Jump to content
StarWarsSonic

Should SEGA replace Takashi Iizuka and Sonic Team and replace them with a new talented team?

Recommended Posts

Let’s face it, Takashi Iizuka just isn’t a good head of Sonic Team. He seems to have lost the magic/talent he had when he worked on the older Megadrive/Sonic Adventure games. Takashi actually looked at games like Lost World and Sonic Forces and thought to himself ‘yeah... those games are good enough to release on store shelves!’

Sonic Mania was great but Sonic Team had nothing to do with that.

i mean Takashi/Sonic Team shat out Sonic Lost World and Sonic Forces... Sonic Team just don’t have the talent to make good 3D games anymore! It looks like they lost all the decent members that left Sonic Team after Sonic Generations released.

Maybe Sega should fire Takashi Iizuka and Sonic Team and replace them with all new talented/passionate staff with exciting fresh new ideas to move 3D Sonic forward. 

Either that or just give up 3D Sonic completely if the current Sonic Team can only produce 3D garbage.

Just let Christian Whitehead make Sonic Mania sequels. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, DreamSaturn said:

Well see the problem with that is that's a temporary fix at best. Sonic Forces was almost entirely new people and that's one of the most divisive Sonic titles in quite some time.

The problem lies more with Sega's management than anything.

To be fair, Forces had old guard guys like Nakamura wanting them to "Dumb down" the Boost formula for new fans , and Iizuka and Kishimoto probably forced in some changes that hurt the game overall, such as Classic Sonic being shoved in

 

Kishimoto himself has a certain ever since Sonic Colors with Level Design being too linear and 2D sections in 3D levels and hes the director of Forces

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think the team is not talented. I believe that the problem is that they are trying to listen too much to the fans with Forces.

People liked Classic Sonic in Generations and believed he would be liked here as well.

People asked for a darker story and we got that.

They knew people like to make OCs and decided to add the feature in the game.

 

They should believe in themselves more and be able to decide on their own what to add and what not to. Also, may I ask what do you dislike at Lost World? I didn't play the game myself but it looks like a pretty good game to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's weird how conflicted I am whenever I hear something like this suggested. Me, as one of the guys whose been endlessly railing on Sonic Team and has lost pretty much all faith in their ability to put out something well above average, doesn't feel as though replacing an entire team of people and the head of Sonic Team will go over as smoothly as some imagine it will.

It's a comforting enough fairy tale (if you ignore how many people might lose their jobs) but I'm not sure any of us are well versed in what's even going on over there to feel this confident about what needs to be done.

Based on the info we actually do sometimes get about what goes on over there, it largely seems like it's a revolving door anyway. It doesn't feel like "Sonic Team" as it were is an actual "team" of people in the normal sense of the word. It's probably just a few veterans and whoever they decided they wanted to work on whatever current game is coming out. You hear how the team was fired and changed after 06 for the people who made Unleashed and you skip to now where all of those people are supposedly all gone and the credits of Sonic Forces says that one of the guys designing the levels only worked on Lost World before it.

If SEGA mandated an entirely new overhaul of that team and personally saw to it that they'd remain consistent, I could see things getting better but... would they? Can they? Do they care? 

It's odd because almost all of the other shit SEGA is doing is getting some wickedly positive reception. It's not even that everything associated with Sonic has been considered ALL bad either. It just seems like whenever it's time to make a new 3D title for the main series, they toss all the promise it could have down the stairs. Even then, replacing Sonic Team could have repercussions that affect some of the stuff I and other people do actually like.

What about Sonic Mania? That came into existence because Iizuka and Sonic Team sought after people who could create it right? Would that game exist if not for them? What about those cartoons they release on their Youtube channel? Would we still get those? What about the IDW comics? Is that going to be affected by the entirety of Sonic Team just disappearing? 

I don't know. I have no clue how this works. There's probably people here who can give me some more insight as to what would most likely be able to happen but on the whole it's just a scrambled jumble of confusing business practices and connections that I can't wade through with my limited knowledge on them from behind the scenes.

