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Sonic Mania (August 15th 2017, Christian Whitehead, PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch) - The New Classic

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9 hours ago, Slingerland said:

You're forgetting the part where everyone on forums like these complains about how the music is different for undisclosed reasons.

Also, Ice Cap Zone is heckie boring. Y'all just there for the music. If the original music is gone (which it would be in Ice Cap's case), ain't nothin' there but repetitive, seemingly infinite ice foreground.

Ice Cap wasn't bad at all.  I'd like to see more done with pushing the sliding blocks and hopping onto them for a ride, as well as those upwards swingy spin dash platforms that isn't just like "do the thing to progress".  Like give us something to think about with them.

I actually think the music for Ice Cap is overrated.  It's like just a 7 second loop repeated over and over followed by another 7 second loop with a main instrument instead of none - repeated over and over.  I get why it's so popular, it's a good loop, but there's really not much to it at all.  If Ice Cap gets into Mania, Tee Lopes would have my complete blessing to add more original melody or somehow put some of the PC soundtrack into it without losing the beloved melancholy atmosphere of the Mega Drive version.

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On 31/12/2016 at 5:43 PM, Lucid Dream said:

Is there no chance for Triple Trouble, Knuckles' Chaotix or the other classic Sonic titles to have a level? 

I kinda really want this again 

 

 

Iizuka has stated that levels will be taken from Sonic 1, 2, CD and 3&K, so pretty much deconfirmed at this point. 

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Ice Cap is a very pretty stage and has a soothing/peaceful piece of music. The discovering that the music was from the vocal track Hard Times by The Jetzons makes it even more interesting.

When compared to the other zones in Sonic 3, Ice Cap - whilst still a good level - is the weakest in terms of it's design. Act1 is extremely linear when compared to Hydrocity, Marble Garden, Carnival Night & Launch Base. Act2 has more routes but offers little challenge. It's quite easy to blast through in 2 - 3 minutes without hardly stopping and there aren't any interesting gimmicks like the one's from act1 which JezMM mentioned. Although, the Eggman boss is a good challenge.

So I do feel there's scope to make a more interesting and challenging snow-themed level. Of course with the passage of time they could perhaps make it so that some of the ice has melted, which results in a more of a split between underwater and snow theme.

I want a snow stage in Mania and Ice Cap feels like the perfect candidate. If SEGA wont allow the music to be remixed then let Tee Lopes come up with a catchy new piece.

 

Of all the Sonic 3 two-player zones, Chrome Gadget is the one which interests me the most. 

s3-competition-chromegadgetmap.png

I love the aesthetics. It's naturally has a Star Light vibe with the night setting where you can see the outline of a city in the background illuminated in blue which looks lovely. You can even see the moon and the green color reminds me of Stardust Speedway's bad-future (as well as Star Light). I think Chrome Gadget deserves to be made into a full-length zone.

Thought I'd give it a quick play:

Taxman did say that the other new zones will have completely new aesthetics, so no more re-imagined cancelled stages, but hopefully that doesn't include the multi-player zones from Sonic 3.

 

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I actually never noticed until now just how much palette-wise, Chrome Gadget has in common with Stardust Speedway Past.

Personally the appeal of Chrome Gadget for me is the relative peacefulness of it compared to other Industrial zones.  You've got this gorgeous moonlit sky with all the structures stretching off into the distance very VERY dimly lit.  I always interpreted the zone as either a not-dilapidated but simply dormant part of an Eggman base, or perhaps some kind of big network of computing mainframes to power the more dangerous/physically productive areas of Eggman's lair.

In that regard honestly I'd find it hard to imagine it being expanded into a full zone without losing that atmosphere, but that was just my personal interpretation anyway. Even though you're doing "laps" I did like the way you always go down a bit each time, as if you're getting deeper into this maze of machinery as the race goes on, the moon and sky quickly disappearing from sight.

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All this talk about Sonic 3 multiplayer levels has me wondering if Sonic Mania's going to have a multiplayer competitive mode. In light of the existence of such a mode in Sonic 2 & 3, it would make sense. But the whole split-screen phenomenon with the two halves both being really tiny due to the horizontal-focused nature of the game has always limited the appeal of those games' multiplayer to some extent, so they might have to deal with that somehow if they do have two-player. I guess they could just make multiplayer mode online-only so you don't need a split screen. I also wonder if they could make it a bit more interesting by adding moves to target the other player a la Sonic Adventure 2. Of course, this is all rampant speculation because we have no idea they'd even want to include such a thing, especially since I don't think it's that high in demand (though I think it's something fun to include, I understand why it might seem like a waste of resources).

