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Could a Thousand Monkeys with a Thousand Typewriters Make a Better Sonic Game than Iizuka?

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4 hours ago, Johnster4 said:

When people praise his involvement in Mania but say he wasn't involved with Forces  it feels like like there being selective and saying he's only there for the good games and not there for the bad games, which I'm not convinced on.

Good point. 

 

1 hour ago, Tornado said:

Or they're simply noting the fact that Iizuka was heavily involved with Mania and the decisions surrounding its scope and design and working as a middleman for that team and Sega (even if he wasn't doing the work himself); and he wasn't heavily involved with Sonic Forces since he's been primarily been working in the US on behalf of Sega of America (in a role similar to what Naka was originally lured there for in 1992) since well before Forces came out while Sonic Forces was made in Japan under primarily Nakamura's eye.

Evidence please?

Quote

The name that Secret Rings, Black Knight, Colours, Lost World and Forces have in common is Morio Kishimoto, Director/Lead Director. When you put all of his resume in one place it starts to not sound that great, does it.

Hmmm.

Still Iizuka does make some dumb decisions, I heard he said that Shadow isn't friends with Rouge and Omega despite previous games and media showing otherwise, not to mention Iizuka's public presence and talk of the games he works on implies he has some degree of control: 

 

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1 hour ago, ryu238 said:

Still Iizuka does make some dumb decisions, I heard he said that Shadow isn't friends with Rouge and Omega despite previous games and media showing otherwise

Emphasis on "heard", because it's not exactly true. Flynn (who talked about Team Dark and is our only sources) never mentionned that Iizuka said that, just that it was the official that they aren't really collegue or "friend" (without). Moreover, other writer Evan Stanley said that the "restriction" (which she described as "Team Dark isn't a term used in-universe") doesn't restrict the main relationship between Rouge and Shadow (which is that Shadow and Rouge bring the best of each-other).

So basically:

- What you say is a deformation, as we have no information of who said that.

- We don't even really know that it means because different writers interpret it differently.

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2 hours ago, Kuzu said:

What it comes down to; most of the fanbase are either too young or ignorant of this process, all they understand is that they didn't get what they wanted, and they need someone to point their fingers at, so they go after the most public figure. It's completely unfair and uncalled for, but I get it. This is why Iizuka, Kishimoto, etc all get so much shit, because they're the main names attached to these games. What doesn't help is the lack of transparency about the difficulties they're probably facing in making these games. I'd imagine there'd be SOMEWHAT more goodwill if they just came out and said how fucked up things are, but that would potentially damage their credibility too. It's a no-win scenario for anybody. 

Few points here

  1. Correct me if I'm wrong but the first sentence sounds like your blaming fans for expecting/wanting a good quality game, especially if were expected to pay money for it, which I don't agree with, if that's the argument you are presenting here. 
  2. Earlier in the thread, I provided quotes from 2 interviews where Iizuka states that he's in charge of the Sonic series and how he describes his vision for series, how is it unfair to blame him when he is set up those expectations himself since the beginning?
  3. When they announce the next Sonic game I would hope that they would go into detail about what criticisms they have learned from the past decade and show how they plan to improve on there for the next game. 
1 hour ago, Sonikko said:

The name that Secret Rings, Black Knight, Colours, Lost World and Forces have in common is Morio Kishimoto, Director/Lead Director. When you put all of his resume in one place it starts to not sound that great, does it.

This brings up another question that I have, why doesn't Iizuka hire a different for the next Sonic game or is that a decision that's out of his hand's (despite the fact there was a different director for Generations)?

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10 minutes ago, Johnster4 said:

This brings up another question that I have, why doesn't Iizuka hire a different for the next Sonic game or is that a decision that's out of his hand's (despite the fact there was a different director for Generations)?

I'm not sure that a team chef can decide like that to replace a professional director without raising some eyebrow :') I'm not working in the videogame field (I'm an enterprise software developer, and my company is… a bit bigger than SEGA to say the least xD), but I've seen that my chef have even trouble to get us more devs when we are understaffed, so I imagine that a role like Director wouldn't be easy to get like that.

And maybe that even if we have questions about how Kishimoto handle his games, that he is doing a right job on the other front of what a director do, and that Iizuka simply doesn't want to replace him. Or maybe that the team have a good relationship. Or maybe another possible reason.

That's the kind of question that is difficult to answer : to really have an answer, we would need to know exactly how SEGA works.

