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Awoo.

He's all about the speed


Miko

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After reading some reviews, I'm starting to get the impression numerous things factored into Sonic's decline including the emphasis on his speed, the characters and did I mention his speed? I'm not saying that this encompasses everything I think is problematic, but perhaps some things that aren't discussed as much from what I can see anyway.

1. I should probably be clearer when I say "speed."

Sonic was built to demonstrate the finer qualities of the Genesis. It's speed apparently being one of those finer qualities. This became a gameplay gimmick that we associate with Sonic today. However, if Sonic is the mascot of SEGA, then he should've been ready for any kind of gameplay. Sonic should not have been the mascot of simply the genesis' capabilities, but he should've been designed to show off SEGA's capabilities and potential regardless of platform. Let's use Mickey Mouse for example. Does Mickey's character seem like it'd pigeon hole him into one kind of gameplay? No. Which means if a person made Mickey the mascot of their games and say, wanted to make an RPG, platformer, etc they could use Mickey to demonstrate the company's strength in that field while not having to worry about how they'd implement a certain gimmick which may not fit an otherwise good game.

Today with the introduction of 3D platforms, there seems to be an emphasis in level exploration, not simply zipping through the levels. In short, the layouts of the games today seem to be the antithesis of Sonic's gameplay. Really, if the objective is to zip through the level as fast as you can, why not just go back to 2D? You're not going to waste too much time exploring a 3D plane; you don't have to worry about where the camera is going, no falling off edges, and none of the other little annoying tidbits that have come with the 3D era. For them to assume there would never be a low point in their company's career where the speed aspect is not workable, or that gimmicks may lose their appeal eventually was foolhardy.

Sonic IMO is a good lesson to have with any mascot at least, in that he should never represent 1 gimmick or the potential of one platform, rather he should represent the company's potential, period. All his games will perhaps seem somewhat gimmicky because any potentially unique gameplay will have to be sidelined by the need for speed. So when you think about it, is it really any surprise Sonic Team doesn't care and often times, implements trite gimmicks? I mean why waste your efforts trying to come up with an entirely new an original concept you can waste your energy working to its fullest potential in an original game, when this one will have to push it aside from the same, increasingly trite gaming concept?

2. The extra characters.

I think the problem was as old as Tails, actually. But I'm not bothered simply by the fact they're there. I don't cry simply because it's not Sonic. A long enough story, and several kinds of unique abilities provided, several characters may be somewhat possible to implement in a single game. However There's an overabundance of Sonic characters who have Sonic's trademark ability and moar and often time what they don't have goes against the presently defining element of his gameplay. Some may not have spindash but spindash forces you to stop and waste time charging. The more characters we have, the more Sonic's speed ability gets watered down. This wouldn't be as much a problem if it wasn't Sonic's signature ability. If the characters aren't fast then it's "not a Sonic game", if they are fast and maintain a certain aspect of gameplay that makes them unique they're "stealing Sonic's thunder." And they really never needed to be introduced. Just as Mario acquires new items to achieve newer abilities, the same could've been so for Sonic. So unless one was into the whole "kill everyone off but Sonic and Eggman" campaign a similar conclusion is reached as number 1. Sonic needs something else to define who he is. The other characters are a bit gimmicky too, defined by speed, power, and flight generally.

Solution 1: Reinvent Sonic

I think Sonic's going to need to be reinvented and I don't mean in the way Sonic Team typically boasts. When I say reinvent, this probably means making his character about something other than speed. To me, the west got it right in their initial manuals. In their manuals Sonic's speed was due to a pair of sneakers he wore. So if the concept of speed ever went stale or didn't fit with a specific form of gameplay, the speed could go along with it and they could still have their mascot. The Japanese also got it right too. Or at least Ohshima did. Ohshima's original idea which was flamed to high heaven by the Americans, was to give Sonic an identity that would not interfere very much if at all with his gameplay. That identity was something akin to a rockstar. This idea is still kind of given a bit of a nudge and wink in artwork. Almost a bit befitting considering the fact Sonic's name isn't just about speed, but there's a relationship to sound. Whether or not people agree with the idea Sonic should be a musician or not is besides the issue. It's merely an example of how giving him a separate identity from his speed so that he can fit easily to showcase SEGA's potential in any type of gaming.

Solution 2: Playable characters as assistance characters not "Sonic but better"

In rachet and Clank, Clank sits in Rachet's backpack and helps Rachet fly. Does Tails' really need to essentially be Sonic's gameplay but with upgrades? For every game it'd seem like there's typically some kind of tangent all the characters run on. If we're talking for example Final Fantasy VII, the characters may have different abilities but they follow a time based mode of gameplay with overdrives and summon creatures. If this can be managed, then by all means give them their own gameplay, but if the gameplay can't be done without stealing Sonic's thunder every single game, I'd suggest not using them altogether and to let their abilities be items Sonic can pick up, or for them to find some way to assist Sonic in some other way without having to alter his gameplay much. I know Sonic Heroes attempted this, but the method in which it was done was not very fluid. In Rachet and Clank, Clank is apart of Rachet..or could perhaps be in his backpack. The alternative to that was to switch characters and then attempt their big move.

I probably have more in my head but this is enough of a tl;dr don'tcha think?

Edited by Miko
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I don't really mind the extra characters, but I do agree that it gets redundant when we get new ones ever single game and then those said characters stick around for even more games. Thankfully for now, Marine looks like she's sticking to the Rush games. But Cream didn't have to be a main recurring character, she just needed to be in Advance 2....

And I agree with what you said on the gimmicks. I can't tell you how often as a little kid I would daydream about games with Sonic doing this or that that weren't solely based on the concept of speed. I even had a little daydream of what Sonic would be like in an RPG. Bioware granted me that wish, but even their attempt had a few flaws and, imo, wasn't made to full potential.

The fighting games like Battle at least did something right, since there's not really anything speed-related in those games.

But I would like to see Sonic become more versatile like Mario is. I would love to see a Sonic game that plays similar to LoZ or Kingdom Hearts (and the storybook games like Secret Rings and Black Knight do not count).

Reinventing Sonic is a lovely idea, but as we learned from the last attempt by SEGA, it's virtually impossible for them to do it. To reinvent him and the series, it'd take the skill of a really smart and dedicated game designer and team.

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I agree with the topic title and description, but I feel your overall analysis is a bit wonky.

To clarify, I don't think Sonic should ever be any faster than he was in Sonic Adventure 2. Even then, I want the levels to be larger and more explorable like they were in Sonic Adventure 1 and Sonic 2006. I don't think going the way of Mario 64 is the way to go, turning the Sonic games into collect-a-thons.

What might work would be a Mario Galaxy type platforming game (set in the Sonic world, of course), but without the annoying gravity gimmick and boring gameplay that accompanied Mario's last quest. If there's an actual 'end' to every act, I think the idea could work even if levels were split into separate challenges like in Galaxy. Throw in some loops and time-attack challenges in there, and we just might have a good game.

And I'll wisely stay away from the 'extra characters' debate, and will pretend that you DIDN'T just say that you like the idea of Sonic's shoes being the source of his speed.

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However, if Sonic is the mascot of SEGA, then he should've been ready for any kind of gameplay.
I believe, fully and completely, that people would not complain about any spinoff Sonic was appearing in (the idea of it, that is, not necessarily the end result), if the series hadn't already gone to shit.

Sonic can go off and play tennis or kart racing or be in an RPG or whatever just as well as Mario can. His speed does not prevent him from doing any of it. The problem is that the fans have had to sit through dozens of games that are poorly made, "not Sonic", or both. They're not getting what they want from the main series, and they damn well won't be getting it in "Sonic and Friends Golf". With Mario, they have consistently put out high-quality main series games that retain most of the same qualities that attracted people to the series with the first place, so people don't mind a bunch of odd spinoffs they aren't interested in, because they're still getting what they want in the main series.

