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Chris Knopps

*(Eiji Aonuma - Developers Should Leave Ideologies Out?)*

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In a recent interview with GameMaster, Mr. Aonuma made a statement revolving something I feel can really relate to the issues behind the Sonic franchise today, that being his opinion that the developers themselves putting their own ideologies in an established franchise isn't such a good thing.

Here is his statement about the Zelda U titles development.

“We’re constantly thinking about how to make it unique compared to other games, both in general as well as to others in the Zelda series. Of course, the response of fans is most important and something we care very much about, which is why recently we have been showing early previews at events like E3. We’re looking to see that there are no problems with the directions we’re taking, and are reflecting the reactions we do get into subsequent development.

I haven’t and won’t be trying to put any message or meaning into the games. (If someone else were to make a Zelda game though, of course it might be different.) Occasionally I receive messages from fans telling me how playing Zelda games has changed their lives. While of course this makes me incredibly happy to hear, I feel a great sense of responsibility as well, so part of me feels that developers putting their own ideologies in games is kind of scary.”

With the Sonic BOOM franchise, more-so than anything it has been created for the developers and writers personal interests regarding Sonic in mind, which has been admitted several times by staff now revolving how it lets them do pretty much anything with character designs, their writing, and whatnot.

And revolving the current state of the main franchise, it was already said Lost World was developed with Mario fans in mind, likely due to a statement some time ago when SEGA staff told former Nintendo president Mr. Iwata that they felt Mario was the better franchise in an interview.

We also know SEGA has very tight strings on Archie nowadays revolving what they can and cannot do, to an overbearing extent more often than not in cases such as revolving the "Sonic cannot/shouldn't cry" topic they've argued over with Archie and such.

I must agree with Mr. Ionuma because from what I see nowadays, the Sonic franchise in all its current forms is about SEGA's ideologies first and foremost rather than its consumers, if you go by current feedback vs what they're releasing despite that feedback.

But... That's just my two cents said the lion.

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With the Sonic BOOM franchise, more-so than anything it has been created for the developers and writers personal interests regarding Sonic in mind, which has been admitted several times by staff now revolving how it lets them do pretty much anything with character designs, their writing, and whatnot.

Did this actually happen, and even if it did who the fuck cares?

So what if they are, so long as it's nothing stupidly out of character or outside of what Sonic is about which so far it's not been who actually gives a shit? 

I get you don't like Boom but this is really getting silly.

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 the Sonic franchise in all its current forms is about SEGA's ideologies first and foremost rather than its consumers,

Yeah and? It's a business, it's not an emotional entity, it's making business decisions which is what it should be doing.

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6 minutes ago, Detective Hogfather said:

 

Did this actually happen, and even if it did who the fuck cares?

So what if they are, so long as it's nothing stupidly out of character or outside of what Sonic is about which so far it's not been who actually gives a shit? 

I get you don't like Boom but this is really getting silly.

Yeah and? It's a business, it's not an emotional entity, it's making business decisions which is what it should be doing.

You... Should as the consumer...

Wrong, for what it's worth Shattered Crystal was pretty darned good to me and I like Sticks.

...Yeah, about those business decisions, how are the franchises profits currently and general reception asides "some toys and a cartoon" debates?

Edit

Also Diogenes, I never said a word about my ideals. That comes off a bit snarky...

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12 minutes ago, Chris Knopps said:

...Yeah, about those business decisions, how are the franchises profits currently and general reception asides "some toys and a cartoon" debates?

Gee lets think now shall we?

Hmmmm

Should I start with how they announced over 100 new licenser's for the 25th anniversary title?

How about Boom Season 2 being commissioned?

Or how about Boom season 1 being expanded into other territories including the middle east?

Hey isn't there a movie in development? 

Oh yeah didn't they also confirm big branded events for this year? 

And multiple games for this year? 

Hasn't Sega also confirmed more games for this year than they did for last year? 

.... Wait... didn't MetaCritic also award Sega the developer of the year award.

Yeah the franchise/Sega is totally doing badly that's why they're in a position where they're actually expanding on it and their business ventures. 

Sega is a business, yeah they make some bad decisions like all businesses, but like all businesses they move on from it, they don't cater or cradle their customers emotionally like I think some fans think they should.

Edit: Also since you avoided it...

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it has been created for the developers and writers personal interests regarding Sonic in mind

Did this actually happen or did you just make it up?

