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DrParadise

Sonic forces development hell, is it true or just lies?

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Okay, ever since the release of forces everyone has been trying to explain why it was underwhelming, using lies such as the game being in development hell, the game being developed in one year, using the info about Sonic team staff leaving to work on nintendo (by the way most of those guys were field artists, of course some of them would go on to become producers and level designers but I have yet to see a sonic level designer credited to in a Mario game, feel free to point out one)

I have been trying to find anymore info regarding the development of modern Sonic games, but so little has surface and a lot of it it's just opinionated pieces, the only reliable info I have found has been this:

Famitsu interviews

Sonic retro (it only documented on concept art, when it began development back in 2013 after lost world's released and the timeline of reveals)

The only source people are using it's Resetera and Reddit which can be simplified as (My uncle works for nintendo).

As I said most pieces I have found come from opinionated sources and the fact that the biggest archival Sonic site Retro has so little info makes me believe we know so little about forces development and everyone is just making things up, likely to paint Sonic team as this Saturday morning cartoon villain and the "fans" as the heroes, sounds stupid I know.

If anyone has more info regarding the development of Sonic forces, share it but also make sure to put your sources it will become difficult to find sega devs coming forward as they can't share their identities

 

Edited by DrParadise
Typo

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The "developed in one year" part is true. They spent 3 of the four years making the game engine, which is the Hedgehog Engine 2.  This was confirmed in an interview. The development timeline went like this:

2013 - Sonic Team begins Hedgehog Engine 2 development

2014-2016 - Sonic Forces concept development with Nakamura's small team

2016-2017 - Actual Sonic Forces game development”.

However, it is also true that some stages had alternate level layouts which were initially more complicated and challenging, so it seems playtesters had a huge influence on the direction the game took:

 

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I never seen any proof of that. All I can say that game is just visibly unfinished. I mean, Infinite has 4 lackeys, you fight 2 of them. If that and Null Space aren't proof enough, I don't know what is.

And I'm aware that 99% games in existence are "not finished", there is always something developers won't finished due to time,money,skill problems. But there is cutting corners and there is turning circle into five-pointed star.

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I don't think Forces was ever intended to be much of anything more than the exact product that was delivered. That they seemed to have put a year into it at most, that Sega didn't bother advertising it and seemingly didn't really care how well it sold basically from the start, and that it never looked like something that anyone involved really cared about (admittedly from the outside looking in) all tracks with the game just being a test bed for the new engine they developed; and if they could release it and get some restitution in the process then even better.

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3 hours ago, Shade Vortex said:

The "developed in one year" part is true. They spent 3 of the four years making the game engine, which is the Hedgehog Engine 2.  This was confirmed in an interview. The development timeline went like this:

2013 - Sonic Team begins Hedgehog Engine 2 development

2014-2016 - Sonic Forces concept development with Nakamura's small team

2016-2017 - Actual Sonic Forces game development”.

However, it is also true that some stages had alternate level layouts which were initially more complicated and challenging, so it seems playtesters had a huge influence on the direction the game took:

 

Ok first of all I already have seen that reddit post which dosent point in which part it says the dev timeline (if anyone that knows Japanese can pin point the dev time line please do it).

Also "playtesters had a huge influence on the direction the game took" are you saying the playtesters are scrubs? Ok, that's fair.

2 hours ago, Tornado said:

I don't think Forces was ever intended to be much of anything more than the exact product that was delivered. That they seemed to have put a year into it at most, that Sega didn't bother advertising it and seemingly didn't really care how well it sold basically from the start, and that it never looked like something that anyone involved really cared about (admittedly from the outside looking in) all tracks with the game just being a test bed for the new engine they developed; and if they could release it and get some restitution in the process then even better.

You will be surprised but forces was more marketed in Japan than in the us (not just the hooters promotion), since mania was a american project soa advertise it more than forces since here there's more demand for classic Sonic than in Japan, from what I've seen a lot Japanese players don't really care about classic Sonic because the mega drive wasn't a huge hit like in america and europe there's a fandom for the mega drive over there sure but it's not like in america which is the only sega console they even know, to them modern is THE Sonic thanks to Sonic X and modern Sonic presence on joypolis and all sega arcades, there isn't any identity issues like here in the west which was fueled toxic Sonic fans.

Classic Sonic over there is treated more like a curiosity and kawaii Sonic than a separate pillar and brand, forces being more promoted in Japan is more or less because that was the next big Sonic game over there, it's odd that sega would even care about their home country regarding Sonic because history even with forces, sonic has sold less in Japan than in any other country if anyone is telling forces was a flop because of famitsu Japanese sale charts remember that data it's useless because Sonic never sales that big over there.

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20 minutes ago, Badnik Mechanic said:

I was personally told by a former community team member that when Sega Europe first saw forces it was a very different game.

