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Hubs worlds in the Sonic series


KHCast
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So some people love em, some hate em and others prefer it be done in a very specific way if they were to stay. So how exactly would a good hub work in a Sonic game.(2d or 3d) I really did like the way Unleashed HD or Adventure 1 did them. Quick and brief. Nothing really required to advance and the atmosphere was nice. I would have loved for Generations to use this style, but I guess the 2d was really cool. With all the platforming elements put in. So what about you guys?

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I really despise the way SA1 and Unleashed HD handled hub worlds, because I don't like roaming around some giant 3D environment just to get to the fun parts! (And don't even get me started on those parts in the Gaia Gate) If hubs are absolutely mandatory for the game to work, I'd prefer the way they were done in Unleashed Wii, with a menu-type town, or A Super Mario Bros 3/World type map like in Colours.

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I loved SA1's and Unleashed's. I loved SA1's for the platforming sprinkled through and how you could run just as fast as you could in normal stages, and I loved Unleashed's for how vibrant and full of life they were. Combine those two factors and you would have my perfect Sonic hub world.

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I loved SA1's and Unleashed's. I loved SA1's for the platforming sprinkled through and how you could run just as fast as you could in normal stages, and I loved Unleashed's for how vibrant and full of life they were. Combine those two factors and you would have my perfect Sonic hub world.

They'd have to be pretty big HUBs if it uses the in game formula of today. I think if Unleashed HD had you able to run at the Speed Sonic can when he's not been leveled up what so ever and can't boost, it'd be pretty good. Just no Mystic Ruins forest section esque HUBs like Adventure. That was just silly. Edited by Debug The Rednose Ringdeer
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I really despise the way SA1 and Unleashed HD handled hub worlds, because I don't like roaming around some giant 3D environment just to get to the fun parts! (And don't even get me started on those parts in the Gaia Gate) If hubs are absolutely mandatory for the game to work, I'd prefer the way they were done in Unleashed Wii, with a menu-type town, or A Super Mario Bros 3/World type map like in Colours.

Oh god, I hated the Wii's "hubs". they were lazily made and a chore just to get through. plus the charm and atmosphere was sucked out in that version's hubs. It's not like a hub that you can breeze right through if you choose to is offensive. People that like exploration or mingling with townsfolk would then also get the chance to do what they want, while others can just get right to the actual game.
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I liked Unleashed hub's best, but I wish they hadn't been so seperated. I'd rather have the NPCs and mini platforming segments all mixed in to one map.

I also dislike that no hub so far has REALLY rewarded exploration. Most of Unleashed's secret levels were plum sitting right out in the open, with the really clever/intricate areas that are fun to navigate to hiding mere medals or even just lives.

Personally I'd like to see something between Unleashed HD and Sonic Adventure. Sonic Adventure's while not as bad as 2006, were too open and with nothing much of interest to find.

With regards to the "I just want to get to the fun stuff!" arguement, I believe at the start up screen when you begin the game, much like how Sonic Colours asks if you want to have the hint system on, the game should ask (with screenshots for illustration) whether you want to turn on the "Hub World Guide" (defaulted to on).

When on, a Crazy Taxi-esque arrow sits below Sonic on screen, pointing you straight to your next mandatory objective at all times, for players who just want to enjoy high speed action stages. For those who want to take their time and explore the world, the arrow can be turned off completely.

I also agree with Mark that I'd like to see "portal" stage entrances removed. You shouldn't automatically enter a stage like you did in SA1, but moving far enough into the entrance would trigger the "Play Act 1?"/Mission Select screen to confirm.

Edited by JezMM
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Something that really bothered me about A1's hub was that the NPC's really didn't do that much in terms of interactions. I mean, nothing really changed between them. No small mission arc's or helping them to do anything. no progression in their lives(aside from that chick that liked the restaurant owner guy.)

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With regards to the "I just want to get to the fun stuff!" arguement, I believe at the start up screen when you begin the game, much like how Sonic Colours asks if you want to have the hint system on, the game should ask (with screenshots for illustration) whether you want to turn on the "Hub World Guide" (defaulted to on).

When on, a Crazy Taxi-esque arrow sits below Sonic on screen, pointing you straight to your next mandatory objective at all times, for players who just want to enjoy high speed action stages. For those who want to take their time and explore the world, the arrow can be turned off completely.

I'd rather they just make the next necessary action clear and straightforward, so you don't need a GPS to lead you to it.

