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

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Let's take an overview at the (major) attempts to do so:
 

* Boom Series: Really, the return of other playable characters is the one redeeming quality of the sub-series. ROL, SC, and F&I each had at least four playable characters, with the last having all 5. This was an initial source of hype... but it led to the whole "era of utter hopelessness" we have today. The characters in the Boom series were executed in a method similar to The Lost Vikings, where each character had a required skill to pass select obstacles, and one was expected to switch between them to do so. Tails brought back the energy beam craze from the 2000s (which had also been seen in 3DS Lost World as an obscure special move), while Knuckles could break walls.

* Sonic Runners: While the Hardlight games also have them, Runners was notable for the sheer number of characters brought in, something Sonic Team would never do again after the game flopped. These characters were again separated into classes. 

* Forces: Episode Shadow was a micro-campaign featuring Shadow, in an attempt to explain a little more about the narrative. It was fine for what it was; cheesy and weird. There was also a character creator involved, but you could not exactly replicate extant characters, which is a downer. On another end, there was an attempt to make other characters more relevant, but it backfired; Silver has no explanation for his appearance, Knuckles ruins everything for everyone else, Charmy just feels... there, etc.

* Mania: This is the big one, five distinct and entirely optional characters, an Encore mode, and plenty of cameos in between.

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2 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Tom is there for parents to empathize with as he deals with a small, annoying, hyperactive person.

If the movie actually tried to have Sonic act like how Naka and Co. established then he'd a dad with his impertient and lounging teen

1 hour ago, StaticMania said:

That's the best way to write characters like this.

Not really since nothing about Sonic as established by his fathers leans to him being the zany one. If anything it'd be the other way around considering his dynamics with Eggman, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy.

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On 1/30/2020 at 7:34 AM, Wraith said:

Anyone who's played a Sonic game released in the past 10 years can tell you "We have to get Sonic right first" was bullshit. I'm still controlling hover crafts and shooting guns and shit in these games. The Shadow model that never took that many resources 20 years ago is just conveniently missing. 

Yeah after how kinda jank the avatar gameplay was , no they could have legit just have had other characters play reflectively fine as variants on sonic. This is an active choice being made

On 1/30/2020 at 7:34 AM, Wraith said:

It's obviously a combination of design based on corporate focus testing and budget cuts. Otherwise, why would the resources exist for Classic Sonic and the Wisps and not Tails? 

Don't eat up their bullshit excuses anymore yall. They compromised what YOU like about this series because they thought it would be healthier for their bottom line to do so. 

You know what's the worst thing? As far as I know it isn't working out. The games sales due to inconsistent quality are going down. Now I'm not gonna pretend I have all the inside sega details. I don't have all of them, but from what I understand sonic's merch does well. But a lot of that merch like for example toys are focused on the characters that aren't sonic and do very well. Silver and Shadow toys do very well. And then you have stuff like the mobile games where those games make a bunch of money because people shell out money to play as other characters.

In any other healthy company, that's the ultimate focus test. People engaging and paying money to engage , any other company would see this shit and go " we have to do something with that" they would see people engaging and be like " Oh wow that market we wrote off might actually be more profitable than we thought , here is money and time to make a thing for them"  not sega , not sonic team. Its why I don't think its too much of a focus test thing, or rather it isn't that way now.  When this started it seemed like a novel take but as the years went by and quality kinda wavered and the magic was gone and it quickly became clear the new tone was sort of a mask for the issues that still existed and wasn't that engaging in the first place. It came with lack playable of characters and characters just being around,  wild changes in characterization, the complete removal of any type of choreography.

I honestly believe it started out as a focus test, its now become an excuse. They have the new focus test. Its making them money. Issue is, that money to them is probably relatively cheap. Mania is relatively cheap a 3d game with multiple playable characters and paths is a bit more expensive. But here's the thing, as you mentioned, its a thing they are still doing. But I don't think its budget cuts at this point, I don't think its focus testing.

I think the core issue is, no one cares to go back to understand why people liked those characters and playing as them in the first place. And would rather approximate. Izuka said it himself that if they ever remade adventure or made adventure 3 it would be wildly different. I don't think anyone on staff was there or remembers what made a lot of older content good.

Its kinda why I don't think any adventure remakes are ever going to happen. They don't want to look back + is the mess up adventure remakes 3d sonic is donion rings.

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2 hours ago, Almar said:

 

Not really since nothing about Sonic as established by his fathers leans to him being the zany one. If anything it'd be the other way around considering his dynamics with Eggman, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy.

