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News Analysis Sonic Games will now be "In development for longer for quality reasons"

Dec 25, 2018
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That is according to Aaron Webber, Sonic the Hedgehog's Brand Manager of SEGA of America!

"During a livestream on the official Sonic the Hedgehog Youtube channel, brand manager Aaron Webber discussed the longer development cycle of the upcoming Sonic game and answered other fan questions. Essentially, the goal is to improve the overall quality of games. "

"This is the case when, back in the day, every year there used to be a new Sonic game. And as a result of that, there are a number of times that because of that rushed production schedule, the quality of the games wouldn’t be quite where they needed to be. And so, a couple of years ago we actually said, “Hey, that’s gonna change, we’re gonna put more time into things.” And that’s gonna mean that you have to wait longer between trailers and announcements and stuff like that, and we know that’s kinda annoying sometimes. We’re really excited for what’s to come, but we can’t say anything. So thank you for being patient, and as soon we have news to share with you, we’ll share it with you. "



Via Siliconera

Some more information as well:

SEGA UK's QA Team is moving to Bulgaria over 2 years - BREXIT!
 
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ShirAhava

Plays with kids toys, in the adult gaming world
Jun 10, 2008
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Dev time isn't the issue with modern Sonic games

They don't need more time to polish turds they need to not make turds in the first place

Sonic Forces is inherently blah all the time in the world wouldn't have helped that game

They need to start over with a new team with passion, creativity and skill
 
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Dec 12, 2018
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I an not sure why Forced ended up like it did. I mean they already had made good games using the same idea with Generations, Colors and the day stages of Unleashed.
 

Saber

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Telling fans that you spend 4 years when you actually just used 2 making a garbage Sonic game is not gonna help your case lmao

I'm aways happy that they gonna give more time to making and polishing their game but frankly, this time do it for real. Also, ditch this entire Sonic Team. They're already outdated in Sonic business. You need a new, fresh team with commitment for Sonic games. Not a bunch of losers that can't even level design properly.
 

BlackTron

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Jun 30, 2016
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I was saying Sonic needs to ditch Sonic Team since before my balls dropped.

Now I have my first few gray hairs, and I'm still saying it.
 
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LordKasual

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Jul 28, 2016
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Modern Sonic Team is a group of either trash developers or trash management, or both.

It doesn't matter how long they cook their turds, i have no faith that they'll come out as anything other than mediocre.

They're a studio completely lacking ambition these days, and it shows.


I've never seen a company butcher/ignore/completely misunderstand such a SIMPLISTIC fucking formula for so many decades without at the very least settling on something. It's just pure incompetence and i don't know how anyone could get excited for Sonic these days.
 
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Panajev2001a

GAF's Pleasant Genius
Jun 7, 2004
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Modern Sonic Team is a group of either trash developers or trash management, or both.

It doesn't matter how long they cook their turds, i have no faith that they'll come out as anything other than mediocre.

They're a studio completely lacking ambition these days, and it shows.


I've never seen a company butcher/ignore/completely misunderstand such a SIMPLISTIC fucking formula for so many decades without at the very least settling on something. It's just pure incompetence and i don't know how anyone could get excited for Sonic these days.

The thing they are afraid of is to completely reinvent their 3D titles, this is not restricting Sonic to 2D... they could make it but the audience for it I think it is still limited, as what they and their audience got themselves into is difficult to even do well when they do not fuck the concept up (like recently).

The 3D concept of Sonic evolved into a platforming game focusing on traversal speed first and foremost, but this way you create massive lots of miles long levels with enough details not to be mocked by people in screenshots if the character ever stops which makes production absurdly long (they must be doing or building up complex procedural layout tools). It seems like people expect long levels (they take more five minutes to beat) and have tons of varied ones too.

One way they tried to contain the problem was to increase replay-ability by treating a level as an obstacle course You are supposed to race in and actually try to do more and more laps to improve your time and unlock content: most of the wider audience you need to make money in rejected this (lots of gamers do not replay things as much as they claim, you can check titles Achievements / Trophies rarity to see the difference from the posturing and the doing).
 
