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Scritch the Cat

At this point, what is keeping other characters from being playable in the main modern Sonic games?

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I feel like this question pops up once every few months by a certain segment of the fanbase and the reality is that this question has already been answered multiple times. Nothing has changed, the same fans just dont care about the reality and want what they want. Which is totally fair to be sure, but it doesnt really help anything.

 

The Sonic series has not done it since 2006 because adding extra characters with distinct gameplay adds many layers of difficulty in design and in the past was not done well AT ALL in 3D. 

(Note: for those of you who may not be aware, fan-made engines are not "games". They're not even proof of concepts. They're not anything and should not be brought into these discussions. Until a fan can actually recreate something resembling a complete level or concept (like Christian Whitehead did for the 2d games) these are not examples of anything.)

 

Iizuka has literally come out and said this publicly himself in numerous interviews. I'm sure they were posted here. I still remember one he did a few years when someone asked him about extra characters and alternative playstyles and he said that Sonic Team realized the problems with them a long time ago. He and many others on multiple occasions have said in very clear terms that they would return to it (in 3D) only when they could be confident in the primary gameplay first, because most people do not want to deal with forced shitty gameplay just because they get to control a different character. Only the diehard fans care that much and they know it which is why you have been ignored this long. It's not out of spite, they ultimately want to make you happy, it profits them greatly to do so, but they're not going to force bad ideas in their games  at the expense of everything else when they know from experience that they wont work. Now the quality of their games in general is another discussion but one must note that Sonic from 2008-2011 did see a notable rise and quality and reputation from this decision. 

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4 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Some characters (most notably Tails and Knuckles) being hard to adapt into 3D due to how their unique abilities can break levels.

Yes; it is still so genuinely crazy to consider that Tails' true gameplay style was ported to 3D once, and it was in the prior century.  It would really work in a modified open world format, which has to have at least been high up on a list of development options for the 30th anniverary game, and maybe more abstractly, a renewed focus on exploration and vast environments!  I feel like Sonic Team figured out that to attempt that during a time period (2010s) when core technology would be changing so fast would be an uphill climb to follow up the potential initial game in that style.  This decade we are sort of at a plateau where they would be free to release a main exploration/huge environment-focused 3D game on the trio of systems and add onto it with DLC for a while! 

Perhaps Mobius has... three major continents, dozens of larger islands and hundreds of small ones.  There is an incredible potential for a game that would be progressively expanded throughout the decade, with anything similar to that!

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2 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

Not perfect, as Mario-like controls that rotate a character to match a joystick’s orientation and then move the character forward relative to that angle simply don’t work well when a character is moving at high speed...

It clearly does in Adventure. Put that control in just about anything that has better collision detection and automatic pathing and it won't be nearly as bad.

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49 minutes ago, UpCDownCLeftCRightC said:

I feel like this question pops up once every few months by a certain segment of the fanbase and the reality is that this question has already been answered multiple times. Nothing has changed, the same fans just dont care about the reality and want what they want. Which is totally fair to be sure, but it doesnt really help anything.

 

The Sonic series has not done it since 2006 because adding extra characters with distinct gameplay adds many layers of difficulty in design and in the past was not done well AT ALL in 3D. 

(Note: for those of you who may not be aware, fan-made engines are not "games". They're not even proof of concepts. They're not anything and should not be brought into these discussions. Until a fan can actually recreate something resembling a complete level or concept (like Christian Whitehead did for the 2d games) these are not examples of anything.)

 

Iizuka has literally come out and said this publicly himself in numerous interviews. I'm sure they were posted here. I still remember one he did a few years when someone asked him about extra characters and alternative playstyles and he said that Sonic Team realized the problems with them a long time ago. He and many others on multiple occasions have said in very clear terms that they would return to it (in 3D) only when they could be confident in the primary gameplay first, because most people do not want to deal with forced shitty gameplay just because they get to control a different character. Only the diehard fans care that much and they know it which is why you have been ignored this long. It's not out of spite, they ultimately want to make you happy, it profits them greatly to do so, but they're not going to force bad ideas in their games  at the expense of everything else when they know from experience that they wont work. Now the quality of their games in general is another discussion but one must note that Sonic from 2008-2011 did see a notable rise and quality and reputation from this decision. 

