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Plasme

Should Sonic take a break?

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Over the last few decades, we've seen a pretty consistent run of Sonic games, and most of them have been terrible. In more recent years, releases have slowed down; Generations 2011, Lost World 2013, Rise of Lyric 2014; Mania 2017, Forces 2017. But even in this case, Sonic games have been releasing on a pretty steady schedule. 

Should SEGA take a break from Sonic for five or more years? Maybe even a decade? Take some real time away, prototype a new engine and project which really gets Sonic in 3D, and then release Sonic to the world again.

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Probably, but unfortunately, this is another area where following up Forces has SEGA in a tight spot.

 

With that said, he's technically taking something of a vacation via Sonic Team Racing and hopefully another spinoff or two in the future.

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If by "break" you mean dont release any major titles until they spend the time to develop a new gameplay engine and concept that truly works for sonic in 3D? Then yes. They should spend as much time as it takes to do that properly. However I dont actually think that is a 5-10 year undertaking. Something like that can probably be done with a properly funded and staffed team much sooner, even for a game like sonic. 

In the meantime, mania sequels and spin offs like TSR should hold things over.

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RoL and Mania weren't Sonic Team's responsibility, and if the time between Lost World and Forces wasn't enough of a break for them, I can't imagine any longer would help them straighten out. It might take longer than the average development cycle for them to figure out how to do Sonic right (if, y'know, they ever actually do), but it shouldn't take half a decade.

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2 hours ago, Plasme said:

They made Sonic Runners in 2015. Also, Sonic Team were involved in Mania.

Additionally, Sonic Forces was not in development for very long, most of the game's development time was actually spent on the graphical engine.

Yep.

And even then, the actual game we got was made in a year or two by only 3 level designers, two with recent credentials in the series and one with none at all.

So other stuff like Infinite himself must've been made by the actual concept and marketing teams and just given to the designers & writers to do anything with.

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3 hours ago, Sega DogTagz said:

Sonic Team had a 4 year gap between Lost World and Forces. Even with that much time to stand back and watch to figure out what to so with the franchise, the gameplay actually managed to regress and give up the gains built up from Generations.

 

Time isn't the problem here. Its direction

This basically. They can take 5 years, 10 years or however long. The fundamental issue is that these this series doesn't really try to quality control itself very much.

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What’s weird is that with the language gap, Japan’s disinterest in Sonic, and Iizuka’s seemingly scant involvement with Forces, I do kinda wonder if there’s been something unheard of in the pipeline since before Forces was finished. That would certainly be my hope if the next game comes out anytime soon. 

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36 minutes ago, Whatever the WhoCares said:

What’s weird is that with the  Iizuka’s seemingly scant involvement with Forces, I do kinda wonder if there’s been something unheard of in the pipeline since before Forces was finished. T

 I'm sorry, what's this now?

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Should Sonic take a break ? Forces happen , despite the fact it has enough time to be polished , yet it came out as a rushed and unfinished game , ending being an average game .

The right question is should Sonic take a break from Sonic team and find a better developer ?

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6 minutes ago, DabigRG said:

 I'm sorry, what's this now?

Forces was much more Kishimoto’s game than Iizuka’s, and he wasn’t even the sole producer on Forces, a role he had on every mainline game since Colors. I’m not claiming to know what’s actually going on over there but it seems to me that Iizuka didn’t have as much to do with Forces as usual. 

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5 minutes ago, Gumbit said:

The right question is should Sonic take a break from Sonic team and find a better developer ?

Its fun to speculate, but that is not an end all be all to the problem. The last few times Sega outsourced an action adventure game to an outside agency looking to innovate something original with Sonic they got shot in the foot. Bioware had an unrivaled RPG pedigree (this was pre Mass Effect III lol), and somehow crapped out Chronicles. Big Red Button had an impressive tech demo visionary for Boom, but due to being forced to the WiiU - crapped out a disaster in Sonic Boom. The Sanzaru Boom games are some of the most pedestrian video game entries I've ever played. The Mania Team found success by building on what we know works. But every other recent attempt to innovate has been met with poor sales and bad games.

Unless its a party game developed by Sumo - they really have to be gun shy about swapping devs. The results haven't been there.

 

Honestly though - I know Sega is buddy buddy with Platinum. Let them run wild with the IP.

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1 hour ago, TideKai said:

You know, I used to strongly think that Sonic Team needed to take a break and then come back to the franchise with new and fresh eyes, but I've changed my mind since then. For starters, I learned from this board there isn't even really a Sonic Team anymore. Much of Sonic Team apparently has either gone off to other companies or now it's people being kind of rotated based on where they're needed the most.

