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A hypothetical Sonic Adventure 2 remake discussion


JezMM
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So this status by @TheOcelot got me thinking about the idea of a SA2 remake.  To my surprise, the only thread I could find on the subject was in 2014 - 8 years is time enough to have fresh input even from those who did partake in the discussion at the time.

Now, the obvious things that come to mind are what one would change about the gameplay or visuals, but the thing that stirred up my imagination enough to make a thread was this.

Would it be worth changing the ending (and/or story generally)?

The ending was a big deal in the original, a product of it's time, where Shadow was intended to be a one-time character.  But would it hit the same now, knowing that Shadow survives quite handily and eventually even discards his past?  Would it be worth taking a "nothing is precious" approach to the story and rework something so whatever action Shadow performs at the end is still meaningful and hits a strong emotional beat, but doesn't depend on his death to deliver the gut punch?

The simple solution might be a new post-credits stinger of his body being recovered by Eggman's robots, but I think this would dampen the mood of the original ending a bit if otherwise it was unchanged.  There's also the argument that the fact that he DID survive doesn't outweigh the meaning of his willingness to sacrifice the last of his strength to stop the ARK.  I'm not about to play fanfic writer but I feel like there's some vague potential to add to his backstory with Maria, flesh out their relationships and viewpoints on life that they shared, and add something somewhere that could tie into what Shadow has to do to fulfill her wish without necessarily dying to give it narrative weight.

Just kinda wonder what other people are thinking on this idea.

 

(As an aside: There's also the question of whether we keep all the crappy Black Arms lore Shadow the Hedgehog added quietly out-of-sight-but-not-contradicted, concretely alluded to just to tie things together better, or use the opportunity to outright retcon those elements and declare ShTH non-canon (only issue here is that you'd then have to remake Heroes too, otherwise it gets caught in the crossfire and has to be declared non-canon as well, since Heroes and ShTH are so closely tied together themselves).)

 

If the above doesn't interest you though, feel free to just go ahead and post whatever burning ideas about a potential SA2 remake do matter to you! Gameplay-wise, I think maybe perhaps the Kart stages shouldn't be absolute dogshit to control, but that's just a crazy idea of mine.

 

The only thing I will say is that the discussion of whether a SA2 remake should be made or not isn't really what we're going for here, especially in a "no they should make new games instead, remaking is a waste of time" kinda argument.  You may well be totally correct, but this thread isn't advocating for a remake, just discussing what you'd like to see if, like it or lump it, there was to be one.

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Shadow has become such a staple to this franchise that the idea of killing him off doesn't really feel believable anymore. In 2001, his character was fresh enough where the idea of him dying held much more weight because we the audience had no idea where the character would go post-SA2 and his popularity wasn't established yet.

Nowadays, he has as much plot armor as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles do. You know nothing is going to happen to him anymore. So I feel like trying to play up his death is misguided because his survival is guaranteed now. 

Besides, it's not merely his death that mattered but the effect it had on the rest of the cast, namelely Sonic. Even if you know he survives, you still have that ending of all of the cast reflecting on the events.

 

 

But I feel the biggest problem with SA2 is that it plays out like a finale of sorts, like it was meant to be the last Sonic game ever made and that obviously isn't true. It kind of dampens the mood of the game a bit when you know the status quo snaps right back to normal in Sonic Heroes, with Shadow's amnesia essentially reseting his character back to square 1.

So I'm torn on an SA2 remake just being a point for point remake of the original knowing full well it won't hit has hard or the game just doing its own thing ala Final Fantasy Remake.

 

 

EDIT: You know, thinking about further. Seeing how the third Sonic movie will likely be a very loose adaptation of Sonic Adventure 2, a game remake should probably stick as close the original as possible if not an outright remaster instead.

Having two Adventure 2 adaptations that deviate so far from the original is likely to turn people off from them.

