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Interesting Thought: If Sonic Team hadn't abandoned the Adventure formula, then Sonic Forces would probably have been much better.


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By now it's no secret to most people here that after the back-to-back wipeouts that were Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 06, Sonic Team decided to burn off a lot of what had characterized the Adventure era, with some of the Classic era being caught in the crossfire.  While they would continue to experiment with ways to pad out the games--an unfortunate necessity when your character moves so much faster than most others--and some things, like more in-depth combat, stuck around a bit longer, in many other aspects, like Eggman being a genuinely scary threat and other characters than Sonic being playable in the main games, the Adventure era was dead.

Many have alleged that Sonic Forces was Sonic Team attempting to return to the Adventure formula, and I say "alleged" because none have provided any links to them saying that was the case.  Unless someone makes an argument, I'm going to assume they're trying to make sense of it coming out shortly after fans pleaded for another Adventure-like game; as if when some people see two dots they are tempted to draw lines between them.  Whatever is the case, it clearly did not end up like another Adventure game.

But instead of debating over whether Sonic Team was trying to return to that style of game, let's imagine an alternate timeline wherein they never left.  Let's add the assumption that Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 06 were still in that timeline more-or-less the same games as in this one, with the possible exception of 06 being better enough that it didn't scare them away from the formula.  I think this would have given SEGA a lot more to work with by the time they decided to do Sonic Forces, and as a result, it, too, would have turned out much better.

To explain why, I think it's important to consider why Forces was not good, and while the game does have some mechanical issues, it's bigger problems are conceptual.  Not that the idea of Robotnik conquering the world and Sonic joining a resistance against him is innately bad; it was well-received by many fans when it was used as the premise of a cartoon and it's also been fairly well-received when revived by Ian Flynn in the IDW series.  But the decision to make this another boost formula game made Sonic Team unwilling to include gameplay that fit that plot. 

For starters, what do you expect from a plot about freedom fighters taking on a dictator with so much more military power than they have?  Lots of fighting, and fighting so intense that every victory the rebels get feels like it was only just achieved, maybe at great cost.  But because Sonic Team didn't want to compromise the breezy integrity of the Boost games, what we got was just more instances of Modern Sonic effortlessly boosting his way through lines of enemies, and even when you're not him, that same philosophy of utterly weak enemies still applies with the rookie's flamethrower or Classic Sonic's rolling.  This gameplay isn't just inappropriate for the vibe the scenario warranted; it's actually a gaping plothole that a genius smart enough to build an army of robots and then command them to conquer the world just clusters them close together to make it easier to take down a whole bunch at once.  If Eggman had it all his own way he would have managed to build robots that don't go down in one hit, but once he learned they did, he at least should have tried to compensate by spreading them out so while their opponents are destroying one, another is shooting them from a safer position.  But no; we got utter pushovers of mooks and a worthless brigade of Death Egg Robots that do nothing but dance around in the background.

But in the Adventure era, at least post-Dreamcast, Sonic Team wasn't afraid to incorporate more involved combat.  Enemies had actual lifebars, they actually impeded the players, forcing them to fight, and in some cases defeating enemies was specifically the goal.  As it happens, the impetus for me making this thread was considering how pathetically out-of-it Sonic Team would have to be to want to make another Sonic game reminiscent of Shadow the Hedgehog instead of finally letting Tails and Knuckles back in as playable characters, but on thinking that, it dawned on me that even more pathetic is how Shadow the Hedgehog did it so much better. 

Not that Shadow did it great, by any means.  I consider its combat loads better than Sonic Heroes for its relative lack of moves that throw you off a cliff alone, but still, task a company with incorporating guns into a series whose first game actually tried and rejected projectiles since they would get in the way of speed-centric gameplay, and it's no surprise that the results would leave something to be desired.  The way they structured the game also didn't often let the gunplay be as fun as might have been, and that's largely because of how they had to fit into the framework of multiple missions and a morality system often based on whom you choose to attack.  So we got a lot of dull search-and-destroy missions where finding enemies was usually more difficult than fighting them once found, whereas what makes better gun games fun is having almost overwhelming enemies come to you and tasking you with just surviving.  Then of course, there was the absurdity of seeing Shadow use guns; it felt like it didn't fit for the supposed Ultimate Lifeform (or at least one of several) who already had Chaos Sphere to pick up guns; as if the only reason he was doing it was because guns were "cool" at the time.

However, perhaps the missing ingredient was guerilla warfare all along.  Let's work backwards from last point by putting the Rookie from Sonic Forces in the role Shadow had.  If Shadow using guns inevitably looks forced because he's already an innately powerful living weapon, with someone who is just a random, physically unremarkable civie who was forced into a conflict against a far more powerful enemy, picking up a gun and blazing away for dear life makes complete sense.  A plot about guerilla warfare is also that Goldilocks zone where the combination of running fast and wielding guns can form good gameplay, because instead of dull search-and-destroy missions you could get exciting hit-and-run missions.  Instead of the difficulty being from finding where the Hell what you're supposed to destroy even is, you could be told exactly where but then be tasked with weaving/shooting your way through the many enemies on the way, and instead of winning the moment you destroy your target, you could also be required to get back out alive, which would likely entail more running and more gunning.

