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Is Classic Sonic Tapped Out?


Indigo Rush
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I want a classic game in the vein of what we got in Generations, only with completely new locales, enemies, bosses etc. Maybe even  have an all new main villain. The only throw back should be the core gameplay, but obviously improved and expanded on with new power ups and playable characters.

Also would be really cool to see classic versions of the modern characters like Rouge/Shadow/Blaze.

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I think it's best if Classic Sonic gets pushed aside for now. His inclusion in Generations was cool, but he's overstayed his welcome and him being treated like a completely different entity (rather than just Sonic from the past) has created a lot of confusion and division.

Also, imo there isn't really much more you can do with Classic Sonic that can't be done with Modern Sonic; the Advance and Rush games not only continued the 2D formula, but felt like an evolution of it. Sonic is perfectly capable of implementing 2D gameplay without pandering to critics who haven't touched a Sonic game since the 90s.

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All "bring back classic Sonic" has ever been, from my perspective anyway, is "go back to the things that were good and that worked and build from there". The idea that it was supposed to be nothing more than endless sequels to 3&K or whatever, as if this game from the early 90s is the absolute apex of what Sonic can and should be, is baffling.

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In my mind, Classic Sonic has always been little more than an art style, and the decision to shrug off elements that were specifically changed when the series went 3D. So I've always been totally game for the series to dot around its modern and classic aesthetics as it sees fit, meaning that there's no reason that we couldn't have Modern characters given a Classic makeover and vice-versa. All it needs to be Classic is the basic gameplay style of the MD games and the same style of aesthetics. Keep the homing attack and boost out, and keep physics in. I'd like to play as 3D Classic game, personally (with homing attack similar to Utopia, as some sort of HA is virtually essential for 3D Sonic). Advance 1 is basically a Classic game, and Sonic 4 is definitely not a Classic game. Generations 3DS is also not Classic Sonic from Emerald Coast onwards. Generations HD and Forces are Classic Sonic, but just not the best examples of it.

Making Classic into an entirely separate universe and character was a big, big mistake. It's brought about the bonkers idea that Classic Sonic games can barely be anything more than they were back on the Mega Drive. I would like to see Classic games every now and then that bring new ideas to the table. There are a multitude of new mechanics that could be introduced. CD had time travel, Mania Plus added new 2 new characters, fangames have experimented with other ideas. If all Classic Sonic is allowed to be is Classic level packs... well then what's the fucking point?

Modern absolutely should be the main face of the franchise. That's where the bold new ideas and the core of the series should be. Modern is the most versatile and and approachable series entry point. Because the division exists, that's where they can really push the series forwards. Modern is where they can put a focus on story, wilder gameplay ideas, and really shake things up to give us games like the Adventures, the boosters and Lost World.  Classic should just augment that with a simpler gameplay core that's iterated on every now and then. It needn't be a regular thing.

19 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

All "bring back classic Sonic" has ever been, from my perspective anyway, is "go back to the things that were good and that worked and build from there". The idea that it was supposed to be nothing more than endless sequels to 3&K or whatever, as if this game from the early 90s is the absolute apex of what Sonic can and should be, is baffling.

Also this. So much this. Why did everyone want Classic Sonic back so hard? Not only was there an absence of games in the style of the series' origins for so long, but there was an absence of good games outright. Sonic changed a ton when it went 3D and on top of that the quality objectively took a dive after a while. Between S4, Generations and Forces though, people are finally realising that Classic Sonic himself was the main thing that was missing.

SEGA gotta make good games for a change. Consistently. 

59 minutes ago, mayday2592 said:

I want a classic game in the vein of what we got in Generations, only with completely new locales, enemies, bosses etc. Maybe even  have an all new main villain. The only throw back should be the core gameplay, but obviously improved and expanded on with new power ups and playable characters.

Also would be really cool to see classic versions of the modern characters like Rouge/Shadow/Blaze.

Did you read the OP?

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There's been kind of....discussion about this particular subject on Sonic Retro as you could imagine lol. 

Whether we like it or not, there are fans who genuinely prefer the Classic aesthetic over the Modern, for whatever reason, and hoped that Sega would use Mania as a way of launching a Classic Sonic exclusive series, a series that can run alongside the Modern one (or outright replace it in the most extreme cases). It's certainly association, but it does show just how much the Classic design means to a lot of the old guard. It represents a time when the series was respected and actually putting out quality content as opposed to the content from 1998 onwards.

Sonic Mania kind of validated those feelings even more because it was fans, not Sonic  team, that made the most successful Sonic game in years. That's all of the reason some people needed to believe that Classic was the future.  Tyson Heese posted that Sega need to start making games so that fans DON'T have to miss Classic Sonic, and that the design is simply a time capsule.

