Would you like to see Yuji Naka return to Sonic Team?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Agobue, Feb 18, 2020.

  1. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    Ouch, it is ruined now.
     
  2. Ah, so it was another casualty of people posting news in that topic instead of posting it as a new thread.
     
  3. Beltway

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    I’ll always give Iizuka credit for greenlighting Mania in production, and to a lesser extent his producer/director roles in various Sonic games I do like (Adventure, Generations, Heroes, and Colors). But on the whole I’d argue his tenure with Sonic has been mostly tepid at best, with his direction also bringing several questionable/outright bad design decisions that have been in place for multiple games/several years.

    This is underlined by the fact that he’s arguably been behind the wheel for the Sonic series far longer than anyone else (his role at Sonic Team USA + his role now at Sonic Team Japan/CS2). Every now and then I come across a comment here and elsewhere that speculate that the reason Iizuka’s still the head of the Sonic IP is due to seniority more than anything else. Nearly everyone else from the original teams for the Genesis games has been long gone.

    Another Genesis Sonic game with the Mania developers with Yasuhara as a design lead/director is the dream IMO. I also think any talented team with Yasuhara would assuredly be the first to design a satisfying 3D Sonic game that’s conceptually faithful to the Genesis titles—I think you could see the untapped potential with Yasuhara’s level design contributions with his Saturn era works—Sonic 3D: Flickies Island, Sonic R, and his concepts for Sonic X-Treme. (Although I also think the people behind Sonic World in Sonic Jam did a pretty nice job too.)
     
  4. Overlord

    Overlord

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    I don't see the issue if you're reading posts as they come in. I knew about it.
     
  5. SystemsReady

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    also there would be absolutely no point in posting it as its own topic as it is not Sonic related, nor was it ever stated to be Sonic-related. I just thought it was a cool little thing I came across. :V
     
  6. I mean, the fact that Yasuhara was involved means it's tangentially-related and it's annoying how much shit's been posted in that topic that is actually topic-worthy? Like, the game jam may have been worthy of discussion but hey - someone thought it belonged in a pages-deep topic to be forgotten to the sands of time so now that discussion didn't have a chance to happen.
     
  7. Fred

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    It was literally a single tweet. Nobody even replied to that post because there's nothing to comment on such a throwaway piece of information other than "cool" or "interesting". That's not discussion, that's filler. Not everything deserves a thread. Get over it.
     
  8. Frostav

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    A few weeks ago. I'm very tired of this "you're just blinded by nostalgia and should replay them" thing.

    But seriously, to be more calm: the current method isn't working. Boost Sonic basically hit its peak in terms of depth with Generations and everything since has been a mess. When people like me say that Adventure is what they need to return to we're not talking about the bugs or the way too many playstyles, we're talking about a platformer with a physics engine and controls that aren't stuff as a tank.

    There's something to Sonic that was lost when Naka left. It probably wasn't specifically because of him leaving, but every game post-06 feels like it's missing something ephemeral that I can't quite put into words. Even Heroes, a game I think is a miserable tedious slog, still has...okay, like, the aesthetics and that's it I guess lol But you get my point. "Bring Naka back!" and other sentiments are just people annoyed at Sonic Team spending a decade whoring out nostalgia and insistently sticking with a extremely railroaded gameplay style that forces them to constantly pad their games with crap no one wants (Werehog, classic Sonic in Forces, though I'll admit he's fine enough in Generations). I don't think Naka magically coming back would actually fix things, but it's a lot easier to say that than "restructure Sonic Team and hand the name off to people who actually give a damn".

    At least the Adventure duology made the pretension of having a physics engine and momentum.
     
  9. Dude yes. Hirokazu is so underappreciated for his design philosophy. Personally my hero of the series, as well as the other two sonic dads of course.

    As for Naka I wouldnt mind. I think hes had a lot of time to think about how he'd fix the 3D games problems and maybe attempt something he couldn't in 1997 due to tech limitations. I'd certainly be curious to see.

    I also think that with the right people around, sonic could thrive anyway. If theres any game that deserve a second look at refining its SA1 but I think the ideal is probably a new game altogether with a better foundation.
     
  10. Sid Starkiller

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    Well, I say that because I know some people don't. Some people are content to cling to those memories without seeing if the game holds up. I had no way of knowing if you were one of them.