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In this hypothetical scenario I've always been a fan of changing the ending, but my idea is risky in that it contradicts Heroes, so fans might feel alienated for little emotional benefit if the new ending if a flop. 

 

So you all will be my test dummies: is this change worth throwing the literary genius of Sonic Heroes under the bus?

 

But here's my pitch: Sonic Adventure 2 Remake should, ideally, put more emphasis on Maria as a character along with her relationship to Shadow. Emphasis should be put on her desire to see the world from her glass cage. 

Being an expert on artificial life, one of the ways Gerald chose to quell her desires was artificial bio-mes resembling places on earth. Maria isn't satisfied with them though and Shadow, ever floored by his creator's genius, can't fathom why. It's just about the only bit of friction between the two. 

But Maria has been to earth before. Even in a completely convincing scenario, she can see the strings. The little ways the dome breaks from reality. The places where it ends and the cold interior of the ark take back over. The lack of true peers to share it with beyond Shadow. 

"It's not even half as good as the real thing. You'll see."

The ending plays out as normal, but post credits we see Shadow, scarred and beaten, but still alive emerge from a crater in the ground. He digs himself out and looks across the horizon: lush greens coated in sunlight. In the distance you can see a city celebrating the heroes's victory, guaranteeing another day on earth. 

Shadow has spent plenty of time on earth since resurrection, but only now, mind cleared from the fog of revenge and cynicism, can he see it's beauty with fresh eyes. It's even more beautiful than anything Gerald created, but unbound in terms of scope and filled with others to share it all with. 

"I get it." He whispers to himself. Subtlety was never a strong suit for this game. Why start now? 

He rushes off into the distance, eager to embrace his newfound freedom to fufil his lost friend's will: "Give them a chance to be happy." 

 

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this is pure speculation but I always felt like Shadow's death in SA2 was kind of written as a metaphor for SEGA almost dying in the early 2000's. I don't know why but SA2 really feels as if it was made to be the last Sonic game ever.

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22 minutes ago, Wraith said:

In this hypothetical scenario I've always been a fan of changing the ending, but my idea is risky in that it contradicts Heroes, so fans might feel alienated for little emotional benefits if the new ending if a flop. 

 

So you all will be my test dummies: is this change worth throwing the literary genius of Sonic Heroes under the bus?

 

But here's my pitch: Sonic Adventure 2 Remake should, ideally, put more emphasis on Maria as a character along with her relationship to Shadow. Emphasis should be put on her desire to see the world from her glass cage. 

Being an expert on artificial life, one of the ways Gerald chose to quell her desires was artificial biomes resembling places on earth. Maria isn't satisfied with them though and Shadow, ever floored by his creator's genius, can't fathom why. It's just about the only bit of friction between the two. 

But Maria has been to earth before. Even in a completely convincing scenario, she can see the strings. The little ways the dome breaks from reality. The places where it ends and the cold interior of the ark take back over. The lack of true peers to share it with beyond Shadow. 

"It's not even half as good as the real thing. You'll see."

The ending plays out as normal, but post credits we see Shadow, scarred amd beaten, but still alive emerge from a crater in the ground. He digs himself out and looks across the horizon: lush greens coated in sunlight. In the distance you can see a city celebrating the heroes's victory, guaranteeing another day on earth. 

Shadow has spent plenty of time on earth since resurrection, but only now, mind cleared from the fog of revenge and cynicism, can he see it's beauty with fresh eyes. It's even more beautiful than anything Gerald created, but unbound in terms of scope and filled with others to share it all with. 

"I get it." He whispers to himself. Subtlety was never a strong suit for this game. Why start now? 

He rushes off into the distance, eager to embrace his newfound freedom to fufil his lost friend's will: "Give them a chance to be happy." 

 

You know if we're going to flesh out Shadow and Maria's relationship a bit then I feel its much more important for Shadow's redemption to be of his own choice as opposed to misremembering Maria's wish and then just changing his mind when he realized what she actually wanted.

