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Does Sonic need unification or Separation?

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As the title says, do you think the Franchise needs more Unification in how its handled, without stuff like a Dimensional division between Classical And Modern sonic with the games/Media not drifting too far from each other, or do you think it needs to be more separated with 2d and 3D sonic games being treated as completely different franchises?

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I'd go with unification over division, but I don't think you can just cleanly cram everything Sonic's been into one box and expect it to work. I think they should take some time to figure out what Sonic is supposed to be and what it isn't (or can't afford to be) and then take an honest shot at making it happen.

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I think unification (with some cutting) would ultimately allow the series to become more focused and reach a higher sales potential. But unification of the brand in a way that pleases a wider general audience and increases total sales volume would also piss off many die hard fans particularly if the resulting unification does not result in stronger titles. It also could only be executed with a strong vision for what the brand should be, rather than just throwing things at the wall or just responding to surface level criticism via fan feedback. I do not know what SEGA of America's vision is for Sonic and it's hard to believe that given the state of the series that they are interested in doing anything but building momentum on the small number of successes they have had in the last 10 years. After Generations the series had some credit to build on, in that a few solid performances in a row allowed them space to think about how to make Sonic bigger and better (although that didnt happen). Right now the series doesn't have a lot, particularly since Forces underwhelmed after being the first major production in over 4 years, and coming off of a disastrous title in Boom.

 

So where the series is now and based on what Sonic has been, the safest route is to continue the classic/modern split. This ensures a baseline of sales for the series to continue to exist for at least the short term future, and for us diehards to keep getting Sonic games.

 

 

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A bit of both. Basically, I think that they should unite more the franchise under their two current "sub-franchises"  (Classic and Modern) but define more how they are different, and what both of them have to offer to the player. That doesn't mean that everything inside those two sub-franchise should be the same, or that they absolutely should be "canon" to the core sub-franchise (for instance IDW isn't canon to the Modern Games), but they should be similar enough in their foundations, rules, elements and tone to fit inside their sub-franchise.

TBH, I feel that if we can't do in Sonic everything that have been done under this name, it's perfectly possible to use the basic differences that we can see between Modern and Classic to cover a big part of that (and sometimes, it's possible in a media to do a bit of a tone shift for a story, making the coverage even bigger if done right). Basically less going everywhere, but having some separation to fit the separations that can exist, while having both "feel like Sonic".

 

And I feel that if some elements from past show and stuff from Sonic were to be reused, they should adapt them to the core universe (a bit like how Flynn and co. adapted elements from the older cartoon to the mainline modern game universe for the second continuity of ArchieSonic).

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I'd love them to keep things separated. I stopped caring for modern Sonic a long time ago but I love everything classic Sonic. Classic Sonic gameplay in modern games was not good, the physics were totally off in both Generations and Forces, so I think sourcing out the classic stuff to team Mania and keeping módern to Sonic Team would be the right way to go. I dont trust Sonic Team anymore...

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2 hours ago, Wraith said:

stir it. 

Exactly what they forgot to do with Forces resulting in such an imbalanced and undercooked mess.

On topic though, I'm kind of at an impasse. I actually like the separation in the regard that I feel the two distinct aesthetic styles lend themselves a lot better to different experiences (for the record I enjoy the whimsical yet contrasting industrial flair of the classics for more light hearted but still weighty scenarios while I prefer the adventure style for the more serious and character driven stories with the modern mishmash not really doing much for me). On the flip side though, I feel like so much depth has been thrown out by this constant back alley surgical extractions of a lot of the elements that really made Sonic pop for me in the 2000s. SEGA and Sonic Teams history of treating a hangnail as a problem that could only be solved by amputating the whole arm and shoulder instead of trimming the nail and polishing up with a high attention to detail manicure though has always made it difficult to reconcile the franchise's butchered body.

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Further separation; Dreamcast from Modern. Mainly to be rid of “BALDY MCNOSEHAIR!” and all it represents. So that Dreamcast and Modern can build their own respective lore. Mixing should be allowed in spinoff titles, however. 

