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Why, exactly, should we kill off Modern Sonic?


TheConsul
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I've seen a lot of people arguing that for some reason Modern Sonic is so incredibly flawed to save the series he must be killed off.  Why?  What is so inherently wrong with the Modern games?  Is it the storylines?  The gameplay?  Both?  I will admit that the quality of Modern games and storylines aren't very consistent, but I feel that in many cases there were just as many problems with the Classic games.  Also, I've seen some people argue Boom's lack of quality should factor into Modern Sonic, which is an argument with so little coherence I will only address it with one sentence.  Sonic Blast and Sonic Spinball for the Game Gear are bad.  Ergo Classic Sonic is bad.  Actually, that argument has a bit more substance to it than Boom!  Blast used the standard Classic gameplay.  But I digress.  Ending the Modern games would destroy the series.  As a teenager with younger siblings, I can safely say that very few children are going to look at Mania and think "Hey, what a cool game!"  They like games like Skylanders (wait actually now they don't really) and Minecraft.  Some of them look at games from the 90s and think first "Hey, those look like Minecraft!"  That's their first association when they think of pixel art.  And while Mania got critical acclaim and sold very well, part of that was the novelty of "Hey, a new Classic Sonic game!  We haven't had those since the 90s!"  Eventually the novelty will wear off and the sales figures may not be enough to justify more.  Also, I've noticed that many people dislike the cast of characters.  Why?  Sure, some weren't very well-done, but most of those have been discarded.  And while you might not like Cream the Rabbit or Silver the Hedgehog, other people do, and they would be missed.  Why literally jetisson two-thirds of the fanbase to get...?!?  And that's the final point I have to make.  Most of the "REEEEEEEE KILL MODERN" people don't actually seem to want much more besides the removal of all elements of Modern Sonic.  Oh, sure, some want a reinvented open world exploration with momentum-based physics™ 3D gameplay style...but that's perfectly possible without killing off Modern Sonic!  Also, it isn't momentum-based physics, it's inertia.  Get your talking points right.  It isn't like putting Christian Whitehead in charge of the series is gonna make more Classic games, we can all be fairly certain he's getting to make a sub-series already.  Much of this is just pettiness and dislike of the cringy Modern fans.  Really, if they like the series, why try to drive them away from it?  Gatekeeping isn't very endearing to many people, y'know...

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While there's plenty of people who would prefer the momentum-based gameplay of Classic (when it's done right,) most people on this forum blame Sonic Team's lack of effort for anything that has been wrong with Forces or other recent games, not the "Modern Sonic" play style as a concept.

 

I was going to write a large post comparing the execution of the style in Forces to other Modern games, but I honestly don't think it's worth it. Just know that many, including myself, see merit in the high-speed obstacle course gameplay of Modern Sonic, but don't always like it's execution.

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In desperate times, expect to see the craziest solutions created. There is a few people who do really believe that all game problems could be solved just by switching a mere character design, and we know that's not true.

Also, it should be noted that only Sonic fans do perceive the difference between Classic and Modern. Common people do not have this notion.

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To get past the waning novelty of Classic, do something NEW. But are the Drop Dash and those one-dimensional goofy Hard-Boiled Recolors enough? They were enough when Mania came out, but after that? What about the innovations of the previous 2D games from the first Dark Age? The Advance series provided nice new mechanics, such as Boost Mode, that would be fun. Rush and Rivals could present even more opportunities and story ideas. Unlike Mania, these games even took themselves seriously, and explored new worlds while keeping the old in mind. And all of them shoot holes in the shitty friends theory. Probably not the ones from the second Dark Age, though. Kudos to the otherwise infamous Sonic 4 for the co-op maneuvers, though. Even some fan-games offer more new and interesting (interesting is the power word here, as opposed to just new) concepts than big-budget 2D console platformers IN GENERAL. 

