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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, Sonario said:

Iizuka's not perfect and he might have some really scatterbrained ideas like the two worlds retcon, but that doesn't change the fact that he's still one of the greatest contributors to the Sonic Franchise with the Adventure games

Yes Iizuka has been great as a developer with games suck as Sonic 3 and the Adventure titles but that doesn't mean he's good as the head of Sonic Team

4 hours ago, Sonario said:

I say give him a chance, maybe he'll find his footing.

Iizuka has been the head of Sonic Team for 10 years, should the next game be his real chance or do we just keep saying give him a chance until there's a good Sonic game again, then turn around and say "see guys Iizuka can be trusted with the series", and pretend the past 10 years didn't happen?

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48 minutes ago, Johnster4 said:

Yes Iizuka has been great as a developer with games suck as Sonic 3 and the Adventure titles but that doesn't mean he's good as the head of Sonic Team

Iizuka has been the head of Sonic Team for 10 years, should the next game be his real chance or do we just keep saying give him a chance until there's a good Sonic game again, then turn around and say "see guys Iizuka can be trusted with the series", and pretend the past 10 years didn't happen?

I suspect less people would be coming here and white-knighting for Iizuka if the title of this thread wasn't so needlessly insulting to him...but yeah; I agree with you.  With Iizuka being tasked with building a new Sonic Team out of virtually nothing in the USA, success or failure should be laid at his feet even more than before.  A game still under development being badly programmed might be the fault of a bad programmer, but it's Iizuka's job to make sure it's not still badly programmed when it's finally released, whether that means pressuring the programmer to work harder or get better or firing the programmer and hiring a better one or even doing the programming himself if he can; it's Iizuka's job to do whatever is needed to get the game presentable by the time it's supposed to release, or if he can't, delay the release until he can, and if the game does release badly programmed, it is his fault for not preventing that.

Oh, and while the "monkeys" exaggeration is obviously unfair and I hate that expression, period, it's understandable for Iizuka and Sonic Team to be under scrutiny when a small team of former fangame- and hack-creators up and made a better professional Sonic game than they could.  If Iizuka's smart, he will at least try to hire some of the Sonic Mania staff to be in the new Sonic Team.  If he can't, that's a shame, but he should not only try but also share with the fans that he tried, because this would demonstrate that he acknowledges their concerns.

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18 minutes ago, Wraith said:

There is nothing to support the idea that a new Sonic Team is being formed in America. Iizuka has been based there since 2016 as the VP of product development, but the next game is probably being developed by the SEGA CS2 team as always.

So we've got misinformation floating around these parts as usual I see.

Figures....

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25 minutes ago, Scritch the Cat said:

I suspect less people would be coming here and white-knighting for Iizuka if the title of this thread wasn't so needlessly insulting to him...

Technically that was us making fun of people making damn near identical threads to bitch about Iizuka we decided to merge.

 

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8 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

 If Iizuka's smart, he will at least try to hire some of the Sonic Mania staff to be in the new Sonic Team.  If he can't, that's a shame, but he should not only try but also share with the fans that he tried, because this would demonstrate that he acknowledges their concerns.

Yeah this is one point I really agree with. Sure the "SEGA HIRE THIS MAN" thing is obnoxious, especially concerning how overblown praise for certain fangames can get compared to what they actually are, but working with the fans directly might be the best move in the future. Mania was a huge success, now it just needs to be replicated in some way by working with a passionate team that knows what to do with Sonic.

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I'm not sure that he can hire the people of Mania like that (or even really try), as it's not because they have skills related to create a game like Mania that they are also perfect to work on the Sonic Team on 3D games (were they would have less power). He would be better tasking them with other project like Mania, and improving the Sonic Team in itself.

And he might also have some constraint from where the people that work must live to be part of Sonic Team or SEGA CS2, of things like that. If it's like this, the fans in question should either find a way to apply in japan or create a professional studio/team that could be officially contracted by SEGA to help with Sonic game dev, like are the lot of studios that worked with Forces were.

The area where they seems to be able to have remote worker for sure is writers.

 

Sonic Team isn't an half-independant studio anymore, and in most big company you can't really go on on and hire or fire everybody you want without any process if you are just a head team. To really know if he have this power, we would need information about how SEGA exactly work, and what kind of power Iizuka really have. That's why all the discussion about Iizuka won't go really anywhere : it's just speculating of things we don't know, and trying to create from scratch way to know that based yet again of those things we don't know.

It's like the "Iizuka tasked to create a Sonic Team from scratch in the USA", that might be a bit more complex : We don't know if the Sonic Pillar is supposed to be a Sonic Team, or just some stuff to work about the global IP and supervise media. If it's a "new Sonic Team" we don't know if it's to develop the game or to just conceptualise stuff while it'll be dev by SEGA CS2. If it's also a dev team, we don't know if he was tasked to create it "from scratch" of if it's just the existing Sonic Team that would go to the USA. And if it's a new Sonic Team from scratch, we don't know if he is really the one that "hire them", as isn't the Human Resources department. So, we don't know exactly what is this "bureau in the USA" is yet, we might have some information when the next game is released.

