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Would Co-Op Work in a Sonic Game?


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Now that we've moved on from the boost-centric gameplay (at least we assume we have), would it be a viable option for co-op to be put into Sonic games from now on? I thought about this when playing the multiplayer for Lost World, since it worked pretty well.

 

The split screen approach was fine, but what about sharing one screen, like in other platformers (Mario, Rayman, Donkey Kong, etc)? Would this work in future games, assuming they play like Lost World (for the most part)?

 

If we go with this idea, I'd like to see a game sort of like Sonic Advance 3 as a main console game. I think it would be cool to allow players to select their favorite characters like Tails, Knuckles, Amy, or even those like Shadow, Silver and Rouge, and be able to team up via co-op and just mess around in levels.

 

In fact, Advance 3 had co-op by using the link cable, right? It seems like would have worked, so I'd love to see that extended and expanded upon in a main console game.

 

Apart from Advance 3 though, would just general co-op in the main story ever be something we might see in a future Sonic game? Maybe even just playing as the Sonic clones or something (I'd still prefer actual characters though), I'd be down to see how that would play out.

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It doesn't really seem to work in past Sonic games, usually due to the emphasis on speed in Sonic games over other platformers. And that's just with two players, I don't think a game like Sonic would be able to handle three or four players playing cooperatively at the same time.

 

Maybe if there was a way to keep the player on screen so that he doesn't get left behind without having to compromise the speed, it could probably work somehow. I personally think Knuckles Chaotix may have been onto something with it's rubber band link to keep both players, but I think it's reliance on needing the player to exploit it's pinballish/momentum-based mechanics so the player can build up speed and get through the levels hampers down the gameplay.

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I don't think one screen will work very well with the speed, as the only way to really keep players together is through an invisible rope between them; the map can only let them get so far apart.

 

It's either split-screen for when it's two or more people using the same TV, or online co-op where the screen is not an issue. The rubber band idea kills momentum, which is a no no in a game that is supposed to be about speed.

 

If one wants a single screen, the best way to go is online co-op, since it allows one to "cheat" and avoid splitting the screen while doing so by other means.

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The problem with co-op in Sonic is that the series' focus on speed and tendency towards large, multi-pathed levels means that it's very difficult to keep multiple players together for any appreciable length of time. If you can't keep the players together, the capacity for them to interact and influence each other is almost insignificant. And if the players aren't influencing each other, you don't actually have meaningful co-op.

The only way I see co-op working in Sonic is if it's asymmetrical; if players 2+ aren't players in the same way player 1 is. Things like SLoW's RC vehicles, or the pointer-based co-op in Mario's Galaxy games. The secondary players' gameplay can be designed in such a way that they can't not be near the first player, meaning whatever actions they're allowed are (more likely than not) going to influence them.

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The only way I see co-op working in Sonic is if it's asymmetrical; if players 2+ aren't players in the same way player 1 is. Things like SLoW's RC vehicles, or the pointer-based co-op in Mario's Galaxy games. The secondary players' gameplay can be designed in such a way that they can't not be near the first player, meaning whatever actions they're allowed are (more likely than not) going to influence them.

 

While I still think that something like this can work, I think SLW and Galaxy didn't really handle them properly at all. Whoever was the second player I was playing with would always get bored, and it'd be seen as a bad and boring thing to handle collecting rings, or fending off enemies, etc.

 

If the main issue of actual co-op would be limitations due to the other player slowing down, I think one good way of fixing that problem could potentially be using the SLW 2 player idea and giving one player the gamepad, and another the TV. It worked really well, and I can see it working even better with some added features (an arrow indicating where you're partner is for instance). The thing is though, what if it's not on the Wii U? I think the only viable options then would be split-screen or online co-op, both of which could potentially really work well.

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Okay. On the subject of co-op - LEGO.

Just take Sonic's next game and dump the LEGO co-op mode onto it. LEGO co-op works [despite the minor annoyance of rotating screens] and all games could probably learn from it.

Something like Sonic could benefit from it, especially in a 3D game. No need to go puzzle heavy, but allowing two players on the same level at once really could help out. And the scope of possibilities for co-op with multiple characters is endless. The two players could go as far from each other as worldly possible, and yet the co-op still functions.

Yes, co-op is usually implemented to games so that a second can help the first, but that doesn't stop the other reasons. Like Mario Kart: Double Dash's co-op. Two characters, one kart, two players in the same kart, and functions split between the two. Lovely.

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It can work, split screen that crap. Sonic's past co-op problems was that it was single screen and that player2 has to get left behind if not playing well and that sort of stuff just don't work out in a fast paced game. Knuckle's chaotix's problem was the tether mechanic which was very stupid gimmicky crap, Sonic 3's problem was that Tails in a few areas had to get left behind because he can't go through certain parts of the level due to programming issues, Shadow's problem was that it was no split screen, and that was also Sonic Adventure's problem, and SAdv. 3's problem was that it required handheld pieces that not many people would've had and that it required that you have a friend that also had the game.

