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  1. Case in point; the base sketch isn't bad, but I really don't want to see it as a finished product. I think there's an awful lot of "it depends" in there. Changing the character's name and tweaking his appearance goes some way to satisfying baseline obligations to originality, but as I understand it it would depend on how far he tries to push the connection to the original canon. If your average consumer could still look at The Lara-Su Chronicles and think that it was possibly an official Sonic spin-off, licensed and legitimate, he would be in trouble. As it is, I think he's probably made just enough changes to get away with it - until you get onto stuff like him apparently intending to straight-up present pages of the Archie comic alongside his own work, apparent intent to use other characters he never owned nor even used...
  2. FFWF

    What is Next for 2d Sonic?

    I don't know if I'd say Mania's tone was silly, exactly, but I think it was inevitable for it to be somewhat playful given its nature as a nostalgic celebration game. What I hope for in a Mania spiritual sequel is an all-original game that takes itself - well, tone as we all know is somewhat a matter of debate in the series, but let's just say I'd like it to take itself as seriously as the classics took themselves. So far as graphical style goes, I'm honestly not that fussed so long as it looks good and so long as it makes an ambitious statement about the quality of the franchise now rather than the quality of the franchise twenty years ago. I definitely want there to be a new all-2D arm to the franchise which embraces the best of the series in all its 2D incarnations.
  3. As has been noted before, the tragedy of Penders - well, a tragedy, one of many - is that he's actually not that bad an artist when he only has someone telling him what to draw. When it comes down to his own personal tastes, on the other hand, fairly obvious problems emerge...
  4. FFWF

    Dillon's Dead-Heat Breakers

    I've got the physical version on order, and expect to be playing it within a few days. It's interesting to hear about all the changes; it seems like they really pulled out all the stops for this, almost like a soft reboot, perhaps as they had planned for a retail version from the start. (Which makes it all the weirder that the U.S. isn't getting that retail version, let alone that the EU version didn't get a demo...) My recollection of the previous games was that it was always incredibly stressful to play, but enormously satisfying to win. ...And they had amazing final bosses. So, they set a high bar, and I hope Dead-Heat Breakers will reach up to it.
  5. Are multiple playable characters a problem? It depends on your metric for "playable". The original complaints, as a I understood it, were largely based on the degree of differentiation. Playing as different characters became increasingly like playing a completely different game, rather than the same game with a few quirks. The more additional playable characters you added, the more different games you were playing, diluting the overall development and gameplay time which could be assigned to each of them. It was a situation where you were likely to develop most favoured and least favoured character gameplay styles, but would be enabled to play with your most favoured characters less whilst being forced to play with your least favoured characters more. This isn't just a big-M Modern problem; the Advance games also risk falling into this trap, since you are sometimes compelled to play as all characters in order to experience the true final boss, and since all characters have a bevy of advanced and technical moves which are quite redundant and happily easy to ignore. But on a narrative level, overuse of mandatory alternative characters also diminishes the role of the main protagonist; even around the time of its release, I remember seeing criticism of Sonic Adventure 2 to the effect that you barely ever got to play as Sonic, the title character, who likewise in Sonic '06 is largely irrelevant to the narrative. The narrative and gameplay implications are partly separate, and partly intertwined. As outlined above, Sonic Team and Sega didn't and indeed still don't seem to have understood that having the character you're playing as be technically "Sonic" is an irrelevance if he has multiple completely different gameplay styles; and narratively, even if both gameplay styles are appreciated by fans, they may not recognise the legitimacy of one or the other "Sonic"s you're given to play as. Why are there two gameplay styles, why are there two characters? Sonic Team doesn't appear to understand this question. The classics took a relatively safe approach with other playable characters; because they had far more similarities than differences, it was easy and comfortable to transition between them - and the overall light narrative made the choice of character often more or less a matter of "just for fun." Sonic Adventure tried to give each character's playstyle and narrative more definition and weight while adding a narrative reward for playing through all of them, but unfortunately that reduced the comfort level and made playing as each character mandatory. That eventually led to the problems outlined above, which at their worst reduced in the stripping-back of the series after '06 to solo-Sonic. It's not entirely clear what the solution is. One suggestion I would make would be to lighten the story load and have each character's playthrough be optional again, but have them be narratively canonical and offering different perspectives on the same overall story. Alternatively, different character narratives could be mutually exclusive but could employ dialogue and storytelling to have each narrative and encounter play out slightly differently. Gameplay-wise, alternative character gameplay should go back to the approach of having more similarities than differences, characters playing overall the same but each with their own unique power. Or perhaps we could find a way of integrating other characters into a unitary Sonic gameplay; a number of individuals have suggested that Sonic could "equip" friends between levels and use their abilities like Wisps. The best (perhaps only) way of redeeming Sonic's friends in the public eye is by making them useful, fun, and likeable. That truly is two problems intertwined, requiring good game design and good writing - though depending on how you intend to use them, you might rely less on one or the other.
  6. Count me in among those who would really like there to be a story mode. I absolutely agree that it's not a necessary element (and I don't actually believe anyone is using that as a sword to argue that there shouldn't be one, which would be needlessly reductive), but the presence of a story mode is a basic requirement for me to take an interest in a game at all, so purely for my tastes I will always want one. Stories are fun; expressions of artistry which enhance the characters and locations presented, and in a way I think they are at their most fun and creative when they have to justify themselves within the constraints of a premise which in no way requires a story mode - like a fighting game, sports game, or indeed a racer (and Sonic has precedence for all three, of course). Consider, for instance, the upcoming Mario Tennis game which has some ridiculous plot about evil tennis rackets possessing people or something. It's so beautifully absurd in its redundancy. Whether it's just character interactions, or an ambitiously ridiculous plotline about saving the world from racing genies or whatever - I'll always admire a game for including a story. Of course, in Sonic there's also the added advantage of Sonic Team's impoverished writing being shown up by a better plot in a spin-off; some benchmark for them to measure up to would be useful, too.
  7. FFWF

