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Sonic Mania & Forces Interview(s)

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On 7/9/2017 at 9:14 PM, Celestia said:

Yeah I'm really curious about rejected game pitches, and why SEGA wasn't interested for that matter...I'm guessing that's something SEGA wouldn't want him to talk about, though. At least not anytime soon.

"WHERE IS GREEN HILL ZONE?!! NO!!" - Primary Reason # 1

"It's nice but... We'd rather do a purely 2D pixel version of Generations... Anniversary and all that..." - Primary Reason # 2

"Too much new content!! It doesn't remind anyone of the past!! You need callbacks!!" - Primary Reason # 3

Also the day Whitehead perfects a 3D engine and pitches a legitimately inspired thing to SEGA is the day Iizuka is out of a job so... lol

I certainly wouldn't mind Whitehead in charge though.

...Whitehead and Webber in charge of Sonic Team...

...I cried a little...

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2 hours ago, Gabe said:

Sega of Japan's fear of Tails and Knuckles breaking Sonic 1 really does make me question their understanding of the Genesis games. I guess its an absolute miracle Tails' inclusion in Sonic CD 2011 (which Taxman, for emphasis, built from scratch by himself) was able to added to the game without spontaneously crashing. Same goes for Stealth's homebrew GBA port of Sonic 1 (which has both Tails and Knuckles, who played just fine) and his Knuckles in Sonic 1 mod. And speaking of which, that's to say nothing of OG Sonic Team themselves proving that characters can be backported to older Genesis Sonic titles (Knuckles in Sonic 2).

Well thats not entirely fair. When they fear that back porting to Sonic 1 may "break the game" they are not talking about coding or feasibility, they are referring to the flow and challenge of the levels. The platforming challenges in Sonic 1 were never designed for a character that can fly. Simple as that. Sonic CD is actually the perfect proof of concept. Tails makes an absolute mockery out of a few of the levels in that game. Best case scenario, he is an easy mode for people who have trouble finding all the generators. Worst case scenario, he shatters the difficulty curve of the game. You gotta balance out the novelty of the new playable character vs the very real possibility that a payable Tails or Knuckles would be OP to the extent of it not being fun.

 

2 hours ago, Gabe said:

As for the rejected pitches, I do recall Stealth mentioning with their rejected Sonic 3&K remaster pitch that around the time their Sonic 2 remaster was completed, the restructuring within Sega of America that had started in 2012 had "taken its toll": their existing / important company contacts they had were shuffled, and the resulting situation this created "was akin-enough to starting over." I wouldn't be surprised if this was the period Taxman and Stealth made their rejected pitches (and I have a feeling said Sonic 3 remaster was one of those pitches in question). I've said it before, and I'll say it again--it says a lot that Mania only got the greenlight in late 2015, in the aftermath of the Sonic Boom games bombing and SoA --alongside Sega as a whole-- undergoing (more) restructuring.

While some of that likely has something to do with why we are yet to receive our 3&K remaster, its also worth noting that the issues over the soundtrack are well documented. SEGA may well continue to kick the can on that front until a solution presents itself... or a patent expires.... or something I dunno.

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1 hour ago, Sega DogTagz said:

Well thats not entirely fair. When they fear that back porting to Sonic 1 may "break the game" they are not talking about coding or feasibility, they are referring to the flow and challenge of the levels. The platforming challenges in Sonic 1 were never designed for a character that can fly. Simple as that.Tails makes an absolute mockery out of a few of the levels in that game. Best case scenario, he is an easy mode for people who have trouble finding all the generators. Worst case scenario, he shatters the difficulty curve of the game. You gotta balance out the novelty of the new playable character vs the very real possibility that a payable Tails or Knuckles would be OP to the extent of it not being fun.

