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How to make the main game last longer?


PerfectChaos
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PerfectChaos

So longevity is definitely a problem. Lots of non-Sonic fans who kind-of enjoyed Generations hated it for its length, despite the many missions, red rings and unlockables. And since it took 4 years to develop only 9 modern Stages, we've definitely got a serious problem. The games need MEANINGFUL filler content. Maybe bring back hub-worlds? I'm serious. They could add small extra objectives and extra content without it feeling tacked on. Maybe we could get a proper city and get a decent map or GPS, and be able to freely use the Tornado for quick travel. Things like the Skill shop should of course be a proper place in a shop-filled street that you soon get used to. It could be quite fun. Obviously Tails' workshop would be the main area, customizable and with a computer acting as the storage for unlockable videos, art etc.

Also, Special Stages. And maybe unexpectedly mix the stage order up a bit? Randomly add an act or two to a previous stage at some point in the story. More acts in each level is less of a budget-breaker than less acts in more levels. Missions are obvious, and they could get away with making a few necessary for game progression (Maybe one mission for each act) if some of the missions feature new or remixed level design, as well as simply being as awesome as Generations' missions were. Give us surprise twists! Instead of 'Get X rings' give us 'no homing attack', 'don't be seen' and even a skateboard or glider in a level previously without it.

And one boss for each level, unlike Generations.

Anything else?

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MegaMan_EXE

Here's a bit of advice. You should wait to post another topic. It seems a bit odd how you just posted a topic just a few minutes ago. I'd say wait at least a few days or a week.

Anyway, I would have more Zones (15 total), have worthwhile extra levels and unlockables, and have a better written and engaging story.

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Spend development time on interesting design that encourages replays, rather than waste time on side missions for achievements that aren't fun?

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MegaMan_EXE

Spend development time on interesting design that encourages replays, rather than waste time on side missions for achievements that aren't fun?

Speeding Ticket anyone?

F*** that trophy! Took me a week!

Even then, I just BARELY made it.

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Of course, achievements were just an example. SA2 is a prime example of what I hate about side missions.

I'm not going to sit through all these side missions to get a throwback level and some costumes.

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Stop designing the games to be boosted through at top speed. You're creating huge areas that are passed by in seconds (if that). You've already claimed this as a reason the games are short/have a bunch of filler.

Why do you keep doing it.

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PerfectChaos

Yeah except Sonic Team doesn't have a bag of infinite time and money laying around...

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Yeah except Sonic Team doesn't have a bag of infinite time and money laying around...

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The point is, they only have so much time and money to put into a game, and with the current gameplay they struggle to make a game of any decent length within their budget. It's not as simple as "make more levels".

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Sorry to be blunt, but...........

No hub levels! They work in some computer games, but good god not in Sonic. They were irritating in the Adventure Series, and fucking stupid in Sonic 2006 (why would you need to talk to people) and Unleashed. The games should progress from zone to zone. It's a tried and tested successful technique, end of.

Allow gameplay so that you can play as other characters like Knuckless, Tails and Shadow with the same gameplay as Sonic. If SEGA won't get rid of boost to win gamplay, then make the other characters match Sonic's speed. They

did in Sonic Heroes with the four different teams. Sonic games need multiple characters.

Levels with replay value. Multiple routes and time travel? Look at Sonic CD & 3&K. It's not rocket science

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Indigo Rush

Here's my answer:

Don't.

No, really.

Sure, add some extra characters who can access other paths and maybe a few more levels, but besides that, you don't need to add much of anything else to the games. Sonic did just fine in the 90s with a max of 3 hours of gameplay.

You know what? Sonic 1 takes me less than an hour to complete, not counting the time it takes to complete the Special Stages. And I like to think that I'm pretty skilled too - the average gamer might be able to do it in an hour and a half or two, and this is counting the time it takes to recover lost ground when you die. And you know what else?

After the 16 or so years I've lived since I first got my hands on that game, I haven't stopped playing it over and over when I had a moment of nothingness to spare. This game was worth the money. Enough for me to buy it again several times when it was re-ported to more current consoles. For $5, I have gotten countless hours of enjoyment out of it.

It didn't take extra fluff, it didn't take DLC, it didn't take more characters, hub worlds, story cutscenes, nada. The game was fun enough to warrant it's replayability. While it's true that you can get more out of it by going the route of Sonic 3 & Knuckles with more characters and bigger levels, it doesn't have to be more than that. Sonic games are short by nature. Trying to make a 3 hour game last longer by adding things that shouldn't be there isn't necessary. You can get 6 hours of enjoyment out of Sonic Colors, and that's without any extra characters. The game is just good. In fact, if I had access to a Wii and that game now, I'd still play it.

Keep making the games enjoyable and solid like that. The length will come naturally.

Edited by Indigo Rush
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Design the levels to be harder, and not beatable by holding X alone. Bosses for every act. Hub worlds. Bosses with more vitality.

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- Create an optional hub world that's fairly big and fun to roam around in that you can go through to progress through the story but by no means have to. Think of how the Sonic 4 games did that map. Once you beat a level, it gave you the option to either progress straight to the next level or go to the map screen. A system like that but with a hub world where you can venture round to different parts of the overall game world and accept fun little RELEVANT side missions that actually take advantage of character gameplay (no Sonic 06 I don't want to do fucking box puzzles over and over and over again). Heck maybe even throw in something like a Chao Garden if you're feeling really generous.