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5 minutes ago, Detective Hogfather said:

Gee lets think now shall we?

Hmmmm

Should I start with how they announced over 100 new licenser's for the 25th anniversary title?

How about Boom Season 2 being commissioned?

Or how about Boom season 1 being expanded into other territories including the middle east?

Hey isn't there a movie in development? 

Oh yeah didn't they also confirm big branded events for this year? 

And multiple games for this year? 

Hasn't Sega also confirmed more games for this year than they did for last year? 

.... Wait... didn't MetaCritic also award Sega the developer of the year award.

Yeah the franchise/Sega is totally doing badly. 

It's as I said, asides "toy and cartoon" debates.

SEGA in general isn't really the topic, only the Sonic franchise here.

Regarding everything else, I did say currently, did I not? Most of what you mentioned is future plans, all of which we know next to nothing about save for Mario and Sonic so it doesn't do much for your argument.

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8 minutes ago, Chris Knopps said:

I did say currently, did I not? 

Ok then. 

Sonic Runners which was the last Sonic game to be released worldwide is apparently doing amazingly well despite a poor technical record and has had over how many downloads is it at now and didn't TSSZ report a few months back that it had made a lot of money?

Now since you're only going to answer selective counter points by only addressing current stuff, we can also discount Rise of Lyric since that came out over a year ago since we're now only dealing with current games, of which there haven't been any for a while.

Also the toys and merchandise don't count/are not proof that Sega is doing well because... ... ... well... I think the only reason that makes sense is because it would underline your argument. Although I don't see how since you opened with ideologies and then started to talk about how well the franchise was doing as if that somehow proves that putting in ideologies was somehow hurting it.

So since you only want people to talk about recently released stuff, what on earth is within your time scale of approval?

Also for the third time....

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it has been created for the developers and writers personal interests regarding Sonic in mind

Did this actually happen or did you just make it up?

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I'm not 100% sure what Aonuma means with that quote (Maybe that he wasn't going to put what he thought was best over what the fans thought? Admirable, but not really the best way to approach things.) but I feel you might be misinterpreting it and applying it somewhere where it doesn't really necessarily apply.  Most games are created with the "developers and staff's personal interests in mind" because that's how things get made. Where it's to tell a story or put an interesting or refined concept out there or make something that'll make money for them.

I also don't really understand how you're talking about the "Consumer Ideology" and how Sega doesn't listen to feedback when where Sega is now is the current result of following trends and listening to feedback on Sonic. It's why Sonic is lighthearted and comical and there's classic imagery everywhere. It's why a lot of features from previous games are gone. They've received a more positive reception due to these changes, too(Sonic Boom aside, but even then the show is apparently doing well enough to sustain itself and the only people still bitching about the games are Sonic fans.) 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Detective Hogfather said:

BasOk then. 

Sonic Runners which was the last Sonic game to be released worldwide is apparently doing amazingly well despite a poor technical record and has had over how many downloads is it at now and didn't TSSZ report a few months back that it had made a lot of money?

Now since you're only going to answer selective counter points response is by only addressing current stuff, we can also discount Rise of Lyric since that came out over a year ago since we're now only dealing with current games, of which there haven't been any for a while.

Also the toys and merchandise don't count/are not proof that Sega is doing well because... ... ... well... I think the only reason that makes sense is because it would underline your argument. Although I don't see how since you opened with ideologies and then started to talk about how well the franchise was doing as if that somehow proves that putting in ideologies was somehow hurting it.

So since you only want people to talk about recently released stuff, what on earth is within your time scale of approval?

Also for the third time....

Did this actually happen or did you just make it up?

You do know the crap the games gotten despite the earnings/downloads right? I wouldn't call that a positive profit, especially since legal things have been debated over its gambling and whatnot.

Not really as I fail to see that as a reason to say the franchise is a success by a single debated cartoon and toys when the important aspect first and foremost is the games, at least, memory serving correctly it is.

Around Colors-Now, not what's to come.

No, its been stated the writers pretty much write what they wanna swing with. And I'm referring to the past development videos and artwork on the franchise that show all of their out there ideas and referring themselves to Iizuka's discomfort with what they did, despite SEGA of Japan really doing the same in recent games themselves.

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18 minutes ago, Chris Knopps said:

You do know the crap the games gotten despite the earnings/downloads right?

Hang on a moment... You just asked...

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...Yeah, about those business decisions, how are the franchises profits currently and general reception asides "some toys and a cartoon" debates?

