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Is the fanbase as large and as active today as it was 10-15 years ago?

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Well you all saw the title...

The reason I'm asking is because personally, it really seems to me like the fanbase is neither as large or as active as it was in the 00's. It's just the impression I get. Back then, the fanbase was notoriously active all across the internet. Even non-fans were keenly aware of such phenomeneon as Sonic fan-characters popping up absolutely everywhere.

I seemto recall a lot more young people (I'm talking 10-15 year olds) coming in to the fanbase than there is now. SA2:B and Sonic X were huge cataclysts for bringing new blood into the fandom, something that more modern games and the Sonic Boom TV show just doesn't seem to do as effectively.

So what do you think? Is all of this just something that a nostalgic old fool like myself is imagining, or is it a fact?

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Mania saw a big resurgance in activity, even from non Sonic fans, but the series couldn't keep the momentum.

There's also the very real problem that people are growing out of Sonic (real life gets in the way) and there are not enough new generation to replace them.

I mean, a lot of people on this forum must be in their thirties.

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I also think, and maybe this is just me, but now that Sonic Mania has come out, what is there even to look forward to? We've had the classic Sonic return to form and it's looking unlikely that Whitehead and Co will strike again. But either way, that desire is now met.

For a long time, people thought Lost World and Forces were made by some side team, but that's clearly not the case. The talent of Generations are either squandered or have left. We don't have anything to look forward to with Sonic Team.

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Eh, I mean it’s something that’s pretty difficult to pin down. Like with every fandom, it actively fluctuates depending on what the actual franchise is doing. Only a few fandoms like Star Wars or something are immune to droughts like that. It’s why you see things like the Kid Icarus or F-Zero fandom lay dormant for a while but reawakened over the past year with Ultimate. At the end of the day, fandoms need content to keep active.

This applies to Sonic. Simply put, we had more content coming out of the franchise a decade ago. As opposed to now where the last main game is going on 2 years at this point and didn’t really leave much of an impression outside the community. Not to mention the last game, at all, didn’t make much of a splash even in its small genre. The most we have currently and coming up are the comics (which honestly never have drawn up much attention outside its usual circle), the crossover special, a new entry in the Olympic series (stopped caring about these since London imo), and the movie which... well, no one really wants to talk about.

Basically, I think we’re just neck deep in a rest period. A decade ago, we never really had such intervals. There was always a big new game somewhere on the horizon back then.

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I don't really think it's a case of things dying per say, but rather SEGA (granted, unintentionally) killing off the good will that Mania garnered for them. Forces was meh, TSR was fun, but overshadowed by CTR (which ironically ended up being screwed), but to me personally, I think the biggest hit is the movie, because that just shot Sonic straight back down into the realm of a joke.

In the same vain though, the movie ironically confirms that it's far from dead, because pretty much everybody from all walks of life with some kind of vague understanding of Sonic rose up to take the total piss out of the design, trailer, and movie in general, from hardcore fans, to casuals, to massive YT influences, talk show hosts, and whatever else, so we're in a really awkward situation where the movie has managed to splinter any good will because Paramount and those behind it are seemingly so dumb that they couldn't understand the obvious red flags popping up everywhere, and paid a heavy cost for it, while technically it caused such a massive stir, and major-wide fuck-up, especially so soon after Mania revived a ton of interest in the series that a ton of people came together, more than I've seen in a long time in this fanbase to more or less majority agree that the design sucked ass, and should be fixed.

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This forum isn't even nearly as active as it was 3-4 years ago. A lot of old members have moved on with their lives and we extremely rarely get new members who stick around. Should be representative of something going on. 

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I would have thought that the success of sonic mania would have sparked a sequel of completely new zones.

the sonic boom cartoon is popular on the uk channel 'pop'. there are a generation who know him from that more than anything else. I think they should scrap the movie idea altogether, and focus on new cartoons in the same style as the 'ok ko' crossover and the first episode of 'mania adventures'. stay away from the 'edge'. no one takes it seriously.

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Definitely not. I think the movie was able to suck away the good will of Mania, IDW, etc, and what little remaining good will from Colors and Generations there was, much like how Lost World eliminated a lot of that at its very announcement. And then RoL eliminates even more of it.  It might have to do with some internal turmoil at Sega, which is why Forces’s budget went to the wrong places and Sonic Team have started to crumble. 

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5 minutes ago, sonic 1-derful said:

stay away from the 'edge'. no one takes it seriously.

I mean I guess those calls for adventure remakes and shadows popularity means nothing?

Sonic has different demos and it should. And they should make things for different demos and they should. If they "stayed away from the edge" we wouldn't have the comic books right now.

Seems weird to me to suggest that

 

On topic, sonic been bad for a while people are tired of sonic team's shit and they have options in multiple mediums.mania makes it worse because it's the thing people want. So why would folks engage unless it's that or on the case of other fans why would they engage until they get their own mania

 

Folks tired

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2 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

I mean I guess those calls for adventure remakes and shadows popularity means nothing?