Something that really bothered me about A1's hub was that the NPC's really didn't do that much in terms of interactions. I mean, nothing really changed between them. No small mission arc's or helping them to do anything. no progression in their lives(aside from that chick that liked the restaurant owner guy.)
Well, there were a few, I think. None that you actually interact with, but some things did happen. Edited by Diogenes
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I liked Unleashed hub's best, but I wish they hadn't been so seperated. I'd rather have the NPCs and mini platforming segments all mixed in to one map.

This is exactly what I want! It felt annoying how Sonic became slower and restricted in the town areas. I wanted to boost into people! xD

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I'd rather they just make the next necessary action clear and straightforward, so you don't need a GPS to lead you to it.

Well, there were a few, I think. None that you actually interact with, but some things did happen.

The fact is though Unleashed was always very clear on what to do. It's just most gamers literally REFUSED to do something as crazy as talk to 2 or 3 NPCs when they arrived in an area and then complained that they didn't know what to do.

The only exception perhaps would be when you're locating Mazuri. While it's very clear you have to find someone who knows that Eggman went to Mazuri, the game doesn't tell you to go talk to Tails at the Entrance Gate afterwards, if I recall.

Then there's also the opposite problem, where they may be sections where you literally have to do nothing more than locate the level entrance. Frustrated by the fact that they eventually realised they had to talk to NPCs earlier, these same impatient players then start talking to EVERYONE and complain that none of them are telling them what to do.

The arrow idea is simply a proposal to solve the problem that there is no way to dress up social NPC and slow exploration play for people who just want to play action stages. And if you just cut it all completely then people like me and many other Unleashed fans who enjoy the extra little detail on the game world are left with nothing of the sort to enjoy on the side from the main gameplay.

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No one's brought up the 2D hub worlds. I liked the kind used on Advance 3 and Generations. However, it's nice to have the option to go to the hub worlds or straight into the levels like in Unleashed.

I also very much enjoyed the map style used in Adventure 2.

Sonic Colors Wii was very nice, but they missed out on an opportunity to have some branching paths and optional stages like in Super Mario Bros. 3/ World

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The fact is though Unleashed was always very clear on what to do. It's just most gamers literally REFUSED to do something as crazy as talk to 2 or 3 NPCs when they arrived in an area and then complained that they didn't know what to do.
I think you really shouldn't have to talk to NPCs to know what to do (or to activate whatever it is you have to do). It should be obvious enough without help. And if people are getting stuck, well, it ain't obvious enough.
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I wish they'd do hub worlds in a similar fashion to Super Mario Galaxy (the first one). There, it is not enormous and possible to get lost (like it is possible to in Sonic 06), plus it is literally impossible to die and lose a life (because of Unleashed HD's shit controls, I've fallen to my death and <i>lost a life</i> multiple times). If SEGA wants to include hub worlds, fine, but <b>Don't make it to where it is possible to lose lives. If it is possible to get 'killed' in the hub worlds, just respawn the player without taking away lives that could have been needed in the levels</b>.

Don't get me wrong, I am not an idiot, but it is a pain in the ass. It is possible to die in SA1's Hubs as well, but the controls were way better and the bottomless pits were extremely rare, but Unleashed on the other hand...

Or better yet, get rid of lives altogether, SEGA!

If done right, I like hub worlds, but they've been done wrong in almost every instance. I do NOT want forced town missions (optional are fine, but I don't want to complete some bullshit just to unlock the next level, such as run through X amount of giant rings before timer goes off) to continue.

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No one's brought up the 2D hub worlds. I liked the kind used on Advance 3 and Generations. However, it's nice to have the option to go to the hub worlds or straight into the levels like in Unleashed.

I actually really like the idea of Advance 3's hubworlds, it reminds me a bit of Kirby. I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't be happy to see more 2D hubs in general!

e: oh, just so long as getting to the actual levels isn't a science project. I haven't played Advance 3 in years, but I remember getting lost sometimes, or maybe I just suck.

Edited by Iggy
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Unleashed has the best by far, the gaia gates are a bit lame and I agree with the poster who said they disliked that they warp to levels.

But the city hubs were beautiful and populated with great characters that really fleshed out the world and made it seen real.

The ps2 version was utterly soulless, just menus upon menus of text. Horrible.

I prefer a hub that adds to the story, things like the hub in Sonic battle/ sonic 4 that just link you to the levels are fine, nothing bad but I'd much rather have something to interact with.

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I don't like hub worls in general in platforming games, but if they have to be in the game i just want this: Don't make me talk to people or place stones in altars so i can move to the next stage, that should be for finding secrets and optional/dlc stages, i want to be able to move on to the next stage quick and easy if i want to. Also make them interesting to explore with platforming elements like the Generations hub.