Your post makes it sound as if every multi-character, 3D Sonic game released before 2006, was just as bad as Sonic 2006, which simply isn’t true.  Yes; the Adventure games were flawed, but not THAT flawed.  Yes; Big the Cat is flawed on a conceptual level but not every character other than Sonic is.  Yes, nine unique playable characters may have been a daunting task, but just a few that play mostly like Sonic should not have been.

You may be willing to give Sonic Team the benefit of the doubt when they say they’re taking things back to basics before they expand them again, but I’m not, because

1) They tried to pass off Sonic 4 as their showpiece by boasting about how only Sonic was playable, and the game was still broken.

2) Only a decade later, they’re still using the same “we haven’t perfected Sonic’s gameplay yet” as an excuse not to add in other playable characters.  After a while, you have to wonder whether this company can be trusted to perfect Sonic’s gameplay.

3) Stated desire to go back to basics didn’t stop them from putting in all sorts of innovations that weren’t other characters.  The Wisps have added flight, gliding, and digging back into this game, whether or not SEGA can be judged as ready to do do, so why not in characters with those things in their moveset? (The best mechanical answer is that those were mostly confined to 2D sections, and trying to fly and glide in 3D presents the problem I named earlier.  But when Iizuka said Wisps were added just so you didn’t have to play as other characters, I don’t expect other characters back until Wisps are gone. Classic Sonic added more platforming, with physics Sonic Team is did not do too well making.

4) Fans HAVE gotten closer to replicating Sonic’s 2D physics in 3D than Sonic Team has.  That this hasn’t gone on to be a full game for any is unfortunate, but it’s not exactly surprising given the limits of free time, technical training, profit motives, etc.  The point is, though, that this is doable.  When people call attention to how fans have made this, they aren’t trying to prop up such fans as unrecognized geniuses, so much as point out that “If your average Joe Shmoe and Jane Plain can do this, why shouldn’t professionals?

I find it impossible to fathom that pros aren’t technically capable, so instead I think it’s that they feel a Sonic game is more fun when you no longer need to utilize physics and the environment, such as gravity on hills, to attain speed.  They’re entitled to their opinions, sure, but it’s a very bizarre development in this context because back when people were complaining about the peripheral characters (which typically meant ones like Big and the robots/mechs), it usually went hand-in-hand with arguments that they went against how Sonic played during its heyday in the Genesis era.  You’d think the response to that would be Sonic games that played more like the Genesis games, but instead of recreating the mechanics of those games, SEGA is more into cosmetic callbacks like Green Hill Zone and Classic Sonic.

Ultimately, SEGA’s post-06 plan to “fix” Sonic has been mostly change Sonic into something quite different from what it was when it was popular, and I am not willing to believe that other characters will be playable again once the boost formula finally hits its ideal, as that ideal does not facilitate levels that other characters can use well.  At least not Tails and Knuckles.  Shadow and Blaze are more viable.  But Tails and Knuckles stand as the two characters that almost no fan ever wanted gone.

7 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

It clearly does in Adventure. Put that control in just about anything that has better collision detection and automatic pathing and it won't be nearly as bad.

Maybe, but I’d rather not have automatic pathing.  More control over Sonic is always going to be preferable at least on paper, as his appeal is in being able to go just about anywhere.  Tails and Knuckles also factor into that.  “You’re going this way because the game says so” segments may work as spectacle and to obfuscate that the mechanics aren’t air-tight, but they’re a stop-gap.

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7 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

I'm referring to loops and sections that are clearly meant to be spectacle.

Well, I can think of some running segments in Sonic Adventure that do present problems with him going too far in a direction off to the side, such as the bridge in Windy Valley—which is probably why it has guard rails.  It’s not terrible and I’ll take it over the more forced linear approach to Sonic gameplay, but I understand why sometimes, it’s better for Sonic to play like a car that jumps; just with the quick ability to get in and out of that mode as the player (not the game) decides.

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Kinda hard to say for sure, but if to be fair, they’re making attempts to address criticisms. Not that they don’t often take the wrong approach at times.

It’s been so many ups and downs over the decades that it seems like they grasp a direction only to slip into something else, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if this kind of thing repeats itself. Heck, it’s not even just the idea of bringing back playable characters, every new idea in this franchise often comes with praise before they over-promote it to the point people get sick of it—the Boost, the Wisps, etc.
 

