Jump to content
Rowl

Are we in a new dark era?

Recommended Posts

I really have a feeling, that the whole Sonic series is now once again in a new dark era. And I have a feeling it is much, much worst than the first dark age. The first one kinda started out with Sonic Heroes, which was a very mediocre game. Than Shadow the Hedgehog came, which was nothing really to be proud off and than Sonic 06 happen which damaged the reputation of the whole series. People still talked about this game to this day. And than there where the other games like Secret Rings, Black Knight, Chronicles and the Rivals and Riders series, which where either bad or boring. And Unleashed a game that was half good and half bad. The dark age ended with Unleashed. But still in this dark age we actually also had some descend games like the Rush series, the first two All-Star games and the Advance series. And even some of the more boring games overall weren't that badly rated by critiques.

But... this new era that started with Lost World is a completely other entity. If you look how the feedback for most of the games are, you will see that the fans and critiques are much more harsher on those ones. A lot of people really didn't liked Lost World, the 3DS version is even more disliked, Boom is considered to be even worst than Sonic 06 and the 3DS games were just really boring for most people, the Mario & Sonic games of this era are considered to be the worst of the series, most of the mobile games are not really that fun to play, Forces is not really liked by many and is at best just meh... and Team Sonic Racing looks really uninspired and boring. The only highlight of this era seems to be Sonic Mania. And as good as this game is, but not even half of the content was new and the whole game was dependent on nostalgia pandering. 

I do not want to sound like a negative nazi, but I really have a feeling that we are going true a really dark age again. The Sonic series never had such many bad or mediocre games in a row not eve in the first one and the first dark age was much shorter.

I'm so sick and tired that Sonic is the laughing stock of the gaming industry. Non of my friends like this character because they all know how much of bad reputation he has in the gaming community. This new dark era has to stop after Team Sonic Racing. Sonic really can't have another one, especially an era that lasted as long as this one.

What do you guys think? Are we really in a new dark era and do you think, that this era will end soon? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly do feel like it at least partly came from Sonic Team simply needing a break. I still maintain following on Mania's success shouldn't be a permanent solution, but I would not complain if Mania went on to form a trilogy to give Sonic Team time to recharge their batteries.

I'm not saying Sonic Team should step away permanently; they are still capable of coming up with good ideas for the series in my opinion, just that the execution can leave some things to be desired.

Granted, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric was one Sonic Team had little to do with, the development handled by Big Red Button. It sounded more like a team who had things fighting against them the entire time, and in hindsight, I still can't believe it's been four years since I tried and failed to defend that one...and I do mean failed, hoo boy, I must have been desperate to find anything remotely joyous about that one, though the likely reasons why are best suited for another topic entirely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's interesting when you consider the links between each "dork age". The first one started after the Dreamcast flopped and the second may have started around Boom costing Sega around $22 million (though some could argue that it started at LW).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Somewhat.

The thing that I feel mitigates it is that Sonic survived the previous dark age and kept going. That and Mania being successful.

Even with all that’s happened, Sonic still maintains a strong following that loyal even while acknowledging his ruts and downsides. He has other media in cartoons and comics that manage to rake in much better reception, and he still popular enough to stay relevant. So despite all the bad that we’ve gone through now, it’s a dark age that will pass once Sonic Team gets their shit together—don’t hold me on when that happens tho.

Not that he’s doing stellar, but things have been much worse. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Diogenes juuuuuuuuust beat me to the punch but if you honestly ask me, we're still in the dark age that the mid-2000s kicked off with Shadow and Sonic 2006. Two decent games (Colors/Generations) released back-to-back (and looking back, seemed to turn out that way by accident) and one great game made by an entirely separate dev team comprised of fans does not phase out the rest of the polarizing/subpar/trash games surrounding them.

