Page 1 of 3

Of Hedgehogs and Squid

Posted: Mon May 08, 2006 7:52 pm
by Green Gibbon!
It goes without saying that the new Sonic clip recently posted on Xbox Live has incited a furor in the GHZ the likes of which hasn't been seen since Del accidentally sat on G. Silver's Kekko Kamen DVD's. It is now evident that this is neither an extension of Iizuka's bloated, out-of-control Sonic Adventure universe or a return to the series roots that I think many fans were (perhaps misguidedly) hoping for: this is the most extreme of makeovers, a highly bizarre Sonic chimera that looks like the mutated offspring of a recent era Final Fantasy and an Archie comic story arc gone totally wrong.

And here's the kicker: I think it might be drastic enough to <i>work</i>.

I don't want to go out on a limb and proclaim triumph just yet - at the moment, I find myself reeling in confusion, like one who has witnessed the birth of his first child and received news of his mother's death on the same day. The most immediately gripping shock to my system is Eggman's new look. It's grotesque. It's bizarre. Yet I don't think I can conclusively say I dislike it. Princess Elise has too much make-up and of course I can't imagine what business princesses and Iblis Triggers and froofy fantasy cities of water have in a Sonic game in the first place - but the whole thing is so bizarre and almost wickedly blasphemous I find it curiously appealing. Like nun porn or something. In light of this bloody political revolution, I don't mind the fact that the new character is a silver squid and I'm even willing to put up with Shadow (though his "Jak Xtreme" jeep is bullshit on every level).

I can't yet say whether what we're witnessing is Sonic's long overdue return to form or his final mad descent into irreversible chaos. But whichever it is, it's certainly grabbed my attention, which is already more than I was expecting.

Posted: Mon May 08, 2006 8:01 pm
by Popcorn
And yet nonetheless that pimped-out rocket-powered battle jeep should not be there

Posted: Mon May 08, 2006 8:25 pm
by Green Gibbon!
Y'know, the hope I have stems, ironically enough, from total wild abandon. It's like the development staff sold all their worldly possessions then just ran naked and homeless through the streets screaming "woo-hoo!" the whole time. And perhaps as a result of this flagrant disregard and irresponsibility, they'll whip up something natural and maybe even awesome.

Yet that damned jeep, more than any other thing, keeps nagging at the back of my mind like the last echo of reason in my psyche telling me, "Seriously dude, it's just over, let it go."

I rather hope that seed doesn't sprout. Maybe the jeep gets blown up after like, 15 seconds or something and it's used to escalate Shadow into an altogether different scenario in some way that wouldn't be possible otherwise, or maybe they'll be making some kind of Kojima-esque self-referencing joke about the stupidity that was the Shadow game, or even modern platformers in general.

But my reason is probably right.

Posted: Mon May 08, 2006 8:36 pm
by Frieza2000
I agree with you in concept that something drastic like this could work. But I just don't see anything here to indicate that Sonic Team has learned its lesson. Just about every screenshot we've seen so far has had pits in it, and level design is this game's last line of defense because the story concept has about as much potential for success as Shadow's did.

In any event, you've calmed me down. After I saw that Eggman it felt like a part of me was dead for 3 hours, though it didn't seem so appalling when I finally saw it in motion.

Posted: Mon May 08, 2006 8:48 pm
by Green Gibbon!
I'm just saying that if there is any chance in the universe of this working, they may have chosen the right approach. It's so far out of left field it could be just what the doctor ordered. Maybe not - probably not, even - but the fact that they've got balls enough to risk alienating pretty much the entire Sonic fanbase is something I applaud.

My God hath set me free

Posted: Mon May 08, 2006 9:36 pm
by Frieza2000
I don't think that they think they're alienating anybody. A more realistic Sonic and RPG elements, which is what it sounds like this is pushing as it's obligatory gameplay advancement, are just the kind of things the fan community has been asking for. They've been doing their own RPGs since Adventure, and this angel-paladin-of-light character emanates answers to the mysteries they've been begging for. The fact that Shadow is a main character just about announces that they're indulging their fans.

