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Sonic Forces Development Speculation (Spoilers)


Stritix
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Skull Leader
1 hour ago, JezMM said:

While a lot of Sonic Generations kept Unleashed's hallway-heavy design, there's no denying the amount of freedom that a stage like (ironically enough considering the game we're comparing to here), Seaside Hill provided.  It showed that you COULD make a 3D Sonic stage with the kinds of branching paths reserved for 2D Sonic within the boost engine, and showed pretty good potential for the gameplay going forward.  Sadly, to this day, that was the best boost gameplay would ever be.

The funny thing is, Generations Seaside Hill is technically a "highway in the sky" type level like Heroes offered, with bottomless pits all over, but Sonic's water running turns those bottomless pits into a stage mechanic (and in some spots, a high-risk high-reward one at that).

I think Generation's SeaSide Hill was that game's best 3-D stage since it actually used that extra dimension to inter-connect several paths and allow different routes to explore and in different combinations, which intersect at different points and continue to branch into others, while still having the player move towards the same exact goal point.

One thing people need to really understand is that 3-D in Sonic is not going to ever be like Mario's 3-D (free-roaming, collecting stuff) since Sonic is more about moving through obstacle courses often designed more like corridors as they are much easier to design and have a more focused sense of direction, with the option to move to the sides, which allows a player to take shorter routes, enter others that have more obstacles as well as finding new paths.

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Oh shit...Physics Talk! Best head back out the door!

 

Nah, but honestly, Heroes/Shadow does feel slippery and even rubberband-y at times, while the tank-ish feel to Generations' 3d control was one of the things that made me eventually take a break from the game for a while. Don't remember really having that problem with Colors or Forces, though.

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Jovahexeon Jax Joranvexeon
On 7/7/2018 at 7:45 PM, DabigRG said:
On 11/15/2017 at 8:35 PM, Jovahexeon Pirate Ridley said:

 Hopefully staying away from the Sonic franchise after the mess he ignited. 

What mess?

Wait? You don't know? The one that critics used to use as a benchmark for how bad the series could be and would always mention in their reviews until they caught on how outdated and lame that was, to the pint where even IGN and Gamespot were rightfully getting called out for it? You know the one.

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2 hours ago, Jovahexeon Pirate Ridley said:

Wait? You don't know? The one that critics used to use as a benchmark for how bad the series could be and would always mention in their reviews until they caught on how outdated and lame that was, to the pint where even IGN and Gamespot were rightfully getting called out for it? You know the one.

Oooooh! I gotcha.

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  • 1 month later...

I’m literally just baffled by how short the levels are...it’s..they couldn’t seriously just say “oh yeah this is great!”, right? It wasn’t even worth how pricey the game was.

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  • 10 months later...

Oh, so we did talk about Forces's development in this part of the board!

Well, let's cover the different reasons and/or rumors attributed to it turning out the way it did:

  1. SonicTeam spent over half the gap since Lost World developing the Hedgehog Engine 2.
  2. The story was likely rewritten at least 3 major times from inception to release.
  3. It was allegedly supposed to be a spinoff game focused on the Avatar, but SEGA forced [Modern] Sonic in so it could be the anniversary game.
  4. The game is supposedly based more on the Lost World engine with Boost mechanics hastily thrown on.
  5. Aspects of the game and it's story were changed due to the polarizing reception of Lost World.
  6. Classic Sonic was thrown in and the Valtron was renamed to be the Phantom Ruby fairly late in development to tie into Sonic Mania.
  7. Mephiles was supposed to be one of the returning villains, but was likely removed due to the circumstances of his debut.
  8. An in-game model for Chaos Zero may never have been perfected, which may be why he lacks a bossfight.
  9. The game proper was designed in little over a year before it's release.
  10. Episode Shadow, the Tie-In comics, and possibly the Eggman PSA were greenlight not too far from the release date's reveal to add a little more to the game's lacking story.
  11. Only three level developers are credited for the final game--all relatively new.

Only three of these have any tangible weight, but they are all something to think about.

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On 7/19/2019 at 8:04 PM, DabigRG said:

Mephiles was supposed to be one of the returning villains, but was likely removed due to the circumstances of his debut.

Yeah, I remember posting an early draft of the script here like...a year ago I think? That referenced Mephiles. It was unearthed by Windii and Speeps. A lot of people doubted it (and I don't necessarily blame them, Mephiles just showing up out of nowhere after 11 years and Rouge speaking like she knows him even though he technically shouldn't even exist is kinda dumb) but it turns out that may have some weight to it.

And yeah, a lot of people kinda suspected most of that "four years" development went to the engine. For as much as people tout that about Forces, it feels like a game that was slapped together within a few months, and that's largely because it kinda was.