Really, if the objective is to zip through the level as fast as you can, why not just go back to 2D?
There are things that can't be done, sometimes not at all and sometimes just not as well, with only two dimensions (and for the record, the reverse is true as well). Honestly, that's the only justification I need.

I mean why waste your efforts trying to come up with an entirely new an original concept you can waste your energy working to its fullest potential in an original game, when this one will have to push it aside from the same, increasingly trite gaming concept?
Any gimmick they come up with should be designed to work with speed, not just be slapped on alongside it. Look at FLUDD from Super Mario Sunshine; as hated as it is, it is at least designed to work with the abilities and gameplay Mario already has, specifically using the hover nozzle to aid platforming. When you look at Sonic, most of the gimmicks don't have anything to do with speed, usually being some clunky alternate gameplay style slapped onto another character.

The more characters we have, the more Sonic's speed ability gets watered down. This wouldn't be as much a problem if it wasn't Sonic's signature ability. If the characters aren't fast then it's "not a Sonic game", if they are fast and maintain a certain aspect of gameplay that makes them unique they're "stealing Sonic's thunder."
I've rarely heard anyone saying that the other characters being fairly quick cheapens Sonic's ability. If they're being presented as equal or better than Sonic in terms of speed (in story as well as gameplay), sure, but that's pretty much limited to Metal Sonic and Shadow, both of which were designed specifically to copy Sonic. Tails and Knuckles were exactly as fast as Sonic in S3&K, and you will be hard pressed to find anyone who's seriously bothered by that.

So if the concept of speed ever went stale or didn't fit with a specific form of gameplay, the speed could go along with it and they could still have their mascot.
If they didn't mind him being a soulless shell of his former self, that is.

Solution 2: Playable characters as assistance characters not "Sonic but better"
"Sonic but better" is a lot closer to what I'd like to see. All they need to do is give Sonic a few tricks of his own as well. In S3&K, all 3 characters had the same basic Sonic-styled gameplay, but with their own abilities and quirks modifying it. Tails could fly and swim, Knuckles could glide and climb but couldn't jump as high, and Sonic had the instashield and special shield-based moves. To be fair I'd argue that they didn't give Sonic enough; without a shield he's pretty far behind and even with one he doesn't have the same freedom as the other two, but I believe it's the right way to go; they just need something more solid to have Sonic stand out.
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I fully agree with the OP. One thing that made Sonic's speed so fun back then, was that while you could go pretty fast, his movement was very versatile and allowed for him to do pretty much anything. You could put him in Mario's games, and he'd work perfectly. The base Sonic gameplay needs to be able to do any sort of platform gimmick. Not that most of them would work with Sonic's fluid style without a little tweaking to design and situation, but he should be able to do it. This opens up a lot of gameplay possibilities for Sonic, allowing him to do what made him so popular back in the day: taking your simple platform gameplay and adding a new, fluid, and speedy twist to it.

As for extra characters, they could work as the "branches" to the Sonic base gameplay. The very basic style of Sonic's gameplay would always be present, but each character could take parts from other genres and add the "Sonic Twist" to it to make it fun and unique. Mario does this a lot in many of his titles, mainly the RPGs. But with Sonic's wide variety of characters, it wouldn't be that improbable for them to reach out into much more distant genres. The game would be "X" genre, but it'd still feel like a Sonic game. Of course, before that would be able to happen, Sonic needs to reestablish what a Sonic game feels like before it can be recognized and appreciated when it takes a dip in other genres.

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I sort of see that a large problem is that gameplay is derived from character rather than character derived from gameplay. In fighting games, the character is usually aggressive. In platforming games, the character is usually carefree. It all just fits really. But with Sonic, their logic is more like "Sonic wants to go fast, QED the game should be fast." I'm all for Sonic loving speed as a character, but it shouldn't be the game that's tries to tell us that.

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To clarify, I don't think Sonic should ever be any faster than he was in Sonic Adventure 2. Even then, I want the levels to be larger and more explorable like they were in Sonic Adventure 1 and Sonic 2006. I don't think going the way of Mario 64 is the way to go, turning the Sonic games into collect-a-thons.

Again, what is the point in making them more "explorable" if the whole objective is speed and to run through the level as fast as you possibly can? Unless maybe, with the emergence of a 3D platform people want Sonic to do more than speed through a level. every. friggin'. game. all. the friggin'. time. I personally would not be all that troubled if he slowed down and explored the levels. Matter of fact, with the creation of Tails and Knuckles and their additional abilities that call for the player to slow down, I'd say the games were well on their way to this realization rather early.

Any gimmick they come up with should be designed to work with speed, not just be slapped on alongside it. Look at FLUDD from Super Mario Sunshine; as hated as it is, it is at least designed to work with the abilities and gameplay Mario already has, specifically using the hover nozzle to aid platforming.

Say the platforms that come out eventually won't really offer much in the way of speed and SEGA's 3rd party. Well then, SEGA is screwed. Let's say SEGA has a very revolutionary idea, but it's not about speed and is not compatible with speeding through a level. Well the mascot which is to showcase their potential has become an utter failure in that regard. There are only but so many ways you're going to be able to make gimmicks compliment the same formula over and over again before the attempt breaks down, and things get old. Before it's not fun making such redundant games.

Just watching the games you can gather Sonic Team's lost the spirit to make these games, and I really don't blame them. I really do hate it when people complain about folks still being stuck in the Genesis years when they're stuck right along with them and simply haven't realized it. Sonic is SEGA's mascot, not the Genesis', the Megadrive's or whatever the heck a person wants to call it. The Genesis was about speed but SEGA must be more versatile than that. Sonic needs to be able to showcase the fullest of SEGA's potential regardless of whether the game is a platformer or not, because he represents the company and the company can achieve more than just a platforming game.

Tails and Knuckles were exactly as fast as Sonic in S3&K, and you will be hard pressed to find anyone who's seriously bothered by that.

I hear a lot of people whine about every character after Knuckles. Meanwhile there are plenty of fandoms, particularly RPG fandoms who allow leg room for the introduction of several characters or so. Sonic Adventure even tries to make independent gameplay for each character to maintain Sonic's speed. While a good deal of people don't complain about it I know I didn't either for awhile, I just felt something was wrong-- but I couldn't put my finger on it. Still to say a great deal of people didn't want to play as Sonic's add on fuzzy friends, I can't agree with it. That was something people thought they were going to get with 06 and/or Unleashed. But really, what exactly is the point of them being there presently? Tails and Knuckles may be slightly slower but they maintain in essence the exact same gameplay with enhanced gimmicks to enjoy the game on an entirely different level for those who are craving level exploration, and for those who don't and just want to speed on through, their gameplay is Sonic with add-ons they probably will not even need to use as it will impede on the gameplay to slow down and climb walls or to fly for example.

To be fair I'd argue that they didn't give Sonic enough; without a shield he's pretty far behind and even with one he doesn't have the same freedom as the other two, but I believe it's the right way to go; they just need something more solid to have Sonic stand out.

So essentially Sonic will have to be about something else anyway. If a reinvention on that level must take place, they may as well iron all the bugs out lest they have to come back again and claim another reinvention. Sonic doesn't look like he has enough going on because everybody takes all the present allure people could find in his gameplay. His gameplay is about speed. He runs fast. What they run fast too? So they do everything he does and what they can't do doesn't fit the overall objective of his gameplay anyway.

The base Sonic gameplay needs to be able to do any sort of platform gimmick.

