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Innuendo Studios' Sonic video: It's not easy being blue

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I was wondering if anyone here had seen this and what do you guys think of it? I'd say it's a pretty fair assessment tbh. Sonic is the poster boy for the whole "video games are a highly subjective art form" discussion and even games like Lost World amplify this. Lost World dips into all sorts of playstyles and themes in the story, ranging from lighthearted to weirdly angsty and none of them really work.

How should SEGA attempt to cater to all of the different subsections of the Sonic fanbase? Like, why even try? Is this just a fool's errand? Lost World has shown what happens when you try to appeal to everyone but really end up leaving no one happy. Sonic isn't like Mario, in that everyone has a basic idea of what Mario can and should be. What you hate about Sonic could very well be what made someone else fall in love with this franchise and vice versa. 

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1 hour ago, JingleBoy said:

I was wondering if anyone here had seen this and what do you guys think of it? I'd say it's a pretty fair assessment tbh. Sonic is the poster boy for the whole "video games are a highly subjective art form" discussion and even games like Lost World amplify this. Lost World dips into all sorts of playstyles and themes in the story, ranging from lighthearted to weirdly angsty and none of them really work.

How should SEGA attempt to cater to all of the different subsections of the Sonic fanbase? Like, why even try? Is this just a fool's errand? Lost World has shown what happens when you try to appeal to everyone but really end up leaving no one happy. Sonic isn't like Mario, in that everyone has a basic idea of what Mario can and should be. What you hate about Sonic could very well be what made someone else fall in love with this franchise and vice versa. 

Yeah, I really liked this.

There are Sonic fans you're never going to win over with a 3D game, and the same with a 2D game, but I feel that the approach Nintendo take with Zelda or Mario would work best for Sonic. 

I mean, the biggest, most identifiable and easily solveable split is 2D/3D, and what Zelda and Mario do is have core titles that switch between the two. What Sonic does (to a small extent with 2D platforming in Unleashed and Colours, and to a great extent in Generations and Lost World) is try and weld them together, and the effect is that you piss off a subset of both.

Whereas when you buy New Super Mario Bros, you know exactly what you're getting, and in Super Mario Galaxy or 3D Land, you also know what you're getting. Don't like 3D Mario? Skip that one. There's another 2D game coming up.

What I'd like to see is SEGA adopt this model with Sonic, and I hope that this is what the concurrent reveal of Mania and Project 2017 is auguring in. Keep Taxman or similar (not Dimps, though, jesus) working on 2D titles, and the effect of a more staggered release schedule can give Sonic Team more time to give 3D titles content, and release them all on console so no-one feels left out. 

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1 minute ago, Hyp3hat said:

There are Sonic fans you're never going to win over with a 3D game, and the same with a 2D game, but I feel that the approach Nintendo take with Zelda or Mario would work best for Sonic. 

I mean, the biggest, most identifiable and easily solveable split is 2D/3D, and what Zelda and Mario do is have core titles that switch between the two. What Sonic does (to a small extent with 2D platforming in Unleashed and Colours, and to a great extent in Generations and Lost World) is try and weld them together, and the effect is that you piss off a subset of both.

Whereas when you buy New Super Mario Bros, you know exactly what you're getting, and in Super Mario Galaxy or 3D Land, you also know what you're getting. Don't like 3D Mario?* Skip that one. There's another 2D game coming up.

I don't think this is really a good solution for Sonic, because Mario and Zelda still share the same core concepts whether they're 2D or 3D, while Sonic...well, kind of the whole problem is that he does not. Obviously with Mario and Zelda people still have preferences between their 2D and 3D games, but there's enough overlap that they can still fall under the same umbrella. With Sonic, though, the differences between his 2D and 3D games could practically constitute two (or more?) different series.

