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Writer's Blah

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  1. As someone ravenous for Adventure-esque Sonic content, I'll admit that finding out about Iizuka's interview did perk my ears up a bit. Not enough to get properly hyped, but enough to ponder its implications for an extended period of time. Speaking firstly from a personal perspective, I like the prospect of an SA1 remake, as it is probably the single Sonic game that stands to gain the most from a remake that addresses its myriad of bugs, collision issues, and animation oddities. I'd also love to see to see how that control scheme would translate on a modern engine, if only to see what modders can do with it. The inkling of a hope also exists within me that an SA1 remake would bring the franchise's more lore-specific elements like Tikal and the Chao back to the forefront of the general gaming public's consciousness, enough to maybe begin shifting back towards a tone that takes itself more seriously than Pontac and Graff have for the past decade. Then I start to consider everything that could go wrong with a remake made by today's Sonic Team, without any of Yuji Naka's guidance. I worry whether they would even attempt to replicate the tone of the original game, or worse, try and embarrass themselves spectacularly instead. I worry whether elements like Big would be looked at with proper scrutiny, either copy-pasting his original gameplay back in, warts and all, or outright removing him from the game, neither of which I want. I worry whether Roger Craig Smith could even passably emote through a script more in-line with the Adventure games, because getting Ryan Drummond back is a nigh-impossibility. I worry that even if Sonic Team somehow, miraculously manages to make a remake that completely superannuates the original, the critical reception to it mirrors the more recent sentiments towards the Adventure games, just because that style of game isn't liked by the public anymore. That possibility taking fruition would likely make me begin to question whether I've gotten too old for video games, or if video games have outgrown me, but that's neither here nor there. Sure, sign me up for the "I want this to be a thing" category, because why the hell not? It's not like I'm looking forward to much else from this franchise anymore.
  2. It's hard to internalize how quickly Sonic Forces came and went, how it managed to drag us back to ground zero after the brief euphoria that came with Mania. The proclamations of Sonic's "death" and hysteria have been left at the door, and it's almost depressing to note how it looks like we can barely muster up the energy to even get upset anymore. The Hollywood film provides its own sense of dread, where Sonic's ridicule has been extended to the film scene as well, instead of simply self-contained within video games, but even that looks like it's only caused some passing suffering. Granted, there's very little to talk about, as we have no idea what the next "big" Sonic game is going to be, but it feels as though even speculation has little enthusiasm for it anymore. For a moment, I want to talk about us. It's clear that we aren't totally divorced from this franchise; otherwise, we wouldn't still be here talking about it. But it is clear that the more time passes by, the more difficult it is for us to get excited for Sonic content. Is it only because the games continue to nosedive in a negative direction? Is the fanbase stagnating in membership, or rather, are new fans simply not a thing anymore? Are we just getting older, to the point where we have less time to worry about the direction a franchise we once loved is going in, when it continues to stumble and fail to learn from its mistakes? Is it all of the above, or perhaps even something else? I suppose my question for all of you is, do you still have any modicum of hope in this franchise? Do you still dare to dream that one day, SEGA will finally produce a Sonic game that is not simply good, but great? And if you don't, then why are you still here? Could it be that SEGA passing the reigns of the franchise over to Whitehead is an inevitability at this point, and we're all just waiting for that to happen? (I don't subscribe to this theory, but I'm at a loss at this point.) Speaking personally, I think it'd be fair to say that a very large part of me has lost hope. I've learned to love other franchises, on levels similar to the love I had for Sonic. My childhood attachment keeps me from completely taking my fingers off the franchise's pulse though, if only for the morbid curiosity of knowing what they'll try next, even if I don't end up buying it. I suppose the real reason I haven't left completely is because I WANT to love Sonic again. To experience that euphoria of playing a title that proves to end up of shaping my tastes all over again; not merely a game to compare against, but a new measuring stick to compare other games to, I'd give almost anything to have that again. Do I know that I won't? I know that at this point, there's an almost-zero percent chance that it will. But so long as this franchise continues to have new content made for it, I don't think I'll ever be able to truly step away from this stupid blue rat.
