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What are some ways that SEGA can reach out to the fanbase a bit better?

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So, it seems like SEGA is trying to listen to the fans, but they keep getting certain aspects of what the fandom wants a bit mixed up and that has caused problems within the Sonic community.  So, how do you think that SEGA can better communicate with the fanbase on what they want out of the franchise?

I personally think that SEGA needs to start doing public polls online or something like that and ask the fans exactly what they want out of the franchise, like say they ask the fans if they want the boost gameplay or the regular speed gameplay for later games.  And whichever one of these options get the most votes, SEGA should go with that.

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2 hours ago, Salamander said:

I think a little bit more openness and honesty about the decisions they make, the kind of budget they're dealing with, and the expectations they have for Sonic games and their audiences would go a long, long way.

I agree.  Like the current situation where they aren't even giving fans a hint about what they are planning to do with the franchise in the near future or for the 30th anniversary is definitely not settling in well for the franchise.

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8 hours ago, Rabbitearsblog said:

I personally think that SEGA needs to start doing public polls online or something like that and ask the fans exactly what they want out of the franchise, like say they ask the fans if they want the boost gameplay or the regular speed gameplay for later games.  And whichever one of these options get the most votes, SEGA should go with that.

I dunno. I think they did something like that before. We got Shadow the Hedgehog game from it.

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8 minutes ago, antyep said:

I dunno. I think they did something like that before. We got Shadow the Hedgehog game from it.

That's how the Shadow the Hedgehog game came about?  Interesting...

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33 minutes ago, antyep said:

I dunno. I think they did something like that before. We got Shadow the Hedgehog game from it.

If you are referring to fans asking Shadow to use a gun, I believe that part is a myth that got spread around. 

Edit: Also I am not directing this towards you as much as making a general comment, but even if we are talking about fans clamoring for a Shadow game in general, it is implied people want a good game. Fans didn't have anything to do with bring in aliens. Similarly if we ask for Tails and Knuckles to be playable in the next game and Sonic Team does so poorly, it isn't the fans' fault.

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1 hour ago, mitsunari88 said:

If you are referring to fans asking Shadow to use a gun, I believe that part is a myth that got spread around. 

Edit: Also I am not directing this towards you as much as making a general comment, but even if we are talking about fans clamoring for a Shadow game in general, it is implied people want a good game. Fans didn't have anything to do with bring in aliens. Similarly if we ask for Tails and Knuckles to be playable in the next game and Sonic Team does so poorly, it isn't the fans' fault.

Exactly.  Like with the Shadow game, I don't think that fans were expecting guns and aliens to be in the game.  They just wanted a game about Shadow.  Either SEGA is trying to give the fans what they want, but they constantly  keep messing up or they hear the fans, but somehow misheard exactly what the fans are saying.

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I think it would do SEGA some good to have some people ready to read Sonic game reviews to determine why a game was liked or disliked, take notes on that and give them to the team making the games. I believe this would cause a lot less confusion for SEGA and it may give Sonic some much needed consistency.

Something I've really missed was when Aaron Webber used to play little games and give hints until the announcement of the new games. It helped to fill SEGA's silence and gave something to do while waiting. This and for SEGA to be more transparent as well. They don't need to give all the details immediately, but maybe some Q&As, small hints on what direction the game might be going, some time frames, or even just saying "this game will take a while longer to develop" would be nice. Just more open communication with the fans. 

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1 hour ago, FloweringFox said:

I think it would do SEGA some good to have some people ready to read Sonic game reviews to determine why a game was liked or disliked, take notes on that and give them to the team making the games. I believe this would cause a lot less confusion for SEGA and it may give Sonic some much needed consistency.

Something I've really missed was when Aaron Webber used to play little games and give hints until the announcement of the new games. It helped to fill SEGA's silence and gave something to do while waiting. This and for SEGA to be more transparent as well. They don't need to give all the details immediately, but maybe some Q&As, small hints on what direction the game might be going, some time frames, or even just saying "this game will take a while longer to develop" would be nice. Just more open communication with the fans. 

I definitely agree that there should be someone who reads the reviews and take notes on what were some pros and cons with the games as stated by the reviewers.  Maybe this will help SEGA get a better idea about how to better develop their games in the near future.

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I was really hoping this thread would take off when I saw it, it's actually quite an important question.

 

I think one thing they can definitely do, is take the pulse of the fans and find out who the critical reviewers/critiquers are. There are a handful of notable sonic fans on YouTube/twitter over the years that have done a remarkable job of communicating not just the desires of the fandom but a solid fundamental understanding of what makes Sonic tick for us in various ways. Opinions of course vary, but Ive been a Sonic fan for a very long time and I've noticed that even across the barriers that seem to exist in fan taste there usually exists some common undercurrent of thought with one or two things make Sonic great.