Not any sort of platform gimmick. Any gameplay gimmick. Sonic's gameplay needs to be open to all things. If platforming were to go out of style or if he were to become too comfortable with a particular gimmick and that goes out of style, he's stuck and SEGA's screwed. Sonic needs to be a flexible character that can be taken seriously in all fields. People should be able to look at a major game that is not wrapped in a trite gimmick and be able to take it seriously.

I believe, fully and completely, that people would not complain about any spinoff Sonic was appearing in (the idea of it, that is, not necessarily the end result), if the series hadn't already gone to shit.

And the series has already gone to crap in part because the rigid identity Sonic's been given has rested upon a gimmick that isn't transitioning into 3D well and is growing more and more trite.

Edited by Miko
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I agree with alot of the points. The extra char do get redundant and we have enough of them already. However, if a new one gets inserted in a new game, they shouldn't be mandatory to play which is one of the problems with the SA1 games, and were better if they are optional chars. Also, a new char could at least be unique in their own way gameplay wise, but also have speed, not Sonic speed.

A Sonic game is not just about the speed but about how you implement the speed in gameplay and the gameplay itself. Though it seems ST focuses a bit too much on story than this aspect most of the time along with graphics. About gimmicks, it depends on the novelty, how long the fun factor for them lasts, and how well-implemented they are, which ST mostly fails to do or don't use its full potential when putting it into play. Yet I really don't like gimmicks that much.

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A Sonic game is not just about the speed but about how you implement the speed in gameplay and the gameplay itself.

But that's just the thing: This is a 3D era. Implementing speed infers the idea is to race from start to finish as quickly as possible. Level exploration emphasizes a slowing down of the characters so that they can well...explore the level. It is the total opposite of what a speedy game stands for regardless of how it's implemented. I'm not necessarily going to question that Sonic games are currently about how you implement speed into the gameplay. I will question the soundness in making the mascot's gameplay revolve around the implementation of the same gimmick. And in this context gimmick means speed and moar speed. Again it's not even translating well in 3D.

Edited by Miko
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Interesting topic - as someone said earlier though, your analysis is a little skewed.

Sonic was built to demonstrate the finer qualities of the Genesis. It's speed apparently being one of those finer qualities. This became a gameplay gimmick that we associate with Sonic today. However, if Sonic is the mascot of SEGA, then he should've been ready for any kind of gameplay. Sonic should not have been the mascot of simply the genesis' capabilities, but he should've been designed to show off SEGA's capabilities and potential regardless of platform. Let's use Mickey Mouse for example. Does Mickey's character seem like it'd pigeon hole him into one kind of gameplay? No.

The problem being though, is that Mickey Mouse wasn't created to offer one particular style of gameplay. You don't seek out a Sonic the Hedgehog title for it's serene, tactical RPG elements. The clue's in the name. The Mega Drive original, before Sonic was even Sonic, was concepted to be nothing more than 'pinball/ball' physics type gameplay. The 'showing off the finer qualities of the Genesis' you mention is specifically in its speed as a result, because it was about the only thing the console had going over the SNES.

While I'm on the topic, 'speed' as a key factor to a successful Sonic game has always been an incorrect statement. The speed was the most noticeable result of what you were doing, yes, but the real magic was happening in the game's curved level design, crazy level gimmicks and bouncy physics that allowed you to go fast by rolling down a hill, or flying off a pinball table or smacking into a badnik from a great height. Once it's realised that level design and physics are what really make a Sonic game, and the speed gets turned down a little to compensate (Unleashed was -way- too fast and you couldn't enjoy stages due to its wonky inertia in the first place) then you have a sound foundation to make a quality Sonic title. But, of course, it can still go wrong. ;P

In terms of Sonic 'doing other things' though, there's nothing wrong in spinoff titles. Mario has plenty. But I think what Diogenes misses when he brings them up is that it's not the quality of the canon games that's turning everyone off the spinoff games. It's the quality of the spinoff games themselves. Sonic Riders was pap as was Zero G, Chronicles was okay for a time but ultimately tedious and uninspired, and the less said about Shadow the Hedgehog the better.

Sega Superstars Tennis (I'm counting this one). Sonic and the Secret Rings. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games (despite its over-arching casualness). Maybe even Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing (also by Sumo, and they've not made a stinker yet...). These are spinoffs that I don't believe anyone has really complained about on a serious level. Because they're well made games that provide a nice distraction from the main plot.

If you want Sonic to 'do other things' Miko, this is the key area that they should be made, otherwise you're asking Sonic Team to go ahead with random new gameplay ideas that really don't work, like the Werehog.

Today with the introduction of 3D platforms, there seems to be an emphasis in level exploration, not simply zipping through the levels. In short, the layouts of the games today seem to be the antithesis of Sonic's gameplay.

Layout of the -games-, yes. Layout of the -levels-, no. You're taking the 3D level hubs/adventure fields from Sonic games and applying that to the entirety of the product. Take a look at a modern Sonic level, and you'll find there's not much emphasis on exploration at all, whatsoever.

Now I think the lack of exploration is the real problem here, not the (apparently) over-emphasis. Sonic Unleashed's core gameplay is arguably akin to running down a narrow corridor, the stages are so linear. You can have large stages that can offer multiple routes to a goal marker, and I think that would be the major re-invention that would revitalise a lot of interest in playing Sonic the Hedgehog again, particularly in a 3D plane.

A modern Sonic game's level design appears to be nothing more than a straight line when viewed in 2D, right? In contrast, a Mega Drive Sonic title would consist of two or three of these lines interjecting with one another at regular intervals. You could take the top route through Mystic Cave Zone, hop down to the middle route halfway through the level, only to go back up to the top or take the low route later on.

There's no way this philosophy cannot work in a 3D field. You just have to expand the playfield to a Z-Axis. A large stage that starts narrow, widens to offer the multiple pathways (each that could add or shave time off of your speedrun, adding to replayability and time attack gameplay) and then bottlenecks back again towards the end where the goal marker is situated - allowing the player to take multiple routes around a map while always knowing that forward is where you should be going to complete the stage. If you wanted to get funky, you could even have particular routes that are only accessible by playing as a different character.

I think the problem was as old as Tails, actually. But I'm not bothered simply by the fact they're there. I don't cry simply because it's not Sonic.

I don't think anyone 'cries' because it's not Sonic, it's just that if you buy a Die Hard film that stars Bruce Willis, you don't expect to see Chris Tucker on the screen for 90 minutes in his place all of a sudden. Extra characters have to be treated as entirely optional experiences, because you are always going to get the odd person who won't like Big the Cat, or adores Cream beyond compare. Sonic Adventure wasn't criticised because it allowed you to play as different characters with different experiences - it was criticised because for 100% completion you were forced to play through them, whether you liked it or not.

This is why it's tricky to add real new gameplay experiences to Sonic the Hedgehog. You can't do stuff like the Werehog because it screws up your playtime as Sonic. Give the new gameplay to a different character and you dilute the core gameplay you get from Sonic. Perhaps the classic games had it right in a sense - offer new experiences and characters in the confines of the core gameplay. What I mean is, do a 'Sonic Heroes' with it: essentially the same game, but as different characters.

Of course, Sonic Heroes made that process entirely boring by making each team exactly the same ability and level-route wise, and by again forcing you to play the game as all four teams for completion. But you see my point. When you bust through that first wall in Angel Island as Knuckles, did you feel that his unique strength and gliding abilities was a bonus to the core gameplay, or a jarring unwanted feature? If you answered to the second statement, you're lying.

I don't really mind the extra characters, but I do agree that it gets redundant when we get new ones ever single game and then those said characters stick around for even more games. Thankfully for now, Marine looks like she's sticking to the Rush games. But Cream didn't have to be a main recurring character, she just needed to be in Advance 2....