I provided you with an example of a game made by Sega which is doing really well in terms of money, which still has a loyal playerbase (of which I personally don't understand why, but it's there) and yet... that doesn't count? Erm... why? 

Oh actually, can't we also include Sonic Lost World which has done pretty well on PC?  Sitting at 72% Mostly positive reviews? And weren't we also talking about how it's also done quite well in terms of sales in this topic? 

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Not really as I fail to see that as a reason to say the franchise is a success by a single debated cartoon and toys when the important aspect first and foremost is the games, at least, memory serving correctly it is.

Well frankly that's your problem, if you're not willing to use other media as an indication as to how well the franchise is doing then you don't have that great an argument since you're not willing to be open to all sources to forge a sensible conclusion, even the classic era had all this going for it.

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog....

SatAM.

Archie & Fleetway...

Tomy's 90's range. 

The fact that this site exists....

You may say the games are first and foremost all you like, but the fact remains that Sonic was even back in the 90's a multi-media selling powerhouse. It doesn't get all that stuff supporting it if it's not doing well, regardless as to whose ideologies are influencing it.

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....Umm, I'm kinda confused on what's the point here?

So Aonuma says that personal ideologies shouldn't be a thing, and it seems like you're saying Sonic shouldn't branch out? Well I don't think that doesn't really fit with Sonic, since as the Ol' Hogster shown. In the 90s, Sonic was in pretty much every form of media. He has like 5 different cartoons, an hour long OVA, 2 comic series (one that's STILL going to this day), quite the extensive merch line (which is probably not including with the Boom subseries) and a movie in the works.

So sorry to say but there's going to be very different iterations of Sonic. Just like how there's different versions of Superman, Batman or Spiderman.

If we're talking the games, I guess you have a point but compared to 8 major main series console games from 1998-2009 to the 3 from 2010-onwards (Boom is its own thing, I feel no reason to include them) and the fact you could also divide the games even more, based on the various gameplay styles (Adventure, Heroes/Shadow, 06 (a fusion of the 2), the Storybook series (Black Knight vaguely references Unleashed; it's not wrong, it's just my headcanon), the Boost and Parkour).

If the point is that Sonic should just stick to a solid but flexible gameplay style/direction, then I agree.

But I don't particularly feels that's the case here.

If someone can give the gist of this topic, that would be quite helpful.

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5 minutes ago, True Detective Soni said:

....Umm, I'm kinda confused on what's the point here?

So Aonuma says that personal ideologies shouldn't be a thing, and it seems like you're saying Sonic shouldn't branch out? Well I don't think that doesn't really fit with Sonic, since as the Ol' Hogster shown. In the 90s, Sonic was in pretty much every form of media. He has like 5 different cartoons, an hour long OVA, 2 comic series (one that's STILL going to this day), quite the extensive merch line (which is probably not including with the Boom subseries) and a movie in the works.

So sorry to say but there's going to be very different iterations of Sonic. Just like how there's different versions of Superman, Batman or Spiderman.

If we're talking the games, I guess you have a point but compared to 8 major main series console games from 1998-2009 to the 3 from 2010-onwards (Boom is its own thing, I feel no reason to include them) and the fact you could also divide the games even more, based on the various gameplay styles (Adventure, Heroes/Shadow, 06 (a fusion of the 2), the Storybook series (Black Knight vaguely references Unleashed; it's not wrong, it's just my headcanon), the Boost and Parkour).

If the point is that Sonic should just stick to a solid but flexible gameplay style/direction, then I agree.

But I don't particularly feels that's the case here.

If someone can give the gist of this topic, that would be quite helpful.

Properly sure, not so much with the method used via BOOM and Lost World where hyucks and Mario is the/a major target.

That's not the issue here.

There ya go sparky, that's what I'm getting at.

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Just now, Chris Knopps said:

Properly sure, not so much with the method used via BOOM and Lost World where hyucks and Mario is the sole target.

That's not the issue here.

There ya go sparky, that's what I'm getting at.

Well I'm not sure what's so poor about Boom's directions? I mean, sure it isn't exactly 1:1 to the main series though I would argue that's the point to a spinoff franchise. And since the show is more comedy-focused, which isn't a poor direction to say (I'd argue it's just as valid of a direction as Sonic being more action/adventure focused)  the least but I'm guess it's a victim of oversaturation of Comedy Sonic.