The avatars for one had a more dominant role.

 

Also there was the VR demo screen found in the code.

That often how it goes.

For example, there's an old Twitter post from a Telltale Staff member talking about how he playtested TWDG 400 Days before leaving and ending up calling them to ask about an entire sixth scenario that was not in the final product, only to be told it was changed not long before release. 

People in the know looking at a final product like, "what happened" is somewhat common apparently.

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2 hours ago, Badnik Mechanic said:

I was personally told by a former community team member that when Sega Europe first saw forces it was a very different game.

The avatars for one had a more dominant role.

 

Also there was the VR demo screen found in the code.

Thanks for the info 

I have seen the vr Sonic screen

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I remember reading that early concept are did not feature Classic Sonic at all, meaning he'd have been a late addition to tie the game with Mania, but never seen a source for that.

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On 9/16/2020 at 10:32 PM, PaperSonic said:

I remember reading that early concept are did not feature Classic Sonic at all, meaning he'd have been a late addition to tie the game with Mania, but never seen a source for that.

That would make sense, given how little impact he has on the story nd especially his jank the physics is on him.

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On 9/12/2020 at 2:58 PM, Tornado said:

I don't think Forces was ever intended to be much of anything more than the exact product that was delivered. That they seemed to have put a year into it at most, that Sega didn't bother advertising it and seemingly didn't really care how well it sold basically from the start, and that it never looked like something that anyone involved really cared about (admittedly from the outside looking in) all tracks with the game just being a test bed for the new engine they developed; and if they could release it and get some restitution in the process then even better.

The thing is, SOMETHING has to account for Forces being in the state it was in. I've heard the theory multiple times that Sonic Team was working on overhauling the Hedgehog Engine multiple times, but I got multiple issues with that narrative.

For one thing, between 2013 and 2017, the time period for Forces to have been made was longer than it was to make Sonic Unleashed in the first place, which started with the development of the Hedgehog Engine beginning in 2005. And keep in mind that while that was going on, Sonic Team had a litany of other projects that it was taking on at the same time (06, Secret Rings).

And with that in mind, can we honestly say that the time investment has actually panned out at all? It supposedly took Sonic Team longer to overhaul the engine to revise it as the Hedgehog Engine 2 than it originally took to make the Hedgehog Engine in the first place, and Sonic Forces itself ended up being the least impressive 3D Sonic titles in contrast to Sonic Unleashed, which after 12 whole years remains one of the most impressive. 

This is why for example, I'm personally really kind of skeptical of the claim that Sonic Team is actually spending all this time to make the 30th anniversary Sonic game as best as it could possibly be, just because the time/effort investment didn't pan out for Forces. Forces had all the time in the world, there were no other projects Sonic Team could have been invested in that would have been a significant drain on resources (aside from like... Sonic Runners?), the capabilities of the Hedgehog Engine 2 don't strike me as particularly big of a departure from what the Hedgehog Engine has always been capable of...

... And you're telling me that all Sonic Team could have managed was just Sonic Forces?

This is why I made that one thread calling out why there's a new console generation coming up, and I guess we're just going to skip any announcement of a new Sonic game.

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Isn’t it possible though that the expectations were much higher for Forces than Unleashed? With Unleashed SEGA was making a title in the vein of The Black Knight, and  The Secret of the Rings. Forces is a follow up to Sonic The Hedgehog 2006 which was plagued with problems and fandom hatred. The track record SEGA is dealing with is every sequel to the Adventure timeline is being responded to with The Last Jedi level ire. It is a wonder if they will not just cease making the Adventure/06/Forces follow ups,  and reboot the series like what happened with the Archie comics. Which I hope they do not do. 

This brings me to my view that fandom for all genres has turned negative and hypercritical. While yes we must point out flaws and voice our dissapontments, I fear its become expected to dissect a story, film, and game like Forces with extreme prejudice. As a result fans go in expecting a reason to hate the game, and its easier to side with the tide of ire than be a lone voice saying “you loved it.” This is something I am sering across franchises, not only with Sonic. 

I watched all the cutscenes of Sonic Forces and thought the apocalyptic story was timely, the villian Infinite more charming and cool than Chaos and the Mephiles the Dark, and that seeing a Freedom Fightersesque charge of the Resistance against Infinite’s hologram clone armies to be an inspiring scene. 

I found the philsophy very engaging; 

“...the anticipation of the end is often worse than the end,” -Eggman 

“I still dream that Sonic is with us.” -Amy Rose 

“None of this is good Victor, that’s why its called war,” -Knuckles The Echidna 

“Does anyone listen to your lies?!” -Silver The Hedgehog to Infinite 

“Your Savior is gone.. I feel your terror, scream for me and I wil let you live hahahahaha!” -Infinite 

“In fact, I am glad to have any Sonic.” -Tails on Classic Sonic 

I felt Forces captures much if the heart of the Sonic Universe and it had great characterization especially because they had so many characters to feature. Part of byproduct of so many fan favorites is lots of beloved characters get only a cameo or limited screen time. 

