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The strict split between 'Classic' and 'Modern'

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7 minutes ago, Balding Spider said:

This is how you evolve a game franchise. You see what works from previous titles, take what does work and build upon it while rationally making changes if needed.

This is actually the reason why Sonic IMO was destined to work in 3D and why I'm still flabbergasted to a degree that it hasn't worked so far. Sonic's tendency to be responsive to manifolds in 2D you think would increase the variety exponentially with adding a whole new dimension to the system and thus a whole new way to look at environments. I've said that Mega Drive stages are really just cross-sections of what could be created in 3D with proper care. Windy Valley Beta above starts to show this philosophy. 

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7 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

I mean, it's not, though. Modern Sonic is still at least half 2D and I don't expect Sonic Team is going to change that any time soon.

I think there are clear signs that they are though. Classic Sonic is no longer Modern Sonic's younger self, the fact he is from a different dimension cements the idea that the Classic Universe is separate from the Modern Universe. The marketing around Sonic at the moment is very much pushing 2D as Classic Sonic's domain, with the Mania brand, Classic Sonic in Forces etc.

When was the last time a 2D Sonic game was made that wasn't strictly in the 1996 Sonic bubble? I know Lost World and the Boost games use 2D, but that's a crutch to keep up the shallow 3D gameplay. Sonic 4, Mania, Classic Sonic now being from a different, separate dimension. And it looks like it is going even further down that direction with Plus, bringing back Mighty and Ray because there are so few classic characters to reuse. And I can bet the inevitable Mania sequel will continue this, maybe add Classic Amy and keep the foot firmly in 1996 and pretend nothing after Sonic and Knuckles ever happened. 

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Having a rocky jump to 3D was not a problem. Continuing to be rocky is the problem.

I still consider SA1, the first attempt, to be way superior than every modern Sonic game except Generations.

What I can't accept is, even after all the hell we already been through, we get a insulting game like Forces in the end.

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14 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

I mean, it's not, though. Modern Sonic is still at least half 2D and I don't expect Sonic Team is going to change that any time soon.

But most of those characters don't appear playable in that style anyway, the only other character whose ever been in the boost formula is Shadow. Their playable appearances are things like Sonic Dash, Runners, Speed Battle, the upcoming racing game, the Mario and Sonic spinoffs etc. Out of all of those, only Runners is 2D, and that's not really going to satiate anyone who wants an experience like Advance or Rush when it was an endless runner where your one option was to tap the screen. 

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2 minutes ago, Plasme said:

I think there are clear signs that they are though. Classic Sonic is no longer Modern Sonic's younger self, the fact he is from a different dimension cements the idea that the Classic Universe is separate from the Modern Universe. The marketing around Sonic at the moment is very much pushing 2D as Classic Sonic's domain, with the Mania brand, Classic Sonic in Forces etc.

That Classic is strongly associated with 2D doesn't mean they aren't going to keep having 2D sections in modern games.

2 minutes ago, Plasme said:

When was the last time a 2D Sonic game was made that wasn't strictly in the 1996 Sonic bubble?

Runners Adventure, last year.

2 minutes ago, Plasme said:

I know Lost World and the Boost games use 2D, but that's a crutch to keep up the shallow 3D gameplay

True as that is, it doesn't make them any less 2D, so I don't see what relevance it has.

2 minutes ago, VEDJ-F said:

But most of those characters don't appear playable in that style anyway, the only other character whose ever been in the boost formula is Shadow. Their playable appearances are things like Sonic Dash, Runners, Speed Battle, the upcoming racing game, the Mario and Sonic spinoffs etc. Out of all of those, only Runners is 2D, and that's not really going to satiate anyone who wants an experience like Advance or Rush when it was an endless runner where your one option was to tap the screen. 

Mania doesn't have anything to do with that, though. Sonic Team's about as likely to make Advance 4 or Rush 3(4?) and put in a bunch of other characters with or without Mania.