I'd say 'thankfully it looks like Marine is sticking to Sonic Rush Adventure'. Some of the beauty in new/random characters are in their one-shot appearances. I liked her in SRA, but f I had to deal with Marine in a future game, Rush-esque or otherwise, I might have to hang someone. :P

To clarify, I don't think Sonic should ever be any faster than he was in Sonic Adventure 2. Even then, I want the levels to be larger and more explorable like they were in Sonic Adventure 1 and Sonic 2006. I don't think going the way of Mario 64 is the way to go, turning the Sonic games into collect-a-thons.

This. I truly think Sonic Adventure was the closest to a 3D Sonic game where you felt like you weren't constrained by invisible walls. Look at Final Egg - as far as I'm aware, almost a completely go-forward stage, but the level design and the overall feeling of space and freedom you got really masked that and made that level so enjoyable. Sega simply needs to expand on that by offering different routes on top of what they started in SA1.

"Sonic but better" is a lot closer to what I'd like to see. All they need to do is give Sonic a few tricks of his own as well. In S3&K, all 3 characters had the same basic Sonic-styled gameplay, but with their own abilities and quirks modifying it. Tails could fly and swim, Knuckles could glide and climb but couldn't jump as high, and Sonic had the instashield and special shield-based moves. To be fair I'd argue that they didn't give Sonic enough; without a shield he's pretty far behind and even with one he doesn't have the same freedom as the other two, but I believe it's the right way to go; they just need something more solid to have Sonic stand out.

100% agreed.

Again, what is the point in making them more "explorable" if the whole objective is speed and to run through the level as fast as you possibly can? Unless maybe, with the emergence of a 3D platform people want Sonic to do more than speed through a level. every. friggin'. game. all. the friggin'. time. I personally would not be all that troubled if he slowed down and explored the levels. Matter of fact, with the creation of Tails and Knuckles and their additional abilities that call for the player to slow down, I'd say the games were well on their way to this realization rather early.

You're just trivialising the gameplay of Sonic the Hedgehog by basically calling it a third person racing game. You don't want to play a platforming game and simply be asked to 'Hold X for boost' for four minutes.

I hear a lot of people whine about every character after Knuckles.

That's not what he said.

Sonic Adventure even tries to make independent gameplay for each character to maintain Sonic's speed. While a good deal of people don't complain about it I know I didn't either for awhile, I just felt something was wrong-- but I couldn't put my finger on it. Still to say a great deal of people didn't want to play as Sonic's add on fuzzy friends, I can't agree with it.

That was something people thought they were going to get with 06 and/or Unleashed. But really, what exactly is the point of them being there presently? Tails and Knuckles may be slightly slower but they maintain in essence the exact same gameplay with enhanced gimmicks to enjoy the game on an entirely different level for those who are craving level exploration, and for those who don't and just want to speed on through, their gameplay is Sonic with add-ons they probably will not even need to use as it will impede on the gameplay to slow down and climb walls or to fly for example.

I'm not sure I'm understanding your point here. You deride Sonic Adventure for having different characters with different gameplay mechanics, then you do the same for different characters in Tails and Knuckles for being 'reskins with benefits'... but earlier you say you're not bothered about multiple characters. What exactly would you want to see from them if every implementation has been wrong in your opinion? Am I missing something?

Not any sort of platform gimmick. Any gameplay gimmick. Sonic's gameplay needs to be open to all things.

Sonic is a platform game, though.

If platforming were to go out of style or if he were to become too comfortable with a particular gimmick and that goes out of style, he's stuck and SEGA's screwed.

Sega have plenty more franchises they can take advantage of - Yakuza/Ryu Ga Gotoku is currently their top series in Japan, so I don't think a decline in platforming interest will essentially kill Sega off. Sooner that happens than they further butcher the series by adding even more tacked-on unwanted gameplay elements to the mix anyway - something, again, that you contradicted yourself on as earlier you say you hate unwanted gimmicks/want games like the classics and now you're saying Sonic should do everything under the sun. How do you think the Werehog came to be?

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I agree with the topic title and description, but I feel your overall analysis is a bit wonky.

To clarify, I don't think Sonic should ever be any faster than he was in Sonic Adventure 2. Even then, I want the levels to be larger and more explorable like they were in Sonic Adventure 1 and Sonic 2006. I don't think going the way of Mario 64 is the way to go, turning the Sonic games into collect-a-thons.

What might work would be a Mario Galaxy type platforming game (set in the Sonic world, of course), but without the annoying gravity gimmick and boring gameplay that accompanied Mario's last quest. If there's an actual 'end' to every act, I think the idea could work even if levels were split into separate challenges like in Galaxy. Throw in some loops and time-attack challenges in there, and we just might have a good game.

And I'll wisely stay away from the 'extra characters' debate, and will pretend that you DIDN'T just say that you like the idea of Sonic's shoes being the source of his speed.

Mario Galaxy? "Annoying Gravity Gimmick"?

If anything, the "annoying gravity gimmick" in Galaxy presents exactly the kind of gameplay Sonic should be striving for. It takes the 3D Sonic concept of "stages floating in the sky", but makes them explorable, gives you that physics playground feeling, and makes it so that despite the fact that the stages are just bits and pieces floating in the air (not too different from Speed Highway or Windy Valley, really), there are far fewer death pits. All of this, and the developers only have to program playable areas, unlike the Sonic Unleashed developers who thought it neccessary to spend weeks programming enormous background environments.

I'm not saying Sonic should rip off Mario yet again, but whilst these things may have been a hindrance to Mario, they're exactly what a character like Sonic could do with. If SEGA could come up with a gimmick that provides the same positives (lack of death pits, physics playground qualities, saved development resources) without copying the gravity idea, they'd have a hit on their hands.

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Personally, I think any slower than Unleashed would be a serious downer for me in the next main title (I wasn't expecting it from Black Knight since I knew the combat would be half the focus (turned out it'd be 90% of the focus when the game came out, but that's another matter).

Sonic was really fast in the old games, but his control was much tighter than Unleashed. I think they just need to tighten up the handling of Unleashed for slower sections and it'd be fine.

I still say Unleashed was perfectly fair with warning of upcoming obstacles (except for the "hard mode DLC stages", that's my compromise), but apparently I'm crazy. D=

Maybe they should reintroduce those big warning signs the Game Gear version of Sonic had, lol.

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In my opinion, it's not about the speed itself, and how fast the developers can make the Sonic object go with each new engine. It's more about the sensation and gratification of speed.

The old Sonic games were, in reality, not a whole lot faster than Mario World (not Sonic 1 at least) in terms of raw speed. The thrill came in maintaining that speed because if you didn't take your acceleration rate and environment into account, you'd be going at a sluggish pace for a LOOONG time. That, and speed had uses, like with the screws in Metropolis Zone. In the new Sonic games, this is lacking - the fixed "cinematic" camera angles don't provide any sense of speed, speed is attained instantly and it's not good for much apart from water running.

I think a game of Sonic Adventure/Adventure 2 speed is acceptable (if only because it frees up development resources) but they'd have to take steps to make it acceptable. Speed would have to be earned (that is to say, few boost pads), and it should be Sonic's most powerful weapon and tool. Also, none of this zooming out when in loop-de-loops crap. I want a dynamic camera. I'm thinking, a camera like the "free camera" in SADX, but as you attain higher speeds, the camera becomes more focused on Sonic, effectively "locking on" to the behind view, so that it stays behind Sonic at top-speeds, following him through loops, tilting when he runs on walls and shaking when he turns. Add to that the speed line effects of Unleashed and dynamic music that speeds up as you do, and you've got a game that "feels" as fast as Unleashed but with all the benefits of Adventure speed.