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1 hour ago, DreamSaturn said:

Yeah, I remember posting an early draft of the script here like...a year ago I think? That referenced Mephiles. It was unearthed by Windii and Speeps. A lot of people doubted it (and I don't necessarily blame them, Mephiles just showing up out of nowhere after 11 years and Rouge speaking like she knows him even though he technically shouldn't even exist is kinda dumb) but it turns out that may have some weight to it.

 

 

What I find interesting as well is how a)he's only mentioned once near the end in that draft and b)he's mentioned in the same, separate breath as Infinite. 

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Gotta Go Rational
Quote

An in-game model for Chaos Zero may never have been perfected, which may be why he lacks a bossfight.

I've always been confused about the game having no in-game model files for Chaos, specifically because of the cutscene where the Rookie vanishes the Phantom Ruby Sun. The Chaos replicas can clearly be seen in the background when you see Knuckles rallying the Resistance, and the presence of the customizable Rookie surely means it's in real time? Unless the cut between the Rookie and the Resistance on the ground is a seamless transition to a pre-rendered sequence?

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1 hour ago, Gotta Go Rational said:

 The Chaos replicas can clearly be seen in the background when you see Knuckles rallying the Resistance, and the presence of the customizable Rookie surely means it's in real time? Unless the cut between the Rookie and the Resistance on the ground is a seamless transition to a pre-rendered sequence?

Looking at the cutscenes(albiet one of questionable quality to say it's 720) now and I think that might just be what they did--whenever Buddy is actually onscreen, the lighting and resolution gets this brighter, somewhat more "thin-liney" look to it. This is particularly noticeable with Eggman, who with a variety of colors to his scheme is darker and smoother looking in most of the scene until he arrives at the top of the Tower.

I'll look up another video just be sure, but yeah.

 

EDIT: Okay, so the thin white lines I mentioned may have just been an affect of the first video I saw, but there is still a slight difference in terms of how comparatively bright the characters look. Also, the shadows on the characters become more jaggy.

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Pretty sure it is the case that they switch from pre-rendered to realtime - the cutscene where buddy gets introduced does the same thing. The first half before the character maker is pre-rendered, the second part isn't. 

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Gotta Go Rational

True, I'd thought that was the case with the character maker cutscenes, but with this particular scene it's relatively impressive just with how seamless it all appears, what with there being a couple of instant camera switches back and forth between the Rookie at the top of the tower and the battle on the ground with visible Chaos replicas. (Unlike the previous cutscene where Infinite first summons the sun and there's a very clear fade to black finish between the pre-rendered sequence and the Rookie's real time sequence.)

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Dr. Detective Mike
On 7/19/2019 at 8:04 PM, DabigRG said:

The game is supposedly based more on the Lost World engine with Boost mechanics hastily thrown on.

I feel like, out of all of these, this one just sticks out the absolute most like a sore thumb. From the very first level, you see that exact same blue worm from Desert Ruins shoot through the sand in Green Hill as though it were a resident of Sonic's planet and it gives off that strange vibe of something being a bit off. 

Then you see Casino Forest and immediately you're hit with the obvious fact that it's just Silent Forest but with a bunch of lights plastered on top of it. The strange Lost World looking green pastures in the background of Sunset Heights that a lot of people were speculating at the time was there because of crossing dimensions and what not seems to have just been the leftover dregs of Windy Hill.

Then you have stuff like the snake in the first battle with Infinite which sticks out as the only time where the gravity stuff from Lost World with the tube landscapes comes back. 

The entire rest of the game kind of feels like it was just built on top of that game and a lot of the concepts and assets were either re-worked or sloppily removed to create this weird Frankenstein's monster of a product.

11 hours ago, Gotta Go Rational said:

I've always been confused about the game having no in-game model files for Chaos, specifically because of the cutscene where the Rookie vanishes the Phantom Ruby Sun. The Chaos replicas can clearly be seen in the background when you see Knuckles rallying the Resistance, and the presence of the customizable Rookie surely means it's in real time? Unless the cut between the Rookie and the Resistance on the ground is a seamless transition to a pre-rendered sequence?

That entire scene baffles me. Namely, the thing that sticks out the most is how horrific and shitty the background looks. It doesn't even look like something someone would use as a background to test their fan-made Sonic engine.

And the big ball of light (the one that's not the giant sun that Infinite makes) is creating this horrible looking lighting disaster that bounces off Sonic's skin in the worst way. It looks so awful. 

Related image

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prettyinplague
On 7/19/2019 at 9:04 PM, DabigRG said:

Oh, so we did talk about Forces's development in this part of the board!