Its one of my biggest pet peeves of his face turn, and one that ironically his own game addresses amongst its myriad of problems.

 

Id say nix the plot point of Gerald messing with Shadow's memories and just have Shadow be so consumed by grief that he willingly goes along with Gerald's plan and its only after some reflection with Amy and letting go of his hatred that he realizes that that he's wrong and then opts to help the heroes of his own accord as opposed to it coming across that he just changed his mind at the last second.

It helps tie your ending much better when Shadow can fully see the world's beauty when he's no longer a raging ball of angst.

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If there was an SA2 remaster/remake (with the 3rd movie coming out, that might not be a bad idea) I'd say it's best to stick close to the original but polish up a lot of the base mechanics and level design to make them more accessible to a wider range of players. 

Knuckles should have a larger moveset from the get go, so he doesn't need to rely so much on RNG to get diversity out of the treasure hunting. And the emerald radar should be changed back to SA1's radar, but the early levels should all be larger to compensate for the improved system. 

The mech needs a mechanical overhaul just to make it less brain dead at low level gameplay while giving it more platforming nuance. 

But that's just some ideas I think could happen with a remake. Especially with the 3rd movie coming out, they should largely stick to the original and refine it, rather than redefine it. The film universe is already gonna do that. 

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If we're talking story changes what I'd like to see is, if not an explicit answer, at least some hints as to why Sonic and Shadow are similar. It was kind of a big deal early in the story, with Eggman and Amy, characters who should absolutely know better, mistaking Shadow for Sonic, GUN mistaking or (IMO more likely) framing Sonic, and their whole "faker"-based rivalry, but after Prison Island it entirely vanishes from the story. Even Sonic using Chaos Control ends up being about doing it with a fake emerald rather than the fact that he can do it at all.

Though with my luck we'd probably get that old Sonic X theory where Sonic was another Project Shadow prototype, which I honestly hate. So maybe it's better not to mess with it.

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Honestly I feel SA2 has aged pretty badly. The best thing would be to go the the Ratchet 2016 route and reimagine the game entirely. Update the game's mechanics to mesh more with Sonic's traditonal gameplay, and add some new levels so Sonic has more prominence in the game. He was playable in only eight of the games thirty two stages IIRC.

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12 minutes ago, mayday2592 said:

Honestly I feel SA2 has aged pretty badly. The best thing would be to go the the Ratchet 2016 route and reimagine the game entirely. Update the game's mechanics to mesh more with Sonic's traditonal gameplay, and add some new levels so Sonic has more prominence in the game. He was playable in only eight of the games thirty two stages IIRC.

I can't help but feel that should be applied to Shadow more than Sonic. As far as we know, Shadow's stages may have been appropriated Sonic levels. But even then, that may be investing too much time in just adding more to the stuff people like about the game already rather than fixing the more glaring issues. 

I can't imagine any hypothetical remake will have a huge amount of time to cook in the oven if Pat Casey and Josh Miller's intentions of the 3rd movie coming out in 2024 are to be believed. So refining what is  there may be the better idea. 

Edit: Though one idea could be to repurpose the pointless racing stages into Shadow and Sonic levels. 

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44 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

If we're talking story changes what I'd like to see is, if not an explicit answer, at least some hints as to why Sonic and Shadow are similar. It was kind of a big deal early in the story, with Eggman and Amy, characters who should absolutely know better, mistaking Shadow for Sonic, GUN mistaking or (IMO more likely) framing Sonic, and their whole "faker"-based rivalry, but after Prison Island it entirely vanishes from the story. Even Sonic using Chaos Control ends up being about doing it with a fake emerald rather than the fact that he can do it at all.

Though with my luck we'd probably get that old Sonic X theory where Sonic was another Project Shadow prototype, which I honestly hate. So maybe it's better not to mess with it.

I feel like that plot point was a holdover when Shadow's intial design looked nearly identical to Sonic and they changed Shadow's design to what it is now after the story script had already been finalized.