It's all about perception, which is why it's much more satisfying going around a loop-de-loop with the camera shaking and following you in Sonic 1 than it is with the static camera views of Unleashed. It's like how seeing a car drive down a motorway doesn't look THAT fast, but when you're in it, it feels so much faster. If the camera is going at a similar speed as Sonic the game feels faster without actually being faster, so the following the action segments of Unleashed (when the camera is behind Sonic) feel ripping, whereas the fixed camera 2D corkscrews and loops just feel a bit... "meh".

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Layout of the -games-, yes. Layout of the -levels-, no. You're taking the 3D level hubs/adventure fields from Sonic games and applying that to the entirety of the product. Take a look at a modern Sonic level, and you'll find there's not much emphasis on exploration at all, whatsoever.

Now I think the lack of exploration is the real problem here, not the (apparently) over-emphasis. Sonic Unleashed's core gameplay is arguably akin to running down a narrow corridor, the stages are so linear. You can have large stages that can offer multiple routes to a goal marker, and I think that would be the major re-invention that would revitalise a lot of interest in playing Sonic the Hedgehog again, particularly in a 3D plane.

A modern Sonic game's level design appears to be nothing more than a straight line when viewed in 2D, right? In contrast, a Mega Drive Sonic title would consist of two or three of these lines interjecting with one another at regular intervals. You could take the top route through Mystic Cave Zone, hop down to the middle route halfway through the level, only to go back up to the top or take the low route later on.

There's no way this philosophy cannot work in a 3D field. You just have to expand the playfield to a Z-Axis. A large stage that starts narrow, widens to offer the multiple pathways (each that could add or shave time off of your speedrun, adding to replayability and time attack gameplay) and then bottlenecks back again towards the end where the goal marker is situated - allowing the player to take multiple routes around a map while always knowing that forward is where you should be going to complete the stage. If you wanted to get funky, you could even have particular routes that are only accessible by playing as a different character.

This is a good point. Sonic Unleashed (while I did indeed like the game) seemed much more like Sonic in a crash Bandicoot level with such narrow corridors and such. While it did have a lot of "small" alternative paths, these paths were...well tiny as hell. They would be literally a few second departure from the main path and really didn't offer any additional freedom.

I definitely agree with the assessment that Sonic's levels need to open up, not become narrower. While we're on the topic of speed versus exploration, the speed of Sonic actually gives him an upper hand in exploration. We're always saying that the levels need to be big because of Sonic's speed, but when you think about it, Sonic's speed is conducive to large levels with ton's of path. No other platform character can transverse as much ground as Sonic can. In this regard, it's a little disappointing (to me at least) that we have been given such linear and confined levels when Sonic's speed gives him the ability to transverse tons of ground to explore the levels.

My question though is this, would the implementation of level building along the z-axis (similar to the 2D Sonic's) be the answer to this question or does Sonic need true wide open 3D areas? As long as the goal of a Sonic game is to still reach the end of the level fast, once you find that "perfect path" the other roots become unimportant.

Personally, I think any slower than Unleashed would be a serious downer for me in the next main title (I wasn't expecting it from Black Knight since I knew the combat would be half the focus (turned out it'd be 90% of the focus when the game came out, but that's another matter).

Sonic was really fast in the old games, but his control was much tighter than Unleashed. I think they just need to tighten up the handling of Unleashed for slower sections and it'd be fine.

While I could definitely see sonic being slowed down in the next Sonic game, I really do think its the level design, as has been said, which will make or break the game. As long as Sonic has tight control, how the game is played will be entirely up to the level design, etc. Sonic could be slowed to a crawl, but if we still can't see a certain obstacle or something, his speed isn't even a factor.

edit: gamenerd, that's actually a really good point.

-CS

Edited by Chaos Skies
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Just in response to the first post, I think the platformer genre in general is suffering, and the inclusion of gimmicks is something we've needed to keep them fresh. Think about what platformer even means. Jumping from platform to platform, and over enemies. Most 2D games with a side-on perspective were a type of platformer by default, from Mario to Metroid. You can only do that for so long before it becomes stale, so the best platformers were really defined by what else besides jumping they could do. Of course Sonic's thing was jumping plus speed, the speedy platformer.

Someone mentioned in another topic (I think it was Phos) that Sonic's simplicity gave him success, in that he really only had one action button. The levels and their individual gimmicks themselves had personality that carried the game, and I agree with Dread that it's the physics and flow of a Sonic game that make it fun. It's really the same problem as the platformer genre above, Sonic jumps on stuff and has speed, but what are you gonna do with that speed?

The illusion of speed was also far more important on the Genesis than it is now. Now that Sonic can actually attain ridiculous speeds, we have to ask if he should really be going this fast. Not that speed is a concept that should be dropped. It just seems like there should be a happy medium that allows both exploration and the speedy ricochet type gameplay everyone loves. I know the concept of the character is speed, but people should be less concerned about how fast he's going and more concerned about what he's doing. And that has a lot to do with level design, especially when you consider how poorly recent gimmicks have performed.

My first choice for level design is the classic formula with multi-layered design. That's a field with ramps and different ways up and down the level, so that while you're always moving forward, you're not confined to the same road every time. Exploration in a Sonic game doesn't mean that Sonic becomes slow and stops to smell the roses (though you could if the scenery is especially nice), it means there could be parts of the level you never knew existed until your tenth playthrough, when you took paths A-B-and-C.

I'm also peeved that vertical space seems to have disappeared from Sonic games entirely. Modern levels have Sonic on the floor in a narrow space, moving forward. It's 2D in spirit. A quick remedy from this boring "highway" design is to give Sonic something to climb. I can only think of a handful of levels that do this well. The sticky walls room in Lost World, a few sections in Final Egg, Knuckles and Rouge's ARK levels, Final Rush, and Power Plant come to mind. These are levels where platforming comes before speed, where it's unfortunately often the opposite.

Second choice is something I'm surprised they haven't tried yet. It'd be a continuous globe world large enough to have several missions inside them. You could run around the globe one way, and then around another way and encounter a variety of obstacles, but never really stop moving because the world wraps around. You'd get five or six missions in a linear fashion (like acts from old games but taking place in one world) in this mini-sandbox, and then move on to the next level, which is another globe. You could even throw a linear chase level in between. I tried to illustrate this idea in the new games topic, so I'll just link to my old post here.

Edited by Badnikz
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The problem being though, is that Mickey Mouse wasn't created to offer one particular style of gameplay.

First, Mickey Mouse was also not created to offer one particular style of cartooning. If you wanted to put him in a story with about as much Seriousness as "An American Tale: Fivel Goes West", this is possible. If you want him to have a Tom and Jerry esque kind of cartoon style, this is also possible. If any of these particular styles go out of style, Mickey can aim to try something new and original. Mickey does not necessarily have to beat to death the same concept over and over and over and over. Sure Mickey is limited by age appropriateness, but Disney as a company doesn't really make ANY of their cartoons on the maturity of say, South Park. If they did, it'd probably only because there's an incredibly strong demand among youth to see such things. Mickey is a very versatile mascot in comparison to Sonic.

Second, I've acknowledged two things:

1. SEGA made Sonic to showcase the company's potential.

2. Sonic was created to offer one style of gameplay (and this is of course arguable because from very early on in the series, newer characters came into the series with abilities that would cater more to level exploration--slowing down).

Number 1 is the primary objective behind his creation. He is supposed to be the company's mascot, their representative and someone capable of showcasing their potential. I'm not denying that it's likely Sonic was created to offer one style of gameplay with the erroneous idea that there was no danger in doing so to achieve their primary objective. But ultimately it is unwise to stick with the same style of gameplay and never change. What if the gameplay isn't compatible with newer platforms? We're already starting to see this problem become recognizable with Sonic's poor transition into 3D. Even if he was originally created to offer 1 style of gameplay it isn't a good idea to hold onto those original principles if he's going to continue to showcase the company's potential. That is why I said it's probably best to reinvent Sonic into someone whose character doesn't rely so much on the speed every game.