Now let's go into another aspect of the Adventure era, and unlike the more involved combat, this one was there for its entirety: Multiple playable characters.  The reason the "Freedom Fighters" plot worked so much better in animated and pictorial panel (often incorrectly called "comic") form is it could heavily involve characters other than Sonic.  If the focus was only ever on Sonic doing his thing running through and past things at high speed, you'd never really develop an empathy for anyone else, nor an appreciation for how much threat Robotnik's goons posed, but by giving more of the Freedom Fighters fleshed-out personalities, and abilities that were useful in their own ways, you came to appreciate them as a team who were all in this together.  Even the ones who seemed mostly useless at least gave you some appreciation for what the stronger ones had to protect. 

At the time DIC explored that concept and then Archie continued it, the Sonic games weren't really in the right shape to match it; they still focused on playable characters who were built to go fast, and as such it would be hard to include the likes of Bunny and Sally in them; let alone what Rotor could possibly have done.  But Sonic Adventure completely changed this.  Suddenly, it was completely viable to have other playable characters with other specialties, like being strong, wielding firearms, tracking things down and building machines.  It didn't always work and sometimes whether or not it "worked" depended on how well it fit in with what people expected a Sonic game to be.  When Sonic is so marketed around being fast that he'll visibly get impatient if made to stand still, putting in a character like Big the Cat will obviously breed resentment.  On the other hand, other characters can seem gratuitous when you put them in a game like Sonic Heroes.  While it's not automatically worse from their being in, that playing all of them through all of the same levels was required to beat the game gave them an association with monotony.  Also, given that SH was marked as being more like Classic Sonic, except in 3D and with team play, they could have conveyed the entire gameplay formula of that game with Sonic, Tails and Knuckles, since they all had precedent for being fast, whereas while making Big the Cat run fast definitely makes him more fun, it also is so absurd that it begs the question of why he is even in the game.

But had they not rejected all of the other playable characters and then approached Forces with the willingness to include them, they actually would be meeting the expectations that plot set.  If they followed through with that plot's implications and made enemies tougher, we've already explained why the Rookie would be more fun, but let's look at another possibility that fits because the enemies are mostly robots: Sally Acorn or at least a character who could hack like her.  On the assumption that we'd have already increased the game's emphasis on combat and instead of just speed, what if a character's gameplay involved hacking into a robot and remote-controlling it?  We've seen this concept explored with positive results in the likes of Space Station Silicon Valley and Super Mario Odyssey, so it could be equally neat here.

So would that make our alternate universe version of Sonic Forces everyone's cup of tea?  Of course not.  But if we've learned any harsh lesson over three decades of Sonic, it's that nothing involving Sonic is going to be everyone's cup of tea.  Alas, this is because what from the get-go has always been Sonic's most exciting aspect, its speed, also makes it untenable to make a feature-length game unless some means of padding the experience out was used, and Sonic Team explored many means and many have their fans but also their haters.  Alas, many in society also just flat-out hate Sonic, and sometimes this isn't even because they dislike Sonic's gameplay but just because hating Sonic is "cool", or at least it was until the movies became huge hits.  So I say it's high time Sonic Team stops trying to make that elusive game that absolutely nobody will hate, because that's impossible, except maybe if the game is so unremarkable that nobody can muster so strong an emotion as hate.  Perhaps lately, that has been exactly SEGA's actual strategy; keep Sonic running on fumes with releases that are never ambitious enough to crash and burn as spectacularly as the last few Adventure games did.  But dammit, if only they just fixed that formula instead of replacing it, I maintain that Sonic Forces could have been something really special. 

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I don't know if Sonic Forces' problem is the formula. Other games have the boost formula and are great. Sonic 2006 uses the Adventure formula, and it's bad. Sonic 4 uses the classic formula, and it's trash. The formula itself is not enough to make a game good or bad.

I think Sonic Forces reception was pretty consistent with the games' quality. The game got mixed reviews, most of the reviewers didn't say the game is bad, they said it's average. Forces is more rejected by hardcore fans than the general audience.

I agree during the 2000s (mostly) it was a trend to hate on Sonic games, but I don't think Forces reception was because of that. I think the media is being more reasonable about Sonic nowadays. 

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Maybe there's some hypothetical alternate timeline where Forces was less shit because it abandoned trying to be a Sonic game but I think for once I would prefer our current hell timeline where there was at least a token attempt to make it feel like Sonic and not a generic furry war game.