Again, I mostly find myself in the position of just wanting a documentary or the people at the top to just let loose with the honest truth. I want to know what they're thinking. I want to know what their doing. I want what we can't have; a display of sheer, raw honesty. Not that PR speak where they sit down and talk of "passion" and "value" and "Legacy Sonic" (Remember that shit? Remember Legacy Sonic?) and what not... 

If I were to get something like that, I'd at least feel a bit more confident in speaking about what I believe they should do and not just about what I think I want them to do. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not that I think Iizuka is doing a stellar job, but I legitimately cannot think of a single person to replace him, especially since finding people who are passionate about Sonic is a difficult endeavor. He seems to care a lot about the series - if anything I get the impression that his input is the only remaining heart Sonic has these days. He helped get Sonic Mania made, after all. I think Sega's management (or lack thereof) probably deserves way more flak because I really wonder just how much creative control he's able to exercise when Sega is able to greenlight horeshit such as Sonic Boom and the Paramount film.

Quote

Just let Christian Whitehead make Sonic Mania sequels. 

Look man Sonic Mania is in my top 3 favorite games in the series but let's count our lucky stars that he was able to get away with just one game under his call and not be driven out the way Sega drove away Naka. Mania was a passion project and sequels should only happen when the people involved really want to make it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My issue is , I don't think I can think of anyone off the top of the dome that can replace iizuka. He's not the best, but he seems to give kind of a shit about sonic, and sonic as a kids franchise is prime to be saddled with people not giving a shit because the money is there. We are not garunteed to find ourselves a lauren faust. On that note, sorry I lied to you I can actually think of quite of few people who could direct sonic as a brand effectively some of them as far as I know not huge sonic fans but understand game design and branding in such a way in which the ball could get rolling... or the hedgehog so to speak. The issue is that would these people even be chosen, or it would be some guy from japan who doesn't care that much. And while it isn't the hypothetical dude's fault , I do blame sega's inability to seemingly vet or nurture and grow good talent working for them ... heck to go out and find it even when it comes to sonic.

Sonic mania most likely does not happen without iizuka pushing for it. I don't believe in sega's ability to find people that can do good things about this brand , who care or at least are competent enough and takes enough pride in their work mask not caring too much.

So I guess we are in a bit of a pickle , huh?

I would make the suggestion that iizuka just kind of become a brand manger and they let other studio's do things. But that's just me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

My issue is , I don't think I can think of anyone off the top of the dome that can replace iizuka. He's not the best, but he seems to give kind of a shit about sonic, and sonic as a kids franchise is prime to be saddled with people not giving a shit because the money is there.

He's also, for whatever reason, the only one with any long term experience with the franchise that Sega hasn't worked to try and chase away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the team are technically able to make a great 3D Sonic game, but I think they are struggling to turn their passion (if any) into something where that passion and energy shines through. Perhaps they are lacking inspiration. Perhaps the reception Sonic Mania (and SM: Adventures) received has inspired them for their next project. I believe Forces was already some way into development before it got twinned with Mania so there may not have been time to change too much with Forces, so we’ll see what they bring to the table with their next game which I believe is their anniversary title so likely due in 2021. If they are still struggling then with a lackluster product then, after they should have got a morale boost from Mania, then I think things may need some serious change somewhere in order to improve things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The worst games Sonic Team puts out suffer from a lack of focus. They have some great ideas, and then screw it up by putting too much on their plate. I don’t know what leadership is to blame for this, whether it’s in Sonic Team itself or Sega as a company. I also don’t know their budget for games. I know they need focus. Maybe they need some support as well.

For example, Sonic Unleashed was a very ambitious game - New engine, entirely new playstyle, real world level inspirations, hub worlds, and nice character design. Even the story was very much on point. New characters in Pickle and Chip, and they didn’t suck. Night of the Werehog was produced. There were a lot of new ideas coming out in this game. The daytime boost levels were praised to high heavens, but someone decided to pad out the game with the God of Hog. Why the padding?