The problem isn't that Iizuka is perfect and couldn't be the source of the problem (he is certainly pretty flawed on some points, like for instance we know that he shouldn't write the game himself, with Rivals and Shadow XD), and maybe that having a new head of the Sonic Team would improve things : it's that we don't know really how it works, and we don't really know if it would change anything. So it's difficult imo to have a real informed opinion about that.

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12 hours ago, Kazhnuz said:

I'm not sure that he can hire the people of Mania like that (or even really try), as it's not because they have skills related to create a game like Mania that they are also perfect to work on the Sonic Team on 3D games (were they would have less power). He would be better tasking them with other project like Mania, and improving the Sonic Team in itself.

And he might also have some constraint from where the people that work must live to be part of Sonic Team or SEGA CS2, of things like that. If it's like this, the fans in question should either find a way to apply in japan or create a professional studio/team that could be officially contracted by SEGA to help with Sonic game dev, like are the lot of studios that worked with Forces were.

The area where they seems to be able to have remote worker for sure is writers.

 

Sonic Team isn't an half-independant studio anymore, and in most big company you can't really go on on and hire or fire everybody you want without any process if you are just a head team. To really know if he have this power, we would need information about how SEGA exactly work, and what kind of power Iizuka really have. That's why all the discussion about Iizuka won't go really anywhere : it's just speculating of things we don't know, and trying to create from scratch way to know that based yet again of those things we don't know.

It's like the "Iizuka tasked to create a Sonic Team from scratch in the USA", that might be a bit more complex : We don't know if the Sonic Pillar is supposed to be a Sonic Team, or just some stuff to work about the global IP and supervise media. If it's a "new Sonic Team" we don't know if it's to develop the game or to just conceptualise stuff while it'll be dev by SEGA CS2. If it's also a dev team, we don't know if he was tasked to create it "from scratch" of if it's just the existing Sonic Team that would go to the USA. And if it's a new Sonic Team from scratch, we don't know if he is really the one that "hire them", as isn't the Human Resources department. So, we don't know exactly what is this "bureau in the USA" is yet, we might have some information when the next game is released.

The problem isn't that Iizuka is perfect and couldn't be the source of the problem (he is certainly pretty flawed on some points, like for instance we know that he shouldn't write the game himself, with Rivals and Shadow XD), and maybe that having a new head of the Sonic Team would improve things : it's that we don't know really how it works, and we don't really know if it would change anything. So it's difficult imo to have a real informed opinion about that.

I agree with this.  We really don't know just how things are being handled at SEGA or what kind of positions each person has.  Like regarding the mandates, I'm not sure if Iizuka had anything to do with that or if it's something that SEGA themselves wanted.  If there are higher ups over Iizuka who created all of these mandates, then there's not much Iizuka can do but follow these mandates.  So, even if you took out one person or a group of people out of SEGA, would that really change the direction of the franchise if the people who are really responsible are still in charge?

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14 hours ago, Sonario said:

Yeah this is one point I really agree with. Sure the "SEGA HIRE THIS MAN" thing is obnoxious, especially concerning how overblown praise for certain fangames can get compared to what they actually are, but working with the fans directly might be the best move in the future. Mania was a huge success, now it just needs to be replicated in some way by working with a passionate team that knows what to do with Sonic.

It’s one thing to sneer at the “SEGA HIRE THIS MAN” meme when it’s just reacting to a fan choosing to do something SEGA chooses not to do.  I don’t fault them for enjoying the fangame more but that doesn’t prove anything about how competent the fangame creator is in comparison or whether he or she would do good work if employed by SEGA.  However, it’s quite another when a fangame creator/hacker repeatedly demonstrated an ability to do exactly what SEGA chose to do, except better.  This is the official port of Sonic 1 on Game Boy Advance: 


Now here is a port of the same game to the same system, made for free by Stealth, who went on to work on the mobile ports and then Sonic Mania: 

Yes; sometimes hiring fans is the right move.

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To be fair, even here "hiring fans" isn't exactly what happened. They even did not hire them, and that's a part why we are a lot of devs finding using this case for the "hire this man" stuff kinda annoying.

Taxman contacted SEGA with a proof of concept using a custom engine (which make most of the fangame irrelevant for a "hire this man" stuff, as they build on proprietary engines that SEGA couldn't use for their games), with a process to create a product that would work. They were not just "hired fans", they were creator approaching SEGA with a project that could work in a budget and stuff (like some other companies IIRC). He was already at least in a professional posture, and had at the same time the knowledge to make the Retro Engine, the knowledge that came from having studied the genesis game for years and the good protocol to contact SEGA.

Fans that work for Sonic can happens (a lot of people now that work on some Sonic stuff were fans, I won't deny it as it would be quite false XD). But they have to approach them with a solid an viable product (and it certainly will work better if they have some sort of structure/company) that interest SEGA, and plans about how it'll be done. Or do job interviews and stuff if they want to be part of a company.