EDIT: On the topic of Ice Cap, while Slingerland has a point in that I think the music is a major reason the stage is so iconic and beloved, I think the stage has other things to offer. Its aesthetics are really super nice IMO and its gimmicks are cute and creative. I'd love to see what the team could do with it.

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While the game looks good, I'm a bit disappointed we aren't getting a continuation of the Adventure series. Classic fans get thrown stuff all the time, what about us much shafted Adventure fans?

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11 minutes ago, Falcon said:

While the game looks good, I'm a bit disappointed we aren't getting a continuation of the Adventure series. Classic fans get thrown stuff all the time, what about us much shafted Adventure fans?

LEGO Sonic Dimensions is where it's at and Big's Big Fishing Adventure 3 is basing most of the events from Adventure 2 and they're using the Japanese script...

What else do you need? Project 2017 seems to be going for the more Adventure/Unleashed vibe. 

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1 hour ago, Soni said:

LEGO Sonic Dimensions is where it's at and Big's Big Fishing Adventure 3 is basing most of the events from Adventure 2 and they're using the Japanese script...

What else do you need? Project 2017 seems to be going for the more Adventure/Unleashed vibe. 

SD is an expansion pack for an extant game with a more comical tone and BBFA3 is a genre-shift into a Visual Novel. Maybe "Assets Vs. the Spirit" can clarify? 

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39 minutes ago, It's a Very Merry Miru said:

SD is an expansion pack for an extant game with a more comical tone and BBFA3 is a genre-shift into a Visual Novel. Maybe "Assets Vs. the Spirit" can clarify? 

I mean, when I hear SA3 fans discuss what they want (and I've talked to a ton this past year), they perplexingly never talk about gameplay. It's always the story (aka "THE EEEEDDGGGE"). So I think capturing the spirit of those games (and subverting it, obviously, for humor), is good enough, in my opinion? Idk.

My theory there is that Adventure fans have been fed an absurd amount of gameplay styles and a myriad of different ways to control Sonic in the last 17 years that they're subconsciously unsure of what they want, gameplay-wise. So, when I talk to them, they only profess what has remained consistent... and that's... THE EEEDDDGGEEE. It's the true defining and lasting impression of those games.

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1 hour ago, Indigo Rush said:

Classic fans are being tossed a bone because they mobilized and got vocal about it while being constructive. A lot of folks who grew up with the Classic games are also old enough to work on game development as well, so that should be taken into consideration. They have a very real influence. Sonic Mania in particular is the inevitable culmination of the blood, sweat and tears of dedicated Sonic fans who didn't spend their time complaining about the series direction on forums and took matters into their own hands by practicing developing games and proposing ideas to Sega directly. Their talent didn't go unnoticed and now Christian, Simon, Tee and other folk are behind the scenes producing something they love with their best effort.

Finally, and I don't want to cause any trouble by saying this, but a majority of Adventure fans haven't done much to help their cause. There are very few fan games or projects out there that successfully surpass the quality of those games (or even meet said quality), and the very few online communities they do have spend their time insulting and berating Sega for the aforementioned change in direction for the series. Whatever merit those games have (I'm assuming SA1 and SA2 are the ones in focus) are also often overlooked because of the many problems they possess and poor design decisions that ultimately hurt the Sonic brand. I get that some of the fans enjoy Sonic fighting demigods, telling darker stories, playing completely different games within the same game, etc; but the fact of the matter is a staggering majority of overall Sonic fans and critics alike find the sorts of qualities the Adventure and Modern games brought to the table to be unfitting and laughable at worst. 

With the Classic series of games having a much less spotty track record and also being among the first few games to usher in Sonic's debut in the first place, it's a tough act to follow when the alternative scarcely ever finds the same level of accolades or quality. It's not that the Adventure games or anything following them weren't fun, nor is it that the Classic games were completely perfect in every way, it's the consistency that matters; and the general consensus is all but cemented in stone: The Classic games were the first and the best, anything after that is alright at best, awful at worst. 

  Reveal hidden contents

It also doesn't help that Sonic Team's previous attempts at emulating the Classic era physics and level design were half-hearted and just plain wrong. Saying Classic fans have been properly catered to with Sonic 4 is like saying Mega Man fans got everything they wanted with Mighty no. 9.