 

Personally for my part, it's a design and nothing more. And I think Sega doing their damnest to lean on people's nostalgia for it is doing more harm than good. When it comes down to it, the only reason its even being used is just as a marketing gimmick rather than being used a series pillar for Sonic. Its a marketing gimmick that worked the first time since it was a neat concept that was never done up to that point, but then Sega started to milk it for all its worth with Classic iconography everywhere which of course ended up having diminishing returns and some of the younger, post-1998 fans starting to grow resentful at how "Modern Sonic" was being snubbed. Sega essentially created a new problem they could have easily solved if they just made good games. 

There's nothing that can be done with classic that you couldn't do with Modern, and this half-assed segregation they're doing is just fanning the flames. 

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I think Classic was already screwed as soon as Generations introduced the idea that the aesthetic was tied down solely to 2d gameplay. Because now, in Sega's eyes the pre-dreamcast era represents a specific kind of Sonic game despite that fact that Classic had just as much gameplay variety as Mario back in the day (I mean, just look at the piles of spinoffs he got for examples of that). There's not a whole lot you can do to evolve Classic Sonic when you're stuck in one dimension and have to adhere to the genesis trilogy's design philosophy and limited cast. It'd be better to just focus on making 2d and 3d modern games so that the devs can have more creative freedom. Plus with the ungodly amount of fangames for Classic Sonic to experience, I personally have had more then enough of my fill with that style for the rest of my life lol.

Edit: That said, a Sonic The Hedgehog level maker would be a pretty cool sendoff.

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I always treated Classic Sonic as nothing more than a previous design. So I guess you could say that I don’t have that much of an emotional attachment to the design or aesthetics. It’s rather ironic because Mega Collection plus one of the first Sonic games I played as a kid. 

When he was first revealed in Generations, my reaction was among the lines of “Oh that’s Sonic’s 1990’s design”. I definitely do think it was a huge mistake to split up Modern and Classic. The fanbase is already split up like shattered glass on the floor and treating these two like they’re different characters was not only downright stupid, but it also didn’t help with the divisions in the fandom.

If they just abandoned Classic outright, I wouldn’t care all that much. The problem lies within the fact that there’s a lot of people that prefer the Classic designs and aesthetics, so there’s not much SEGA can do besides keeping Modern and Classic separate.

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"Classic Sonic" is just a generational art syle and aesthetic. Understandably, many would prefer that style from an artistic point of view, it's very cool.

SEGA supporting the the idea that people like it cuz it's 2D and has "no story" is totally tone deaf 8n classic SEGA fashion. I don't think any fan of S3&K would be against story.

The whole "Modern can do anything a Classic game can do" is true, I only wish they could look that level of cool and creative again.

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At this point, it's just an art style/aesthetic to me.

There's nothing Modern can't do, that Classic magically can. They could do a Sonic Mania follow up that features Modern Sonic with no alterations otherwise, and I wouldn't care.

I brought this up in my article, but Dragon Ball is a great example of this. Z made the use of Classic DB unnecessary, and I think it's the same case here. Modern is a much broader subset of the franchise, and it shows.

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1 minute ago, Big-C said:

If they just abandoned Classic outright, I wouldn’t care all that much. The problem lies within the fact that there’s a lot of people that prefer the Classic designs and aesthetics, so there’s not much SEGA can do besides keeping Modern and Classic separate.

Having a preference is fine, but I don't think the series NEEDS to dedicate an entire section of the franchise to classic iconography. Mario doesn't do it, and the people who prefer the pre-Mario 64 aesthetic still buy and play his games. New artstyles are just a natural part of evolution, it feels like the people who complained about the lack of classic don't want to understand that and shouldn't be catered to imo.

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5 hours ago, Speedi said:

Having a preference is fine, but I don't think the series NEEDS to dedicate an entire section of the franchise to classic iconography. Mario doesn't do it, and the people who prefer the pre-Mario 64 aesthetic still buy and play his games. New artstyles are just a natural part of evolution, it feels like the people who complained about the lack of classic don't want to understand that and shouldn't be catered to imo.

Hmm fair point. Sonic Mania’s reception wouldn’t be any different if it involved the Modern cast so you’re right.

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19 minutes ago, Big-C said:

Sonic Mania’s reception wouldn’t be any different if it involved the Modern cast.

I don't know where you were during the build up to launch but the designs and aesthetic were one of the biggest draws.

40 minutes ago, Speedi said:

Mario doesn't do it, and the people who prefer the pre-Mario 64 aesthetic still buy and play his games. New artstyles are just a natural part of evolution, it feels like the people who complained about the lack of classic don't want to understand that and shouldn't be catered to imo.