Leaving that situation where the characters talk about a resemblance that is only vaguely there.

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2 hours ago, Kuzu said:

You know if we're going to flesh out Shadow and Maria's relationship a bit then I feel its much more important for Shadow's redemption to be of his own choice as opposed to misremembering Maria's wish and then just changing his mind when he realized what she actually wanted.

Its one of my biggest pet peeves of his face turn, and one that ironically his own game addresses amongst its myriad of problems.

 

Id say nix the plot point of Gerald messing with Shadow's memories and just have Shadow be so consumed by grief that he willingly goes along with Gerald's plan and its only after some reflection with Amy and letting go of his hatred that he realizes that that he's wrong and then opts to help the heroes of his own accord as opposed to it coming across that he just changed his mind at the last second.

It helps tie your ending much better when Shadow can fully see the world's beauty when he's no longer a raging ball of angst.

Gerald tampering with his memories to make him a more potent weapon is something I'm fine with, but I can also see the case for changing it. It depends on how maliciously you want to paint Gerald. Him and Maria are both pretty bland characters in the original script so any additional wrinkle I could use, I would.

I think you can make it more believable by reframing it so that he doesn't remember everything about her clearly. Make it hinge less on one line and more on having an incomplete picture paired with grief.

 

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38 minutes ago, Wraith said:

Gerald tampering with his memories to make him a more potent weapon is something I'm fine with, but I can also see the case for changing it. It depends on how maliciously you want to paint Gerald. Him and Maria are both pretty bland characters in the original script so any additional wrinkle I could use, I would.

I think you can make it more believable by reframing it so that he doesn't remember everything about her clearly. Make it hinge less on one line and more on having an incomplete picture paired with grief.

 

I feel like the focus should remain on Shadow's actions and motivations, with Gerald and Maria serving as the catalyst for those.

Gerald at his core decided that the world needed to go after he was unfairly persecuted, while Maria bore no ill will towards her killers and simply wished they could live on as she knows them.

Shadow's motivations at first lean towards Gerald's since he's angry and confused given he watched Maria die and was powerless to stop it despite being created as a means of helping her. 

 

I feel like Gerald himself was mostly fine in the original script, since his character mostly exists to inform the audience of Shadow's goals in the end. A tragic figure for sure, but one who went completely off the deep end in his grief; Gerald is who Shadow could have ended up as had he let his anger and grief consume him like it did his creator. Its only by his connection towards Maria and understanding her POV that Shadow decides to move past his grief and realize the error of his ways and make amends for his and Gerald's actions.

Remember his line if he's the one who finishes off the final boss? "I must destroy all of the evil the professor has created"

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Regarding the whole raid on Space Colony ARK, what if it's portrayed more as a tactical blunder akin to the Waco siege? (Which would possibly mean the scientists onboard the ARK would be shown in a much more negative light)

Not to mention the whole idea of the government believing that Project Shadow might be a danger to mankind being a result of misinformation? You know, like the misinformation leading up to the Iraq War?

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I honestly don't have a problem with the reason Sonic and Shadow looking alike being that they're just hedgehogs. I dunno. Maybe that's hedgehog-ist but it's one of those fantasy element things that I'm cool with. 

I'd do less "changes" and just more clarifying of things though. Things that are unexplained aren't necessarily plot holes because finding out why a certain thing happens doesn't necessarily change the course of events but it would be nice to get an explanation of how Gerald imputed the "kill everyone on Earth" plan from his cell on Prison Island and what exactly was the deal with Shadow's memory and what not. 

Also, it might be cute to do a little post credits thing where we see what robot Eggman used to save Shadow and how he did it. You zoom in on his back when Shadow starts to fall and you see him pressing a call button for one of his robots or something. 

The thing I'd want the most, really, is just to see those cutscenes re-animated. Re-animated WELL and not whatever Sonic Forces was doing with it's compressed as shit garbage. 

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