It begs more of the question of who, what and how Sega is trying to cater to with their games—Mania, while accessible to everyone, was definitely developed and marketed more towards older “Old School” players that were wanting one for years, while Modern games seem to be almost ironically made with younger fans in mind in spite of adults like us criticizing them to hell and back.

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1 hour ago, Conquering Storm’s Servant said:

Modern games seem to be almost ironically made with younger fans in mind in spite of adults like us criticizing them to hell and back.

It's been a long time since I was an active member of the Sonic fanbase, but unless I've missed something big over the years then Sonic's sales plateaued a long time ago. Meaning one of two things:

a) New kids aren't getting into Sonic.
b) People are abandoning the series as fast as new kids are getting into it.

I doubt it's the first one.

If it's the second one then younger fans and, more importantly, kids who've never played a Sonic game are their target market. Or they're doing this by accident, one of the two.

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2 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

 

Your post makes it sound as if every multi-character, 3D Sonic game released before 2006, was just as bad as Sonic 2006, which simply isn’t true.  Yes; the Adventure games were flawed, but not THAT flawed.  

.....the rest

The adventure games were very very flawed games in particular with the alternative gameplay styles. After 2006 they were basically forced to go in another direction because of how disastrous that game was but they also learned in the process that most people simply didnt want to play crappy alternative gameplay styles. I said nothing about all the games in general being as bad as 06, I said that Sonic Team learned in that time that most people didnt want to play shitty gameplay just so they can play as tails or rouge or whatever. Only a very vocal portion of the fanbase wants that while most others do not. Sonic Team themselves said that they recognized this is the case and so they would return only return to adding characters when they nailed down Sonic in 3D first since it is a lot more important to the overall game that it actually works like it should and is fun to play rather than just adding characters without respect to game design. 

 

Also your statement about fans having made good demonstrations of a 3D sonic game. Please post a single example of a concept of a 3D game that is not just an engine. Just one. Engines are not games. No, fans have not even approached what Sonic Team has done so far in 3D and it really shows how ignorant some of the fans in this community are for thinking that engines are games or even concepts. And even in your discussion about physics, you act like Sonic team doesnt know what rolling physics are; they do. They just understand that making a full fledged game that incorporates those kind of physics will fundamentally change every single idea and detail about your game. Which is why they went in a completely different direction after the mid 2000s towards a different style of game that could be iterated upon. I don't think their results are anywhere near perfect and neither do they because they have wanted to move on from it since 2012 (in Iizuka's own words) but it hasnt been an easy problem to solve to build a gameplay and level design philosophy that would work for a 3D Sonic. SA1 came out in 1998 and that 22 year old game is to this day the closest thing anyone has seen to it and even that game's (major) physics problems were just patched over because there werent easy solutions.

 

I'm not trying to get into a debate about your favorite games and how great you actually think they are, I'm just telling you why we havent seen some of those alternative characters/gameplay features return in the series so far. 

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35 minutes ago, UpCDownCLeftCRightC said:

The adventure games were very very flawed games

Running on hardware that can't handle an engine (ooh, that word) required to make it work will do that to a game.

It's been, what, twenty-one years since then?

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1 hour ago, Wraith said:

Don't waste your time arguing with people who think that Sonic Team holding out on a basic feature to appease people who don't like their games was a good idea. 

Is that in reference to me or UpCDownCLeftRightC?

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Everytime I hear the “we have to get Sonic right first” I have to think it’s pathetic how a company can’t figure out how to nail down a single character gameplay in what is now the 13th year of running that moronic excuse.

And if they’re worried about backlash from people who never liked the 3D games in the first place, screw them. Those people are gonna whine about Sonic no matter what they do and they have the Mania sub series to keep them busy. 

I really want the other characters to return in playable form in the main modern games and I don’t mean a last minute DLC that can be beat in 15 minutes.

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1 minute ago, knuckles20 said:

Everytime I hear the “we have to get Sonic right first” I have to think it’s pathetic how a company can’t figure out how to nail down a single character gameplay in what’s the 13th year of running that moronic excuse.

And if they’re worried about backlash from douches who never liked the 3D games in the first place, screw them. Those people are gonna whine about Sonic no matter what they do and they have the Mania sub series to keep them busy. 

