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The Graphics and Artstyle Thread


Willsy

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I'm not sure if there's already a topic for this, I couldn't find one.

When it comes to Sonic games, the art style has really been anything but consistent. The classics had a cartoony yet detailed feel, then later Sonic Adventure took a slightly more realistic approach but still with the quirkiness and vibrancy of the classics. Then Sonic Adventure 2 took the realistic approach even further, but still kept something of a quirkiness to it.

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Next we move on to Sonic Heroes, which attempted to revive the Classics' art style in 3D (a move later experimented with Sonic Lost World, though we'll get to that shortly), yet keeping the fidelity of the Adventure games.

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Look familiar?

Sonic 06 took the most realistic approach of any Sonic game to date, putting Sonic and friends into a world with non-cartoony humans and a realistic art style. The humans still looked a bit goofy though.

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Sonic Unleashed probably has my favourite art style of any Sonic game. It's very Pixar-esqe, providing a convincing yet somewhat cartoony atmosphere to whatever level you're boosting through. Dragon Road and Jungle Joyride were jaw dropping the first time I played them (though for the later, the framerate wasn't). This art direction was brought back but toned down for Sonic Colours and Generations (in favour of performance), but was still very similar.

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Sonic Lost World's artstyle was one that attempted to replicate the classics, though with a somewhat lower fidelity than Generations and Unleashed. This was again for performance, and the game ran at a silky smooth 60fps, which was a fair trade off in my opinion. While the fidelity for Lost World was arguably lower, some of the levels still looked beautiful, like Silent Forest Act 1.

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Sonic Boom, though we haven't seen much, seems to be going in a direction that evokes Jak & Daxter vibes, and is unsurprising considering there are people that worked on J&D at Big Red Button. The graphics are still a work in progress, but from what we've seen so far, they look really nice.

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So what's your favourite/least favourite art style/direction in any Sonic game? I did leave out some spin offs, as it would hVe taken a while to explain them all. However, of you happen to love the graphics of Sonic & The Black Knight, don't hesitate to let us know why. :)

Oh, and one general rule for this topic; Be respectful, and don't disrespect or start arguments with others for liking a different art style. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but don't go saying that you don't like 'X Game's' art style just to wind up another user.

Be polite, respectful, and let's keep this a fun discussion. :)

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I've always liked the Genesis artstyle (as well as Heroes's artstyle) best. It took fairly realistic environments placed a nice surreal/stylized/"larger-than-life" feel to them in design and colors as well as environment and level design/terrain. Dancing flowers in a level of green hills, gold buildings decked in neon in a casino at night, really nice stuff. It's very distinct and gives the series it's identity.

 

That said, I'm also a fan of Unleashed/Generations' artstyle for it's photosurrealism. More grounded in realism in colors and terrain than the Genesis/Heroes artstyle, but the attention to detail for each environments is sublime and when brought to life by in-game shows where the current Sonic Team excels best/most at in their work. I like the Secret Rings artstyle for similar reasons.

 

Also a question: can we also talk about what graphics/artstyle that haven't been done yet in Sonic games that we'd personally like to see? Because I'd love to see a 2D Sonic game with a cartoony hand-drawn approach to the graphics, preferably complete with hi-def sprites, like Rayman Origins/Legends. A cel-shaded Sonic game in the vein of the Riders artstyle would be pretty neat too.

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Also a question: can we also talk about what graphics/artstyle that haven't been done yet in Sonic games that we'd personally like to see? Because I'd love to see a 2D Sonic game with a cartoony hand-drawn approach to the graphics, preferably complete with hi-def sprites, like Rayman Origins/Legends. A cel-shaded Sonic game in the vein of the Riders artstyle would be pretty neat too.

Sure, any discussions about graphics are welcome. :)
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In terms of the game design; my favourite style is the Sonic 3 sprites.. although the Tails ones are very similar between Sonic 2 and 3. I just like how expressive they are, although I think I preferred Sonic 2's "balancing" sprites because they were so hilarious. Sonic flailing his arms around! XD

 

In terms of art outside of the games, my favourite is the older Japanese style because it's just so cute! :3

 

Then of course there is STC's Sonic, which evolved as the comic went on. We started with " Christmas Tree Sonic" and ended with upturned spikes as seen on the Sonic 3D Flickies' Island cover.

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My favorite artstyle would be Unleashed's surrealistic style, making levels based off real life locations but adds a fictional twist to it, so it's not entirely realistic. Like this game has to be the most beautiful looking Sonic game I've ever seen, Generations was a close second. Boom's looking pretty good as well. 

 

For an artstyle I would like to see a Sonic game in, would be something more Oriental. Like this:

 

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Like it would be really cool if Sonic was drawn in a similar style like this but that's probably just me.

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The Unleashed/Colors/Generations art style, as Indigo said, is my favorite one. I made a post about this several months ago, but it was in an argument in a Sonic Boom thread, so I'll leave it there and start new here. tongue.png

 

I guess in short, the appeal of the U/C/G style is that it makes a single style out of the many.