 

These also have to be some pretty cosmopolitan entries, released on as many platforms as possible. Oh, and can Modern Sonic appear in a 2D classic game to repay the favor? Learn from the failures of other big 2D platformers like Rayman Legends.

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30 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

To get past the waning novelty of Classic, do something NEW. But are the Drop Dash and those one-dimensional goofy Hard-Boiled Recolors enough? They were enough when Mania came out, but after that?

Seeing as i found Mania more engaging in both gameplay and narrative tone than any 3D game so far, uh yeah probably. Classic Sonic's world has a lot of potential that can make for several wonderful new stories and themes if in the right hands. And when did simple funny cartoon characters become so under appreciated, anyway? The Heavies are charming additions to Eggman's army that aren't obnoxious and simply add a little character appeal to some of the bosses.

45 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

Unlike Mania, these games even took themselves seriously,

And another thing, How does mania not take itself seriously? Because of cute characters and big cartoon glove hands that shoot you out of a big gun? Or do you mean the gameplay? (cuz, uh, compared to everything else i don't think a sonic game has taken it's gameplay this seriously in like 15 years). Or is it that it's classic sonic and a lot of people like it better, so you felt a need to defend your preferences not by listing the strengths of modern sonic, but instead looking into the new classic sweetheart for superfluous issues like the tone being silly or having a comfortable and simple new move, and then trying to say the 2D Dimps games win over it simply for adding in a... boost... mode.... or co-op moves.... even though the core of those games fell apart and they have mediocre level design and unfair enemy placement and lackluster art direction and floaty, broken physics- but oh man Blaze sure looks sad to go back to her dimension after meeting Sonic.... this is pretty serious... guess they ARE better games after all... carry on.

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2 hours ago, Korke said:

In desperate times, expect to see the craziest solutions created. There is a few people who do really believe that all game problems could be solved just by switching a mere character design.

Absolutely Nobody believes this. This is silly.

What the argument is for ditching Modern Sonic's design is that Modern Sonic as a whole has been very damaging to the Sonic brand with constant mediocrity over the years. Without going into picking on people's favorite games or whatever, as a whole its undeniable that Sonic has not had a smooth transition to 3D and the quality of the main release titles since 1998 have been wildly inconsistent, and never "great" even at their best. There's merit in the idea of scrapping Modern and his concepts (or at least, reducing their exposure) and replacing it with a better concept and Classic design which has remained highly-regarded among the majority of the mainstream and critics. 

To be clear, it has nothing to do with Modern Sonic not having a great character design or anything. Modern Sonic (being taller, sleeker) was designed specifically for 3D and arguably does it better than classic does. Its about using the opportunity to refocus the brand all-around, in every area, while shedding the baggage of all the memes and poor reputation accumulated over the past two decades. Without a change in leadership and/or development staff with the games, it is meaningless and will do nothing. With a proper change though, removing Modern from the main games could do a lot to restore the franchise's mainstream image very quickly, especially with smart marketing. Its quite easy to see, actually. The only drawback is pissing off a small group of fans who are absolutely dedicated to everything Modern.... but that would be easy to deal with: Relegate Modern Sonic to a side series to be used as a development tool, allowing for more experimentation and those fans can still get what they want in things like an abundance of multiple playable characters and playstyle gimmicks, OCs, "shonen" story continuity, etc etc. Win Win for SEGA.

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On 11/6/2017 at 2:33 PM, Natie said:

Seeing as i found Mania more engaging in both gameplay and narrative tone than any 3D game so far, uh yeah probably. Classic Sonic's world has a lot of potential that can make for several wonderful new stories and themes if in the right hands. And when did simple funny cartoon characters become so under appreciated, anyway? The Heavies are charming additions to Eggman's army that aren't obnoxious and simply add a little character appeal to some of the bosses.