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To answer the op, gotta say, no. As much as I hate this whole divided franchise thing they're going for, the only benefit of it is trying to keep things in their respective eras. As much as I'd personally like to see characters like Rouge or Blaze get carried over into a Mania 2, that's simple not what a lot of actual Classic fans want. It's why Ray and Mighty were met with such fanfare. While they've been given no character to speak of over the past two decades, they're simple and live on their gameplay styles. That seems to be the number one thing when it comes to the classic cast. Not to mention that characters like Shadow would be difficult to make in that style because they've often had an important presence beyond gameplay. Traits that don't really translate to the classic style because those games never utilize such things. It's not what people who enjoy the classic games want (from what I've seen) so I think the split is a benefit in that case.

Though I am a lot more on the Modern side of things so I could be off base with these observations.

Though, on a side note, I'm still going to heavily argue for Amy in Mania 2. Just because she's had a presence past the Classic era doesn't mean she has any less of a right to be in there. Like, she still predates the Saturn. I'm fine with Might and Ray but again... really rather have seen her inclusion instead.

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17 minutes ago, A crocodile said:

This is actually the reason why Sonic IMO was destined to work in 3D and why I'm still flabbergasted to a degree that it hasn't worked so far. Sonic's tendency to be responsive to manifolds in 2D you think would increase the variety exponentially with adding a whole new dimension to the system and thus a whole new way to look at environments. I've said that Mega Drive stages are really just cross-sections of what could be created in 3D with proper care. Windy Valley Beta above starts to show this philosophy. 

Well with Sonic it's been a far bigger issue for ST to put more focus on padding out the length of the game with gimmicks and alternate gameplay. But as for the rest... it's just either lack of vision or incompetence. Or both.

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2 minutes ago, Balding Spider said:

Well with Sonic it's been a far bigger issue for ST to put more focus on padding out the length of the game with gimmicks and alternate gameplay. But as for the rest... it's just either lack of vision or incompetence. Or both.

Oh trust me I know, but it's just such an interesting result we've gotten where it seems like the most obvious results of going to 3D in a Sonic context has been avoided nearly completely. 

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I was kinda put off by the idea of a timeline split at first since it just seemed like pointlessly dividing up an already-nonsensical canon, but post-Mania I've... kinda warmed up to it, actually. It pretty much means that the Mania lads can do whatever they want plot-wise without stepping on the toes of Sonic Team and causing plotholes for the remaining tatters of the modern canon, and to me that sounds pretty bloody coolio™ innit.

 

As a bonus this new classic continuity probably won't have to worry about the stupid-as-hell "two worlds" bollocks wot the modern universe has now, which in my eyes is always a major plus. Good stuff.

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1 hour ago, Ayliffe said:

I was kinda put off by the idea of a timeline split at first since it just seemed like pointlessly dividing up an already-nonsensical canon, but post-Mania I've... kinda warmed up to it, actually. It pretty much means that the Mania lads can do whatever they want plot-wise without stepping on the toes of Sonic Team and causing plotholes for the remaining tatters of the modern canon, and to me that sounds pretty bloody coolio™ innit.

 

As a bonus this new classic continuity probably won't have to worry about the stupid-as-hell "two worlds" bollocks wot the modern universe has now, which in my eyes is always a major plus. Good stuff.

It also makes me think we need a Dreamcast split, if Sonic Team continues acting like this towards their established characters and world. There can be a Modern world with all the Yacker crap Sonic Team wants, and a Dreamcast world for the fans of those games.

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It is kind of frustrating to me that Sega has been humoring the idea that classic and modern are separate identities. Classic and Modern Sonic didn't strike me as something so different that it was non compatible, or at least not much more different than any long running series that's been through growing pains and art shifts.
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It feels to me like it's close to pandering to the obsession with Sonic's heyday among and not much more, and on SEGA's front it's been that since the start since they went out of the way in Sonic generations to flanderize elements of Classic to make it seem more different than it was. Sonic is mute now, despite being given a voice as soon as the opportunity presented itself across all media in the classic games. The cutesy angle is played up over the attitude he's meant to have. He's waaaay shorter than Modern despite the fact that they're supposed to be similar in age and height etc. There's all sorts of design nuances and shit they had to take on to make you believe Classic was different because it would be near impossible to deny it was just an art shift if they had just been honest with it.