 

Even though I am semi-late to this, the reason why Sega isn't working on SA3 is because they already did when they made Sonic Unleashed.

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38 minutes ago, Slingerland said:

I mean, when I hear SA3 fans discuss what they want (and I've talked to a ton this past year), they perplexingly never talk about gameplay. It's always the story (aka "THE EEEEDDGGGE"). So I think capturing the spirit of those games (and subverting it, obviously, for humor), is good enough, in my opinion? Idk.

My theory there is that Adventure fans have been fed an absurd amount of gameplay styles and a myriad of different ways to control Sonic in the last 17 years that they're subconsciously unsure of what they want, gameplay-wise. So, when I talk to them, they only profess what has remained consistent... and that's... THE EEEDDDGGEEE. It's the true defining and lasting impression of those games.

I don't care about the name, but Sonic's gameplay from Adventure is precisely what I want.

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2 minutes ago, Marcello said:

I don't care about the name, but Sonic's gameplay from Adventure is precisely what I want.

Just out of curiosity, what Sonic games outside of Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 has given that to you? 

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It's not exactly a fair comparison between the two major fan communities to highlight the interest in fan games when there's a myriad of reasons for why the dearth exists. For one, there's a much lower technological barrier for creating and hacking 2D games versus 3D ones which lowers interest, limits available and reliable volunteers to work on any one concept, and ultimately lowers the chances of any given concept being completed and simultaneously being good enough to communicate ideas and rally the fans around certain ideas. Even around the time Retro and similar communities began forming, a time when the franchise still had some semblance of both an identity and a general positive vibe with the gaming world at large, the aforementioned technological barriers would naturally push the interest in these communities towards a classic-centric focus anyway even when accounting for differences in each era's popularity. Couple that with Sega's mishandling of the 3D games which drives people away from wanting to spend any time on them, and the result today is basically a mountainous foundation of knowledge and available people on hand to help a person out for any given 2D hacking project that simply doesn't exist for any 3D project. In short, a Retro-style environment and community for Adventure/Modern fans was never going to take off.

So all that's reasonably left for anyone who's a fan in some way of the 3D games at this point in time to do is to organize their passion around debate, conversation, and PR efforts. The group that shall not be named (but people keep naming it anyway because ignoring it and letting it die on the vine seems impossible) doesn't help at all, but the toxicity we've seen from groups like that isn't completely vacuous. I'm pretty confident a part of it is a response to the fervent blaming of these fans as basically the reason the franchise went to shit back in 05 and 06. Like, yeah the idea of a Shadow spin-off was cool to me at the time, but I didn't ask for guns to be involved, nor for it in general to be as awful as it was. Hell, I didn't actively ask for a Shadow spinoff at all. Sega apparently did it on their own based on some poll almost no one around nowadays even took part it, but a shitshow it was, and Adventure and Shadow fans got a lot of undeserved blame for that. I sympathize with them being angry and bitter, although I don't condone the odious behavior regardless. It would be far nicer if the people engaging in these kinds of fans both ignored these communities while setting up more positive havens to talk about these games, the franchise going forward, and to have professionals come in and engage with them and network, but at the same time I don't see much else recourse for Adventure fans outside of that.

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27 minutes ago, Nepenthe said:

It's not exactly a fair comparison between the two major fan communities to highlight the interest in fan games when there's a myriad of reasons for why the dearth exists. For one, there's a much lower technological barrier for creating and hacking 2D games versus 3D ones which lowers interest, limits available and reliable volunteers to work on any one concept, and ultimately lowers the chances of any given concept being completed and simultaneously being good enough to communicate ideas and rally the fans around certain ideas. Even around the time Retro and similar communities began forming, a time when the franchise still had some semblance of both an identity and a general positive vibe with the gaming world at large, the aforementioned technological barriers would naturally push the interest in these communities towards a classic-centric focus anyway even when accounting for differences in each era's popularity. Couple that with Sega's mishandling of the 3D games which drives people away from wanting to spend any time on them, and the result today is basically a mountainous foundation of knowledge and available people on hand to help a person out for any given 2D hacking project that simply doesn't exist for any 3D project. In short, a Retro-style environment and community for Adventure/Modern fans was never going to take off.