And another thing, How does mania not take itself seriously? Because of cute characters and big cartoon glove hands that shoot you out of a big gun? Or do you mean the gameplay? (cuz, uh, compared to everything else i don't think a sonic game has taken it's gameplay this seriously in like 15 years). Or is it that it's classic sonic and a lot of people like it better, so you felt a need to defend your preferences not by listing the strengths of modern sonic, but instead looking into the new classic sweetheart for superfluous issues like the tone being silly or having a comfortable and simple new move, and then trying to say the 2D Dimps games win over it simply for adding in a... boost... mode.... or co-op moves.... even though the core of those games fell apart and they have mediocre level design and unfair enemy placement and lackluster art direction and floaty, broken physics- but oh man Blaze sure looks sad to go back to her dimension after meeting Sonic.... this is pretty serious... guess they ARE better games after all... carry on.

There is nothing wrong to me with the Drop Dash Move. It actually feels great, almost like Sonic’s true ability for his Jump. Who’s to say Tails, Knuckles, and the like couldn’t also Peel-Out? But the Drop Dash is all him. And yes, we should actually be exploring Classic Sonic’s world and logic even more. And the thing is, the HBH came after the likes of the Deadly Six, making them feel redundant. But it was only a matter of circumstance. And don’t we already have Crash Bandicoot for that? And i’d take a bit more threat over just character appeal (not to say that doesn’t have it’s place).

 

The whole presentation of Mania doesn’t come off as being as serious as the original games did. The Dimps and Backbone games were superior in their worldbuilding aspects, not just innovations. I also agree about the level design in the later DIMPS/Backbone games being bad, though not to the extent of the ones from the second dark age. Same with the core of the games. But I totally disagree about the art direction. And the reason the dark and dramatic elements have such an impact is indeed because the characters are all so adorable. You just want to scoop them up into your arms for a re-assuring cuddle.

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19 minutes ago, Natie said:

Classic Sonic's world has a lot of potential that can make for several wonderful new stories and themes if in the right hands. And when did simple funny cartoon characters become so under appreciated, anyway?

For the Classic formula to evolve it would have to deviate from it's core tenet. Thematic elements don't matter when the formula becomes stale(which Mania has already showcased).

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The Heavies are charming additions to Eggman's army that aren't obnoxious and simply add a little character appeal to some of the bosses.

They follow the "Koopalings" trope that Lost World fell to. It's the same reason why I dislike that fan character of Eggman's daughter or pupil whatever. She doesn't fit in.

Lost World's "Koopalings" knock offs had much better character appeal.

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Because of cute characters and big cartoon glove hands that shoot you out of a big gun?

Mania is complete tonal and wordly shift from Sonic 3K. Not only does it not establish a setting to follow through with the story and thematic elements, it has all of these wacky aspects to it that is far removed from the other

more realistic levels in the game. Mania is very incoherent and I expected so from a game made by fans in this fashion. 

You can draw this direct parallel with The Force Awakens. It doesn't push the film-making genre forward, it reuses a plethora of objects from the original trilogy, wanted to so far be like the original in spirit and unintentionally created a disconnect within the series.

2 hours ago, Miragnarok said:

What about the innovations of the previous 2D games from the first Dark Age? The Advance series provided nice new mechanics, such as Boost Mode, that would be fun. Rush and Rivals could present even more opportunities and story ideas. Unlike Mania, these games even took themselves seriously, and explored new worlds while keeping the old in mind. And all of them shoot holes in the shitty friends theory. Probably not the ones from the second Dark Age, though. Kudos to the otherwise infamous Sonic 4 for the co-op maneuvers, though. Even some fan-games offer more new and interesting (interesting is the power word here, as opposed to just new) concepts than big-budget 2D console platformers IN GENERAL. 

The Advance series didn't make a huge impact in the technological frame work, 1:1 physics nor make the level design expand the previous games(Sonic Advance 1 is the only game that can be compared to the Classics. I deem it being better than Sonic 1 and on par with 2)Advance 2 and 3 really revved up the series's formula in terms of mechanics. The sense of speed and challenge has yet to be rivaled in the 2D Sonic genre, especially Sonic Advance 2(The "Earning your speed" comments only applies to here and Sonic 1).