Aug 5, 2009
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The last few Sonic 3D games have been very good. A remake of Sonic Adv and a sequel to Sonic Generation's would be really something. Hoping the Hedgehog tech really makes good use of the next gen systems
 

cireza

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They are quite hard on themselves honestly. Most of the recent Sonic games have been pretty great.

Sonic Unleashed, Colours, Generation, Lost World were all great, fun games. Forces is also quite fun, even if it is the least interesting in terms of level-design. Forces had some great finish though.
Sumo Digital's output on the three racing games has been excellent, they are all great games.
Never played Mario & Sonic, but I guess they are probably fine games.
Sonic Mania was also a great game, even if it does not advance us anywhere in terms of 2D games, unlike the Rush titles that were at least full of ideas with a new 2D boost gameplay.

I am confident in their capacity to make a great 3D game.

If you want a game every year, you need at least 4 teams working on the series, that's all. You can make a 2D game, a 3D game, a party game and a racing game (or other game) every 4 years. Sounds reasonable to me.
 
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Aug 5, 2009
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They are quite hard on themselves honestly. Most of the recent Sonic games have been pretty great.

Sonic Unleashed, Colours, Generation, Lost World were all great, fun games. Forces is also quite fun, even if it is the least interesting in terms of level-design. Forces had some great finish though.
Sumo Digital's output on the three racing games has been excellent, they are all great games.
Never played Mario & Sonic, but I guess they are probably fine games.
Sonic Mania was also a great game, even if it does not advance us anywhere in terms of 2D games, unlike the Rush titles that were at least full of ideas with a new 2D boost gameplay.

I am confident in their capacity to make a great 3D game.

If you want a game every year, you need at least 4 teams working on the series, that's all. You can make a 2D game, a 3D game, a party game and a racing game (or other game) every 4 years. Sounds reasonable to me.

Great post. To be fair I think Sonic Forces had over 3 years of development, and while a great game, it was a step backwards from Gen and the boost levels too short. I also wish Sonic Team would drop the need for new characters and just make a Sonic game only with Sonic playable
 
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Peenolia010

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I always thought the issues with Sonic going 3D were because of the difficulty of creating that same sense of speed combined with polish that the 2D games had. The story or lack there of could use some work as well no?
 
H

hariseldon

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Mario made the transition to 3D far better than Sonic did and the reason, quite simply, is speed, in that sonic has too much of it. In 2D that’s ok, you can pinball around, but for 3D it’s just not so effective, the difficulty in controlling a character in 3D space at speed takes away the thrill of motion. Until they can find a way to fix that they’re only going to have success with the nostalgic 2D stuff and the kart games.
 
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Dec 25, 2018
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It's funny how SEGA of America's Sonic Branding Manager is saying this and at the same time mocks the enture franchise daily on Twitter (whether it is just light jabs or not is irrelevant).

Honestly, I hope Sonic Team are sweating over their next game as the likes of Yakuza, Puyo Puyo and even Persona, a franchise they have recently added to their protfolio is upsurping Sonic's sales that it should give them a good incentive to make a better game and not experiment all the time.


I am very sceptical of SEGA's QA team being moved to Bulgaria as well. The UK team seem to be pretty decent when they look over their European Studios games so I wonder if it is due to Brexit. (SEGA Europe say it isn't)
 

Grinchy

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I just don't know if there even exists a compelling 3D formula for the Sonic franchise.

Mario nailed it on its first try. Two decades later, SEGA still hasn't put a single good one out. Maybe 3D just doesn't work for Sonic without some massive fundamental changes.
 
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H

hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
It's funny how SEGA of America's Sonic Branding Manager is saying this and at the same time mocks the enture franchise daily on Twitter (whether it is just light jabs or not is irrelevant).

Honestly, I hope Sonic Team are sweating over their next game as the likes of Yakuza, Puyo Puyo and even Persona, a franchise they have recently added to their protfolio is upsurping Sonic's sales that it should give them a good incentive to make a better game and not experiment all the time.


