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A little experiment


MightyGems
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On behalf of Soniclogic from Sega Boards, I would like to post this little experiment he posted on Sega Boards and asked me to post here. This experiment is as follows:

I don't know if anybody else knows about this but...

I've found a page to Sega japan's suggestions box. You just send in your Address and there is unlimited amount of characters you can type.

Thing is, this section looks at both english and japanese letters sent. So, this is where my experiment comes in. All us sonic fans send in suggestions focusing on one or two specific subjects of the Sonic series and with time we see what becomes of the games they make and see if somehow in the slightest bit that they recognized those suggestions.

But what should we ask for?

Well, I'm thinking we ask for distinct alternate paths (two at the least) and a stronger emphasis on platforming to pace between the high speed sprints. Things that Sonic Unleashed day stages lacked.

Let's not care about any gimmicks they have planned or whatever make a whole bunch of mixed suggestions (wanting a certain character to appear, chao gardens, controls, etc) but just on one thing and see how they respond to it.

If anybody has an account on other Sonic boards/communities (like you Flamstreak) you can send this post around so we can get that much more people to send these messages. This plan may not exactly work. But I'm just wondering if it will. It wouldn't hurt to try. Who knows, maybe the word would spread and enough letters (of that one request) would be sent to Sega (and hopefully inturn to Sonic Team) to convince them to respond somehow.

Let's show Sega of Japan and Sonic Team that we have some kind of focus and know what we want or at least act like it.

Here is the site http://sega.jp/opinion/

Now, if you cared to read this, you may already know what to do: go to the Sega of Japan suggestion box (which is at the bottom of the quoted part of this post) and make a suggestion on what you'd like to see improved or whatever in the next Sonic game. Also, Google translate will work for this site in the case of those who are wondering. The original poster of this experiment, Soniclogic, has proposed this experiment because he wants Sonic fans from the west to show that they are as much as important as the Sonic fans of Japan. After all, like Soniclogic has posted, both English and Japanese letters can be sent.

So, if you are interested, please go to the link (and/or use an online translator if you need to) and and make some suggestions to Sega of Japan on what you may like to see in the next Sonic game, preferably the suggestions Soniclogic has listed in the quoted part of this post (more alternate paths, more emphasis on platforming, etc.)

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I would say that this guy hasn't played Unleashed properly. There are alternate paths, lots of them in the 2D sections. I wouldn't say there are as much as the classics but it has them. And then in 3D there's the QTEs that access different alternate paths as well. I won't say this happens with every level, but saying there's no alternate paths in Unleashed day levels is stretching a bit too far and it's not even true.

I can agree with the heavier platform section though and less bottomless pits in 2D as well.

I want spindash and more momentum related physics though, this I could add to my suggestion.

Edited by redmenace
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I sent a message to them:

"I was really impressed with how Unleashed was done (daytime stages). However, my suggestion is if we can get a return of more pinball physics (from the Genesis days) and the Spindash back. Can we also please get a Boost that doesn't automatically give you automatic top speed? I would like if there was more challenge behind being able to get that fast. I'm also suggesting more platforming, exploration and optional routes to go down. Can you also please tone down the dash panels a bit? Thank you for listening,

-Cody Collins

"

Hopefully people will send more messages like that, and hopefully not "HAY GUIZE I LOVED THE WURHOG CAN YU HAV HIM AGAIN?!?!?".

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This is probably doomed to fail for the simple reason that we all want different things out of the game. I would think it to be practically impossible to organize such a large scale response while only focusing on one or two specific problems that some people have with the current games. On top of that, it would be practically impossible to tell if such a measure even worked (rather than coincidence). Some ST developer would literally have to point to the emails for us to know they were worth the effort.

Besides, with the recent ways in which Sonic Team has twisted our wants into undesirable outcomes, I doubt we should really tread these waters again. For all of you who want to take a swing at it, go knock yourselves out. I for one am gonna sit on the sidelines. I don't think Sega will pay too much mind to a small fraction of the Hedgehogs sales base anyway.

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I agree with Diogenes. I doubt this will give Sega and Sonic Team any specific idea of what the fanbase wants, because as we all know we are just too divided. All of us want different things in a Sonic game. Obviously most of us want speed and platforming, but as for the rest we have very different and incoherent tastes.