If I want Shadowcentric games, I go back and play SA2, and Shadow the Hedgehog. I don’t expect The Ultimate Lifeform  to get the limelight these days with so many newer characters. He had his reign and to experiance it, I go back to enjoy it in SA2. I don’t expect to ever get a follow up with Shadow as the focus. I am just glade he is in Forces at all. 

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26 minutes ago, Shadow Chaos Control said:

This brings me to my view that fandom for all genres has turned negative and hypercritical. While yes we must point out flaws and voice our dissapontments, I fear its become expected to dissect a story, film, and game like Forces with extreme prejudice. As a result fans go in expecting a reason to hate the game, and its easier to side with the tide of ire than be a lone voice saying “you loved it.” This is something I am sering across franchises, not only with Sonic.

While I do agree that most people in fandoms nowadays are overny cynical and negative, Let's not pretend that SEGA didn't help create this situation. The Mario fandom doesn't go into every game trying to hate it because the franchise has remained consistently high quality for the most part.

SEGA's inability to have a consistent high quality track record with Sonic contributed at least 50% to the current situation.

30 minutes ago, Shadow Chaos Control said:

I found the philsophy very engaging; 

“...the anticipation of the end is often worse than the end,” -Eggman 

“I still dream that Sonic is with us.” -Amy Rose 

“None of this is good Victor, that’s why its called war,” -Knuckles The Echidna 

“Does anyone listen to your lies?!” -Silver The Hedgehog to Infinite 

“Your Savior is gone.. I feel your terror, scream for me and I wil let you live hahahahaha!” -Infinite 

“In fact, I am glad to have any Sonic.” -Tails on Classic Sonic

Philosophy? So the fact that they spout generic cliche lines is enough to make a game philosophical to you? No, Nier Automata is philosophical cause they actually talk about and explore topics in the story, making lines like "We're gonna shout it loud even if our words seem meaningless" actually mean something by ponctuating the issues being explored.

Just having a character say "Does anyone but you listen to your lies?!" without any buildup, conversation beforehand or context means nothing because it's just a line of dialogue said in a vaccum.

Any idiot can write a script with lines like those, but a good writer has to actually do all the legwork to have the line actually mean something with development and character.

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6 minutes ago, pppp said:

While I do agree that most people in fandoms nowadays are overny cynical and negative, Let's not pretend that SEGA didn't help create this situation. The Mario fandom doesn't go into every game trying to hate it because the franchise has remained consistently high quality for the most part.

SEGA's inability to have a consistent high quality track record with Sonic contributed at least 50% to the current situation.

Philosophy? So the fact that they spout generic cliche lines is enough to make a game philosophical to you? No, Nier Automata is philosophical cause they actually talk about and explore topics in the story, making lines like "We're gonna shout it loud even if our words seem meaningless" actually mean something by ponctuating the issues being explored.

Just having a character say "Does anyone but you listen to your lies?!" without any buildup, conversation beforehand or context means nothing because it's just a line of dialogue said in a vaccum.

Any idiot can write a script with lines like those, but a good writer has to actually do all the legwork to have the line actually mean something with development and character.

Have you watched all the cutscenes together without gameplay intermissions? Silver’s line, “does anyone listen to your lies?!” has impact because you see lines when Infinite is telling Resistance Fighters they are doomed  and he is telling them lies like Sonic is gone, when really Sonic is imprisoned like in SA2. 

Eggman’s line, “the anticipation of the end is often worse than the end,” is poignant in this Covid world. Eggman is trying to end the world and create “on its ashes an Egg Empire!” 

I recommend watching all the cutscenes back to back: 

 

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2 minutes ago, Shadow Chaos Control said:

Have you watched all the cutscenes together without gameplay intermissions? Silver’s line, “does anyone listen to your lies?!” has impact because you see lines when Infinite is telling Resistance Fighters they are doomed  and he is telling them lies like Sonic is gone, when really Sonic is imprisoned like in SA2. 

Eggman’s line, “the anticipation of the end is often worse than the end,” is poignant in this Covid world. Eggman is trying to end the world and create “on its ashes an Egg Empire!” 

I recommend watching all the cutscenes back to back: 

 

You are just forcing correlations where they don't exist, especially since this script was written years before Covid.

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6 minutes ago, pppp said:

You are just forcing correlations where they don't exist, especially since this script was written years before Covid.

I said poignant, I realize Forces predates Covid. 

Poignant: 

adjective
evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret.
"a poignant reminder of the passing of time"

Films and games in the past can touch on themes that come up later in history.  

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