2 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

This gameplay isn't just inappropriate for the vibe the scenario warranted; it's actually a gaping plothole that a genius smart enough to build an army of robots and then command them to conquer the world just clusters them close together to make it easier to take down a whole bunch at once.  If Eggman had it all his own way he would have managed to build robots that don't go down in one hit, but once he learned they did, he at least should have tried to compensate by spreading them out so while their opponents are destroying one, another is shooting them from a safer position.  But no; we got utter pushovers of mooks and a worthless brigade of Death Egg Robots that do nothing but dance around in the background.

Dude it is a video game, it is not a plot hole for levels and enemies to be designed to be overcome by your character's gameplay, that's just how they work.

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Considering how troubled development seemed to be, if the game was more complicated than it is now it might have just not come out.

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17 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Maybe there's some hypothetical alternate timeline where Forces was less shit because it abandoned trying to be a Sonic game but I think for once I would prefer our current hell timeline where there was at least a token attempt to make it feel like Sonic and not a generic furry war game.

Dude it is a video game, it is not a plot hole for levels and enemies to be designed to be overcome by your character's gameplay, that's just how they work.

That statement is crammed with fallacies. 

There is absolutely no hard and fast law of game design that says your character has to defeat enemies.  There are plenty of well-received games wherein the aim or much of it is to evade and outsmart them, such as Metal Gear and Five Nights at Freddy's, and people like them because that sense of vulnerability makes you more satisfied when you pass.  And while not every series involves nearly helpless protagonists, I can't think of any other series where enemies are this pathetically, tediously weak.  Including this one incidentally, up until maybe Sonic Unleashed.  While enemies in the majority of Sonic games did go down with one hit, they also were positioned and moved in such a way that they could still get the best of you if you weren't skilled.  Boost, at least as it has been ascended to the core of the (sometimes) 3D games, ruined all of that, and here is where your claims that this is just an example of gameplay concerns superseding narrative ones really falls apart.  To the contrary, utterly weak and clustered enemies remove much of the interactivity and challenge from the game to push a narrative of how powerful Sonic is, and this means of demonstrating his power is exclusively the realm of the boost formula, summed up nicely here.  It's been a complete mistake on Sonic Team's part to assume the best way to make Sonic seem strong is just to make everyone else seem weak.  If he can just tear through steel as if it's aluminum foil, then for all intents and purposes what we're watching is no more exciting than watching Sonic tear aluminum foil.  It's far more effective to demonstrate that Sonic is powerful if there's also a demonstration that what he overcomes is powerful.

For the same reason, your declaration that if not for the boost formula replacing the Adventure formula, SF wouldn't feel like a Sonic game, is also flawed.  Sonic as he was from the Genesis to the Dreamcast would actually have fit perfectly in my description of "hit and run" gameplay.

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43 minutes ago, Wraith said:

Considering how troubled development seemed to be, if the game was more complicated than it is now it might have just not come out.

I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

I undoubtedly have different priorities than SEGA here.  They want to make money which means they need to keep making more Sonic games.  As was the case in the Genesis era, SEGA wants Sonic to be seen everywhere, constantly on consumers' minds, but unlike the Genesis era, there's not a drive to make Sonic's games impressive.  I, on the other hand, would far rather Sonic go out on a high note than get new entries that undermine a lot of what I and many others loved about the series.  The older and better games still exist, and so does Sonic Mania.

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17 minutes ago, Scritch the Cat said:

There is absolutely no hard and fast law of game design that says your character has to defeat enemies.  There are plenty of well-received games wherein the aim or much of it is to evade and outsmart them, such as Metal Gear and Five Nights at Freddy's, and people like them because that sense of vulnerability makes you more satisfied when you pass.

This has nothing to do with what I said. Enemies in MGS are designed to be overcome by Snake's toolkit just as enemies in Sonic are designed to be overcome by Sonic's. It has nothing to do with obligating the player to destroy enemies, that is a complete nonsequitur.

17 minutes ago, Scritch the Cat said:

Boost ruined all of that, and here is where your claims that this is just an example of gameplay concerns superseding narrative ones really falls apart.  To the contrary, utterly weak and clustered enemies remove much of the interactivity and challenge from the game to push a narrative of how powerful Sonic is, and this means of demonstrating his power is exclusively the realm of the boost formula, summed up nicely here. 

Again not my point. First off I'm not here defending the boost, I've been wishing for its death for years. Second, my complaint is with the absurd idea that it's a plot hole for enemy placement and behavior to be based on what suits the gameplay rather than what would be tactically ideal for the villain to do. It's like arguing that Dr Wily should make all his robots out of the same metal as Met helmets, or just cover every surface in instant death spikes. If it makes the gameplay shit just argue that it makes the gameplay shit, don't make this ridiculous reach that it's a plot hole.