 

 

A single problem can just be said as split screen it up...don't make it effect game-play too much, and don't let players attack each other.

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Nah, not as effectively as other platformers anyways.

 

While Sonic is a platformer and that's important to the series, speed is also another thing. I don't think you can effectively have a cooperative experience when speed is a large factor in the gameplay. While there may be some players who like to explore and take their time, and have no qualms about taking it easy with their buddy next to them, the nature most people are going to have when playing Sonic is seeing if they can get shit done fast, because the controls are kinda pushing you toward that favor, no matter which Sonic installment you're talking about.

 

That aside though, I think sharing a screen is not a good option and never has been for Sonic. While some probably have found memories of their friend or sibling controlling as Tails, it's no secret how it can get frustrating after awhile if you fall behind one player, or if you're constantly zooming in and off screen. Having that today would probably just magnify the frustration. Split screen could and probably would work well, but I think it'd largely become a 1p game for each player, just instead they're sharing the same level, which kinda leads me to my next thing.

 

Sonic and multiplayer is probably best left to competition versus atmosphere. People want to go fast and be fluent at the game since that's it's nature, and I think that really applies to racing. Split Screening a regular 1 player level, trying to get to rings/powerups/the goal before your friend is what I think the only experience could be without heavily altering the main game feel of the regular 1p Sonic thing. Which isn't bad of course, and I think it's super fun when you can race a buddy that's around your skill level (probably better for online but that's another story).

 

But yeah, I just think relying on your friend or vice versa would just cause too much impatience for a game revolving around a speedy hedgehog and better left for facing off in versus races/score attack/etc.

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I say yes, but you absolutely would have to keep it split screen. Having two players sharing a screen with tons of shit in the game going on would make for one huge cluster f**k of a game. In Sonic Adventure, couldn't you plug in an extra controller and play as Tails when he's following Sonic? Something like that would work really well IMO, as long as we aren't getting into any boost territory.

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For co-op game to work for Sonic, you'd probably need to start completely from scratch just to conceptualize it. And even that's not a guarantee.

 

The only area where Co-op can work is in a competitive style, which isn't exactly all much of a co-op.

 

Now I can certainly see some attempts, like Sonic 06's take on co-op that wasn't really good like the rest of the game but was an attempt nonetheless, at least compared to Colors' attempt. But other than that, like what others have said, the series' emphasis on speed kills the idea a lot. In order to get the idea going you might need to de-emphasis the speed to a workable level so that one player doesn't burst off and leave the other in the dust with little options to catch up, as well as striking a balance so that it still retains some speediness to it for those who expect it.

 

Then, there's the screen. Two players can't share a screen and expect it to work. Colors did that and it didn't work so well since the other could die from the other being ahead. Split-screen or online is the best option here.

 

Also, there's level design, and this is likely the most nightmarish factor to tackle, because if the first player is already several death traps ahead of the second player, this is just going to add frustration to both if they're to work together. Making a level that both players can work together in a game that emphasizes speed and momentum is a killer to even think of, let alone implement and balance.

 

Someone will need to have the free time to work out the design problems with this, because it's leading on a highway to hell to conceptualize for it to be immersive and fun than frustrating and boring.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Also, can I just add this video here to show a co-op Sonic using Adventure 2 as the base template.

 

 

Excuse the bad gameplay, as it seems the person who did this was playing both characters at the same time, but something like this invariably works. You have two characters reasonably matched in type working together on one stage. I'm guessing Sonic Team could work something out like this for the next game.

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If the gameplay is simple enough then Yes, would love to see teaming up like Sonic Heroes style or play with combos such as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Blaze. But are we likely to see this in the future I would doubt it, I want SEGA to keep things simple so they can make a great game

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The level design needs to be a bit more open ended I think for Co-op to work if its not the basic Sonic and Tails combo...that way no character sits around waiting for the enemies to respawn and it keeping flow for both characters, while still having good progression going. I don't think the team work idea should go beyond something more than just a regular assist when both players are together. It really just needs to go at a basic approach to work. 

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I'm just gonna be pessimistic and say I can't see Sonic having any sort of meaningful co-op where both players are equal.  It's just too fast-paced - restrict the players freedom to move around as they please and it's not a fun Sonic game - keep it unrestricted and the players would have no reason to interact.

 

 

Even Sonic 2006, which was kinda slow, basically did nothing more than throw a few extra enemies at you, and periodically put in a gate with a "push both switches at the same time to progress" puzzle.

 

 

 

I'd much rather they focus on bringing us an actual good racing online mode without any stupid stuff like Generations' black holes and Lost World's limited Wisp usage (and obviously like, give it to us on the main version of the game, not the lesser handheld one).

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