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How much content should be in a Sonic game?

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“How much is in a game” is a popular discussion when deciding a games worth, and it definitely is a popular discussion when it comes to Sonic especially. This can range from length of the game(story length, and replayability) to post game content, be it unlockables, extra levels, dlc, secret stuff etc., and of course achievements/trophies. I’m wondering in your opinion how much should there be content wise in a modern sonic game to satisfy you? Do the games as of late fill that checkbox already, is there too much content, too little, etc?

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i think sonic games should take at least 8 or so hours to get to the end, but not much more than that.

having a 4 hour long game (generations, colors, forces) is very disappointing thing, but i think a sonic game that lasts more than 12 hours is just a bit overboard. especially since sonic games tend to be stage based.

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As much as they can afford to make without sacrificing quality. And I consider the latter more important than the former. Content that isn't well made and fun, or content that I'm simply not interested in, is useless to me. Rather than wasting time on a bunch of unlockables and extra modes, I'd rather they spend time making the core game as fun and polished as possible. That'll keep me coming back far longer than a bunch of extra gimmicks anyway.

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There should be enough content worth the price. If I’m paying $40+ for a game I want it to be worth the price. What isn’t worth that much money is a Sonic game that can be beaten within the same day I bought it.  I’m just gonna say having actual playable characters would really help with this issue because I feel the games have been so hollow with Solo Sonic.

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You know, basing this question off the mega drive games at least, it's really a player-dependent thing. None of the original Sonic games, even 3K are really that long in general. Each stage pretty much takes as much time as you give into it. That's part of the arcade-y nature of Sonic that I admire. 

Basically it should be a few hours on average but it depends on how you take everything, since everything should be fluid and variable since that's the Sonic way. 

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Alright, off the top of my head, I'm gonna use Modern Sonic and Forces/Gens/Unleashed as examples.

More Modern Levels/Boost levels. I know that the regular defense here is that "they have to be so big that they can't focus much on development" or whatever else, but then I look to other games with massive levels, worlds, and everything else and then I wonder just how on Earth that these levels are still so short. Generations was a blast but still relatively short and Unleashed had decently sized levels with shortcuts, exploration, and different routes. It frankly shouldn't take four years of development time to make 3 hours of gameplay - said 3 hours being even less if you're focused entirely on modern stuff. The reason this angers me further is the sheer fact we already know from Forces' development cycle that it's pretty much bullshit and that the entire game was made in about a year while the other three years were based on concepts and a new engine. That means the 3 hours of combined Modern/Avatar levels was probably made in said year - and with proper expansion and a proper dev cycle like that again, they probably could make a great Modern title based solely on Unleashed/Gens Boost gameplay. 

Online Mode: I still have yet to understand why we don't have a race mode in the game yet. Rush had it with boost gameplay and yeah, fair enough it was a 2.5D Platformer, but I honestly feel like the likes of Gens and Unleashed levels could be a lot of fun with a race mode attached.

Rewarding Replay Content: NO GRINDING. This is what I hated most about Forces. The trophy list in the game itself was an absolute step in the right direction. Varied list of achievements, effort placed into them (Making them stand out on their own and even putting references and in-jokes in the names). But the problem is it never felt like the rewards themselves were worth it. I'm a trophy hunter, I did it for the platinum, but to do all of that, especially the pain in the ass ring collection trophies to receive nothing but avatar parts which I likely won't use is a shame. Give me the option to unlock the soundtrack, give me concept art, let me play old Sonic songs like in Generations, let me rewatch cutscenes. Just make my rewards mean something in-game. The trophy list itself is a good step for the most part - bar the grinding trophies but the in-game rewards is lackluster. Honestly, if they combined the completion rewards of Gens with the trophy list of Forces, I really think they'd be on to something in terms of some really good replay value.