17 minutes ago, Scritch the Cat said:

It's been a complete mistake on Sonic Team's part to assume the best way to make Sonic seem strong is just to make everyone else seem weak.  If he can just tear through steel as if it's aluminum foil, then for all intents and purposes what we're watching is no more exciting than watching Sonic tear aluminum foil.

Guess Sonic was bad from the start then because Sonic's been one shotting robots since day one.

17 minutes ago, Scritch the Cat said:

For the same reason, your declaration that if not for the boost formula replacing the Adventure formula, SF wouldn't feel like a Sonic game, is also flawed.  Sonic as he was from the Genesis to the Dreamcast would actually have fit perfectly in my description of "hit and run" gameplay.

Then so can the boost. Boost in, hit some things, boost out. They could throw guns and enemy health bars onto the boost gameplay just the same as they did the Adventure gameplay. Wouldn't be any better an idea the second time around, but they sure could do it.

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14 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Again not my point. First off I'm not here defending the boost, I've been wishing for its death for years. Second, my complaint is with the absurd idea that it's a plot hole for enemy placement and behavior to be based on what suits the gameplay rather than what would be tactically ideal for the villain to do. It's like arguing that Dr Wily should make all his robots out of the same metal as Met helmets, or just cover every surface in instant death spikes. If it makes the gameplay shit just argue that it makes the gameplay shit, don't make this ridiculous reach that it's a plot hole.

Gameplay and narrative are not always unrelated.  The degree to which gameplay should reflect narrative varies, but with this plot I feel the gameplay was under a lot of obligation to sell how much more dangerous Eggman is now, and they botched it badly.  It's true that if one tries, one can find plotholes in almost all of fiction, and so even outside of video games, suspension of disbelief is required in many cases.  But just because suspension of disbelief is required should not mean that it is solely the audience's responsibility to believe everything; the storytellers should have to do some work to make audiences want to suspend that disbelief.

So to go back to your example about Dr. Wily, the big difference between that and what we see in SF and a few too many cases in other boost games, is that there's at least evidence Wily is trying at all.  His robots don't pose as much threat as they might, sure, and you wouldn't really want them to, but them doing enough to keep you on your toes and forcing you to fight back is enough to make you buy into that alternate reality.  What we get in SF is a lot easier to criticize because not only does that enemy placement pose absolutely no threat; it actually is a benefit to Sonic that they are placed where they are, because destroying enemies charges his boost meter.  Add to this that boost is also an attack, and placing enemies in a long line removes just about any challenge they could possibly pose, since while boosting is theoretically limited by a meter it depletes, in those cases you can boost to charge your boost.  At this point there really is value to putting yourself in Eggman's shoes for a moment because that lets you consider why your gameplay loop is breaking this badly.  While Sonic Rush, too, allowed you to charge the boost gauge by defeating the enemies, the difference there is enemies weren't lined up in clusters that made them their own worst enemies.  Also, enemies in Rush often have HP.  This means that while boost is still helpful in taking them down, it's kind of a crapshoot whether you'll end that fight with more boost juice than you spent on it, so there is actually a reason to use other moves.  So the game still features a sort of "investment"; its moves have trade-offs.  Boost on its own does not break a game, but level designers do need to keep some extra things in mind when having it.

14 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Guess Sonic was bad from the start then because Sonic's been one shotting robots since day one.

Did you seriously miss that I addressed that point in my previous reply? 

15 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

While enemies in the majority of Sonic games did go down with one hit, they also were positioned and moved in such a way that they could still get the best of you if you weren't skilled.

Or were you just deliberately ignoring my point there to create the illusion that you're smarter than me?

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15 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Then so can the boost. Boost in, hit some things, boost out. They could throw guns and enemy health bars onto the boost gameplay just the same as they did the Adventure gameplay. Wouldn't be any better an idea the second time around, but they sure could do it.

You're correct but in this case, as per my earlier point about Sonic Rush, what the boost on its own doesn't ruin, the enemy placement does.  But moreover, the reason I instinctively mentioned Genesis and Dreamcast Sonic here is because I associate those eras so much more with the sense of Sonic being vulnerable, which in some cases, as with a game where you go up against a dictator, helps to add stakes.

To go back to the overall point about Sonic Forces being made at the wrong point in this series' history, I think part of the problem here is that over the course of the last several games, Sonic has been getting more and more powerful while Eggman hasn't done all that much to compensate.  Which to be fair, arguably is more acceptable in more lighthearted games.  The plot of Sonic Colors mostly is a glorified trip to an amusement park, with the evil scheme of its owner serving mostly as the reason Sonic made that trip, and Eggman not being too big a menace in either his actions or the park's design helps to sell the notion that Sonic is getting some bonus fun out of the deal.  But Sonic Forces kind of demanded Eggman be more dangerous to go with the darker tone and the plot about him conquering the world, and the gameplay had little overhaul to match this.  They were still designing levels akin to games that were more intended to convey whimsy than danger, and that is a big part of why SF doesn't have enough "bite".