Although I can echo given how poor sales of recent Sonic games have been (aside from Mania; and even so, sales for that title are just modest, not great) and what seems to be a significant rollback in production values, it does seem this series is losing ground as a flagship series Sega sinks top dollar onto, especially after Sonic Boom's failure...which IMO is actually somewhat of a good thing because a. that means Sega can start remembering they have other classic IPs they can make games for and b. the series was being heavily supersaturated during the previous generation as it is (multiple Sonic games being churned out annually) and it needed to seriously take a backseat in exposure (especially since the games were still of varying quality).

The only way this series can firmly close the "dark chapter" it's been wallowing in is to consistently deliver quality games (and not just games that are "good enough", "almost good", or "have good parts"). Not that I'm expecting Sonic Team to deliver on that front; to the point that I honestly question if the studio even want to make Sonic games anymore. Their latest product that was Sonic Forces doesn't really tell me that they do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

This seems to be something that's asked often. It's worth considering though. Unleashed enchanted me quite a bit and even though I didn't fall for Colors and Generations the same as everyone else did, the reception those got was enough to convince me that the bad times were technically over. Also helping were the All-Stars Racing games and the fact that the Olympics were mostly harmless.

However, nowadays, I definitely feel like the fear has shifted from worrying about the games being broken to everything just being boring. One thing I always at least appreciated about the early 2000s titles, even shit like 06, was the attempt to use the characters, tell something engaging, and make the world feel big and lived in. The problem wasn't really that they were attempting all that. The problem was that they were really bad at it and it made for really crappy execution. Had they just fixed their method of incorporating that stuff, like normal games do, they'd have been fine.

Instead, they just got rid of all that stuff. Keeping things simple wasn't a bad direction to go in some respects but they definitely went too far in the other direction. There's hardly anything worth anticipating anymore. In a way, this is actually a lot worse. 

I had a lot of faith left in me, even after all that time, but Forces really did just suck the rest of it away. It really did hit me like a freight train that they literally made a Sonic game that had the most awesome premise for a Sonic game ever and somehow managed to make it boring. To this day, I'm astonished by that. A premise like that practically writes itself...

Safe is boring. Familiar isn't nostalgic anymore. Lazy is frustrating. And recycling isn't fun.  

Modern Sonic stages are less than a shadow of their former selves. Team Sonic Racing stages are less involved than they used to be. But I guess they figure it doesn't matter if it feels like we're traveling through these locations in an inspired way so long as things are technically sound. 

So all we can really be assured of now is the fact that the games "work."

That's a nice bullet point on the back of the box.

"Sonic Forces. It... WORKS! Yes, that's right. It doesn't catch fire when you put the disk in your system folks."

 

What about the comic? Or is that not enough?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be honest, I never really bought into the whole "dark age" thing with Sonic, and I also think I'm just a little too biased to say what it is the case. Where it's usually considered to have started happens to be an era I enjoyed (GCN era), have revisited, and can still find things I like in spite of glaring flaws that I don't think I'd be tolerant to in a Sonic game made now. On the other hand, where the games are typically considered better (at least on a technical level) I think they're the among the safest, most boring games Sonic Team has produced (Colors-onward). Having played most of them (bar Forces), and while we have outliers like Mania, I don't see anything for me to get personally excited about; the characters I like are sidelined and reduced to talking heads on a radio or cheerleaders in the final fight, the stories are just bad comedy routines, the gameplay barely takes advantage of the 3D world and is all flash with little/no substance, and all the material created over the years just feels like wasted potential that I hardly feel motivated to even go to bat for anymore because I've done this song and dance long enough.  Even the comic book I cared about and grew up with was binned for one that, while it has its own good points thanks to the creative team, it doesn't hold my interest either. On top of all that, the social media presence is the single most embarrassing thing I've seen associated with this franchise in a long time.

I wouldn't know about any "dark age," but the series isn't for me in its current state.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Grey age" seems like a better description. It's not as bad, but feels duller.

It all depends what is your measure of "dark age". Sales? Our reputation? Everything Sonic related like good IDW comic, decent (if probably finished) Boom/Mania Adventures cartoons and upcoming movie? (which even if it will be bad, who cares? Tomb Raider and Assassin Creed had bad movies recently)

If you just stick to 'quality of games' then we live in a really depressing times if 1 year after Mania we're still in dark age.