You're talking under the assumption that Tails and Knuckles' gameplay are designed entirely around their flying and gliding abilities, which isn't true. Their basic game mechanics and controls are still adapted from Sonic's gameplay, and their abilities are in turn secondary to that core gameplay. You can see this with the respective strengths and weaknesses built around those abilities (such as Knuckles having a lower jump height and slow climbing speed, and Tails' flight having slow vertical acceleration and having a time limit to his flight time). Its why Knuckles' gameplay works in Sonic 2's levels with minimal--if any--issues, despite the character coming later; which obviously wouldn't be possible if Knuckles' gameplay was designed entirely about his gliding and climbing. Same applies with Tails in Sonic CD 2011; flying may make the game easier, but it's not the gameplay focus.

Hence why I am questioning SoJ's understanding of the original Sonic games in my previous post. If Tails and Knuckles' gameplay really were that problematic in their lack of compatibility with the level design of the older games; they wouldn't had been problematic in just Sonic 1/2/CD, they would had been problematic in Sonic 3&K, period; all of these games are built upon the same framework. The only way Tails and Knuckles would had broken Sonic 1's game design would had been if their gameplay was designed to be entirely separate from Sonic's gameplay in the first place--which would, by extension, make them unplayable in Sonic 2, CD, and 3&K (Mania too) as well. If they really knew the underlying design of the original games (either on the level of the original designers, or on the level of Taxman/Stealth's understanding of them), they would had known this.

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3&K was designed knowing that Tails and Knuckles were going to be playable and thus their unique abilities were accounted for. 1, 2, and CD were not, so it's perfectly reasonable to question how their levels would work with those abilities in play. It's not some huge red flag.

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1 minute ago, Diogenes said:

3&K was designed knowing that Tails and Knuckles were going to be playable and thus their unique abilities were accounted for. 1, 2, and CD were not, so it's perfectly reasonable to question how their levels would work with those abilities in play. It's not some huge red flag.

I'm aware of that, I'm not necessarily saying Tails and Knuckles would be able to be added in Sonic 1 without any problems. I just don't agree with SoJ's assumptions that their inclusions in the earlier games would break those games entirely, as opposed to exposing some design oversights that would then need to be addressed. I'll admit I may have jumped the gun on questioning their understanding of the games though.

I was also speaking under the context of SoJ question being raised about their implementation in Sonic 1, after the implementations of Tails in Sonic CD 2011 and Knuckles in Sonic 2 showing its at least possible in two preceding titles they weren't originally designed for.

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3 hours ago, Gabe said:

You're talking under the assumption that Tails and Knuckles' gameplay are designed entirely around their flying and gliding abilities, which isn't true. Their basic game mechanics and controls are still adapted from Sonic's gameplay, and their abilities are in turn secondary to that core gameplay. You can see this with the respective strengths and weaknesses built around those abilities (such as Knuckles having a lower jump height and slow climbing speed, and Tails' flight having slow vertical acceleration and having a time limit to his flight time). Its why Knuckles' gameplay works in Sonic 2's levels with minimal--if any--issues, despite the character coming later; which obviously wouldn't be possible if Knuckles' gameplay was designed entirely about his gliding and climbing. Same applies with Tails in Sonic CD 2011; flying may make the game easier, but it's not the gameplay focus.

Hence why I am questioning SoJ's understanding of the original Sonic games in my previous post. If Tails and Knuckles' gameplay really were that problematic in their lack of compatibility with the level design of the older games; they wouldn't had been problematic in just Sonic 1/2/CD, they would had been problematic in Sonic 3&K, period; all of these games are built upon the same framework. The only way Tails and Knuckles would had broken Sonic 1's game design would had been if their gameplay was designed to be entirely separate from Sonic's gameplay in the first place--which would, by extension, make them unplayable in Sonic 2, CD, and 3&K (Mania too) as well. If they really knew the underlying design of the original games (either on the level of the original designers, or on the level of Taxman/Stealth's understanding of them), they would had known this.