I really want the other characters to return in playable form in the main modern games and I don’t mean a last minute DLC that can be beat in 15 minutes.

And even then, that little sub-series has other playable characters! 

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2 hours ago, Wraith said:

Don't waste your time arguing with people who think that Sonic Team holding out on a basic feature to appease people who don't like their games was a good idea. 

Oh I see, so you think anyone who doesnt like plodding around in clunky screeching mechs for one third of a Sonic game, doesnt like Sonic games in general? Gotcha. That narrows down the list quite a bit for you true fans.

Never mind the people who have been fans since the literal first day of the franchise existence (probably longer than you), or people who love the boost games, or people who actually do love sonic adventure but would love to see the a concept like that get major refinement instead of just retreading the same flawed concepts? 

Never mind that approximately zero people complained about extra characters in Sonic Mania because they seemed to fit quite well with the rest of the game. What a shock that that that could also be asked for with the 3D games so most of the game is actually really fun to play, even for casual gamers who might appreciate the series, which leads to more success and bigger budgets for more sonic related content. Nah, that can't be what anyone would want. 

 

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2 hours ago, knuckles20 said:

Everytime I hear the “we have to get Sonic right first” I have to think it’s pathetic how a company can’t figure out how to nail down a single character gameplay in what is now the 13th year of running that moronic excuse.

And if they’re worried about backlash from people who never liked the 3D games in the first place, screw them. Those people are gonna whine about Sonic no matter what they do and they have the Mania sub series to keep them busy. 

I really want the other characters to return in playable form in the main modern games and I don’t mean a last minute DLC that can be beat in 15 minutes.

To be fair, we can’t really call it a subseries when it’s just one game with a DLC so far.

But I don’t think classic Sonic is going anywhere at this point.  It isn’t everyone’s favorite part of the Sonic series, and it can be done badly (as it was in Sonic Forces) but it has a strong enough identity that everyone knows what to shoot for with it.  Failure to achieve that goal is a technical failure.  Modern Sonic doesn’t have a strong enough identity that it’s developers have a clear goal to shoot for, even if they’re very good at the technical stuff.  A great programmer won’t make great physics and highly interactive levels if not ordered to do so.

I could be wrong, but I think Sonic Mania is the first widely praised (by professional critics) Sonic game since the original Sonic Adventure 2.  That doesn’t mean that Sonic Adventure 2, would still go over well today, but I truly think that a 3D game trying harder to replicate Classic Sonic would.  By that I do not mean most of it’s actually 2D, Classic Sonic is present and it’s full of Green Hill Zone motifs, but rather that it’s physics work the way they did in the Genesis games, the characters have moves akin to those games, and they play mostly the same.  I feel it’s the best possible route for 3D Sonic to go right now.

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3 hours ago, UpCDownCLeftCRightC said:

Oh I see, so you think anyone who doesnt like plodding around in clunky screeching mechs for one third of a Sonic game, doesnt like Sonic games in general? Gotcha. That narrows down the list quite a bit for you true fans.

Never mind the people who have been fans since the literal first day of the franchise existence (probably longer than you), or people who love the boost games, or people who actually do love sonic adventure but would love to see the a concept like that get major refinement instead of just retreading the same flawed concepts? 

Never mind that approximately zero people complained about extra characters in Sonic Mania because they seemed to fit quite well with the rest of the game. What a shock that that that could also be asked for with the 3D games so most of the game is actually really fun to play, even for casual gamers who might appreciate the series, which leads to more success and bigger budgets for more sonic related content. Nah, that can't be what anyone would want. 

 

You'd have a better point if you didn't equate your own personal tastes with what the fandom in general thinks.

You can't speak for anyone but yourself, and if hasn't been obvious since you've been here, people DO like Sonic's friends and want to see them being used again.

And it's kind of frustrating that whenever someone expresses this, it's always met with an a dismissive "Well they'd suck anyway, so why bother" literally any time its brought up.

 

Maybe learn how to express your point without being dismissive of others and you won't get comments like that.

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Not to mention that Sonic 06 sucked because it was released unfinished; not because it had playable characters who weren’t Sonic.  Blaming the characters is just a weaselly way for SEGA to justify “improving” this series in a way that subtracts from it rather than adding to it, as adding to it takes more work.