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Unification. That doesn't mean all games need to be the same! But the identity of the characters can be more consistent, even if the art style changes to suit the game. Look at Mario! Mario is always essentially the same. There is no "Classic Mario" and "Modern Mario." Each game's art style varies slightly and gameplay often varies dramatically but Mario remains Mario.

I don't think having Classic Sonic, Modern Sonic, Boom Sonic, Movie Sonic, and whatever the heck is next Sonic is a good approach for a franchise that already suffers from identity confusion.

Sonic Team should figure out who and what they want Sonic to be and go from there. He shouldn't be a completely different character in 2D and 3D.

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2 hours ago, Spooky Mulder said:

Unification. That doesn't mean all games need to be the same! But the identity of the characters can be more consistent, even if the art style changes to suit the game. Look at Mario! Mario is always essentially the same. There is no "Classic Mario" and "Modern Mario." Each game's art style varies slightly and gameplay often varies dramatically but Mario remains Mario.

I don't think having Classic Sonic, Modern Sonic, Boom Sonic, Movie Sonic, and whatever the heck is next Sonic is a good approach for a franchise that already suffers from identity confusion.

Sonic Team should figure out who and what they want Sonic to be and go from there. He shouldn't be a completely different character in 2D and 3D.

Boom Sonic appears to be done for. Even Sega appear to be distancing themselves from the Movie version. For some reason, IDW doesn’t count as a branch/era, nor do the Penguin books. Really, there’s only Classic, Modern, and a number of temporary mini-eras (arguably Dreamcast as well), plus some tie-ins that don’t count as eras despite having their own distinct stories and characters. 

 

A firm Dreamcast split would be a good idea, though, mainly to make sure the modern team doesn’t have too full of a deck.

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4 hours ago, Spooky Mulder said:

Unification. That doesn't mean all games need to be the same! But the identity of the characters can be more consistent, even if the art style changes to suit the game. Look at Mario! Mario is always essentially the same. There is no "Classic Mario" and "Modern Mario." Each game's art style varies slightly and gameplay often varies dramatically but Mario remains Mario.

So your statement is false because there is infact different versions of mario in different art styles. Two off the top of my head being paper mario and  mario rpg mario and that world. On top of that you forgot to mention the myriad of other Nintendo franchises like pokemon, which is bigger than mario that also has completely different art styles and presentations depending on who the product is geared to. Let alone the other Nintendo franchises that do that, kirby,  zelda, ect.

But this is all ontop of , simply put. Mario isn't Sonic and Sonic isn't mario and they shouldn't just be mindlessly copying each other, they should be doing what works for business. And what sega has realized along with a lot of other entertainment IP companies have is that they have a very diverse audience that wants different things.. and that's ok. For them its pretty good, means they can make different types of money. They can make old people nostalgia money, young kid toy money , teen ironic shirt money. Different types of money.

And these demographics have different expectations out of what they desire of the main product , in this case sonic. And confusing these element as we have seen over the past several years generally leads to failure.

Mania's success speaks to this. It ain't anything else but the best version of the thing it is , and that's a classic 2d sonic game. And people bought it for that. And if they make an " adventure mania " that's good or something of the like it will sell too.

Sonic is a brand that has existed damn near 30 years. There are gonna be different variants versions and things that people like. And instead of trying to cram those things together, appealing to those aspects in different scenarios seems to be the best " solution " to this. I say solution quotation because every other company does this and its fine.

 

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no sonic sub demographic is big enough to support a whole line of products. Everyone acts like cutting the series into chunks is a solution to a problem that doesn't seriously exist. Hardcore sonic fans are picky and have preferences but purist fans of any franchise are bound to be picky and dramatic and thus worth ignoring. 

In reality there's usually a pretty big overlap in people that like 2D and 3D Sonic games. They might have preferences, but it makes more sense to cast the net as wide as possible than to try and split your audience in two.

