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Where did Dimps go wrong?


TB100

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So...Dimps, yes we all know the jokes by now, from the bottomless pits, to the special stages, to the horrible physics, it's obivous nowadays that Dimps is a joke in Sonic fandom, but did you know that Dimps used to be one to be considered as of the greatest? oh yes, back in the 2000s, Dimps was making all sorts of Sonic titles, the Advance trilogy and the Rush duology is a example of this, The Advance trilogy returning Sonic to his 2D Roots and brought Cream the Rabbit into the foray, and the Rush duology introducing mechanics and elements that would later become prominent Unleashed onwards, like the Boost mechanic and the S-Rank, and introducing one of the most beloved characters in the Modern era.

Sonicchannel_blaze.png

Blaze the Cat

And back when 3D Sonic was in it's infamous rut, these 2D Sonic game considered by practically everyone at the time as one of the saving graces during the infamous Dark age. But then in 2010, things...Changed, right when 3D Sonic started to get good again, Dimps was starting to fizzle out, starting with this little gem. *sarcasm*

Image result for Sonic 4

And then in a matter of minutes, Dimps went from being the saving grace of the dark age, to a constant laughing stock among the fandom. and like how Shadow & 06 ruined Modern's reputation. Sonic 4 ruined Dimps' and while the handheld versions of Colors, Generations, and Sonic 4 Episode 2 are decent to good games, (In my opinion,) they never exactly recieved the same love as DImp's original Sonic games did for awhile. but then...this came to existence.

Image result for Sonic Lost World 3ds

And suddenly any remaining amount of credibilty for Dimps went down the drain faster then Sonic could run, we all heard the complaints regarding Lost World 3DS, the terriblely designed as hell stages that go on for way too long, the stupid as hell special stages, and those fucking Gyroscope controls. so i want to know, how did Dimps, orignally one of the best Sonic devs around, become such a shitshow over time? was Advance & Rush always bad, but the 3D Games kinda overshadowed their flaws thanks to having even bigger flaws then those games, did notable members leave Dimps at some point ala Naka leaving Sega? causing the quality of the games to go down? did the sales of Rush Adventure put Dimps into a bad spot, thus forcing them to make inferior ports of console Sonic games? seriously what happened?

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 The Sonic Rush games will always be amongst my favorite handheld Sonic titles, but yea I don't really know what happened, but like Sonic Team themselves, somewhere along the line they just lost their magic touch.  Though I do wonder if it was their fault or SEGA interfering.

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I've heard that they lost a lot of staff after Sonic Rush Adventure, and there's an obvious decline in game quality to back it up; SRA also flopped quite badly, which is probably why Sega canned the idea of an independent handheld series and set Dimps to work on mimicries of their latest console titles.  What went wrong?  I have a feeling it might just be SRA's sailing segments...

(I actually really liked the gyroscope special stages in Lost World; if anything I felt the level design let them down more than the controls.)

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Sure, Dimps made Sonic Advance trilogy, Sonic Rush trilogy (including Colours ds), and Sonic Neo Geo Adventure. Sure, they're all pretty great games, with great modern characters and have some good stories on the occasion too. It's undeniable that these are some of Sonics better games, and are pretty good/great. Except Sonic Advance 3, that game is often pretty stupid, but it's still decent.  

But, 4 consecutively underperforming games is enough to bring almost any company's reputation down, no matter how much of a fantastic history they have. Sonic 4 ep1 and 2, Sonic Generations 3DS and Sonic Lost World 3DS were all considerably lower quality than the standard Dimps game. Granted, they aren't that much worse (probably better) than the Sanzaru 2D games, but when you fall from making awesome games like Sonic Rush/Advance to a game like Sonic Generations 3DS, it's just jarring and makes you think that they've changed for the worst (which is likely true). There's no reason to not lose hope for them. 

2010 was the last time a good Sonic 2D game was released, and I don't think Sonic Colours DS is very popular. It definitely seems to have been overshadowed by Sonic Ep1, which wasn't meant to be a main game. With all the pessimism surrounding Sonic games, it's no suprise old Dimps Sonic games have been attacked for whatever reason. Even the main classic Sonic games are being attacked with claims that they were never good. It's kinda the hip thing to do. 

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As I said a while back to a similar thread topic, the quality of their games and approach to game design is analogous to their level design. It only goes downhill at a fast pace. Every (other) new Dimps game significantly rewrote the framework (level design, gameplay mechanics, bosses, etc.) of 2D Sonic gameplay away from its roots, to instead support a new focus implementation of a new gimmick or gameplay focus they or Sonic Team had at the time.