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Just now, Diogenes said:

I don't think this is really a good solution for Sonic, because Mario and Zelda still share the same core concepts whether they're 2D or 3D, while Sonic...well, kind of the whole problem is that he does not. Obviously with Mario and Zelda people still have preferences between their 2D and 3D games, but there's enough overlap that they can still fall under the same umbrella. With Sonic, though, the differences between his 2D and 3D games could practically constitute two (or more?) different series.

They aren't... drastically different, I'd say? It's not like people look at Modern Sonic and go 'That's not a Sonic game', unless they are insisting that Sonic should never be in 3D at all. 

I mean, it's not a perfect fix, but if the last few years (and the laughable argument about what constitutes 'Modern 2D' in the other thread) have shown anything, it's that SEGA can't mix these things without a subset of fans (and the gaming press and public at large) decrying it as terrible, why don't they make it A, I hate B, I miss Sonic back when he was C and so on. It's one way to pacify people, at least. 

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3 hours ago, Hyp3hat said:

They aren't... drastically different, I'd say? It's not like people look at Modern Sonic and go 'That's not a Sonic game', unless they are insisting that Sonic should never be in 3D at all. 

I mean, it's not a perfect fix, but if the last few years (and the laughable argument about what constitutes 'Modern 2D' in the other thread) have shown anything, it's that SEGA can't mix these things without a subset of fans (and the gaming press and public at large) decrying it as terrible, why don't they make it A, I hate B, I miss Sonic back when he was C and so on. It's one way to pacify people, at least. 

I'm sort of under the impression that if you wanted to please basically everyone you would need a 2D classic game, a boost modern game, and a Adventure/Spin dash style modern game. Those are the 3 overall play styles Sonic is known for. If Sega can keep Taxman doing 2D and Sonic Team doing 3D boost they're already most of the way there. 

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Now this is an argument I can't quite get with. The "not cool anymore" one. I honestly don't think "cool" has really changed all that much, at least not in the context what Sonic's supposed to be. Some people have this idea that Sonic's this lingo-spewing pseudo-rebel that likes every single "hip" thing only it was only hip in the 90s, when that's not what he is.

Sonic isn't so much defined by fads but by many things that have endured as "cool" for a very long time. Speedsters are cool, magic chaos powers are cool, cockiness is cool, break is cool,parkour is cool and Sonic freaking started the "animals with attitude" trend, it wasn't a fad he hopped onto, not that cartoon animals are somehow "outdated" anyway.

What's more Sonic is cool, he deals with shit, he's calm in a crisis, he holds himself with proud dignity.

The exact language and execution around it may have changed, but the right ingredients are there and I'd say the main reason Sonic isn't "cool" is more to do with various factors involving a couple of broken games,Sega losing the console war(sometimes the impression that you "lost" can be pretty harmful to your reputation), inter-fandom hostility, holding Sonic to a different standard because of the other factors, and maybe something else I'm missing.

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Green Eyes said:

Now this is an argument I can't quite get with. I honestly don't think "cool" has really changed all that much, at least not in the context what Sonic's supposed to be. Some people have this idea that Sonic's still this lingo-spewing pseudo-rebel that likes every single "hip" thing only it was only hip in the 90s, when that's not what he is.

Sonic isn't so much defined by fads but by many things that have endured as "cool" for a very long time. Speedsters are cool, magic chaos powers are cool, cockiness is cool, break is cool,parkour is cool and Sonic freaking started the "animals with attitude" trend, it wasn't a fad he hopped onto, not that cartoon animals are somehow "outdated" anyway.

What's more Sonic is cool, he deals with shit, he's calm in a crisis, he holds himself with proud dignity.

The exact language and execution around it may have changed, but the right ingredients are there and I'd say the main reason Sonic isn't "cool" are more to do with various factors involving a couple of broken games,Sega losing the console war(sometimes the impression that you "lost" can be pretty harmful to your reputation), inter-fandom hostility, holding Sonic to a different standard because of the other factors, and maybe something else I'm missing.

 

 

 

I agree, Sonic's personality or style has not change but the gameplay around it has. And I agree that the fan base see's sonic as one thing or the other, in terms of gameplay and story. But Sonic as a character is not built on whats trending. His form of cool has proven to be timeless.