  3. I remember when I used to ADORE the Sonic franchise. I was introduced smack-dab in between the classic and modern eras, so I was experiencing Sonic 2, CD, and 3&K at the same time I was experiencing SA1 and 2. It was never a question of preference for me back then; I played the 3D games more because I was better at them and I had a preference for 3D games on the whole, but I never viewed the Genesis games as inferior or as "a different Sonic." It was the coexistence of a fantastical cartoon world infused with realistic environments and a common connection through the Chaos Emeralds that intrigued me so heavily. In a funny kind of way, the speed was only novel in the first Sonic game I played (SA1) because of how different it felt from other 3D platformers I had played (Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, DK64). And I stuck with the franchise even throughout its dark era. I even kind of enjoyed 06 and Shadow before I got older and started directly comparing them to the older titles. It was sometime after Sonic Generations came out that I started losing interest in the franchise. I was incredibly hyped for Gen's release and ate it up when I got my hands on it, but then when Lost World got announced and had trailers released for it, I kind of just glossed it over and decided to pass on it. Rise of Lyric got me excited with its initial trailer and a returning playable Tails, Knuckles, and Amy, but the more I saw of the game, the less I wanted to play it, and thank goodness I skipped out on it too. I think my passion for Sonic kind of died alongside Rise of Lyric. Mania looked cool, and it plays excellently, but it's not what drew me to the franchise in the first place. And the less said about Forces, the better. I got a bit of a second wind after reading Ian Flynn's run on Archie Sonic, but was always let down by the forces outside of his control that caused arcs to be aborted prematurely (Mecha-Sally and the Shattered World Crisis aftermath come to mind), but the two branches of Sonic are now going in directions that don't have me all that excited. If the next game Taxman works on is all-original and actually attempts to do some semi-serious storytelling, I'll probably be able to get on board, but I unfortunately kind of doubt we'll ever get anything on the level of 3&K's storytelling again. Sonic isn't dead to me per se, but it's kind of like a really disappointing zombie.
  4. Where did you come up with that idea? Outside of the Sonic fandom, both Adventure games and Unleashed are seen as piss-poor entries into the series. I mean, they're MY favorite games in the franchise, but that opinion certainly doesn't reflect the gaming community at large. But as @Blacklightning and @Diogenes already stated, they're not what people come to Sonic games for. For every alternate gameplay style that Sonic Team has come up with since SA1, that could've been fleshed into its own non-Sonic project. Some could have been fun even! I think there's legitimate merit in Gamma's and Werehog's gameplay styles were they to be expanded on, but most people don't expect slow, methodical gameplay out of a Sonic game. There's a select few people that don't exclusively expect speedy platforming out of Sonic, and for them, alternate playstyles are fine so long as they're well executed. 3D platformers, up until recently, were a rarity in the modern game market, so I'd happily lap up any form of platforming Sonic might throw at me, fast or not. But I'm an anomaly. To indulge you though, I would like to question the alternate playstyles in the specific games you brought up, and test Dio's claim on whether each experience is truly available in a better capacity outside of that respective Sonic game. First, off the top of my head, the Werehog is a pretty blatant God of War clone. Even if GoW's aesthetic isn't your thing, you have Alice: Madness Returns as an alternative. Werehog presents a few more platforming-specific challenges than the former two, but most people don't go to a brawler for platforming. So unless you specifically want a platforming-infused, non-bloody GoW, you won't find much appeal in the Werehog in a vacuum. Big the Cat is a literal fishing mini-game. You get a very shallow swimming mechanic and extraordinarily light platforming mixed in, but you might as well play an actual fishing game at that point, which itself was available from SEGA with their Bass Fishing game. Knuckles gameplay in the Adventure titles can best be summed up as "fast Mario 64/Sunshine red coin missions." That's pretty specific, but the radar mechanics in SA2 and the piss-easy stages in SA1 means this playstyle doesn't have a whole lot of staying power. Amy is a really weird mix of slow platforming, puzzle-solving, and stealth mechanics all mashed together, and it does none of those aspects particularly well. If that specific combination sounds interesting to you, you can simply go and play the Sly Cooper trilogy. The one that really interests me though is the mech gameplay. Gamma/Eggman/Mech Tails have a very specific platforming/shooting fusion that I don't think I've ever seen in another game before. What interests me the most is the progression used in those stages, where you're encouraged to continue moving forward through the platforming challenges as you lock onto as many enemies as you can, instead of manually trying to shoot at each one individually. It lends itself well to being a speedier Ratchet & Clank that emphasizes quick reaction times and hover mechanics over meandering over a crowd of enemies and choosing the best gun to wipe them all out with. I'd legitimately like to see what an expansion of this gameplay style might look like if it wasn't tied to the Sonic franchise.