I bring up Unleashed because it leaves behind a legacy in the games. They focus the mechanics in Unleashed, and produce Generations, the best received game in forever. Then they focus again, innovate a little, and produce Colors, the second best received game in forever. Forces used the same style, but the Avatar creation seems second to the actual stages. Suddenly the other sections in the game seem to suffer in quality. Back to padding. Why do that at all? Why not focus your best ideas, like before? Yoshihisa Hashimoto, director of Unleashed first said the Werehog was a way to draw in new players. He also said they were under time constraints. Sega is the company that released Sonic 06 in the state it was in, so I’m inclined to believe that padding is a deadline thing.

I don’t know if ST needs new leadership, but new blood is good for creativity. Unleashed was Hashimoto’s first director role. They probably gave that to him for creating the Hedgehog Engine. Sonic Team needs talent like that, new or old. They should also hire outside teams to support them if padding for time is an issue. What about Sumo Digital. They need to maintain focus in their team and stop green lighting dumb ideas. If the entirety of the Werehog or Avatar sections were three more levels of main gameplay, would anyone complain? A shorter game can still be good.

If game length is an issue, why not sell shorter games at a lower price point, and then have a team dedicated to legit expansion pack DLC packages? I feel as though the deadline thing is a Sega management-level issue that would repeat itself with future leadership. I don’t know what Iizuka is like as a boss, so that’s all I got.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Almost every time Sega has handed Sonic off to someone else the results are about as good as what ST can put out if not worse. Sonic Mania is the exception but even the things I heard about that game's dev through the grapevine werent pleasant. 

Sega's management is fucked up. It's been an open secret for years. A lot of artists who have worked with them have said this outright. That needs to be fixed before anything else. It needed to be fixed back in the 90s before they chased Naka out the first time. Let alone the increasing pile of industry vets they've chased away since. It's still going on. Remember the Mania DRM incident and how Taxman openly expressed his disagreement? 

They need to be uprooted. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Badnik Zero said:

For example, Sonic Unleashed was a very ambitious game - New engine, entirely new playstyle, real world level inspirations, hub worlds, and nice character design. Even the story was very much on point. New characters in Pickle and Chip, and they didn’t suck. Night of the Werehog was produced. There were a lot of new ideas coming out in this game. The daytime boost levels were praised to high heavens, but someone decided to pad out the game with the God of Hog. Why the padding?

Because the boost gameplay is disgustingly inefficient, requiring huge investments for levels that only take a couple of minutes to complete. To get a full game of reasonable length with it they had no choice but to pad it out with slower, more resource-efficient gameplay and a lot of asset reuse, just as they've done with every boost game since (and arguably every 3D Sonic).

13 minutes ago, Badnik Zero said:

They focus the mechanics in Unleashed, and produce Generations, the best received game in forever. Then they focus again, innovate a little, and produce Colors, the second best received game in forever.

...Colors came before Gens.

Anyway something's clearly fucked up with the process of making Sonic games but I'm not going to pretend to know exactly where the problem lies. I think it's easy to point fingers at the names we recognize while problems behind the scenes just keep festering. Something's got to change if they're going to get this series back in order, that's all I know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The amount of scapegoating in the opening post is sad, and it's pretty symbolic to the current state of the series. Nobody knows what's going on, so they pick the most public face and demonize him.

 

Iizuka is probably one of the few people left who actually gives a shit about the series despite popular belief that he doesn't. He actively engages people and constantly talks about what's happening in the series. There's no other figure who even tries to do that anymore.

 

His hands are tied. He probably wants to make better games, but Sega are the ones who dictate the series and have final say and what is done. And in case it wasn't obvious, Sega have realized that they don't have to make good games because Sonic is such a household name that any product with his name or face will attract attention. Combine that with Sega commissioning Sonic Team to make a new game every 2-3 years under shitty work conditions, then you can see why the series is in the state its in.