I don't really blame the Mania devs for this. They were probably the first to dig in and actually make something that resembles the spirit of the old Sonic games since SEGA first started trying way back with Sonic 4. I just hope the entire Sonic brand learns something from it and builds on it. I don't like the gameplay I love and the world/characters I love being separate entities, and making them separate timelines in-universe just complicates things even further.

 

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One species may descend from another, but that doesn't mean they're still compatible. The transition from classic to modern may have been more or less gradual, but I think at some point (it's hard to say exactly when), the Sonic that we were dealing with was no longer the Sonic they started with.

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3 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

One species may descend from another, but that doesn't mean they're still compatible. The transition from classic to modern may have been more or less gradual, but I think at some point (it's hard to say exactly when), the Sonic that we were dealing with was no longer the Sonic they started with.

 

Which probably wouldn't have been an inherently bad thing if they had managed to get their act together and made continuous improvements as opposed to completely derailing things into the mess we have now. It's a pity too considering my thoughts here:

https://board.sonicstadium.org/profile/2255-seneddtor-missile/?status=918785&type=status

And YES, I know YOU think SA1 - SA2 was bad for the same reasons I think it was interesting, but I'm not here to argue over something I know we aren't likely to ever come to an agreement on, just making an observation on how the progression, even if not perfect was at least somewhat natural and logical.

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21 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

One species may descend from another, but that doesn't mean they're still compatible. The transition from classic to modern may have been more or less gradual, but I think at some point (it's hard to say exactly when), the Sonic that we were dealing with was no longer the Sonic they started with.


"Sonic isn't the same as when it began" goes without saying and is normal for a long running series.

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I'm not sure if I follow OP's argument, bit I'll take a guess that it is about 2-D Genesis styled games being now considered exclusive to the "classic" era, which I personally feel is a silly move motivated by nothing else other than it being a publicity stunt, much like the Sonic 4 character countdown was to pretend that "we are listening to our audience".

Neither do I see why would it be that much of a big deal if instead of using the classic era, we could instead have Genesis- styled games that used the modern cast as, frankly, I believe that it has a much more interesting and varied selection of characters to implement. 

Although, the way the can be implemented is something that concerns me because, ever since Amy was featured in Sonic Advance, I feel that making characters in the same style as Tails and Knuckles (as in, they have all of Sonic's same exact moves + one or two extra abilities) is a step backwards... even more if any of said extra abilities happen to be yet another variation of flight due to how I perceive that particular skill as being not just the most overused (like, just how many more flight characters do we need?) but also due to my personal belief of flight, as a permanent character ability, to be one of the worst things you can have in a platforming game due to how it essentially trivializes the inherent challenge of this particular genre and requires extra design work on the level layouts to ensure that they are not abused, an issue that I don't think exists with non-flight characters.

This is why in Advance 2 I was dissapointed to see that with Cream they went to the same old mold, as well as why I have no interest whatsoever in either Mighty nor Ray as they too represent the same face of this problem where characters eventually feel samey and offer little actual incentive to play and experiment with new and original moves and how it affects the way you play in conjunction with the rest of the game (level layouts and physics).


Now, if the topic is about the separation of Modern and Classic in general as unique franchises, then I still think that this is unecessary since you can have a modern world with as much charm as that of the classic era simply by getting rid of the things that create issues, particularly those outlandish stories that felt like the grotesque love child of DBZ mixed with Final Fantasy, since I don't think that a franchise populated by cartoony looking characters should ever take itself too seriously. Just pretend that things like Shadow didn't exist (let's be honest, this character was more product of that time when anime was starting to become mainstream than something that belonged to how the franchise originally was like) in the same way Sonic Team no longer wants to have anything to do with characters like Eggman Nega... Otherwise the only solution I can think to really solve the issue is a fresh restart to give more coherence, while striving to maintain consistency with the general tone of the franchise in order to avoid the mistakes of the 2000's era.