You raise a good number of valid points, Neppy, and this here is indeed the main hole in my argument. I'd like to maybe come to a middle ground on this point, though, and mention that the barrier to create a 3D game has come down significantly since the heydays of SFGHQ. The Unity engine is one of the big reasons that has occurred. I can't remember a time where two, very well-done fangames like Utopia and Paradise came out in such a short time frame and garnered appeal that transcended the Sonic community. With the Genesis games ripped to shreds and really no new information yet to be found, there has been a lot of attention given to the 3D games recently to understand how they work. Outside of the fangames, I've seen some fantastic mods of Unleashed this past year that have really smoothed over the rough edges of that title.

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This is going to be the hill I die on, I guess.

It's certainly not fair to ask one to create a full 3D platformer, as it would be to make a sidescroller, but it has been done and there are several projects making attempts to do so, but I don't think my point was necessarily that Adventure fans need to make the perfect fangame to make Sega notice them (although making a compelling 3D tech demo is in the realm of possibility now): I was just outlining one aspect as to why the Classic era is having a resurgence over the Adventure era. That's just the fact of the matter; the group behind Sonic Mania worked hard, put together an impressive tech demo for Sonic CD on mobile phones, and hit the ground running with enhanced ports until Sega was confident enough to let them run loose with their own original Sonic game. It would be very unlikely for Sonic Team to do the same for a 3D Sonic game, but as is evident, Classic Sonic came back for an encore in the 2017 trailer, so there's more to it than making fangames. That's moreso Mania's origin; Classic returning in 2017 is more to do with Sega's shift in demographic, I think. They're recognizing the popularity of his design (and sorry guys, but nostalgia, too) and are trying to use that as leverage to sell more copies.

It's a difficult time to be an Adventure fan, and I sympathize with that. SA1 was my favorite game for a very, very long time. I get it. Discussing this can be hard though, because it's easy to group everyone who thinks those games were the peak into a singular hivemind. I would just like to see more constructive movements beyond said toxic faction of the fanbase, but I've yet to find it, and I think that's sobering. I wouldn't mind a "Sonic Adventure 3" (the next person that hyucks a Sonic 06 or Heroes at me I will slug with full force), but I just don't see the merit to it. I need to be convinced that a majority of what those games offered are worth salvaging; until then, I'll need something better than what we've been hearing.

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I think that it's worth noting that as soon as 3D sonic fan games became a thing, people pushed to continue emulating the classics instead of Adventure. As much as people like to talk about Adventure fans like they're some huge, unpleasable hivemind, they are the minority, and that minority keeps shrinking as those fans bow out of the series after not being catered to for so long. The task of following up on an Adventure game with a fan effort is much harder on top of things. There's just no way for them to gain the same momentum. I feel things are just going to continue to look grim for that side of Sonic. There's 2017, but I question if the tone of the entire game will match the teaser, anyway.

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4 minutes ago, Slingerland said:

You raise a good number of valid points, Neppy, and this here is indeed the main hole in my argument. I'd like to maybe come to a middle ground on this point, though, and mention that the barrier to create a 3D game has come down significantly since the heydays of SFGHQ. The Unity engine is one of the big reasons that has occurred. I can't remember a time where two, very well-done fangames like Utopia and Paradise came out in such a short time frame and garnered appeal that transcended the Sonic community. With the Genesis games ripped to shreds and really no new information yet to be found, there has been a lot of attention given to the 3D games recently to understand how they work. Outside of the fangames, I've seen some fantastic mods of Unleashed this past year that have really smoothed over the rough edges of that title.

You're right that the barriers have come down; there's no denying that. But as you yourself pointed out, these games were mainly an attempt to gauge how Classic Sonic could work in 3D, and not necessarily how Adventure-era Sonic could be reasonably done. xD Unleashed and Generations mods are, well, Unleashed and Generations mods, and are less proof of concepts like some of the classic fan games have been as much as they are tweaking a formula that may or may not be out the door and haven't been embraced by Adventure fans as anything definitive anyway, which I wager is the result of the aforementioned focus in the fangame community on Classic Sonic games and theory. I won't say an Adventure-themed Retro can't take off, but understand that Classic fans have had a 13-year head start with a series of games that are technologically inferior to 3D games as well as being far more consistent, thus being easier to work with for people of all skill levels. It's going to be hard to compare the interests and work ethic of each group, and as a result the information gleaned from this doesn't come across as enlightening so much as rubbing salt in the wound.

2 minutes ago, Indigo Rush said:

This is going to be the hill I die on, I guess.