Sonic Rush Adventure, Sonic 4, and Lost World 3DS each represent when their approach to game design reared its ugly head from three standpoints: financially (Rush Adventure, sold so badly it led to the end of original handheld games), creatively (Dimps' idea of classic Sonic gameplay with Sonic 4 was worlds different from OG Sonic Team and Genesis fans' idea of classic Sonic gameplay based on Sonic 1-3&K), and critically (Lost World 3DS being widely agreed by critics and fans to be their worst title).

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I feel Sonic Colors DS was when Dimps' quality started to drop. I mean, it was an okay game in it's own right, but it was so ridiculously short that it's very hard to recommend. It just feels so shallow in comparison with previous Dimps Sonic outings. A shame, really. The company was at the top of its game around Rush Adventure, which is still one of my favorite Sonic games of all time.

Hey, at least they've never lost their touch making Dragon Ball games.

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I love Rush Adventure, but it came out at a really bad time, less than a year after 06 when faith in the Sonic brand was extremely low. People would just see Sonic on a speedboat on the cover and think the game was a stupid gimmick (an associate it with Sonic "jumping the shark" with shitty gimmicks etc.), and seeing Marine as another "shitty friend character" which was a big complaint after 06 as well wouldn't have helped matters.

In hindsight, the Advance games have serious problems too, and I've been playing them a lot lately. Enemy placement, bottomless pits, special stage bullshit. Still good games, but they are more criticised now. The Advance games and Rush 1 to some extent came out when the series regarding main games was going the Shadow the Hedgehog direction and people were so uncertain of the franchise's future that games that were superficially closer to the classics seemed better than they were. Not that I have an issue with Dimps making games not classic styled (and I like Advance 3 a lot, shitty enemy placement aside), but they felt more like Sonic games people liked than shit like Shadow and 06.

Now Dimps games are getting worse and creatively lacking after Rush Adventure's relative flop, so people have good reason to dislike them more than they did in the past.

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Dimps were already downhill by Advance 2's pish level design, and if not that especially by Advance 3. Rush was a minor bump in the road in that it was actually good, and I haven't actually played Rush Adventure in years so I'll neglect comment on that. 

Rush (or Rush Adventure perhaps) was probably the last great Dimps Sonic game; hell, I'd struggle to call anything they've put out since even "good". I'd also argue the signs were there as early as their first foray (Pocket Adventure's a bit wank honestly) but it wasn't as dire as it was by Advance 3. 

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I'd say that Sega put their hands where they shouldn't have and accidentally meddled with what could have been better games.  I mean, I have played Sonic 4 myself and I haven't seen anything wrong with the game.  One thing I do want to bring up is that I actually prefer how their sprite rotations in certain games is actually better looking than what Taxman and Stealth are doing in Sonic Mania.  Maybe it's just because the Dimps method of rotation looks a bit more like how it's done on a Genesis, while Tax & Stealth are doing something more akin to rotating it half-a-degree at a time.

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So I made the OP less bias sounding, and while I'm at it, i'll go ahead and add my two cents to the whole dimps thing. Because I really didn't in the OP.

Now while Dimps are good devs in their own right, I'll go ahead and say  that the only truly good Sonic games made by them was Sonic Advance 1 and Sonic Rush. Now while Advance 2, 3, and Rush Adventure and the 4 duology are all still decent games. They all have their share of flaws that completely ruins the game. Advance 2 had the stupid special rings, Advance 3 had that plus the terrible level design, plus the partner system, Rush Adventure had those ten minute long cutscenes (I know they're not actually ten minutes, but jeez they were long.) Marine and those stupid as fuck map sections, and we already talked about how Sonic 4 completely failed to capture the spirit of the classic games and what makes them so engaging to begin with. And while I do think the handheld versions of Colors and Generations are underrated in my opinion. I can see why someone would dislike them to hell and back. And why they got their mixed reception. And let's not even talk about Lost World 3DS, so here's my two cents, a lot of Dimps' problems today has always existed, (hell It can argued that Pocket Adventure contained a lot of the same problems that Sonic 4 had.) But because there were much worser games being made at the time. Nobody ready took note at them. But as time went by and 3D Sonic started to find something that worked, the flaws in these games became more apparent, and people started to notice them more and more. And if you want my opinion on the matter, aisde from Advance 1 & Rush, Dimps' Sonic games have ranged from either very average (Advance 2, Rush Adventure, Colors DS, Sonic 4 and Generations 3DS,) to straight up bad. (Advance 3, Lost World 3DS,) do I want Dimps to make another Sonic game at this point? No I do not, they don't seem to really get Sonic anymore, and Both Sega and Sonic Team have moved on to better days. So they should just separate and move on with their lifes at this point in time.

