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HOT TAKE: Should Sonic Team stop listening to the fans?

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1 minute ago, Tracker_TD said:

He implied Sonic is a failure if you read way too much into it and are extremely insecure about Sonic/Mario comparisons. 

No its not that, but one can read it that way if you wished.

Just trying to get the intent thats all, context is hard to translate sometimes on the internet.

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Look, nobody is saying OR implying that Sonic is a failing/dying franchise. But if you haven't notice, his performance and relevance in the game industry HAVE been rocky at best and terrible at worst, with the exceptions over the years being Sonic Colors, Sonic Generations, and Sonic Mania.

Note: Only relating to games post 2010-era and ONLY made by Sonic Team. Not saying that to purposely ignore games like Sega Superstars Tennis, ASR and ASRT, but this discussion is about Sonic Team.

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12 hours ago, Wraith said:

I think the whole argument comes from an incorrect perspective re: 2D Mario. Those games are actually the best selling games in the series by a margin so big that the so called ambitious 3D games started to take notes from them. They didn't actually flame out with anyone. They were an easy target due to am honestly pretty poor asthetic compared to other 2D platformers at the time, but that didn't really matter to the target audience of those games: less experienced players. 2D Mario mechanics are so polished, clearly communicated and accessible that it has an enormous appeal that other platforms don't. 

I don't think 2D Sonic has ever had the same type of appeal. I've noticed that the games have enough of a barrier of entry that it never catches on as easily. That, along with a lack of a decent drop in Co op mode will probably keep 2D Sonic in more of a niche unless they make some changes.

The "niche" itself is profitable enough to keep up and could probably give 3D Sonic in its current state a run for its money but I'm not sure how successful it is when you really get down to it. Like, I'm not sure if something like Sonic Mania would outsell another 3D game with a good press run like Unleashed or Generations. Whether that audience grows or not depends on how they carry themselves with 2D Sonic going forward. It's not a surefire bet either way since Sonic just isn't as clever about appealing to novices as Mario, but I think the potential is here to at least build a solid run of successful  games ala NSMB. 

 One thing that's clear is how the 2D side of things is more than worth investing into though so let's maybe...not sleep on those types of games anymore?

I agree for the most part. This is partly why I believe 3D sonic, even with its hardships, is still worth investing in. The potential of the series when done right is pretty astronomically high in my opinion. I've always believed sonic's full potential is in 3D and his games could provide the best platforming experience of a large, freedom filled adventure. And I've been a fan since the early classic days and still swear by S3K as the best in the franchise up to date. 2D sonic alone wont get sonic back to similar status we saw in the 90s. An awesome 3D game definitely can, since the hype would undoubtedly be much greater for a sonic game finally done right in 3D.

But in the meantime, until we get a development team with the right ingredients to truly pull that off, I definitely believe sticking to his 2D roots could carry the series. Even in the so called modern sonic boost games, they could use a lesson or two from the mania gameplay in how to better use space for player interaction within the levels.

7 hours ago, G.U.N. Commander Radinov said:

If I inderstand correctly what are you suggesting is to cater to some casual fucks who can't push more than one button at once or toddlers? 

Wanna joke? It's basically Sonic Forces way - simplistic level design without all that "niche difficult hardcore details" where you can basically just push boost to the win. 

But hey, for some reason I don't hear that much praise for  this game - at one point I actually started to believe I'm the only one who somewhat enjoyed Forces, albeit I really didn't like its ridiculous shortness and simplicity. 

The only real step for Sonic into the coffin would be trying to be "friendly" with dirty casuls and marioboys, especially with latter. Sonic Colors was shit for me mostly for this particular reason. 

Point is: Sonic should practice and improve those things in which he has already been able to recommend himself well. And he should do it with the purpose to appease his true and loyal fans, not some outsiders with their gay-ass-NintendoSwitch and shroom-fuck-Mario. 

You're going to have to be somewhat reasonable here and realize that a popular series like sonic, or mario, or pokemon....whatever the name of the series, if its selling multiple millions of copies to casuals and clearly shows general audience appeal, it should continue to do so. That what sonic was created for from the beginning anyway. To be a mass market giant to compete with mario, THE mass market giant.

All this talk about niche appeal and whatever...that's the result of the sonic franchise's poor brand management. Sonic is definitely meant to be a big AAA series and appeal to the casual fan as well as us.

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9 hours ago, G.U.N. Commander Radinov said:

If I inderstand correctly what are you suggesting is to cater to some casual fucks who can't push more than one button at once or toddlers? 