But I like the spin you've put on this. Maybe it's the Hearts of Space soundtrack I've got playing in the background, but it's brought me peace. I'm gonna wait this one out with you guys. Not with hope or any particular expectation. The series I grew up with is gone and this new one will never have the magic I loved it for. Nor will I wait with the sadistic anticipation I had for Shadow, but with...with that wide eyed sense of detached wonder in the face of something wholly new, no longer burdened with the worry of the series' future or its conflict with my own preexisting interpretation of it. An ending most likely, but an ending approached as a beginning...

...yeah. It must be the music.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 5:11 am
by Professor Machenstein
From how I see it, this should be the end-all be-all of current Sonic games. Again, that is why I made my Sonic Adventure 3 conclusion from earlier. I am still trying to find out what SONICTEAM wants to accomplish with this new direction. As evident, they are not going back to the roots, but something else, something hidden. It would make me feel a whole lot better if SONICTEAM would just tell us straight what it is. It would much ease my confusion.

Maybe SONICTEAM wants to test their new engine with this title first before restoring the series to its once quirkly world. Can you imagine an old-school Sonic game, in 3D, with the classic, round, black-eyed Sonic, with cute forest animals, zany animal robots, abstract, quirky environments, happy techno music, cell-shaded graphics, etcetera, etcetera... but with camera problems, collision detection issues, crap programming and the same technical problems the other 3D Sonic games have suffered from? SONICTEAM needs to polish their programming skills first before ever thinking about touching the classic Sonic we all know and love. This new Sonic game is the perfect opportunity to meet that intent.

I know it. This is an era of experimentation. Maybe they are bringing the series back to its roots, but in another way; to make this game wrap up the Dreamcast era of Sonic in favor of an all new, yet familiar, Sonic. I hope so. If I was running the series at this point, that is what I would do.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 12:21 pm
by Double-S-
I don't see why/how cel-shaded graphics are needed for an old-school style 3D Sonic game.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 12:25 pm
by Professor Machenstein
Well, I browse around various game-related message boards on occasion, so when I see members depict their ideal classic Sonic game in 3D, they always include cell-shaded graphics. No idea why, but it seems somewhat logical.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 4:06 pm
by Zarathustra
Well, I browse around various game-related message boards on occasion, so when I see members depict their ideal classic Sonic game in 3D, they always include cell-shaded graphics. No idea why, but it seems somewhat logical.
I don't quite really know why, but cel-shaded Sonic = Sonic Shuffle for me... must be a trauma of sorts.

About the game, take yourselves a little moment, and think about Sonic & Knuckles being the last true SONICTEAM-brand Sonic game... then, immediately recall your memories about the Sonic Adventure Intro.
Now, tell me, weren't you all FUCKING SHOCKED? When I was exposed to this piece of CG cinematic for the first time, I was.

Now, check again the teaser. Isn't it almost the same feeling, sans the existence of Shadow the Hedgehog almost announcing something like this?

Again I say, it's only 30-40 seconds of SUPPOSEDLY real gameplay (what worries me the most), we still don't know a fuck about the finished product... we must try and wait 'till E3 finally ends, or something explodes on SEGA's booth. Or both.

EDIT: Off-topic, someone was "OH-MY-GOD!"'d about Sonic's speed in this video... I'm sorry I've to tell you it's still not as fucking-fast as Burnout +_+

Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 5:03 pm
by SegaSonic
Really, Sonic aint all about speed.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 5:16 pm
by Light Speed
Green Gibbon! wrote:Yet that damned jeep, more than any other thing, keeps nagging at the back of my mind like the last echo of reason in my psyche telling me, "Seriously dude, it's just over, let it go."
Yeah, I think I just let it go. I'll buy and play and beat it, but I've pretty much decided it is over. I'm tired of getting exciting over Sonic games. I did however kind of like Eggmans new look.

By the way, it is fucking CEL-shading, not cell!

Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 5:42 pm
by SegaSonic
For me, Sonic is half dead at the moment...reason being that 4kIDS sucks and I have to import now.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 8:53 pm
by Ritz
Man, what is with you? You post a single trivial statement, wait for someone else to post and then you go right back at it, with the following post usually bearing little to no relevance to the post before it. Instead of littering topics with junk, just compress everything you have to say into one lengthy summary and get it over with.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 9:38 pm
by Professor Machenstein
Also, SegaSonic, if you hate the 4KIDS voice acting so much, consider yourself lucky because now each of the new generation consoles use full size disks, meaning that SONICTEAM can now fit the Japanese voice track in with the English voice track again.