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I almost like to think of hub worlds as a place that's ultimately designed to act as a 'lobby' for the game, making it possible to access all the stages (unless you're 06 and want to just place 1 stage mirror in the hub at a time), but thinking about it, it's a place I often find myself just killing time and messing around in.

I did it in Sonic Adventure, I did it in 06, I did it in Unleashed. Normally, just using it as a playground to mess about with Sonic's abilities to see just what he's capable of doing (I'm sure lots of us have messed around with the gems in Sonic 06's hub worlds at some point playing that game, or tried to spin dash and jump up to a certain area in Sonic Adventure).

That's where the problem with hub worlds lies in my eyes, they're not really designed for messing around or experimentation. Once the game is complete, the hub has effectively fulfilled its purpose and there isn't any other reason to go there other than wander around them and chat to the people who may be there (given you can access the action stages via the game's menu).

In a way, that's where I see something like this fitting into a sonic game:

If we had a hub designed like this, which could be used as a place to not only get skills and objectives, but also to hone skills that we can find in stages and also to experiment with Sonic's move set and just see what can be done. Stick some trick rings in there, some wall running... anything to make the hubs more than just populated areas to look around at the scenery. We sort of saw this in Sonic Unleashed, when they threw some stage elements into the hubs, but the whole area was so confined and small in most cases that this often wasn't possible (or just designed for a very specific thing).

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I think you really shouldn't have to talk to NPCs to know what to do (or to activate whatever it is you have to do). It should be obvious enough without help. And if people are getting stuck, well, it ain't obvious enough.

Yeah but I'm talking about story related stuff. Like literally stuff like the Mazuri example where Sonic and Tails as characters do not know where to go and must find out from the locals. Obviously that's a very boring example of ways that the adventure can be grounded in some form of reality through NPC characters, but just using it as a point of reference.

Doesn't matter how engaging you make the NPC characters and writing, there's just too large a subset of stubborn players who will refuse to even give the concept a chance because "that's not Sonic" etc.

Thus having an arrow which, in this case, would specifically point to a person who knows something, would allow these players to just rush through these parts, while allowing the opposite kind of player to enjoy a more natural/realistic approach to interacting with this element of the game world.

Edited by JezMM
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This is exactly what I want! It felt annoying how Sonic became slower and restricted in the town areas. I wanted to boost into people! xD

Didn't you try boosting into the civilians in Arid Sands day stages? They stop Sonic dead in his tracks and don't even flinch.

Guys are built like tanks.

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I like the hub world in Sonic Adventure. It was kinda fun to go around talking to people, seeing their reactions to game events, the little side story about the guy messing two girls around, the kid missing her dad... I think one of the characters asks Amy if she wants to go for a soda as well! biggrin.png I actually missed the hub world in SA2... the game feels more like the old Sonic games with going from level to level without the hub worlds, for sure... but still, it was a nice little extra. The only problems for me were going back to levels to get more animals for the Chao, or doing the Mission Mode.

The sort of hub world in Generations is a nice idea, too and as it's linear it's easier to find the level or challenge you want. However, as I am still getting used to the controls, Classic Sonic's especially... it can be a bit of pain getting to some of the challenges. I assume as I get better at the game, this will go away...

Edited by MamboHoHo!
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Hub Worlds done correctly, can offer a rewarding experience to those who enjoy wandering around in them and explore what they have to offer, while simultaneously being unobtrusive to those who don't. See Hubworlds, as Unleashed showed, can provide a lot of background information about the story at hand, or the Sonic Universe in General if people are interested in that sort of things. Having collectibles, secret stages and missions, scattered through the Hub(s) would be an effective way of adding replay value. Heck, they could also be a great way of including a non-obvious tutorial - a world where you can literally fuck about with Sonic's abilities without dying, or offering challenging bits of platforming to whet the players appetite between stages. Making the hub seem like a mini-stage on its own, that is fun to traverse will mitigate people's apparent dislike for them

The main stages should be clearly visible and easy to locate for those who couldn't care less about hubs and just want to play the stages. That and providing some option such as an "Arcade Mode" or something similar where the player can go through the stages Mega Drive style, in order, allowing for saving between stages. Once they've finished the main story, they'd be provided access to the Hubs afterwards to go look around should they choose to do so, though this shouldn't be necessary if you've designed the hubs well enough (A Challenge Mode simialar to that of Colours should exist as a post-game unlock regardless

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