 

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1 hour ago, UpCDownCLeftCRightC said:

Absolutely Nobody believes this. This is silly.

What the argument is for ditching Modern Sonic's design is that Modern Sonic as a whole has been very damaging to the Sonic brand with constant mediocrity over the years. Without going into picking on people's favorite games or whatever, as a whole its undeniable that Sonic has not had a smooth transition to 3D and the quality of the main release titles since 1998 have been wildly inconsistent, and never "great" even at their best. There's merit in the idea of scrapping Modern and his concepts (or at least, reducing their exposure) and replacing it with a better concept and Classic design which has remained highly-regarded among the majority of the mainstream and critics. 

To be clear, it has nothing to do with Modern Sonic not having a great character design or anything. Modern Sonic (being taller, sleeker) was designed specifically for 3D and arguably does it better than classic does. Its about using the opportunity to refocus the brand all-around, in every area, while shedding the baggage of all the memes and poor reputation accumulated over the past two decades. Without a change in leadership and/or development staff with the games, it is meaningless and will do nothing. With a proper change though, removing Modern from the main games could do a lot to restore the franchise's mainstream image very quickly, especially with smart marketing. Its quite easy to see, actually. The only drawback is pissing off a small group of fans who are absolutely dedicated to everything Modern.... but that would be easy to deal with: Relegate Modern Sonic to a side series to be used as a development tool, allowing for more experimentation and those fans can still get what they want in things like an abundance of multiple playable characters and playstyle gimmicks, OCs, "shonen" story continuity, etc etc. Win Win for SEGA.

Umm, you just kinda reinforced my point accidentally. I don't get it.

Unless you are actually defending the complete removal of 3D games. Which you said it wasn't the case back at the SEGA Forums.

Anyway, I just wanted to write again that, no, the "mainstream", or "common people" see no difference between Classic and Modern. Only fans and reviewers who know the franchise do have this difference when they think about Sonic.

EDIT: Thought it was worth mentioning that I've got this belief due to the hard time I had to convince my friends and colleagues from various groups that Mania was completely differente and made by other people, unlike the games they knew in the past (Heroes, Shadow, 06, Lost World...).

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18 minutes ago, Korke said:

Umm, you just kinda reinforced my point accidentally. I don't get it.

Unless you are actually defending the complete removal of 3D games.

Anyway, I just wanted to write again that, no, the "mainstream", or "common people" see no difference between Classic and Modern. Only fans and reviewers who know the franchise do have this difference when they think about Sonic.

If this was your point, you did not state it anywhere in your post. 

And most fans do want 3D Sonic games to continue being made, myself included of course....but the way they've been made in the Modern Sonic era has not been a successful direction for the brand, which is why Sonic's reputation has gone from almost universally liked and respected as a gaming franchise, to completely niche appeal and a laughingstock in the mainstream. Scrapping most of the ideas and concepts from the era, or at least reducing their exposure, would do an awful lot to help Sonic regain focus on what made him successful in the first place. Sonic badly needs consistency in the brand.

Also, Modern Sonic =/= 3D Sonic. Modern has been in both 2D and 3D entries. 3D games do not necessitate his design. The ideal in this hypothetical scenario would be that Classic Sonic is used for a revitalized, fully 3D series going forward. Do I believe that its absolutely necessary? No. Modern can do fine if he's managed right. But I do think, for certain, that using the Classic universe may have a stronger impact from a brands perspective, for numerous reasons.

Reviewers seeing a difference between the two is an important point, if my previous post is taken into consideration. In a scenario where developers and leadership changes and marketing goes in a different direction, swapping out Modern for Classic can easily be a strong symbolic move, for a dedication to restoring the series great gameplay.  Reviewers have always recognized the classic era for its great gameplay, fantastical style and simplicity. That being the marketing push going forward would help serve that tremendously.