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In terms of the split dimensions thing: if we find out that SEGA has decided the classic games never happened in the "Modern" world, that's when I'll get pissed. I don't really care otherwise. There being an in-story universe where the Classic designs are still a thing is something I actually like, if they'd actually keep it separate.

In fact that's it, that's the part I really don't want to see again anytime soon (if ever): another Gens/Forces crossover game. It was cool as an anniversary celebrating one-off premise and that's how it shoulda stayed. Like Josh was talking about, I'm not a huge fan of how "Classic Sonic" was portrayed in those games anyway, even putting aside the jarring silence (which managed to be the #1 most pandering thing in a game all about fanservice) I'm sure it would've been possible to get across his attitude perfectly well if they had wanted to. Eh.

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20 minutes ago, Skull Leader said:

I'm not sure if I follow OP's argument, bit I'll take a guess that it is about 2-D Genesis styled games being now considered exclusive to the "classic" era, which I personally feel is a silly move motivated by nothing else other than it being a publicity stunt, much like the Sonic 4 character countdown was to pretend that "we are listening to our audience".

Neither do I see why would it be that much of a big deal if instead of using the classic era, we could instead have Genesis- styled games that used the modern cast as, frankly, I believe that it has a much more interesting and varied selection of characters to implement. 

Although, the way the can be implemented is something that concerns me because, ever since Amy was featured in Sonic Advance, I feel that making characters in the same style as Tails and Knuckles (as in, they have all of Sonic's same exact moves + one or two extra abilities) is a step backwards... even more if any of said extra abilities happen to be yet another variation of flight due to how I perceive that particular skill as being not just the most overused (like, just how many more flight characters do we need?) but also due to my personal belief of flight, as a permanent character ability, to be one of the worst things you can have in a platforming game due to how it essentially trivializes the inherent challenge of this particular genre and requires extra design work on the level layouts to ensure that they are not abused, an issue that I don't think exists with non-flight characters.

This is why in Advance 2 I was dissapointed to see that with Cream they went to the same old mold, as well as why I have no interest whatsoever in either Mighty nor Ray as they too represent the same face of this problem where characters eventually feel samey and offer little actual incentive to play and experiment with new and original moves and how it affects the way you play in conjunction with the rest of the game (level layouts and physics).


Now, if the topic is about the separation of Modern and Classic in general as unique franchises, then I still think that this is unecessary since you can have a modern world with as much charm as that of the classic era simply by getting rid of the things that create issues, particularly those outlandish stories that felt like the grotesque love child of DBZ mixed with Final Fantasy, since I don't think that a franchise populated by cartoony looking characters should ever take itself too seriously. Just pretend that things like Shadow didn't exist (let's be honest, this character was more product of that time when anime was starting to become mainstream than something that belonged to how the franchise originally was like) in the same way Sonic Team no longer wants to have anything to do with characters like Eggman Nega... Otherwise the only solution I can think to really solve the issue is a fresh restart to give more coherence, while striving to maintain consistency with the general tone of the franchise in order to avoid the mistakes of the 2000's era.

Now, now, we shouldn’t go too far the other direction either, as seen in Lost World, which felt like Garfield meets Happy Days. Lost World didn’t feel good enough. Somewhere in between those two extremes is enough. 

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22 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

Lost World was the closest thing to the Classics since Sonic Adventure...2

I was speaking strictly of the writing and presentation. The controls were fine.

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I'm concerned as well, I think that the existence of Mania and a possible spin-off series of sequels, makes the possibility of having a product similar to the Advance series impossible, and I think it's a bad thing.

I don't want the momentum based gameplay and classic-like level design to stay exclusive to the classic universe, it's an huge waste of potential. I know people will eventually get tired of Classic Sonic and its limitations, but this means that for at least 8 or 10 years we will be stuck with Classic Sonic and Boost Sonic as the only alternatives, because you know that it requires time for things to change.

