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How much damage did Forces do?

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Sonic Forces is widely regarded as a mediocre game. The biggest criticisms from fans and critics center around how automated it is to play, how short the stages are, and how bad the writing is.

Previously, whenever we’d get a less-than-good Sonic game, it was frustrating to play. As in, its gameplay was obtuse and irritating, often glitchy with unfair elements ranging from inputs to obstacle placement. You can’t really say that about Forces. Instead Sonic Forces is the worst Sonic game ever to have smooth, non-frustrating gameplay. Its blandness is its undoing; its utter forgettability. 

This has made me wonder, how much damage has Forces actually done to Sonic’s reputation and future profitability? How many casual players picked it up on Black Friday or whatever, beat it in an evening, and moved on without being any less likely to buy the next one? 

Im not trying to excuse any of Forces’ faults, and as a fan, I find it to be a much more frustrating experience than a non-fan would. But there’s something about the game’s very existence that seems so benign. 

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As a game itself, it did little: it's not that bad, Sonic had much worse. I kinda liked it for all its flaws.

But when you look at the bigger picture this game is:
1 A product of very long production cycle (even if they worked on the engine)
2 Return to Adventure style of bigger stories (something I really liked)
3 regression in gameplay and level design in comparison to Mania or even Generations
4 Direct follow up to "Rise of Lyric", a game which really made fans angry and should be followed up by GENUINELY GOOD GAME. 

And for that reason, this game is officially the moment I lost any faith in Sega. As long as they own Sonic, the franchise will keep making 06/RoL every decade or so and they don't care as long as they squeeze some money. 

Of course, that only applies to fandom. I think Forces had very little effect on Sonic's reputation among gamers over-all.

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As far as the big picture goes, nothing any worse than something like Sonic Lost World.

Sure, it's not great and I'd go as far as to say I hate it, but to an outsider? They probably really don't care. Most people don't see it as another '06 or RoL, though it certainly could get to that point eventually, we aren't there yet. Instead of something people joke about over a decade from now like again, '06 and Shadow, it'll maybe just be a weird footnote as "One weird experiment Sonic Team did one time and never again." So more like Lost World than anything else.

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8 minutes ago, DreamSaturn said:

As far as the big picture goes, nothing any worse than something like Sonic Lost World.

Sure, it's not great and I'd go as far as to say I hate it, but to an outsider? They probably really don't care. Most people don't see it as another '06 or RoL, though it certainly could get to that point eventually, we aren't there yet. Instead of something people joke about over a decade from now like again, '06 and Shadow, it'll maybe just be a weird footnote as "One weird experiment Sonic Team did one time and never again." So more like Lost World than anything else.

What exactly was the weird experiment here?  The character creator?  I must say I wouldn't mind seeing that expanded upon.  That aside, I haven't played Sonic Forces but I don't remember any other new gimmick being touted in its trailers.

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Hmmm... hard to say... Forces is technically not a bad game, just a very boring and short one. It isn't the worst thing that happen to the series, heck, I wouldn't even call it one of the Top 10 worst Sonic games, but the game kinda shows the public that this franchise has run out of ideas. Their is nothing really more that you can do with Sonic as a series. They pretty much tried every type of gameplay: Jump'n run, action adventure, RPG, mech shooting, fishing, puzzles etc.

They also tried every type of story telling with Sonic: He went true time and space, has fallen in love with a human princess, turned into a werewolf, has visited the stories of the Arabian Nights and King Arthur, teamed up with his 90s version, fought mad scientists, robots, evil clones, genies, knights, aliens, demons, ancient creatures, dragons and even the most powerful god of their universe.

I mean, what else can they do story wise with Sonic? Should the next story be about Sonic and Shadow bringing back Maria to life, so that she can live from now own as a undead corpse girl around them and later become Elise's official girlfriend, because Elise has a thing for dead bodies, like we all saw at the end of Sonic 06?  

Sega did pretty much everything you can do with Sonic as a concept and even went to places they shouldn't even attempted in the first place.

Sonic Forces didn't damage the series as hard as some people think, that honor goes to Sonic 06 and Shadow the Hedgehog, but it kinda opened the eyes of fans, critiques, let's players and causal gamers that the series can't really do much anymore with its concept. This is probably the reason why Sega went so often back to the nostalgic roost of the franchise and in reminding the public why Sonic was so popular fin the first place.

