New Sonic game for 2015

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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby G.Silver » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:30 am

Silv, obviously there are always times to make exceptions, for stylistic reasons or fashion or function whatever else. I do it all the time in my own work. But that just isn't the case with Sonic. He had pink arms for one reason only, and that was readability, not appeal. Same-coloured arms make more sense from a design and appeal perspective, which is why every single other character in the franchise has them, as does every other classic "rubber hose" character than served as inspiration for him. The blue arms only bother us -- and I am including myself in this group too, they drive me mental -- because we're so used to the pink ones, and because the blue ones were such a common colouring error.


But at this point in time, it isn't just readability, it's because it has been that way and obviously to us, having such a strong reaction, changing the arms to blue is anti-appeal. Plus there's another reason that pink arms could have been selected initially: a rare concession to what hedgehogs actually look like:

Image

Now consider a design where his hind legs are also pink! Hideous!

And of course, Amy remains the other exception, whose "pink" (not bright pink like her body) arms were not initially needed for readability because 1. She wasn't a playable character and 2. She wore clothes (and still does). Maybe Sonic Team didn't want to change her design, but she (and Sonic) kept their arm color while Shadow and Silver, both "hedgehogs," didn't play by those rules. Maybe Sonic's arms were pink for readability, but besides the perks that Smile mentioned, playing off their own established designs can create interesting results: Both Silver and Shadow are kind of mysterious characters, and by changing their arm color (also un-naked bellies) they emphasize their foreign quality against Sonic's (and Amy's) familiarity.

I am less bothered by the blue arms than I am the idea that they are blue now because that's what they "should have been" from the beginning, because that's "the rules." That's stupid. (Not as stupid as thinking that "Pants Sonic" is a really good idea, but..) Anyway the point of this is that there are reasons to keep the pink arms besides readability and "design rules" and also I am an adult making a passionate argument about the color of a cartoon character's arms so maybe I should have just typed the whole thing in caps and complete the god damn transformation already.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Frieza2000 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:05 pm

Yami CJMErl wrote:they recently changed ALL THE CANON following the Sonic/MegaMan crossover because ken penders


I went to go look up what this was about and stumbled on this supposed insider leak from 2012 about a 2014 Sonic reboot being under consideration. It says that nothing was off the table and specifically mentions a new cartoon and an open-world or open-world-inspired game. It also mentions a Skylanders-style toy scheme. At Nintendo's investor briefing last month Iwata said that they intended to "make full use" of the WiiU's NFC capability this year and Miyamoto affirmed it's where "we're putting our priorities right now." Sonic Boom is a WiiU/3DS exclusive, so this may in fact be a thing.

Then I looked at the front page of TSSZ where 'a reliable source' (doesn't say if it's the same one) is saying Sonic Boom is slated to become the main series canon and will in effect be a reboot unless everyone hates it.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Crazy Penguin » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:48 pm

I'd always assumed the reason Shadow has red stripes on his arms, legs and spikes was so they'd still be easily readable when there was any overlap - especially important with a primarily black colour scheme. Foregoing the tan arms and tummy in the first place was likely just an easy way to make him look less of a Sonic recolour.

Now consider a design where his hind legs are also pink! Hideous!


That happened in an entire 7 page Sonic the Comic story once!

Image

:(
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Popcorn » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:49 pm

Esrever wrote:Smile, I am glad Sonic's peach arms give you all those emotional feelings and insights about his character and personality, but I guarantee you none of that was even remotely intentional and the reason they are peach is actually really honestly truly just so you could see them better. This is also true of Mario and Megaman and many other classic game characters. It was never a deliberate design choice. Mario wouldn't even have overalls at all if it hadn't been necessary on a pixel level.


Who cares what was intentional? Death of the author, motherfucker.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Rob-Bert » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:18 pm

...Would this be a bad time to mention that I actually despise the concept of "death of the author"? I'm gonna take Esrever's side on this one.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Popcorn » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:04 pm

If we were only going to take on board the author's intent, then my grandad singing racist songs about nig-nogs isn't actually offensive.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Malchik » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:11 pm

Tsuyoshi-kun wrote:There is one other nice thing about the new designs that no one has noted yet - the hands. They shrunk them, and I'm glad they did so.

YOU'RE RIGHT!