Sonic has different demos and it should. And they should make things for different demos and they should. If they "stayed away from the edge" we wouldn't have the comic books right now.

Seems weird to me to suggest that

Nor would TSR, a game with its biggest saving grace being microtransactionphobia after the fact, have its theme song, nor so much visual pandering to Adventure fans (which they were able to see through).

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Much like with mania , if they want to do a nostalgia appeal. If something is made for early adventure 3d sonic fans that is ernest and good , folks will come back. Talk about it, draw. They did with mania but the lack of follow up and forces and stuff kinda burt some of that good will away.

Folks tired. They gotta put work in now. The fan base is reflective of the games they have put out. Outside of mania, cynical not interesting games. And before mania it was... generations ...which is almost a decade old now.

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1 hour ago, sonic 1-derful said:

I would also argue that sonic's peak in popularity was in the 90's rather than the early 2000's..

That's absolutely true. However, the height of Sonic's online presence was probably the 00's. The internet simply wasn't that big of a thing yet in the early 90's when Sonic's true golden age took place. So while the amount of people who were into Sonic was at it's peak around 1991-1994, the amount of people who actively took part in the fanbase was probably at it's peak sometime around 2002-2008 or so.

I think I myself is a good example of these trends since I was a huge fan of Sonic in the mid 90's but I only became a regular participant of the online fanbase in 2003.

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You could probably track some declining interest in the series if you had the numbers but a lot of the youngins are just on Twitter or discord or youtube now. If I was looking for new faces this is one of the last places I'd check.

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12 hours ago, MainJP said:

It really doesn't seem to be as active these days even after the success of the Mania, and the reason as to why is pretty clear:

37tDV7K.jpg

Honestly, the recent games haven't been that bad.  Besides Sonic Mania, Sonic Forces was a good game all around(and no, it's not the second coming of Sonic 06) and Team Sonic Racing is all kinds of fun.  We're in a lull right now...all the attention is on the MOVIE and despite the negative attention, the Sonic movie trailer is the most viewed trailer on Paramount's Youtube page.  And now Paramount is spending more money to change Sonic's design. ..they seem to want this movie to succeed, at least partially.  I mean, how often does that happen that the fans' reactions are acknowledged and actually result in honest to goodness change?  At least the games have a good level of quality to them again but the fan base isn't as big as it used to be mostly because Sonic's just not out there as much as he used to be.  We have the comic but that's once a month.    Honestly, Sonic needs a cartoon like SatAM or Sonic X(the Japanese version is actually pretty decent) so people can see what a good Sonic story can present.  I don't expect a pleasant surprise from the Sonic movie but I imagine interest in the blue hedgehog will go up upon the release of the film.

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3 minutes ago, SatAMhog said:

And now Paramount is spending more money to change Sonic's design. ..they seem to want this movie to succeed, at least partially. 

Well, yeah, because they want to make money.

And let's not get ahead of ourselves with this "fan reactions result in positive change" stuff. For one it wasn't just fans but practically everyone pointing out how awful it looked, and second we haven't seen their attempt at fixing it yet.

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People aren't as hyped about the games, but I think we are getting new fans. Stuff like Boom and the OK Ko crossover are great gateway tools, and will lead new fans to it. Us having to rely on supplementary materials instead of good games is kinda sad, but honestly, X got a lot of people into Sonic too, so it's nothing too different.

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3 hours ago, SatAMhog said:

Honestly, the recent games haven't been that bad.  Besides Sonic Mania, Sonic Forces was a good game all around(and no, it's not the second coming of Sonic 06) .

Just because it's not "the second coming of 06" doesn't mean it's even a remotely decent product. I'd hardly call it mediocre at best in terms of quality...it IS that bad.

Being better than the absolute bottom of the barrel isn't much of an accomplishment.

3 hours ago, SatAMhog said:

Honestly, Sonic needs a cartoon like SatAM or Sonic X(the Japanese version is actually pretty decent) so people can see what a good Sonic story can present.  I don't expect a pleasant surprise from the Sonic movie but I imagine interest in the blue hedgehog will go up upon the release of the film.

Any version of Sonic X can't be that good if Chris still exists.

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Yeah, Sonic fandom is pretty much dead.

All it has is 2 popular fan continuations of cancelled comics, countless smaller ones, numerous fangames/mods produces yearly, Sonic Shorts/Christmas/VillainsCrossover and other fan videos and youtube channels dedicated to Sonic, 9 appearances in death battle and this very forum that spews dozen of posts per hour. And Shadow being one of most demanded characters for Smash 6 was a typo.

Start banding support groups, this hedgehog is an endangered specie.

(Ok, truth be told I just find it really hard to measure stuff like that. How many Sonic has fans, how large percentage are jerks, how many of them care only about Classic. No one has a hard or even soft numbers. I can't even make polls on this site, not that it would reflect whole fandom).