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You're putting way too much focus on gameplay and narrative cohesion when Sonic is built on a genre that prioritizes the former over the latter.

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@Scritch the CatI don't necessarily agree with everything you said, but I can see your point, especially about narrative in gameplay elements and how Sonic Forces failed at that.

The premise of Sonic Forces is that Eggman took over the world, and that there's a war ongoing. None of those points are expressed well in the game, they're told to us through some dialogues but everything else in the game (including gameplay and cutscenes) is just so generic that doesn't seem any different compared to the settings of the past Sonic games. We don't see Eggman owning the world, we just see Eggman destroying some abandoned cities; we don't see the war outside of a couple of text bubbles.

I agree with you that the gameplay should reflect storytelling; the classic games did this, and they are praised for this. Through level transitions, in-game events and overall design of the game, we are able to get an idea of what's going on without even having complex cutscenes. In Forces there are just hallways filled with bowling pins and occasionally homing attack bridges. They definitely tried to apply narrative to gameplay: the game tries hard to tell us that you are fighting an army of robots instead of the usual few badniks, so they put large groups of enemies all together, but it makes no difference, they are still useless; they fail at narrative, because it doesn't feel like you are fighting an army of robots, it just feels like the level designers were unprofessional.

The enemies should feel dangerous, I agree with this. It's not necessary to give them an health bar or make them invulnerable to reach this goal, you can do it through game design as a whole. Sonic has been away for a while and Eggman had the time to conquer the world and turn it into his own fortress. You should feel like the environment itself is hostile, there should be traps everywhere, even Green Hill should look and play like a level set in one of Eggman's bases. The game doesn't even try, all it does is show us that Eggman ruined, or is ruining the environment,

look at Eggmanland for example, that's what a world owned by Eggman should look like.

This is unrelated to difficulty balance... you can express the idea of a dangerous place without necessarily making it actually frustrating to play.

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8 hours ago, Kuzu said:

You're putting way too much focus on gameplay and narrative cohesion when Sonic is built on a genre that prioritizes the former over the latter.

That's true if you compare it to say, RPGs or text adventures, but I think compared to other platformers the Sonic series has often done a lot more than most to push a narrative, and a lot of that is down to the levels you go through and the occasional cutscenes you get.  It's less pronounced in Sonic 1 but by Sonic 2 they were already including several levels in a row devoted to storming Eggman's territory bit by bit, and they weren't above putting in a fairly bland plane stage to explain how Sonic and Tails got to the air fleet.  Of course, they also went much further with Sonic CD and Sonic 3 and Knuckles, which feature zones that get transformed between acts/times.  Angel Island on its own features quite involved storytelling; it starts by Sonic getting sucker-punched by Knuckles, and then not long after our heroes after Knuckles, Eggman shows up and fire-bombs them, giving a good illustration that Eggman and Knuckles are teaming up against Sonic and Tails even if you didn't read any description of that plot.  They really knew how to show rather than telling in those days, which makes those moments of SF where you're just reading plain text on a black screen, or voice messages about what the army is doing somewhere else, look so lame in comparison.

7 hours ago, Iko said:

@Scritch the Cat

The enemies should feel dangerous, I agree with this. It's not necessary to give them an health bar or make them invulnerable to reach this goal, you can do it through game design as a whole. Sonic has been away for a while and Eggman had the time to conquer the world and turn it into his own fortress. You should feel like the environment itself is hostile, there should be traps everywhere, even Green Hill should look and play like a level set in one of Eggman's bases. The game doesn't even try, all it does is show us that Eggman ruined, or is ruining the environment,

look at Eggmanland for example, that's what a world owned by Eggman should look like.

This is unrelated to difficulty balance... you can express the idea of a dangerous place without necessarily making it actually frustrating to play.

I think the point is it needs to take at least some degree of thought.  A good counterexample to what we get in SF would be the Sonic 06 intro fight, and that is not playable but it still gives an insight into what more exciting Sonic action looks like.  By all evidence, that's easy for Sonic, and he seems to be having a lot of fun rather than stressed, but he still has to make judicious use of his speed, dodging machine gun fire and jumping all around the area to counter it.  The bar fight in the Sonic Movie would also be an example.  When Sonic is able to move and react as fast as he can, thinking on his feet might be easy, but it's not optional.  Gameplay against enemies should be similar, I think.  It doesn't have to be hard, but it has to be...well, gameplay, instead of the equivalent of holding down the Shift key to type in capitals.  In the worse examples of the Boost games, Sonic, and by extension, players, hardly need to think at all anymore, because they have a move that grants both speed and offensive capability, their paths are railroaded, and enemies are placed conveniently in a straight line along those path.