Wanna joke? It's basically Sonic Forces way - simplistic level design without all that "niche difficult hardcore details" where you can basically just push boost to the win. 

But hey, for some reason I don't hear that much praise for  this game - at one point I actually started to believe I'm the only one who somewhat enjoyed Forces, albeit I really didn't like its ridiculous shortness and simplicity. 

The only real step for Sonic into the coffin would be trying to be "friendly" with dirty casuls and marioboys, especially with latter. Sonic Colors was shit for me mostly for this particular reason. 

Point is: Sonic should practice and improve those things in which he has already been able to recommend himself well. And he should do it with the purpose to appease his true and loyal fans, not some outsiders with their gay-ass-NintendoSwitch and shroom-fuck-Mario. 

Wow, excuse my language here, but that is one of the MOST narrow-mindedness crap I have ever heard. Sonic is meant to appeal to EVERYBODY!!! And I'm like Tornado: either respond reasonably or don't say anything at all.

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3 hours ago, Ruomarta said:

Wow, excuse my language here, but that is one of the MOST narrow-mindedness crap I have ever heard. Sonic is meant to appeal to EVERYBODY!!! And I'm like Tornado: either respond reasonably or don't say anything at all.

Backseat moderating is every bit as much an offense as taking the piss out of other members is. I'm not letting you out of a cheap shot like this just because the member in question already got told off. Don't pull this again.

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8 hours ago, Blacklightning said:

Backseat moderating is every bit as much an offense as taking the piss out of other members is. I'm not letting you out of a cheap shot like this just because the member in question already got told off. Don't pull this again.

My apologies. I didn't know what backseat moderating was until I looked it up. It won't happen again. And to G.U.N. Commander Radinov, I apologize to you as well.

Edit: I also like to add that it wasn't my intention to offend you or any other staff member. Sometimes it REALLY irks me how some people label casual fans or any casual-related product as something insulting and/or offensive to the gaming industry.

Edited by Ruomarta
Had to add to my response

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Yes and no.

They need to pick their battles. There a huge number of idiot fans out there who know jack shit about game development. There is nothing short of an infestation of fans who for whatever reason are obsessed with making their uniformly horrific fanfictions a part of the series canon, forgetting that the Sonic franchise is a gaming franchise. There are also plenty of non-fans and/or random game critics who also seem to think they know best when it comes to what a Sonic game was, is and should be (the number of hot takes of "Sonic was never good" I see these days....), despite not really knowing anything beyond the surface of "Sonic goes fast".

These people need, nay, must be ignored. Their potential contributions to the franchise could at best be negligible and at worse be cataclysmic for a franchise that is already going for its third round of chemo. Don't need that nonsense.

There are however, a small number of fans whose opinions and ideas are indeed valuable. Everyone's been talking about Headcanon and Pagoda West and Sonic Mania in this thread. And they'd be right to do so. These guys and the community that spawned them aren't just Sonic fans, they're actual game developers. Their love and passion for what made a Sonic game a Sonic game way back in the 90's led them to do some amazing work in deconstructing and reconstructing them and developing engines that emulate the classics they adored so much. That in turn spawned some remarkable fan-games. The programmers built the engines and made some fangames, some people took pre-existing engines and flexed their game design muscles to come up with their own games. Some were great, some were bad, and many were utter garbage. Like the game industry the cream of the crop rose to the top. Guys like Taxman and Stealth were the best of the best and they have a body of work that is evidence to their credibility as sources of useful information to take the franchise forward in a meaningful way, rather than with some fun-but-shallow stepping stones that (as has been evident with boost formula culminating in Forces) lead nowhere in particular.

These guys should be brought into Sonic Team. Or should at least be allowed to work with them in a meaningful way. Ideas need to be disseminated. Perhaps their close ties to the likes of Sonic Retro and that community will see some of the very best ideas from there be brought in as well.

I think the most important thing they need though, is some time off from Sonic, and then going back to the basics.

Play the classics. Play Mania. What makes a Sonic game a Sonic game, beyond just a regular platformer? What ideas from the classics can be brought into a 3D game? Play and study all of the 3D games. All of them. Find out what worked and most importantly learn from what didn't work, because there were plenty of mistakes and there is plenty to learn. Talk to Taxman and Stealth and their trusted associates and get their ideas with regards to the answers to these questions. Heck, even consider the canon and the narratives. What has worked, what hasn't? Trim the fat. Repurpose or remove pointless characters.