Well, let's cover the different reasons and/or rumors attributed to it turning out the way it did:

  1. SonicTeam spent over half the gap since Lost World developing the Hedgehog Engine 2.
  2. The story was likely rewritten at least 3 major times from inception to release.
  3. It was allegedly supposed to be a spinoff game focused on the Avatar, but SEGA forced [Modern] Sonic in so it could be the anniversary game.
  4. The game is supposedly based more on the Lost World engine with Boost mechanics hastily thrown on.
  5. Aspects of the game and it's story were changed due to the polarizing reception of Lost World.
  6. Classic Sonic was thrown in and the Valtron was renamed to be the Phantom Ruby fairly late in development to tie into Sonic Mania.
  7. Mephiles was supposed to be one of the returning villains, but was likely removed due to the circumstances of his debut.
  8. An in-game model for Chaos Zero may never have been perfected, which may be why he lacks a bossfight.
  9. The game proper was designed in little over a year before it's release.
  10. Episode Shadow, the Tie-In comics, and possibly the Eggman PSA were greenlight not too far from the release date's reveal to add a little more to the game's lacking story.
  11. Only three level developers are credited for the final game--all relatively new.

Only three of these have any tangible weight, but they are all something to think about.

To me, it was, without a doubt, rewritten several times and rushed. What I've noticed a theme of with games that turn out either underwhelming to disastrous is they often are subjected to severe crunch, and rushing to get everything done and over with on time instead of extending your release date is never a good idea. Video game developers for whatever reason cannot seem to grasp that crunch culture a good game does not make. 

(I don't think Forces is terrible, just mediocre at best.)

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Gotta Go Rational

I think that budget/production value is also a sometimes overlooked factor in why Forces turned out the way it did. I know it’s easy for us to at times simply write off missed opportunities as “Laziness” or “Uninspired” (and they may well play a role too), but the amount of money being put into the game’s development is often a vital component as to whether or not their true ambitions can be realized too, and it seems like Sonic games aren’t really getting the budgets they used to. This is even reflective in their prices at launch, with Forces and Team Sonic Racing both releasing significantly cheaper than a lot of other games.

I kinda hope that Forces’ budget was attributed when it was going to be somewhat of a spin-off focused much more on the Rookie (allegedly), with Sonic’s role only being greatly increased after the fact, and that SEGA will majorly beef up the budget for a 30th anniversary mainline title. Would be great to see another game like Unleashed, which I’d wager to be the most expensive Sonic game ever made, with a couple of others close behind it. Although given how much of a success the relatively low-cost Mania was, perhaps SEGA will think that smaller budgets are the way forward.

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  • 3 months later...

Since we actually have this thread, here's a few details I didn't know about the earlier versions, assuming this source is accurate:

Quote

 They worked on the script from January 2016 with the first draft all the way to August 2017 with Episode Shadow.  

-Mega Death Egg Robot in VS Eggman to Egg Dragoon  

-Mega Death Egg Robot in Guardian Rock to the Death Crab    Marine Base/Spaceport to Chemical Plant (yeah they literally did that)  

-Casino to Mystic Jungle  

-Prison Satellite to Death Egg    

Interesting to know that the Mega Death Egg Robot was apparently gonna be a recurring presence, non?

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  • 2 months later...

Tried looking for another place to put this, but didn't quite find one.

Someone on Reddit was tinkering around with Forces' files and found some unused programming and assets:

  • Zavok was gonna be open for attack during the Death Queen's charge
  • The Mega DER could spawn Valkeen
  • Infinite apparently would've distinguished Buddy's gender before his bossfight
  • A WireTrack in the Pyramid level 
  • EggPawn's would visibly search for you if further away
  • Unused animations for Metal Sonic
  • A laughing goalpost of Classic Robotnik

It's mostly minor stuff, but there ya go; there are a few more related videos on Youtube as well. Also, the latter may have been reused from Generations.

 

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  • 1 year later...
The Deleter

I'm having trouble finding the source for several of the previously assumed development details, so I figure rather than making an entirely new topic for it, I'll just post these here for further documentation:

2npxhky.jpg

This excerpt from Iizuka is taken from the Forces OST notes, and mentions some slight details about Forces development: How the game had major changes and troubled future at certain points in the middle of development, which would seemingly back up the Sonic Wars and beta script situations, and how Iizuka relocated during the middle of development for the game back during March 2016.

(another detail worth noting is that the overseas offices requested no vocal tracks in Sonic Generations lol)

SonicForcesDevelopment01c-2.png

https://tailschannel.com/sonic-the-hedgehog/studio/sonic-forces-development-details-uncovered/

And in the translated article here, CGWorld reports on a development timeline that extends past the "one year of development" claims many cite the game's rough results on. Engine development consisted of one year of planning and research, and two years of production, while some of the main tools for the game production were developed for the explicit purpose of the simultaneous development of the game alongside it, with the article stating "Because game development was going on at the same time as engine development, it took a lot of trial and error on part of the designers to adapt to the new way of making things until the flow of production was fixed."

Unclear which year the following sentence refers to, though.

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