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Yuji Naka doesn't think Sonic games are as fun anymore

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Dark Sonic, May 18, 2012.

  1. muteKi


    Fuck it Member
    I dunno, I was really frustrated at how Unleashed had few if any reliable methods for farming lives or maintaining life count in general.

    Honestly, after spending 30 minutes on a stage I'm not at all pleased to get a game over due to making a misstep into a bottomless pit on a slower section with a bad camera angle. Hi Eggmanland. (Fuck, the fact I spent like 30 minutes in the stage in the first place gets my wrath enough.)

    I mean, let's be honest here: Sonic 2 and 3K are piss-easy, at least if you have even a modicum of skill at the special stages, while Sonic 1 has a few challenging segments but even then it's still a pretty easy/forgiving game.

    The games are supposed to be accessible, and all the ones that I actually like are.
  2. Truner


    But didn't he work on games like Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 06?
    Now while I did (barely) enjoy Shadow the Hedgehog and I think that Sonic 06 is the best entry in the "Adventure" series, they have nothing on recent games. Sure, they could be harder, but as long as the gameplay is fun, I don't mind the easiness.

    For me, the boost is fun... however, I don't understand how a hedgehog that can travel at speeds unimaginable needs an alien to get somewhere fast. Even along a few points. He's supposed to be able to travel at the Speed of SOUND and that is certainly faster than what that damned Wisp made him do. But back to the boost: it's there for those who want to exploit it. While the game does not awards you for doing so, it is possible to beat a stage without boost. Rarely is it really needed. Like Spagonia, where you have to break through glasses...

    So in the end, I don't know if I want to have the guy back or not. As it stands, Sonic Team now makes a whole lot better games than he ever did.*

    *even if one of them is a game reusing ideas Naka did.

    And yes, games need to ditch lives. Look at Rayman Origins, a fun game that can be hard even without lives or continues. Giving you 46928498245298 lives ain't any better.
  3. Thousand Pancake

    Thousand Pancake

    Being a food you put milk on and then eat in the m Member
    Perhaps the quasi-invincibility should wear off after the first couple seconds of boost. It would probably promote more risk/reward and make the boost feel less cheap. The boost could become available and/or last longer after a period of sustained running, making it a speed-based power rather than a ring-based power.
  4. Sik


    Sik is pronounced as "seek", not as "sick". Tech Member
    being an asshole =P
    And this is the reason why lives are not removed probably. Without lives the way checkpoints work wouldn't make much sense: why do you restart from there if you don't quit the game but restart from the beginning if you do? Why not save there instead?

    Actually there is a Sonic game that got rid of lives the way you want: Chaotix. And it got rid of checkpoints too, meaning that if you lost, you had to do the entire level all over again (though then again Chaotix had the whole level shuffling gimmick which made matters worse as you couldn't just retry a level unless you got the slow down item). The result wasn't all that good really, and it was only bearable because you weren't stuck in the same level forever and because you run fast as hell in that game.
  5. TheKazeblade


    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member
    Im fine with the live system if the game itself is built around the idea that you re going to hit difficult areas enough to the point you may risk getting thrown back, but that isnt something you really have to worry about, at least in Sonic 4 and Generations. Now if they were to make it so theres a normal mode where no matter how many times you die you end up at your last checkpoint, and a hard mode where you re given a fixed amount of lives (with little or no additional lives given) I feel that would give the live system a bit more relevence.

    As for Naka, if the game was a labor of love with more of a development cycle, I would love to see him helm a game again. But the fact of the matter is, Sonic games are now one of the only four franchises coming to the states from Sega anymore, so the dev cycle will remain rapid as heck; I don't doubt we re going to get an announcement of the next core Sonic game within the next few months, if they follow the same cycle they have been since Colors was announced.

    Also, I don't agree with those saying Naka's departure was a direct reason that Sonic games began increasing in quality. IMHO, the reason that Sonic games increased in quality was because Sonic '06 was the final straw and showed the collapse of the Sonic Adventure style from a technical standpoint; it was completely panned critically, the majority of the team, if I recall, was fired, and they had to start over. It had next to nothing to do with Naka.

    The current style of play has the potential for fair difficulty, but hand-holdy design choices hold it back. I just want a legitimate difficulty setting in the core Sonic games again, like Generations'ablility to turn off Omochao and pit alerts, but taken to the next level. Also, more additional paths that are difficult to get to, and even more difficult to stay on. The framework is there.

    I am also, like others, of the opinion that boosting makes things a bit too easy. Which is why I believe the way Sonic ought to operate is Adventure-esque speed cap and controls until you reach that speed cap, then you can manually "shift" Sonic into high gear, giving him a generations-esque speed cap which, when that is reached, activates boost-like invincibility, maintanable for only as long as you can keep your momentum. This will make ordinary objects, (like walls and inclines) a threat, even if they do no damage to Sonic, because you want to maintain boost mode.