I personally don't know what else they can do with Sonic, besides making more Mania styled games. Maybe going back to the Adventure styled games for the modern era? Making another Colors or Lost World? No one can tell.

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1 hour ago, Vertical Snoop [D.K.] said:

Why do you and your friends keep making all these low-key hot takes in the form of questions? You know exactly what the answer is and how people are going to respond to it, so what's the point?

Are you just that desperate to find validation for your opinions?

Look, if you genuinely feel that this or any topic violates the forum guidelines for any reason(though for the record, the only thing breaking guidelines here is your post) then please report it so that mods can handle it. Even then, these sort of call-outs to specific people are not allowed here and never lead to anything good. They also don’t add anything to the discussion.

If you don’t like the topic, don’t post in it. That’s my hot take. Consider this a light warning to stop.

 

 

As for the topic at hand. I’d wager it’s still a bit too early to say. We don’t know what kind of an effect it’ll have on the series going forward yet. As for the public end of things, most people have smilingly already forgotten about it. It’s really only brought up these days in tired side gags along the lines of “Wow Mania was good, too bad the series is still terribad thanks to Forces lol”

Mania and Forces are just always going to be linked to one another.

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The thing about Forces is that there wasn't a whole lot more damage to do. Sonic's already a joke because of games like ShtH, '06, and RoL, and what success the boost games and Mania had weren't enough to reverse that. Forces is awful, but it's not a devastatingly new level of awful, so it's probably mostly just seen as Sonic slipping back to what it's been for over a decade now.

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I think the damage that Forces could’ve done is overblown. At worst, Forces is mediocre, and downright bad to fans of the series. Towards casual fans who just want a mindless four or so hour adventure, this will satisfy them fine. Like, considering some of the downright stinkers that this series has seen, especially between 06, and Rise of Lyric, at the very worse, this game’s biggest crime is being average, forgettable, and too linear. There’s nothing that’s downright awful about it, especially nothing big enough to destroy the goodwill that Mania gathered. 

Like, at absolute worst, it’s forgettable, and that’s because Mania came out in the exact same year, got praised to high heavens, and was seen as a total revitalisation of the series. Would things be worse if Mania didn’t release? Probably not, more people would likely just be more burnt out with the series. With Mania? People, and even just general gamers who aren’t very invested with Sonic would likely just see Forces as forgettable, and return back to Mania.

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We don't know the complete sale figures of Forces, but it is easy to assume that it's still the worst-selling PC Sonic game ever on Steam. Highly doubtful that it moved away from 35k since July, the last time steamspy allowed the numbers to be shown by non-patreon people.

Even though, I don't think it was the most damaging thing ever caused to the brand. I'd say that the movie poster controversy did a lot worse, because everybody, including normies from other facebook groups I am part of, made, and are still making a lot of mocking out of it...

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To the more tired, dramatic, and embarassed fans? Probably little more to push them into cynicism or outright opting.

To everyone else? Not much.

Personal, it's just made me realize what a crisis of productivity SonicTeam is currently in.

7 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:


4 Direct follow up to "Rise of Lyric", a game which really made fans angry and should be followed up by GENUINELY GOOD GAME. 

 

Uh, don't you mean Lost World?

Boom was more its own separate, tangental thing.

3 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Forces is awful, but it's not a devastatingly new level of awful, so it's probably mostly just seen as Sonic slipping back to what it's been for over a decade now.

Which is kinda ironic/appropriate given it was supposedly a brazen return to the early to mid 2000 style of storytelling.

3 hours ago, Ryannumber1Santa said:

I think the damage that Forces could’ve done is overblown.

Oh, it definitely was. 

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At the time I thought it would give a moderate dent to the franchise because it was a bit of a mess and I found a few glitches during my playthrough, but with the passage of time it’s really just more forgettable than anything else.  Which is quite fortunate in a way because there is a lot of the game that I would like to be forgotten tbh. But also unfortunate because if you have a forgettable game then it feels longer and longer since the last memorable game, and then the franchise itself fades from the radars of all but the hardcore fans. 

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8 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Forces is awful, but it's not a devastatingly new level of awful, so it's probably mostly just seen as Sonic slipping back to what it's been for over a decade now.

I dunno. In a lot of ways it was for me. If only because this one successfully tricked me into thinking some of the stuff I wanted to see come back into the fold was going to make a return in some form. 

Something about letting my guard down and allowing myself to get my hopes up in any way, despite still being cautious, made me feel like a huge sucker when it all turned out to just be more of the same but even worse. 

