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Sonic Under New Management Part 2: Hedgehog Boogaloo? (Reports of Sega of Japan studio restructure/new IP development)

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On ‎12‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 12:19 AM, VEDJ-F said:

I don't think this changes much. Most of the big names of Sonic Team are in America right now anyway, and it's not like the rest of the Japanese "Sonic Team" have stayed very consistent over the past few games. 

I disagree very much.

If this is true, this changes quite a lot. SEGA of Japan has had the final say on Sonic since the beginning. And in my lifetime of being a fan, they have made it abundantly clear that they do not care about quality control in the franchise (and admitted this publicly in the last few years!). There is a long history between them and SoA ripe with bitterness over the fact that Sonic, for whatever reason, never experienced the level of wide success in their market as he did in the Western world. I wouldn't go as far as to say that is the reason they don't care, but they have throughout their history ignored the common sense advice of their American counterparts who have basically always understood Sonic's appeal in the west... and have forced games to be kicked out the door before they were ready to make a quick buck. 

I think SoA controlling Sonic in the market that loves him, and they themselves understanding that a lot better with some help from great contributors like Iizuka and other remnants who do care about Sonic, would be pretty huge for the franchise. Sonic will finally have the opportunity to establish a clear identity behind a team that understand him, in a market that suits him. This doesn't mean they're going to spit out automatic GOY award level games, but they would have a better chance of establishing consistent quality and a clearer identity.

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I hate to sound like a pessimist, but I don't see how this changes much. Isn't Iizuka still in charge and giving the final say? The same guy who intentionally made Forces with lineal level design, gave Shadow a gun to make him 'cool' and 'edgy', rehashed Green Hill and Chemical Plant  and dismisses the potential of going back to the Adventure formula 

 

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12 hours ago, sonicfan619 said:

I hate to sound like a pessimist, but I don't see how this changes much. Isn't Iizuka still in charge and giving the final say? The same guy who intentionally made Forces with lineal level design, gave Shadow a gun to make him 'cool' and 'edgy', rehashed Green Hill and Chemical Plant  and dismisses the potential of going back to the Adventure formula 

 

It’s called Sonic Team. Iizuka didn’t personally go in and do any of that stuff besides the final point, which I mostly imagine was just his knack for not being that great at PR. Shadow was down to misguided fan demand, and the level design mentality in Forces was more likely down to Morio Kishimoto given it’s in keeping with the other games he’s produced. Sonic Team is too inconsistent across games to pin it on one guy who isn’t even based at SoJ’s headquarters anymore - particularly with regards to Modern Sonic. It’s tough to say if he even had the final say on titles like Forces - being half the world away for most of the development, I would imagine his input on that game was at least somewhat reduced compared to Mania.

At most you could probably pin actually going with Shadow on him given he was the director - but if you’re being consistent with blaming the head of Sonic Team for everything bad, in that case you should actually be blaming Yujii Naka for that.

If you want an up to date example of Iizuka’s contributions to the franchise, running with the Mania Team and turning it from a 4 stage game into a 12+ stage game as well as contributing further ideas (I.e the Death Egg Robot in GHZ) is what you’re looking for. 

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I just wanna see how this will turn out before raising any expectations. Been burned enough times with this franchise. Remember, I had real hopes for Forces (before it even had a proper name).

The thing that should start off to win back people's confidence and optimism (yet again) is a Sonic Mania sequel by the same team, with the same level of quality and polish. It was easily the highest point of the franchise since Sonic Adventure release on the Dreamcast, like you or not classic Sonic or 2D games, it was a fucking great game in general.

Hopefully TSR will do at least "okay" and give the fans some pinch of joy for a while. I imagine we'll be in the middle of a hype cycle for the next game at the point TSR comes out, which I still think it will be the Mania sequel, but NOT the next Sonic Team modern Sonic game. That game is probably gonna be announced during the first quarter of 2020 with a release date for the last quarter as usual. 