Back on the original subject, after reading 1UP's E3 impressions, I have just decided to give up too. Allow me to quote myself from another message board.
I wrote:Great. The gaming community will now continue to bitch about things that are in almost every other 3D franchise. As long as Sonic is in 3D, there will be bottomless pits. Oh fucking well. Let there be no anticipation for this game whatsoever, all thanks to SONICTEAM developing this game during Shadow the Hedgehog's development. Everyone pops boners when they see Super Mario Galaxy, but God forbid there is any hope for the Sonic franchise to work in 3D. I give up. Everyone will conclude SONICTEAM has not learned their lesson as this game started development before SONICTEAM had anything to learn, I will have to endure another year of disappointment as SONICTEAM releases a game that is not of our expectations whatsoever and I will continue my stroll down various message boards as the notion that "the franchise is dead" will remain dominant in Sonic-related threads everywhere for another year as everyone will continue to pop boners for the next Metal Gear Solid or Zelda game, and I continue to envy every other franchise that is not Sonic forever.

Nobody ever wants to fulfill my hopes. Ever. Why do I keep dreaming for the well-being of another when nobody is willing to even fulfill that? Have we lost faith in ourselves as a society that much when we cannot even wish for the well-being of others without meeting disappoint too? Even something commercial such as a video game series? I really wish I could just spontaneously die right now, but that would only make things more dire. Thank you, SONICTEAM, for promising what you clearly cannot deliver just to crush our anticipation right when you finally reveal new information after eight fucking months. I still wish the best of luck for this... this... SONIC ADVENTURE 3... but if the past is any indication, it will take more than wishing to make this game as good as it needs to be.
I apologize if that sounded a little emo on my part, but I cannot stand it anymore. I will still be a Sonic fan, I still wish the best for Sonic Adventure 3, but nobody is ever willing to make things better. It will be the same old shit since 2003. SONICTEAM better reveal something fucking miraculous for this game to make me feel any better about the possibility that this game will not be embarrassing to own at the least.

Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 11:35 pm
by Frieza2000
Just so you don't feel lonely, I'ma embarrass myself too.
Condensed for your ignoring pleasure wrote:For my part in promoting this masochism, I apologize. I had my own reasons for hoping the series would fail that I've since overcome and I'm sorry if I darkened your perspective of the community. I know it's no consolation, but getting what I wanted didn't feel like I expected it would. I thought I'd do a quiet little victory dance but instead I felt more angry and dead inside that I thought I was still capable of feeling for this series, and when I saw everyone praising it on the news board I felt totally abandoned. But then I took a step back and let go of the things I could never bring myself to let go of, and I think you should too. Hold on to your fandom if it's good, but loosen your grip. Don't subject yourself to anxiety like this for another whole year.

There may never be another good Sonic game again. And even if there is, all things must end. "If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all. Let be." You said before that you'd take the good games and ignore the bad. That's a healthy attitude that I'm ready to accept now. Don't go switching places with me.

I didn't really want this. I didn't want to see Sonic irrevocably defiled or the community miserable or your hopes crushed. What I wanted was the strength to let go, because I had to, because I was holding on too tight. Maybe you are too.

I guess this brings our yearlong...rivalry, or whatever, to a close. As climactic an ending as I could have asked for. A little depressing, but I keep seeing a sunrise. I've enjoyed your outlook. It was fun and enlightening.
And seeing as you had probably calmed down before you even logged back on I'll just hide in a corner now, unwilling to stop myself from posting this despite all logic.

Posted: Wed May 10, 2006 6:02 am
by Tsuyoshi-kun
Why is everyone getting excited about the new Zelda game, anyway? It's more or less A Link To The Past in 3-D with a wolf and some other elements from Ocarina of Time, the only Zelda game I've ever liked. Ever.

Posted: Wed May 10, 2006 9:54 am
by Professor Machenstein
Frieza2000 wrote:Just so you don't feel lonely, I'ma embarrass myself too.