It's funny because 2D Sonic and 3D Sonic would complete eachother for me if elements were combined into a greater whole. A focus physics, dense level design and great game feel that the players are driven to go through by characters and worlds that are deeper than "bald fat man takes over island, repeat 4 more times"

. The more you chop up the franchise to cater to specific tastes the more fans will demand that from you, like the poster above that suggests that the Adventure games should have their own universe because he doesn't like the jokes Sonic makes in the new ones. This seems unrealistic now, but what is the Classic Dimension in the first place but a knee-jerk response to hardcore fans not liking change?

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I'd argue for doing both. Embrace the Sonic multiverse, explicitly canonize everything and use whatever parts of the canon fit the specific thing you're making. So the Classic Sonic in Mania and Forces are from a different "dimension" (the word is universe Sega, come on) but the one in Generations is just a younger Modern Sonic. Both are true, one is an entirely separate entity with some stuff in common between them and the other is the younger version of Modern Sonic. This would solve basically all the series' continuity issues as well and allow them to retcon what they need to and reverse that decision without lasting repercussions. It also allows for stuff like 3d classic games or 2d modern games without there being these weird arguments about what modern or classic should or could be. There IS the downside that if you give them a reason to retcon anything in the series, they'll retcon all the good stuff and leave all the bad and mediocre stuff, but it would fix the issue of "Classic" and "Modern" Sonic being separate. They'd just be Sonic.

 

But I've had this thought for a bit, how this either/or attitude isn't doing the series any favors. Focusing on gameplay alone, I like the classics AND the Adventure games AND the boost games. I like Heroes (and Shadow a little, though that's a whole digression I won't get into). Give me all of them. Stop trying to shove everything in one game, that's unnecessary. Fans of one but not the other need not be left out in the cold either, just make clear your intent to make all the different types of Sonic games, maybe have a dev branch for boost and one for 2d platforming and one for 3d platforming. Like, not that setup exactly, they could organize however, I'm just talking about the approach of making everyone happy by making each type of game independant of one another. You don't need to rebrand the series for each one, spinoffs are a thing that exist and you just need to make it clear that that's what your spinoff is.  Mario  does this and it works. There's open ended 3d Mario games like 64, Sunshine, and Odyssey, and there's course clear games like the Galaxy games, 3d land, and 3d world. Plus there's the 2d games (though, oddly, there's no open ended 2d Mario, just noticed that). There's all the spinoffs too and they don't really change people's expectations for what Mario can be. I mean, Sonic as a series is more tied to its story than Mario but it's not like the series hasn't changed in the past.

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Separate. Sonic Hype for me hit is peak with -06. Seeing that original trailer, the excitement around it, game magazines hyping it up. I was the happiest high school senior I could be. But then we got a rushed mess. And ever since Sega has never really got back on the rails for me. Classic is in his own boat. You can not really mess him up.*episode 4 ignored* but classic is kind of hard to mess up with as many fan games and projects you see all the time to scratch that itch if needed. I hope modern can get better treatment one day.

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2 hours ago, Wraith said:

no sonic sub demographic is big enough to support a whole line of products.

Classic sonic is literally doing that right now. Classic sonic and modern sonic are literally doing that right now. And from what I have been told, part of the reason they have begun putting more emphasis on the split because there isn't as much overlap in some areas as you are suggesting.

For example.

Silver the hedgehog toys do REALLY REALLY WELL. He's popular with the kids his toys sell really good. Silver the hedgehog demo's pretty badly with a lot of the classic sonic fanbase. However considering there is another fanbase that already likes what he's about. You should problably focus him. And when I say demo badly I mean actively turn away. For that mania demo , from what I have been told characters like shadow, silver, blaze everyone that isn't sonic tails knuckles amy and eggman actively turn away people from purchasing. And in 3d , its the opposite. Obviously it isn't gonna tank a game, but you know companies pay attention to these things. And the continued separation of these elements is so they can avoid people not purchasing their game as much as possible. And if that means excluding elements like gameplay styles and characters. That will be done. This isn't quite the end all be all, shadow from what I understand is a weird anomaly. And you can present the argument ( one I would agree with ) that if  you presented elements in a more amicable manner more often people would be more ok with their usage.  But generally as of this moment these fanbases like characters, gameplay styles, art styles and stuff that are kinda different. There's overlap in the hardcore fanbases, but in general public its a lot less

