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Will the Sonic Games ever get better?

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So lately, especially after the release of "Sonic Forces," the Sonic the Hedgehog games seem to have been on a downward spiral and I wonder if the games will ever get better down the line.  Now, there's been a recent shakeup going on over at SEGA with many people being replaced, but will that help the franchise in the long run and what do you think needs to be done to make the games much better in the long run?

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Its been like this LONG before Sonic Forces. Sonic Team needs to take a good hard look at what went wrong with past games, and what needs to be done to win the public's trust. 

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13 minutes ago, mayday2592 said:

Its been like this LONG before Sonic Forces. Sonic Team needs to take a good hard look at what went wrong with past games, and what needs to be done to win the public's trust. 

It makes me wonder if Sonic Team will ever listen to the fans. Or even if they do, understand exactly what the fans are asking for, because it feels like they are trying to do what the fans ask, but they keep misreading their complaints.

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Better than the worst? Yeah, probably. Even '06 was followed up on by Unleashed, which while it certainly has its flaws is significantly better than its immediate predecessor in basically every way.

As good as its best? Sadly I doubt it. While the series has generally rebounded a bit after its worst mistakes, it never fully recovers. They always seem to end up falling back into old mistakes and finding brand new ones. It's not impossible for them to shake it all off and get the series back on the path to success, but it gets harder and harder to believe they ever will.

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The reputation of the Sonic games will continue going doing the shitter unless the people in charge change their ways. I don’t see any reason for me to have any ounce of faith in SEGA since that track record of theirs isn’t that great. Like, I’m not gonna stop playing Sonic if the next one turns out to be another mediocre mess, but I’m sure as hell am going to continue keeping my expectations  lower than dirt for future Sonic games.

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Sonic games have been feeling a bit "budget" ever since 2010. This is a knock on length, which is bad because arguably a 2 hour game just needs to be fun to be worth it. But I do think it affects perception when combined with other factors. Colors had to pad its way to make it "worth" the price, including weird gimmick Acts (turns out there was going to be a regular 2 Act structure that got chopped into multiple). Granted, Generations looks pretty good with lots of replayability? You can tell they struggled with Lost World given the amount of reused level themes between zones. And Forces despite 30 Stages is just barren. 

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1 hour ago, Big-C said:

The reputation of the Sonic games will continue going doing the shitter unless the people in charge change their ways. I don’t see any reason for me to have any ounce of faith in SEGA since that track record of theirs isn’t that great. Like, I’m not gonna stop playing Sonic if the next one turns out to be another mediocre mess, but I’m sure as hell am going to continue keeping my expectations  lower than dirt for future Sonic games.

I feel the same for future games. I'm just going to keep my expectations low unless they really want to change their ways soon.

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Convincing me that there won't be any more outright crap like Sonic 06 or Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric still needs some doing, but it's not really all that hard how: Increase transparency, announcing games earlier and holding beta tests that the public can join and report on--or at least giving them demos.  I insist this is viable because plenty of AAA studios do it; as a business plan it works because it brings companies and their audience into a stronger contract whereby each gains something.  The audience gets the chance to play games earlier than normal, and the company gets to save money on testing.  After mutliple games got released blatantly broken, it would take a very long streak of no more broken games to convince me that SEGA wasn't still willing to pull that.  But SEGA could put me at ease by altering its policy so it can no longer get away with that, thanks to us meddling consumers.

In terms of taking the series in a direction I like, that's going to be harder.  It feels like after 06, SEGA's been determined to change what Sonic is on a fundamental level, throwing things out more than fixing them, and filling the massive holes left with new gimmicks I am quite lukewarm about.  I don't resent a character creator being added to the series, even if it lets in all sorts of jokes about uninspired fan-characters, but that it's getting into the main games while even Tails and  Knuckles remain absent really rubs me the wrong way.  So, so many things about this series would be more negotiable to me if only they committed to bringing back these old staples, but so long as they don't I am not convinced Sonic is on the right path.  Moreover, so long as they don't, everyone who tries to claim "SEGA doesn't listen to fans, because when they do fans are still whiny" can take that claim and shove it, because SEGA still has not listened to fans on this one outside of spin-offs, even well over a decade later.

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2 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

Convincing me that there weren't be any more outright crap like Sonic 06 or Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric still needs some doing, but it's not really all that hard how: Increase transparency, announcing games earlier and holding beta tests that the public can join and report on--or at least giving them demos.  I insist this is viable because plenty of AAA studios do it; as a business plan it works because it brings companies and their audience into a stronger contract whereby each gains something.  The audience gets the chance to play games earlier than normal, and the company gets to save money on testing.  After mutliple games got released blatantly broken, it would take a very long streak of no more broken games to convince me that SEGA wasn't still willing to pull that.  But SEGA could put me at ease by altering its policy so it can no longer get away with that, thanks to us meddling consumers.