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1 hour ago, Sonic The Badass said:

I agree, Sonic's personality or style has not change

That does depend a little, whether you include SOA.

But even If you DO include the American-specific stuff in the 90s, that's pretty much gone now. I mean,Sonic wouldn't quite be the same guy if Sega of America didn't keep obnoxiously pushing the "totally radical" angle, but as of Sonic Adventure it just couldn't be the same anymore, so we might be left with a Sonic that's a little cockier an has a love of chillidogs but it's not exactly the radicool Sonic that SOA was pushing.

Innuendo's argument seemed to be that Sonic was still the same "cool" he was in the 90s, and therefore outdated, and either way you look at it this isn't really correct.

 

 

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13 hours ago, JingleBoy said:

 

How should SEGA attempt to cater to all of the different subsections of the Sonic fanbase? Like, why even try? Is this just a fool's errand? Lost World has shown what happens when you try to appeal to everyone but really end up leaving no one happy. Sonic isn't like Mario, in that everyone has a basic idea of what Mario can and should be. What you hate about Sonic could very well be what made someone else fall in love with this franchise and vice versa. 

It's really not hard to imagine a Sonic game that most of the fanbase would want, though. Most of the fanbase want broad concepts back, not specifics. They know they're not going to get every single thing they want. While most Sonic fans have favorite games, they also like a lot of the other games and there's a general consensus on what the best games are. It's really not as hard as a lot of people make it out to be to get THE Sonic game that clicks with a lot of the fanbase. Maybe not all of them, but you don't need all the fans. The people who want more Shadow the Hedgehog or a 1:1 remake of Sonic 1 probably arent going to stick around regardless of what you make.

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Most people, sure, but I do think that focusing the series into one consistent identity, even if they make the best possible choice, is still going to alienate a decent chunk of people, not just the hardcore extremist outliers.

I still think that's ultimately the best way to go, though. It's not a new observation, but it feels more and more true that no one knows what Sonic even is, and that's not going to change until someone with the power to do so puts their foot down and decides what it is. Unfortunately it's hard to trust that whatever they'll come up with will even be good enough to survive the tangled mess the series is stuck in.

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7 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Most people, sure, but I do think that focusing the series into one consistent identity, even if they make the best possible choice, is still going to alienate a decent chunk of people, not just the hardcore extremist outliers.

I still think that's ultimately the best way to go, though. It's not a new observation, but it feels more and more true that no one knows what Sonic even is, and that's not going to change until someone with the power to do so puts their foot down and decides what it is. Unfortunately it's hard to trust that whatever they'll come up with will even be good enough to survive the tangled mess the series is stuck in.

I feel like the pros outweight the cons regardless. Even the people you lose would be made up by the people you gain. New fans and people who lapsed on Sonic and want to come back. 

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17 hours ago, JingleBoy said:

 Lost World has shown what happens when you try to appeal to everyone but really end up leaving no one happy.

I don't think lost world was trying to please as many people as you think it was. It is firmly placed in the direction the series was headed, it was an extreme bad version of it

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4 hours ago, Shadowlax said:

I don't think lost world was trying to please as many people as you think it was. It is firmly placed in the direction the series was headed, it was an extreme bad version of it

No, not really. When you change the gameplay and aesthetics into something radically different than what came before, that's not "an extremely bad version", that's just an mostly different beast altogether. This could probably apply with specifics (use of Wisps and the narrative) but Lost World overall does not categorically apply. It is in a lot of ways a shocking swerve of what came before.

As for the style splits, personally I'm of the opinion that there are at least three fairly broad ones Sega could reasonably service once per generation (speaking in terms of gameplay here). Classic 2D, Adventure 3D, and Boost 3D. Personally I'm of the idea that the first two could constitute as what applies as "2D Sonic/3D Sonic" in the vein you have your 2D Mario and 3D Mario, while the Boost could be considered more of a flagship spinoff (maybe in branding, the boost gameplay could be billed as a racing style of Sonic games, a la Mario Kart? I bet a fair amount of people would disagree though).