And seeing as you had probably calmed down before you even logged back on I'll just hide in a corner now, unwilling to stop myself from posting this despite all logic.
It is not your fault. I darkened my perspective. I darkened it by caring so much about what other people think, so much that I am practically conforming with everyone else. I keep losing sleep over what some asshat at Gaming-Age says, so this whole matter is just caffeinated angst.

I also do not understand how a company can make so many mistakes with such a perfect character. I could write an entire novel listing every single one of them. It baffles me to no end. It is as if they are doing it on purpose, not out of error.

Anyway, thank you, Frieza, for listening. I must loosen my attachment for the series. It will make any upcoming release much less painful. If the series happened to end because an irreversible vortex of suck, I will let it end, let it go, for I have no choice in the matter anyway. I need to leave for a moment, so I have nothing further to say. Good day.

Posted: Wed May 10, 2006 12:07 pm
by BlazeHedgehog
They really aren't alienating anybody over Sonic 2k6 anymore than they did over the original Sonic Adventure. Remember that? Remember retarded people with "Anti-Sonic Adventure" banners on their websites? People wondering why they needed to re-invent Sonic when the classic games were still so great? It's the entire reason the fangame, SRB2, was ever even born: A chance to do a 3D Sonic game in the classic style. No homing attack, no light dash, no long quills, classic style and classic gameplay, translated into 3D as best as some amateurs could do. (How well they succeeded, however, is not up for debate)

It's the same concept here. They're hoping to get another Sonic Adventure by starting fresh again. And it shows: When you get down to brass tacks, the plot for Sonic 2k6 simultaneously rips off the Sonic OVA, Sonic Adventure, and Sonic Adventure 2, and compacts it into a mish mash. You've got your elemental-based destructive monster, a kidnapped princess, and a mysterious and powerful new Anti-Sonic with unknown intentions.

The problem is, Sonic Adventure was great because it had heart. It had care and love poured into it, collision detection bugs and horrible voice acting be damned. They were entering a new dimension for Sonic, and that made it okay to forgive the mistakes they made: This was Sonic's first time stepping in to 3D, and there were moments they got right.

Sonic 2k6 doesn't show they've really taken any time to re-imagine how Sonic should work in 3D. For all the hope they gave us from initial press releases, saying Sonic would be re-born for the next generation, a lot of what they've shown us has been trite and predictable. This isn't a re-birth, and it's not even a re-envisioning; it's a re-tread. It's the same game from 1999, with most of the same flaws, wrapped in a different visual style.

Homing attack this, grind that, watch the camera have a seizure as Sonic does some really cool scripted move that you aren't physically controlling yourself. Fight with the twitchy controls. Do a sequence of actions wrong - and you find yourself at the bottom of a very deep pit, with one less life.

Sonicteam hasn't learned. Sonicteam isn't even trying. When Sonicteam said in September '05 this would be the rebirth of Sonic, I expected them to take a year or two off as they re-evaluated Sonic's core gameplay. Instead they give me a game that will be released in time for Sonic's 15th Anniversary; a game that, when you consider it's first appearance as what was then said to be just a tech demo and nothing more, seems to have been developed in less time than Shadow the Hedgehog. Doesn't that fill you with dread?

The more and more I think about this game, the more and more my optimism for the title begins to dwindle.

I really, really want to like this game. Maybe The GHZ's blinding cynicism is rubbing off on me a little too much and I'm overreacting. But I expected a game that actually had some thought put into it. Instead I get a game I've already played masquerading as something new.

The question becomes, then: Is that such a bad thing? Can I really stomach another Sonic platformer, warts and all? The answer? Probably. As depressing as that can be, the return of mechanics from the original Sonic Adventure is enough to keep my interest, even at minimal levels. Sometimes being a die-hard Sonic fan is really pathetic, that way. Whether or not that's enough to make this a good game remains to be seen.

Posted: Wed May 10, 2006 4:06 pm
by Arcade
Ok, here is the big one, since Sonic adventure(That is still the best Sonic 3D game ever) has been at least one good Sonic game?. Or did that Sonic team USA that created Sonic adventure 2 cursed us to not seeing a good Sonic game ever again?.