Eh, not usually with Knuckles.

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On 1/31/2020 at 9:50 PM, Shadowlax said:

In any other healthy company, that's the ultimate focus test. People engaging and paying money to engage , any other company would see this shit and go " we have to do something with that" they would see people engaging and be like " Oh wow that market we wrote off might actually be more profitable than we thought , here is money and time to make a thing for them"

I think a compromise would have been spin off titles. I don't mean ones with a huge push like Shadow's game, but more the smaller ones they'd outsource to come out in between the bigger titles on handheld. I don't really count Boom as while it seemed to start as one, by the end it was probably the biggest push they did in quite awhile until the movie.

Seeing the poll that people said caused Shadow's game was pretty amusing, describing Shadow as a "rebel" in particular as to me Sonic has always been more rebellious than Sonic Shadow.

The reason I specified outsourced is as much as I'd like to have seen a bigger version of possible other character games, I understand that current Sonic Team is not in the state to make both a main title and spin off, they can barely do the former as is. I think it could be a way to increase interest in those characters, without having to spread resources too thin in the main titles. Not saying they would all turn out great, but it would give a chance to make them play differently with different goals, and fans who dislike the result could just skip that title instead of being forced to play it to get a true ending.

Another option would be animations that flesh out the characters besides Sonic. I don't mean a TV show like Boom, just more like the YouTube shorts but for other situations. Since 25th did comics for various characters, maybe 30th could have mini shorts for some of them.

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24 minutes ago, DryLagoon said:

I think a compromise would have been spin off titles. I don't mean ones with a huge push like Shadow's game, but more the smaller ones they'd outsource to come out in between the bigger titles on handheld. I don't really count Boom as while it seemed to start as one, by the end it was probably the biggest push they did in quite awhile until the movie.

Seeing the poll that people said caused Shadow's game was pretty amusing, describing Shadow as a "rebel" in particular as to me Sonic has always been more rebellious than Sonic.

The reason I specified outsourced is as much as I'd like to have seen a bigger version of possible other character games, I understand that current Sonic Team is not in the state to make both a main title and spin off, they can barely do the former as is. I think it could be a way to increase interest in those characters, without having to spread resources too thin in the main titles. Not saying they would all turn out great, but it would give a chance to make them play differently with different goals, and fans who dislike the result could just skip that title instead of being forced to play it to get a true ending.

 

This is something I hope and recommend they start doing.

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14 hours ago, Wraith said:

I don't see it happening as long as they still think the other characters are marketing poison. Someone has to make them aware that they aren't.

The Mania team seem to be trying their hardest.

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22 hours ago, Wraith said:

I don't see it happening as long as they still think the other characters are marketing poison. Someone has to make them aware that they aren't.

They seem to be several years behind the reception. When people were bashing and joking about 06 in the late 2000s, they didn't really until the 2010s. I'd also argue that is when the complaints against characters were at it's highest. But now we've had over a decade to see that even without the extra characters, they still struggle. Pre-06 there were various compilations and spin offs to play when a main title wasn't out. The mobile games can be fun in small doses, but I don't see them as a proper replacement to those handheld spin offs.

I think SEGA has a history of taking the wrong message from feedback. I understand, it can be pretty confusing when there is seemingly conflicting complaints. One thing that is for certain a reoccurring pattern: rushing games and changing them mid development.
Every flop (and even some good titles like Sonic 3 & Knuckles) were somewhat related to that issue.

I think that if people really only cared about Sonic there would have never been so many characters introduced in the first place. You don't make a game like Sonic Heroes if you think your fans don't care about it. Even Shadow the Hedgehog was trying to appeal to those fans, even if misguided on how it did so.

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8 hours ago, Miragnarok said:

The Mania team seem to be trying their hardest.

Were they though? Cause really, they were just picking up where 3 & Knuckles left off, which everything that entails.

That's not to discredit them, far from it, but they have an easier deal to work with and can't really err the same way the 3d games were argued to.

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3 hours ago, DabigRG said:

Were they though? Cause really, they were just picking up where 3 & Knuckles left off, which everything that entails.

That's not to discredit them, far from it, but they have an easier deal to work with and can't really err the same way the 3d games were argued to.

Forces: Episode Shadow was inspired by this, perhaps?

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8 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

Forces: Episode Shadow was inspired by this, perhaps?

Nah, that seemed pretty clearly driven by Shadow being the 2nd most popular character in the canon according to that (how old?) poll.