In terms of taking the series in a direction I like, that's going to be harder.  It feels like after 06, SEGA's been determined to change what Sonic is on a fundamental level, throwing things out more than fixing them, and filling the massive holes left with new gimmicks I am quite lukewarm about.  I don't resent a character creator being added to the series, even if it lets in all sorts of jokes about uninspired fan-characters, but that it's getting into the main games while even Tails and  Knuckles remain absent really rubs me the wrong way.  So, so many things about this series would be more negotiable to me if only they committed to bringing back these old staples, but so long as they don't I am not convinced Sonic is on the right path.  Moreover, so long as they don't, everyone who tries to claim "SEGA doesn't listen to fans, because when they do fans are still whiny" can take that claim and shove it, because SEGA still has not listened to fans on this one outside of spin-offs, even well over a decade later.

I wonder why SEGA doesn't allow beta testers to test out their games first before releasing them to the public.  I think that's the problem with most of the games lately is that they are barely finished and SEGA doesn't really give the developers time to finish the games.

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Something that concerns me about Sonic's future is that Sonic Forces and Team Sonic Racing were both released with a $40 price tag, a much cheaper price than the $60 that has been industry standard for major console/PC games for the past decade and a half. If SEGA is selling Sonic games for less money, are they spending as much money making them as their competitors spend on their games? Maybe SEGA thinks that a lower price tag will boost sales and make them more money overall, but judging by how bare bones both Forces and TSR are that doesn't seem to be what's going on here. My fear is that SEGA has figured out that they can make money off of Sonic by making low budget games for children, and the quality of the product just doesn't matter because children tend to be very forgiving of flaws in their favorite media.

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15 minutes ago, Cosmos Rogue said:

Something that concerns me about Sonic's future is that Sonic Forces and Team Sonic Racing were both released with a $40 price tag, a much cheaper price than the $60 that has been industry standard for major console/PC games for the past decade and a half. If SEGA is selling Sonic games for less money, are they spending as much money making them as their competitors spend on their games? Maybe SEGA thinks that a lower price tag will boost sales and make them more money overall, but judging by how bare bones both Forces and TSR are that doesn't seem to be what's going on here. My fear is that SEGA has figured out that they can make money off of Sonic by making low budget games for children, and the quality of the product just doesn't matter because children tend to be very forgiving of flaws in their favorite media.

I definitely hope that's not the case.  It's basically saying that SEGA stopped caring about Sonic the Hedgehog and will just put out any games featuring Sonic, regardless of quality, which is a bad way to sell your products to the audience and it would just make the franchise look horrible.

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I disagree that they are on a "downward spiral", Mania was a rip roaring success and Forces despite its limitations sold ok.

Team Sonic Racing I will agree was disappointing and sent fans running back to SART for their Sonic racing needs but as for a downward spiral? I don't think it's that dramatic.

We've known since 2018 that a new main series game has been in production so in that respects they're taking their time with it which is a very good thing Hopefully after 2017 and the triumph that was Mania they've taken notice of what pleases fans new and old.

It's Sonic's 30th year and a reveal has to just be around the corner but what will it be and will it be good?........ 

That my friend only time will tell. Or a Crystal Ball or two.

 

 

iu-5.gif

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6 hours ago, Eurisko said:

I disagree that they are on a "downward spiral", Mania was a rip roaring success and Forces despite its limitations sold ok.

Team Sonic Racing I will agree was disappointing and sent fans running back to SART for their Sonic racing needs but as for a downward spiral? I don't think it's that dramatic.

We've known since 2018 that a new main series game has been in production so in that respects they're taking their time with it which is a very good thing Hopefully after 2017 and the triumph that was Mania they've taken notice of what pleases fans new and old.

It's Sonic's 30th year and a reveal has to just be around the corner but what will it be and will it be good?........ 

That my friend only time will tell. Or a Crystal Ball or two.

 

 

iu-5.gif

Love the Labyrinth reference!

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At this point I honestly don't know. Every time it seems that the series has left it's bad days behind it, it falls right back into them. Over and over and over and over. The history of Sonic might be the saddest history in the entire video game medium.

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I think the series will get better. It has before.

 

However, I don't think it will reach the same level it had in it's 90s heyday again. I would love to see it, in particular with the 3D games, but people should realize that when a brand tanks, it almost never regains full strength again. 