  5. I'm convinced that the two worlds concept was a hastily thrown together excuse from SoJ to explain the discrepancies in artstyle between Sonic games while still appearing to care about lore and continuity. They're really wishy-washy on that honestly; I think they realize that the Sonic franchise holds some soft continuity between games and that's just the way the franchise has been built up until recently, but they also kinda wish that they didn't have to deal with that aspect of the franchise and could eliminate narrative/lore continuity from the series while still holding onto characters and settings from past games. It's clear to me that they really don't care about this aspect of the franchise, but what really irks me is the fact that they pretend like they do. Nintendo, for all my complaints, has outright stated that Mario games do not follow any kind of continuity and that it's best to think of them more like actors who can fit a variety of situations. It's not the way I wish things were, but it's a concrete decision that's better off than what SEGA's doing, which is pretending like there's some huge super secret continuity via giving this Sonic world/human world parallel dimension nonsense, which of course, is never going to be brought up in-game, because it's a dumb idea and the dev team knows it. Not saying the idea can't work under any capacity, but I certainly don't trust Sonic Team to pull that kind of idea off well.
  6. It's honestly really hard to tell at this point. I haven't actually played Forces so bare with me, but from the footage I've seen, the entire project seemed very cynically calculated. Inclusion of Classic Sonic and the Custom Hero to appease two very distinct sections of the fanbase, returning villains from more popular times in the franchise (who only appear in cutscenes apart from Zavok, so I'm told), and an edgy plot that's not too edgy and leans back on Colors/Lost World-essque writing to create a hollow drama. And then to top the entire thing off, the entire game's only about three hours long and has some of the most lackluster level design and music in the entire series. I bring up these facts because it feels like the direction the franchise has been heading in since Colors. Not since Unleashed have Sonic Team given us a game that felt ambitious or like it had any kind of passion or TLC in it. They've been learning the wrong lessons from their mistakes since at least 1998, with notable flukes that turned out to be actual successes in Colors and Generations, and I'm not gonna lie, Forces feels like rock bottom. Because at least with 06, we could laugh at how horrendously bad it was. For all its numerous failings, they clearly had an idea. A terrible one, but an idea nonetheless. Forces doesn't make me laugh at its expense, it makes me feel depressed and empty. Because this is what Sonic Team thinks we want. So, returning to the original question at hand, of what's next for Sonic Team, I can''t say for sure because, I mean, they're Sonic Team. But I have two potential outlooks: a hopeful one and a cynical one. Hopefully, Sonic Team just stops for a while. They take a good look, a REAL look at the situation around them, and design their next project around simplification. Not necessarily throwing out baggage, because they've already tried that multiple times, and it's never made things better. I mean they go back to basics. And when I say "back to basics," I don't mean classic era. I don't mean Adventure era. I don't even mean Boost or Boom era. I mean they set out to make a simple, speedy, 3D platformer. No frills, no intricate narrative, MAYBE an alternate gameplay style to pad out game time, but one which compliments the main gameplay instead of distracts from it; hopefully something that is also both fast and 3D platforming-centric. Really, it doesn't have to be that ambitious a game. What matters is that they get the details right; fine-tuning physics, cute character interactions, making the player feel good about going fast. They don't need to make a huge game. They just need to make a good game. One that has clear passion and effort behind it. Maybe bring in a new, younger team. Have some of the old guard be a little more hands-off. Don't make it about clearing Sonic's name. Just making something Sonic Team sincerely WANTS to make. Cynically, they could just make yet another boost game with more nostalgia pandering and Wisps added in for no good reason because hey, people loved them in Colors and totally didn't hate them in Lost World or Forces! Basically just Forces 2 with an even more bare-bones plot. And more quippy one-liners, because we definitely need more of those.
