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Do you think Sonic Team is frustrated?


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So I'm hearing so much mixed reception for Sonic Forces and I'm wondering how Sonic Team is feeling right now. Like, after Colors and Generations, quite a few people were saying they want more control over Sonic to run around freely instead of running in a straight line like a car. Their answer to that was Lost World, but that game got tons of criticism. I can't tell you how many people were saying stuff like "Sonic Team, what're you doing? You had a winning formula with Colors and Generations. Why fix what's not broken? Just give us a Generations 2." Sooo, in comes Sonic Forces which is pretty much Generations 2, and it's getting a lot of negative reception for being way too similar to Generations and not trying anything new. I understand why people feel this way, I even kinda feel the same way too, but I can just imagine how frustrated Sonic Team must be. And I can guarantee you that if Mania gets far more praise by the fanbase and SEGA decides to focus strictly on 2D Sonic from now on since that's obviously what the fans like, there's gonna be tons of backlash and disappointment. It'll be like when people were upset at Mania's initial announcement because they thought it was the big game SEGA had been working on for years. It's like no matter what they do, fans will criticize and say "this isn't what we wanted".

I thinking people have legitimate complaints though and I do feel similar. I do think Classic Sonic and the 2D sections are unnecessary, especially with Mania coming soon which will undoubtedly offer a better and truer to form 2D experience. I do think the boost gameplay will get a little old with the linear level designs they've been showing. And I don't think the Avatar character is really adding anything substantial in terms of gameplay elements. They're basically just Modern Sonic with awkward and clunky looking gadgets. However, if I were to tell Sonic Team this and their response was "But isn't this what you wanted?" I wouldn't be able to say "No" flat out. After Generations, I did want them to do another game similar to it, just not exactly in the ways I'm seeing in Sonic Forces. 

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I really don't mind Forces being a Generations 2, especially since it's technically an Anniversary game that's a bit late to be one (seeing as all we got last year was a Boom game) and if I'm being honest, I'm actually really looking forward to Forces. I enjoy the boost formula. 

But they did have something right with Lost World. I feel the control scheme was perfect. The parkour-oriented gameplay was actually fun! But the level design was abysmal after the first zone. It went in so many different directions, depending on zone and never really took advantage of the gameplay mechanics, instead, adding more gimmicky wisps and turning the bottomless pits up to 11. The Deadly Six were also forgettable bosses.

Only thing I could probably recommend after Forces is to move on from the boost gameplay and for SEGA to bring back the Lost World control scheme. But at the same time, actually design levels to take advantage of such abilities while also offering alternative paths and maybe we'd a really kickass 3D main series title out of them 

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I honestly can't say. What I can say however is that they really should have seen it coming a mile away and it's hard to feel sympathetic to them considering how many years they've been at this and they still can't comprehend even the most basic of criticisms without managing to deliver in the most convoluted, backwards and just plain stupid way possible. We the fans are not the best bunch and we are capable of being incredibly petty and overly critical for the dumbest of reasons, but much of that is a justified reaction to SEGA and Sonic Team's incomprehensible level of sheer incompetence despite having well over a quarter of a decade to figure things out.

How is it that in that span of time, Sonic Team still has so much trouble figuring out what Sonic is supposed to be in every aspect? How is it, that they manage to be so utterly tone deaf to the nuances of our criticisms even as they claim that they are listening? How is it that writing a half-decent story for the series is so incomprehensibly hard for people who have worked with Sonic for as long as they have, even as their fans are showing more and more signs of being far better writers than they've ever been? How is it that they haven't figured out that they're still committing the exact same mistakes that they made with 06 (trying too hard to pander via superficial nostalgia, adding in poorly implemented gimmicks into their gameplay, a complete inability to develop the characters they currently have without finding some way to shoehorn in a new character that adds nothing outside of the game they originally came from, if not even that?) except only with a superficial attempt at comedy with none of the nuances expected of comedy in general?

When you take all this into consideration, why SHOULD I care that they might be frustrated, when it's clear that most of their problems are self-inflicted and the result of them not having a damn idea what they're doing outside of abysmal attempts to pander to everyone for a short period of time until the next game that comes along?

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It does seem like a frustrating situation, to be sure. But we can't know for sure unless somebody has a validated leak or a confirmed Sonic Team developer gives perspective on the matter.