The 'showing off the finer qualities of the Genesis' you mention is specifically in its speed as a result, because it was about the only thing the console had going over the SNES.

I have no problem with Sonic showing off capabilities of the Genesis that the SNES didn't have. But it doesn't change that sticking to a particular gimmick (the speed) has ultimately proven crippling to Sonic in recent years because gimmicks can lose their ability to translate well over consoles, or they just grow trite. SEGA is now 3rd Party, and so with that said it's even more important for them to have a versatile mascot because they have to showcase the potential of engines they have little to no control over. Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony aren't going to waste their time toiling away on how to make a console compliment Sonic.

In terms of Sonic 'doing other things' though, there's nothing wrong in spinoff titles. Mario has plenty.

First of all I don't consider Mario the end all, be all. Just because Mario does something doesn't necessarily make it "right" for Sonic. Compared to Sonic levels Mario's levels are slower, and are linear. While this can create a few bumps in the transition to 3D, it still does not emphasize zipping through the level as fast as you possibly can. Level exploration is complimented moreso in Mario games than in Sonic's. However, there is nothing stopping people from suddenly well, getting sick of Mario's gimmick being beaten over and over. If people DO get sick of it, what does Mario have?

Saying to shove it on the spinoffs won't solve the problem with his main titles. The concept is trite, it's been beaten to death. The concept is not translating well on a 3D landscape that encourages exploration in 360 degrees kind of way, while Sonic's gameplay only really encourages 2 dimensional exploration of different paths to a quicker end. Another problem with calling it a "spin off" is that it immediately encourages creatives to…well...not give a damn. One of the reasons I suggested a reinvention is because if Sonic's about speed then "spinoffs" will take him out of his element and spinoffs are generally not considered as seriously as main titles. How would you like your hard work to go to something people probably won't take as seriously when you could be saving it for a unique project for a new and original game that can?

If you want Sonic to 'do other things' Miko, this is the key area that they should be made, otherwise you're asking Sonic Team to go ahead with random new gameplay ideas that really don't work, like the Werehog.

I'm telling Sonic Team to go ahead and explore creative freedom with gameplay ideas, and not to be pigeonholed into one. The idea that any new ideas Sonic Team could come up with (that'd merely be showcased by Sonic) won't work is an assumption.

You're taking the 3D level hubs/adventure fields from Sonic games and applying that to the entirety of the product. Take a look at a modern Sonic level, and you'll find there's not much emphasis on exploration at all, whatsoever.

I'm taking the very nature of 3D and applying it to the entirety of the product. Bad Cameras, glitches like falling off the edges, these are things that can all be avoided simply by going 2D. 3D infers level exploration. Sonic's zip to the finish is complimented best in 2D.

A modern Sonic game's level design appears to be nothing more than a straight line when viewed in 2D, right? In contrast, a Mega Drive Sonic title would consist of two or three of these lines interjecting with one another at regular intervals. You could take the top route through Mystic Cave Zone, hop down to the middle route halfway through the level, only to go back up to the top or take the low route later on.

Notice how this doesn't necessarily have to even be a 3D platform. When I mean explore the 3D plane, I mean actually explore the landscape on an entirely different level than one could on a 2D plane. If the above is what you're suggesting, then there's no reason not to go back to 2D because the only direction one needs to worry about going is forward and maybe on an occasion backwards. That, and the idea of multiple routes to the same spot doesn't necessarily mean one uses a 3D platform. As you've noted, 2D has managed this without the buggy cameras, falling off of 3D planes, etc. I personally think Sonic was supposed to go in the direction of 3D eventually. You have Tails and Knux flying, and climbing walls. Slowing down to explore the environment and going against the very idea of, rushing to the exit. Sonic Team's way of adding to Sonic games was to essentially contradict race-as-fast-as-you-can mindset.

This is why it's tricky to add real new gameplay experiences to Sonic the Hedgehog. You can't do stuff like the Werehog because it screws up your playtime as Sonic. Give the new gameplay to a different character and you dilute the core gameplay you get from Sonic. Perhaps the classic games had it right in a sense - offer new experiences and characters in the confines of the core gameplay. What I mean is, do a 'Sonic Heroes' with it: essentially the same game, but as different characters.

But you lose the point of adding new characters doing things exactly like the classics. This is why I compared Sonic to for example Final Fantasy VII or X. In those games the characters are interchangeable and you don't have to use them if you don't want to. Secondly, while there is a core gameplay of overdrives, timebased turns or whatever that all of them share, they each had their own default, unique contributions/abilities. Every character who offers new gameplay is Sonic with an extra feature. Sonic is steadily becoming the most boring of the characters to play because while every one else has some bonus move plus his own, he's got nothing that sets him apart from them and actually adds to the gameplay. I agree Sonic Heroes had a very interesting idea. Make the characters attatched to Sonic in a sense sort of like how Clank is attatched to Rachet and serves as a helicopter. My only complaint with such methods would be that the buttons pushed need to be very simple and able to do anywhere.

But you see my point. When you bust through that first wall in Angel Island as Knuckles, did you feel that his unique strength and gliding abilities was a bonus to the core gameplay, or a jarring unwanted feature? If you answered to the second statement, you're lying.

It's kind of hard to say, and while you may think people are lying when they say it's unwanted feature (or at least on a new character), many people don't want a game with any other playable characters BUT Sonic. I myself liked the idea of level exploration in Sonic games. So I didn't mind Knux's additional abilities. But if the game is purely about racing to the finish, Knux climbing walls for example is just slowing the player down and taking away from the speed element of the gameplay. I thought just about everything else Knux did was something Sonic or Tails could've done.

You're just trivialising the gameplay of Sonic the Hedgehog by basically calling it a third person racing game.

Come to think of it...given the objectives for the game, you could argue it is.

You don't want to play a platforming game and simply be asked to 'Hold X for boost' for four minutes.

I don't really get what you're saying here for. It's not that I don't want to play a platforming game. I'm just tired of seeing Sonic doing the same thing over and over when it's not a safe move to do and it just feels off for something feels off with a character who's supposed to showcase the company's potential only really showcasing the Genesis.

I'm not sure I'm understanding your point here. You deride Sonic Adventure for having different characters with different gameplay mechanics, then you do the same for different characters in Tails and Knuckles for being 'reskins with benefits'... but earlier you say you're not bothered about multiple characters. What exactly would you want to see from them if every implementation has been wrong in your opinion? Am I missing something?

When talking about Sonic Adventure, what I was essentially saying was that even the creatives recognized that the characters needed their own unique gameplay. I wasn't taking that part of my ramble to bash SA. Prior Sonic Adventure a good deal of the reocurring "big names" were Sonic reskins with benefits as you put it. I'm not bothered by simply the idea of multiple characters. I'm bothered by how they're implimented. Like I said when citing stuff like Final Fantasy there can be a core gameplay but everyone has their own unique contributions to that core gameplay. In an RPG you may have a white mage, a black mage, physical fighters and so on. Each contributing something different but they follow the same gameplay of perhaps time based turns, using overdrives, etc. Sonic games are presently not like this. A Sonic game is like everyone in an RPG having the black or white mage's abilities PLUS their own, rendering the black/white mage totally useless to the story. That, and the black/white mage the main character too. Daayum.

Sonic is a platform game, though.

Regardless of what he currently is, I'm saying he needs to encompass more than that.

Sooner that happens than they further butcher the series by adding even more tacked-on unwanted gameplay elements to the mix anyway - something, again, that you contradicted yourself on as earlier you say you hate unwanted gimmicks/want games like the classics and now you're saying Sonic should do everything under the sun. How do you think the Werehog came to be?