I suppose it's early to bet, but I guess the chances of a Sonic Forces' spiritual sequel are the highest, which isn't what most people want I'm sure... I doubt the avatar will never return. Classic Sonic tho'? Only for the 2D projects I hope.

I really don't have any hope for Sonic Team's next project untill I see it. God I really hope it isn't a movie tie-in game tho'.

Best case scenario: both Team Mania (US) and Sonic Team (US and JP) join forces and make the best 3D Sonic to date. Even if we don't get a Mania sequel, if we do get a 3D game with the same quality of Mania, it will be the best thing.

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2 hours ago, Jango said:

I just wanna see how this will turn out before raising any expectations. Been burned enough times with this franchise. Remember, I had real hopes for Forces (before it even had a proper name).

The thing that should start off to win back people's confidence and optimism (yet again) is a Sonic Mania sequel by the same team, with the same level of quality and polish. It was easily the highest point of the franchise since Sonic Adventure release on the Dreamcast, like you or not classic Sonic or 2D games, it was a fucking great game in general.

Hopefully TSR will do at least "okay" and give the fans some pinch of joy for a while. I imagine we'll be in the middle of a hype cycle for the next game at the point TSR comes out, which I still think it will be the Mania sequel, but NOT the next Sonic Team modern Sonic game. That game is probably gonna be announced during the first quarter of 2020 with a release date for the last quarter as usual. 

I suppose it's early to bet, but I guess the chances of a Sonic Forces' spiritual sequel are the highest, which isn't what most people want I'm sure... I doubt the avatar will never return. Classic Sonic tho'? Only for the 2D projects I hope.

I really have any hope for Sonic Team's untill I see it. God I really hope it isn't a movie tie-in game tho'.

Best case scenario: both Team Mania (US) and Sonic Team (US and JP) join forces and make the best 3D Sonic to date. Even if we don't get a Mania sequel, if we do get a 3D game with the same quality of Mania, it will be the best thing.

The "hope" is that the new team SEGA will create is made of talented developers. I want some new blood even though that's what made Forces' level design fail, they need to fire that director I guess. Btw Iizuka wasn't really involved in Forces, he was working with the Mania team I believe.

Mania was obviously an experiment and Iizuka was so stupid not to believe in it, now it has been successful they can make a big budget classic title with that team, I hope. Modern Sonic will likely be sent to the spin-off zone with projects like TSR, I'm fine with that, as for main projects… he needs an overhaul because that boost gameplay thing got old and done, I'm so sick of it.

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6 minutes ago, Tracker_TD said:

In what world is upgrading the project from a 4 stage bonus game alongside some ports to a new 12+ stage Classic Sonic game with completely new level design replacing just straight ports of the old stuff not believing in it!? Taxman's literally been on record over on Retro to tell people to knock this Iizuka conspiracy off, come on. 

Okay, I'm not an Iizuka hater myself, but he definitely admitted he didn't expect this huge success from Mania, his words.

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13 minutes ago, Jack in the Snow said:

Okay, I'm not an Iizuka hater myself, but he definitely admitted he didn't expect this huge success from Mania, his words.

Not expecting Mania to be as successful as it eventually turned out to be, is not even close to being the same thing as "not believing/backing" it as a game. You're extrapolating a thought process you have literally no understanding of. 

 

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15 hours ago, Tracker_TD said:

It’s called Sonic Team. Iizuka didn’t personally go in and do any of that stuff besides the final point, which I mostly imagine was just his knack for not being that great at PR. Shadow was down to misguided fan demand, and the level design mentality in Forces was more likely down to Morio Kishimoto given it’s in keeping with the other games he’s produced. Sonic Team is too inconsistent across games to pin it on one guy who isn’t even based at SoJ’s headquarters anymore - particularly with regards to Modern Sonic. It’s tough to say if he even had the final say on titles like Forces - being half the world away for most of the development, I would imagine his input on that game was at least somewhat reduced compared to Mania.

