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The Return of Hiroshi Nishiyama

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https://forums.sonicretro.org/index.php?showtopic=38546&pid=940634&st=0&#entry940634

 

Hiroshi Nishiyama, who worked on the Adventure games, has returned to Sonic Team USA. This news seems to have glided under everyone’s radar; but I think it might be a sign of things to come. He was the designer of he overall world of Adventure 1, which I personally adored exploring. 

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If nothing else, it could be a sign of a more cohesive visual direction than we've seen in a while though I certainly DO hope it means good things for Adventure fans (myself included).My personal favorite game even if I think Mania was technically the best.

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I posted this there, but despite me being excited about the possibility of an SA1 remake I do have some serious concerns about any sort of adventure revival type thing....at least in the gameplay department. We've really no good examples of the 3D sonic gameplay iterated and smoothed out. We've had numerous 3D sonic formulas and the only one that really tried to do it true and proper was....SA1 20 years ago. Forces is what we've most recently had and I think adventure fans wont be satisfied with anything remotely like that. 

I'm eager, I wont lie. A polished SA1 would make me very happy. But I'm concerned too. All fans of sonic's gameplay should be. I don't want them to even think about this unless they really know what they're doing this time.

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One man can't undo 15 years of bullshit, especially under a terrible leader like Iizuka.

The mindset/approach to making Sonic games within "Sonic Team" (which as far as I know, basically only has Iizuka as the only constant member these days) drastically changed since he worked on the Adventure games. Iizuka seems to be fine with the way the franchise is heading and doesn't show any signs he wants to change course or go back. So what good could Nishiyama do if he's forced to adapt Iizuka's vision?

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Can't tell if it's gonna change much in the grand scheme of things, but if it means getting away from a crap artstyle that's been in Lost World and Forces and going for a somewhat more grounded, natural-looking art direction (akin to SA1 or Unleashed-to-Gens), I'm all for it.

And if this leads to more talented people being hired to the so-called Sonic pillar, then it could be an interesting turn of events.

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If it's the SA remake, hopefully they can make at least Big's campaign no longer mandatory to unlock Super Sonic or make him a mini-game altogether. Visually, I think the levels will be fantastic if it's anything like Spyro and Crash's remake, althought being PSOne games, these had much more room for graphical improvements. I wanna see what they can add and remake in Sonic Adventure.

Me thinks they'll find a way to screw the gameplay tho', or add unnecessary shit to it.

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3 minutes ago, Jango said:

If it's the SA remake, hopefully they can make at least Big's campaign no longer mandatory to unlock Super Sonic or make him a mini-game altogether. Visually, I think the levels will be fantastic if it's anything like Spyro and Crash's remake, althought being PSOne games, these had much more room for graphical improvements. I wanna see what they can add and remake in Sonic Adventure.

Me thinks they'll find a way to screw the gameplay tho', or add unnecessary shit to it.

Classic Sonic will come to help Modern Sonic against Chaos because nowadays Modern Sonic can't do anything by himself.

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17 minutes ago, Jango said:

If it's the SA remake, hopefully they can make at least Big's campaign no longer mandatory to unlock Super Sonic or make him a mini-game altogether. 

Eh, I'd say that if they're remaking it they should rebuild his gameplay entirely. Still make it about fishing but make it FUN to fish. Give me a reason to do things other than catch Froggy and make it, and the camera you use while fishing, not control like garbage.

 

20 minutes ago, Jango said:

.Me thinks they'll find a way to screw the gameplay tho', or add unnecessary shit to it.

This we agree on. I HOPE not, assuming we actually get a remake but they've given me little reason to have faith in their decisions besides Mania and that was entirely different dev team.

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3 minutes ago, herefor1reason said:

Eh, I'd say that if they're remaking it they should rebuild his gameplay entirely. Still make it about fishing but make it FUN to fish. Give me a reason to do things other than catch Froggy and make it, and the camera you use while fishing, not control like garbage.

They can do it like a physics puzzle game like the popular games that are on mobile.

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1 hour ago, Marco9966 said:

Classic Sonic will come to help Modern Sonic against Chaos because nowadays Modern Sonic can't do anything by himself.

Sonic doing things on his own is exactly what people don't want actually 

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Where exactly this rumor of SA1/2 Remake born?

btw, yeah, I don't think only one man can really make the difference. I mean, a new game slightly focused as SA1 would be awesome (I didn't liked SA2 much). Adventure Fields, other players than Sonic playable, well written story, but then all reminds of '06 which makes me a bit worried.