 

Its hilariously similar to what's happening with Pokemon right now and for similar reasons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Because the boost gameplay is disgustingly inefficient, requiring huge investments for levels that only take a couple of minutes to complete. To get a full game of reasonable length with it they had no choice but to pad it out with slower, more resource-efficient gameplay and a lot of asset reuse, just as they've done with every boost game since (and arguably every 3D Sonic).

...Colors came before Gens.

Yeah, that’s right Colors came before Generations. My mistake. The point is valid though. If making boost levels are so inefficient, how were Colors and Gens even possible? They leaned on 2D a bit more but reviewers did not have a problem with that, and plenty of fans don’t either. Colors has a number of shorter acts based on the core gameplay to fill it out. Generations has classic 2D to fill it out. The main course stays memorable and polished in these games though, and that’s where they’re remembered.

Unleashed is well made, which can’t be said for Forces. If the Werehog was canceled from it, and filled with more Colors style acts it would have been well received. For every review outlet to say “Half of the game is shit” hurts Sega more and loses more money than reviews that say “It’s fun but short”. Shorter, cheaper games, with a commitment to episodic DLC expansions would work well with what I think is their main problem - Deadlines and padding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn’t only say reviewers, I said fans as well. I’m talking about reviewers because they influence perception and adoption of the series by new people.

Anyways Gens and Colors are not bad just because reviewers like them. But they help to sell copies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sega management is ultimately the biggest problem the entire company has to suffer. It's thanks to that management that they sealed their fate in the Console Race, along with forcing the circumstances that made Sonic 06 the disaster it was. There are talented individuals in all their teams, but because of the direction of management, they can never truly shine. It isn't right to blame Iizuka. It's like saying the boat is off-course because the first mate isn't doing his job right, when it's really the captain who told him where to go that's the problem.

As far as the Sonic games themselves go, the lack of focus is the biggest contributing factor. I don't think it started until Sonic Lost World though. Every game before that had some distinct theme, some distinct mechanic, story or character that was the focus. Adventure and Adventure 2 had the teams and the interconnected story, Heroes had the team mechanics, Shadow had the morality system, Secret Rings had the experience system and the Arabian Nights theme, and Black Knight had the story and characters. Unleashed is by far the best example of focus in the series aside from the Werehog, and even that still plays well despite it not being true Sonic gameplay. 06 could have been the greatest game we had, but the vision was killed for the sake of meeting the mandated deadline. Colors had the wisps, and Generations had the Classic/Modern split.

Lost World is where it began. Just look at the level design and the story. It was trying to be so many things at once, and while some levels were fun, others were miserable. There was no consistency with anything. Rise of Lyric was just a dry, boring game, and was like that thanks to a lack of any real ambition--or if there was any, it was killed off by the demand for it to be based on Sonic Boom. And it all comes to a head with Forces, where once again, like every time before, Sega wanted to appeal to the fans, to make something they think we'd like. And it was the most mediocre game of the entire series.

Sonic Team has always wanted to appeal to the fans with all of their games. They always had some new, cool idea that they thought we'd like, and every time after Adventure 2, we shot them down for not meeting our expectations. Rightfully so, in many cases, but as we the fanbase have no consistent vision of a good Sonic game, how is Sonic Team supposed to have one? Like I said, they want to appeal to us with each entry, and with so many divided opinions on what a good Sonic game is, it's no wonder we got Sonic Forces.

Sega management is the reason Sonic games aren't as good as they could be. But I think that the fanbase is partially at fault for Sonic Team having no focus. We were their focus, and since we aren't focused, they aren't either. The only thing we can agree on is for Sonic Team to make a good Sonic game. But what is a good Sonic game?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Badnik Zero said:

Yeah, that’s right Colors came before Generations. My mistake. The point is valid though. If making boost levels are so inefficient, how were Colors and Gens even possible? They leaned on 2D a bit more but reviewers did not have a problem with that, and plenty of fans don’t either. Colors has a number of shorter acts based on the core gameplay to fill it out. Generations has classic 2D to fill it out. The main course stays memorable and polished in these games though, and that’s where they’re remembered.

