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Ernest the Panda

Would you say we’ve entered a new “era” yet?

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SLW was a failed attempt at that, but I don't think it would have ushered an era of Sonic that'd be much different from what we've had since Unleashed. The series would mostly likely have remained the same as it is now. As Wraith pointed out, SLW takes a bunch of cues from Colors so it wasn't as radical a departure as it seems on the surface. It's like how Sega changed the gameplay for Heroes but that game still felt like a fork of the Adventure formula.

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1 hour ago, Sean said:

SLW was a failed attempt at that, but I don't think it would have ushered an era of Sonic that'd be much different from what we've had since Unleashed. The series would mostly likely have remained the same as it is now. As Wraith pointed out, SLW takes a bunch of cues from Colors so it wasn't as radical a departure as it seems on the surface. It's like how Sega changed the gameplay for Heroes but that game still felt like a fork of the Adventure formula.

I dunno, the drop of the boost would be a pretty significant change imo. That has been basically the only element that's been somewhat consistend in the past 12 years, so to drop that for something different would be pretty big. To change the "look at the world speed by in a blur while you barely have control over the character" approach to a "slower speed with more control over the character" approach is pretty different. I think that's a bigger change in pacing than Heroes' "stop to defeat these baddies".

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3 hours ago, Tarnish said:

I'm curious if they intended the Lost World formula as a one-off thing right from the start regardless how it would be accepted, or were they experimenting with changing the formula for the series going forward, but the bad reception made them fall back to the boost formula with the next game.

Pretty sure it's the latter. 

The actual development times and attention to detail all show a stark contrast between the efforts. 

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Deeming things eras is pointless unless you can clearly define what distinguishes certain points eras. And frankly, I naming things after changes in gameplay isn't very helpful. Sonic since like, 2008 or 9 has had nearly no direction as a series and an incredibly shallow output of content as they figure out what the hell to do with the series with no consistent development team. It's the same. Nothing has changed.

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8 hours ago, Enderwoman said:

Deeming things eras is pointless unless you can clearly define what distinguishes certain points eras. And frankly, I naming things after changes in gameplay isn't very helpful. Sonic since like, 2008 or 9 has had nearly no direction as a series and an incredibly shallow output of content as they figure out what the hell to do with the series with no consistent development team. It's the same. Nothing has changed.

Umm....so what was the direction of the series prior to 2008? SA1, SA2, heroes, shadow, and 06 are all very different from each other across the board with gameplay that got progressively worse and less focused each entry, culminating in the 2006 disaster.

I would say 2008-2011 if any time in the 21st century, is the only time sonic has had a somewhat clear direction. The "boost" games built off of the foundation unleashed laid and was essentially maximized by generations, with further refinement each game. 

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16 minutes ago, UpCDownCLeftCRightC said:

Umm....so what was the direction of the series prior to 2008? SA1, SA2, heroes, shadow, and 06 are all very different from each other across the board with gameplay that got progressively worse and less focused each entry, culminating in the 2006 disaster. 

I would say 2008-2011 if any time in the 21st century, is the only time sonic has had a somewhat clear direction. The "boost" games built off of the foundation unleashed laid and was essentially maximized by generations, with further refinement each game. 

sheer gameplay conformity isn't the only thing that makes a series my friend. The series prior to like, 2006 or 7 had the same visionaries and team working on the series, regardless of whether or not the gameplay was the same they were always working on new Sonic games, developing concepts, working on their technology and taking artistic licenses with the series. By 2008 a lot of the talent left but a lot of new people came in to work on Sonic Unleashed, a very passionate entry in the series. While donning new gameplay, aimed to evolve the series and build upon the previous entries. Hell, when you think about it the boost gameplay is just a pretty altered version of a typical 3d platformer formula that they were using for years. Sega dicked the Unleashed team around and they left, with the director of the game going to Square Enix.

After that point there basically is no Sonic Team with every Sonic game after that point being worked on by contract programmers with a few long running key people like Iizuka producing. It's also worth noting that after Black Knight we also quit getting completely original spin off games that had collaboration from the main Sonic Team. Handheld Sonic titles devolved into watered down versions of the current console title and while we did get both Sonic 4 episodes, not even those two were worked on by the same team. And when was the last time we got a Sonic spinoff that tackled a different genre that wasn't racing? So now the series is basically just kind of a shell of its already eclectic self that also has an extremely shallow and bland output of content. This started happening after 2008 and 9.

This is what I consider worthy of noting as separate eras.

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15 hours ago, Enderwoman said:

Sonic since like, 2008 or 9 has had nearly no direction as a series and an incredibly shallow output of content as they figure out what the hell to do with the series with no consistent development team.

2008-present: the "We have no idea what we're doing" era

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I'd argue that Unleashed-Lost World knew exactly what they were doing. Lost World was a little more experimental sure but they had a clear enough focus of trying to work out the boost formula. Honestly I'd say Unleashed-Generations are still really solid games. Can't really say anything about Lost World since I've never personally played it. 

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15 hours ago, Enderwoman said:

sheer gameplay conformity isn't the only thing that makes a series my friend. The series prior to like, 2006 or 7 had the same visionaries and team working on the series, regardless of whether or not the gameplay was the same they were always working on new Sonic games, developing concepts, working on their technology and taking artistic licenses with the series. By 2008 a lot of the talent left but a lot of new people came in to work on Sonic Unleashed, a very passionate entry in the series. While donning new gameplay, aimed to evolve the series and build upon the previous entries. Hell, when you think about it the boost gameplay is just a pretty altered version of a typical 3d platformer formula that they were using for years. Sega dicked the Unleashed team around and they left, with the director of the game going to Square Enix.