 

Sonic 1 - 3K / CD featured a balancing act of stylized cartoony 'realism' and surreal fantasy worlds. Sonic Adventure kept this general style but toned down on the surreal elements in favor for more anime influence, and Sonic Adventure 2 went all out edgy anime, dropping the cartoonier and surreal elements altogether. Heroes tried bleeding both art styles together for the sake of unity (and failed pretty miserably IMO), while 06 said "screw this" and went off the deep end with a blend of the edgy anime style of SA2 and blegh photorealism, making a style that basically reads as "faux Final Fantasy".

 

When Unleashed came along, it introduced photorealistic areas as seen in 06, but rather this time intricately detailed, exaggerated and stylized to the point where it blended well with the settings of the classics and the Adventure games. This style was later expanded in Colors, showing it could pull off classic-esque environments in this style just fine, and Generations put the style in it's prime, by recreating past locales in the series in this new style so that everything in the series sticks together instead of looking inconsistent.

 

After all of that, I guess you could say those three games gave Sonic a truly unified style that's flexible, but fits into being exactly what Sonic is: whimsical, intricately designed, cartoony and wholesome, borderline-surreal, edgy when it needs to be, over the top, and (but of course) colorful. 

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I guess the Unleashed/Colors/Generations looks best. I feel as Sonic should always try to be as nice looking as possible (within technical abilities, of course). Of course, I also enjoyed the Adventure styles, had a nice blend of cartoony and realistic. Of course, when seeing the Ark in Shadow's battle in Generations, I felt that feeling come back in full swing, so I would perfectly happy with the modern design sticking.

 

I just want to see more of those metallic, Death Egg-esque stuff come back in modern titles. The Ark, I feel, did that pretty well, had a whole science fiction feel to it, yet cartoony. I suppose the Pixarness can more than easily pull that off.

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I don't really think Sonic Shuffle's graphical/art style really gets enough credit.

 

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Believe me, it's honestly nothing impressive by today's standards, but I do appreciate it for being one of, if not THE only Sonic game to go cel-shaded. It's a good fit for the bright and exaggerated world of Sonic the Hedgehog, so I would love to see a Sonic game go for an entirely different art style along those lines.

For an artstyle I would like to see a Sonic game in, would be something more Oriental. Like this:

 

 

Like it would be really cool if Sonic was drawn in a similar style like this but that's probably just me.

 

You know, I always thought that maybe an oriental-looking Sonic game would go hand in hand with something Storybook related. Combine that with a Cel Shaded style, then voila, you get something along the lines of Okami with Sonic characters (visually), which I would love to see come to fruition one day.

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I'll be the first to say that the Story Book games are absolutely beautiful. Especially for Wii games. They just have such good looking environments that try to look like something unique compared to what Sonic has already done. They have a balance between realistic and cartoony that hits the right places for me. 

 

Spoiled 3 images of the games. Dont they look great?
 

 

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I absolutely love the graphics in Sonic the Fighters and SegaSonic the Hedgehog.

 

Sonic the fighters' campaign mode started out all goofy and sunshine lollipops in the first stage, but then it gets really serious near the end with it Music and Background/Stage Choice.

 

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Their characters were pretty cutsey too.

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The battle Animations were pretty Funny and Goofy too.

 

As for SegaSonic the hedgehog, everything in the game is thrown at you, and it somewhat sends the player into a panic. Frantically running for their life with rather calm, yet intense visuals.

 

SegaSonic%20The%20Hedgehog%20(Japan,%20r437559-picture_36.pngfunnymighty.jpg  

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I don't really think Sonic Shuffle's graphical/art style really gets enough credit.

 

Emerald_Coast_Sonic_Shuffle.jpg

 

Believe me, it's honestly nothing impressive by today's standards, but I do appreciate it for being one of, if not THE only Sonic game to go cel-shaded. It's a good fit for the bright and exaggerated world of Sonic the Hedgehog, so I would love to see a Sonic game go for an entirely different art style along those lines.

Yeah, I'd really like to see them try something like this again. In spite of all the changes the series has gone through, it seems like they haven't shifted all that much from a sort of "exaggerated realism" style since SA (maybe earlier?), at least in the main series. There's still been variations, sure, but nothing that feels...aggressive, I guess.
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I confess the art never really took my attention. I guess I was more interested in the characters themselves than the worlds they run through.

However, I'd say Unleashed-looking probably is the most gorgeous. Lost World feels like I'm playing a cartoon.

On the flipside, I like Unleashed because it just seemed more epic in scale as a whole, between level size and play time. Pure 3D adds a sort of vastness that the 2D/3D hybrid just can't manage for me.

While I personally thought Eggman's 06 robots looked somewhat badass in the CGI cutscenes, I think it does the series justice to keep most of his robots very cartoonish. Their looking goofy almost makes you underestimate the man who made them. Almost.

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Id definitely go with Unleashed's style,it really does look gorgeous in overal, lots of detail and quite open, the stages seem really big and wide, it has a great feel to it.

Older genesis titles have their own charm as well, more cartoony and also quite detailed. Adventure's nice too, I don't know if it's just me but SA1 didn't look as detailed as SA2 but still looked nice nonetheless, the realistic/anime aproach was a nice thing to see, maybe more fitting than the Pixar-like characters from Unleashed but I can't say for sure.

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