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Put simply, I think Sega should use whatever made Sonic fun upon his debut to inspire the new games. The problem like DogTagz said was that we can't agree on what that is. I happen to think that it's just a combination of -

1. Platforming.

2. Speed.

3. Physics.

4. Vertical space in contrast to Sonic's running forward and backward.

5. Environment.

Well my fourth one is pretty specific, and people probably disagree with it. Which is where the problem comes in. I can agree with the physics and platforming you suggest Flamerstreak, but it's a pretty simple thing to ask for. We can't even be sure that what they implement would be what we had in mind, if they even choose to listen to us at all.

Edited by Badnikz
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For god's sake, the FIRST GUY to discover this and already we have someone with no idea what he wants. I have no idea what kind of message SEGA must be getting with someone basically asking for "Alternative paths and emphasis on platforming" when that's pretty much exactly what Sonic Unleashed was.

To his credit, though, he seems to acknowledge that Sonic fans always give the impression they don't know what they want, but the message that he's apparently sending gives off a completely different impression. I think he just didn't play Unleashed and probably just watched a few videos and based his perception off of that.

If all of the messages were like his (and trust me, they won't be) I'd like to think we'd end up with an Unleashed sequel of sorts, that's somewhat "more of the same" but with even more emphasis. What I'm now worried about is us getting a game that's nothing but one big alternate path and a load of platforms. :P

So yeah, I won't be partaking in this. Anybody who wants to can go right ahead, but if there's even the slightest teeny tiny chance of this working for the better; you'll have to make sure you actually know what you're talking about.

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For god's sake, the FIRST GUY to discover this and already we have someone with no idea what he wants.

Well, I'm sorry about that. :unsure: Or were you talking about the Soniclogic guy?

Anyways, I still believe that we could go with more alternate routes though. Unleashed, while a great step in the right direction, was pretty linear level design-wise. I don't nessacarily care about more platforming, I just want less bottomless pits & dash panels, more exploration (Think Shamar Day Act 3 (DLC)).

Plus, would it really hurt to remove the slide and replace it with the rolling & Spindash again?

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Though I probably won't make a difference, I sent in exactly my thoughts to SEGA.

Let me start off by saying I think you have done a wonderful job picking up some visible slack you had in your titles a few years back, the overall quality and general concept behind games is well improved and effort is shown to make more enjoyable titles.

However, you may have quality and effort down but I think there are a few areas where you should sit back and think what would be best for game development. You have a fanbase that is large and varied and wanting many different things, so I understand sometimes the problem of pleasing everyone. But maybe instead of pleasing everyone, you should stick to a simple but precise idea, something not overcomplicated and try to make it the best it can be in it's own unique way.

The series in need of it the most would be the Sonic the Hedgehog series, though I will say the most recent titles "Sonic Unleashed", and "Sonic and the Black Knight" were quite enjoyable, there seems to be a barrier that needs to be shattered to break these games from being "good" or "decent" games, because there is potential to make this series have "amazing" games.

I understand you want to experiment Sonic in many different environments and possibilities and see which ones work, I think it would benefit you to stick to a simple concept of Sonic and make that the most it can be before you try to break into new ground. Being the Werehog was fun, and Sonic fighting with a sword actually worked, but they weren't amazing, just good or decent. However, Sonic's core gameplay in these games, most-notably the daytime stages in Unleashed, were so close to being amazing, but were held back by restrictions of other elements in the game and themselves needed just a little tweaking to reach amazing status.

So then you have to ask yourself, what is Sonic? Sonic is a hedgehog, a super fast hedgehog. Sonic is fast. However, Sonic is not just about mindless speed. Speed is good, but you have to balance it with Sonic's cool attitude. Sonic should be full of a show-offish attitude who likes to b cool and do things that just scream how cool he is, stunts and daredevil moves and scenarios no one else but Sonic would ever attempt. However, Sonic is also a platformer. He may be fast and he may have an attitude, but make sure never to lose sight that the Sonic series at it's roots is a platformer, and you should try to amaze players with clever and fun platforming scenarios that make the player more than just speed at insanely fast velocities, but also exploration, landscape scaling, and obstacles and enemies to overcome.

It's almost Sonic's 20th anniversary, and I do not know what you guys have planned, but I believe if you try to perfect the art of just Sonic without adding to much extra fluff to his character or game, and make a game which not only emphasizes on Sonic as a character but also in heart and spirit, not drowning him out with new ideas until the core Sonic has been fully realized in 3d, I think you will have a real winner that not only you could be proud of, but also the people who play it, the fans, newcomers, and critics alike, could all enjoy, appreciate, and love. To truly define what Sonic is in the new age as a superfast, cool, blue hedgehog in one well-made platforming highspeed adventure.