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A very interesting video. He raises many good points, like the fact that Sonic has many different audiences. But I do not agree with everything he says. Sonic isn't "90's cool" at least since SA1 streamlined game continuities and Sonic's personality for both Japan and  West. Since them his "coolnes" , his personality proved timeless enough. While game story and esthetics do change, Sonic is still the same guy. And he is still that cool, rebelius adventurer, with a strong sense of right and wrong (I swear they are puting the same character description for him in all manuals I read)

The secend, more important thing, is that "toybox" comparasion. I love the fact that every new zone game brings something new to the table, even when comparing the same gameplay styles. Thanks to that Sonic 1, while inferior to it's seqeuls, still can be replayed. So saying that Sonic is one meesy toybox isn't a bad thing. It's just diffrent then Mario strategic use of assets. Mario makes games bigger , Sonic makes games more replayeble. A perfect opossite.

People today ask how he felt from his grace (because he kinda did). Some of them look for the resons in a very fundament of a series, but the simple truth is that all of those trouble is a cause of simple lack of quality control and time to develop games. And the fact that sometimes they're just throwing ideas like crazy without thinking "Does it fit Sonic" or even "Does it fit a Sonic game we are trying to make" (*cough*Lost World*cough*). Yeah, it is a difficult act of balance beetwen "reinventing with every step" and "staying true to formula" but that's what Sonic is. It's a constnt balancing beetwen change and stabilization. Beetwen Classic, Adventure, Modern, Boom, Archie etc. fans. It's just how Sonic rolls. It's not an easy being blue, but it's his own way. Let's just hope that this way of his will be less bouncy in a future... :wacko:

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10 hours ago, Azoo said:

I also don't think it'd be hard to make a game most fans could agree to.

- Well polished gameplay with satisfying physics and flow 
- other playable characters (without making alt gameplay styles)
- a competently told story
- extra content that keeps the game from being super short

Do all four of those things, and tbh most fans would be willing to enjoy this game regardless of whatever compromise it would make against their favorite games in the series. And it's not like this is very specific or hard to cater to, either; these are very broad, general statements.

Idk, Sonic mania looks like it does most of those things, and lots of people aren't interested still as it's 2D and retro. 

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 Sonic is, and always has been, a combination of 4 ideas: "Speed", "Hero", "Cool", and "Chaos. Everything about Sonic, from the nature of his character to the nature of the franchise, comes from a mix of these things. Including the series being all over the place in execution, tone, etc. 

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43 minutes ago, KHCast said:

Idk, Sonic mania looks like it does most of those things, and lots of people aren't interested still as it's 2D and retro. 

Most people actually are interested, tho. Critics, outsiders and fans alike (for the most part) are very excited and have openly celebrated about Mania, a title which has got a load of press attention and praise since it's reveal.

Fans on SSMB are generally more interested in the next 3D Sonic than Mania, which is understandable since that's the core series (and I too would rather have a 3D game than a 2D one tbh), but I don't think anyone's actually displeased with Sonic Mania in any way whatsoever.

 

Unless they're an unhappy purist or thought the games were never good, in which case their opinions are irrelevant. :P

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I think SEGA's doing well, so far. They already got two games, and they're pleasing a majority of the fanbase.

  • The classic fans
  • The people who wanted multiple playable characters
  • The Sonic Boom cartoon fans
  • The fans of the comedic Sonic from Colors-Sonic Boom
  • Fans of the Sonic Boom games as a whole
  • The people who wanted a serious story from Sonic
  • Modern fans who wanted a certain gameplay style (I don't know exactly what this next game holds in store for us, so I'll wait before making assumptions

 

Heck, they've even pleased the guys who run the True Sonic Spirit Channel and the Sonic Adventure 3 Facebook page.