To be brutally honest, fuck the fans of random bad/niche characters. These peripheral characters do not need to be in every game or indeed any game. Their fans may get upset, but tough. Can't please everyone given how fractured the fanbase has been allowed to become over the last 2 and a half decades. Decide on a primary cast of recurring characters who can be used for gameplay that is unique, but also fits the franchise. Then leave the rest as a secondary/tertiary cast. They can be allowed to exist in peripheral media; Comics, cartoons or even spin-offs like the racing games, but don't entertain characters that add no value to an already needlessly bloated cast of bad characters.

Once all that has been settled, give each character that matters an actual personality beyond the confused nonsense we have had up until now. IMO Sonic should be more than just a dorky, go-fast, "cool" guy. Needs more depth than that. Tails needs to be more than just the child genius/mechanic. Knuckles needs to stop being a fucking idiot and have a purpose again (Angel Island??????). Develop his rivalry and friendship with Sonic and Tails. Amy needs to be a bit more than the fangirl. Like an actually useful side character. Take some lessons from what worked with the BOOM cartoon. Other characters should receive similar treatment. Do we need Shadow? If yes, make him more than a brooding asshole.

Then start from the beginning. Make a game. Take as long as is needed. But for the love of god, put some effort into it. All of it. Don't just make it functional or a non glitched-out mess. That isn't good enough. You need to go above and beyond. Like the amount of care put into Unleashed, but with good game design and stable, playable framerates.

The right fans can genuinely help move the franchise forwards. Just pick the right ones to listen to. Shouldn't be too hard now though. SEGA have literally employed the best the Sonic fanbase has to offer. Get them involved beyond Mania successors and 2D side projects. Oh they can do that too, but IMO they have so much more than just that to offer.

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You know, there's not much else to add, but I will say this. Listen to the RIGHT amount of feedback from your fans(I know it's easier said than done, but come on guys this shouldn't be THIS impossible of a task to do), hire good-talented developers, designers, and programmers that are PASSIONATE about the project and have a clear vision of what a Sonic game should be, create a concept(not a useless gimmick)that is executed greatly and stick with it, and for the love of Jehovah(God): DON'T RUSH IT!!! I can't stress this enough.

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I think in Sonic's case it would be the best. Unlike other fanbases Sonic's fanbase is separated in more than just two groups unlike with other series of his kind that usually are split into retro fans and/or modern fans. Sonic has four different fanbases: Classic, Adventure, Modern and Boom (even thought it is a very small one compare to the other three.) And also the Modern fanbase can be split into 3 other sub groups like the Whisp formula fans, the Boost only gameplay fans and the very small parkour fans that liked Lost World. 

And you can't please every single one of them. Sega and Sonic Team should just stick to their own ideas and stop following any kind of trends. Just do what they think can work.  

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The Sonic fandom became fractured, as you call it, thanks to Sonic Team's failure/refusal to hold Sonic to a single direction. Whether it was tone (just compare edgy Shadow the Hedgehog to Sonic Heroes' Saturday Morning Cartoonyness), visuals, even the characters' personalities. I ask you, do Black Doom, Elise, and Chip all look like they belong to the same series?

And Sonic Team sticked plenty to "their own ideas." Even when cutting down on the cast during the early Boost Era they still stuck in the gimmick gameplay that made characters like Big be hated so.

 

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21 minutes ago, Almar said:

I ask you, do Black Doom, Elise, and Chip all look like they belong to the same series?

I actually did once a test with one person where I did choose all of those characters (plus Zazz from Lost World) and I asked him if he would recognize the game series they all are from. He thought Black Doom is from Halo or a Halo like game, Elise from FF or a Square Enix game in general and with Chip and Zazz he thought are from a Nintendo game like Kirby or Mario.

The tone of the Sonic series is actually also something Sega finally should decide on in which direction it should lead. A story can't be light hearted and family friendly but also dark and super edgy at the same time. We actually saw in Forces how much of a cluster this could end up with, if a writer tries to please as many demographics as he/she can.

At this point I do not really care in which direction Sega wants to take Sonic in terms of world, characters and story. Either make the story simple and light hearted like a Mario game, adventurous with a bit of a silly undertone like a Zelda game, creepy like a Five Nights at Freddy's game, super hardcore and edgy like a  God of War game, overly complicated like a Kingdom Hearts game, vulgar and gross like a Conker game or layered and complex like a Life is Strange game.

Just pick for once a side, Sega! Give Sonic for once his own identity. 