But then, as said above, is not him who will make a total new good Sonic game. But yeah, if the newer can't do something good, then it's better to back to our roots. It is time to we recall Yuji Naka, Rieko Kodama and Hirokazu Yasuhara to make a new Sonic game?

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Cool. I guess. Not sure why ditching a decent formula to go back to Adventure style would automatically be a good thing but whatever. Also find it kinda funny the same people that complain about Sega pandering to classic nostalgia are perfectly ok if they started pandering to Adventure nostalgia.

Anyway I can't wait for it to play more like Shadow or Sonic Heroes and everyone will declare Sonic dead. Again.

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1 hour ago, Blue Blood said:

I love how one guy (who's name I'm willing to bet most people weren't familiar with two weeks ago) rejoins SEGA and everyone starts talking about SA remakes and SA3. Hiroshi Nishiyama was a field artist/director Heroes and Shadow as well as the Adventure games, and the last Sonic game he worked on was Rivals 2.

https://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,52504/

Hiroshi Nishiyama is only credited for art  in all of the games he's worked on; Sonic, SEGA and otherwise. This "news" is an interesting tidbit at best but ultimately is pretty meaningless.

What, are you saying Sonic fans OVERREACT? BECAUSE I TELL YA THIS TOTALLY MEANS SA3 #BELIEVE

Well, Hiroshi-san is a field artist. If he did the art for Sonic Adventure and Heroes, I'll gladly take him back over the current almost Mario-esque artstyle Lost World came up with. I adore Heroes' art TBH, is almost as if it's a 2D Sonic game in 3D (as in, fantastic worlds). Sonic Adventure is great too, if a bit too grounded. Then came Sonic Unleashed which is just Mykonos and Europe, and oh hey look, Thailand and New York City! Don't get me wrong, I love these, but I'm for more of colorfull, wacky worlds like Sonic 2, Sonic CD, if you know what I'm saying...

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Even assuming Nishiyama's return was a signal that they're looking back to that era; I don't really know even the most ardent fans of the Adventure series could be excited at the prospect of Sega doing an Adventure sequel or remake on the heels of Forces. I think it follows on and even includes enough of the material from those games to be considered a spiritual successor of those titles. And if I was a big fan of the Adventure series, I'd interpret Forces as a threat into how "Sonic Team" (re: Kishimoto, his crew of designers, and available CS2 staff Iizuka and company rope off into a production team and slap them with the Sonic Team label) would take the formula and bastardize it.

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5 hours ago, Jango said:

What, are you saying Sonic fans OVERREACT? BECAUSE I TELL YA THIS TOTALLY MEANS SA3 #BELIEVE

Well, Hiroshi-san is a field artist. If he did the art for Sonic Adventure and Heroes, I'll gladly take him back over the current almost Mario-esque artstyle Lost World came up with. I adore Heroes' art TBH, is almost as if it's a 2D Sonic game in 3D (as in, fantastic worlds). Sonic Adventure is great too, if a bit too grounded. Then came Sonic Unleashed which is just Mykonos and Europe, and oh hey look, Thailand and New York City! Don't get me wrong, I love these, but I'm for more of colorfull, wacky worlds like Sonic 2, Sonic CD, if you know what I'm saying...

Bear in mind that Unleashed, Colours Generations and Lost World share an overall art director in Sachiko Kawamura (she was also senior art director for Forces). Forces art director was Yoshitaka Miura, aka field artist/field artist director for SA1, SA2, Heroes, Secret Rings, Black Knight, Colours and Generations, as well as the character artist for Lost World.

Daizo Kinoshita was a field artist for SA2, Shadow, Heroes and Forces.

Yuki Takashi was another field artist for Adventure, Riders, Black Knight, Colours, Generations, Lost World and Forces.

They've all contributed consistently to a huge variety of Sonic games with very different art styles. I think it's brilliant that Kawamura directed the art of both Unleashed and Lost World. And it should give you an idea of how much one persons influence really means - the main issue is the overall direction of the games, who's directing the project, what the goals are and what has been mandated to them.

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1 hour ago, SBR2 said:

Cool. I guess. Not sure why ditching a decent formula to go back to Adventure style would automatically be a good thing but whatever. Also find it kinda funny the same people that complain about Sega pandering to classic nostalgia are perfectly ok if they started pandering to Adventure nostalgia.