Mania 2 will happen. And 3, probably 4. Sega would have to be suicidal not to milk it. So *that* part of the franchise is safe.

I really don't care about spin-offs, if you ask me they doing fine, just being kinda bland. Where is my spiritual successor to Rush and Advance series?

And when it comes to 3D main tittles... siiigh, we kinda might be. Forces wasn't *really* bad, but proved that Sega can't make *really* good games. Even if they do something right (generations) they will mess is up in a sequel.

Honestly, I'm just planning to not buy any Sonic games (mania aside) till something changes in Sonic Team heads.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dark age truly started with Sonic 2006. Every game before it was good. Sonic Heroes and ShtH had freedom of movement at least.

Sonic lost so much after 2006: no other playable characters, minimal story, cringe humor, no spin dash, no physics, no momentum, no freedom of control...

There is only one dark age and it's the one that started in 2006 and is still going on now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was gonna ignore this thread, not because I'm against it or I want to ignore the situation,  but because I see them all the time XD

Then I thought it's best if I add my thoughts into it.

There is no such thing as dark ages, it's just the perspective from fans, and obviously shitty games, I would say right now Sonic Team is in fact in a dark age from my perspective, because they can't seem to make a quality game, so there is that. If you asked me around 2014-2015 I would have said "yeah, we are in a dark age, Lost World and Boom flopped hard so people aren't interested in Sonic, maybe?", now you've got Mania and Forces who had great sales, which made me think it was the Nintendo exclusivity deal that killed those games, AND bad quality, but then you wouldn't explain Forces who also is bad quality, I'm explaining it with... good concepts, what people wanted perhaps, and it's a main release on all platforms, so people bought it.

Now let's try to predict the future: Team Sonic Racing could go either way, I'm sure it will be a "good" game but I don't see people being interested in it tbh, and SEGA isn't marketing it for now, let's wait and see what they do... but I'm gonna say it will flop in sales because there is no interest in it, though there isn't much direct competition in February-March compared to November and December, IF that's when the game releases. There will also be a mobile companion which will likely promote it A LOT.

Then there is this: https://www.destructoid.com/sega-sales-report-reveals-800-million-sonic-the-hedgehog-games-shifted-to-date-527164.phtml

Which includes downloads, mobile games and merchandise (probably), so it all means "attention", people being interested or giving a look at Sonic. That is only a good thing. The movie will come out next year and we'll see, but it can only increase that attention to the games, or in the worst case scenario, not boost it, I guess, but it will not decrease IMO.

 

So no, Sonic isn't in a dark age, Sonic Team is, because people don't trust them anymore, rightfully, Sonic still gets plenty of attention and interest, especially in main releases (good or bad), spin-offs... eh, not sure. The movie will give him more attention. 

But if people really agree (as it's shown by the likes) with Diogenes post, then I guess fans on SSMB really believe Sonic was all a dark age, sadly, and I really disagree with that, it has ups and downs, but he stayed relevant enough, he appeared in a ridiculous number of games, he never "died" like Crash and the rest, I don't know how he managed to survive this long without interruptions but he did. We also have to distinguish "acclaim" (= by critics and fans) and "interest" (= sales and downloads). If it's acclaim then I agree that it's very sporadic in the series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, a lot of you are right. Playing it to save is also something I personally would also not prefer. This is the reason why Nintendo was for a long time very unappealing for me, because a lot of the Mario games where kinda the same all the time. Especially the NSMB series. 

Sonic is kinda in the same boat now since Generations technically. Recycling all old ideas just for the sake of Nostalgia. It really seems that Sonic is really stuck in a quandary, where Sonic Team can only go in two directions. Either they try out new things, make more characters playable and tell a bigger story, but than the game will fail in quality or, they play it completely save and make it simple, but than the game is very boring and uninspired. 