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15 minutes ago, Johnster4 said:

Few points here

  1. Correct me if I'm wrong but the first sentence sounds like your blaming fans for expecting/wanting a good quality game, especially if were expected to pay money for it, which I don't agree with, if that's the argument you are presenting here. 
  2. Earlier in the thread, I provided quotes from 2 interviews where Iizuka states that he's in charge of the Sonic series and how he describes his vision for series, how is it unfair to blame him when he is set up those expectations himself since the beginning

1. I totally agree with that, I feel like people tend to forget we're being asked money for a product. Sonic games aren't really passion projects, it's not a small indie team trying their best, it's a company that makes millions of money each year, if not billions.

2. The way I've come to understand it is Iizuka decides the tone of the games, the general direction of the franchise as a whole, and what's a hard pass like the extreme early Boom redesigns, then each project is handled by its own director.

15 minutes ago, Johnster4 said:

This brings up another question that I have, why doesn't Iizuka hire a different for the next Sonic game or is that a decision that's out of his hand's (despite the fact there was a different director for Generations)?

That is a pretty good question, I'm not sure who's supposed to handle staff, but I think it has more to do with the business side of things than the creative side. I have no clear answer to that, it would be cool for someone with more insight into game development to give us an answer.

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1 hour ago, ryu238 said:

Good point. 

 

Evidence please?

Hmmm.

Still Iizuka does make some dumb decisions, I heard he said that Shadow isn't friends with Rouge and Omega despite previous games and media showing otherwise, not to mention Iizuka's public presence and talk of the games he works on implies he has some degree of control: 

 

 

48 minutes ago, Kazhnuz said:

Emphasis on "heard", because it's not exactly true. Flynn (who talked about Team Dark and is our only sources) never mentionned that Iizuka said that, just that it was the official that they aren't really collegue or "friend" (without). Moreover, other writer Evan Stanley said that the "restriction" (which she described as "Team Dark isn't a term used in-universe") doesn't restrict the main relationship between Rouge and Shadow (which is that Shadow and Rouge bring the best of each-other).

So basically:

- What you say is a deformation, as we have no information of who said that.

- We don't even really know that it means because different writers interpret it differently.

Truth be told, I get the feeling that some things are just poorly interpreted between Iuzuka, the other key staff members, the writers/designers, and finally the fans. For example, the Team Dark aren't friends thing, much like Orbot and Cubot's continued presence, has been suggested to be less about them ever having a connection and more about them not having the same sorta interactions that Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles would have.

That's not to say they can't be questionable because they often are, but we're also talking about someone from the other side of the world who doesn't speak the very language his word is often playing PR to.

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2 hours ago, Johnster4 said:

Few points here

  1. Correct me if I'm wrong but the first sentence sounds like your blaming fans for expecting/wanting a good quality game, especially if were expected to pay money for it, which I don't agree with, if that's the argument you are presenting here. 
  2. Earlier in the thread, I provided quotes from 2 interviews where Iizuka states that he's in charge of the Sonic series and how he describes his vision for series, how is it unfair to blame him when he is set up those expectations himself since the beginning?
  3. When they announce the next Sonic game I would hope that they would go into detail about what criticisms they have learned from the past decade and show how they plan to improve on there for the next game. 

1. I'm calling a spade a spade here, not trying to insult anyone. The fact is, none of us really know what's going on behind the scenes and only focus on surface level stuff.

2. That's PR talk and nothing more. If you wanna take what he says at complete face value, sure. But keep in mind, Iizuka is a man in charge of a major brand. He's got a public and professional image to maintain when on camera.

3. Past experiences has told me that they're unlikely to do that, but I'd like to be proven wrong.

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No. And that’s because we have no idea what would become of things due to a lack knowledge of the inner workings and alternatives that we can see them take.

Sega’s not exactly what I’d call coherent or consistent with things in recent years, so this is a case of the devil you know versus the devil you don’t know. You remove Iizuka, and you risk bringing something you have a strong feeling you’re not going to like.

Sure, it’s not a guarantee, but given the bizarreness that has been going on and up and down, I don’t think it wise to remove someone who’s actually willing to put up with the things going on behind the scenes.

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While I'm past the fase of pointing fingers at Iizuka, I still think it would be better if they really shake things up at Sonic Team or give the Sonic brand to another developer. Major key people left after Generations IIRC, Morio Koshimoto is clearly no one's cup of tea and Iizuka is just holding things together for they could've been worse it seems. 