Why do people think Mario makes a good comparison when it's style barely changed at all and it wears its nostalgia like a badge of honor.

Spoiler

Image result for old mario box art

Image result for 2d mario art

Even outside of the 2D art having been functionally identical since the late 80's, the biggest "change" was that they'd frequently use 3D models based on the exact same designs found in 2D, with minuscule proportional changes for animation flexibility. Mario fans don't complain because nothing's really changed.

If Sonic were to have "evolved" in the same degree as Mario, he'd look like this:

image.png.03566d2b99fa7f3c8823f263e3590750.png

The SA1 redesign is a re-interpretation, an intentional artistic shake-up to give sonic a new image as confirmed by developers themselves. It's not a bad thing to make a re-imagining, but let's not pretend it's some subtle, natural step forwards just so you can try to make people who like the old art direction look like they're splitting hairs over nothing. People prefer it for the same reason people vehemently prefer the adventure-era feel, a strong and distinct art direction that people will naturally become attached to.

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If you added green irises and grey shoe soles to that drawing, it'd look like modern Sonic has now since roughly Lost World.

And it's not like aspects of the classic style are abandoned wholesale in the 'modern' games anyways. Maybe the stages aren't all geometrical (a trait of the series definitely birthed by the tile-based days of pixel games) but they definitely pop with color, exaggerated environments, crazy roller-coaster set pieces and the like. Heroes and Colors in particular. Just because Sonic as a whole has never had a permanent, consistent art direction doesn't mean it's quantifiable to being different series altogether.

But this community has got really good at splitting hairs, so I guess that's just what we're into now.

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29 minutes ago, azoo said:

Just a decade ago it was only the most staunch of elitists that spoke of there being two different Sonics with a bitter purism for one over the other. But now thanks to Generations & Forces enabling that crowd, the entire fanbase is like this.

It wasn’t just the most staunch elitists—much of the gaming community ate into it too, to the point it’s like this that Generation and Forces only validated further.

At the end of the day, Classic Sonic is Sonic. Modern Sonic is Sonic. Or at least, that would be the ideal if people didn’t buy into this segregation of series.

Hardly any other franchise divides the same character into two individual ones beyond actual alternate universes, and there in lies the actual problem. People often treated the aesthetics as an issue when really it was just surface level complaining of nostalgia, ignoring the actual mechanics as the problem; people often blamed the characters they hated simply for existing as the problem rather than the characterization (a problem that still goes on to this day); people often blamed the mere existence of a story as a problem rather than the storytelling and writing (which also still goes on to this day).

That’s not to say Classic Sonic is tapped out—my favorite game in this franchise’s 30 year history has always been S3&K, which came out in 1994, and for all its problems, Mania did show that there is more that could be done with the formula. Anything that could make that better, I don’t see why it can’t be done. But what should be tapped out, or rather what shouldn’t have been entertained in the first place, is the very division that people didn’t want to happen years ago that not only serves to validate the very purists who deliberately ignore the actual problems of the games they complain about, but one that has led to more fractures than before.

Is it really any wonder why Green Eyes became a meme of mockery when Sonic 4 reared its head?

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7 minutes ago, azoo said:

If you added green irises and grey shoe soles to that drawing, it'd look like modern Sonic has now since roughly Lost World.

aside from the completely different body shape and proportions and expressive presentation. 

 

8 minutes ago, azoo said:

Just because Sonic as a whole has never had a permanent, consistent art direction doesn't mean it's quantifiable to being different Sonics.

It doesn't, and I never really argued that they should EVER be separate characters. They are however two intentionally different approaches to how the characters should look, how grounded the world should be, how the characters should act and express, how the music should sound, and what direction the stories should go in. They're distinctly different and even outsiders at the time could tell.

People lately have been acting like comparing and having a preference for one of two very noticeably distinct directions is some kind of preposterous notion, which is bizarre to me. It has to either be coming from some kind of artistic blindness or just out of frustration for all the arguments, and I cant say I'm a fan of either reasoning. 

Some peoples like their cartoon characters in a creative surreal world, some peoples like their exciting shonen anime, both have strong appeal and it's completely natural people would find one to favor. If online gaming communities had the capacity to not get pissed off at each other for two seconds it never would have been seen as "pointless flamewar nitpicking" I think.

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12 minutes ago, Natie said:

People lately have been acting like comparing and having a preference for one of two very noticeably distinct directions is some kind of preposterous notion, which is bizarre to me. It has to either be coming from some kind of artistic blindness or just out of frustration for all the arguments, and I cant say I'm a fan of either reasoning. 