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2 hours ago, Blacklightning said:

They loosened up the physics in Advance 2 to make it work for a game built purely for raw speed and mind - and harp on all you want about the " literal downhill slope for the entire stage" level design, but at least that worked for the approach they were gunning for at the time. Advance 3 kept that same engine but focused their level design more on the platforming aspect. Which meant you had a game full of blocky platforms, in an engine where Sonic was significantly more slippery than normal, and level design in which even the slightest fuckup was punishable by death in the latter half of the game. That's not fun.

I dunno, I think they changed the physics engine as well as the level design in Advance 3. Compared to the first two games, Advance 3 played like it controlled in treacle when the characters weren't running fast. Controls just felt strangely laggy and sluggish when you're not being pushed around the levels. Granted, it's not the physics overhaul they did with Rush, but it still feels strangely odd.

And speaking of which, I don't think Advance 3 was that much platforming oriented than Advance 2 was. The major difference to me was that instead of making each level linear running sequences down one direction, they just went in the opposite direction and made a linear running sequences go in every direction. So you'll still have loads of simply running right with not much to do in thes levels, it's just that the level design is just re-structured to be giant mazes rather than be strings of straight lines. Granted, platforming isn't as much of a backseat in the game than in Advance 2, but the player still spends a significant amount of time being thrown at fast speeds around empty levels. 

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1 hour ago, Gabe said:

The major difference to me was that instead of making each level linear running sequences down one direction, they just went in the opposite direction and made a linear running sequences go in every direction

The main difference is that if you went fast in Advance 3 the game fucking killed you for it almost immediately. Advance 2 only usually did it if you weren't paying close attention (Sky Sanctuary and Egg Utopia sticking out as the biggest examples).

 

 

 

But seriously, there was definitely a difference between how momentum was handled between Advance 2 and Advance 3.

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It's not really a comment on their decline but; controversial opinion, while I think the Rush games had better game feel, Sonic 4 had better level design.

Like, Sonic 4 was full of interesting gimmicks and stuff, every act was entirely unique and while it had plenty of boosters and no rolling physics, you didn't feel like you were just holding right and boosting for the whole time.  Like, I can tell you something unique about EVERY single act in Sonic 4, but if someone showed me footage of any of the Rush trilogy and asked me which act a particular bit of footage was taking place on, I'd be hard-pressed to say.  One act from each zone tended to have some memorable little 3D gimmicky section like hang gliding, minecart riding etc, but a lot of those appeared in both acts of a zone too.  SRA was definitely the strongest game for unique zones, but Rush and Colours felt lacking in personality, as if you could reskin a lot of the zones to a different theme and none of the gimmicks would really need that much reworking.

I enjoy Advance 2, but that was definitely the start of their decline.  Honestly I think while they totally missed the point of what Sonic "4" should be, it was likely a breath of fresh air for them because finally they could design levels where doing some regular, interesting precision platforming didn't feel completely jarring.

But yeah sadly 3DS Generations and Lost World went right backto unremarkable 2D level design with very little that felt particularly clever or interesting.

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I think Colors DS was the start of their downfall. It was far feom a bad game, but I didn't enjoy it as much as Rush and Rush Adventure.

And I enjoyed Sonic Generations 3DS, but that, too, paved the way for their worse decisions, and it's obvious not as much effort was put into it as there could have been.

Sonic 4 was an enjoyable experience, but not as fun as the classics it was based on. But then came Sonic Lost World 3DS. Still one of the worst games in the entire franchise.

I still maintain that the Wii U version of Lost World wasn't bad, if not great, but the 3DS version has all of the Wii U version's flaws and fewer of its good points, and even some issues of its own. It makes the Wii U version look like a downright masterpiece. And considering it wasn't, that's very sad.

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I'd kind of blame a lack of creative freedom. Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't SEGA/ST start meddling more and more in later years with their projects, the most recent case being S4 EP 2 where Iizuka wanted the whole S&T 69 gimmick co-op thing going on instead of letting the characters be separate and all?

I think they did better when SEGA/ST staff stepped aside more and just let them make exclusive portable games ala the Advance and Rush series. Once the company started making Dimps do handheld versions of console games and started being Mr. Big Boss too much, I feel like that's when they lost their glory.

I know it's SEGA/ST's property but... Still, people need to breathe. Wings need room to spread. Right?

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On 1/30/2017 at 0:50 PM, PC the Hedgehog said:

I feel Sonic Colors DS was when Dimps' quality started to drop. I mean, it was an okay game in it's own right, but it was so ridiculously short that it's very hard to recommend. It just feels so shallow in comparison with previous Dimps Sonic outings. A shame, really. The company was at the top of its game around Rush Adventure, which is still one of my favorite Sonic games of all time.

Hey, at least they've never lost their touch making Dragon Ball games.