SEGA may lose some fans, but it's the best decision to keep the majority.

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I think the main split is classic vs modern, all other splits being variations upon, so I don't see why Sonic Team can't cater to both sides, at least occasionally if one has to be the default,it's not like Sonic Team hasn't been making 2D Sonic games as well as 3D ones, it would probably just be a lot better if the 2D games were more classic oriented rather than "modern Sonic but 2D". Though a part of the problem was that Sonic Team didn't know how to replicate the classic physics and couldn't until they hired Christian Whitehead.

I'll tentatively say I think most of us will compromise to some degree, as in, even if you like boost, or parkour, it's not necessary right? The main aspects of the series are speed and platforming, and I'd argue the basic idea of Sonic is always the same and aspects like boost, parkour, wisps, whathaveyou, are gimmicks and that if Sonic Team wanted to, they could put less focus on them and be left with something like either classic Sonic, or something somewhat similar to Sonic's Sonic Adventure gameplay, and if it's polished I think most of us would be cool, right? Or am I sadly mistaken?

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The longer I've thought about it, im not sure if it would really be that difficult to find a middle ground to the flow-based classic style, the 3D adventure-platformer stuff of the Adventure style, and the high speed elements of the boost style.

If we had to build off the boost formula, for example, I can think of multiple ways to change/round it out.

For one, giving Sonic a weaker, quicker draining and more acceleration-based boost (think Sadv2 boost, tho still on a gauge / button press) and more refined slow-speed movement resembling the SA games could help make for more platformy, even paced and open areas without sacrificing the presence of high-speed areas and abilities like the quick step or drift. After all, Adventure and SA2's linear paths were really twitchy and glitchy while Unleashed/Gens/Colors' slower platformy areas felt too clunky and stiff, so why not try to make the best of both? 

Another thing to do would be to replace sliding with rolling, and make level design and routes that are meant to take advantage of its physics and reward the player for using it properly, just like the classics. Imagine where there's a ramp following a big downhill passage, and while running through it may suffice and boosting may lead you to a shortcut like a rainbow ring, rolling launches you highest, leading you to a new (and more satisfying to play) path altogether. Or imagine where the boost cant be depended on much to blast through a very vertical movement heavy area (thanks to its quick drain rate and it being weaker than past games), so you have to rather roll through that area and build momentum down the halfpipes and walls or whatever to get through. Think of the possibilities!

Think of it as combining strengths, and being willing to meet compromises for the sake of well rounded gameplay.

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I can't really get behind this video 100%, because as has already been said, Sonic is not a cool, hip, alternative time capsule of the 90s.

Lets look at Mario, since we're analyzing the "alternative to Mario" argument. Mario was always more cutesy than Sonic. The darkest and weirdest it ever got was Super Mario 64. But ever since Paper Mario and Super Mario Sunshine, we've been consistently getting a noticeably softer, more rounded aesthetic. 

Meanwhile, during this time, Sonic took a different route. Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, the latter of which became a hugely popular staple of GameCube suburbia, had an edgier tone than before. And with Sunshine presenting the new baby-proof look to the masses, the contrast became starker than ever. Just like Mario, Sonic had clearly changed, but this time Sonic was a deliberate "alternative" to his former self. This general trend was interrupted by titles such as Sonic Heroes and Luigi's Mansion, but neither of those got as much exposure. 

I could go on, but my point is that Sonic's edge, or lack thereof, has always been changing. Contrary to the narrative you'd be forgiven for buying into, kids today do in fact love Sonic. They gave Boom enough viewership for a second season and a new video game. I see them playing Sonic Dash on their phones. They buy his merchandise. And while there has been a lull in Sonic games lately, Lego Dimensions will definitely help. Older fans like most of us on this site are divided like the video says, but that's because we want the type fun that we experienced when we were kids, to come back. SEGA's mistake was to keep changing gameplay, and now it's time to really stick with something. 

To kids, Sonic has always been cool. 

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