Colors and Gens' padding is less immediately offputting than the werehog but it's still padding. Both games only really have a couple of full levels, which only last a couple of minutes each. And while most people accepted the 2D sections at the time, that these supposedly 3D games can't even manage to fill half their playtime with actual 3D gameplay has become more and more of a complaint over time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Badnik Zero said:

I didn’t only say reviewers, I said fans as well. I’m talking about reviewers because they influence perception and adoption of the series by new people.

Anyways Gens and Colors are not bad just because reviewers like them. But they help to sell copies.

Reviewers and Fans at the time had 06 in mind, Coloes and Generations would have been criticized  more (Colors especially) had they been released now rather than back then where any Sonic Game that "Returned to base" , "Didn't have Shitty friends" "didn't take itself seriously" and Finally "is actually playable" would have gotten a positive reaction, Sonic 4 proves this 

As a matter of fact even before Forces there was a lot of debate about The Boost Formula  once the hype died, Forces only made The Debate more heated up, why do you think the reaction to Classic Sonic was so negative the moment he was shown in a forces trailer  even though nobody minded him in Generations? Because people were tired of 2D in Modern Sonic , people tolerated it before but not now

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The question isn’t so much “should something be done about Iizuka/Sonic Team” than it is “why wasn’t something done about Iizuka/Sonic Team years ago”. To be completely frank, the track record for both entities speaks for themselves—mostly mediocre and/or polarizing results; with the uncommon good or bad game in-between.

The fact that they still hold their respective jobs in 2019 with no meaningful changes to the status quo goes back to what everybody else in this thread has been saying—incompetent management from Sega. That seems to be something that absolutely refuses to go away, no matter how many times they apologize for betraying the trust of fans, wish to improve the quality of the brand, or make noise about shifting IP control to another department and/or figurehead.

The only way something is actually done is if something happens that causes Sega themselves to kill the series off. There’s a better chance of hell freezing over before anything of the sort becomes reality. Even with game sales arguably at historical lows and a attempted franchise refresh failing to make a big splash, there’s still a company directive / some amount of consumer demand that calls for at least one Sonic product to be put out there every year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is definitely a certain degree of half n half that's been going on for a while. 