Now don't misunderstand me, we don't all prioritize these things in the same way but if you'd really dig in and find out among the generations of fans, you'll notice certain key ideas pop up. For example, among "adventure fans" and "classic fans", as much as they've fought over the years, I've noticed that they are almost entirely in agreement about the desire for momentum based platforming (derivative of the classic games) in 3D being  a pretty important goal, or at least the essence of it. 

 

(And before you say it, I'm well aware the categorization of fans isn't a hard rule)

 

But anyway, reaching out to key reviewers/critiquers and/or closely examining their streams of thought can be pretty informative. And this doesn't always mean which people have the most views, because they can be tubers who focus on other things than just sonic content (like game grumps for example. They're popular but theyre not strictly sonic fans and don't really understand the series beyond a surface level) but rather which particular ideas get floated around and which critiquers address them the most thoroughly and the general response to that. This is better than taking polls, which are just popularity contests and don't actually teach you anything about WHY, which is what you need to know.

On top of that, you should have representatives that communicate, at least indirectly, that the developers understand their concerns very well. Like, seriously, very very well. I only emphasize because I've seen other entities...gearbox, for example... do just this. They take the pulse of their fans by studying who the key influencers are and there's little doubt the fans know they're not only being heard, gearbox understands exactly the nature of their opinions/gripes, and intelligently addresses them as much as it is in their power to do so.  They really, truly "get it" and they are proud to let their fans know it....the whole "we gotchu, boo" thing (a literal meme at the BL3 announcement). And the fans actually vocalize that they see consistent improvement, giving loud and important feedback. Not only THAT, I've even seen gearbox both directly and indirectly, in subtle humor contained in their products and in direct announcements, acknowledge many of these things. It's a great consumer/producer relationship if you ask me. In fairness, Mr. Webber used to do this on Twitter often but it really was more of a self-deprecating thing rather than showing that the devs are actively learning and improving...which is what matters. Fans don't care if you acknowledge your product sucks, when they don't see it getting consistently better. 

 

 

So don't be lazy, throw up your hands and say "well the fans are divided, it's hopeless" and throw ideas at the wall hoping to catch as many as possible and stay relevant. Do your homework. Study the fans like a general in wartime studies nuances between groups of people, learning their language. Don't just say that you care. Actually jump in the water and swim in that stream of thought. And most importantly, know your own damn series lol. You gotta understand what Sonic is and what he isn't, in your own way, and compare that to the view of critical fans, so you don't have to drive yourself crazy. If I can do it, so can people being paid money to do it.

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To be perfectly honest, I don't think Sega or Sonic Team or whoever is making the games nowadays need to pay much more attention to the fans than they already do. As much as I love ShayMay and others who make an earnest effort to understand this series, no YouTube video is going to be as compelling a thesis statement on the appeal of any of these games as the games themselves are.

Judging by the many, many directions the Sonic series has been pulled in, especially over the past decade, it's pretty clear that Sega is aware of the deep divisions in the fandom. If the pandering people are to be listened to, trying to please the fans is a big part of how we got in this mess in the first place. How are they to privilege the opinions voiced in, say, the Sonic Spitball videos over those from another video or forum, unless they already understand the argument ShayMay makes in those videos?

I think the main problem Sonic has is that Sonic Team just aren't very good at making video games in general. But assuming that Sonic Team isn't a bunch of rank incompetents, they'd be better served spending a week replaying the games that created all of these bickering fans rather than try to sift through the fanbase for the minority of people with cognizant opinions about the series.

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On 5/14/2021 at 10:16 PM, UpCDownCLeftCRightC said:

On top of that, you should have representatives that communicate, at least indirectly, that the developers understand their concerns very well. Like, seriously, very very well. I only emphasize because I've seen other entities...gearbox, for example... do just this. They take the pulse of their fans by studying who the key influencers are and there's little doubt the fans know they're not only being heard, gearbox understands exactly the nature of their opinions/gripes, and intelligently addresses them as much as it is in their power to do so.  They really, truly "get it" and they are proud to let their fans know it....the whole "we gotchu, boo" thing (a literal meme at the BL3 announcement). And the fans actually vocalize that they see consistent improvement, giving loud and important feedback. Not only THAT, I've even seen gearbox both directly and indirectly, in subtle humor contained in their products and in direct announcements, acknowledge many of these things. It's a great consumer/producer relationship if you ask me. In fairness, Mr. Webber used to do this on Twitter often but it really was more of a self-deprecating thing rather than showing that the devs are actively learning and improving...which is what matters. Fans don't care if you acknowledge your product sucks, when they don't see it getting consistently better. 

The only problem with that though is that the wrong representatives could be chosen to represent the fans' demands.  Like for example, what happens when said representatives choose the worst ideas from the fans, like say the Sonic series should have more blood and gore or that the series should focus less on character development and focus more on mindless action sequences that brings nothing to the franchise?  Sure, some of the fans have good ideas for the series, but then you have some of the fans in the fanbase who have some pretty terrible ideas for the series that could bring down the series if the ideas aren't examined enough to see if they are appropriate for the franchise.

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