I'm not saying they should do everything under the sun. Some ideas really are stupid. However, if you've got a good idea, go for it. Sonic is supposed to represent the potential of your company, show him off. I don't want games to be exactly like the classics. I can stand for an occasional reference but his identity practically still being stuck there? No. As a matter of fact I said reinvent him so that he's not stuck with everyone thinking that he must be about speed and getting to the finish as quickly as possible. A problem that started in the classics. They're going to just continue to add tacked-on unwanted gameplay elements because they have to make any new and original idea they do have work in the shadows of Sonic's trite gameplay anyway. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if they laid off it for awhile but they just keep doing the same thing, and it hardly screams the best kind of game for a 3D plane.

Sega have plenty more franchises they can take advantage of - Yakuza/Ryu Ga Gotoku is currently their top series in Japan, so I don't think a decline in platforming interest will essentially kill Sega off

Dreadknux, if you don't mind my asking before asking anything further, where do you get your sales figures? There's been a big debate on the validity of several sources apparently.

Edited by Miko
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Again, you're missing the point. You think Sonic is all about speed - this is the basis of your entire argument.

First, Mickey Mouse was also not created to offer one particular style of cartooning...

I never said he wasn't. I said Sonic the Hedgehog was created to offer one style of gameplay. Something you then actually agree with later:

Sonic was created to offer one style of gameplay (and this is of course arguable because from very early on in the series, newer characters came into the series with abilities that would cater more to level exploration--slowing down).

To say that Mickey Mouse can be applied to any style of cartoon is entirely irrelevant to the fact that Sonic the Hedgehog can do the same for games. There's no argument here. You might as well say that Sonic can be applied to many different genres because Mario has successfully done multiple genres (a point that many, not just me, have made) -- but apparently you don't want to compare Sonic and Mario, which is ironic given that the comparison there is actually more relevant than Mickey Mouse. That's like saying you shouldn't compare Mickey and Bugs Bunny, even though the parrallels make the most sense.

Number 1 is the primary objective behind his creation. He is supposed to be the company's mascot, their representative and someone capable of showcasing their potential. I'm not denying that it's likely Sonic was created to offer one style of gameplay with the erroneous idea that there was no danger in doing so to achieve their primary objective. But ultimately it is unwise to stick with the same style of gameplay and never change. What if the gameplay isn't compatible with newer platforms? We're already starting to see this problem become recognizable with Sonic's poor transition into 3D. Even if he was originally created to offer 1 style of gameplay it isn't a good idea to hold onto those original principles if he's going to continue to showcase the company's potential. That is why I said it's probably best to reinvent Sonic into someone whose character doesn't rely so much on the speed every game.

You know all of this is essentially the same as another company mascot... The reason Mario keeps getting brought up is because he and Sonic share an almost identical position in their respective companies. Mario approaches different genres on a regular basis, in a spinoff format. This works, and it doesn't dilute the gameplay canon platforming games, which keep getting critically acclaimed for being quite awesome. You can argue that Mario's gameplay is slower than Sonic's, yes, but then you're actually making the fundamental error here in assuming that Sonic is all about speed. I'll say again; he's not.

I have no problem with Sonic showing off capabilities of the Genesis that the SNES didn't have. But it doesn't change that sticking to a particular gimmick (the speed) has ultimately proven crippling to Sonic in recent years

Wrong. The crippling factor in Sonic games have been in their quality control (for one thing) and their inability to use the platforming mechanic to its full potential. You're essentially hitting boost and running in a straight line, turning every now and then.

First of all I don't consider Mario the end all, be all. Just because Mario does something doesn't necessarily make it "right" for Sonic.

Er, nobody's saying that. There's a reason Mario is constantly brought up in discussion with Sonic the Hedgehog that you seem to be missing here, and if you can't see what that is I can't help you.

The concept is trite, it's been beaten to death.

Mario games are crap now, they're trite. Having Mario jump from hub to hub looking for stars? It's all been done before, it's been beaten to death. There's nothing left for the series but to change it to--

Holy shit, Super Mario Galaxy.

I'm telling Sonic Team to go ahead and explore creative freedom with gameplay ideas, and not to be pigeonholed into one. The idea that any new ideas Sonic Team could come up with (that'd merely be showcased by Sonic) won't work is an assumption.

An assumption backed up by ten years of them trying?

I'm taking the very nature of 3D and applying it to the entirety of the product. Bad Cameras, glitches like falling off the edges, these are things that can all be avoided simply by going 2D.

No, they can be avoided by simply being good at making games. For all it's 'on-rails' gameplay, Sonic Unleashed has a very small number of bugs, glitches and other things you speak of.

Notice how this doesn't necessarily have to even be a 3D platform. When I mean explore the 3D plane, I mean actually explore the landscape on an entirely different level than one could on a 2D plane. If the above is what you're suggesting, then there's no reason not to go back to 2D because the only direction one needs to worry about going is forward and maybe on an occasion backwards.

Seems to work fine for practically every 3D platformer, shooter and almost every other genre you care to think of.

As you've noted, 2D has managed this without the buggy cameras, falling off of 3D planes, etc.

That has less to do with the fact it's in 2D, and everything to do with the fact that the developers are inexperienced/incompetent in bugfixing for a 3D platforming environment.

I personally think Sonic was supposed to go in the direction of 3D eventually. You have Tails and Knux flying, and climbing walls. Slowing down to explore the environment and going against the very idea of, rushing to the exit. Sonic Team's way of adding to Sonic games was to essentially contradict race-as-fast-as-you-can mindset.

......... ? No... That's all in your head. Look at the classics again. Check the inertia of Sonic. Look at Sonic Adventure. Check the inertia of Sonic. Sonic Unleashed is about the only Sonic game that has adopted the pure race-as-fast-as-you-can mindset. Exploration has been a key point in the success of decent Sonic platformers since Day one.

But you lose the point of adding new characters doing things exactly like the classics.

Why? How many fans of Knuckles have you met/seen? Tails? Blaze? I'm talking pretty much universal acceptance in the fanbase - these three characters are examples of optional play characters that expand on the Sonic play, and have had no real backlash from the fanbase at large.

Now think about Silver. Cream. Big the Cat. I'm not sure what point you're thinking of exactly, but whatever it is you're losing it by adding new characters in the current way. While introducing them in an optional format ala the classics (or "Sonic Heroes, but good and optional") seems to have done Knuckles, Tails and even Blaze a worls of good.

This is why I compared Sonic to for example Final Fantasy VII or X. In those games the characters are interchangeable and you don't have to use them if you don't want to.

You seem to be under the impression that you must use all the characters in a Sonic game. This is true in games since Sonic Adventure, but the whole point of adding new characters like the classics is so that you get new abilities, new interesting ways to play the same levels... without being forced to play as them. I fail to see why comparing Sonic to an RPG clarifies your point. If anything it makes it more redundant.

Secondly, while there is a core gameplay of overdrives, timebased turns or whatever that all of them share, they each had their own default, unique contributions/abilities. Every character who offers new gameplay is Sonic with an extra feature.

Aerith is basically Cloud with a staff and magic spells. I can trivialise things to a base level to twist my argument too.

Sonic is steadily becoming the most boring of the characters to play because while every one else has some bonus move plus his own, he's got nothing that sets him apart from them and actually adds to the gameplay.

As someone has already said in this topic, nobody has ever really complained about that fact. The only complaint from fans is that Sonic's spotlight is being stolen by new characters unnecessarily.

It's kind of hard to say, and while you may think people are lying when they say it's unwanted feature (or at least on a new character), many people don't want a game with any other playable characters BUT Sonic.

You're missing my point. Knuckles and Tails were purely optional characters in Sonic 3 & Knuckles. There was no pressure or forced introduction to these characters, and they weren't shoved down your throat. If you wanted to only play as Sonic, that was fine. Modern Sonic games do not have this feature, instead requiring each new/returning character to be played in order to complete the game. This is what has driven many gamers to the "I only want to play as Sonic" position, not the fact that these charactes actually exist.