But other than that, I don't think a break will do any good. I used to think that it was simply a case of Sega being burned out and just cranking out Sonic games due to some sort of obligation, but now I don't feel it's that anymore. It's not an issue of being tired anymore. I think it's just an issue of not knowing exactly what to do. In this case, taking a break won't help. You can be an artist and take a break for ten years, but if you don't examine yourself and try to understand why you need to improve and how, that time means nothing. Ten years later, you'll come back and make the same thing again. Simply taking a break or waiting doesn't improve anything or make anyone better at their job.

However, I do wonder if it'd be a benefit to maybe have some sort of meeting about Sonic? Not like a super serious "RED ALERT THIS IS NOT A DRILL" type thing, but just a kind of get-together of the current employees working on Sonic and really trying to work out the next game on a fundamental level. Examine flaws and strengths, look back on mistakes and achievements, and really try and put some sort of genuine heart into the project. Choose a direction they want to go in and stick to it with confidence. If it doesn't work, really sit down and understand why. I want Sega to understand their mistakes and improve based on what they find out.

I don't want Sonic to just take a break only to come back and make the same mistakes over and over again. I want a genuine effort to improve.

The Iizuka interview makes me wonder if he’s being reflective for the interview, or if he’s actually been looking back on Sonic for a while now. 

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I don't know if a break is really the answer here, especially given that it most definitely won't happen since Sonic is Sega's biggest cash cow.

The problem is more that a lot of people, perhaps too many, have a say in the franchise and what it should be. Aside from a few very specific key figures, Sonic Team has seen significant departures and arrivals even as recently as a few years ago. Sonic needs to be kept on a tighter leash.

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Yes, they should. But sadly they can't. There are no other games that can fill in the gabs. Nintendo can take a break with Mario, because they have other series that sell: Zelda, DKC, Kirby, Pokémon, Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem, Splatoon, etc. 

What does Sega have that sells here in the west besides Sonic? Nights is dead, Jet Radio is dead, Super Monkey Ball is gone, so is Skies of Arcadia, Billy Hatcher and Space Channel 5. Sonic is the only thing that really sells well here. Even the worst Sonic could sell more than some of Sega's best other IPs.

Sega and ST have no other choice to produce more and more of Sonic. They can't take a break, even if they want. 

     

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A "break" wouldn't fix anything because that is assuming they are using that free time to meditate on new ideas and search their soul on how to improve the series... they could have 100 years and they wouldn't bother to use that time for anything meaningful for a number of reasons. They are not indie devs, it is not quite a personal passion project for them. Many of them probably don't often think deeply about the series when they are off work hours. If they are not at least experimenting during a long break... then they'll learn almost nothing during that time... and they won't experiment unless they have a game in mind and are being paid to work on it already.

For things to improve they need a stronger visionary in a leadership role who is passionate about the series and has great ideas for where they want to take it. This or any other series won't improve magically by itself just because you leave it alone in a corner to rot for awhile.

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Sonic Team has to understand Sonic... that is true. This is something every creator should know about their art.... but... can Sega and Sonic Team understand Sonic? Does anyone on this planet understands Sonic? I for sure don't. The only thing I know of this series is that the main character is fast and that he is blue. And that's about it.

The series tried pretty much everything at this point. Level design, gameplay, tone, world, backstory, lore, controls etc. Sonic as a series can't really decided what it truly wants to be.

Nintendo for example understands Mario: It is a colorful, happy-go-lucky, jump'n run series that takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom. Even series like Zelda and Kirby, who always bring something new to the table, can keep the core elements of the series alive. This is sadly not the case with Sonic.  

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Oh boy, the same old dance every time a Sonic game is divisive. But then, what do you expect from a developer(Sonic Team)/publisher who have proven time and time again that they cannot put out AAA quality 3D/2D Sonic game? And even when it seems like they got the memo by putting out a somewhat quality Sonic game, they follow it up by releasing a Sonic game that's most of the time mediocre/uninspired at best and terrible/broken at worst. It's so frustrating that they don't stick to what works and build from there. Like come on, is it really THAT HARD to do? This is a series that has quality control at its worst. The inconsistency of this series is so mind-numbingly baffling to me. Sonic Team could have all the time in the world to figure out what makes a great Sonic game and they still wouldn't be able to figure it out. They've been trying to figure this out for how long now? Like over 2 decades? You know, I REALLY want them to prove me wrong by putting Sonic on a short hiatus while they reflect and ponder on what to do with the series going forward, but as some of you have already said: it's not a matter of time, it's a matter of quality control and direction.

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5 minutes ago, Plasme said:

If you all have this little faith in SEGA and Sonic Team ever improving, then should Sonic just die?

No, we all just want Sonic as an IP to be great again. But unfortunately, that seems to be asking for too much, for whatever reason.

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