I personally did not like Sonic Colors DS, it felt like a bland version of Rush. All the additional characters were pointless as well. It made me kind of glad that they weren't included in the Wii version, if that was the best they could do with them. Why include so many characters from past Sonic games, just to show up to introduce missions for no reason, while having no contribution to the plot or gameplay whatsoever? At least in Generations, they had a purpose for being in the game's story, even if it wasn't for the reasons people hoped for. In Generations, the characters were abducted, and were frozen in a state without time and space. It was Sonic's goal to save his friends, which gave them a role in the game's story, freeing Sonic's friends was part of the goal of saving the world, and returning time and space back to normal. In Sonic Colors on the other hand, they just appeared out of nowhere, and did nothing to move the plot along...

It was a real bummer to see so many characters show up, just to mindlessly attend Eggman's theme park, and ask Sonic for favors. Even Generations did a slightly better job at having the side characters give out optional missions, and they even had the characters give Sonic tips on level secrets and progression. At least they were trying to be helpful to Sonic in Generations, unlike their useless appearances in Sonic Colors for DS. Their inclusion in Colors also made no sense, since you think they'd be smart enough to stay away from an amusement park built by Eggman. They weren't there to help Sonic, or spy on Eggman, they were there to enjoy a themepark built by a well known villain, which was very poor story telling, even the Wii version had better story telling than that, and it's story was pretty stale as well! 

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I... Well... PLOT wise I'd say Colors DS is superior because of the more varied cast and the "ending that never was but should have been" as well. The true final boss of the DS version should have been in the console version, as well as the whole plot of the DS version really...

Game play wise I don't really care for either, but story/content wise, I'd say the handheld version, shockingly, bests the console version.

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Nobody's talking in here anymore, but I'd like to personally weigh in. I know there are a lot of differing opinions on the handheld games but...

Dimps has never been good at making Sonic games. 

This is because Dimps has over the years played different roles in the production of the Sonic games.

In the early years, soon after Dimps was established as a company, Sonic Team and Dimps co-developed the games, but it seems like once Dimps proved they could handle making games, Sega let them lead their own development. With Sonic Advance's third entry Sonic Team no longer played an active role and instead just overlooked the production of the game. You can see this in the production credits of Sonic Advance and Sonic Advance 2 vs. Sonic Advance 3. Most people like Sonic Advance 1&2, while most people dislike Sonic Advance 3. People consider Advance 3 to be the negative turning point in Dimps' Sonic-related development history. Now I think the easy conclusion is that Dimps really doesn't know what they're doing when left alone with Sonic. Now I won't say they're a bad developer overall (They worked on Kirby & the Amazing Mirror as well as the Dragonball Z: Budakai games.), but they just don't know how to make good Sonic games. Why? Well, I don't have the answer to that question honestly.

"But what about the Sonic Rush games, N8te?? The production(SR) credits(SRA) say Sonic Team didn't play an active role in the development of those games either but people like those!"

Well with the Sonic Rush games Dimps created their own style of game. The gameplay was no longer heavily based around any Sonic games that came beforehand and they honestly did an good job creating a core gameplay style that was fast, frantic, and fun to play. The PROBLEM?--Well basically all of the issues that were around in Advance 3 wreak their ugly head yet again. (Bad level design, bad enemy, item, and object placement, pointless switches which break the game's pacing, flat-out awful bosses, unfair deaths, etc.) I think the reason people are more forgiving of these games is because the gameplay was something new and interesting as well as because the game was so fast that most of the issues would be sped by quickly and thus players would be more forgiving of them. The core gameplay felt good and the issues weren't quite as bad this time around. Basically, because Dimps created their own style of game and game production was better because of it. Dimps was starting to catch a break.

But then Dimps stopped making their own original games (instead making alternate versions of mainline games if you weren't aware), and things got real bad! Sonic Colors DS, Sonic Generations 3DS, and Sonic Lost World 3DS all were received very poorly. I don't think I can speak strongly on these games because, aside from Colors DS, I haven't played them, but I'll try. With these games Sonic Team played a much heavier supervision role and... well things get a little messy if you want to look at the production credits. (Retro doesn't have the Colors ones, but here's the SG and SLW ones.) There are tons of different hands meddling into these games' development, but all of the actual production is still on Dimps' end. It's Sonic Advance 3's worst nightmare. Here Dimps could not handle making original games out of what Sonic Team wanted.

In conclusion, Dimps doesn't know how to make good Sonic games. They can make their own core gameplay and do so decently, but when they are tasked with making a game with a gameplay style not of their choosing, they do very poorly.

tl;dr version: Dimps and Sonic Team held hands and made Sonic Advance 1/2, but then Daddy Sonic Team trusted them to not throw a wild house party while they were gone. This was Sonic Team's mistake. Later Sonic Team got home and grounded them to an eternity of important chores, none of which they could handle.

Sorry for any bad typos it is late and I've been writing this for a few hours.

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