And considering we live at a time where platformers are no longer number 1 and Sonic is very clearly a distant second (third? fourth? i don't even know) to Mario, it isn't that baffling that they made a game that was going to be exclusive to Nintendo platforms with a bigger focus on the Nintendo crowd, which is why I'm guessing Sonic Team asked Pontaff to make story a bit more serious, while still keeping the light-hearted nature of the current direction intact, since it's going to feel quite alien to Sonic fans. Though with a game titled "Lost World", I might have the expectation to see some bizarre things like dopey eyed cacti, random giant worms, a world made out of junk food and such. I guess, it would help if Sonic and crew talks about how strange and bizarre some of the locations can be and Eggman giving some sort of explanation would fix the issue but I'm guessing it had the same budget as Colors, if not slightly higher.

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As long as people are buying and enjoying the product developers should be allowed to do whatever they want. "Ideology" is a really wide term, which can mean things from political visions to preferences in food. Saying that ideology in art is harmful implies that people are so brainless they'll blindly accept everything they see.

Art is supposed to expand one's worldview. The only reason to remove ideology from art is when it's so pervasive it's annoying, because that hurts people's enjoyment of it. If it's presented in a right way, it's perfectly acceptable.

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I think this is a more complicated issue than presented, and I was personally surprised to see it in the Sonic forum rather than in Video Games.

On the one hand, I would say that there's nothing particularly wrong with having an "ideology" in games, by which I understand a strong personal moral viewpoint which is expressed through the narrative and world of the game itself.  I haven't played it, but it seems pretty obvious that the most notable example of such a game recently is Undertale; others would cite just about anything by Hideo Kojima; another example most people on this forum will recognise is the environmentalist narrative of the early Sonic games (though I'm not sure if there's actually any substantiation for that, but I'm not trying to start an argument on the subject, I think it's a fairly obvious reading whether or not you think it was deliberate).  I think it's probably impossible to avoid a game having some underlying ideologies behind it, but most of the obvious ones are such narrative clichés that they're basically irrelevant - the existence of evil, violence as a means to an end.  Not many people are going into a video game attempting to indoctrinate people on matters like this, they're just a convenience of the medium.  Aonuma's anxiety, however, is that Zelda is so influential that he would, in a sense, be writing propaganda if he were to develop any strong message within a future Zelda game; say something like, I don't know, peace requires compromise.  He just wants the Zelda games to be universal adventure stories.  Players shouldn't feel like somebody's lecturing them.

Now, where things start getting muddy is when we talk about themes, which are rather closely linked to ideology or the idea of messages or meanings.  One of my favourite games is Link's Awakening, and one of the main themes of that game is the idea of the dream, but I'd be hard-pressed to construct a practical moral message around it, and think it would be somewhat disingenuous to attempt to do so.  But if we look back at Sonic 1 again, while it's generally acknowledged that "nature vs. technology" is the theme, are we truly meant to take any kind of ideological message from that?  Sonic pretty quickly gains ownership of a plane.  We have to have a whole bundle of technological developments just to play the game (including monitors, more often a help than a hindrance in the series).  Sonic CD does a very good job of showing technological development as having the potential for both destruction and beauty.  Nonetheless, the environmental viewpoint does a lot to give the classics structure and impetus.  You free animals (occasionally plants) from destructive machines and travel through gradually more invasive and damaging mechanical environments to defeat the scientist creator of all these machines, at which point you return to a more natural landscape and state of affairs.  Now, I wouldn't want to get rid of all the technology in my life, and I'm guessing you wouldn't either.  But I find myself regretting that the games don't really engage with this viewpoint any more.  Tails these days is just as likely to be invention-happy as Dr. Eggman, and we rarely get a sense that Eggman is evil because of what he does to the environment.  It makes the series that bit less uniquely recognisable, as far as I'm concerned.  So even when a theme has an ideological aspect, it's not as if we have to embrace that wholeheartedly in our own lives.  Draw a comparison to Black Knight or Unleashed, which have seen a lot of discussion over the past few years about their message, or how closely themes inform their presentation.  Conversely, I doubt anyone thought very hard about what the theme of Sonic Lost World was.  I don't want to even go near the long-standing discussion on trust and friendship in the game, but how about, "If you work with your enemies, they will betray you"?  It fits Eggman's relationship with both Sonic and the Deadly Six, but I wouldn't say it does a lot to inform the game, it has absolutely nothing to do with the level design and progression.  I suppose the upshot of what I'm saying is that ideology does not have to be intrusive or indoctrinating.  It just has to be interesting.  Sonic Lost World and Boom more broadly could've done with more ideology, not less.