Admittedly, some alternate play styles would not go over well with fans, even if programmed well.  But there was no reason for Tails and Knuckles to be in that camp, and had they not decided to make the games more railed and automated since, by this time they would have a 3D Sonic whose basic gameplay could easily be edited into Tails and Knuckles.  That we don’t is not a sign that things haven’t improved enough; it’s that they’ve improved too much by SEGA’s definition of improvement.

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2 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

To be fair, we can’t really call it a subseries when it’s just one game with a DLC so far.

But I don’t think classic Sonic is going anywhere at this point.  It isn’t everyone’s favorite part of the Sonic series, and it can be done badly (as it was in Sonic Forces) but it has a strong enough identity that everyone knows what to shoot for with it.  Failure to achieve that goal is a technical failure.  Modern Sonic doesn’t have a strong enough identity that it’s developers have a clear goal to shoot for, even if they’re very good at the technical stuff.  A great programmer won’t make great physics and highly interactive levels if not ordered to do so.

I could be wrong, but I think Sonic Mania is the first widely praised (by professional critics) Sonic game since the original Sonic Adventure 2.  That doesn’t mean that Sonic Adventure 2, would still go over well today, but I truly think that a 3D game trying harder to replicate Classic Sonic would.  By that I do not mean most of it’s actually 2D, Classic Sonic is present and it’s full of Green Hill Zone motifs, but rather that it’s physics work the way they did in the Genesis games, the characters have moves akin to those games, and they play mostly the same.  I feel it’s the best possible route for 3D Sonic to go right now.

You forgot; The Advance and Rush series, Colors, Generations, and even S4E1. It’s a common mistake, though.

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5 hours ago, knuckles20 said:

...13th year of running that moronic excuse.

Nobody has made this excuse but fans.

SEGA will either add characters back whenever or they won't...there's nothing really to expect from where Sonic's going.

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13 hours ago, Volcan Pacaya said:

That and they're antithetical to a series that stood out from the other games in its genre by taking Super Mario Bros.'s core gameplay mechanics-

Movement, Momentum (0->A->B along gradients), Jump, Trajectory, Gravity, Precision, Bounce, Ability, Coins (Extra Tries), Terrain, Obstacles, Enemies

-and tweaking them so that your now seemingly limitless Momentum gradient was based purely on your Movement interacting with the game's Terrain thanks to its Physics (and, as a necessity, made Rings act as an airbag to cushion the impact of running at such potentially high speeds - and added an Ability to destroy Enemies from the side that's activated by giving up the Ability to increase Momentum via running, while simultaneously increasing Momentum gained from Terrain). The only Boost it needed was Spindash for your initial acceleration because the Physics system caused Sonic to be slow to start on certain Terrain - and Springs to instantly change your direction without losing Momentum.

Boost games devolved into using a prettier version of Super Mario Bros.'s 0->A->B Momentum system with the added drawback of not being compatible with Precision (and consequently Trajectory), which is heavily reflected in the level design.

tl;dr: The Boost games place too much emphasis on being the Sonic X intro at the expense of being Sonic games.

Exactly why I hate, always hated and will forever hate the boost formula. It doesn't allow a Sonic game to be a Sonic game. Terrain becomes pointless and meaningless, not part of the gameplay, just eye candy at best. Just hold down that boost button and watch as Sonic becomes a train on a track.

Plus, the new elements they added to try and make up for it are not that satisfying of a replacement. The quick lane change is pretty shallow, the drift turn always felt clunky and hit and miss. The sliding under things straight up always felt stupid because I can't help but always think "Why are you sliding, you can roll into a destructive ball to fit under narrow spaces without losing so much momentum, you blue retard!".

And another thing...when they started cramming the 3D games full with 2D segments, I was initially hoping that they would atleast implement the classic 2D gameplay for those sections. But nope. No rolling, no spindash, no momentum, just the same boosting shite that allows you to just ignore the terrain..and sliding .

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Sliding is lower than rolling...

I mean the adventure games let you uncurl, but that's no good.

The somersault made less sense since it was just a slower roll, but as far as game-play mattered rolling was a solid ball that was somehow bigger.

So yeah, sliding is just an evolution of the somersault which actually ended in a slide.

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