Man... that is not really a good future for Sonic... If I had the choice one of those two directions I sadly have to go with the first one. Sure, we will get another broken, almost unplayable mess of a game, but at least it would be so bad that it can be hilarious for us watcher. I kinda like it when friends or youtubers play a bad game. Than at least I have something to laugh about. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think that the franchise is in a "dark age", simply because the games continue to sell somewhat decently even with the subpar quality. I would be much more concerned about the state and overall future of the series if Sonic didn't sell anymore and flopped commercially as well. The only true failure in that regard was Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. I don't really care about reception since I'm not one of those fans who pays much attention to whatever reviewers and non-fans have to say, and just try to enjoy the games for what they are even if they are pure garbage. That being said, I believe that if Sonic Team started to develop consistently good, polished, tested, and non-rushed 3D games, the image of the franchise would improve dramatically. The thing is, I don't think that Sonic Team has what is needed to pull this off, and maybe they don't want or don't know how to either. I don't necessarily agree with the idea that games with mixed reception are bad. As I see it, those games are mediocre titles that stand in the middle, and are neither bad nor good, although they might lean more towards the former.

The Mania subseries is awesome but it can't go on forever, and innovation will be needed at some point. Sonic Mania Plus was already kind of disappointing in my opinion, and it probably shouldn't have used the broken concepts from Chaotix, which was already terrible to begin with. Team Sonic Racing will probably be a solid kart racer, but at the same time, very boring and generic, particularly compared to how great SASRT was.

Aside the games, the Sonic franchise is present in merchandising, comics, and TV as well, both of which generate strong earnings for Sega and are generally better received than the games. The Sonic series as a whole and some particular games have received several awards too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Rowl said:

Sonic is kinda in the same boat now since Generations technically. Recycling all old ideas just for the sake of Nostalgia. It really seems that Sonic is really stuck in a quandary, where Sonic Team can only go in two directions. Either they try out new things, make more characters playable and tell a bigger story, but than the game will fail in quality or, they play it completely save and make it simple, but than the game is very boring and uninspired. 

Man... that is not really a good future for Sonic... If I had the choice one of those two directions I sadly have to go with the first one. Sure, we will get another broken, almost unplayable mess of a game, but at least it would be so bad that it can be hilarious for us watcher. I kinda like it when friends or youtubers play a bad game. Than at least I have something to laugh about. 

 

Why is there suddenly this assumption that the next thing the Mania Team do has to reuse levels or whatever and therefore is doomed to be “uninspired” or just “nostalgia pandering”? One of the loudest, biggest critiques of Mania is that it should’ve had all original levels. Do you think they’ll just gloss over that? 

Unless you’re suggesting that just using a consistent, proven to be not-shit gameplay formula like the Classic formula is itself nostalgia pandering just because it happened to be made a long time ago in which case

 

hahahahahahahahahaha oh god we deserve this dark age

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Rowl said:

But... this new era that started with Lost World is a completely other entity.

We are talking about the game released 5 years ago. Five damn years. Think about it.
This is also pretty strange to refer to a five year old game as "this new era". Back then the entire dark age was this long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, Roger_van_der_weide said:

I think the biggest diffrence between now and then is hope.
Back in the 06 era, I felt most people had a "If only Sonic Team makes a 2d game again, it'll be fine/ If only Sonic team get's rid of the other characters, it'd be fine/ if Only Sonic Team get's more time, it'd be fine." sense of hope.

Now everything we wanted at the time has been tried and it's "If only Sonic Team makes a 2d game...Oh, Sonic 4. If only Sonic's friends are back, oh, Rise of Lyric... If only Sonic Team was given more time, oh, Sonic Forces had 4 years. If only Sonic Team let's another team take over, oh, Rise of Lyric..."