And, on a separate note, I also would like to see another installment in the Billy Hatcher series. Billy Hatcher & the Giant Egg was amazing, one of the best and most original platformers I ever had the pleasure of playing. It was charming, fun, and challenging all in one in it's own unique package. Maybe just asking for a new Billy Hatcher title would be a bit much, but please at least keep your minds open for a sequel. I think Billy Hatcher in the new generation of consoles would be amazing.

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1. Platforming.

2. Speed.

3. Physics.

4. Vertical space in contrast to Sonic's running forward and backward.

5. Environment.

I agree with a lot of this with the exception of the whole vertical camera angle. IMO, they were better off leaving it horizontal like how it was in the classics. I'm not saying that to be "old school" or anything, I'm saying it because it was a concept that worked well for them and still works for other platforming games (ex: Mario, Klonoa, SSBB). SEGA hasn't had a very good reputation with working at such a camera angle, so until they can perfect it, its IMO, probably better that they just go back to doing things the way they were.

I'd probably add onto the list by suggesting:

1. Storyline

2. Replay Value. Because if your story sucks and you haven't got the gameplay down enough for people enjoy, you need to at least try to have something to keep players interest. For instance, they already have a chao garden engine from SA2. So how hard would be to simply work and add on from that?

Edited by Picchi
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I'd send them something saying "DO NOT LISTEN TO SONIC FANS!", which would result in a paradox and thus the universe would blow up.

Lol, nice.

If anything, I would write to them to take a look back at why the 2D games were such a success, and then implement what they can into newer titles, maybe even make another 2D game, kind of like what Nintendo is doing with their mascot, Mario. Although, I'm not saying that they should completely go back to 2D. I still want to see SEGA/Sonic Team figure out a gameplay style the compliments Sonic's speed while still existing in a 3D zone, but they should have a few good 2D current console games under their belts.

Then again, there's really that whole, "we must appease all our fans." thing going on, which usually snowballs and everyone hates it. They should just forget the fans and do what they want. That's how they did it the first game, and look how that turned out.

Edited by Aregulardude
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Well, I'm sorry about that. :unsure: Or were you talking about the Soniclogic guy?

Not you, you silly person. :P "First guy", as in; the first person in general and the one quoted in the first post - Soniclogic from the SEGA boards. I suppose I could have a bit clearer as to not confuse people in thinking that I meant "first guy" of SSMB, but alas I was not.

Anyways, I still believe that we could go with more alternate routes though. Unleashed, while a great step in the right direction, was pretty linear level design-wise. I don't nessacarily care about more platforming, I just want less bottomless pits & dash panels, more exploration (Think Shamar Day Act 3 (DLC)).

And this is the drastic difference between your email and the one in the first post. You're actually basing your qualms off of the most recent game instead of completely ignoring it, so you have actual opinions that actually have a bit of foundation.

The Soniclogic guy was just asking for stuff that had already been done, and actually telling the developer themselves that this stuff wasn't there when they know more than anyone that it actually was.

Plus, would it really hurt to remove the slide and replace it with the rolling & Spindash again?

Would this really make much of a difference though? I mean you can fall back on the whole "But he's a hedgehog!" argument, but would it really do anything else besides pleasing a small part of the fanbase? I think sliding and spindashing are both equally fun, and in general I'd rather Sonic Team kept trying and perfecting new things rather than holding themselves back with series tradition.

Edited by Tombi
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Well, it's not just a series tradition, and not just that he's a hedgehog; it's pretty much because of how rolling makes Sonic more unique than other platformers (other than his insane speed, of course), and the fact that it makes sense that he can hurt enemies by shredding through them.

... okay, maybe also because he's a hedgehog. =P However, rolling is basically just the slide with a different animation, and it just makes more sense to see a hedgehog roll than slide, especially if it does nearly the same thing.

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Make what made the Unleashed day-time levels fun and add upon it for more fun levels, make the overworlds more fun with more platforming and things to do in them (As well as making them mostly optional), make the Tornado stages more akin to the Tornado flight levels from Sonic Adventure, and there we have a really good game.

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I don´t think this will work at all. Mark my words, AT ALL.

If Sega are willingly being this open for suggestions, it must mean they are trying to listen to what the fans think, and if a whole bunch of them input the same suggestions, it could stand out among other suggestions. But that's just my thoughts. *shrugs*

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I think it's a fantastic idea.

Basically, that is what we all want, and it is what the game reviews want.