Anyway I can't wait for it to play more like Shadow or Sonic Heroes and everyone will declare Sonic dead. Again.

This is the greatest of ironies in this fandom, I gotta say. There is a large group of fans (some here) that constantly complain about classic nostalgia pandering, but then constantly ask for adventure nostalgia pandering at the same time! So they're ok with it, just when it's the kind they like. They say they dont want classic stuff shoehorned into modern stuff, but then in the same sentence say they want adventure stuff shoehorned into modern stuff.....even though adventure itself is over 20 years old now and the series has long since moved on from that "direction" (wow time flies). This is how and why we get into these faction wars, although to be honest it's none of our faults, it's the people that design and market this series that continually create these factions.

I laugh every time, although I get it to be honest. Adventure fans have felt like they havent been catered to since before Unleashed. This again is an irony, because it's exactly how classic fans felt somewhere in the early to mid 2000s,  when games like sonic heroes and shadow were being released and classic fans were wondering what was happening to the franchise they used to recognize. It's a weird generational cycle with this franchise.

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39 minutes ago, Blue Blood said:

Bear in mind that Unleashed, Colours Generations and Lost World share an overall art director in Sachiko Kawamura (she was also senior art director for Forces). Forces art director was Yoshitaka Miura, aka field artist/field artist director for SA1, SA2, Heroes, Secret Rings, Black Knight, Colours and Generations, as well as the character artist for Lost World.

Daizo Kinishita was a field artist for SA2, Shadow, Heroes and Forces.

Yuki Takashi was another field artist for Adventure, Riders, Black Knight, Colours, Generations, Lost World and Forces.

They've all contributed consistently to a huge variety of Sonic games with very different art styles. I think it's brilliant that Kawamura directed the art of both Unleashed and Lost World. And it should give you an idea of how much one persons influence really means - the main issue is the overall direction of the games, who's directing the project, what the goals are and what has been mandated to them.

Hm. So it's the directors' fault... Disappointed, but not surprised. Sonic Team has some great artists, composers... They just need someone as great directing them. Didn't knew the same person did Lost World and Unleashed, holy shit. Surprised Forces' field artist was also Adventure's and Heroes'. 

Man. We need new directors. Iizuka need a rest. And Miyamoto could join him.

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16 hours ago, Solister said:

Where exactly this rumor of SA1/2 Remake born?

The rumor originated from an interview Iizuka-san did for Retro Gamer magazine where he said the following:

Quote

“It was the first highspeed 3D action game that also featured a scenario highlighted with six different stories, the A-life Chao, six unique styles of gameplay – it is a unique game offering even 20 years after its release. At the time, it also wasn’t just a solitary software release, it was the title to bring people to the Dreamcast and we were given the budget to make something to showcase the hardware. However, it was the very first 3D game that we worked on and looking at it now I can see the rough edges it has, which really makes me want to remake it again.”

Iizuka-san says the words "really makes me want to remake it again"...and typically some fans jump to the conclusion that a remake or new Adventure game is in the works...

Based on what Iizuka-san said, the return of a field artist/field artist director who worked on several games (including Adv 1/2) and recent social media Adventure-themed tweets (which is probably Aaron trolling the fanbase - he pays attention and knows what rumors are circulating), this doesn't imply in the slightest that a Adventure remake is happening.

 

I'd be down for a SA1 or SA2 remake, or an Adventure game in the style of Mania (re-imagined stages from SA1, SA2 & brand new stages etc). However, I think the best we can expect at the moment is for SA1/SA2 to be ported to the Switch.

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2 hours ago, Jango said:

Hm. So it's the directors' fault... Disappointed, but not surprised. Sonic Team has some great artists, composers... They just need someone as great directing them. Didn't knew the same person did Lost World and Unleashed, holy shit. Surprised Forces' field artist was also Adventure's and Heroes'. 

Man. We need new directors. Iizuka need a rest. And Miyamoto could join him.

Iizuka took a break for a number of years after ShTH; he directed all the 3D games from SA1 to ShTH. He returned to be producer for most games from S4/Colours in 2010 through to Lost World and the Boom games. Shun Nakamura (of '06 infamy) was the producer for Forces. Iizuka's role in Forces was pretty non-descript; he's credited only as "Sonic Series Producer". Basically, he didn't have much direct involvement with the project and held more of an executive position. I honestly think that he knows fairly well what he's doing. Mania wouldn't have been the game that it is without him.