Keep the gameplay consistent and focused: This is what I feel is one of the biggest problems with length in a Sonic game. Instead of focusing on one set gameplay style and building levels to test said gameplay style and what the player has learned through their time with it - they keep having to divulge attention from one style to two, or even three, which means level design and development has to be totally shifted from one style to a different one altogether. Avatar for as much as it's similar to Boost!Sonic for example still has to have a different layout to make use of their weapons, grappling hook, and place in areas where each weapon can be used to shine properly. Comparing Boost Sonic's Chemical Plant to Avatar's reveals a different build structure - where Sonic is mainly grinding and boosting through it, and veering into a 2D section by the end, the Avatar's spaces are designed to be more 3D and hide more enemy encounters in order to use their weapons. I honestly feel like if it was just Boost Sonic given a set of skills that could be upgraded, changed or whatever else to introduce new mechanics as the game goes on, and then building levels based on that one gameplay style, it could improve length.

Difficulty: This is crucial. The difficulty should generally ramp up as the game continues, and throws new challenges toward the players as they go on. Even though I like Forces, it isn't a good game in terms of difficulty, and when it is "challenging", it's not because of genuinely good level design, or hazards, or reflexes, it's because they throw something stupid, or cheap to get in the player's way. My mind throws back to things like Unleashed where in Rooftop Run, one of the earlier daytime stages, it's designed to try give you an idea of some of the later mechanics to be used. It also rewards the player with shortcuts, and quicker paths if they can learn stages. Rooftop Run for example has a section right at the beginning where you can continue onto the longer, direct path, or if you go out of your way to smash a few pots, you find a grind rail section that's faster, but more riskier. Not only does it give a challenge and reward for learning where to jump and avoid hazards on said path to gain access to a shortcut, but it also trains you for later in terms of these hazards.

If you fail in Rooftop Run, you aren't in too bad of a situation as you'll simply fall back to the lower path - but in later and more difficult stages, this could place you in more danger, this gives incentive for learning how to conquer hazards like this as it could lead to less risk later down the road. This can add a ton more of replay value because not only if you fail due to needing to learn these hazards, but if you can figure out the shortcuts, the tricks and everything else, you can eventually improve and bettering your time. It doesn't punish the player with an unfair death, but it does leave enough room for improvement and learning for the next time that the player will likely come back to try find better routes through a level. If something is a genuinely good challenge while not devastatingly difficult, that'll only encourage more replays to try improve on performances, and even find new pathways. I'm not particularly bothered to run through the likes of City Heights again because I've experienced all the level has to offer and the only way to improve is not screw up a few button prompts.

But in Unleashed, there's more shortcuts that require better skills, that can even reward you with collectables. I remember having to constantly replay stages like Arid Sands Act 1 so I could get as many shortcuts as possible, and learn the level inside and out to hit the time needed for a certain trophy, and that actually felt fun because it felt like with all the shortcuts in the level itself, it was me who needed to get better. Compare that to Forces which is so horribly designed with it's time trial missions where the likes of a scripted QTE can mess you up and actively needs you spamming the button instead of waiting for proper prompts to even get through in time. Even Classic's stages require pixel perfect timing to hit certain shortcuts as opposed to actual skill in reflexes and knowing the level inside and out to hit said shortcuts. Even in terms of difficulty, Unleashed does a better job of offering chances for the player to practice certain skills before they could present hazards later, like how Rooftop Run has a few drift sections that won't punish you too harshly for failing them but later in the game, you can die if you don't time your drifting correctly. I feel the actual challenge and how the game presents it gradually to the player can present chances for a lot of replay, experimentation and more, along with smartly designed levels.

Anyways, that's all I've got for the moment.

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If by content you mean how oong should a game last from start to finish, I'd go with something between one to two hours max.

Frankly, because of work, doing things at home or going outside, I don't have much spare time and think that a short game that I can finish in one sitting would be the ideal for me... and even if I had the spare time, I'd alway prefer a short but focused and exciting game over one that tries to stretch how long it lasts in forced ways that only causes me annoyance, like those darn medals from Unleashed.

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Personally, I always prefer games that are long rather than short. I'm not a fan of beating a game the same day I bought it - as much as I loved Forces, I so so so SO wished that there was a ton more content in it and that the game was longer.

Me, I love REALLY long games. RPG's like the Dragon Age and Mass Effect games. So a Sonic game as long as those and with that amount of content would be right up my alley.

If those are TOO long, then I'd go with stuff as big and long as the Adventure Games. Just my opinions though.