If it were just a matter of preference, this wouldn’t even be a problem in the first place and this fandom would be a lot more welcoming than the infamous cesspool it’s known as. But that’s not the actual case a lot of the times—it’s this cycle of bashing and mocking ones preference and wanting it to not exist or to keep things separate based on surface level traits that don’t really define what branch they should be a part of.

For instance, if you were to suggest the idea of say, giving Shadow or Silver the Classic Sonic look and have them in Mania, you’d wind up with complaints about how they’re too complex and story-heavy of a character to be a part of it. Because apparently to some, it’s not possible to not do that in adapting them to that branch. Yet, mention Blaze, and watch the tune change about how she can actually work for reason completely opposite of the standard they set for the other two.

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21 minutes ago, Natie said:

aside from the completely different body shape and proportions and expressive presentation. 

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/sonic/images/7/75/GemsCollectionPlus_Sonic_3.png/revision/latest?cb=20180315134331

Bro, are you serious right now? 

 

That's the literal final design before they added the details from Modern. Literally the same proportions 

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At the time of Sega Forums, I was one of the people who supported the idea of bringing Classic Sonic and the forgotten characters back.

Though, I intended to have Classic Sonic's artstyle and physics back along with the innovations and the universe of the current modern franchise... what they have done is not what I wanted back then.

They separated the classic style and characters and made it a different universe that retcons everything that came after 3&K; they splitted Sonic into 2 different characters. Just no.

I like both Classic and Modern designs, but if Classic means having all those limitations and divisions in the franchise, then I prefer to not have Classic Sonic at all and focus on just modern like IDW is currently doing (I doubt anyone is missing Classic content in IDW right now).

I also would like to see the modern characters redesigned into classic characters, and the other way; but apparently this will never happen.

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21 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

Bro, are you serious right now? 

 

That's the literal final design before they added the details from Modern. Literally the same proportions

afadgsfgdg.thumb.png.283085bd94d90dc37ecef5d30d03be1f.png

So, no. Not literally the same. I wasn't even referring to that drawing anyway, I was replying to him saying it looks like how Sonic looks in Lost World and Forces, which is even more different. I know not everyone's got an eye for his kinda thing but let's not be silly.

35 minutes ago, CrownSlayer’s Shadow said:

If it were just a matter of preference, this wouldn’t even be a problem in the first place and this fandom would be a lot more welcoming than the infamous cesspool it’s known as. But that’s not the actual case a lot of the times—it’s this cycle of bashing and mocking ones preference and wanting it to not exist or to keep things separate based on surface level traits that don’t really define what branch they should be a part of.

Well, technically, that IS still a matter of preference, but it's just people aren't being mature about it. Taking other people's entertainment opinions too personally is pretty much a benchmark of the internet. I agree it would be better to be pals about it, but people acting stupid doesnt make it any less valid or normal to have opinions and preferences.

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Oh no, he has longer spines and a slightly less round torso, truly the real gamebreakers here. and he's smiling instead of smirking, because truly we know classic Sonic would never show a toothy grin!! Totally different direction! You're right, how could I miss something so obvious.

This is the kind of splitting hairs I'm talking about.

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1 minute ago, azoo said:

Oh no, he has longer spines and a slightly less round torso, truly the real gamebreakers here. and he's smiling instead of smirking, because truly we know classic Sonic would never show a toothy grin!! Totally different direction! You're right, how could I miss something so obvious.

This is the kind of splitting hairs I'm talking about.

People are saying they're the same, so I've decided to show that they're different. They were redesigned to be different, it's what Sonic Team wanted for Sonic Adventure, to take a new direction. What is the sin in acknowledging a simple fact? You being tired of people comparing them doesn't make this any less true.

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It was a design brought in alongside a different art direction, that much I've acknowledged. But Sonic has never been terribly consistent in art direction, even in the classic games (1 does not look like 2, neither look like CD unless you squint a bit, and none of them look like 3K either). Sonic also spent a lot of time in that era changing design to be lankier and show more "cool" personality traits, well into the Saturn era.

Sonic has always had an evolving, transforming art direction to suit whatever era it is headed to next. The idea of a "modern Sonic" is just one of the many he went through, as Sonic has many times varied since he donned green eyes and grey soles too, hence my point earlier. Trying to split Sonic into these eras simplifies and boxes in the subject so much that it's not really a fair assessment to call one of these looks definitive to the era as much as one of many variances.

Which brings me to my ultimate point: none of this matters. We don't need a classic Sonic aesthetic to be separate from the modern, we don't need narrative or characters to be either. What are we gaining from this other than making the people comfortable who are insecure for liking games they consider themselves unassociated with?

You can like the "classic" leaning artwork and style all you want, but the fragmented identity is the problem here, and there's really never been any point in it. 

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