  7. Except that's exactly what classic fans did when this came out. This game is totally reminiscent of the classics and serves as a proper sequel to Sonic 3 & Knuckles. You don't need Sonic Mania.
  8. What point are you proving? Sonic Lost World could've at some point been codenamed SA3. I know it wasn't, but just for the simple fact that it could've been, does that make your argument hold more water? The fact that those games you listed off were, for whatever brief period of time, codenamed SA3, legitimize them as versions of SA3 to you? Nice of you to completely ignore the other part of my post where I stated, You know exactly what we want, and no, it's not explicitly a game called SA3. And before you mention, "look at how many games tried to be SA3 and completely failed, why should they keep trying?" realize that Sonic's track record as a whole during that time period was underwater. Secret Rings and Black Knight were also received poorly, and they're clearly not based off of the Sonic Adventure formula. I could say the same for Sonic R, 3D Blast, Rivals 1 & 2, Rise of Lyric, and Lost World. I heavily suspect that the intention of bringing up this piece of trivia over and over again isn't to inform or enlighten us, it's exclusively to piss us off. I get it, we're a blight to the Sonic community. Thanks for the reminder.
  9. Could we please stop this meme of stating, "Oh, Sonic Heroes/06/Shadow/Unleashed was totally Sonic Adventure 3!" By that same logic, nobody who wanted Mania should've wanted it, because hey, you got Sonic Advance 1-3, Sonic Rush, Rush Adventure, and Sonic 4! Those are totally your classic era revival, stop asking for it! Do you see how stupid and annoying that argument/joke is? We already know Sonic Unleashed's Japanese name is Sonic World Adventure and that its codename was at some point Sonic Adventure 3. We know Sonic 06 was built off the Adventure formula and was laughably terrible. We know Shadow continued Shadow's story from SA2 (which would make it, if anything, SA2-II, not SA3) and terribly butchered it. Stop bringing it up. It doesn't add anything to the conversation, and it only serves to annoy anybody who's actually a fan of the Adventure games. I know that we don't deserve respect for daring to enjoy such an """"""awful, broken game"""""" but maybe, at the very least, realize that this joke has been played out already? If you really want to continue making fun of us, at least come up with something original.
  10. Honestly, this news isn't even a surprise to me. My hopes of ever getting something stylized in the Adventure formula again were always pretty low, but this confirmation is, at the very least, comforting in the sense that I should officially stop hoping. I'm not even sad or upset about this, I just feel really empty. It's a shame that the way I was introduced to this franchise is officially dead in the water and I would've had to have been born earlier than I was to appreciate the Sonic Mania revival. Mania's an excellent game by all accounts, to the point where I'd say it's only just below CD in terms of ranking my favorite Sonic games, but there's a difference between saying, "This is a really nice gift!" and, "This is what I've always wanted!" I wish I could consider myself a part of that latter category. I can't help but feel slightly bitter towards those classic fans who, after years of waiting, have finally had their payoff. The problem is considering how they got there. Whitehead spent years developing in the fangame community, perfecting his Retro Engine and taking criticism before his work turned around with CD's iOS port. Adventure fans are nowhere near that modicum of success. Whereas stuff like Sonic Souls and, hell, even Generations mods have provided a fertile breeding ground for boost gameplay development, Adventure's only claim in the fangaming community is Sonic World, which appears to be more focused on shoving in more characters than getting a true-to-form Adventure gameplay style up and running. It's honestly really upsetting that in this day and age, the closest thing a Sonic Adventure fan has to look forward to is Super Mario Odyssey. At this point, my only hopes of seeing anything Adventure-inspired again is to literally make it myself.