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My guess is that it's because the output of Sonic games has been drastically reduced by more then a half.
(Despite the fact I still see a ton of people clamoring for Sega to stop making so many Sonic games)
I realized it made me more apathic about the series for a while too. With less to look forward to, and more time for introspection of what we had (Which isn't doing many favors for games like Forces)

For fun I made a list in my head for all the games released in the 90's, the 2000's and the 2010's and realized how little happened in the 2010's.
In the 90's we would have had Sonic's entire classic era plus a ton of game gear games and weird spin off games during the Saturn years, his big revival with Sonic adventure in the same position in the decade as we're in now, and with Shuffle and Adventure 2 around the corner.
In the 2000's we'd had the entirity of the dark age, the Sonic advance games, the Sonic Rush games and just had Sonic Unleashed around the same time as we are now, with Colors, Sonic 4 and Generations about to come.
Whether most of these games were a good thing or not, in terms of keeping the fanbase alive, there was plenty to talk about at least.


Now.....All we had is Lost world and Forces as Sonic Team's finest.
And Mania and Boom games as the Sonic CD/ Shadow/ Sonic black knight equivalent B-team games.

We never had our Adventure/ Unleashed esque big revival game this decade. (Forces was in the perfect position to be one, but...)
We barely had any handheld games to keep the pace. Only 2 originals and the watered down Lost world one.
We didn't have a mini era that ended halfway trough like the Classic era and the dark era.
If the 2010's has it's own self contained mini era, it'd be the nostalgia era and it still isn't freaking over.
This decade feels empty as heck, with Mania as it's only succes title.
And the Sonic Boom tv show as it's secondairy biggest succes, and while that show may be funny, it never really felt really "Sonic-ey" to me.
And including the Sonic Boom tv show as a desperate extra "succes" for this decade just makes me realize I didn't bother including any of the other tv shows and OVA specials the other decades had On Top of their already bigger output list.

The fact that made me realize the most about how empty this decade is, is realizing that in the 4 years between Forces and whatever the 30th anniversary game will be, the only game we got is a racing spin off, while I never even took racing games into consideration when I was making a mental list of the games of the other 2 decades.
You could argue I'm cheating by including the anniversary games Adventure 2 and Generations in their previous decade, and that Generations should count as a 2010's game.
Taking that logic, then the 2010 decade is complete and there's no longer the upcoming 30th anniversary game as potential "Savior" That one will be a 2020's title now.

Now don't get me wrong, getting fewer games isn't necesairely a problem or something we should complain about.
Compared to other franchises like Megaman or Earthbound or what have you, we still get a ton of games.
And it's true that the 2000's pumping out game after game didn't help with the quality.

Of course, that argument would have been more powerful if this decade had a strong "NOW THIS IS WHAT SONIC COULD HAVE BEEN IF SONIC TEAM TOOK THE TIME!!!" contender to hold over Adventure/ Heroes/ Unleashed's heads, but...Well, do we have one? Sonic Mania? Sure, but that isn't even a Sonic Team game and works on a diffrent level. If anything, the fact Sonic Mania is Sonic's greatest succes this decade while Sonic team should be able to make that type of game in their sleep at this point just makes me sad.

But regardless if we're "allowed" to complain about the reduction of games or should be grateful/ happy about it, it doesn't change the fact the output of games has been reduced by more then a half, and as a result I'm not surprised if many of us feel less and less enthiousm around Sonic. There's just less to talk about.

Sure technically, you could include the mobile phone games we had, then this decade has a considerable bigger library of games.
My brain just can't consider the mobile phone games as....Well, games. Counting them as full blown Sonic games feels like including Sonic jam for the game.com and the Mc Donalds Heroes minigames as proper Sonic games.

And if the games we had this decade were amazing and Sonic Team showed they have a grand vision for the future, then sure, that would create a lot of momentum and talk.
But so far they're still hiding behind Green hill zone and Shadow fanservice as a crutch, so there's no faith. Small output and the output we get might be more polished then the 2000 era games but they're hardly much "better". So yeah. Interest is fading.
 

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when I made the comment about sonic's popularity in the 90's, it wasn't just about the fans, it was about the general public. he was more recognisable than mickey mouse during that time. everyone knew who he was. 

the problems began to surface around '94 in terms of games. I remember reading reviews in magazines that claimed that the formula had gotten stale. this was in regards to 'sonic & knuckles' and 'knuckles chaotix'.

I also remember reading comments on fan forums in the early 2000's from people not liking 'sonic adventure 2 battle', and longing for the days of the 2d gameplay. this is probably why the advance series was created.

the cartoons were, and still are, always able to remain popular and bring in new fans. I think if all else fails, this is where the focus should be. I can only speak for the uk, but in terms of 'edge',  'adventures of sonic the hedgehog' was always much more popular than 'sat:am'. that should tell us something.. comedy has been part of the brand for a long time now. it wouldn't make sense to abandon that.

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