Even if it's not that bad in comparison to something like 06 or Rise of Lyric, it struck a similar chord with me due to the more personal circumstances. I couldn't imagine ever being this cynical about the series back when I was at the height of my fandom for it at around the early 2000s. If younger me could see me now, he'd probably go into denial. 

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11 hours ago, Rowl said:

Hmmm... hard to say... Forces is technically not a bad game, just a very boring and short one. It isn't the worst thing that happen to the series, heck, I wouldn't even call it one of the Top 10 worst Sonic games, but the game kinda shows the public that this franchise has run out of ideas. Their is nothing really more that you can do with Sonic as a series. They pretty much tried every type of gameplay: Jump'n run, action adventure, RPG, mech shooting, fishing, puzzles etc.

They also tried every type of story telling with Sonic: He went true time and space, has fallen in love with a human princess, turned into a werewolf, has visited the stories of the Arabian Nights and King Arthur, teamed up with his 90s version, fought mad scientists, robots, evil clones, genies, knights, aliens, demons, ancient creatures, dragons and even the most powerful god of their universe.

I mean, what else can they do story wise with Sonic? Should the next story be about Sonic and Shadow bringing back Maria to life, so that she can live from now own as a undead corpse girl around them and later become Elise's official girlfriend, because Elise has a thing for dead bodies, like we all saw at the end of Sonic 06?  

Sega did pretty much everything you can do with Sonic as a concept and even went to places they shouldn't even attempted in the first place.

Sonic Forces didn't damage the series as hard as some people think, that honor goes to Sonic 06 and Shadow the Hedgehog, but it kinda opened the eyes of fans, critiques, let's players and causal gamers that the series can't really do much anymore with its concept. This is probably the reason why Sega went so often back to the nostalgic roost of the franchise and in reminding the public why Sonic was so popular fin the first place.

I personally don't know what else they can do with Sonic, besides making more Mania styled games. Maybe going back to the Adventure styled games for the modern era? Making another Colors or Lost World? No one can tell.

 

8 hours ago, StaticMania said:

They really haven't actually. Sonic isn't that stiff.

Here's what this interchange is missing: It's not just about concept.  It's about execution.  Take almost any Sonic game that has been well-received and any that hasn't, and the big difference is whether people were impressed.  The early Sonic games didn't have much plot, nor was there anything really new about any of its concepts.  Sonic's design was inspired by Golden Age funny-animal cartoons and his personality inspired by surfer dudes (and Bill Clinton, somehow).  Robotnik/Eggman was inspired by plenty mad scientists before him.  The Chaos Emeralds were inspired by Dragon Ball and the Death Egg was inspired by Star Wars.  It didn't matter because Sega was pushing the technical envelope with solid physics and ornate graphics.  While the Sonic Adventure series hasn't aged as well to many people, it, too, pushed the technical envelope and, at least for the Sonic series, brought in a lot of ambitious new things (for better or worse).  By contrast, with the exception of Shadow the Hedgehog, all of the Sonic games people most famously hate, Sonic the Hedgehog (the 2006 one), Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis (the Game Boy Advance port of the first Sonic game, also in 2006), Sonic Free Riders, and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, are epic failures on a technical level.  All of them would have been fine if Sega had just admitted they were broken and unfinished, and fixed and finished them, delaying if necessary; instead of rushing them out and hoping people would buy them faster than they found out they sucked.  In fact, Sonic 2006 could have been way past fine.

5 hours ago, DabigRG said:

Which is kinda ironic/appropriate given it was supposedly a brazen return to the early to mid 2000 style of storytelling.

Arguably too brazen.  If they wanted to have Eggman capture Sonic, torture him and conquer most of the world, they should have reestablished Eggman as a credible thread and focused on that story; instead of dropping into the narrative after the fact and expecting people to go for it.  That, and you can't effectively make a game about overthrowing a tyrant with combat as lame as it has gotten; they should have at least cranked it back up to Sonic Heroes level.  For the record, I'm Team Enemy HP.

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5 hours ago, DabigRG said:

Uh, don't you mean Lost World?

Boom was more its own separate, tangential thing.

 

1

It's game about Sonic, published by Sega, I don't care if it's 'separate thing' or not.

Arguably it's even worse. At least I thought "Sega are idiots, but Team Sonic learned their lessons. They didn't work on RoL". But then Forces comes out and I know there is no hope.