Lets not pretend like Tails and Knuckles having Sonic's core abilities somehow dismisses the other things that they can do, particularly in the context of games they were never designed to be playable in. Sonic 1 in particular. There are so many things in that game that Tails can simply choose to fly over. The game was never designed with the mindset of a character capable of flight, so there are few protections to someone doing just that. Slow vertical acceleration of not, Tails can fly over all of Green Hill Zone. Waiting for those blocks to cross the magma in Marble Zone? Nope Tails can fly across on his own just fine. Just like in the Sonic CD remaster, the obstacles were designed to be traversed with Sonic's moveset, and while Tails and Knuckles have that moveset, they also have other abilities that depreciate the need to even approach these obstacles in the first place. This isn't an example of using Tails extra abilities to explore alternate routes and hidden secrets. This is a problem of Tails being fully capable of outright skipping huge sections of level design. Games like Sonic 3 understood that and planned for that. They funneled Tails and Knuckles using impassable walls when they needed to and provided goodies to reward exploration when the freedom was justified. It used invisible walls and extended terrain beyond the ceiling to prevent the worst kinds of level skip shenanigans. It designed its stages to "contain"  both Tails and Knux. Sonic 1 doesn't have that. It couldn't have that. It was never designed to need that. Sonic CD didn't have that and we all know what Tails can do to some of the stages in that game. The difference between 1/2/CD and 3&K is just that simple.

 

 

You don't even need to watch the whole thing. Just watch the first few levels. Tails can fly over entire stages. He can climb above level geometry, run off screen and coast to the finish line. If he get a pair of fast shoes, then god help you. The combination of momentum physics, spindash and flight means that in levels with no defined ceiling, Tails doesn't even have to play the game. And to be 100% honest, most of the time when your dealing with speedruns you are looking at precision and practice. For Tails, even novice players can exploit these holes. Sometimes even through sheer accident. Sonic 3 conditioned players to fly and explore. Try to do that in Sonic CD and you will find yourself on top of the level geometry. Sonic Team would be foolish not to consider the ramifications of introducing THAT into Sonic 1.

 

Sonic Team was right to be hesitant because they understood that much about their extended cast. I'm glad they did not allow that to stop them, but showing that they were at least aware of what may go wrong with the pacing should be considered a good thing, not a knock against their better judgement. It means they took the big picture into consideration. They stopped to think about the ramifications of their decision making and weighed the benefit/risks of the endeavor. It means they understood what Tails and Knuckles could do without level design to keep them in check. That’s not a bad thing. Its actually a good thing. If Sonic Team would put on their critical thinking hats more often, the series would be in a different place right now.

Tails and Knux playable in 1 was a cool feature, but in essence you might as well just hand the Super Sonic keys to the player in Green Hill Zone. It without a doubt breaks the game over its knee. 90% of the challenge goes right out the window the second you choose to play as Tails. The same was true in Sonic CD. As a developer looking to protect some of the most storied entries in their flagship series, you can't blame them for holding pause with the idea of introducing that kind of gamebreaking element, no matter how cool it is to play as some of Sonic's friends.

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On 7/5/2017 at 6:28 AM, Zippo said:

Finally got to read the whole interview, and maybe it's just me interpreting things wrong, but this David Jenkins guy seems like a total fucking douche. You shit on the games in front of their producer, and then you have the nerve to ask them questions like that? Do people actually think it's okay to talk to other human beings like this? I've heard awful things about Metro as a whole, but i had no idea that is how they carried themselves. He's literally giving people more ammunition to fling at us Classic Sonic fans. 

For crying out loud! Your looking too much into this! I for one apreciate the honestly that so many interviewers don't have the balls to do!

If it were a video interview, you probably wouldn't have an issue with it, I'm sure he worded what he said in a nice enough manner! :/

On 7/6/2017 at 3:09 AM, MudHunter said:

 

One of the major E3 complaints was that the game was too easy. I hope what he says is true.

I doubt it...

"An adventure is no fun if its too easy" my ass! We'll be lucky if we ever see something like Eggmanland ever see the light of day again! :o

On 7/6/2017 at 2:05 PM, molul said:

Lol, Ben kalough xD I remember, back in the Sonic 4 ep I days, shortly after it was released, that SoA called some fans to give feedback about what should be changed for ep II, and they uploaded a video in which Ken "as you truly imagined" Balough and Ben Kalough appeared together xD 

Oh gosh I remembered that video! "Dude its sonic 4! this is the game you've been waiting 16 years to play!" never had I felt so insulted in my life!