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About as much as SA2 or unleashed really and while I know game development is a tricky thing to gauge, I find it sad that games from like two decades ago often have more put into them than most modern day affairs. I wouldn't even mind if they just did what SLW 3DS did and remix stages as a nice little post game reward since that felt legitimately cool and was (for the most part) a fun time to go through and complete.

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I think a lot of it depends on the price of the game. Mania was only $20 so I didn't expect tons of content, but for what it offered, it was well worth its price tag. Forces was twice that price and I didn't really spend much more time on it, and I've 100% completed both. Colors was actually full price back when it came out and was so short both in time taken to complete as well as post-game offerings that it wasn't remotely worth the money for me. I do think quality is more important than quantity overall, but even games of the highest quality get boring quickly if they are too short or don't offer enough variety. Balance between the two is key. Of the 3D titles, I honestly think Unleashed and the Adventure games accomplished this the best. I still return to those games today and enjoy completing them in full, except for Big's fishing. 

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I don't think Sonic games need to be particularly the longest, so probably their particular extension should come from replay value more than anything else.  If the levels are fun to play, and are not so linear that they can't be played and explored in multiple different ways, then people will return to the game organically without there being a requirement for padding.  I suppose a bonus reward for replaying wouldn't be beyond the bounds of possibility, but that can have the side-effect of making the replay feel obligatory, and therefore a chore.

Ultimately, they should focus on making a fun game before worrying about length.  Better to leave the player wanting more, and use that as a guideline for the future.

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Well it depends on the player with some able to blast through a game quick while others take their time whether they want to or have problems playing the game.

It's hard to give an X hours time due to this factor so instead thinking of what ways can actually be done. There has to be a replay value after playing through the main stages. One complaint about Sonic Generations is that it was too short but people didn't want to play the mission modes or the Casino Night DLC. Some people love the hub worlds while others hate them and want to get to the next level after doing the previous one. Similar thing with Chao, water vehicles in Rush Adventure and the Werehog in Unleashed, all made for padding. Apart from Score Attack/Time Attack and maybe unlockable characters/stages, its hard to think of extra content that compliments the character. Otherwise you might as well make the Sonic series cheap to buy for less complaints.

It might be the stages themselves and their count. Sonic 1, 2 and CD (and most of the 8-bit games) were on par with a majority of platformers and games of the time with the Mario series and later Donkey Kong Country having more. Sonic 3&K is considered by many to be the perfect length for a 2D Sonic game (but a bit too lengthy for me because the stages were pretty long). Adventure didn't really have many stages so it was filled with padding, removing the padding and is on par or it might even be shorter than Generations for Sonic & Tails. Did Sonic only have 8 or so stages in Adventure 1? Adventure 2 was longer with less padding due to no more hub world. Heroes had 14 stages but replaying the same stages 4 times felt repetitive to make it seem longer. Unleashed had content but many were locked to DLC that not many people bought or knew its existance so typically it was the Werehog/hub world padding that could be around 66% depending on version. Colours had a bit of content with the stages however many of the inbetween levels were pretty short. Generations was short compared to its competition at the time (e.g. Rayman Origins) since it has only 18 stages in total (9 for Classic, 9 for Modern) and the early/Modern ones were quick to get through. Lost World had more stages with the 8 worlds typically having four stages each until near the end and some experimental bonus stages/themed DLC.

Thinking about it, maybe online multiplayer might be a way to get more content yet don't have to make as much. It gives an incentive for the diehard fans to keep playing and to keep playing after doing all the other stuff. Did any of the Sonic games have this? Some of the older games did have mutliplayer but apart from the ASR games, can't think of any that were online. Maybe give updates once a while for new stages?

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A complete, cohesive, and mostly satisfying story/plot; a minimum of 10 story levels that last for at least 4 minutes, depending on the pacing and difficulty, with some side objectives/collectibles/missions, at least 3 boss/special levels, and maybe some minigames; and cutscenes that last about 2 minutes with some degree of meaningful characterization and exposition included. 

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I'd want a story mode that goes 8-10 hours. Now this isn't going to happen with just solo Sonic do I'd like to see some other characters playable for once with their own stories. 

I'd prefer Knuckles and Tails but if they want to stick to the boost formula for everything they could make Shadow, Blaze and Espio playable. 

Sonic would still have the longer story with the most levels and bosses. The other playable characters could have shorter stories but then maybe other levels unlockable. 