To bring this back to Mr. Aonuma, I think he's doing himself a bit of a disservice here.  Sure, you can make perfectly serviceable adventure stories without even a hint of any particularly original message that we can carry into our own lives, but to me, ideology - I guess it's a bit late to mention that I think that's a really poor choice of a word there, but we're stuck with it now - in a game isn't something you have to completely agree with, but rather helps to give games direction and energy.  I would rather play a game that somebody put their heart into than a game that was carefully refined to check off a lot of tropes and consumer interests.  I'm not saying that that's a dichotomy.  But I think we'll care more if a game has a recognisable idea for how to craft its world, beyond (though not necessarily apart from) how the game simply plays.  If a game has a message, that says to me that somebody cared, that the creators had a personal investment in what they were creating and weren't just going through the motions.  I suppose the most cynical way of putting it would be to say that it's a shortcut to creating a game with a strong sense of identity.

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3 hours ago, JezMM said:

It's literally impossible to write fictional material without putting some of yourself into it.  The Zelda writers don't go "now what sort of story would the fans like" - the individual scenes, characters, and dialogue will all come from somewhere, most likely the writer's personal experiences, or an idea that the writer believes will make for an interesting story.  This is just how writing works.  Writers that don't draw from personal experience and/or heavy research make shit, unbelievable writing.

 

Regarding Sonic Boom, I think you're mistaking "not appealing to the fans" as "not appealing to you personally".

If you read my above post, I enjoyed Shattered Crystal and I enjoy Sticks.

I have said it before I don't really like being labeled as such an obnoxious type of person like that.

Also if you'll keep it in mind the staff DID say however that Sonic BOOM wasn't intended for Sonic fans but an entirely new audience.

Granted the Sonic fans are welcome to enjoy it, but they weren't the target. Of course, after they've switched the apparent target three or four times now, heck, maybe it is made for Sonic fans now, who knows...

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30 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

I don't know, I think not talking down to children in your shows is a good direction to take for making a kid show that appeals to adults whether or not you actually intend to. It definitely opens up the gates of viewership.

There is a difference between "not talking down to children" and "aiming specifically for adults," which are two things people tend to conflate.  In essence, Sonic Boom doesn't necessarily talk down to children.  It makes stupid jokes, sure, but you don't have to aim at kids to make stupid jokes.  Talking down to children is when you do what the 4Kids dub of Sonic X did.  That is, remove all instances of death to ensure everyone has a happy ending, even when the narrative literally could not progress without said death.  Or better yet, having Chris go on an explanation as to what a dam is in a show whose target audience should probably know that by now or are old enough to research it on their own if they don't.

In any case, I don't think a show has to appeal to adults at all for it to be considered appealing or a good show.  Kids are their own unique demographic, but on that same notion, that doesn't mean we can't criticize it or examine how the show holds up amidst different target audiences.

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Asking that developers should "leave ideologies out of their games" is a very silly idea to suggest, not just for Sonic but for a lot of games. Without an ideology, a lot of existing games wouldn't have their stories, their stances on subjects, and overall themes without the developers behind the game injecting some of their own thoughts and feelings into it.

Frankly this feels more like an excuse to complain about Sonic Boom.

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I'm struggling to think of a game that doesn't have an 'ideology'. Games, like all media, don't exist in a vacuum and reflect and comment on things in our society, even in ways the developers didn't intend - Link's androgyny, even the idea behind the character (a player surrogate to an extreme) have had an effect in ways that Miyamoto couldn't foresee, for instance. 

Also, I think you're really torturing that word to mean 'a marketing and branding exercise', which Boom is. Sonic Boom isn't an 'ideological' work in the way you're trying to suggest. 

Edited by Hyp3hat

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Sonic Boom DEFINITELY doesn't talk down to kids.  The final episode was 50/50 focused on a parody of the foibles of putting together Ikea furniture, and a parody of obnoxious fans of popular figures, I mean how are those not things that adults will understand best?

The show rarely even tries to cram aesops into itself, focusing on just having a fun time instead and subverting expectations (though it does try too hard to draw attention to this fact for humour as oppose to just subverting typical cartoon plots and aesops like say, Gravity Falls has a knack for).

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