    And to reword what I said, while the game as a whole package isn't great, I did and still do really enjoy the Sonic/Shadow stages and, while part of me thinks it's too late for Sonic Team to do after all this time, I wouldn't mind seeing a dedicated and passionate dev team (read: not Sonic Team) take another crack at it. Hell, I've had some ideas, and if I had an inkling of programming skill, I'd make a demo for people to try. My biggest concern is, as I've said in other topics, I want them to perfect Sonic's gameplay before even considering adding extra characters.

    As for Naka himself, it all depends on whether he would want to come back if invited. I stand by what I said before: if, after all this time, he still feels burnt out from Sonic (which obviously I don't know), he won't put forth his best effort.
     
  11. Frostav

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    We actually do have an example of what you're talking about, made by the guy who made Before/After The Sequel (with the same music team, no less), actually:

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/1079210/Spark_the_Electric_Jester_2/

    But that's one dude, and you can tell the limitations he had hamper the game in some aspects. Still, I think it's a fun romp for like 15 bucks or so!

    I think the hunting stages are flawed more in execution than actual design. The core idea of utilizing Sonic-style physics to look for stuff is honestly not a bad one--I mean, hell, Sonic always had an exploratory element. It's the abysmal design of nearly all of them that ruins them. They're either too cramped (Aquatic Ruin, Security Hall) or obnoxiously huge (Mad Space, Meteor Herd) and take zero advantage of the physics. Actually, 2 in particular seems bizarrely hellbent on never once taking advantage of the physics system it has in general. Hm. The shooting stages are actually far better in my opinion, but they can't really be made Sonic-y, so they should go. And I would be totally fine with the gameplay framework of the 2D games where everyone controls mostly the same and just accesses different routes, admittedly!

    There's a certain...passion(?) to the games during Naka's tenure that I feel is missing from Sonic nowadays. Adventure 1 and 2 were really felt as Sonic Team was all-in on the game they made. Hell, 06 kinda does, it's just literally unfinished and all the ideas (besides Silver) were awful and dumb and stupid and they didn't realize that they probably should have improved on the core gameplay instead of just...not doing that?

    Like, look at Silver himself and compare him to Infinite, the literal only new mobian (I'm using this term as a shorthand for "sonic-style talking animal character", not literally implying he's from Mobius) they introduced in a mainline game in nearly a decade and a half. Sonic Team clearly thought Silver was a good idea. He takes up a damn third of the gameplay and is highly important in the plot. And they kept using him in stuff after 06 and what do ya know, despite the game he's from being ass I know a lot of younger Sonic fans who earnestly like him! I know that sounds crazy to you older fans but man, there really are people who consider Silver their favorite Sonic character.

    Infinite is a shitty tertiary villain in a similarly-ass game that is discarded incredibly anti-climactically and appears to have been shamefully shuttered. He has no personality outside of being what memers think Shadow is like. They had no faith in this character before the game even began. Which sucks because I think Infinite's design is actually pretty damn good, really good even (without the mask mind you with it he looks bad), and he's just this useless wasted piece of shit no one cares about besides me and I only care about him because he's hot without the mask, I think he is so devoid of character I can't even like, hate him.

    As Josh said in his SA2 retrospective, man I miss the old Sonic Team.
     
  12. Sid Starkiller

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    Hunting stages I definitely agree. While I'm to this day mystified why they would nerf the radar the way they did, the smaller hunting stages were enjoyable. Mech stages...Gamma's were fine in SA1, but Tails and Eggman handled so much worse in comparison that it ruined whatever enjoyment I might've had. I know that realistically the Egg Walker is bulkier and would be harder to maneuver in than Gamma, but realism should be disregarded when it gets in the way of fun.
     
  13. Blue Spikeball

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    Same. I found the treasure hunting and shooting stages in SA1 enjoyable, but loathed them in SA2. I think it's mainly because they were generally shorter in SA1 (and in Gamma's case, controlled better), so they ended before they got boring. SA2 tried to give all play styles the same importance, so they made them longer, which really hurt them, especially the treasure hunting stages.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  14. Dek Rollins

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    SA1 was better than SA2 in execution. Had the streamlined ideas in SA2 used the simpler/better level design and gameplay from SA1 for the extraneous gameplay types, it would be a lot more fun to replay than it is. I've spent literally 35 minutes in Knuckles' space level before because I couldn't find the right floating asteroid.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  15. Sid Starkiller

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    The other big advantage SA1 had over SA2 was that if I wanted to play the story but only play as Sonic, I could do exactly that. In SA2, I either have to play levels I didn't want to in between the Sonic/Shadow levels, or cherry-pick them through the menu.
     