The ultimate irony of the current era is that we have a parody of everything people loudly wanted. Okay, so Sonic 06 was terrible because it was too far removed from the classics, 3d doesn't work, Sonic's friends are terrible, the story too convuluted and serious and there are too many gameplay distortions? Well okay then.
Now 3d gameplay has been reduced to be the amateur opening act for the grand 2d gameplay concert, gameplay is just running straight to the goal with no weird diversions, Sonic's friends are rotting in a corner, story's a meaningless parade of shiny nostalgia objects dangling in front of your stupid face, the finest "I'm sure I've heard his exact joke in every cartoon ever" humor is pounded in your face non stop and Green Hill Zone is shoved so far down your throat that you'll barf Classic Sonic until judgement day.
And hey, Boost, Wisps and nostalgia were praised when they were introduced, so let's desperatly cling onto those and shove them in everywhere.
Everything you complained about is elminated, everything you praised is expanded. Sonic Forces is the perfect Sonic game, enjoy.

Sonic Team's like the genie from those fairytales that lets everyone's wishes backfire on them. I don't know if they do it delbieratly to troll people, or it's a perfect example of doing what people want without understanding why people want it, but the results are so artistically genius that they belong in a museum.

The only hope people seem to have at the moment is to put the Mania team back into action. I feel sorry for the Mania team, they'll have a huge burden to bare if they ever dare step into the ring again.
And me personally, I only care for Neo Classic Sonic if they'll give him a brand new and semi-serious adventure again because I'm utterly DONE with the shallow nostalgia pandering meme humor. It has overtaken every other quality the series used to have.
Cute as that Mania adventures cartoon was, I have no interest in the sequel show unless it's going to be closer to the OVA movie in tone. Comedy in support of an adventure rather then absorbing it like the all consuming black hole that it is.

Sonic Forces did desperately and superficially try to add the serious story and friends back, and perhaps is an even better example than Rise of Lyric. Unless it was all a coincidence that this correlated with what Adventure fans wanted...

 

Much like their 2D stage design, their writing of a serious story has severely atrophied from disuse. Though I do appreciate Shadow being playable via DLC...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you guys remember Akinori Nishiyama? He is very underrated! He wrote SA1 and created Blaze.

Here is a list of the games he worked on: http://sonic.wikia.com/wiki/Akinori_Nishiyama

Notice something? Well every game he worked on has the adventure vibes and cohesive universe and characters. He left in 2009, the last year when Sonic wasnt yet a series full of cringy jokes that began in 2010 with Colors and Free Riders.

Notice when he left Sonic became a parody of himself with all the memes and nostalgia pandering and jokes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Marco9966 said:

Do you guys remember Akinori Nishiyama? He is very underrated! He wrote SA1 and created Blaze.

Here is a list of the games he worked on: http://sonic.wikia.com/wiki/Akinori_Nishiyama

Notice something? Well every game he worked on has the adventure vibes and cohesive universe and characters. He left in 2009, the last year when Sonic wasnt yet a series full of cringy jokes that began in 2010 with Colors and Free Riders.

Notice when he left Sonic became a parody of himself with all the memes and nostalgia pandering and jokes.

Given he actually hadn’t written anything for Sonic since Adventure, I’d say that’s coincidental at best. That and it appears that he hasn’t actually left, just moved onto other roles within SEGA.

The name you’re actually looking for is likely Shiro Maekawa.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Tracker_TD said:

Given he actually hadn’t written anything for Sonic since Adventure, I’d say that’s coincidental at best. That and it appears that he hasn’t actually left, just moved onto other roles within SEGA.

The name you’re actually looking for is likely Shiro Maekawa.

Shiro Maekawa should re-join Sonic Team. I don't see why they wouldn't hire him again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Miragnarok said:

What about the comic? Or is that not enough?

I don't understand this response. What does the fact that I enjoy the comic have to do with what I just wrote about the state of the games and the people in charge of them? Yeah, not literally everything is bad because there are somethings not made by Sonic Team that are allowed to branch off and be better than what they are. The prescene of things like the comic or Sonic Mania Adventures is nice but its not something I should have to keep bringing up as an aside whenever talking about the horrible boring state the games are in. Even in the early 2000s, there was still stuff to like about the series. I say as much in the post.

This isn't the first time someone's responded to me chastizing the series by bringing up the fact that I like the comic. Its a little irritating now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

You must read and accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to continue using this website. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.