    This concept could be expanded to bringing back the speed shoes, which could operate on Sonic Rush's system when you reach full boost gauge: Unlimited boost for a limited time that can be activated regardless of your current speed. To expand even further, Generations-Esque boost could be an unlockable ability when you reach a certain amount of points, so now it still remains a reward for success.

    All of the framework is there, the design and mechanics just need to reflect such changes and gameplay will both become more robust and skill-based.
  6. I think SEGA should pull a Rayman Origins and remove the live system completely. That allowed the game to be challenging but not overly frustrating in terms of restarting part of a level you were able to beat
  7. Sik


    Sik is pronounced as "seek", not as "sick". Tech Member
    being an asshole =P
    And again we're back at the checkpoint issue. Either you remove checkpoints and force players to redo entire levels just because they made a mistake at the end (only bearable if levels end up being very short) or you turn checkpoints into permanent savepoints where you can resume at any time (which involves messing with the gameplay balance), because giving infinite lives and leaving checkpoints with the current behavior doesn't make much sense (it's inconsistent).
  8. Here's what I was getting at. Origins has tons of checkpoints, but that doesn't make the game easy, it makes it less frustrating. It allowed you to return immediately to where you previously left off and try that part again instead of going through parts of the level you have already beaten. Besides, lives are incredibly archaic anyway. The only point of them was to make kids put more money into the arcade machine. The only thing lives do in Sonic games is frustrate players every time they restart trying to get a better time in a level only to lose a life. (I mean come on, I'm restarting the level from the beginning anyway) Lives don't add challenge, only frustration, especially since "Game Over" doesn't really mean "Game Over".
  9. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    often the real thing™ Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
    it wasn't a good sprite to begin with
    Yuji Naka's a programmer, not a designer. You can't compare him to Shigeru Miyamoto who has a completely different job.

    I think there's quite a bit of evidence at this stage that he doesn't really know how to design games, so his thoughts on game design are best off taken with a pinch of salt. Lest we forget that until Hirokazu Yasuhara came on board neither Naka or Oshima knew what to actually do with Sonic or the super fancy speedy scrolly engine Yuji Naka made. Their plans were "GO FAST", Yasuhara's plans were "GOOD GAMES".

    Weirdly there doesn't seem to have been many interviews over the years with Hirokazu Yasuhara. Just that one interview hosted on Sonic Retro's wiki that kinda focuses in on the 3D aspects, I.e. that time where he was drafted in to help with the level design of Sonic R, not to run the project as "GAME PLANNER" like in Sonics 1, 2 and 3. I'd be curious to know what he thinks about Sonic 4, since he's gone on record saying he was against the idea of Sonic being thrown into every scenario to make money.

    Also the definition of "producer" varies between studios and many don't bother with the role. It's kind-of an oversighting thing which means you're not necessarily calling the shots on a daily basis - he likely assembled the team but a director would tell them what to do. It's just another layer of management.
  10. Rosie


    aka Rosie Member
    As far as I know Naka never really cared for the Sonic games after 3K. He went on to do other things whilst Western developers like Traveller's Tales pushed out some stuff aimed at a Western market. In fact I'm not sure anyone in Japan thought Sonic was relevant any more, as Ristar was in consideration to become the new mascot. Naka concentrated on things like Nights or whatever, and stepped in to fuck up X-Treme because it was a flawed concept, and he was pissed that the stole his code without asking to make a shitty game. He got all excited about the Dreamcast and decided to make Sonic relevant again, and it was at the time well received, but the game has obvious flaws. It was hard to get the classic Sonic gameplay in a 3D setting and they had to compromise in some areas and try new things to achieve this. Not all transitions to 3D are as well formed to start off than Mario's, and I think the games problems mostly lie with trying to find ways to make the gameplay work, I mean, we, and especially SEGA, still can't quite work out how Sonic should work in 3D.

    After that he went on to work on other things that he wanted like Chu Chu Rocket, and pushed Sonic off to the US. I can't imagine he made that many decisions about anything, but his name was synonymous with Sonic and looked good in the credits. A lot of people still thing he solely created Sonic, and round about 1999 then I'm pretty sure I did too.

    So Naka's off in Japan going I wish they stopped bothering me with this Sonic shit, while Iizuka was leading the team, who were trying, and failing to get Sonic working in 3D, constantly using the wrong kind of feedback, or missing the point entirely; "lol play as Eggman", "lol shadows cool", "We think Sonic sucks because it doesn't look classic", "SANIK ADVENTRE 3!!!!".

    I'd wager Naka saw how crap 06 was going to be and decided "I'm fed up with this shit, I'mma go Prope now".