- As Dio said, don't make the game so speed crazy. In the Unleashed and Generations you can plough through the levels. Slow down the pace a bit. Nerf Sonic's ground speed but still allow the player to enjoy the wonders of using momentum to your advantage. Speed should be earned through clever use of the surroundings and well timed manoeuvres rather than by simply ploughing through stuff by holding a button. Generations is fun mind, very fun. But I think the experience would be much more satisfying this way.

- More cutscenes. This may seem like a weird one and it could very well be hit or miss, but honestly if they can think of and develop a good plot then cutscenes would be a good way to extend the length. That was one of the joys I had with going through Unleashed's story mode. Unleashed had a solid story with decent character development and interaction, the best ingame cutscenes in the series and a gorgeous CG cutscene every now and then. I'm well aware that Unleashed also had the highest production values of every game in the series, but if Sonic Team are serious about making good games it should be the kind of level they consistently achieve.

- More hidden routes in levels and allow for more ways to tackle a route. One of the really cool things that makes the classics really replayable is how the way you tackle a level can constantly feel different and you can always find hidden goodies. This is because not only were there a lot of routes but they intertwined really nicely. Let's take Aquatic Ruin Zone for example. This may seem like an odd example, but honestly in my opinion this is one of the most beautifully designed levels in Sonic history and easily my favourite water level in the series:

There are some wonderfully clever slope arrangements here in this marvellously multi-tiered level. It's short in length, you could get through it in about a minute if you're decent but at the same time there's plenty to see but more importantly the routes weave together quite nicely and as a result it's an enjoyable level to explore. Even in the water routes there's a few hidden passages here and there containing goodies. But what does this have to do with extending the game's length you ask? Well it does it indirectly.

You see constructing level design like this gives you the compulsion to keep coming back for more, to explore not only the routes themselves but how you can go about reaching these routes. Generations' has some great hidden routes and areas, but for the exception of maybe Modern Sky Sanctuary and Modern Seaside Hill progressing through the levels and getting to places can feel a little "mechanical" at times. Once you find the best route, there's really only one way to go about it in numerous cases and there isn't too much of an incentive to look at other ways to go about it. Though I will definitely say it's great for speed running (Unleashed too), it's very exhilarating being able to conquer the ideal route as quickly as possible. But you kinda get stuck in a routine. This is part of the reason why the classics are so good. Despite the fact that Sonic 1 and 2 can be beaten in about a hour or so, and S3&K can be beaten in maybe 2 or 3 they feel so good to play over and over again. The next 3D Sonic game needs to adopt this mentality in my opinion if they want their games of a decent length.

...Goddamit Indigo you beat me to the punch of my last paragraph >.<

Edited by SiLeNt PyRrH0n
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Old dead account

Did Generations seriously take 4 years? When did development for it start?

Let's start with what not to do: alternate playstyles. They are very uneeded and have shown mostly negative reception with the fanbase everytime. What I'd do is stop making the levels so damn short, and by that I mean keep them about the same length but stop it with the mindless boost sections. They were tired by the end of unleashed and after a while just give you that adrenaline feel anymore making them pointless and only good for a first time wow moment. Instead give us some organic platforming and obstacles to get through and less flat land. Also make Tails and Knuckles unlockables, Sonic CD did it and it at least gave me another reason to replay it.

Also, put more thought into the damn bosses.

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Did Generations seriously take 4 years? When did development for it start?

Let's start with what not to do: alternate playstyles. They are very uneeded and have shown mostly negative reception with the fanbase everytime. What I'd do is stop making the levels so damn short, and by that I mean keep them about the same length but stop it with the mindless boost sections. They were tired by the end of unleashed and after a while just give you that adrenaline feel anymore making them pointless and only good for a first time wow moment. Instead give us some organic platforming and obstacles to get through and less flat land. Also make Tails and Knuckles unlockables, Sonic CD did it and it at least gave me another reason to replay it.

Also, put more thought into the damn bosses.

It started development directly after Unleashed. Which is 3 years.

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Stop designing the games to be boosted through at top speed. You're creating huge areas that are passed by in seconds (if that).

That's a good point actually. I have felt similarly while playing some of these massive levels and seeing all these areas that have been beautifully crafted, only for us to spam past them in a few seconds. I feel that they could definately make use of what they're making, like in Green Hill Zone in Generations; the under-water-fall cave area lasted about 10 seconds, which felt like a waste considering they could've had a whole other section dedicated to it.

I think the key is not to use up all your level archetype in a single three minute boostgasm. Instead split these up and use them between seperate acts, and use this to make these seperate acts substantial and memorable. I felt that Generations missions were A; too difficult to get to, B; sometimes very dull, and C; the ending gave them a lesser sense of achievement compared with the main acts.

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Sonic gameplay purely on its own, in all of its many incarnations, has always been conflicted with short completion times outside of restarts and whatever replay value you choose to eke out of the games by replaying the levels, so it's a fundamental issue with the gameplay itself (or perhaps these games' production schedules) and not merely a side-effect of increasing the speed. In turn, no matter what you did with the gameplay outside of upping the level count significantly, you would still have to add some sort of "padding" whether it's hubs, side characters, or forced unlockables and missions, to get a few more hours out of any of the gameplay systems we currently have at our disposal. I'm personally all for hubs and side characters, if for no other reason than because both inherently make the games feel like more concrete and complete adventures to me.

Or Werehogs, as Toby said. Can't get enough of those 'round here.

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Is there any proof that Generations took 4 years like people are saying? I don't believe that. At all. 2 years maximum.

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