Ironically the only thing I think could boost Sonic up to the level of the classic era or better, at least in public perception, is if Sonic were to change fairly drastically and market himself to a completely new generation, and do a total rebrand. But I don't think it'd be anything any of the current fans would actually want, myself included. I've seen this happen with other game series before. When Takashi Iizuka retires this will probably happen, if Sonic still hasn't strengthened by then.

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1 minute ago, UpCDownCLeftCRightC said:

I think the series will get better. It has before.

 

However, I don't think it will reach the same level it had in it's 90s heyday again. I would love to see it, in particular with the 3D games, but people should realize that when a brand tanks, it almost never regains full strength again. 

Ironically the only thing I think could boost Sonic up to the level of the classics or better, at least in public perception, is if Sonic were to change fairly drastically and market himself to a completely new generation, and do a total rebrand. But I don't think it'd be anything any of the current fans would actually want, myself included. I've seen this happen with other game series before. When Takashi Iizuka retires this will probably happen, if Sonic still hasn't strengthened by then.

I definitely don't want to see Sonic completely change as a character.  I think that if they tweaked a few things about his world and his character, like give him more emotions or actually explain some things about his world better, then this franchise might go in a better place.

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The thing about Sonic's strength as a brand is that in some ways the franchise is in as healthy a position as it ever has been. While the quantity of Sonic games has decreased from the 2000s, I don't think it benefits the series to have three separate racing spin off series going at almost the same time as was the case with Riders, Rivals, and All-Stars Racing. What we have gotten in recent years is: Sonic Mania, arguably the best game in the series; the IDW comics, which are pretty good; and the movie, which against all odds was actually good and a hit. The only bad piece of Sonic media we've suffered recently is Forces. Really, this is a much higher batting average for Sonic than the series has had in decades, if not ever.

 

Sonic is never going to fully reclaim his 90s era glory, but that's fine. Sonic tapped into the zeitgeist of that time in a way that is almost impossible to duplicate. The Sonic franchise can still be something universally seen as good and cool if SEGA and Sonic Team would just make better games.

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29 minutes ago, Cosmos Rogue said:

The thing about Sonic's strength as a brand is that in some ways the franchise is in as healthy a position as it ever has been. While the quantity of Sonic games has decreased from the 2000s, I don't think it benefits the series to have three separate racing spin off series going at almost the same time as was the case with Riders, Rivals, and All-Stars Racing. What we have gotten in recent years is: Sonic Mania, arguably the best game in the series; the IDW comics, which are pretty good; and the movie, which against all odds was actually good and a hit. The only bad piece of Sonic media we've suffered recently is Forces. Really, this is a much higher batting average for Sonic than the series has had in decades, if not ever.

 

Sonic is never going to fully reclaim his 90s era glory, but that's fine. Sonic tapped into the zeitgeist of that time in a way that is almost impossible to duplicate. The Sonic franchise can still be something universally seen as good and cool if SEGA and Sonic Team would just make better games.

I agree that if SEGA just continue putting out good Sonic games, then the games would be in a better place.  Will it ever be as popular as Sonic's heyday in the 90s?  No, but at least the brand name in the games would be better off.

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While things have certainly felt low budget for the past decade, I don't think it has to do with them chasing the younger demographic. Maybe the writing is affected, but the game contents itself seem lower effort because they just don't want to invest as much. (Honestly I don't think it's preferable to the jank of the past). Lower price is more an evaluation of content within, like I recall Generations wasn't full price in the US.

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6 hours ago, UpCDownCLeftCRightC said:

I think the series will get better. It has before.

 

However, I don't think it will reach the same level it had in it's 90s heyday again. I would love to see it, in particular with the 3D games, but people should realize that when a brand tanks, it almost never regains full strength again. 

Ironically the only thing I think could boost Sonic up to the level of the classic era or better, at least in public perception, is if Sonic were to change fairly drastically and market himself to a completely new generation, and do a total rebrand. But I don't think it'd be anything any of the current fans would actually want, myself included. I've seen this happen with other game series before. When Takashi Iizuka retires this will probably happen, if Sonic still hasn't strengthened by then.

Well to be fair, they have tried that a number of times already; often to embarrassing results.  Granted, Sonic himself arguably hasn't changed that much, personality-wise, but the plots, styles, and peripheral mechanics of Sonic games have gone all over the place, and even some of what used to be seen as core aspects of Sonic's identity, like the loops, are mostly reduced to automated spectacle outside of Sonic Mania.  Again, a lot attempts at reinvention haven't been successful at regaining past success, but I'm always worried about what you said happening--a reinvention that sucks is bad, but at least that means it won't likely be continued.  A reinvention that is good poses a much greater threat, as it can replace much of what was good before.

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