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I think it's a humongous leap of logic to assume that Sky Chase was in service of a story and therefore they didn't care as much (?) that it was kinda meh rather than a cool side idea that someone on the development team wanted to implement to change things up but missed the mark on it; something that was already fairly common in platformers by that point (Remember Contra's over the shoulder levels? The dedicated side scrolling shooter levels in Super Mario Land? The first person space shooter in Moonwalker?) even if in execution they rarely were very good until stuff like Rocket Knight Adventures and Gunstar Heroes came out.

 

 

 

That supposition is also ignoring that Sonic 2, a game that started development months behind schedule, was in perpetual rush mode and had 30% of its planned content cut (in some cases so late it partially left in the game) before it came out maybe simply didn't have the time for Naka or Yasuhara or whoever to tune Sky Chase to be more interesting than it is after the first time you play it. Or maybe even they thought it was great (I mean someone signed off on that fucking pit in Mystic Cave) and they thought the cool side-gameplay style was good enough to stand on its own for multiple playthroughs. There's no reason to assume that the level was intrinsically intended to be some sort of crappy B-Movie "We're going to film the person driving their car to the next scene because it's cheap and we think audiences are too dumb to understand how a person can move between two places" storyboarding.

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By Forces, you mean it and every mainline title post 2006? 

10 minutes ago, Zoomzeta said:

By Forces, you mean it and every mainline title post 2006? 

Well, most of them anyway. Forgot that Lost World deviated from Generations in its play style before they reverted back to the Boost formula. 

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7 hours ago, Zoomzeta said:

By Forces, you mean it and every mainline title post 2006? 

Well, most of them anyway. Forgot that Lost World deviated from Generations in its play style before they reverted back to the Boost formula. 

I certainly would have preferred to live in that alternate reality, but the difference with most of the other games made post-06 is that if the Adventure formula hadn’t been abandoned, I wouldn’t simply expect them to be better; I’d expect them not to exist. 
 

As an aside, while I certainly resent the Boost’s existence, it is not mutually exclusive to the Adventure formula.  Boost actually began in the Adventure era, and in that era the Sonic series had already stopped trying for tight physics simulations where building up momentum took effort, and started putting dash pads almost anywhere you’d need to go fast, making slopes and loops that would have been challenging in the Classic era into little more than ritualistic (and sometimes pre-scripted) setpieces.  Building a dash panel right into the character is an understandable evolution of that, and nothing about doing so necessitates removing every other playable character in the game.  

What made SEGA do that was the extreme backlash against 06, which had the most playable characters ever in a main series game unless you count every team mate of Sonic Heroes.  The Wisps were invented to add abilities to the gameplay without necessitating other playable characters; Iizuka has personally confirmed that.  So if not for the backlash against other characters, would Sonic Colors even exist?  I find myself doubting it.

Sonic Generations would likely have still existed.  Sonic Lost World might have, but I can’t help thinking we got two games close in time that took place away from Sonic’s normal world at least somewhat so Sonic’s friends didn’t have to be involved in the plot, although they were in the forgotten DS version of Colors.

The reason I called out Forces is that it’s a darker and more serious game, and also it’s plot does involve the other characters in some capacity beyond just Sonic’s cheer squad.  You could have done that exact scenario in the Adventure era and it would feel like it fit both that era’s storytelling and gameplay variety.

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They take place off-world to provide fantastic settings. If sega didn't want to include other characters they just didn't include them IE: Unleashed. 

The flip side of that is black knight, which released the very next year, took place off world and had other characters. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/6/2022 at 6:35 AM, Kuzu said:

You're putting way too much focus on gameplay and narrative cohesion when Sonic is built on a genre that prioritizes the former over the latter.

 

Story does matter. The Sonic Movie and his popularity in the 90s is proof of it. There's no way Sonic could become a reknown pop icon just on the amount of his game sales alone even at the height of his popularity. Branding was and is what made Sonic stand out. Wanting to improve the gameplay is important, but its no excuse for sub-par writing.

And I agree with OP, had the utilized the Sonic Adventure format Forces would have been a lot better. But as SEGA's already confessed, they've been emulating Mario in terms of the tone of their story/design/etc. so that they can attract his fans. Which in and of itself a really bad idea because... People don't play Sonic to have a Mario game. If people want Mario they can just buy his games rather than a bootleg. At the very least the tone of the adventure series gave Sonic more of an identity and focused more on giving characters motivations to go after the emeralds besides a generic Sonic/Eggman adventure where they chase rocks just because.

 

 

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I don't know about this. I hate the notion that anything with the Adventure Formula has to be fun and instantly "better" than the boost formula. (The "story formula" the Adventure games used is another matter entirely.) That, and the "Adventure formula" has never been really defined. For example, I've seen some people say a game with the "Adventure Formula" has to have hub worlds, while others believe that is not necessary for an "adventure" game. (Like SA2) But I think what made the two Sonic Adventure games so special in my eyes wasn't just the formula itself, but how the physics interacted with it, and how the gameplay of the respective playable character worked off of it.