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3 hours ago, Kuzu said:

That's PR talk and nothing more. If you wanna take what he says at complete face value, sure. But keep in mind, Iizuka is a man in charge of a major brand. He's got a public and professional image to maintain when on camera.

Well how can you tell its just PR? 

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9 hours ago, Mountaindewandsprite said:

Excuse my ignorance but other than the "Two Worlds" nonsense, what else has Iizuka done to show he's not fit to be in charge of Sonic?

Even the "two worlds" things, we have one source (Ian Flynn), that says that it's come more from Naka's era. So even that we can't says if it's him or not xD (even if to be fair, he is one of the person that didn't say). That's one of the reason it's hard to pin problems to just one person, imo. Many things happens behind the scene, and we often don't have enough knowledge to find a "culprit" of the problems.

That's why I don't think that searching someone "guilty" of the problem of the IP isn't really useful. We don't have real knowledge and it won't really help anything to just lay blame on people. For me it's a bit like people searching to accuse Flynn of every problem ever (we still can try analyse the "style" of some people and find what we like or not, it's more trying to pinpoint a "roots of the problems" that I feel is not a good idea. It's certainly more complexe).

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21 hours ago, Kazhnuz said:

Even the "two worlds" things, we have one source (Ian Flynn), that says that it's come more from Naka's era. So even that we can't says if it's him or not xD (even if to be fair, he is one of the person that didn't say). That's one of the reason it's hard to pin problems to just one person, imo. Many things happens behind the scene, and we often don't have enough knowledge to find a "culprit" of the problems.

That's why I don't think that searching someone "guilty" of the problem of the IP isn't really useful. We don't have real knowledge and it won't really help anything to just lay blame on people. For me it's a bit like people searching to accuse Flynn of every problem ever (we still can try analyse the "style" of some people and find what we like or not, it's more trying to pinpoint a "roots of the problems" that I feel is not a good idea. It's certainly more complexe).

I agree with this.  I never liked the fact that when it came to the Sonic comics, some people wanted to blame Ian Flynn for everything that went wrong with the comics, despite the fact that the problems actually came from both Archie and Penders and Flynn was just trying to fix some of the damage caused by the lawsuit, as well as following SEGA's mandates, despite the fact that said mandates don't really make a lot of sense.  

As for whether or not Iizuka should hold less control over Sonic, I would have said yes a long time ago.  But now that I taken into consideration that we really don't know what's going on behind the scenes, I can't really say if he should have less control over the franchise.  If the problems with the franchise is actually coming from someone higher than Iizuka, then removing Iizuka or lessening his role with the Sonic franchise wouldn't really fix anything.

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If you think about it for a second, it's very unlikely for something as important as Sonic in the company to have every decision done by a single (or even just a handful of) person/people. You can easily assume that due to his importance, a lot of people will try to steer him in some way to fit their need.

In general, it's not because you're a director or even a producer that you'll heartfully agree with all the decisions that has been done (even your own). Every one of them is a result of a compromise; It's never fully about creativity. For example, I've seen product decisions that were driven by sales and marketing department. You can say that it's a case of too many chefs in the same kitchen, but gaming (or any product development) really is a business, a team effort. Plus, quite often, the delivery, good or bad, really is a miracle in itself since it's so chaotic.

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On 5/3/2021 at 5:47 AM, Kazhnuz said:

Even the "two worlds" things, we have one source (Ian Flynn), that says that it's come more from Naka's era

Well thats nice and all, but we might need another source. Where did he get this?

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16 minutes ago, ryu238 said:

Well thats nice and all, but we might need another source. Where did he get this?

It depends for what. We need another source to know who decided that. But it's enough to doubt that this is something new to the 2010 era (especially when we had some sign that it was part of their vision, even if unofficial, with Unleashed or Sonic X) or that Iizuka is the "only culprit". To know that we don't exactly know what's going on, and that so if we "accuse" someone for this we'll do it without all the info, and thus would need more info to really decide "who is responsible" for this.

He certainly got that directly from Sonic Team/SEGA ( IIRC he also said that the "two world" things isn't a mistranslation ), nowadays he works with more proximity with them than before, so he have more inside knowledge.