If anyone has a link to that video interview I'll happily watch it! Its been a couple years and I can't find it and I REALLY want to! :o

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3 hours ago, Alienrun said:

For crying out loud! Your looking too much into this! I for one apreciate the honestly that so many interviewers don't have the balls to do!

If it were a video interview, you probably wouldn't have an issue with it, I'm sure he worded what he said in a nice enough manner! :/

 

Could not disagree more. There's nothing wrong with honest, constructive criticism, but you should absolutely treat the developer who took time out of their day to be interviewed with common respect, going by that interview, he seemed extremely rude and condescending, in my view. 

Having problems with a company's games is one thing, but being rude to a developer for no reason is inexcusable. It brings nothing but poison into the community. 

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2 hours ago, Zippo said:

Could not disagree more. There's nothing wrong with honest, constructive criticism, but you should absolutely treat the developer who took time out of their day to be interviewed with common respect, going by that interview, he seemed extremely rude and condescending, in my view. 

Having problems with a company's games is one thing, but being rude to a developer for no reason is inexcusable. It brings nothing but poison into the community. 

You could probably write a transcript of stuff I tell people in real life and it would probably come off as 5 times more rude than what it actually was...

Whatever though, think what you want.

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10 hours ago, Sega DogTagz said:

*all of this*

I'm not sure if you're reading my posts correctly? Describing Tails and Knuckles features as secondary to the core gameplay isn't underplaying their abilities. What is incorrect about pointing out that while they can fly/climb and glide, they are still designed to control and play like Sonic? How is that spinning their flying/gliding, and climbing abilities as not important?

And as I clarified to Diogenes in my followup post, I'm not saying adding those characters into the game wouldn't require making changes to the game to make sure they fit. I don't agree with Sega of Japan's initial argument that they would break the game, on the basis of them sharing Sonic's gameplay and those characters shown to be added to past games they weren't designed for without major issues. If you're going to say they break the game, that's goes beyond them exposing holes in the existing design that would require some modifications--you're effectively arguing the game's design falls completely apart in their inclusion.

If you're actually in agreement with that notion...then I guess the discussion ends here. Because then this debate would start going in circles.

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So long as Tails and Knuckles play the same as Sonic their flights and/or gliding abilities have absolutely zero impact on stages from the games pre-S3&K.

You can fly over some obstacles, glide over others, climb here and there. It's essentially crafting an "easy" mode if you will, that's all.

It's just Sonic Team making excuses for Solo-Sonic in areas it's not a requirement save corporate meddling.

It's no wonder Sonic Team produce all these games where there's just as little reasoning for Solo-Sonic, really there's never a reason that's good save laziness and/or unwillingness.

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7 hours ago, Depression Kong said:

Remember when they said Lost World would have action-packed cutscenes and good use of the parkour?

At least Sonic Lost World was difficult.

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4 hours ago, Gabe said:

 I don't agree with Sega of Japan's initial argument that they would break the game, on the basis of them sharing Sonic's gameplay and those characters shown to be added to past games they weren't designed for without major issues. If you're going to say they break the game, that's goes beyond them exposing holes in the existing design that would require some modifications--you're effectively arguing the game's design falls completely apart in their inclusion.

 

3 hours ago, Chris Knopps said:

So long as Tails and Knuckles play the same as Sonic their flights and/or gliding abilities have absolutely zero impact on stages from the games pre-S3&K.

You can fly over some obstacles, glide over others, climb here and there. It's essentially crafting an "easy" mode if you will, that's all.

 

I'll respond to both of those by showing you exactly what happens when you introduce characters and abilities to games for which they were never intended.

This is the level map for Palmtree Panic II.