The point is, the same people who designed the gameplay of SA1 and SA2 are no longer working at Sega, which means that any attempts for modern Sega to emulate the style might end up like Sonic 4's attempt to emulate the Genesis gameplay. Or it could end up like Sonic Mania. If Sonic Forces used the Adventure Formula correctly I would probably enjoy it more. But given I'd venture to say the final game didn't even use the Boost Formula correctly, that doesn't sound like it was ever a possibility. Either way, I think the boost gameplay formula has persisted a bit long in the main series entries, and would hope for a change, Adventure gameplay or not.

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On 5/20/2022 at 5:21 PM, josiahblaze said:

I don't know about this. I hate the notion that anything with the Adventure Formula has to be fun and instantly "better" than the boost formula. (The "story formula" the Adventure games used is another matter entirely.) That, and the "Adventure formula" has never been really defined. For example, I've seen some people say a game with the "Adventure Formula" has to have hub worlds, while others believe that is not necessary for an "adventure" game. (Like SA2) But I think what made the two Sonic Adventure games so special in my eyes wasn't just the formula itself, but how the physics interacted with it, and how the gameplay of the respective playable character worked off of it.

The point is, the same people who designed the gameplay of SA1 and SA2 are no longer working at Sega, which means that any attempts for modern Sega to emulate the style might end up like Sonic 4's attempt to emulate the Genesis gameplay. Or it could end up like Sonic Mania. If Sonic Forces used the Adventure Formula correctly I would probably enjoy it more. But given I'd venture to say the final game didn't even use the Boost Formula correctly, that doesn't sound like it was ever a possibility. Either way, I think the boost gameplay formula has persisted a bit long in the main series entries, and would hope for a change, Adventure gameplay or not.

It is true that Forces also isn't a very good game by the standards of the Boost gameplay, and since you mention it, yeah; it is kind of weird to declare that Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 06 utilize the Adventure formula, since back then the phrase "Sonic Adventure" was no longer being used. "Pre-Boost Era" is more descriptive, but it's not totally accurate because Sonic Rush was made during that era; also Classic Sonic was also pre-boost.

However, I think my original post outlined well what I want, but for a TL/DR format:, More involved combat, against tougher enemies, and playable characters other than Sonic, Sonic, and the Rookie.

Returning to your point about the Boost formula and its being dumbed down, it occurs to me that Sonic Team chose the absolute worst game premise to combine with gameplay overhauled to be more accessible to younger players.  I personally tend to get annoyed at series that constantly target a new influx of children at the expense of those old fans who joined when they were children, but it's an economically valid strategy.  Most series that do it, though, keep their narratives at dumb and unmenacing levels to match those children, and then there's Sonic Forces, featuring a gang of crooks giving Sonic a pretty graphic beatdown (at least by this series' standards), Infinite massacring whole villages, Tails breaking down emotionally over a friend's presumed death, a line about the majority of an army being killed, etc.  To adults this isn't a very mature story and it's not well-written enough for them to take it any more seriously than the more lighthearted stories, but it's still the sort of subject matter that can traumatize children, so why the fuck was that where they also decided to reach out to children with simplistic gameplay and ridiculously dressed OCs?  If they were going to do that premise at all, it should've been where they shot for Sonic pros with challenging gameplay that matched the high-stakes plot.

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3 minutes ago, Scritch the Cat said:

It is true that Forces also isn't a very good game by the standards of the Boost gameplay, and since you mention it, yeah; it is kind of weird to declare that Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 06 utilize the Adventure formula, since back then the phrase "Sonic Adventure" was no longer being used. "Pre-Boost Era" is more descriptive, but it's not totally accurate because Sonic Rush was made during that era; also Classic Sonic was also pre-boost.

However, I think my original post outlined well what I want, but for a TL/DR format:, More involved combat, against tougher enemies, and playable characters other than Sonic, Sonic, and the Rookie.

Returning to your point about the Boost formula and its being dumbed down, it occurs to me that Sonic Team chose the absolute worst game premise to combine with gameplay overhauled to be more accessible to younger players.  I personally tend to get annoyed at series that constantly target a new influx of children at the expose of those old fans who joined when they were children, but it's an economically valid strategy.  Most series that do it, though, keep their narratives at dumb and unmenacing levels to match those children, and then there's Sonic Forces, featuring a gang of crooks giving Sonic a pretty graphic beatdown (at least by this series' standards), Infinite massacring whole villages, Tails breaking down emotionally over a friend's presumed death, a line about the majority of an army being killed, etc.  To adults this isn't a very mature story and it's not well-written enough for them to take it any more seriously than the more lighthearted stories, but it's still the sort of subject matter that can traumatize children, so why the fuck was that where they also decided to reach out to children with simplistic gameplay and ridiculously dressed OCs?  If they were going to do that premise at all, it should've been where they shot for Sonic pros with challenging gameplay that matched the high-stakes plot.