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1 minute ago, SenEDDtor Missile said:

I honestly can't say. What I can say however is that they really should have seen it coming a mile away and it's hard to feel sympathetic to them considering how many years they've been at this and they still can't comprehend even the most basic of criticisms without managing to deliver in the most convoluted, backwards and just plain stupid way possible.

The problem isn't so much that Sonic Team can't comprehend basic criticisms, but that they're faced with ones that conflict with each other. For example, you can't simultaneously have Sonic friends be playable and Sonic's friends not present at all-- and yet a common criticism of the Colors and beyond games from fans is that they don't star Sonic's friends, whereas a common criticism of the games that do feature playable or even prominent friends and aren't 2D from professional critics is that the friends are present at all instead of just focusing on Sonic. Appealing to both are very important if they want the game to succeed-- the professional critics are the games' biggest publicity to the gaming community at large, while the fandom are the ones most likely to be providing the rest of the publicity as well as the ones interested in the games. So how are you supposed to reconcile those? Well, as you saw in Forces, they made two Sonics playable and included a character that you can modify to suit yourself. This satisfies the want for multiple playable characters without upsetting the critics with characters that aren't Sonic (since only one of the options is not Sonic) and the want for characters besides Sonic to play through the customizable characters.

The customizable aspect also means that Sonic Team doesn't have to decide how to characterize their new character for Forces. And boy, characterization is very contentious in Sonic. Should the character be dark and troubled like Shadow and Chaos? Or should the character be lighter and more comedic like Sticks and Yacker? Or should the character be some combination of both, like Chip and Blaze? Should the characterization be complicated like in the Adventure games or simple and straightforward like the Classics? Should the character be very involved in the plot or not? Should the character exist at all? And I don't work in the industry, so there's probably even more questions that I simply haven't thought of. Heck, just look at the below discussion, where a lot of people express different, often conflicting, viewpoints.

https://www.reddit.com/r/SonicTheHedgehog/comments/3egtrk/do_you_wish_sonic_would_return_to_the_darkedgy/

And I specifically selected it because people were reasonable and cordial about it and the discussion wasn't echo-chambery. Take it from somebody who used to do moderation work on social media groups about Sonic-- often having a conversation about this subject tend to blow up into a messy flame war.

Now, you might think that Sonic Forces is confused and misguided as a result. If that's the case, I agree with you. However, I can see where Sonic Team got these ideas from and why it would choose the direction of Forces that it did. Sonic Team (or should I say, Sonic Teams, given how the staff has been changed over the years) has been in a situation for many that's a lot more difficult and complicated than a lot of fans and professional critics give them credit for.

53 minutes ago, SenEDDtor Missile said:

We the fans are not the best bunch and we are capable of being incredibly petty and overly critical for the dumbest of reasons, but much of that is a justified reaction to SEGA and Sonic Team's incomprehensible level of sheer incompetence despite having well over a quarter of a decade to figure things out.

When has being overly critical and petty for the dumbest reasons ever been justified? Pointing out where Sonic Team has screwed up isn't being overly critical so long as the criticism is reasonable. Neither is complaining about a lack of direction for the series petty.

And again, it really ought to be Sonic Teams at this point. The staff has changed a lot over the years-- there was a huge purge after Sonic 06 as well as a restructure in 2015. The people brought on aren't necessarily bad at their job, but they often have little experience with developing for Sonic. This can be a positive and a negative-- the lack of fans means that they can give an objective, outsider's perspective on what the game needs, but on the flipside they might come up with ideas that aren't fitting for Sonic due to lack of familiarity.

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9 minutes ago, Mad Convoy said:

When has being overly critical and petty for the dumbest reasons ever been justified? Pointing out where Sonic Team has screwed up isn't being overly critical so long as the criticism is reasonable. Neither is complaining about a lack of direction for the series petty.

I'm not saying that being overly critical or petty is a good thing, but considering how from the outside it looks like Sonic Team is utterly incompetent, the reaction is at least understandable, even if not a good thing.

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Just now, SenEDDtor Missile said:

I'm not saying that being overly critical or petty is a good thing, but considering how from the outside it looks like Sonic Team is utterly incompetent, the reaction is at least understandable, even if not a good thing.

Thank you for explaining that, because in the original post it came off like you were saying that the overly critical and/or petty response is what Sonic Team deserves for its incompetance.

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Wading through all the bullshit to find what's legitimate can be hard enough on it's own. It's even worse when it comes to Sonic Team because they already have an affinity for doing things in a very strange way regardless of the feedback they get. 

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