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Just now, DabigRG said:

Nah, that seemed pretty clearly driven by Shadow being the 2nd most popular character in the canon according to that (how old?) poll.

At this point, nothing except a change in management or SEGA putting their foot down will; Sonic World, IDW, Project Hero, Mania, the countless Mobile games, SA3 fanpage, etc. are all indications other characters are needed.

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On 2/1/2020 at 10:29 AM, Wraith said:

I don't see it happening as long as they still think the other characters are marketing poison. Someone has to make them aware that they aren't.

I do not know how they could be running a business and still think that. They have mobile games multiple featuring the other characters and that shit problably makes more money than the games.

Like any other reasonable company would have realized "oh they want these characters in better stuff and are willing to shell out cash". Like ok, if I'm being fair obviously mobile game and console game success ain't one to one. There are people shelling a bunch of money out but you dont know if that group even will engage with another product.

Too bad we don't have any proof of that. ( this last bit is obviously sarcasm)

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I know I'm seriously late to this, but I think the real main reason that we haven't seen characters like Tails or Knuckles playable again is because of how rigid the general structure the boost games is. Like there's any number of character mods in Generations, and they always completely break the game wide open, and I think that's just because the boost games are designed to constantly using Sonic's abilities. It's really, really difficult to design a game that's made around Sonic constantly boosting through corridors and also balance that with something like Tails being able to fly.

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Anyone can boost, if Sonic Team decides they can; the problem is that the boost gameplay doesn't accommodate a lot of the other abilities that other characters have. They can stick a character like Shadow in as a skin if they want (which they did, with Forces) but there are other issues that need to be dealt with for other characters.

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1 hour ago, shdowhunt60 said:

I know I'm seriously late to this, but I think the real main reason that we haven't seen characters like Tails or Knuckles playable again is because of how rigid the general structure the boost games is. Like there's any number of character mods in Generations, and they always completely break the game wide open, and I think that's just because the boost games are designed to constantly using Sonic's abilities. It's really, really difficult to design a game that's made around Sonic constantly boosting through corridors and also balance that with something like Tails being able to fly.

I do believe that in the immediate aftermath of 2006, the company was afraid to do anything in the same mold as the adventure games. The brand had even soon become self aware with the "shitty friends" memes. But within a few years it became more a matter of functionality.

We've witnessed since then a number of attempts to include other characters, although Mania was the only truly successful one. This at least demonstrates that they are not afraid to expand their brand but they do remember the effects of diluting the gameplay with poor alternative options as filler to solve their problem of 3D sonic games being too resource taxing (Yuji Naka once said its why they did it in the first place). It really was a big thing for a long time that sonic games didnt focus enough on the sonic gameplay which is why the post 2000s era games tried to do that more.

The biggest problem for anyone who really wanted a return to focus on the 3D platforming style of the adventures is that Sonic Team had little confidence in it to begin with. It's been the bane of our existence because many of us feel that there was a lot of potential with that style of gameplay.  It would be quite cathartic to hear from ST or someone involved with those games to see what they think of that style today. I suspect we wouldnt like the answer though.

 

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On 2/1/2020 at 7:29 AM, Wraith said:

I don't see it happening as long as they still think the other characters are marketing poison. Someone has to make them aware that they aren't.

 

19 hours ago, Miragnarok said:

The Mania team seem to be trying their hardest.

 

10 hours ago, DabigRG said:

Were they though? Cause really, they were just picking up where 3 & Knuckles left off, which everything that entails.

That's not to discredit them, far from it, but they have an easier deal to work with and can't really err the same way the 3d games were argued to.

And yet, SEGA claimed that Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was also picking up where Sonic & Knuckles left off, yet considered Tails and Knuckles not to be an essential part of that to the disgusting extreme that they boasted about them not being playable.  Dimps, whom they contracted to develop Sonic 4, had made three games with Tails and Knuckles playable without issue.  At least, without MECHANICAL issue.  Still they were’t in Sonic 4 Episode I.  That game and it’s cringeworthy promotion are all the proof anyone should need that SEGA’s opposition to other playable characters isn’t based in valid gameplay concerns.

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3 hours ago, Wraith said:

One character in a DLC campaign after 4 games is hardly comparable to, say, Blaze's presence in both Rush games. I'll gladly take what I can get and push for more at the same time.

Even give the excuse that "Sonic gives them the power to Boost!" ala Forces for some of them; have them summon Sonic to do the boost thing and then leave.

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