At most you could probably pin actually going with Shadow on him given he was the director - but if you’re being consistent with blaming the head of Sonic Team for everything bad, in that case you should actually be blaming Yujii Naka for that.

If you want an up to date example of Iizuka’s contributions to the franchise, running with the Mania Team and turning it from a 4 stage game into a 12+ stage game as well as contributing further ideas (I.e the Death Egg Robot in GHZ) is what you’re looking for. 

Well said. Iiizuka has been poo pooed for things he's done in the past (I'll admit I contributed in that at times) but he's far from the bad guy here. The only thing you can really blame him for is trying to give fans what they want! Sometimes his efforts are a little misguided but he's definitely had good intentions over the years. This is completely separate from corporate heads at SoJ actually not caring, which has appeared to be the case for a long time. I wouldn't mind at all if Iizuka stayed around and think he deserves to be recognized for helping to keep the franchise afloat and catering to fans in the last 20 years.

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On 12/17/2018 at 7:23 AM, Whatever the WhoCares said:

Dammit, when I saw Sonic running off against a setting sun in the ending of Forces, I had a feeling it would be a while until we saw him again. It’s like they knew...

Anyway, I really hope this means we get sort of a soft reboot that significantly changes Sonic’s world to a more cohesive and compelling one. What is Shadow up to these days, anyway? Where do Sonic and co. live, and what do they do when they’re not beating down Eggman? Answering these basic questions would go a long way towards me giving a shit about Sonic’s world. To do all this requires a modicum of creativity, though. Something that present-day Sonic Team doesn’t show. 

Ironically, according to Iizuka just about every game since Shadow the Hedgehog is a soft reboot that changes Sonic's world, except it results in it being less cohesive and compelling.  This is probably a tacit admission that Sonic Team doesn't even have faith in its own ideas for making the series appealing, and is prepared to abandon them if it seems prudent.  I agree with you, though, and this was the reason Sonic Forces didn't interest me at all.  In other scenarios, doing a plot where Eggman is menacing again, has conquered most of the world, and there's a resistance fighting to overthrow him might have been cool, but Eggman became menacing again out of nowhere, that world has too little identity anymore to care about its fate, you can't play as most of the resistance and the gameplay of the ones you do play as doesn't involve compelling fighting.  They weren't prepared to make this plot work.

On 12/17/2018 at 8:08 AM, Blue Blood said:

In recent years, "Sonic Team" has been little more than a label. The majority of the staff working on Sonic games are shuffled around various projects at SEGA or appear to just be contracted workers. There are some permanent stuff, but by and large there's no tangible "Sonic Team". Almost every Sonic game coming out of Japan is labelled as Sonic Team, most notably everything produced by Dimps. And when you compare the production staff from Runners and Forces to other "Sonic Team" Sonic games, you notice the disparities; we all know by now that Forces certainly wasn't from the same group that brought us Colours and Generations. 

If this means that there's going to be something more solid and permanent, I'd definitely down for that. SoA has had more influence on Sonic in the past decade than they did for the series' dark ages, and that's going to be in part due to the fact that Sonic is simply more relevant in the West than in Japan. It makes sense to have have the series headquarted in a place where it actually matters. I don't think we'd have ever seen Mania if SoA weren't at the helm, and Boom could have been a very different story if SoJ had loosened their grip or understood what the hell the project was aiming to be

Can America really be held so responsible for something that happens in Australia?  Quite possibly so, but I'm not sure.

On 12/17/2018 at 9:33 AM, Ruomarta said:

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I really don't think those two things (IDW and Archie elements, including the DIC Freedom Fighters, getting in the games) will happen.