It's just a basic way of putting it, which is good as that is the only way to get a general consesus.

I'll be suggesting to that website after work. If there is a way to get rid of bottomless pits and add more exploration and platforming than i am all for it.

And i'm not sure why some of you think doing nothing is better than not trying.

Companys really do listen to fans these days, but they listen to opinions that are common.

On another note; I just wish they would make sonic adventure 3 with choas and gameplay. oh well... :(

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I agree with a lot of this with the exception of the whole vertical camera angle.

Maybe I didn't communicate that too well, my bad. :P

I meant in terms of level design, how the vertical doesn't exist much for Sonic anymore. In Green Hill when you go up, there's platforms floating in the sky. Look around in some new levels and the only possible directions are right in front or in back of you. I really think in order to realize where the series started we need to go back to Mario and compare. I may make a thread about this.

Edited by Badnikz
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And i'm not sure why some of you think doing nothing is better than not trying.

Companys really do listen to fans these days, but they listen to opinions that are common.

Doing nothing is a ton better than shooting ourselves in the foot. This fan base has had past experience with screaming out for a particular direction and then pouting when ST takes that measure too far. All we get out of it seems to be guns, Werehogs and various other 06 related disasters.

Its quite obvious that as a whole, this fanbase doesn't know what it wants. We are just too big to be unified and too small of a sales chunk to matter anyway. Were screwed on both fronts. I for one, say that we would do right to just shut up. Seriously, the new Sonic Team has their own ideas and maybe if they didn't have a fan screaming in their rear view mirrors 24/7 they could realize their own directions and do great things. They shouldn't worry about appeasing us, they just need to go out and make the best possible game. Spindash or no Spindash. Any fanservice is just an extra.

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Just after reading this....Man, where is Blacklightning when you need him?
Sorry, but that's not how I roll here. I work for the destruction of the fandom, not for the betterment of the games themselves. Besides, even I can't satisfy everyone at once (go ahead, prove me right. I don't care), and it's arguably even worse to rely on a single fan to guide the direction of the games than it is to use the majority opinion as a compass anyway. Today, nonetheless, I'm going to make an exception.

Now everybody, just stop what you're doing and think exactly what it is that you're doing here. What are these you're typing up, ever so eager for Sonic Team to listen and play along? Suggestions. Not large lists as to what a Sonic game should and shouldn't be doing, not indepth outlines of game mechanics and reasoning behind their implementation, not professional quality and length game conceptual documents to base an entire Sonic game off of... no, none of these things. These are just suggestions. Nothing more, and nothing less. You cannot guarantee a good game of a suggestion, or even a list of suggestions - you can only hope, at best, to change the course of the game's direction overall. And that said, it absolutely infuriates me when Sonic Team actually takes these suggestions to heart and make a game out of them, then you lot bitch because apparently they went about it the wrong way. I mean, for christ's sake, what did you expect? It's a fucking suggestion, not a concept doc - by being that vauge about it you're ALLOWING them to fuck around with it and make a complete mess. Wasn't that obvious enough for you last generation?

But enough of trashing your precious fandom - as much fun as it is for me sometimes, it's not solving much. Here's the deal - if you want to influence the series in a positive manner, you will NOT rely on Sega or Sonic Team themselves, and you will NOT do so without the support of your peers. Now all of you, group together and we'll do this by the numbers.

Step 1: Form a compromise on all fronts

Now the Sonic fandom is notorious for internal warring, and I can respect that. No fuck that, I take part in it. But if you want to actually make a game from your words, you will stop your petty squabbles this instant and work on finding a middle ground. Middle ground on what? Everything. To what extent do we need the boost, the homing attack, the roll, the spindash? To what extent do we need the platforming, the speeding, the exploration and the fighting? How much need the gimmick of the moment overtake the core of the series? How many characters in a single game is too many? How do you satisfy nods to both the new and the old? And all of that is just the start of our problems. As long as any two fans disagree on something, we have an imperfection. If you lot get even halfway towards actually doing this, colour me seriously fucking impressed.

Step 2: Validate your pleas with firsthand experience and knowledge in game design

Good, so now we agree on everything. That's a start. But you lot don't make games. You merely play them. My advice to you is to find people who HAVE done this before in some context (regardless of whether or not it's commercial) and use their words to help justify why this is a good idea, why it could potentially be a bad idea, and what repercussions the idea could have further along the franchise as well as the very game it is implemented into.