    Then 06 went down the shitter and became the best thing for the series, as it made Sonic Team reassess and completely change everything. I'm not particularly a fan of Unleashed, but it was definitely a step in the right direction, and I did enjoy Colours, and especially Generations. I think the current Sonic Team is finally willing to stick to something that works and then improve it. I'd rather something more free and more classic feeling, but I think if they keep on improving what they've got at the moment, they could start making games that matter again.

    + - Dimps just suck though. =P  

    If none of that made any sense, I apologise. I am high.
  11. LockOnRommy11


    I'm the only person who really likes DIMPS. Sonic Advance 1, 2 and 3 were all awesome, I liked Rush, thought the Wii version of Unleashed was more fair (despite more shitty Werehog) and have also found both Episodes of 4 to be enjoyable.

    But hey, Dimps are shit :v:?
  12. Hukos


    Dimps is pretty hit or miss for me. I really enjoyed Advance 1 but thought Advance 2 and 3 were mediocre, I absolutely hate the first Rush game while Rush Adventure was decent, but both episodes of Sonic 4 were alright. I don't quite despise Dimps like so many others but I'm not particularly fond of their style.

    That reminds me of the Ecco games on the Genesis. Hard as balls, but they had infinite lives so game overs don't actually exist in that game. Of course, it could have done well with adding in checkpoints (I think the Sega CD version adds that in, I don't quite remember though) due to the frustration levels of the stages themselves. Goddamn Welcome to the Machine :argh:

    Of course, you could have a setup similar to Castlevania where a game over just boots you to the beginning of the level you were on. The levels usually are split into three segments a piece with a checkpoint in between them (And sometimes just getting to the checkpoint can be exhilarating just because of what's in your way) . Sometimes it's not necessarily a bad thing to get booted back to the start of the level, since the Castlevania games are based around intelligent sub-weapon use and if you don't have that particular sub-weapon.... life suddenly becomes much, much harder for you. Level 4 in CV1 is the best example I can think of. Holy Water destroys the boss of that level, however without it, dealing with the fleaman that's jumping around the room is damn near impossible! One might call it cheap, but there's a degree of satisfaction that comes from conquering games like this.
  13. MastaSys


    I actually liked Dimps back then in the Advance days, I started to raise my brow with Rush and then 4-1 made me hate them.
    4-2 it's better but I still can't feel effort from that..... it's really a shame.
  14. Yeah but remember when Sonic Team couldn't make a decent game and Dimps had to carry the series. Well now this is kinda the opposite. I think we should give Dimps a little time to find what works and what doesn't in their Sonic game, I mean we never really left Sonic Team even during games like 06 and Shadow the Hedgehog. Also Dimps has only really made one bad game, 4-1 (and even that's debatable). Rush, Colors, and Generations were at least decent.
  15. Turbohog


    I was a fan of dimps at first; Sonic Advance 1, 2, and 3 are well designed, programmed well, and are simply fun to play. I've hated everything they've done after that, starting with the Rush series. Also, Black Squirrel knows what's up. Naka is a fantastic programmer and I'm still impressed by the coding of the original Sonic games. He doesn't seem to be as great at game design unfortunately though.
  16. Ayu Tsukimiya

    Ayu Tsukimiya

    UGUU~ Member
    I remember hearing that Naka and Oshima left SEGA because they went "too far up the ladder" to make any creative decisions on the games. What's all this about him being a bad programmer/designer? I'm guessing his lack of influence was what made Heroes mediocre and Shadow/06 abysmal.
  17. SuperJXJ


    I've personally taken a shine to the Advance games as well, as well as their outstanding soundtracks. I've played the first Rush, though it wasn't great enough for me to keep it for too long, at least in my opinion. And while the Classics were great programming-wise, I still remember quite a few hiccups every now and then, mainly blasting through the level so fast as Super Sonic that I literally broke the game and got trapped in a floor, though that's very likely only due to the primitive technology (compared to today's standards of course). I hope Naka will come back to Sonic in some way though, it'd be interesting to see how he's changed and what new things he can bring to the series now that we've seen Iizuka's take on things for a while now.
  18. Palas


    Don't lose your temper so quickly. Member
    Even though I believe the greatness lies within Naka's, Oshima's and Yas' partnership, I think Yas was more important than Naka. Not that Naka wouldn't be a terrific addition to Sonic Team - it's just that Carol Yas is simply one of a kind and can't be copied.

    You mean the one by Gamasutra?

    EDIT: Yes, you do. Man, that interview is like a bible to me.
  19. Sik


    Sik is pronounced as "seek", not as "sick". Tech Member
    being an asshole =P
    Or the fact that he was the one responsible for the level designs in the original games, and level design makes up like 90% (or more) of the gameplay in a platformer.