  • Unleashed was the start of them rethinking things after 7 years of Adventure steadily declined. It introduced Sonic Rush's Boost gameplay into 3d pretty well for the daytime stages while using the Werehog to supposedly emulate God of War & pad out the game for the night time stages. It maintains elements of the Adventure formula in regards to its environments and storytelling, but also included a few humorous elements.
  • Colors was openly dedicated to being its own game with the stage motifs and the Wisps while primarily continuing to utilize Unleashed's daytime gameplay as it's baseline. The story's script was more openly lighthearted and the overall setup is essentially  that of a classic game. Thus it ended up being the [second] best received and mark signs that SEGA were listening to feedback and trying to build off of it.
  • Generations continued to do what Colors did while mostly removing the Wisps and including Classic Sonic as a secondary playstyle. As an open anniversary game, the story was very much an excuse while the meat of the game revolved around celebrating the franchise from the beginning up till the title and throwing a legit bone to fans who missed that era of the franchise. Overall, the game was pretty good, a hallmark of the SonicTeam maintaining momentum, and left anticipation for the next game to take this further into something great.
  • Lost World tried to change things up again with a new gameplay style while continuing the spirit of the games that came before, but was concluded with mixed results. Interestingly enough, this game was apparently in development since Colors and it's story attempted to reach a more complicated & dark tone. However, for its measures to introduce a few new elements of both the gameplay and the cast, there seemed to be a large degree of pigeonholing, fragmenting, and resultant oversaturation regarding the more lighthearted/comedic aspects and iconography from previous games. The American writers were allotted the chance to come up with the story around the cast after previous successes, making them responsible for the stories attempts to expand, and yet they admit to "taking the easy way and running out of the time" in regards to the third act in particular. The Deadly Six were clearly designed to be villains that could continue to embrace the more humorous aspects of the previous games while also taking the game&series into darker territory again and yet in addition to mostly being underdeveloped archetypes, there ended up being a mixed dominance to the former than the latter--Zavok in particular is ironically underutilized despite being the game's threatening main villain and it doesn't help that all of the Zeti are ambiguously written out after their third battles with little in the way of a sendoff so Eggman can once again be the final boss despite much of the plot being about their enmity with him. While the previous games of the era had also cutscenes that were mostly laidback and focused on characters interacting while advancing the story,  Lost World noticeably has cutscenes that are shorter and even for what the story is trying to convey--the darker elements of the second half in particular are sporadic and curt. And it probably says something that the game's DLC is generally well-received while having little to do with the Sonic franchise itself.
  • And most recently, we have Forces: an mainline anniversary game that had only one game behind the last, essentially evokes a Generations 2 vibe unintentionally or not, included a new gameplay system via the Avatar, and ramped up the story's similarities with that of the late-Dreamcast & early-Modern eras. It also saw a series of prequel comics and a free day one DLC starring Shadow delving into Infinite's backstory. And the majority of these things are fairly caked in the undertone that they are primarily halfhearted overcorrections after Lost World's polarizing reception. Special emphasis on halfhearted because while the game does seem to want to push it's vision and story more than the previous game, most of it is once again recycling elements from previous games quite openly. Of particular note is how Classic Sonic is both barely utilized and jank, several locations and even names are shamelessly reused, the four recurring villains are barely in the game on top of not being the real deals, the backstory in the DLC & the character in question mostly contradicts/hamstrings the main game for the sake of emulating the trappings of Shadow's hayday, and the story climaxes (admittedly more gracefully) on the same note as the previous--the original villain being supplanted so Eggman can be the final boss. There are a number of a testaments and rumors to the game's production being an erratic frugal one as well as the idea that it may have actually being two or more separate games merged into one for the sake of meeting & missing the 25th anniversary. And given the game proper's state, amount of cut content, and even production material, that's believable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, DiamondX said:

I don't think the team is not talented. I believe that the problem is that they are trying to listen too much to the fans with Forces.

People liked Classic Sonic in Generations and believed he would be liked here as well.

People asked for a darker story and we got that.

They knew people like to make OCs and decided to add the feature in the game.

 

They should believe in themselves more and be able to decide on their own what to add and what not to. Also, may I ask what do you dislike at Lost World? I didn't play the game myself but it looks like a pretty good game to me.

Missed this comment, but I’d like to point out those examples you listed as results of the developers “listening to the fans” are results that have the understanding and clarity of a game of telephone in a road construction zone.

Imagine you walked into a sandwich shop and told the chef you liked hamburgers, and the waiter brought back a hunk of raw rat meat covered with sprinkles and slammed against stale bread. But hey, the sandwich turned out that way because the chef listened to your request too much, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Sean said:

It's not that I think Iizuka is doing a stellar job, but I legitimately cannot think of a single person to replace him, especially since finding people who are passionate about Sonic is a difficult endeavor. He seems to care a lot about the series - if anything I get the impression that his input is the only remaining heart Sonic has these days. He helped get Sonic Mania made, after all. I think Sega's management (or lack thereof) probably deserves way more flak because I really wonder just how much creative control he's able to exercise when Sega is able to greenlight horeshit such as Sonic Boom and the Paramount film.

Look man Sonic Mania is in my top 3 favorite games in the series but let's count our lucky stars that he was able to get away with just one game under his call and not be driven out the way Sega drove away Naka. Mania was a passion project and sequels should only happen when the people involved really want to make it.

Izuka was apparently working on those, too... He was the one who gave the green light to them both, and is partially supervising the movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

You must read and accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to continue using this website. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.