I don't think any of this will happen. These are just my thoughts.

 

 

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56 minutes ago, Jar Jar Analysis 1138 said:

Mania is complete tonal and wordly shift from Sonic 3K. Not only does it not establish a setting to follow through with the story and thematic elements, it has all of these wacky aspects to it that is far removed from the other

I'll give you that it's different from 3K, but that's really the only game in that classic line that's THAT grounded and un-stylized (which I honestly consider a downgrade), and even then it has stuff like a goofy carnival world with balloons and springs and abstract landforms, googly-eyed chickens that blow air at you, a ridiculous death star parody with eggman's face slapped on it, ect. Mania's obviously taking from the brighter and nuttier tone of the other games, especially CD and Chaotix, where the art style was at it's best imo.  There's a bit more humor in Mania but like, honestly what's wrong with that? It's not really in your face and it feels tonally appropriate for a cartoon world, which like it or not, that's what Sonic's world is. Honestly, lighten up.

1 hour ago, Jar Jar Analysis 1138 said:

Lost World's "Koopalings" knock offs had much better character appeal.

Oh man, I completely disagree. (First off not sure why the koopalings have the copyright for "bad guys that work under the main bad guy")

The Deadly Six are badly written, badly designed and have far more generic character tropes than the HBH. They're just random abstract creatures that are there for no reason and have powers that are not communicated anywhere on their design. 

The HBH fit because they're mercenary robots that Eggman built. Simple. 

1 hour ago, Miragnarok said:

The whole presentation of Mania doesn’t come off as being as serious as the original games did. And the reason the dark and dramatic elements have such an impact is indeed because the characters are all so adorable. You just want to scoop them up into your arms for a re-assuring cuddle.

Geez, I dunno man, I thought it worked pretty well, the final area and boss had a very effective intimidating nature. Not to mention the Metal Sonic fight, the stormy Flying Battery, ect. A lot of moments in this game seem to be played straight and have a very fast paced, exciting nature too them. "dark and dramatic" doesn't really need to be a thing in Sonic for you to be invested, nothing in 3K is dark or dramatic, it's HOW that game tells it's story that makes it feel engaging and exciting. All the classic games are super cartoony but they have a confidence and earnestness that makes you take it seriously, like you could with a pixar movie. I never felt Mania was any different in that regard, it's not like Colors or Lost World or Boom that feel the need to constantly wink at the audience and be self aware, Mania's an earnest story. Just cuz it's got some fun gags sprinkled around doesn't make it total childish shlock like you seem to suggest. 

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31 minutes ago, UpCDownCLeftCRightC said:

Its quite easy to see, actually. The only drawback is pissing off a small group of fans who are absolutely dedicated to everything Modern.

Eh.. While the idea sounds..."Nice"...I'm not sure doing that would be suitable. How Sega defines Modern Sonic as of now is 3D Sonic from what it seems.They could go rush style but unless Sonic Team is doing it I don't want DIMPS again sadly.

I can see what you mean. 3D games as side titles and 2D games as mainline...What you that look like? The 2D games can't stick to this same quality like Mania if they were to achieve it. This would mean a massive overhaul on the classic formula to accommodate the larger budget. Unless you are talking about 2D modern games such as Advance and Rush to be the foreground and the classic be the background? 

Even so; Direction. A good chunk of the 3D titles(Heroes, Generations, Adventure 2/Adventure 1 and Unleashed) All ranged from decent to great all pointing towards leadership. Mania wasn't great because of 2D. Whitehead and his team put that greatness to work.

 

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I'm not saying we should. But SEGA/ST have a tendency to take extreme reactions and throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak (see: Killing the Adventure style after 06, immediately dropping parkour after Lost World, benching the extended cast for 11 years, etc.). I just wouldn't be surprised if they did, especially given Mania's reception.