I am very sceptical of SEGA's QA team being moved to Bulgaria as well. The UK team seem to be pretty decent when they look over their European Studios games so I wonder if it is due to Brexit. (SEGA Europe say it isn't)

Generally you outsource to places like Bulgaria to get shit done cheap. It invariably goes badly.
 
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SonicJams

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I get they dont want to disclose any information prematurely, but i wish we would get confirmation on whether or not it will still utilise the boost gameplay. That way we can tamper our expectations accordingly.
 
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Celcius

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At this point just remake Sonic Adventure 1 and 2. If they sell well then go ahead and try to make a sonic adventure 3.
 
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Kokoloko85

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Just give us sonic mania 2.
while taking a few years to make a quality Sonic Adventure 3 that will blow our minds
 
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Aug 28, 2019
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Telling fans that you spend 4 years when you actually just used 2 making a garbage Sonic game is not gonna help your case lmao

I'm aways happy that they gonna give more time to making and polishing their game but frankly, this time do it for real. Also, ditch this entire Sonic Team. They're already outdated in Sonic business. You need a new, fresh team with commitment for Sonic games. Not a bunch of losers that can't even level design properly.

Whoa whoa whoa! Slow down, chief.

I used to think Sonic Team was the problem, too. But considering they can still make good games that AREN'T Sonic, I think it's a case of the team being burnt out on the IP. I mean, these are same guys that made Phantasy Star Online 1 and 2, and Puyo Puyo Tetris. They're still a talented team but put a talented group on something they're burnt out on and they will probably not give the best work.

Personally I think the best way for Sonic is for SEGA to organize a new team (one of the issues with Sonic games and Sonic Team is having the wrong people in the wrong positions leading the projects), and one of the outside studios they've collabed with in the past, like the one that made Sonic Mania. More time will definitely help.

I think they have a golden opportunity thanks to the movie resonating so well, and they don't want to waste the good will and potential it's brought to the IP. That means some quality time on the next game and polishing the shit outta it.

Mario made the transition to 3D far better than Sonic did and the reason, quite simply, is speed, in that sonic has too much of it. In 2D that’s ok, you can pinball around, but for 3D it’s just not so effective, the difficulty in controlling a character in 3D space at speed takes away the thrill of motion. Until they can find a way to fix that they’re only going to have success with the nostalgic 2D stuff and the kart games.

Weird thing is, I think the 3D world sections in Sonic Jam would've been the perfect speed for a proper 3D Sonic. Maybe make them a tad faster, and give an illusion of greater speed for players who earned the skill to do it, like in the classic games. Rather than handing out big speed like candy as the 3D Sonics eventually did.

Maybe if they focused on the speedy sections in levels with more gradual curves, and gave some degree of manual precision in speed settings the player could go in, like manual transmission in racing games. Give Sonic controls analogous to a racing game but tuned to a physics model that makes sense for him, that way even at high speeds you don't need to worry about a slight tap on the stick jutting you off-course (speaking of which, why not for those parts just put invisible barriers to prevent players from falling off?).

They have had answers to this problem for decades now but since they throw out the foundation almost every other 3D game, they never iterate on the basics/foundational footprints so they can be polished over time. Even for the Mario games, when most consider 64 having nailed Mario in 3D perfectly, those have gone through an evolution in terms of his physics and controls that are subtle, yet you can definitely tell the difference playing something like Odyssey and 64 back-to-back. They wouldn't have been able to get there if they kept throwing out the foundation with each new entry the way SEGA does with 3D Sonic, though.
 
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royox

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Just do a sequel to Mania and get rid of the requirements to bring back older stages.

Wouldn't mind to play old Sonic Chaos stages if we have new stages + new bosses and new zones.
That game was so freaking good.
 
Dec 12, 2018
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I just don't know if there even exists a compelling 3D formula for the Sonic franchise.