    Pokemon Main Series Title Coming to Switch

    The more non-linearity they introduce, the more they have to fiddle with the scaling to account for it - but I agree that a few elements of non-linearity would be ideal; I've always enjoyed the rare parts where the games let you actually proceed a little out of the official order for a while, and that's generally been most extensive in Kanto (either in its original incarnation or especially in the GSC/HGSS postgame). On which note, if the rumours about Let's Go! Pikachu/Eevee being a Kanto-based Yellow sequel are true, I hope they'll rework the order we proceed around the region, purely for the sake of novelty. That's a feature I look for in the enhanced versions, too, but I think only B2W2 has ever gone all-in on it (Platinum might've had a nod). (Also, in Yellow, they moved Mankey to earlier in the game and gave it an early Fighting-type move specifically to counter Brock, but I agree that it wasn't a good look.)
  8. It's similar to Amenbo, a badnik from Sonic CD, which also skims the water's surface but fires targeted laser orbs from its nose. I feel like the exact visual appearance does remind me of something, though. Apparently a badnik much like it appears in Adventure?
  9. In terms of gameplay, it would potentially be relatively easy to make a new Shadow game because he doesn't actually need to play particularly differently from Sonic. You could make a game in which he plays very differently, but it seems like that would be more a function of going fully in-depth with spin-off alternate gameplay, which is something you could do with literally any character, including Sonic himself. So it seems to me that a new Shadow game would actually live or die on its story and aesthetics, which are the sorts of things I suspect Shadow fans are more concerned with anyway (since I assume that his gameplay has differed in more or less every one of his appearances); and they would need a very good writer and a development team given a fair amount of leeway in order to pull that off well without it falling into the same errors as the original Shadow spin-off and indeed the main series of recent years. There's also a question of how much the public actually wants a new Shadow game or what it represents.
  10. FFWF

    Pokemon Main Series Title Coming to Switch

    Back when Mega Evolution was still a factor, I toyed with an idea for a Mega Eevee, which would have been a kind of substitute Normal-type Eeveelution, effectively making Eevee as good as its evolutions; possibly with some kind of gimmick like all attacks striking as if both participants and their moves were Normal-type. Mega Evolution appears to have fallen by the wayside - though I would say that it's perhaps more likely to resurface in a remake than anywhere else - but they could still give Eevee a good item which might replicate that kind of stat growth; or just make the Let's Go! Pikachu and Eevee have base stats which jump up at certain points such that they end up on a par with evolved Pokemon.
  11. FFWF

    Pokemon Main Series Title Coming to Switch

    In all seriousness, though, because this is apparently a sequel title and your character isn't based on Ash from the anime (or the manga? I think I heard that was in there too), there's really no reason why they couldn't let your Pikachu evolve, and therefore let your Eevee evolve too. ...Well, I say that, but if the alleged leaked screenshot is the real thing, your partner Pokemon is going to be a following Pokemon and it'll jump on your head while you're Surfing, and that sort of animation may be considerably less viable for an evolution. So basically, one bad reason would be replaced with another bad reason. (They could easily work around that, of course, if they're willing to put in the modelling work for the starter evolutions. But will they?) But let's take seriously, for a moment, the idea that they do let both starters evolve. (Crazy days, where you have to buy a different game to get a different starter. What is this, Fire Emblem Fates?) It's true that Eevee's multiple evolutions make it a much more flexible starter, in a way which is perhaps almost but not quite mitigated depending on how long they keep you from evolving it, and if they lock you into the Gen I Eeveelutions either temporarily or permanently. How could they balance that? Design each Eeveelution's stats and moveset to be highly specialised, while making Raichu a really strong generalist with wide type coverage in its moveset and TM access? Conversely, if they don't let either starter evolve, they'd have to apply the latter strategy to both. Seems a little less interesting. That structure of "build your own Raichu versus choose your favourite Eeveelution" seems like something they could use as a selling point to differentiate between versions.
  12. FFWF

    Pokemon Main Series Title Coming to Switch

    Of course, they might let Eevee evolve... but only into its Gen I evolutions!
  13. I agree that act differences are possible, and perhaps even more likely; I just wanted to remain within the confines of the material given. It's not clear that the two backgrounds are from different acts, but they're definitely from different modes.
  14. I see that Sonic Paradise has neglected to provide a source for their images; stay classy, gentlemen. Fortunately, I was able to unearth it myself: https://www.jp.playstation.com/blog/detail/6913/20180516-sonicmania.html I put the page through Google Translate, and the sunset Mirage Saloon is explicitly presented as being the zone's Encore Mode counterpart. Night-time Mirage Saloon appears to be a component of the four-player Competition Mode update; perhaps that mode now has its own palettes, too?
  15. FFWF

    Pokemon Main Series Title Coming to Switch

    The headline details for the latest rumour aren't promising, but when you dig in it's really just Pokemon Yellow 2 HD with horrible titles, and that's not such a bad thing. A remake as a Switch testbed in advance of the actual next generation strikes me as sensible, too, if it buys the main title more time in development. The real crux of the matter and the deciding factor, as far as I'm concerned, is how deep the alleged Pokemon Go influence might... well, go.

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