about 3 and a half million. Final Fantasy VII sold almost 10 million. Final Fantasy VI was on the Super Famicom/SNES, which was not a slouch in sales and to this day is considered by many to be "The JRPG console", yet Final Fantasy games did not sell nearly as well on Nintendo as they did on Playstation. (For further sales point reference: VIII sold 8.15 million, IX sold 5.30 million. In spite of the downward trend, these are still significantly higher numbers than the pre-Playstation FF entries.)
    The reasons? To start, Final Fantasy in it's VII-onward entries achieved a more-than-significant chunk of their sales internationally. So what happens when early localization attempts tend to not happen and/or have very limited print runs? Basically, it boils down to "There was less international support for Final Fantasy before Playstation came along and Sony gave it a marketing campaign that rivaled any JRPG release in America before it."
    In other words, Sony gave Squaresoft special and distinct treatment, even compared to other Playstation games to ensure FFVII's success.
    As such, this statementt:
    Can easily be debunked simply by seeing how Sega treated JRPGs in America compared to how Sony treated JRPGs. Remember how Shining Force III only had 1 of it's 3 chapters come out? Or how Lunar and Grandia got ported to Playstation more or less entirely for localization purposes? Or all the drama with simply trying to localize Magic Knights Rayearth? I would imagine if Final Fantasy VII came out as a Saturn exclusive, it would not have even gotten a US localization and it would, at best, have gotten Japanese sales similar to FFVI (2.55 million), which would likely have deemed it a failure considering it's budget.
    Why else do you think Square went to Sony, instead of Sega, when leaving Nintendo behind?



    Ad hominem character attack that has nothing to do with the argument much?

    Actually, no, publicly dissing your former employer can lead to being blacklisted by similar companies and being considered un-hireable in your career path, unless MAYBE they have a really damn good case for being correct. (and usually, even if they ARE correct, simply because big companies do not like being dissed by employees on principle.)
    That is a possible reason why Michael Latham has not been credited in a video game since 1997. If that is the case, then he effectively killed his future in videogames just to call Sega out.
    Tom Kalinske could only get away with his public trashtalking of big companies like Mattell and SEGA because he had a history of generating big (as opposed to merely "typical") profit when he takes lead of a company.

    What would you propose for a method to estimate the retention of a company's audience from one console gen to the next, then?
     
  2. BlazeHedgehog

    BlazeHedgehog

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    Sonic R is also about 15 minutes long. Compared to literally every other racing game in that generation and the one prior, Sonic R is a very anemic game, even for a racing game with explorative elements (I'd compare Sonic R to Beetle Adventure Racing on the N64, and it had more tracks to race on and they were larger than Sonic R's, too)
     
  3. 360

    360

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    Sonic R was awesome for the time (one of the few stand-out great games for the Saturn) but I'll agree with the notion that it's very short. It has what five stages than can be traversed entirely in an hour? Loved it at the time but I think more importantly it can be presented as strong evidence that Sonic's presence on the Saturn even with something like a prototype Sonic Adventure let alone Sonic Xtreme wouldn't have impacted Sega's fortunes. PlayStation was a monster hit at the time. A phenomenon. Sonic R and Sonic Jam made little to no difference to the Saturn's fate indicating that a real Sonic title wouldn't have made much difference either. The Saturn's problems were far more profound than lacking a single game. I could write pages and pages about it (focusing on 2D whilst the industry moved to 3D; poor hardware that paled in comparison to its competitors and so on) but the Saturn was doomed from the moment they executed that surprise launch at E3 and Sony countered with a lower price and a proper launch that you know, had actual games available.

    Sonic Xtreme is an extremely interesting part of Sonic history but it nor another Sonic title would have sufficiently reversed the Saturn's fortunes.
     
  4. BlazeHedgehog

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    No, not an hour. I timed it once, it really is about 15 minutes. It's only an hour (or two) if you're going for all the unlockables, but otherwise, starting from Resort Island to credits takes literally 15 minutes. Parappa the Rapper is a longer game than Sonic R.
     
  5. 360

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    Hey Blaze. :) Long time no speak since our days on AIM and Sfghq. This is Sonic360 by the way. I shortened my alias to 360. Good to see you here.