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On ‎10‎/‎6‎/‎2018 at 12:37 AM, Ruomarta said:

Look, nobody is saying OR implying that Sonic is a failing/dying franchise. But if you haven't notice, his performance and relevance in the game industry HAVE been rocky at best and terrible at worst, with the exceptions over the years being Sonic Colors, Sonic Generations, and Sonic Mania.

Note: Only relating to games post 2010-era and ONLY made by Sonic Team. Not saying that to purposely ignore games like Sega Superstars Tennis, ASR and ASRT, but this discussion is about Sonic Team.

Uhm, then you shouldn't count Boom (and in fact you didn't), so what failed in performance? Forces failed with critics and pleasing fans, but not in sales, it was a 50/50 success for SEGA. Only Lost World failed because of the Wii-U flop and that shitty Nintendo deal.

So Colors, Generations, Mania, Mania Plus (I think) and even Forces did well, so that's basically every main release outside of SLW for the reasons I stated, why do you think Sonic is not relevant or popular in gaming industry? Look at Mega Man, his new game is good and nobody in Europe is buying it, Crash had a popular remake collection but he's been dead for years. Sonic has had his ups and downs but he stayed relevant since the beginning of his career, that's a huge thing IMO.

I believe Sonic is still very popular and profitable, main games sell good (we agreed not to count spin-offs but I think TSR will flop hard, no one is interested in it), other media do great as well (IDW, the webseries).

So they clearly need to focus on quality to increase this success, but I still see the current success.

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Sonic Team/Sega needs to at least some of the points of some of the  more reasonable fans. I am not one of them but there are some people who are familiar with the series enough to come up with good criticism of the series.

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I’m not sure how a game without Sonic Team buckling to the fans looks like, but Runners seems close to it. Or maybe SLW. But I expect ST’s next endeavor will be Sonic Adventure 3: Episode 1 anyway.

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ST doesn’t approach game design from the right perspective to begin with. They ask themselves the wrong questions and come up with the wrong answers. This is pretty evident from the scant insight we’ve gotten into their philosophy. Iizuka always says things about the player feeling exhilerated or satisfied, but he’s only meeting them at the surface level. Every basic fundamental of game design comes second to “what would look cool?” For that reason, if Sonic Team were to receive a list of our complaints, they probably wouldn’t even know to comprehend them. Once upon a time, there were people who could, and the fruits of their labor can be seen in Sonic Generarions. But they’re gone, and the people in charge now literally encourage players to mindlessly blast through every stage. 

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I think they should listen to the fans in a critical way and only take the fans' requests as suggestions, not as a checklist of things to do in order to please them (people want Classic Sonic? Classic Pandering! People say Sonic's friends are annoying? Sola Sonica! People like to make OCs? Character Creator! etc... that's wrong).

They should listen to the fans in a more detailed way. They should distinct actual opinions from bandwagoning, and see what the fans actually like from the series; not a vocal minority, but the overall fans and audience of the series.

Often, what people request is not what they want really... often people themselves don't even know what they actually want, what Sega should do is, understand their players and find what they enjoy the most.

It's not something I'm expecting Sega to do anytime soon.

Currently, they're either doing that checklist thing that I said at the beginning of this post (modern games), or letting the hardcore fans create their dream game, ignoring all the other fans and without caring of innovating the series (Mania). There's no in between, no middle ground, no understanding of what the players want.

Lastly, they (and other gaming companies as well) should definitely ignore the vocal bandwagoning of opinions from Internet, because nowadays opinions are like memes, someone with a good reputation among the community (often an influencer) comes out with an opinion and people follow that opinion like sheeps.

According to the common opinion, Sonic Generations was a good game and the right direction for Sonic, while they don't realize that asking for more games like Generations is like suggesting Sega to make more Sonic Forces. Yeah, I think they should ignore the suggestion of those fans, the series needs to go forward, and Sonic can be better than that, way better.

They have still to get 3D Sonic right, that's where the development resources should go, not in better level design and story for a gaming formula that's just a little more than an on rail experience (and that's mostly 2D despite claiming to be 3D), no matter how much effort they dedicated to make it and how much polished it plays.

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1 hour ago, Iko said:

Currently, they're either doing that checklist thing that I said at the beginning of this post (modern games), or letting the hardcore fans create their dream game, ignoring all the other fans and without caring of innovating the series (Mania). There's no in between, no middle ground, no understanding of what the players want.

Suggesting the Mania Team shouldn't return and have no capacity to innovate based on a game that already introduced a fair share on innovations to the Classic formula is foolish at best. And last I checked, a sizeable number of players did want a return to the Classic formula, just done actually well - handily that's what Mania was. Forces is constantly criticised for trying to appeal to everyone, and now you want that? 