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I feel like that in order to fix Sonic they need to do a lot of things.                                                                                                                                                                     1. Fix SEGA's fucked up management, they've started to slowly go downhill since they've went third party, and even now. Since 2015 they've started to go nearly broke and even recently they've had to cut out a bunch of employees and I'm pretty sure that they had to let go of their arcade unit thing during the pandemic-(Someone correct me if I'm wrong) and still, SEGA does not give a fuck about quality control since they've always kind of been quantity over quality which I feel like has always been the difference between them and Nintendo so that needs to be fixed before anyone else.                                                 2. Quit giving Sonic Team time constraints. Most of sonic games take about a year or 2 years just to make a game, but that's not always the case. '06 is an obvious examples is Forces since 3 of the 4 years of development were devoted to a stupid graphics engine, along with them reusing Lost World's engine also. And one year on the game itself, and Rise of Lyric being on a awful console due to a stupid deal with Nintendo which lead to them cancelling the Adventure remakes which were confirmed to be in development years ago but after Boom crashed and burned. They scrapped it in it's entirety.                       3. Get rid of Iizuka and bring back Naka. Iizuka isn't the worst producer, but it's clear that most of the time he has NO IDEA what he's talking about, and he says that Adventure 3 will hold the series back because it would be them just repeating themselves. But all they've been doing is repeating themselves due to the God awful nostalgia whoring problem, say what you want about Yuji Naka, but he clearly knew what he was doing while making the Adventure games.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           And Lastly, Get. Sonic. Off. His. Nostalgia. Problem. NOW!!! For God's sakes, this issue needs no introduction. Sonic has had this problem since Generations and onward, which means that after Forces, I feel like I speak for a lot of people when we say that we don't want any rehashed zones, 2d sections in 3d promised games, no nothing. But I do know how hard it is to come up with original ideas, believe me. It is, but repeating what sonic has done from over 30 years ago is not going to fix anything. Peace!!!

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Sonic Team is already gone, for what that is worth.  Its employees have been absorbed into other branches of SEGA; presumably ones that work on games considered  more profitable.  Iizuka has been placed in charge of forming whatever new team replaces them, but whether he is ultimately the boss or just the bridge from the actual boss to the team is unclear.  Restating an earlier point, it might be unfair for fans to hold him responsible for so many things but that's a big might because again, we don't know.  I will blame Iizuka for making the Wisps in order to kick out the other playable characters, but still I don't know if that was his idea or  just an idea he boasted about.  I blame him because I want to communicate that I think was it very wrong for the series, and so a boast about it deserves booing, but who knows who really had the idea?  For all we know, Iizuka's there mostly to be a fall-guy whom SEGA can replace if fans get too annoyed and blame him because there isn't anyone else obvious to blame.

Ultimately, I say this fan ire is what they deserve when they aren't being as transparent as they should.  At this point whether SEGA has a broadly appealing plan for Sonic unknown, and they should be checking in with the fans just in case they need to revise it.

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What's interesting is that I seem to recall something about the Two Worlds concept coming about during Adventure 1's development, since they apparently viewed it as Sonic traveling to human territories for the first time. Coincidentally, this is also around the time Iuzuka would've gotten some input on the concepts since he allegedly created Big as a relaxing little detour from all the action and tension of the rest of the story.

So in a way, the Two World mandate is just him reinforcing what the team had decided behind the scenes but barely made a big deal of outside of Sonic X, which I heard started development around 1999.

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34 minutes ago, SBR2 said:

"Yuji Naka should come back" *Looks at Balan Wonderworld* ...You sure? 

No.  At this point, there is no one person whom we can really bet on to make Sonic games good, but that isn't such a bad thing.  It just reinforces that greater oversight is the key thing we should demand of Sonic developers.  Naka is not the only person who can program good momentum physics; plenty such people exist and many of them have managed to it for free.  It's not hard to assume someone is at SEGA who can do that; the important thing is to demand scrutiny so we can make sure such people are following through; same with every issue in developing Sonic games.

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3 hours ago, SBR2 said:

"Yuji Naka should come back" *Looks at Balan Wonderworld* ...You sure? 

I personally think even BW has more passion than games like Lost World or TSR, so sure, why not? Not to mention stuff like Rodea the Sky Soldier. I feel like Naka might not even be to blame for Balan’s failure.

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I'm not really curious about the next game as it stands right now but I would be curious if SEGA let Naka take a crack at Sonic. At the end of the day, his games are the ones I fell in love with so he might have something significant to add to it now even if the end result isn't good.

 

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2 hours ago, Tornado said:

Since I don't think we need two of these topics floating around at once, they've been merged and the title edited accordingly.

Oh!  I was wondering why there were two of these topics floating around like this!

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