    As for Sonic R thanks for the correction! I can imagine the game taking 15 minutes or so. The stages are limited and very short. I think my memory was recalling my time with the game when I was doing everything that was possible such as trying to find the unlockables and so on. I remember spending hours and hours on the game but that was primarily because I was trying to unlock everything (Super Sonic!) and also replaying the hell out of it. It is a short game and in that I agree.

    As for the purpose of this thread the important notion is that Sonic R failed to save the Saturn just as any other Sonic title would have.
     
  6. Black Squirrel

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    It's wiki time. There's no need to be afraid.
    The only way to really do it is to go down the "percentage of consoles sold over the last week/month/year" route, but I'm not sure it's a metric that will ever be reliable unless you've got consoles launching within days of each other. And even then I'm not sure it's great on its own - you could buy a console and never use it. Software attachment rates for the Mega Drive where higher than for the SNES in the US, and that's where the money is - there's tons of factors.

    But the rule is, just because something is less popular doesn't mean it's unpopular. The ZX Spectrum was the best selling micro computer in the UK pretty much every year between 1982 and 1989(?) - that's not a sign that the Commodore 64 "failed" here.

    It's really easy to forget how low standards were in 1997. The masses weren't really in a position to compare and contrast 40938204 games before making a purchase.

    I bought a Nintendo 64 in about 2004/2005-ish and was amazed with how much "stuff" was in the average cartridge compared to what I'd seen on the Saturn and PlayStation. One of the first questions is "why doesn't Sonic R have as many tracks as Mario Kart 64", but the answer is actually pretty obvious - it didn't need to. Who was going to bother doing the comparison - the magazines said they were both great, and the N64 was never really all that popular amongst the British public. I didn't realise how far Sonic R was off the mark until years later.


    People don't necessarily gravitate towards the best things. Look at the first year of the PlayStation 2 compared to what the Dreamcast was doing.
     
  7. Despatche

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    Well, 360, that has more to do with a combination of factors than any single one. Again, around that point, there was nothing you could do to sell the Saturn to anyone outside of Japan. And of course, Sonic wouldn't have done much in Japan. Really stretched situation there.

    Black Squirrel also reoutlines a pretty large part of the entire problem. Again, people can't really understand raw quality like that. The entire mobile market is based on this. Hype and "tricking" people sells so much more than anything else you could do.
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    Look, Kiddo, I'm getting tired of your strange fabrications.

    There are multiple sources that report wildly different numbers, never mind that those books can only say what someone on Wikipedia thinks was said. Seeing as how you basically ignored my entire post, I find it incredibly unlikely that a notorious site like Wikipedia would do even slightly better.

    Arcades were constantly living and dying. Arcades would have died out altogether in the early '90s were it not for Street Fighter II, followed by an attempt to move various genres into 3D (which itself was almost impossible without SFII). Console games were already taking over Japan and threatening the rest of the world, and PC games everywhere were getting more and more elaborate. 3D-based arcade games were already being pressed for ports in a way that previous generations were not, and nearly all these ports had lots of additional features to the point where many were even used as revised versions of the original games. The greatest proof of this is that Sega and Sony were also creating arcade hardware specifically based on their consoles, in order to facilitate easy porting. Nearly all of Namco's big titles were on PlayStation-based hardware or something very close.

    Yes, Virtua Cop was a bit of a hit, but lightgun games didn't really pick up until Time Crisis and The House of The Dead. Yes, all of those predate FFVII, and people still wanted them, but I'm obviously not trying to say that they were unwanted, I'm trying to say that you were starting to see diminishing returns and a shift to new types of video games; even early PS and Saturn titles were typically much more complicated than any arcade game, which was never the case for previous systems. But the greatest proof of this is in FFVII not simply being a cult hit outside of Japan like all of Square's SNES titles, instead basically changing the entire face of the non-Japanese planet. A lot of people legitimately wanted that game.

    People will never shut up about the Saturn catering to what was becoming an outdated "arcade" mindset. Arcades were effectively dead going into the late '90s with only highly specific kinds of games that are very difficult to pull off at home being profitable anymore. There was something of an arcade "crisis" around 1999~2000, where many arcade developers basically disappeared or become console-heavy overnight. By that point, all you could ever sell was DDR and light gun games; even proper arcade racers were dying. This even happened in Japan, but not to the extreme degree that it happened everywhere else. There is so much to talk about with the late '90s and arcades: the CPS3, SNK slowly dwindling down to nothing and then the buyout drama, fighting games either dying or becoming almost console-exclusive, etc. Fighting games only ever received arcade versions after this point because you actually could sell a game in Japan every now and then, as well as in other Asian countries.