  16. SystemsReady

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    Gamma also moved much faster and had a higher jump too. Also, most of his levels had wider paths - think about how claustrophobic Prison Lane or Eternal Engine are compared to even Gamma's Red Mountain, which is probably his most limited in terms of stage width.

    Yeah the treasure hunting levels are less elaborate in SA1, to their benefit. It's like the devs got so caught up in making things BIGGER and MORE EPIC and just...(sigh)


    Re: the "adventure style", I think people will forever associate it with having a bunch of gameplay styles and overworlds, because that is what Adventure did, and I don't trust Sonic Team to ever have a successful attempt at that again, not after 06. Unleashed was kinda-sorta there but greatly stripped down after 06's massive gameplay ambitions.

    I'll bring this up again because it's brilliant, someone here said that the 2D Sonic titles were basically like Sega's arcade racing games, and I'd kinda love to see a 3D Sonic game with the same vibe as Sega's arcadey dreamcast games - simple concept but fast and with ways to improve your score, with lots of levels. Think something with Crazy Taxi's vibe, but focused on running through/working out the best path to a level's goal.
     
  17. They nerfed the radar simply to pad the game length. Terrible decision IMO.
    As mediocre as I think the treasure levels are, nothing grinds me more than the mech levels. And these are where the primary criticisms of the game came from even back in 2002. Josh already touched on this in his video series but younger fans really have no idea how divisive SA2 was when it released. Theres just no way that game can be considered a top sonic game in either 2D or 3D. No shade to fans who grew up with it and love every bit of it, but I'm honestly glad the series has gone away from that direction. It took almost every lesson from SA1 and went in the wrong direction.

    Anyway, regardless of who comes back to the series or who joins, I think I'd want a mix of proven and new talent. But people not just with a passion but a clear vision and concept for what sonic should be in 3D. Not like Forces that tried to please everyone at once in a weird segmented, disjointed way. Just one awesome concept that clearly defines Sonic in the most 'Sonic-y' way for 3D.
     
  18. DigitalDuck

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    Dunno what you're talking about here. Unleashed especially made full use of momentum in a good deal of its levels. There are more than a few alternate routes that require you to jump while going uphill to get extra height, and most of the major glitches in the game also take advantage of the fact that this is a thing you can do.
     
  19. Frostav

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    The boost nullifies a good portion of the need to utilize momentum. I'm not talking about differing jump heights based on angles of the floor so much as knowing that if you fuck up you lose your flow, whereas in the boost games you an effortlessly get it back.

    For the record, I think Generations in particular has far more authentic level design to the classics in the sense that its filled with alternate routes and isn't extremely linear as SA1 kinda was and SA2 was extremely so, but I still prefer how the Adventure games could theoretically support slower-paced platforming and levels that aren't hallways (branching hallways, but hallways nonetheless). They never ever actually took advantage of that trait (except for the Windy Valley Beta), but the boost games always give the impression that things aren't working right whenever you have to actually slow down and platform.

    Any attempt at being more authentic to the pacing and design of the classics in 3D would inevitably feel like Adventure but better and with proper level design. The design of those two games is not so fundamentally different from the classics as people would like to state. Hell, even SRB2 and Utopia have incorporated the air dash and homing attack respectively, despite their intentional adherence to reinterpreting the classic formula, so it's not as if there's nothing to learn from the Adventure duology.

    So when I say I'd like Adventure 3, I don't want an excessive unfocused glut of playstyles. What I actually want is more Sonic Robo Blast 2 (which I consider my actual favorite 3D Sonic game, and no I don't care that it's an unfinished fangame) with the modern cast and a chao garden and a plot. It's just that in my eyes, that would be a successor to the Adventure formula, not a total throwback, even though it would scarcely resemble its two prequels.
     
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  20. Yash

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    Adventure 1's Red Mountain (act one, anyway, act two is more straightforward) is my go-to example of Sonic Team getting it right very early on with their 3D level design, there's plenty of diverse routes and shortcuts you can take and it's a pretty fun ride all the way through.

    I think there's plenty of potential in revisiting Adventure-type gameplay with the next 3D Sonic, most of the problems with SA1 and 2 come down to execution rather than any fundamental problems. I don't know how popular of an opinion it is, but I felt Unleashed even demonstrated they could strike a good balance with their hub worlds, keeping them small and lively, after the desolate wastelands from Sonic 06.