It's certainly not fair to ask one to create a full 3D platformer, as it would be to make a sidescroller, but it has been done and there are several projects making attempts to do so, but I don't think my point was necessarily that Adventure fans need to make the perfect fangame to make Sega notice them: I was just outlining one aspect as to why the Classic era is having a resurgence over the Adventure era. That's just the fact of the matter; the group behind Sonic Mania worked hard, put together an impressive tech demo for Sonic CD on mobile phones, and hit the ground running with enhanced ports until Sega was confident enough to let them run loose with their own original Sonic game. It would be very unlikely for Sonic Team to do the same for a 3D Sonic game, but as is evident, Classic Sonic came back for an encore in the 2017 trailer, so there's more to it than making fangames. That's moreso Mania's origin; Classic returning in 2017 is more to do with Sega's shift in demographic, I think. They're recognizing the popularity of his design (and sorry guys, but nostalgia, too) and are trying to use that as leverage to sell more copies.

It's a difficult time to be an Adventure fan, and I sympathize with that. SA1 was my favorite game for a very, very long time. I get it. Discussing this can be hard though, because it's easy to group everyone who thinks those games were the peak into a singular hivemind. I would just like to see more constructive movements beyond said toxic faction of the fanbase, but I've yet to find it, and I think that's sobering. I wouldn't mind a "Sonic Adventure 3" (the next person that hyucks a Sonic 06 or Heroes at me I will slug with full force), but I just don't see the merit to it. I need to be convinced that a majority of what those games offered are worth salvaging; until then, I'll need something better than what we've been hearing.

Yes. The fact of the matter is that classic fans rallied around specific games, ideals, and made their own tests out of that information and camaraderie. This was pointed out months ago, by Gene if I recall. However, my question is what is the take away for Adventure fans supposed to be? Create our own fangames then? But you say it's not fair to ask us to create a full 3D platformer (although I'd argue a single stage would be fine and doable), but if that's the case then why point out the leverage classic fans have in the first place if we're now all agreeing it's not as easily obtainable for 3D fans? What are we supposed to do with this information. I think everyone agrees on less toxicity being a good thing, but toxicity in the Sonic community isn't limited to groups who liked SA1 and SA2, nor is it necessarily the main reason why Mania is being made by Retro. Mania is being made by Retro because they have the talent and connections to make it. Adventure fans don't, so what we're left with is, as I said, rallying around communities centered on debate and discussion, debate and discussion whose tone is going to be marred by the differences in opinion, general Internet anonymity theory, and the fact that you're dealing with a bunch of 20 year olds who have been called useless and undiscerning 12 year olds for almost a decade. We've got serious work to do, but I question the salience of pointing out the fan game community on top of that.

3 minutes ago, Josh said:

I think that it's worth noting that as soon as 3D sonic fan games became a thing, people pushed to continue emulating the classics instead of Adventure. As much as people like to talk about Adventure fans like they're some huge, unpleasable hivemind, they are the minority, and that minority keeps shrinking as those fans bow out of the series after not being catered to for so long. The task of following up on an Adventure game with a fan effort is much harder on top of things. There's just no way for them to gain the same momentum. I feel things are just going to continue to look grim for that side of Sonic. There's 2017, but I question if the tone of the entire game will match the teaser, anyway.

Also this. I've been distant for awhile because I don't see any signs of things going in the direction I'd like. xP

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I guess the other thing preventing me, or anyone else, from proposing a solution or a project is that I'm not sure anyone really knows what made the Adventure games as a whole special in regards to gameplay. As Slingerland said, the story, tone and scope are some of the most consistent things I see asked for, but outside of writing fan-fiction, I'm not sure where else to go from. Josh also made a good point - when 3D fan games became easier to make, most of them make a beeline for emulating the feel of the Classic games over the Adventure games. (with the exception of Sonic World, and it's an uncontrollable mess as a result).

I do not know what an Adventure fan is to do, and clearly many of them don't know themselves. Unifying is the first step, but unifying that era of fans is next to impossible. There's major differences between how Adventure 1 and 2 are laid out alone. The more I think about it all, the more impossible it seems. Beyond making a 'bigger' story, I can't think of any other way to appease such a group, as gameplay is certainly something they can't agree on.

 

Look I once had a stroke-inducing debate on Twitter with some meme account swearing to me that Sonic and the Black Knight was a great game. I don't know what to say to that. What can you say to that?

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