Just to clarify gameplay=/story. One does not necessarily complement the other and vise-versa. Was that a thing here? Hard to say, I'll let you be the judge of that.  

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3 minutes ago, Zoomzeta said:

Just to clarify gameplay=/story. One does not necessarily complement the other and vise-versa. Was that a thing here? Hard to say, I'll let you be the judge of that.  

That was a thing in this case simply because the creators made a point of them reaching out to young n00bs.  They boasted about dumbing down gameplay for them.  "Story", in terms of a cohesive whole, hardly is relevant here, but when you've got descriptions and depictions of some pretty gruesome stuff, something has clearly gone wrong in what was touted as approachable to children.

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8 minutes ago, Scritch the Cat said:

That was a thing in this case simply because the creators made a point of them reaching out to young n00bs.  They boasted about dumbing down gameplay for them.  "Story", in terms of a cohesive whole, hardly is relevant here, but when you've got descriptions and depictions of some pretty gruesome stuff, something has clearly gone wrong in what was touted as approachable to children.

Fair. This was a case of trying to please everyone and pleasing nobody in the progress sadly. 

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I don't really get this obsession with "formulas". Sonic Forces was mediocre because it was conceptually flawed, just like how Sonic 06 sucked because the ideas weren't good at all. It doesn't matter what formula it'd follow, if the concept is weak and/or executed poorly, the game's gonna be bad regardless of whatever smidges of praise you can dig up for it (see Sonic 06).

Speaking of formulas, why is that even a thing? I get the reasoning behind trying to group together Sonic games based on similarities, but aside from story ties to previous games, a good chunk of games in both Adventure and Boost era could easily fit whatever definition someone has for them. SA2's Sonic/Shadow levels have way more in common with Unleashed and Forces' super linear Sonic stages than anything in SA1, Heroes, or 06. Heroes could easily be described as being similar to Colors with its cheesy lighthearted tone or even Lost World for its radically different gameplay compared to its direct predecessors and its use of Genesis era imagery (though obviously one game pulled this off way better). It's especially odd because the Boost games are pretty much a direct evolution of SA2's speed stages, just like how Rush was a direct evolution of the boost mode introduced in Advance 2.

Of course some people just stick to release dates to define formulas/eras but even that's messy since regardless of story connections or even title connections, SA1-06 are fairly different in both visuals and gameplay. SA1 is pretty much the only 3D game in the series that tries to implement gameplay similar to the Genesis titles, SA2 just ignores all that and goes straight into speed speed speed (not counting the other 2/3rds of the game of course). Heroes and 06 dip too deep into generic action-platformer elements and don't feel like anything else in the series.

I kinda went off on a random tangent but yeah, I don't really get how trying to make Forces like an Adventure game would work when there isn't even a solid definition of what an Adventure game even is.

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4 hours ago, moonarcana said:

I don't really get this obsession with "formulas". Sonic Forces was mediocre because it was conceptually flawed, just like how Sonic 06 sucked because the ideas weren't good at all. It doesn't matter what formula it'd follow, if the concept is weak and/or executed poorly, the game's gonna be bad regardless of whatever smidges of praise you can dig up for it (see Sonic 06).

Speaking of formulas, why is that even a thing? I get the reasoning behind trying to group together Sonic games based on similarities, but aside from story ties to previous games, a good chunk of games in both Adventure and Boost era could easily fit whatever definition someone has for them. SA2's Sonic/Shadow levels have way more in common with Unleashed and Forces' super linear Sonic stages than anything in SA1, Heroes, or 06. Heroes could easily be described as being similar to Colors with its cheesy lighthearted tone or even Lost World for its radically different gameplay compared to its direct predecessors and its use of Genesis era imagery (though obviously one game pulled this off way better). It's especially odd because the Boost games are pretty much a direct evolution of SA2's speed stages, just like how Rush was a direct evolution of the boost mode introduced in Advance 2.

Of course some people just stick to release dates to define formulas/eras but even that's messy since regardless of story connections or even title connections, SA1-06 are fairly different in both visuals and gameplay. SA1 is pretty much the only 3D game in the series that tries to implement gameplay similar to the Genesis titles, SA2 just ignores all that and goes straight into speed speed speed (not counting the other 2/3rds of the game of course). Heroes and 06 dip too deep into generic action-platformer elements and don't feel like anything else in the series.

I kinda went off on a random tangent but yeah, I don't really get how trying to make Forces like an Adventure game would work when there isn't even a solid definition of what an Adventure game even is.

 

And in the end, it may not matter, as the next game is seemingly going into a wholly different direction gameplay (and possibly story) wise.

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