Mario nailed it on its first try. Two decades later, SEGA still hasn't put a single good one out. Maybe 3D just doesn't work for Sonic without some massive fundamental changes.
The Boost games are great, except Forces that tried to simplify it to much and just lacks decent level design.
 

LordKasual

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The thing they are afraid of is to completely reinvent their 3D titles, this is not restricting Sonic to 2D... they could make it but the audience for it I think it is still limited, as what they and their audience got themselves into is difficult to even do well when they do not fuck the concept up (like recently).

The 3D concept of Sonic evolved into a platforming game focusing on traversal speed first and foremost, but this way you create massive lots of miles long levels with enough details not to be mocked by people in screenshots if the character ever stops which makes production absurdly long (they must be doing or building up complex procedural layout tools). It seems like people expect long levels (they take more five minutes to beat) and have tons of varied ones too.

One way they tried to contain the problem was to increase replay-ability by treating a level as an obstacle course You are supposed to race in and actually try to do more and more laps to improve your time and unlock content: most of the wider audience you need to make money in rejected this (lots of gamers do not replay things as much as they claim, you can check titles Achievements / Trophies rarity to see the difference from the posturing and the doing).

The problem with this is that these are the same kind of development complaints you hear from a company like Square Enix, who also has glaring management issues. They complain about the product they "have to make" but seem completely unable to simply alter the formula into something that doesn't overreach the development studio. The modern sonic design issue isn't actually a design issue. It's a competence issue. What's happening is that modern Sonic Team isn't designing games, they're compiling Sonic tropes that "work" and gluing them together in hopes that they'll create a product that people actually like.

But that doesn't work with platformers. Platformers need to be very deliberately designed and evolve correctly in order to feel interesting from start to finish, and THAT is where Sonic has been failing.

Whatever is happening behind closed doors, it's obvious that Sonic Team no longer has the agency to sit down at a cutting room floor and actually make internal, informed decisions on what works, what doesn't, what needs to stay, and what needs to be altered.

It instead seems like every Sonic game is the result of someone holding a meeting and saying:


"They loved the boost and hated not playing as sonic. Also, Mario Galaxy is really popular. Also, people still really loved "Classical Sonic" gameplay, whatever that means, so be sure to put him in.. Also, can we create our own furry this time? Awesome."

"....Oh yeah, and our budget is 1/2 of what it was last time, and we need this done from start-to-finish in 9 months. HAHAHA no, don't ever think of asking for delays. Just reuse assets from the last one."

"New engine? Fuck you, you've got 2 months to repurpose the old one. Not enough time? Fine don't change it, just port it."
 
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Saber

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Whoa whoa whoa! Slow down, chief.

I used to think Sonic Team was the problem, too. But considering they can still make good games that AREN'T Sonic, I think it's a case of the team being burnt out on the IP. I mean, these are same guys that made Phantasy Star Online 1 and 2, and Puyo Puyo Tetris. They're still a talented team but put a talented group on something they're burnt out on and they will probably not give the best work.

Personally I think the best way for Sonic is for SEGA to organize a new team (one of the issues with Sonic games and Sonic Team is having the wrong people in the wrong positions leading the projects), and one of the outside studios they've collabed with in the past, like the one that made Sonic Mania. More time will definitely help.

I think they have a golden opportunity thanks to the movie resonating so well, and they don't want to waste the good will and potential it's brought to the IP. That means some quality time on the next game and polishing the shit outta it.

Them separate them from Sonic related games.

We're not talking about simple games or other names that don't push any numbers. We're talking about Sonic here, big name, big stuff comparable even to Mario(at least it was). They need to know to use 100% of their effort doing their signature games.

I'm telling you that because Sonic Forces was a joke. Like, really a joke of game. And now that I think about it, I don't think time will fix their way to make games.
The movie was really a strike in the right place though. I could even risk myself saying that the guy behind Sonic's voice in the film could actually do a way better work than Sonic's current voice. But like Mania was good, Forces put Sonic moral down again so the thing they should not do right now is doing bad lazy games and risk losing a bit of momentum.
 