That's why these separations exist

 

 

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14 minutes ago, BaronGrackle said:

Where are people finding Sonic merchandise to buy? It used to be Toys R Us.

A lot of stuff is just ordered off the net. Or specific stores depending like the hot topic exclusive funkos. Along with various sega irl and online stores.

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16 hours ago, Shadowlax said:

Classic sonic is literally doing that right now. Classic sonic and modern sonic are literally doing that right now. And from what I have been told, part of the reason they have begun putting more emphasis on the split because there isn't as much overlap in some areas as you are suggesting.

For example.

Silver the hedgehog toys do REALLY REALLY WELL. He's popular with the kids his toys sell really good. Silver the hedgehog demo's pretty badly with a lot of the classic sonic fanbase. However considering there is another fanbase that already likes what he's about. You should problably focus him. And when I say demo badly I mean actively turn away. For that mania demo , from what I have been told characters like shadow, silver, blaze everyone that isn't sonic tails knuckles amy and eggman actively turn away people from purchasing. And in 3d , its the opposite. Obviously it isn't gonna tank a game, but you know companies pay attention to these things. And the continued separation of these elements is so they can avoid people not purchasing their game as much as possible. And if that means excluding elements like gameplay styles and characters. That will be done. This isn't quite the end all be all, shadow from what I understand is a weird anomaly. And you can present the argument ( one I would agree with ) that if  you presented elements in a more amicable manner more often people would be more ok with their usage.  But generally as of this moment these fanbases like characters, gameplay styles, art styles and stuff that are kinda different. There's overlap in the hardcore fanbases, but in general public its a lot less

That's why these separations exist

 

 

Where are your sources?

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21 hours ago, Wraith said:

no sonic sub demographic is big enough to support a whole line of products. Everyone acts like cutting the series into chunks is a solution to a problem that doesn't seriously exist. Hardcore sonic fans are picky and have preferences but purist fans of any franchise are bound to be picky and dramatic and thus worth ignoring. 

In reality there's usually a pretty big overlap in people that like 2D and 3D Sonic games. They might have preferences, but it makes more sense to cast the net as wide as possible than to try and split your audience in two.

It's funny because 2D Sonic and 3D Sonic would complete eachother for me if elements were combined into a greater whole. A focus physics, dense level design and great game feel that the players are driven to go through by characters and worlds that are deeper than "bald fat man takes over island, repeat 4 more times"

. The more you chop up the franchise to cater to specific tastes the more fans will demand that from you, like the poster above that suggests that the Adventure games should have their own universe because he doesn't like the jokes Sonic makes in the new ones. This seems unrealistic now, but what is the Classic Dimension in the first place but a knee-jerk response to hardcore fans not liking change?

Yeah, I understand why the split is not the best solution to the divides, but reconciliation of the divisions may be insurmountable (not so much gameplay wise, though...), due to differences in tone, lore, and characterization over the years. I cannot really see Zazz in the same world as Tikal, etc.  

 

For some reason, the classic characters seem more easy reconcile with Dreamcast ones than the modern ones are. This may be due to the excellent comics that bridged the gap, bridged it several ways, and even discovered new paths of their own. Yet somehow the events of the later games can still feel awkward keeping older ones in mind.

 

It isn’t just Baldy McNosehair, it’s also about things like Sonic standing there and making awful puns rather than doing anything at all. It’s also Tails being a hinderance to Sonic. It’s also the most inept troupe of villains imaginable. That’s what needs to be separated from the beautiful stories of earlier games.

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