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ClassicKnuckles

Guys... Was Unleashed Supposed to be the Last Sonic Game?

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Think about it.... Sonic going on his grandest adventure ever, one last time. He travels his world, seeing all the sights one last time. They also went big with everything. The level length, the boost gameplay, the graphics, the story, the music. Everything. If Sonic Unleashed didn't sell as well as it did... Then would they have continued it? The previous games' reception were at rock bottom as well. Was it intended to be the last Sonic game?

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I always felt like it was meant to be an attempt to recapture what made Sonic work. Sure they couldn't help themselves with the Werehog gimmick, but it went back to Sonic's roots. He was an adventurer who traveled the world and for some reason or another would have to face off with Eggman. To me, even without the Werehog serving as gameplay padding the story works and is pure sonic to me and a worthwhile blueprint to rebuild the series from. How Sonic became a bad comedian going forward is just one of those things I was never able to wrap my head around.

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I'm sure most Sonic games from 1994 to 2017 have been made with at least one person on the team thinking 'this will definitely be the last one.' That's not even me dunking on the series, I'm just saying that if I were in those shoes I'd think about it at some point.

Aside from that, I would say Unleashed actually gives off the opposite vibe for the most part. For one thing, they straight up reinvented their take on Sonic (granted they possibly looked to Rush for inspiration, perhaps because of how the handheld games were generally well received compared to, well, you know--but that's a whole other discussion), which seems like a weird thing to do for a finale. That and with a long running series, you don't only go all out if you're thinking it's going to be the last one. I mean...'06 certainly went all out too (just with much worse results) and at some point they clearly intended for it to be a "new beginning" of some sort.

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No, not at all.  Sonic is a huge and powerful franchise that, even at the time of Unleashed, was still gaining praise through it's handheld releases, so at the very worst, maybe they would have focused on those cheaper-to-produce games instead of continuing to make console ones if Unleashed had been a colossal flop.

If anything, Unleashed comes off to me as very much a "new beginning" for the franchise.  They shed all the narrative (and a bunch of gameplay) baggage of the Adventure-2006 games and focused on redefining Sonic and finding a new identity for him.  Every game goes as big as each individual product requires - and Unleashed happened to lend itself to being grand in scope.

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19 minutes ago, ClassicKnuckles said:

Think about it.... Sonic going on his grandest adventure ever, one last time. He travels his world, seeing all the sights one last time. They also went big with everything. The level length, the boost gameplay, the graphics, the story, the music. Everything. If Sonic Unleashed didn't sell as well as it did... Then would they have continued it? The previous games' reception were at rock bottom as well. Was it intended to be the last Sonic game?

No. 

It WAS intended to be a "saving throw" game of sorts after the series's rep was in the toilet, so they did try to make the "ultimate" Sonic game of sorts. Sometimes that can make things seem final, but I doubt that Sega would have given up on Sonic after that considering how well it sells.

Unleashed was more of a soft reboot than anything, but it's similar to some of the other Sonic games in a lot of ways so I get why you feel the way you do.

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No.

Developers don't tend to throw their all into a game planning it to be the final unless it has been specifically planned to be a finale end. As in - they literally announce "this is our finale", and of course they would, because then they'd likely be able to push more sales, especially for the concept of "Sonic's last grand adventure!". Similar to what Uncharted 4 did.

As for all the things you listed, I mean they aren't exactly special, and that pains me to say because I love Unleashed as a game. But...

-Level Length - They're about 2-6 minutes long, and the only ones approaching six minutes would be Jungle Joyride. Eggmanland doesn't count due to being a mix of Day/Night. Even Gens had Day stages that lasted to about 6-10 minutes by the end so this is a moot point entirely. Earlier levels in the series was also around that length.

-The boost gameplay means nothing, it's clearly a new gameplay style to try revitalize Sonic as a series, after 06 practically demolished any love for the Adventure style. 

At the end, these claims of "going big or going home" isn't something to throw effort in when you're doing a finale game, it's literally something any half-respecting game developer should be doing. Your game is meant to be a quality experience, especially at a massive jacked up price point compared to other media sources. What you're saying is "evidence" of a big Sonic game is literally an attempt to put quality back into the series after the total shitshow that was 06.

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I'm pretty much just echoing what others have said, but... Nah. This wasn't Sonic's 'Final Fantasy'.

Unleashed was meant to be more of a "grand re-opening" for Sonic than a "grand finale", trying to begin anew and recover from the negative impact of 2006-07.

And... well, it kind of payed off, I guess? At least for a few more years.

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No, probably not. A lot of what you said can easily be applied to every game after like, Sonic & Knuckles. There was a time when Sonic Adventure was the biggest Sonic game ever released, but that most certainly was not the last Sonic game. 

Usually finales are planned (let alone announced) way ahead of time, even if they weren't it wouldn't really make sense for Sega to suddenly stop with their big flagship franchise.

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No.

Sonic Unleashed was marketed as a fresh start for the series and that is coming from the producer of the game (where the info on that is probably lost now but it was opposite of the typical back to its roots that nearly every other game since Heroes mention). Not a reboot per say since the last game before Unleashed was like a reboot mixed with a continuity that didn't pan out, hence the redesigns of Sonic and Eggman. If anything Unleashed is the start of the current style of Modern Sonic that Colours and Generations expanded on in different ways. It was made to impress due to ambition from the production team such as the Hedgehog Engine (the really good lighting system that more recently other games did their own take on global illumination, in 2008 it sounded futuristic), the World Adventure angle of the game, the detail of the characters yet focused on something that the series didn't get much of and that's polish. It wasn't fully polished but much more than many of the Sonic games at the time. It didn't really go the way it wanted due to well people didn't like the Werehog that took up half of the game and got lowish scores at the time, plus the producer left as well.

Besides it is very hard to know whether something is the last in a series. Many series became the last game even if it was the first with others planned that never came out. Very few series in games actually market something as the final. Usually because either they make so much money that games keep pouring in, sold really poorly/the market died, brought it back after popularity or something happened to the production, even legal rights.

In terms of Sonic, there were a few points where there might have been the last main game but it kept getting new games on new systems. Sonic & Knuckles could have been the last but spinoff games kept the series alive until Adventure, there was a gap between Heroes and Sonic 06 but the handheld games kept the series alive even though Heroes sold really well, Sonic Lost World was itself very close to being the last main game until Mania and Forces came out due to Sega's reorganisation that lasted a few years affecting nearly everything. Only Sonic Lost World 3DS was the last non-spinoff handheld game, that's because well the handheld market is declining and by the time the reorganisation was finished, it wasn't popular enough or had enough staff to work on handheld games. Plus the Switch is capable of having gameplay close to the other versions rather than making cutdown or same name, different game games.

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