Unless you think that the mere act of using a consistent playstyle basis such as the Classic formula means it can't possibly innovate in which case hahahahahahahahahahahahah oh god 

(I await the "Classic fanboy!" accusation with bated breath)

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50 minutes ago, Tracker_TD said:

(I await the "Classic fanboy!" accusation with bated breath)

I'm not that type of user and I'm myself a also classic fan too (I'm an all-around fan).

Also I have never said that the Mania team should not return, I just said that Sega lacks a solid direction and that letting the Mania team develop "Classic Sonic Trilogy Remix" is not the correct direction for Sonic.

I said the same thing for Sonic Generations and its sequels (includign Forces, yeah), if that matters (I may even go back to Unleashed and say the boost formula as a whole).

I'll never stop to say this: Mania was way too much conservative and relied too much on nostalgia; that doesn't mean that the classic gameplay shouldn't come back, but that the classic gameplay can be fresh too without relying on old material. How much do you think the hype for the Mania series will last if it will be only about bringing back old zones/concepts and remixing them?

Heck, I even consider the distinction between Classic and Modern to be extremely stupid in the first place. It's still Sonic, there is only one Sonic.

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2 minutes ago, Tracker_TD said:

Suggesting the Mania Team shouldn't return and have no capacity to innovate based on a game that already introduced a fair share on innovations to the Classic formula is foolish at best. And last I checked, a sizeable number of players did want a return to the Classic formula, just done actually well - handily that's what Mania was.

Unless you think that the mere act of using a consistent playstyle such as the Classic formula means it can't possibly innovate in which case hahahahahahahahahahahahah oh god 

This, so much this.

Classic Sonic is already established, but additions like the Dropdash are incredibly smart and add a lot to the gameplay. If you take all that into account and still say "there was no innovation", well, I don't even know what to say at that point.

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4 minutes ago, Iko said:

I'm not that type of user and I'm myself a also classic fan too (I'm an all-around fan).

Also I have never said that the Mania team should not return, I just said that Sega lacks a solid direction and that letting the Mania team develop "Classic Sonic Trilogy Remix" is not the correct direction for Sonic.

I said the same thing for Sonic Generations and its sequels (includign Forces, yeah), if that matters (I may even go back to Unleashed and say the boost formula as a whole).

I'll never stop to say this: Mania was way too much conservative and relied too much on nostalgia; that doesn't mean that the classic gameplay shouldn't come back, but that the classic gameplay can be fresh too without relying on old material. How much do you think the hype for the Mania series will last if it will be only about bringing back old zones/concepts and remixing them?

But literally everyone has already said "the next step for the Mania Team is all original zones and concepts and so forth." Pretty much nobody wants another game with old zones, at this point you're just inventing a non-existent fan boogeyman so that the criticism is equally distributed across Classic and Modern. Which fair does, Mania has stuff to be criticised, but the fan response is what I expected - do more, but just cut out the old zones and then build in ways such as Mighty and Ray etc.

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9 minutes ago, Tracker_TD said:

Pretty much nobody wants another game with old zones

You pretty much got my point, it's just that I see the existence of Mania as something that plays against this, while you see it as the step before what I suggested.

Anyway, it's not just a matter of new stages... I think there are a lot of things that need to be "modernized" in the classic gameplay, one for all, Knuckles' gameplay.

I wish the Classic Sonic series would go more toward the Megaman 11 route and less toward the Megaman 9/10 route, that's what they are doing now (and no, Sonic 4 doens't count, that was a total disaster).

I somewhat feel that asking for "More Mania" will turn into Sega releasing more games made out of old zones remixed and 1:1 recreation of old gameplay, that's not necessarily what "Classic Sonic" means.

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2 minutes ago, Iko said:

You pretty much got my point, it's just that I see the existence of Mania as something that plays against this, while you see it as the step before what I suggested.

Anyway, it's not just a matter of new stages... I think there are a lot of things that need to be "modernized" in the classic gameplay, one for all, Knuckles' gameplay.

I wish the Sonic series would go more toward the Megaman 11 route and less toward the Megaman 9/10 route, that's what they are doing now (and no, Sonic 4 doens't count, that was a total disaster).

The whole point of Mania was for people who didn't like how Modern-ized Classic Sonic had become. Look at how Sonic Team has handled Classic Sonic for years now, it's a total and complete disaster.

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