All I want is something like the Advance series, something that brings elements from the classics into the modern world, a sort of hybrid of both universes, without stupid limitations such as "that gameplay mechanic can't be in the game because it belongs to the modern games", or "that character can't be in the game because it's a modern character"; I want some good old 2D momentum based Sonic without the constraint of being Classic-only.

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I think it's rather worrying that Sonic Team appear to be going all-in on this false dichotomoy of Classic and Modern.  It erects a barrier between the way the classics actually played and what might be done with the modern games, implying that there's nothing that can be learned from the momentum-based 2D era and that its ideas will never be carried forwards into 3D; and on the other side, the whole construction of "Modern Sonic" is a fallacy that covers an increasingly diverse number of gameplay and narrative styles.  Barring off all communication between the two is a recipe for stagnation.

I am far from being a huge fan of much of what's been introduced to the series since the Adventure era.  But, as the Advance and even the Rush games show (precursor to the Boost though they may have been), there's simply no obligation to actually respect all of the clutter.  It's not as if Shadow changed the series forever; he's barely ever in the games.  I don't see why it shouldn't be possible to make a 2D or even 3D platformer which respects the series's classic gameplay origins and tries to bring something new to the table whilst embracing the post-Adventure ideas which have actually worked.  A Classic-style game with Cream or even Blaze in it?  Sure, why not?  2D and momentum-based games do not need to be prequels, and they certainly don't need to be set in a completely different universe to that illusory "Modern Sonic" without a meaning.

It's ridiculous that they're throwing up this wall at the exact same time they're making Mania and Forces narratively interdependent!

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You know what I find saddest? I remember people suggesting that Sonic needs divide like that.

"Shadow needs his own game", "Sonic could use a reboot", "Why is Sonic's planet full of people". Sega is actually pretty good at listening to its fandom, but not to great at executing those wishes, either taking them to the extreme or simply poorly handling.

I mean, both Sonic Forces and 06. are exactly what I wanted on paper (minus stuff like a princess or classic Sonic),  in practice lacked some/a lot of polish.

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Responding to the OP, I do feel like the character split between Classic and Modern was just SEGA being worried about a brand/plot confusion that wouldn't have necessarily even existed.

Before Sonic Generations, no-one really broke Sonic up into sections the way we have since.  With the exception of a few unhealthily-obsessive fans, no-one had any trouble saying that Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic were the same character just rendered in different art styles.  When Generations plonked them next to each other, that reality became a bigger leap to stomach (as evidenced by how many people have questioned how Classic Sonic could possibly "grow up" into Modern Sonic, when these design differences - and even the jokey moments were the in-game characters acknowledge them - are just for our benefit as an audience, and not really "canon" in any tangible way).

Honestly, if Sonic Mania had come out and SEGA had said "yes this game is set after the most recent entry, Sonic Lost World", I wouldn't have really questioned it.  "Oh they're using the classic art style for this one, makes sense" is all it would've taken for me to accept it.  If they still wanted to include Classic as a seperate playstyle in Forces, they could've made Classic Sonic there be a result of the heroes using a piece of the Phantom Ruby to create a second Sonic or something, I dunno.  Of course that's not what they did, so now this seperate dimensions thing is solidly canon and we're stuck with it, and that's... whatever, I'm totally cool with the headcanon that first time through the plot went Classics  -> Sonic 4 -> Moderns -> Generations, and then Classic Eggman from Generations went back in time and created a seperate dimension by changing history by coming up with a new plan, and thus Sonic Mania happens instead of Sonic 4.

But... the whole thing really was just unnecessary, is all.  They could've just made it be art styles for different games, as it always was until Generations (and I don't berate any Sonic fans for gravitating towards this whole "seperation of eras" thing, I think it's human nature to enjoy the ability to categorise things into neat little boxes - it's one of the reasons I've always been fond of the Sonic franchise for how neatly/consistently most titles tend to organise their game content too with everything from stages to game modes to soundtracks etc).

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