I myself liked the idea of level exploration in Sonic games. So I didn't mind Knux's additional abilities. But if the game is purely about racing to the finish, Knux climbing walls for example is just slowing the player down and taking away from the speed element of the gameplay. I thought just about everything else Knux did was something Sonic or Tails could've done.

There. In one small paragraph, you just agreed with everything I have said. Level exploration is good, and something that is missing from modern Sonic games. The re-introduction of such a feature would revitalise the player's interest in actually enjoying Sonic games. Know why? Because as you hinted just now, speedruns and time attacking are secondary objectives in a Sonic the Hedgehog title. If the aim truly was to blitz through stages as quickly as possible, Knuckles would not exist. Tails would not exist.

Come to think of it...given the objectives for the game, you could argue it is.

You could, but you'd be wrong.

I don't really get what you're saying here for. It's not that I don't want to play a platforming game. I'm just tired of seeing Sonic doing the same thing over and over when it's not a safe move to do and it just feels off for something feels off with a character who's supposed to showcase the company's potential only really showcasing the Genesis.

My point is that you're having difficulty with what exactly Sonic the Hedgehog is. It's a platforming game. Your second problem is in understanding the real cause of the staid gameplay in recent Sonic games, and it has nothing to do with the fact that it's "still a platformer". My "Hold X for boost" comment was in reference to the suggestion you seem to put across that you'd rather have Sonic play like a racing game. Essentially, that's what Sonic Unleashed is anyway, much to my disappointment.

In an RPG you may have a white mage, a black mage, physical fighters and so on. Each contributing something different but they follow the same gameplay of perhaps time based turns, using overdrives, etc. Sonic games are presently not like this. A Sonic game is like everyone in an RPG having the black or white mage's abilities PLUS their own, rendering the black/white mage totally useless to the story. That, and the black/white mage the main character too.

So the fact that Knuckles/Tails/etc can walk, jump and stand still makes Sonic totally useless? Your logic makes no sense (ignoring the fact that Tails isn't as fast and Knuckles can't jump as high as Sonic in the first place!). You said it yourself earlier -- people buy a Sonic game to play as Sonic. Doesn't matter if some other character does what he does while farting the US National Anthem as a bonus. What Sonic has going for him is the desire to be played. That's more than what I can say for a -lot- of RPG characters.

Your random logic can also be applied to any platforming game under the sun. Luigi has the same capabilities as Mario but just has a higher jump. In fact, you could say the abilities given to Tails and Knuckles potentially are much more interesting a change to the default Sonic play. I say 'potentially' because the only time this potential has been really tapped was Sonic 3 & Knuckles, where inherent abilities could be used to access new paths and hidden areas.

So you're saying you want Sonic to be an RPG, not a platforming game then? Should Crash Bandicoot become an RPG as well? Spyro?

Regardless of what he currently is, I'm saying he needs to encompass more than that.

What are you talking about? Sonic the Hedgehog has always been a platform game, has never been anything _but_ a platform game. What is this 'currently' business you're speaking of?

As a matter of fact I said reinvent him so that he's not stuck with everyone thinking that he must be about speed and getting to the finish as quickly as possible. A problem that started in the classics.

No. That's a problem that started with you thinking that the Sonic series is all about speed and getting to the finish as quickly as possible. Which is a problem that started with the recent modern games, that don't provide any satisfying form of platforming elements to the game.

They're going to just continue to add tacked-on unwanted gameplay elements because they have to make any new and original idea they do have work in the shadows of Sonic's trite gameplay anyway. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if they laid off it for awhile but they just keep doing the same thing, and it hardly screams the best kind of game for a 3D plane.

So your solution is to either go back to 2D and fix nothing, or change the gameplay substantially which will result in them 'continuing to add tacked-on unwanted gameplay elements' as they scramble to find what works. The last ten years have proven that Sonic Team aren't exactly elegant in their execution when it comes to introducing new gameplay elements. Further, Sonic and the Black Knight and Sonic Unleashed were created with you in mind.

Dreadknux, if you don't mind my asking before asking anything further, where do you get your sales figures? There's been a big debate on the validity of several sources apparently.

How does Media Create, the Japanese body for game sales data, sound?

http://www.neoseeker.com/news/10060-media-...-off-handhelds/

That, and you're in need of Specsavers if you're unaware of the multiple other series and franchises that Sega are in control of.

Next time it would be great if you don't try to discredit those you simply disagree with.

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I'm taking the very nature of 3D and applying it to the entirety of the product. Bad Cameras, glitches like falling off the edges, these are things that can all be avoided simply by going 2D.

No, they can be avoided by simply being good at making games. For all it's 'on-rails' gameplay, Sonic Unleashed has a very small number of bugs, glitches and other things you speak of.

They can also be avoided by the player being decent at the actual game. Lock yourself in a room with a copy of the completely 2D Bram Stoker's Dracula on Mega-CD for a day. You WILL come crawling back to Sonic Adventure BEGGING for a taste of it's sweet, glitchless, succulant juices. And then you will devour the wholesome, hearty gameplay with a sigh of relief, and NEVER, EVER question the almightiness of 3-Dimensional gaming again. Until the next movie tie-in comes out...

And no, Sonic Unleashed did not only have "a very small number of bugs". It was packed to the brim with the stench of rotting, digital flesh, and crawling with cyber-parasites. That game made me feel dead inside. Dead from the sadness, and the anguish that the DAMNED piece of shit software thrust upon me while I clutched the joypad in despair. After going the soulless and maggot-infested gaming corpse that was the WereHog, I would have done anything for two minutes on Emerald Coast...

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Well yes, but now you're speaking hypotheticals/objectively now. I wouldn't go so far as to say the Werehog was a glitch now would you? ;D But I see your point nonetheless.

Although now that I do think about it, there were a few zingers in Unleashed in regards to bugs, but still. Beats the hell out of 06 or Heroes in the quality control department.

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Although now that I do think about it, there were a few zingers in Unleashed in regards to bugs, but still. Beats the hell out of 06 or Heroes in the quality control department.

Yeah, Unleashed does have far less glitches in comparison to other 3D Sonic games. Too bad it had to kill itself with crappy gameplay decisions. I really wish the quality control in 2006 had been up to snuff; I still enjoy the Sonic levels in that game, but the infrequent but deadly glitches and slightly-poor controlls keep it them from being as good as Sonic Adventure. Still, the game had more exploration and multiple paths than any Sonic game since SA2, at least it had that going for it.

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How does Media Create, the Japanese body for game sales data, sound?

http://www.neoseeker.com/news/10060-media-...-off-handhelds/

That, and you're in need of Specsavers if you're unaware of the multiple other series and franchises that Sega are in control of.

Next time it would be great if you don't try to discredit those you simply disagree with.

For a PS3 game, 370,000 units isn't really that good (I also don't think its sold much more than that), considering how much it must have cost to make. And while Sega are in control of numerous other franchises, they not have a lot of (multi) million sellers, outside of Sonic. The only ones that come to mind are there movie licenses games, Super Monkey Ball (breaks one million) and Football manager.

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For a PS3 game, 370,000 units isn't really that good

That's 370K units sold in two/three days. I would say that is pretty damn good, actually. I am pretty sure Sega Japan have made some money back off of that after a year and a half of being on store shelves.

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i like the extras. shadow, metal sonic, mephiles......oh i guess knuckles and thats about it lol. silver your ok. but the thing about them is to create more personality behind them. take shadow. make him more of a antihero but not a emo one. really every game hes always mopping around for some reason. metal sonic- really now does he stay a mindless robot or break away again and form his own empire.

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