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2 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

 

Arguably too brazen.  If they wanted to have Eggman capture Sonic, torture him and conquer most of the world, they should have reestablished Eggman as a credible thread and focused on that story; instead of dropping into the narrative after the fact and expecting people to go for it.  That, and you can't effectively make a game about overthrowing a tyrant with combat as lame as it has gotten; they should have at least cranked it back up to Sonic Heroes level.  For the record, I'm Team Enemy HP.

For what it's worth, the torture line is only in the English version.

Anyway, the general premise was always meant to be "Eggman has taken over Sonic's World; Join the fight to take it back!." Sonic getting captured by the Eggy Six was just an effective way of preceding that.

I agree that giving the enemies HP for at least the Avatar's stages could've been the way to go.

2 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

It's game about Sonic, published by Sega, I don't care if it's 'separate thing' or not.

Arguably it's even worse. At least I thought "Sega are idiots, but Team Sonic learned their lessons. They didn't work on RoL". But then Forces comes out and I know there is no hope.

Meh.

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14 hours ago, PC the Hedgehog said:

Yeah, I wouldn't say it did any damage whatsoever. I mean, it sure didn't help anything, either. It just kind of...came and went. Nothing more, nothing less. On to the next game.

this.

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At best, not really. At worst, it's simply another assurance of Sonic's mediocrity. 

To me, Forces isn't even that bad. It's...meh. Didn't a get a huge reaction out of me, only a giant feeling of "Well, it could've been worse..." Like, it's nowhere near Sonic '06, a game that's still remembered and talked about even though over ten years have passed since its release and SEGA seems to have moved on from it in some way. And it's nowhere near RoL (which I feel didn't even really have high expectations in the first place). It certainly doesn't help that Mania was released around the same time. Outside of fans of the series, I don't think anyone really cared much for it. 

To be honest, I don't know if it's more reassuring or worrying that this is the case. It's nice to know we didn't get a godawful and infamous game. At the same time, it's kind of depressing. At least playing a godawful game makes me feel some kind of emotion, whether it be amusement or anger. Forces made me feel a few instances of fun, but after all of it I only really went *shrug* and moved on.

Quote

I dunno. In a lot of ways it was for me. If only because this one successfully tricked me into thinking some of the stuff I wanted to see come back into the fold was going to make a return in some form. 

Something about letting my guard down and allowing myself to get my hopes up in any way, despite still being cautious, made me feel like a huge sucker when it all turned out to just be more of the same but even worse. 

Even if it's not that bad in comparison to something like 06 or Rise of Lyric, it struck a similar chord with me due to the more personal circumstances. I couldn't imagine ever being this cynical about the series back when I was at the height of my fandom for it at around the early 2000s. If younger me could see me now, he'd probably go into denial. 

@Dr. Detective Mike (I'm sorry I messed up your quote, I don't know how to add it to an edited post) I felt very similar. I try very hard to be optimistic about the Sonic series. Even if it's not optimism, at the very least I try to at least be curious. It's hard to hold onto that hope of "Well, you never know" for the franchise nowadays. It's even harder when your cynical side is reinforced by releases like this...

I think that's why Forces is kind of depressing to me in a way. In a sort of morbid way, at least 06 and Rise of Lyric got people talking. At least it felt like people cared something about Sonic. It felt like no one cared about Forces and as a result, no one cares about Sonic. Seeing it be in this state after being with the series for so long is kind of tragic.

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I don't think it did much damage at all mainly because it was eclipsed so much by Sonic Mania AND Mania Plus. Even though I loved Forces and I have nothing but happy and positive memories associated with the game, it was definitely more of a game that just kinda came-and-went in the 'big picture'. The intense hatred and disappointment for the game just doesn't seem to be shared by the majority of people in the general public or, in my opinion, the majority of people who purchased and played the game. To me, the 'negative impact' of Forces has been greatly exaggerated by the more hardcore fans of the series and blown up into something far bigger than it actually is.

I just think the positives of Mania and Mania Plus far outweighed any actual objective negatives from Forces... but even with that, I'm not entirely sure. I don't know how relevant the internet's/Sonic fanbase's praise and excitement about Mania actually is when it comes to the larger gaming market - I don't think it sold as well as people think it did compared to the AAA blockbuster games out there. I could be totally wrong about that though 'cuz it's hard for me to know what's legitimate and what's not when it comes to sales figures for these games.

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