I'd like the games to have a decent amount of length to them and I don't want to end up being done with the story mode in one sitting.

For extra content I wouldn't mind seeing something like they did with SA2 where you have a bunch of optional goals to do in a level after you beat it. Like finishing it under a certain amount of time, hard mode, ect. 

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I want a huge hub world in which can roam in addition to the levels.

A hub as big as can allow us to really run like maniacs and explore (and also no boost).

Take inspiration from GTA, have a big hub world, have hidden red rings all around the hub world, have civilians we can have conversations with and see how their mini side story progress (like in SA1, each civilian has his own life and changes, like the girl waiting for her father, the girl who has a crush on the nice guy but is too shy, the twins that are trying to have a peaceful vacation...)

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5 minutes ago, Marco9966 said:

I want a huge hub world in which can roam in addition to the levels.

A hub as big as can allow us to really run like maniacs and explore (and also no boost).

Take inspiration from GTA, have a big hub world, have hidden red rings all around the hub world, have civilians we can have conversations with and see how their mini side story progress (like in SA1, each civilian has his own life and changes, like the girl waiting for her father, the girl who has a crush on the nice guy but is too shy, the twins that are trying to have a peaceful vacation...)

I'd actually love to see hub worlds return as well. Even after all these years I still talk to just about everyone when I replay Sonic Adventure.

There could be hidden areas and optional missions (without awful load times) to add more length to the game.

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14 hours ago, FFWF said:

I don't think Sonic games need to be particularly the longest, so probably their particular extension should come from replay value more than anything else.  If the levels are fun to play, and are not so linear that they can't be played and explored in multiple different ways, then people will return to the game organically without there being a requirement for padding.  I suppose a bonus reward for replaying wouldn't be beyond the bounds of possibility, but that can have the side-effect of making the replay feel obligatory, and therefore a chore.

Ultimately, they should focus on making a fun game before worrying about length.  Better to leave the player wanting more, and use that as a guideline for the future.

That, along with a solid, easy to pick- up gameplay is pretty much all you need. I really dislike when the game forces you to play over and over to get things, like "finish the game with all character to unlock the real last boss" or "collect all 7 emeralds with each character to unlock an extra character".

Likewise the length shouldn't be too long either that it makes things feel tired. I can understand why some don't like games being short, but personally, it the gameplay is fun and addictive, I'll keep going back to it again and again... It's why I still play regularly AfterBurner Climax on my old 360 up to this day, and that's a game I can finish in less than 9 minutes but boy if it delivers non-stop action and excitement... and no, I'm not suggesting that a Sonic game has to be that short. XD

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I know this is an English class answer, but really as much or as little as the game would benefit from given the time and budget constraints.

Sonic games don't have to be long to be fun-- Sonic Generations springs to mind as does many titles in the Sonic Riders series, plus many of the Classic games are designed for you to basically get good enough to eventually be able to blast through the game in one sitting. But them being long isn't inherently bad-- I liked Sonic Lost World and I hear good things about SA1.

As for personal preferences, I'd kinda like short levels but lots of them if that makes sense. I think Colors Wii was on the right track to pulling this off, but could have handled it better by including more 3D in its short levels. I think that's nice for days when I just want to get through a level quickly and for days when I want to commit to a game for a bit longer. Having replay value enhancing features such as side missions and red star rings is suitable too, since it helps keep the game's positive momentum going and gives the player more to do while showcasing all the game has to offer. I'd also like a halfway decent multiplayer mode at least, to play with friends who aren't adept at the main game.

 

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I'm gonna echo what @Mad Convoy said;

There is such a thing as too much content. If you reach that threshold, the game will collapse under it's own weight and nobody wants that to happen, right? 

Think of games like Portal; short bursts of fun is always much better than long, drawn out mediocrity or worse. 

I think games like Sonic Mania, the Genesis trilogy or the Adventure games had the perfect amount of content. Generations came close, but I would've liked a bit more.

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As many have stated, Sonic games should not overflow itself with repetitious content or content that feels like they were meant to be left in the void, AKA “unobtrusive padding”. 