Dec 25, 2018
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Didn't they help in establishing Sakura Wars? Maybe that break away from Sonic may have helped them think of better ideas for their Engine.

The levels don't need to be huge, just make the levels compact (Box like) with different areas filled to the brim inside it so Sonic goes up, down, around and back to get to his goal. The Level design itself can be a problem as you whizz past them and they easily become forgettable.

Enemies need to be a little more than cannon fodder now as I don't like the Homing Attack at all despite understanding that they need some kind of auto aim to take them out.

I don't know where Sonic Team can take Sonic these days but it is best to stick to 2D as the 3D never seems to work.
 

Miles708

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I just don't know if there even exists a compelling 3D formula for the Sonic franchise.

Mario nailed it on its first try. Two decades later, SEGA still hasn't put a single good one out. Maybe 3D just doesn't work for Sonic without some massive fundamental changes.

The funniest thing is that they really nailed it with the first Sonic Adventure, back in 1998.
It nailed everything:
  • it has the platforms, the interesting sections, the well-thought level design
  • it has the speed, the exploration, the variations in pacing
  • it has the carefully placed and diversified enemies
  • it had the variations in gameplay, the snowboard, the kart, the flipper, the hanging from giant stalactities
and I'm talking about the Sonic part.

The only (big) problem in that game were the collisions, that essentially worked 2 times out of 3.
I've recently replayed it on Dreamcast (subsequent ports are more or less all worse in one or more aspects) and it was a breath of fresh air.
All they need to do is go back there, analyze what worked, what didn't, and finally expand on it. That's what the universe wanted and that's why the universe keeps punishing us all.

I really hope the rumors about the Sonic Adventure remake are true.
 

Grinchy

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The funniest thing is that they really nailed it with the first Sonic Adventure, back in 1998.
It nailed everything:
  • it has the platforms, the interesting sections, the well-thought level design
  • it has the speed, the exploration, the variations in pacing
  • it has the carefully placed and diversified enemies
  • it had the variations in gameplay, the snowboard, the kart, the flipper, the hanging from giant stalactities
and I'm talking about the Sonic part.

The only (big) problem in that game were the collisions, that essentially worked 2 times out of 3.
I've recently replayed it on Dreamcast (subsequent ports are more or less all worse in one or more aspects) and it was a breath of fresh air.
All they need to do is go back there, analyze what worked, what didn't, and finally expand on it. That's what the universe wanted and that's why the universe keeps punishing us all.

I really hope the rumors about the Sonic Adventure remake are true.
I wish I agreed, but even as someone who bought a Dreamcast with this game on day 1 with hard-earned teenage work money and gleeful excitement, I was massively let down.

Even the hype of a brand new Sega console on a well marketed date of 9/9/99 couldn't hide how little substance that game had. I do not think Sonic Adventure was a good game at all. I'm glad others like it, but I still haven't seen a 3D Sonic that was compelling to me.
 

Vawn

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I never felt the games were bad because they were rushed. I felt they were bad because they were designed poorly from the start and a lack of talent. I'm doubting longer dev cycles will result in Sonic reaching high quality - especially in the 3D space.
 
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Miles708

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I wish I agreed, but even as someone who bought a Dreamcast with this game on day 1 with hard-earned teenage work money and gleeful excitement, I was massively let down.

Even the hype of a brand new Sega console on a well marketed date of 9/9/99 couldn't hide how little substance that game had. I do not think Sonic Adventure was a good game at all. I'm glad others like it, but I still haven't seen a 3D Sonic that was compelling to me.

That's fair.
I guess that, what I really wanted to say is that I hope they would go back to having an actual level design, as opposed to racing circuits to boost on. Level design takes time, so I welcome this news.

Back to the Sonic cycle, I guess.
 
Dec 12, 2018
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I don't care what anyone says, the boost games nail it. Adventure style is fine too but I feel like they need a lot of rework to be still as enjoyable. 06 was basically Adventure 3. So there is that..
 
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