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People also forget or don't know that the hired individual with technical responsibility tend to not be the product owner or similar role (aka the person with creative approval). Sure, you may be able to influence a bit with your suggestions, but once you're in, you will have to comply and compromise in many ways.

A fan game is typically an individual's endeavour free of any shackles (even time and money) while games out there is a commercial team delivery.

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On 5/18/2021 at 10:48 PM, Scritch the Cat said:

Yes; sometimes hiring fans is the right move.

... ... ... 

For what job?

Are we talking a C++ programmer? Level designer? Character designer? Environmental artist? 

Because virtually every single fan project typically shares roles and 1 person typically takes the lion share of the project work regardless as to if they're in the role of director or producer, and that's assuming the team even realises they have that role.

If the 'Hire this man' line if you're going to use it in relation to Mania is a pretty misused term. Mania was pitched to Sega after several earlier pitches and already been hired to work on other smaller projects.

 

And even then 'the man' who was hired went on and hired other people to do other jobs and roles he wouldn't and shouldn't be doing. 

Sega literally have a jobs/careers page where they have open roles for C++ Devs and all the other jobs I listed. Instead of telling Sega to hire this man.

Tell the man to apply. 

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I would like to point out what Izuka said in an interview

Quote

Sonic started out as a platform title but, as we got to the more recent ones, it changed to be a more speed-based game. Recent fans will be familiar with that speed-based gaming, but with Lost World, we wanted to win back the platform fans. We don’t just want old Sonic fans to come back, though: we want Mario players and other platform gamers to enjoy the new game, too.

This comes off as a bit tone deaf. Yes Sonic was a platformer, but speed was there. A Sonic platformer allows you to use the terrain and physics to build up momentum to build up speed (hence the growing criticism of the boost gameplay). Here, making it more like Mario is missing the point. Yes, both are platformers, but accomplish this in different ways. So trying to make it more like Mario, means taking away what made Sonic a unique platformer in its own right. 

I assume being a WiiU exclusive had something to do with this as well, but can you understand why people want Iizuka gone why he says stupid things like this? 

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The classic blunder of sonic team is taking proper criticism and introspection and going way too far to try and fix it that it ends up just creating another problem.

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9 hours ago, Diogenes said:

"We moved the series too far in one direction so we're trying to move it back a bit" is not actually a terrible thing to say.

If only they did that. But they went to far. 

 

8 hours ago, Natie said:

The classic blunder of sonic team is taking proper criticism and introspection and going way too far to try and fix it that it ends up just creating another problem.

This is what happened. They literally tried to make Sonic into a Mario clone and goofed that up as well.

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6 hours ago, ryu238 said:

If only they did that. But they went to far. 

 

This is what happened. They literally tried to make Sonic into a Mario clone and goofed that up as well.

Come on mate.

The article you quoted is nearly 10 years old and came from Iizukas PR goof years.

Really only Lost World could be compared to a Mario style game and it's a bad comparison at that. 

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23 hours ago, ryu238 said:

I would like to point out what Izuka said in an interview

This comes off as a bit tone deaf. Yes Sonic was a platformer, but speed was there. A Sonic platformer allows you to use the terrain and physics to build up momentum to build up speed (hence the growing criticism of the boost gameplay). Here, making it more like Mario is missing the point. Yes, both are platformers, but accomplish this in different ways. So trying to make it more like Mario, means taking away what made Sonic a unique platformer in its own right. 

I assume being a WiiU exclusive had something to do with this as well, but can you understand why people want Iizuka gone why he says stupid things like this? 

What I get out of this, and Iizuka in general, is that Iizuka doesn't really have faith in his own ideas--or whoever's ideas they are that are getting made into games.  I figure that's also what his "continuity bubble" policy is actually about; it makes it easy to back out of a game mold if it doesn't go well.  And after all, SLW was essentially one-and-done aside from the constant reuse of Zavoc.  But I feel a big reason they haven't yet figured out what Sonic should be is that post 06, they're still obsessed with avoiding what Sonic should NOT be.

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I mean, to be fair, the fanbase never lets go of anything that they consider to not fit their idea of what Sonic is or how it should be done. People will never stop bringing up 06, no matter how relevant or how much of a good lesson was learned from it.

I'm actually in a minority of people who enjoyed Lost World for the most part- I didn't like the "collect flowers to progress" sections, or some of the later-game platforming (Sky Road for example) or many of the boss fights (especially Zavok), it also didn't utilize its main gimmick as well as it could have, and some level design was obtuse (like the forced pinball sections in  the Casino level, or the snowball gimmick in general). But it's the most interesting Sonic Team Sonic game that's been released since Generations, imo.

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The 3DS version was better. And I bring up his statements as examples of how tone deaf the man can be. 

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On 5/20/2021 at 2:21 PM, ryu238 said:

I assume being a WiiU exclusive had something to do with this as well, but can you understand why people want Iizuka gone why he says stupid things like this? 

Not when people have to constantly pull a stretch Armstrong and omit details to try and place the blame squarely on Iizuka.

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