Step 3: Follow in the developer's footsteps

And here we undergo the exact process one would do when creating a game of their own - of course, minus the creation of graphical, aural or playable material unless you so choose - by attempting to create your very own conceptual document. That way, you see your ideas in practice and get a good idea of where exactly this is going to go. You can identify every factor that could possibly impact of the very definition of a game, and as such, identify fatal flaws earlier than normal and polish as necessary to further perfect the growing collection of ideas therein.

Step 4: Submission

Assuming you even made it this far, several years have likely passed, and it's quite possible that Sega/Sonic Team have fixed the franchise themselves in this time. Nevertheless, bag everything up into an email attachment and, to ensure that your entire project doesn't go to waste, have a professional typist write an email that will appropriately attract the developer's attention as much as possible without sounding like a complete retard. Otherwise the message will probably be deleted without Sega even looking at it and you'll have lost precious years of your life accomplishing exactly fuck-all. Congratulations, your fanservice is now complete and awaiting commercial development!

Now tell me. Honestly now, I don't want any bullshit. Would YOU, and any of your peers, be willing to go through that kind of effort to see your ideas brought to life, without any possibility of fanservice twisting and bad design? No?

Then step the fuck down, because you're not helping. At all.

Oh my GOD you have no idea how happy it makes me to finally get that off my chest. If you actually feel like starting something like that in all seriousness, go right ahead. I'm game. I'm REALLY game.

Edited by Blacklightning
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Digi and Trippy tried that with NiGHTS a while back, to little effect.

Unfortunately, it seems that the game was too far along in development at that point with little chance of being pushed back. Sega didn't think it was going to perform well, even though the first one was the best selling game on the Saturn.

But Sonic is a different story. I've been planning on making something similar to that, though I wasn't planning on sending it to Sega. Honestly, if they're desperate enough to listen to random people on the internet, I can't help them from the position of a fan.

I also have my doubts that Sega has been listening to fan input. It seems to me that people are finding patterns where none exist is just as likely an explanation as the idea that they have been. Remember, on the subject of the Werehog, Sonic Team ignored SoA and SoE. If they won't even listen to the divisions of the company in charge of the markets that Sonic sells best in, I find it a tad questionable that they would be listening to random fans.

Alternatively, Ben Andec was exactly right and the developers latch onto any suggestions that do not require them to make a regular Sonic game. Thinking about it now, that sounds like what's going on, and matches with what I've been hearing out of Sonic Team.

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I also have my doubts that Sega has been listening to fan input. It seems to me that people are finding patterns where none exist is just as likely an explanation as the idea that they have been. Remember, on the subject of the Werehog, Sonic Team ignored SoA and SoE. If they won't even listen to the divisions of the company in charge of the markets that Sonic sells best in, I find it a tad questionable that they would be listening to random fans.

Alternatively, Ben Andec was exactly right and the developers latch onto any suggestions that do not require them to make a regular Sonic game. Thinking about it now, that sounds like what's going on, and matches with what I've been hearing out of Sonic Team.

I think it's the more of the latter. The Werehog was created as a compromise to appeal to both new and old fans, the guns were put in Shadow from an online poll IIRC, Sonic Riders came about from the demand for a racing game, and Heroes was created because fans wanted something less serious than SA2. Now where the sword came from, though, that's beyond me.

It's all well and good that Sonic Team wants to try new things, but with the extent they've been going, there are times they might as well be working on a different franchise entirely. I don't think its that they don't want to make a bona fide Sonic title with the appeal the classics had, but rather they don't know how. It's been eighteen years later and almost everyone who had a hand in the early days seems to have either been replaced or given a new position in the company. I don't think they're incompetent; the Hedgehog Engine and a couple of their non-Sonic titles can show that. If anything, they're uninformed, afraid, restricted in money and time, and desperate. But all I think they need to do first and foremost is try to understand what Sonic's roots ARE before they say they're going to bring Sonic back to them.

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I agree with Diogenes. I doubt this will give Sega and Sonic Team any specific idea of what the fanbase wants, because as we all know we are just too divided. All of us want different things in a Sonic game. Obviously most of us want speed and platforming, but as for the rest we have very different and incoherent tastes.

Exactly, I love Sonic but it does have without a shadow of a doubt the most divided fanbase of any video game series, there's no general sentiment on anything really, not even the classic Mega Drive/Genesis Sonics to some extent.

I mean I would kill to just have all the new game series characters after Knuckles' introduction removed because they started to get silly after that, but then you have alot of people who actually prefer those characters to even Sonic.

That's just _one_ example mind you.

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