If nothing else, its the end of the Boost formula, and the cast is going to disappear until the late 2020s again.

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3 minutes ago, Flyinpenguin117 said:

I'm not saying we should. But SEGA/ST have a tendency to take extreme reactions and throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak (see: Killing the Adventure style after 06, immediately dropping parkour after Lost World, benching the extended cast for 11 years, etc.). I just wouldn't be surprised if they did, especially given Mania's reception.

If nothing else, its the end of the Boost formula, and the cast is going to disappear until the late 2020s again.

If they ever return...

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4 minutes ago, Flyinpenguin117 said:

The quality of Sonic games seems to go in a cycle of increasing quality before a sudden drop off. I feel like even the general inclusion of the cast is going to become part of that cycle.

I’m still afraid they’ll eventually disappear entirely for good. Maybe one day the comics will be the only place we get to see them at all, other than maybe a handful in mobile phone games.

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1 hour ago, Miragnarok said:

I am inclined to agree. But what makes the 7 Dark Age handhelds so different in terms of intensity and tone? 

Hm? Not that much, aside from weaker art direction and some cornier stories in the Rush games. I'm not sure what your point is now? I was defending Mania from this whole "it doesn't take itself seriously" thing, cuz I think it does. It doesn't have to be serious to be taken seriously. Plus the handheld games are worse games than Mania so I don't think they'd be the best things to look to for ways to advance the classic formula. 

I'll tell ya how they should advance the classic gameplay tho, MAKING IT 3D FOR CHRIST SAKE. C'mon Sega, by all means Sonic would work perfectly in 3D, you can see everything in front of you much easier and the greater range of movement makes trickin' out with momentum and gliding across the stage like a mastermind much easier and more satisfying (if Utopia's anything to go by) then even the 2D games. 

You could even keep modern sonic in it (as much as I would prefer otherwise), just put the core Sonic gameplay in 3D, and it's a veritable goldmine of opportunity.

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7 minutes ago, Natie said:

Hm? Not that much, aside from weaker art direction and some cornier stories in the Rush games. I'm not sure what your point is now? I was defending Mania from this whole "it doesn't take itself seriously" thing, cuz I think it does. It doesn't have to be serious to be taken seriously. Plus the handheld games are worse games than Mania so I don't think they'd be the best things to look to for ways to advance the classic formula. 

I'll tell ya how they should advance the classic gameplay tho, MAKING IT 3D FOR CHRIST SAKE. C'mon Sega, by all means Sonic would work perfectly in 3D, you can see everything in front of you much easier and the greater range of movement makes trickin' out with momentum and gliding across the stage like a mastermind much easier and more satisfying (if Utopia's anything to go by) then even the 2D games. 

You could even keep modern sonic in it (as much as I would prefer otherwise), just put the core Sonic gameplay in 3D, and it's a veritable goldmine of opportunity.

Sure thing! Utopia is a great idea. Just make it in new environments to roam in. And it’s not like those seven can simply be completely swept under the rug insofar as they simply have a few bits to salvage.

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33 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

I’m still afraid they’ll eventually disappear entirely for good. Maybe one day the comics will be the only place we get to see them at all, other than maybe a handful in mobile phone games.

I mean.. that basically was reality between Generations and Forces. If they keep having development cycles this long, who knows? It could be 20 years before we see Blaze in a console again! Two more generations of Sonic fans born, never knowing the greatness of Blaze..

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8 minutes ago, Razule said:

I mean.. that basically was reality between Generations and Forces. If they keep having development cycles this long, who knows? It could be 20 years before we see Blaze in a console again! Two more generations of Sonic fans born, never knowing the greatness of Blaze..

But now that Forces apparently dun goofed, we might really lose them forever. Maybe even in mobile games and alternate media if we’re unlucky. I can name some other supporting casts that have faded away forever.

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