After that point there basically is no Sonic Team with every Sonic game after that point being worked on by contract programmers with a few long running key people like Iizuka producing. It's also worth noting that after Black Knight we also quit getting completely original spin off games that had collaboration from the main Sonic Team. Handheld Sonic titles devolved into watered down versions of the current console title and while we did get both Sonic 4 episodes, not even those two were worked on by the same team. And when was the last time we got a Sonic spinoff that tackled a different genre that wasn't racing? So now the series is basically just kind of a shell of its already eclectic self that also has an extremely shallow and bland output of content. This started happening after 2008 and 9.

This is what I consider worthy of noting as separate eras.

These are internal happenings with the devs. While true, this doesnt by itself really say anything about the games. The team could have been the same but if the games change wildly between games, what difference does that make? We consumers are concerned with the end product, it's what we actually interact with and care about.

During the pre 2008 era you kind of glossed over, there really was no consistent identity or gameplay, everything was changed fairly drastically between every title between gameplay, story, tone, aesthetics, etc. You did not address this in your post. In the era from 2008's unleashed until lost world, the games did consistently follow a trend, the game built upon the success of the previous entry. So I think you've got it backwards here.

In that pre 2008 era there was really no clear direction for 3D sonic, almost everything was tried and thrown at the wall with alternate gameplay styles, stories, etc. After 2008, the games got more narrow in their focus. Not always for the better, but the general reviewer consensus was the the overall quality of the main series improved quite a bit over the pre-unleashed 3D games.

Since this is a video game series at the end of the day, this kind of needs addressing in your view of what happened.

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17 hours ago, Enderwoman said:

sheer gameplay conformity isn't the only thing that makes a series my friend. The series prior to like, 2006 or 7 had the same visionaries and team working on the series, regardless of whether or not the gameplay was the same they were always working on new Sonic games, developing concepts, working on their technology and taking artistic licenses with the series. By 2008 a lot of the talent left but a lot of new people came in to work on Sonic Unleashed, a very passionate entry in the series. While donning new gameplay, aimed to evolve the series and build upon the previous entries. Hell, when you think about it the boost gameplay is just a pretty altered version of a typical 3d platformer formula that they were using for years. Sega dicked the Unleashed team around and they left, with the director of the game going to Square Enix.

After that point there basically is no Sonic Team with every Sonic game after that point being worked on by contract programmers with a few long running key people like Iizuka producing. It's also worth noting that after Black Knight we also quit getting completely original spin off games that had collaboration from the main Sonic Team. Handheld Sonic titles devolved into watered down versions of the current console title and while we did get both Sonic 4 episodes, not even those two were worked on by the same team. And when was the last time we got a Sonic spinoff that tackled a different genre that wasn't racing? So now the series is basically just kind of a shell of its already eclectic self that also has an extremely shallow and bland output of content. This started happening after 2008 and 9.

This is what I consider worthy of noting as separate eras.

Eventually, the handheld versions of the console games died off. The Boom sub-series did prove a bit of a shake-up due to Rise of Lyric. Forces was a return to the more serious elements of the older days, but on an even smaller development team than ever before, made of neophytes on a shoestring budget. It also directly tied into a game that was developed by an entirely different team of Sonic fans in another part of the planet, with a wholly different aesthetic and playstyle.

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It never caught on, but I've been calling the modern era the Hedgehog Era. I call it that for Sonic Unleashed's "hedgehog engine" and the renewed emphasis on Sonic himself. Themes include:

- a radical backlash from Sonic '06 and the damage it caused

- an enforced focus on Sonic the Hedgehog as the main story and only playable character, including times when there are other gameplay modes (e.g. the werehog)

- an appeal to nostalgia (e.g. chilidogs)

- a shift from an anime tone to a western tone

 

That being said, some things are shifting. Non-Sonic characters are slowly getting more playability, as we saw in 2017 with Mania and Forces (I think the Shadow missions were well-received).

Yet, I don't think the westernized tone and nostalgia appeal are going away anytime soon. If anything, the writers are starting to realize that our nostalgia INCLUDES many of these non-Sonic characters.

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Well the way i see it is 1991-1999 Classic age/ Golden age

1999-2004: Adventure/Silver age

2004-2011: The dark age

2011-now: the confusion age as things are so mixed, with highs such as Sonic Colors, Generations and mania and the utter dulldrums that is Forces, Sonic boom and Lost world (depending on who you ask)

I do hope the next era is the Sonic Renaissance, but I feel we have not got there yet. 

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7 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

How can this be the Silver age when he wasn't even invented yet.

I am using Comic book terminology here.

In the comic industry the first age was the golden age, from Supermans introduction in 1938 until the passing of the Comic book code in the 50's

the 50's to the 70's was the silver age

the 70's to the late 80's is called the bronze age

And the 90's were the dark age.

The Sonic franchise seems to be taking a simular path.

Comics did have a second silver age/ Renaissance soon after the mid 90's

kind of entered the second bronze age in the mid 2000's

but kind of re entered the dark age again as of late

I do hope the sonic franchise diverges from this path.

A Renaissance is welcome though

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