The director role has been less consistent. Secret Rings, Black Knight, Colours, Lost World and Forces were all directed my Morio Kishimoto. He was also the lead game designer for Forces. Hiroshi Miyamoto directed Generations after level and game design roles in Riders and '06.

I also find it interesting that Yoshihisa Hashimoto only directed one game before leaving SEGA, that game being Unleashed. If 3D Sonic has seen two main incarnations, there's the first style seen from SA1 to '06 and the second style seen from Unleashed through to Forces. Lost World was definitely a thing but I think it's pretty safe to say thar that one-off experiment is dead in the water. The storybook games were likewise a spin-off (and are also dead).

If any one individual is really harming the Sonic series right now, I'd point the finger at Morio Kishimoto. Two lame storybooks, the mess that was Lost World and most recently the cynical, lazy misstep of Forces. He's got Colours as his main claim to fame, and I can't emphasise enough how much I think that game is massively overrated. Secret Rings was recieved rather well at release, compared to how is seen now (or even just a short while after release). But really, I think there are just too many problems to pin a lot of blame on one individual. The series suffers from a lack of solid direction, going for surface appeal and little ambition. I don't think any series has ever been so content to strive for "just about adequate" instead a greatness for as long as the Sonic series has.

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59 minutes ago, Blue Blood said:

Iizuka took a break for a number of years after ShTH; he directed all the 3D games from SA1 to ShTH. He returned to be producer for most games from S4/Colours in 2010 through to Lost World and the Boom games. Shun Nakamura (of '06 infamy) was the producer for Forces. Iizuka's role in Forces was pretty non-descript; he's credited only as "Sonic Series Producer". Basically, he didn't have much direct involvement with the project and held more of an executive position. I honestly think that he knows fairly well what he's doing. Mania wouldn't have been the game that it is without him.

The director role has been less consistent. Secret Rings, Black Knight, Colours, Lost World and Forces were all directed my Morio Kishimoto. He was also the lead game designer for Forces. Hiroshi Miyamoto directed Generations after level and game design roles in Riders and '06.

I also find it interesting that Yoshihisa Hashimoto only directed one game before leaving SEGA, that game being Unleashed. If 3D Sonic has seen two main incarnations, there's the first style seen from SA1 to '06 and the second style seen from Unleashed through to Forces. Lost World was definitely a thing but I think it's pretty safe to say thar that one-off experiment is dead in the water. The storybook games were likewise a spin-off (and are also dead).

If any one individual is really harming the Sonic series right now, I'd point the finger at Morio Kishimoto. Two lame storybooks, the mess that was Lost World and most recently the cynical, lazy misstep of Forces. He's got Colours as his main claim to fame, and I can't emphasise enough how much I think that game is massively overrated. Secret Rings was recieved rather well at release, compared to how is seen now (or even just a short while after release). But really, I think there are just too many problems to pin a lot of blame on one individual. The series suffers from a lack of solid direction, going for surface appeal and little ambition. I don't think any series has ever been so content to strive for "just about adequate" instead a greatness for as long as the Sonic series has.

Hmm... the storybook games were excellent in terms of narrative and visuals, and played perfectly fine, with their strange gameplay being due to trying to take advantage of the Wii’s motion controls. Has Kishimoto had a confidence drop; or is there another’s party involved...? Supporting this is Colors’s art direction being perfectly fine outside of the stilted cutscenes.

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Moooooorio Kishimoto, not Miyamoto, that's who I meant.

I mean c'mon, Iizuka? Don't even you think he needs a rest? He was the director for SA and SA2, Heroes... But wasn't Yuji Naka the godfather of these games? AFAIK a producer has plenty of control over a movie at least, not sure games. I don't know, I feel like Iizuka just kinda signs his name on the paper, but he doesn't influence the game all that much, being for good or bad. Producers, game designers, even writers end up having more control than the game's director, what least it feels like in my vision.

I don't buy the "Mania wouldn't be what it was without Iizuka" talk. Seriously, imagine if Iizuka didn't green lit Mania when Taxman proposed him... He would have to be really freaking dense not to. Guy remakes 3 classic games, add new stuff to all of them, improve literaly everything, sells a lot and get great reviews, and you're not gonna trust him a brand new game? C'mon. Sure the "idea" of making it a fullgame was his, but that's likely something Taxman obviously had in mind, he just wasn't sure if he would be able to go that far yet, so he aimed short to see what the reaction would be. 

Anyways... I think they should get both ST and Mania Team together and see what they can do.

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