Spoiler


5965338716934_ppII.thumb.png.915c8e3b660b0fea4440e05fb777dc04.png

 


This is the level map for Palmtree Panic II when you play as Tails

Spoiler


596533b553f45_ppIItails.thumb.jpg.77959f67e8109236c20064ab96c71ffb.jpg

 

 

Everything inside of that red box is a section Tails can fly over. And when I say fly over, I don't mean land, jump and fly again, I mean one continuous, game breaking jet ride that carries you over more than 85% of the level.  You don't even need mad speedrun skills or some epic combo of badniks all lined up in just the right place. Tails can literally fly over the entire stage. There is nothing to keep that in check.

 

How do you defend that as "Zero Impact"? How can that be looked upon as anything other than breaking the game?  The games design falls apart because half the stages can't contain the character you are playing as. That's the core purpose of a level. To present challenges to traverse in route to a goal. Whats the point of all the S tubes and geometry if  Tails can just fly over them? You can't do that in Sonic 3. That game was designed in such a way that you couldn't avoid set pieces. There are places where you must stick to the beaten path in order to proceed. There are a gluttony of stages in CD where this kind of skipping en masse is possible. Sonic 1 is likely no different.

If you are content with the idea that Tails and Knuckles don't break the game simply because of their root gameplay having similarities to Sonic, then I'd call that incredibly short sighted. There is a reason why S3 is designed to contain these extra characters, and its the same reason why you won't be able to pull stunts like that in Mania.

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4 minutes ago, Sega DogTagz said:

 

 

I'll respond to both of those by showing you exactly what happens when you introduce characters and abilities to games for which they were never intended.

This is the level map for Palmtree Panic II.

  Hide contents

 

5965338716934_ppII.thumb.png.915c8e3b660b0fea4440e05fb777dc04.png

 


This is the level map for Palmtree Panic II when you play as Tails

  Hide contents

 

596533b553f45_ppIItails.thumb.jpg.77959f67e8109236c20064ab96c71ffb.jpg

 

 

Everything inside of that red box is a section Tails can fly over. And when I say fly over, I don't mean land, jump and fly again, I mean one continuous, game breaking jet ride that carries you over more than 85% of the level.  You don't even need mad speedrun skills or some epic combo of badniks all lined up in just the right place. Tails can literally fly over the entire stage. There is nothing to keep that in check.

 

How do you defend that as "Zero Impact"? How can that be looked upon as anything other than breaking the game?  The games design falls apart because half the stages can't contain the character you are playing as. That's the core purpose of a level. To present challenges to traverse in route to a goal. Whats the point of all the S tubes and geometry if  Tails can just fly over them? You can't do that in Sonic 3. That game was designed in such a way that you couldn't avoid set pieces. There are places where you must stick to the beaten path in order to proceed. There are a gluttony of stages in CD where this kind of skipping en masse is possible. Sonic 1 is likely no different.

If you are content with the idea that Tails and Knuckles don't break the game simply because of their root gameplay having similarities to Sonic, then I'd call that incredibly short sighted. There is a reason why S3 is designed to contain these extra characters, and its the same reason why you won't be able to pull stunts like that in Mania.

I do remember stating it's essentially "easy mode" by having Tails and Knuckles in a game.

It doesn't break the game or anything like that, you can just bypass challenges you're forced to go through with Sonic.

And it's also your option to skip portions, not forced, how you play is entirely your choice.

Take the challenge or play "easy mode" and bypass.

So again, zero impact. It's like invincible mode in Mario and Yoshi games. It's there if you want/need it, but you're not forced.

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27 minutes ago, Sega DogTagz said:

If you are content with the idea that Tails and Knuckles don't break the game simply because of their root gameplay having similarities to Sonic, then I'd call that incredibly short sighted. There is a reason why S3 is designed to contain these extra characters, and its the same reason why you won't be able to pull stunts like that in Mania.

I already clarified in my previous post and my response to Diogenes that said I understand changes would be needed to the older games to accommodate Tails and Knuckles abilities, but I see you decided to misquote me in my post though by leaving those parts out, so whatever. I also gave explanations in my initial reply to you about their shared gameplay; but if "simply because of their root gameplay similarities to Sonic" was all you got out of it, I don't know how to continue further with that point. Again, not sure if you're reading my posts correctly.