I predict that at least, the IDW series has a much better chance to get elements added to games than Archie's did.  The reason is that much of IDW's series--like the post-Genesis Wave Archie series before it--is made to sterner specifications set by Sega--and for these purposes, Sega is Sega is the boss.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but while Sega of America was obviously more accepting of American adaptations of Sonic, they still didn't create most of the developments they made to Sonic's world, and I'm not convinced there was any real love lost when the brass from Japan handed down its own competing expanding universe.  For as much as the Dic/Archie stuff had become the predominant Western impression of Sonic's universe prior to Sonic Adventure, even before then canon immigration between the games and spin-offs was quite minimal.  Not nonexistant, but minimal.  Tails was downplayed in the Saturday morning series, whose characters in turn only got into one American-made spinoff, Knuckles only got a brief appearance in Sonic Underground and its unique take on the mythos was the first Sega personally shut down.

With the official Sega plot and IDW's being closer to DIC's freedom fighters story than its has been in a long time, the time to bring some characters into the games might seem opportune, but on the other hand, we're in an era when the brass is very skeptical of additional character--even ones Sega created--getting any major amount of attention if they aren't absolutely essential for a role.  So if Sonic needs an ally who does machines, it just be Tails; there's no need to bring in Rotor--and this may very well be the only role Tails plays.  If Sonic needs an ally with a big reach who's super-strong, Bunnie Rabbot might have fit in another circumstance, but these days boost let's Sonic go so fast and the robots are so wimpy that neither is needed.

On 12/17/2018 at 10:54 AM, Miragnarok said:

Remember when we thought having Deadpool, Galactus, Wolverine, or even Blade in the MCU was impossible?

That's a bad comparison because all of those characters are actually owned by Marvel-proper; they just auctioned them off to the highest bidder and thus the movie rights got split.  A better Sonic analog would be a DIC-original character appearing in the UK's Fleetway comic. (Maybe that happened, but the point is they're different companies.)

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On 12/19/2018 at 7:07 PM, Scar said:

Pls Jun. Bring back Fumie Kumatanie. Pls.
 

Yes!! If she came back I'd be super happy. 

Fumie Kumatanie & Kenichi Tokoi appreciation post:

Overall, this news has me pretty optimistic. I feel like we may be in for another '06-->Unleashed situation where the next 3D game is a solid product with strong direction, presentation and high production values.

I don't think there'll be a tie-in game for the movie, those don't really exist in the same way they used to. I wouldn't doubt them making a movie branded version of Sonic Dash though.

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29 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

On top of this, Hiroshi Nishiyama, Art Director of the Adventure games and Heroes, has appeared to return to this new Sonic Team. Curiouser and curiouser.

He was not the art director of any Sonic game. I even explained all of his roles back in that other topic you created specifically to talk about this...

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1 hour ago, Blue Blood said:

He was not the art director of any Sonic game. I even explained all of his roles back in that other topic you created specifically to talk about this...

Thank you. Yeah, I wonder how or if he would handle Boost.

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8 hours ago, Blue Blood said:

It has literally nothing to do with field art. 

Well arguably, good field art direction could improve the quality of the experience of zipping past everything by providing an enjoyable visual even at speeds where everything else is impossible to focus on. Of course I don't doubt that being an extremely challenging task on it's own but it's still a reasonable thing to wonder how Nishiyama would handle field art for a boost game. Is he up to the task or is the wrong choice for that and is better left to working on hubs and cutscene backgrounds? There is discussion to be had for sure, it's just engaging with that discussion with the right knowledge on hand to keep it in context.

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On 12/20/2018 at 1:48 AM, Tracker_TD said:

It’s tough to say if he even had the final say on titles like Forces - being half the world away for most of the development, I would imagine his input on that game was at least somewhat reduced compared to Mania.

At most you could probably pin actually going with Shadow on him given he was the director - but if you’re being consistent with blaming the head of Sonic Team for everything bad, in that case you should actually be blaming Yujii Naka for that.

Regardless of how absurdly overblown the Iizuka hate was in the post you were replying to (and also noting they you are merely making a hypothetical argument on his behalf), Iizuka was at least nominally the head of the studio that developed Forces (even if he wasn't present for much of its development in favor of supervising Mania's development). It seems a stretch to say Naka was even that much when Iizuka was in charge of the series' output the first time.

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