    Sony became the market leader everywhere because Sega was starting to lose it in the US/EU, and because they got lucky by moneyhatting Square. It's amazing that people in 2016 think they can argue the sheer importance of FFVII away with their whining about third-parties or whatever. Normal people don't care about developers and they don't care about hardware, only weird fans do; normal people care about actual games that they can be convinced to play.

    I think Black Squirrel reexplained this better than I need to, again.

    This is absolutely the most disgusting part of your entire narrative.

    Square never really sold numbers in the US/EU because of a mysterious stigma against RPGs among console buyers at the time; noone has ever been able to explain it. Final Fantasy II, Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy III, and Chrono Trigger did really poorly. These games were revived entirely through the emulation scene and through the kickstarting caused by FFVII.

    Japan's situation is from another universe. Square sold millions of their games, and FFVII sold as well as the previous games did, perhaps slightly better. All of those extra sales from VII onward are coming from the RPG stigma disappearing completely, likely because the people buying PlayStations and Saturns weren't at all the same people buying previous systems.

    Sega never had the issue with JRPGs (an incredibly shitty term) until after FFVII, which was when Stolar got his claws on everything. Remember how Shining Force III, the Lunar ports, and Grandia were all late Saturn titles, released well after all the bullshit happened?

    Hey, maybe FFVII wouldn't have "saved" the Saturn, and it wouldn't have done the huge numbers of its PlayStation release. Maybe it might have. FFVII itself is a huge anomaly and Sony was really lucky to have moneyhatted them like that. None of this is the point I was trying to argue, that it would have been much better for the platform all over the world than a Sonic game. But you're so caught up in your Sony-the-lord-and-savior narrative that you feel the need to assign my thoughts to me.

    Square went to Sony because they were bought. Square wasn't particularly interested in the N64, and Sony got an exclusivity deal to keep Sega off their back.

    I suppose it would be an ad hominem if, 1. I didn't vaguely imply that you might be this kind of person according to your actual actions, and, 2. this label wasn't a pretty great explanation for your bizarre fabricating. As usual, that you took this as an insult says a lot about your motives.

    And of course, you're agreeing with me here, because every one of these fabricated rants needs some weird example of this. It's nice that you'd reassure me that you really have no idea what you're trying to fight against, I guess.

    If you want an ad-hominem, I can't give you one. Any name I could call you directly refers to your actions and motives. The best I can come up with is that you're clearly a weird closet Sony fanboy and Sega anti-fanboy. Anti-fanboys are just like fanboys, mindlessly fighting over something or another and making up insane stories, except they mindlessly hate (which becomes fake) instead of mindlessly love (which also becomes fake). I suppose you can no u me all day, but I don't think Sony was a terrible company or that they played dirty. Really, I don't have much opinion on any of this, except that I hate liars in general, particularly those who lie to themselves, and that it saddens me to see a company "win" with an "inferior" console twice like that. Noone should even be "winning" like that at all. By the way: no, the Wii U is not this kind of "inferior console", and no, I'm not a Nintendo fanboy.
     
  8. Lostgame

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    Wow. Wow. Wow.

    The Saturn is my favourite system, and the story behind it's 'failure' one of the most interesting pieces of video game history.

    I often look for articles like this (at least once a week) but this is incomparibly one of the most comprehensive articles I've read on this. Thanks so much - I submitted this to hacker news.
     
  9. Black Squirrel

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    It's wiki time. There's no need to be afraid.
  10. Lostgame

    Lostgame

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    Eh, not nearly as thorough or impressive. (No offence)
     
  11. MathUser

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    Sonic Adventure didn't save the Dreamcast.
     
  12. 360

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    I honestly think Sonic Xtreme would have been negatively received. It was too out there and weird to be accepted by the masses. Something like Sonic World from Sonic Jam i.e. a game based on that would have seen more success. Something more conventional and traditional so basically what became Sonic Adventure.

    It's an interesting part of Sonic's history but I honestly believe the game was better off canned as opposed to being released and received poorly.