Like I said earlier, if you really think they break the older games, then the discussion ends here; because we would just be going into a loop of disagreement.

Thanks for the complement that I'm "short-sighted", though.

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15 minutes ago, Chris Knopps said:

I do remember stating it's essentially "easy mode" by having Tails and Knuckles in a game.

It doesn't break the game or anything like that, you can just bypass challenges you're forced to go through with Sonic.

After a certain point it stops being an easy mode and becomes broken.

85% is past that point.

Quote

And it's also your option to skip portions, not forced, how you play is entirely your choice.

Take the challenge or play "easy mode" and bypass.

So again, zero impact. It's like invincible mode in Mario and Yoshi games. It's there if you want/need it, but you're not forced.

Okay. Lets use that logic for a sec.

I am playing a racing game, running on a generic and easy course and my car has a top gear that is so much faster than every other vehicle that it renders the race completely pointless. Would your response to such a game be...

a. No one is making you use that top gear. Slow down to make it more competitive and fun

or

b. This game clearly isn't balanced right.

Using that logic is faulty at best. You can't ignore that Tails can do what he can do. You have to design the game for people that want to play it in different ways. Some people will play the game, and have Tails more or less play the exact same road as Sonic, and that is fine. But other people will want to fly and explore and when you do that in CD the levels fall apart like tissue paper. They break like a dropped vase. Its no fault of the game, they just weren't designed to deal with Tails.

4 minutes ago, Gabe said:

I already clarified in my previous post and my response to Diogenes that said I understand changes would be needed to the older games to accommodate their abilities, but I see you decided to misquote me in my post though by leaving those parts out, so whatever. I also gave explanations in my initial reply to you about the shared gameplay bit that went beyond "simply having similarities to Sonic"; but if you really don't get the point I was making there, then don't worry about it.

Like I said, if you really think they break the older games, then discussion ends here; because we would just be going into a loop of disagreement.

Thanks for the complement that I'm "short-sighted", though.

and I see those responses. What I don't get is how you can come to see the need to modify the older games to fit Tails and Knuckles, but then turn a blind eye as to why they need to be modified in the first place.

The only reason you make those changes is to protect the integrity of those classics. If you introduce Tails and Knux to Sonic 1, its busted. Thats all I'm saying here.

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http://www.gamer.ne.jp/news/201708160001/

Iizuka Interview since the game...launched?

Well he said the team put everything into the game they want to and there are no plans for additional DLC

The first feedback they got is the original zones like Studiopolis zones are the best

Green Hill and Chemical Plant have been done before, but the remix make it very fresh, and Flying Battery has been rarely seen and improved fruther in Iizuka's opinion.

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Someone got to interview Iizuka and Nakamura again

https://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Panda20XX/shun-nakamura-and-takashi-iizuka-on-sonic-mania-forces-and-adventure-3--455271.phtml

Another tidbit on how Forces seemingly improves on things....

Quote

It’s no secret that Sonic didn’t make the smoothest transition into 3D, but it has been getting better and from what I’ve played Sonic Forces controls really well. How much work goes into refining the controls for each 3D Sonic game?

Nakamura: We’ve been working on Sonic games for a very long time. There are people on my team who have been working on high-speed Sonic games for over 10 years, and they’re constantly iterating on [not just the controls] but also how they make maps, and what new technology will allow them to do and let players feel as in control as possible.

It’s really the professionals behind the scenes that are constantly playing the game, and talking amongst themselves about how it feels and what little bit of polish does it need to feel better. To let you feel as in control as possible even when you’re flying through a level at really high-speed. It’s a constant action in the team, to play the game and make it feel as good as possible.

 

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A promising note to end on:

Quote

Finally, do you possibly see a sequel to Sonic Mania coming in the future? Or maybe a spin-off of another Sonic classic game? A new Sonic Spinball would be interesting.

We just finished up with development on Sonic Mania, so I haven’t had any time to think of what is next. I’d like to see a lot of people enjoy Sonic Mania and find out what everyone liked first, then I’ll think about what the future holds.

It feels like anything could happen.

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