  11. This trailer has given me some really weird mixed feelings. On one hand, the sheer magnitude of brand confusion continues to shine through, literally pulling everything from the franchise into one game and then some. I just can't even begin to tackle exactly how any of this is supposed to make sense, or if it's even supposed to make sense. It really does seem fanfiction-tier at this point. The sad thing is, under a more competent writer, the villain team-up could actually be really cool. I see a lot of people saying that Shadow got brainwashed or something, and I have no idea whether that's true or not, but that sounds like such a hack move in terms of writing. If Shadow ISN'T brainwashed though, this could actually be a really cool turn for his character, maybe kickstarting a new arc for him. Maybe Shadow is seeing some semblance of order within the midst of Eggman's chaos, and is begrudingly teaming up with the other villains in order to achieve some greater good. Maybe the reason all these villains are here together is because they've found out some way to preserve life or something. That's something that does connect the specific villains seen here; Zavok could want to preserve a thriving life for the Lost Hex and the Zeti, Chaos could want to preserve the Chao and Tikal, Metal Sonic could be looking to preserve his free will under Eggman (that one's kinda weak, I realize), and as for Shadow? He could hope to either A: save Maria from dying in the first place, or B: using Eggman's tech to preserve other people he cares about from dying in the future, so nobody has to suffer the way Maria did, and is now diametrically opposed to Sonic and his faction for trying to take that opportunity away from him. It wouldn't be great motivation, but it'd be interesting and give a chink in Shadow's armor to show that he's still willing to be selfish if it means appealing to his own twisted sense of morality. It would also tie into why the new villain's name is Infinity; he's offering these characters the chance to make all of the things they love and what they wish they could dedicate their lives to potentially infinite themselves. Notice that none of these characters (again, except Metal) are truly villainous characters; they're all confused people with genuinely sympathetic motivations that just happen to be prone to taking violent actions in order to get their way. Then I remember that Pontaff is writing the scenario, and realize that I'm looking way too hard into this, and it's probably just brainwashing. edit: HOLY CRAP GUYS I JUST FIGURED OUT WHO INFINITY IS. CALLING IT NOW, IT'S MERLINA'S LINGERING WILL. I BET THE AVATAR CHARACTER IS SOMEHOW A BYPRODUCT OF HER ESCAPE AND THE FACT THAT THEY'RE CUSTOMIZABLE IS THE ENTIRE CANONICAL POINT OF THEIR EXISTENCE, LITERAL INFINITE WAYS OF EXISTING HOLY CRAP THIS COULD END UP BECOMING THE BEST FANFICTION EVER
  12. But that's the problem right there. Pontac and Graff may not care, but more importantly, SEGA doesn't care. If they did, there's no way they would be able to get away with publicly saying that they're unaware of what has happened continuity-wise within the franchise. SEGA specifically chose Pontaff as the writing team BECAUSE they wanted to distance themselves from their own past. Bringing in a couple of schmucks who are unfamiliar with the franchise and don't have any baggage was the perfect way to get away from the scars of Shadow, 06, and (at the time) Unleashed. But they didn't outright tell them that they were writing a reboot JUST in case SEGA decided that it wanted to bring back some old elements to please fans, as they tend to do. SEGA is notoriously bad at sticking with their decisions and seeing them through; the writing team and their attitude towards the franchise is just another example of that.
  13. Pontac and Graff have gone on record [circa 2013] saying that they haven't researched any of the games prior to the ones they wrote for, so those of you wondering whether Tails' character arc is going to somehow coincide or conflict with the development he got in SA1 and 2, it's kind of a moot point. I think it's easier to just think of everything past 2009 as its own continuity that is only inspired by the old one, instead of directly influenced by it. This version of Sonic, Tails, and Eggman are, for all sakes and purposes, different from the ones in Black Knight and prior. Granted, the series has always struggled with finding a consistent writing style for the franchise, so that point's a bit contestable. If anything, this stretch starting from Colors has been the most consistent Sonic's been in terms of writing, my dislike for it not withstanding.
  14. So, giving it a little more thought, here's some baseless speculation on my end. What if Pontac and Graff were trying to build up to this from the start? What if their intention was to introduce us to the new characterizations with Colors, showing off what bros Sonic and Tails are with each other, softly reintroducing the rest of the cast with Generations, building up the tension between Sonic, Tails, and Eggman in Lost World, and is now culminating with Tails straight up playing traitor to Sonic in Forces? I'm not saying it would suddenly make the writing of these last few games good by any stretch, but what if they actually had a long-term plan going into this?
  15. I swear, if this actually ends up being the game's setup, it's gonna make the House of Cards arc look like Shakespeare by comparison.
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