Thank fucking God. They got ridiculously big by the time of Heroes and 06.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Dr. BUGMAN » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:47 pm

Esrever wrote:Well, Shadow and Silver have terrible character designs


I mean, look at this render from Generations, if Shadow isn't posed just so he turns into Hot Topic Felix:

Image

I also remembered that Vector had contrasting arms but looking at his official art it was something Uekawa added, oddly enough (they weren't contrasting even in his Sonic Band debut), further adding to fact he's the one character that actually improves with each redesign. (His arms are body colored in the 2012 Olympic tie-in, but that seems to have been a one-time error)

G.Silver wrote:Image

Readability vs Appeal!


BTW what was the first image of (it won't load for me)?
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Esrever » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:58 pm

That Shadow render is great because it's a perfect example of a bad, poor-reading pose for his design. His left arm is totally lost in front of his headspines like that.

Look, I'm not saying Sonic's arms should have been blue from the beginning or that they were wrong before. I'm saying the pink arms made more sense with the old wide-bodied, long-spined Sonic and the blue arms make more sense with this skinny one. This design is being used in an animated show where he moves through poses very quickly, so fast and easy readability is critical. Arms that are always on top of the body read easier when they are a different colour. But arms that protrude out broadly from a skinnier, ganglier design are easily lost if they're a different colour... making them blue makes the posing clearer and the silhouette stronger.

It's animation! There are rules. You weigh 'em and decide when they are or aren't worth following. With this design, I can see why they felt the gains of the blue arms (cleaner look and readability) outweigh the losses (looks weird to fans in their 20s and 30s.) I don't know why they didn't change Amy's, too. They would look better if they had.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Malchik » Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:49 pm

Esrever wrote:I don't know why they didn't change Amy's, too. They would look better if they had.

She looks more naked. Wink wink.

Though her new artwork demonstrates why she needs flesh colored eyelids. To make her semi-closed eyelids apparent, they had to give her brow a distinct contrast that almost looks like a head piece or something that can be lifted off. In fact, it kind of hints that maybe her lids fold up under her brow. That, too, was a reason to why they made Sonic's original eyelids flesh colored. Also it's weird for human-like eyelids to have fur. Unless Sonic is actually nude and his skin is just blue.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby G.Silver » Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:49 pm

Dr. BUGMAN wrote:BTW what was the first image of (it won't load for me)?


It's the "Speedwalking" episode of Malcom in the Middle.

Esrever wrote:I don't know why they didn't change Amy's, too. They would look better if they had.


Besides the reason we're all thinking, if we're going with "what works" does her arm color even matter (to an extent) when her silhouette is already broken up by her clothing? When all three colors on her (clothes, skin, fur) are not that far apart from one another does it make any difference?
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Yami CJMErl » Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:17 am

Frieza2000 wrote:
Yami CJMErl wrote:they recently changed ALL THE CANON following the Sonic/MegaMan crossover because ken penders


I went to go look up what this was about and stumbled on this supposed insider leak from 2012 about a 2014 Sonic reboot being under consideration. It says that nothing was off the table and specifically mentions a new cartoon and an open-world or open-world-inspired game. It also mentions a Skylanders-style toy scheme. At Nintendo's investor briefing last month Iwata said that they intended to "make full use" of the WiiU's NFC capability this year and Miyamoto affirmed it's where "we're putting our priorities right now." Sonic Boom is a WiiU/3DS exclusive, so this may in fact be a thing.

Then I looked at the front page of TSSZ where 'a reliable source' (doesn't say if it's the same one) is saying Sonic Boom is slated to become the main series canon and will in effect be a reboot unless everyone hates it.

ugh, tssz

Also, I was referring to the canon of just the Archie comics, not the SEGA games. Long story short: at the end of the "Worlds Collide" crossover, Sonic's about to use Chaos Control to reset everything back to normal, but Eggman goes full desperation and interrupts the process, leading to the entire comicbook's previously-established multiverse collapsing (save for Blaze's dimension) and everyone outside of the most core characters (the Freedom Fighters, etc.) having never even possibly existing. Also all the non-game characters got massive redesigns to fit a more game-esque aesthetic.

Although I don't DOUBT that if this new "side story" stuff proves to be mega-popular, it could possibly end up being absorbed into (or even eclipsing/replacing!) the main Sonic Team games.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Frieza2000 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:55 am

Crisis of Infinite Sonics? Ha! Really though, I'm sure they're happy to have an excuse to get rid of all of that baggage.

TSSZ went on to report the official position that there will be two continuities. The truth is probably what Esrever surmised, that they're hedging their bets and ready to go wherever the money leads them.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby big_smile » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:27 pm

I was going to post a bunch of reasons as to why the visibility argument doesn't apply to Sonic (such as the Mega Drive offering more graphical scope than the NES [that forced Mario to have different coloured arms] and the fact both Metal and Mechanical Sonic have arms that match their body). However, I was looking at the Sonic sprite, and I think Esrever is probably right, although the photo Silv posted has got me unsure again.