On a conceptual level, Sonic 3K is techincally(or was) the greatest example. Although not a modern one to follow through and through in my opinion. In fact, it proceeded to show some of the the flaws for lengthy Sonic games, essentially becoming a prophetic figure by showcasing a possible and somewhat self-destructive future. And this isn’t even mentioning that S3K is a 2D-Sprite Based title which has vastly different design philosophies and perspectives to tackle compared to the 3D interface.

But I’m going to assume this topic is mostly about Modern Sonic, as it is a pattern I see.

I think Sonic World Adventure, the 3D equivalent of Sonic 3K and something future games should have followed suit. To an extent, Generations does something similarly as well.

There should be a handful( 8 or above)of fully fledged, semi-lengthy Sonic levels for the players to speed through and explore. With extra acts, collectibles(preferably to be executed uniquely rather than mundane hidden item grabs) and unlockables accompanying them. The content shouldn’t necessarily be locked behind a “Power Star Accumulation”(kappa) but earned in a more accessible way. The content shouldn’t deter its own core attraction away from the main game but compliment it(again, extra acts and collectibles).

For 3D titles, Sonic World Adventure and Sonic Generations, a little less so, did a great job on not making all of the content feeling like a worthless endeavor. 

However, the only criticisms I have for these two is this; SWA had a bit of an issue with Medal Collecting, the allocation of the Werehog’s skills(mishandled with good intentions) and the final level of the game. A final level that increasing your playtime 3 times over if not skilled enough(hint: most weren’t ready for that “Eggman’s Mixtape” drop). Even if skilled, it’s process extends into back to back bosses and speed running once the final act commences.  As for Generations; It did too little. Way too little. It’s more of a “palatable” acception than SWA with its lack of mechanical flaws and a nice selection of levels but the re-hashing Of a 2D plane-based character(classic Sonic) and a modern one that does half of that, it becomes redundant and all too tiresome to apprehend. And with no additional DLC to the mix, it kinda seems like I got juked.

Really, it just comes down to execution of the players require to access said content imo.

 

 

 

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How much should be in is an interesting question that I don't think can really be answered without doing some crazy deep market research. Saying what I think would work though is a bit easier for me so lets give it a go.

  • First and foremost, I think at least two more characters who offer derivative twists of the core gameplay are a necessity for replayability.
  • Secondly, levels that are built like mini sandboxes to encourage exploration and multiple playthroughs.
  • Third, a story mode that is built around a story structure reminiscent of a movie  or better yet short form anime. Each level should have it's own story while tying into a larger narrative, but the individual story segments should never feel like they are overstaying their welcome. While I could see hub worlds working in a story mode, I don't see them as a necessity.
  • Fourth off, if a story mode is going to be included then an arcade mode to play the game in a traditional manner is a necessity. For single player modes I would also include a challenge mode based around different character abilities and level gimmicks to challenge the player while providing short spurt gameplay opportunity, a time attack mode, and also a free roam mode.
  • Fifth, a traditional competition mode where you race against your friends, though I would definitely insist upon including both local and online options.

While probably not the recipe for a perfect Sonic game, I could easily see myself engaged by a game built like this for quite a long time, bar any execution errors obviously.

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It's a really weird question, simple yet confusing,  with not exactly clear answer.

But here's something I wonder: does anyone remember game called Sonic 3 & Knuckles. I'm not a programmer, but could it be possible to make a games that can be combined like this?

Imagine that Mania 2 came out.. They added new drop-dash-like-thing, more playable characters and more frames to Sonic movement. But they still used the same sprites and basic engine.

Got that? Good, now would that be possible to actually connected the two games? That those who have both games installed at the same time can play it like a one big game? That if they add Amy to Mania 2, I will be able to play her in Mania 1?

There are obvious drawbacks to this philosophy, but something like Mania would be mostly immune (I  mean, Mania 10 will probably still use the same pixel graphic). I'm wondering if this could be a key to making a truly massive games.

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I'm no expert, but it's probably possible...but it's also probably a really bad way to go about it. If nothing else, it screws over anyone who buys physical versions of the games, as you obviously can't put two disks/game cards in your system at once. If they wanted a Mania 2 character to be able to go through Mania 1 content, they'd be better off either porting Mania 1 levels to Mania 2 or making the character dlc for Mania 1.

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