Frieza2000 wrote: The truth is probably what Esrever surmised, that they're hedging their bets and ready to go wherever the money leads them.


Unlikely. Barring a few notable exceptions, SoJ hasn't released any Western developed games since Sonic R and so will probably keep Boom as a side project.

I’ve always thought it odd that Japanese 6-year-olds can identify a Western game (especially as titles such as Sonic Rivals follow the Japanese art style). However, the Japanese release of Sonic Chronicles bombed spectacularly, barely selling 5,000 copies.

Plus, Sega has had a history of running multiple Sonic franchises (e.g. Sonic Riders, Sonic Storybook, Sonic 4). The only difference now is that Boom is a new continuity. Like I said earlier, I think having two franchises lets Sega milk it without damaging the integrity of the brand.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby big_smile » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:31 pm

At the event, Sega revealed some of the story lines for the show:

Among those unexpected places? In one episode, Sonic fires Tails as his gadget guru, amid fears for his safety. (Dr. Eggman applies for the job.) In another, Knuckles becomes mayor. And Dr. Eggman, frustrated at constantly losing his battles with Sonic, fakes an injury and takes the Hedgehog to court.


I know these are only early outlines, but given the gang's new nomadic look, I was hoping the show would focus on exploring new worlds (especially as Amy is an archaeologist).
This seems to be more of that "frustrated modern life" humour that Pontac insists on putting in the games.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Rob-Bert » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:45 pm

big_smile wrote:especially as Amy is an archaeologist


...she is?
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Crazy Penguin » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:12 pm

Sonic, Tails and Amy shrink themselves to fight a virus inside Knuckles' body. Eggman creates a device that turns everyone into kids. Sonic and Amy switch jobs to see who really has it harder. During a bout of low self esteem, Tails is shown what it would be like if he never existed. Amy is set to inherit a fortune, but first of all the gang must spend a night in a haunted house. Sonic and co find themselves in an alternate universe, where Sonic is a bad guy and Dr Eggman is the hero! After standing up to a the toughest outlaw in town, Sonic becomes the new sheriff. After Sonic destroys Eggman's base, the two of them are forced to live together for a week. Knuckles invites everyone to his beach house for summer vacation. After promising to see a baseball game with Knuckles and go to the prom with Amy, Sonic has to be in two places at once. After breaking his leg, Tails finds himself in a parody of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Dr. BUGMAN » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:01 pm

I wanna belabor the "concepts brought on from limitations" argument! (Not out of obstinate contrariness, but because this kinda stuff occupies, like, 97% of my thinkspace.)

Charles Schulz has gone on record that Peanuts' aesthetic was born out of necessity of the limited space of his strip (in historical context: more than today, but much less than George Herriman and Winsor McCay had). Now, the strip was influential for other things, but the fact it lives on primarily through merchandise attests to its visual appeal, notably in Japan. That's not to say that Krazy Kat and Little Nemo deserve to languish in obscurity (quite the contrary), but it's kinda cavalier to dismiss the appeal of designs as a means to a limited ends. Surely Bomberman, who's games were never more than "meh", would be as enduring as he is if not for being both distinctly and appealingly designed (and admittedly heavily marketed) for a dinky little 8-bit system.

Esrever wrote:Arms that are always on top of the body read easier when they are a different colour. But arms that protrude out broadly from a skinnier, ganglier design are easily lost if they're a different colour...


Image
Image

(ok now i'm being contrarian :P)

P.S. that was terrific, CP.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Frieza2000 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:35 pm

big_smile wrote:Unlikely. Barring a few notable exceptions, SoJ hasn't released any Western developed games since Sonic R and so will probably keep Boom as a side project.


I'd readily agree in a better financial climate, but at this point I don't think Sega-Sammy will allow Sonic Team to do anything they perceive as being less than the best thing for their bottom line. However, I would agree that it's unlikely that focusing exclusively on The Completely Mental Misadventures of Blue-arms the Hedgehog will ever be the most profitable approach. In fact if they don't drop the WiiU exclusivity it may not do well enough to merit a sequel.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby G.Silver » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:37 pm

I have to admit that kooky plots like these are the thing I'm most excited about for the franchise.

big_smile wrote:I’ve always thought it odd that Japanese 6-year-olds can identify a Western game (especially as titles such as Sonic Rivals follow the Japanese art style).


I must have missed this article? Where can I read more about this?
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby CM August » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:55 pm

big_smile wrote:I know these are only early outlines, but given the gang's new nomadic look, I was hoping the show would focus on exploring new worlds (especially as Amy is an archaeologist).
This seems to be more of that "frustrated modern life" humour that Pontac insists on putting in the games.

Quite. I doubt this "hilarious" direction is what the character designer had in mind. They were clearly made for the videogame and not the other way around.

Considering how much Sega is hedging on this western push, their approach with this new show is a bit surprising, as it runs the risk of being labeled the dreaded L-word: Lame.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Wombatwarlord777 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:18 pm

The main problem I suppose I have with the new designs with respect to the television show is something that everybody's alluded to already: The new designs convey a definite tone, that of grittiness or danger, which might be great for an adventure- or action-based show but are jarring and distracting in a comedy. The first time I watched the Sonic Boom cartoon trailer, the thing I remembered the most is that Tails sure had a lot of crap strapped onto his body.

That's the advantage of the older designs: They're so uncomplicated that they're basically blank slates, so you can throw them into a comedic or a serious situation and they have at least a chance of meshing with the scene. Somebody once pointed out that Dr. Eggman in Sonic X had an excellent range of tone, swinging from hilariously daft to deadly serious easily. All of the previous designs had that capacity more or less.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Esrever » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:36 am

Woody's arms ARE the same colour as his body! He's just also wearing a vest, because it's important he look like a cowboy. Popeye was created for a black and white comic strip; he has wide white arms because they go in front of his solid black shirt all the time. (As do the arms of the main character in my own comic, lol.)

Every animated and illustrative format introduces limitations... on design, or complexity, or colour scheme, or any other number of things. Old 2D sprite games had loads of 'em. But so do modern 3D games and CG cartoons. I'm just tryin' to point out what the reason for this design's choices might be... they are working with their own set of limitations and needs and probably trying to make the most logical choices/tradeoffs.

Silv, I agree that Amy's arms remain pink probably due to, well, design sexism. It's true that her clothes chop off her limbs anyway, but making her upper arms that light colour when her lower arms and all of her legs are dark is just kind of weird and busy.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby big_smile » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:20 pm

Rob-Bert wrote:
...she is?


Yes, in Sonic Boom, she's an archaeologist:

Tails has engineering googles and a tool belt to denote his status as the group's Mr. Fixit and Amy is now the group archaeologist, with knowledge of the new areas the team is exploring. Dr. Eggman is back, but his design hasn't changed much.


I must have missed this article? Where can I read more about this?

It's not a fact, just a hunch. 6 to 11 years olds a Sonic's target market and Sega hasn't released any Western games in Japan (even emulator collections such as Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection haven't been released). Presumably, SoJ must feel that the kids can spot a Western game just by looking at it. Whatever their reasoning, the fact that Chronicles was a flop, despite being an RPG on the popular DS platform is a sign that they are right.
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Re: New Sonic game for 2015

Postby Frieza2000 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:22 am

Somewhere along the way I started looking at the game as a plug for the show and associated merchandise, but hearing that the game is the backstory for the show and the show itself will have no plot advancement whatsoever straightens it out for me. It also raises a thought that probably should've been obvious: there's no way they've invested a whole animated series for a return on one or two games. In fact, I'm betting they've decided to arc a developing story across a series of games. Ken Pontac's probably got a rough outline for at least the next two Boom titles. That would be the first time we've gotten that kind of continuity since...ever, actually. The closest they've ever gotten to doing that was Sonic3&K and that doesn't really count. But it must be recalled that they'd obviously planned to do the same thing with Chronicles and that didn't work out. There were also 4 episodes of Sonic 4 in the works and that only got as far as two. The money will talk, but if Sonic 4 got 2 games to try to get it right then I'd expect Boom to get at least as many.

G.Silver wrote:I have to admit that kooky plots like these are the thing I'm most excited about for the franchise.


I'd actually feel the same way if they were being written by anybody other than Pontac. The cast has always had great potential for all sorts of entertaining situations, but we've never gotten many of the silly and light-hearted variety that weren't embarrassing to watch. So they can compare this to The Regular Show until they're blue in the face, but unless that guy's been holding way back for the last few years then we already know what to expect. But shows like these usually have more than one writer, so maybe there's hope.

I applaud them expanding Amy's character into something more than Sonic's groupie, though (as one of a cast of 4 they kind of had to). I always thought it was a waste that all of her "I need to be more independent" stuff at the end of SA1 was immediately forgotten. But after having stalker Amy for all of these years, I wonder if it'll feel like the same character.
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