Posted: Wed May 10, 2006 10:40 pm
by FlashTHD
Remember how Sega of America over-hyped Heroes and got everyone all excited over what turned out in the end to be another experiment with the core gameplay? I wouldn't put it past them to be doing this again now. Gibbon's right that this isn't an entire game based on "the roots", but the only major way that this is a reinvention is on an asthetic level. It's a medley of ideas old and new.

Both of the terms that the marketing departments are pushing carry no weight, and I fail to understand why you're all taking them to heart so deeply. Did someone of importance developing the game ever explicitly say that it was either one of those titles? If so, it's slipped past me or i've forgotten. (Don't say Naka. You all know how much you trust him.)

Posted: Thu May 11, 2006 9:26 am
by Frieza2000
When they said back to their roots, I think they ment in comparison to the then upcoming Shadow game.

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 2:29 pm
by Zarathustra
When they said it was returning to the roots, I also imagined little production details as music (Masato Nakamura), and concept art (Naoto Ohshima), I can't stop amazing me how much stupid I am.

Also, here's some little piece of memories modding:

EDIT: And also

Posted: Sun May 14, 2006 5:36 am
by j-man
I generally hate the awkward, garish mish-mash affairs that fangames usually present, but that Retro-Sonic was some good shit. Did they give up on that?

When Sega mentioned returning Sonic to his roots, it's weird how suddenly everyone assumes they're going to make Sonic 1 in 3D or something. It's the reason why Sonic Robo Blast (stupid name) didn't work; you can't just "make" a 2D game into 3D. As game mechanics change, so do the concepts in order to fit. Unfortunately, wiping the slate clean is not on the cards; we already have an established series, with established characters and established ideas. Yeah, they can transplant Sonic into a new world, with new challenges, new enemies and so on, but you have to understand two things. Firstly, that old faces (in this case, Shadow) are going to turn up, because like it or not that is obviously what the masses want. Secondly, they can reinvent the art style, environments, whatever, but it's still going to play like Sonic Adventure because that is what 3D Sonic games are.

Until they invent another dimension or virtual reality or something, we're going to be playing variations on the base Sonic Adventure formula, much in the same way that Sonic 1 was Sonic 2 was Sonic 3. All we can hope for is a logical progression of solving the problems and issues people raised with the previous games. If they fix what's broken, no matter if you don't like Silver the Hedgehog, you have to give them credit for that at least.

Posted: Sun May 14, 2006 9:21 am
by BlazeHedgehog
RetroSonic... nobody actually knows. Taxman, it's creator, kind of faded away - he turns up every now and then, but last we saw him he was in the process of re-coding RetroSonic's code base to allow more flexebility.

He has also toted other projects, such as a Direct3D Sonic platformer which looked similiar to what would happen if you crossed SRB2 with Super Monkey Ball. Unfortunately I think that was the last thing he shown around before he vanished again. He has a "life" and suchlike now, I guess.
When Sega mentioned returning Sonic to his roots, it's weird how suddenly everyone assumes they're going to make Sonic 1 in 3D or something. It's the reason why Sonic Robo Blast (stupid name) didn't work; you can't just "make" a 2D game into 3D.
In retrospect it was just the same old tune, but worded in a new way. Rather than the usual, "We're bringing Sonic back to his roots" broken record, it was "We're dumping everything we've done for the last 14 years on this franchise and we're starting from square one all over again, as if this were the original Sonic the Hedgehog on the Genesis."

I assumed, rightfully so, that this would mean reconsidering what people didn't like about the Sonic Franchise, especially the 3D games. It took them 2-3 years of screwing around with concepts just to figure out the original Sonic Adventure, and I kind of expected the same thing, here.

I didn't expect Sonic 1 reborn in 3D; but I didn't expect Sonic Adventure 3, either. I expected a quality re-evaluation of the Sonic franchise - not another "Better hurry up and shovel the game out for next Christmas" title. "Quality over quantity" and all that nonsense. This is not a good way for Sonicteam to keep fans. "We're going to reboot the franchise, but we're totally not going to put any real thought into it and instead we'll just give you the same game you've been playing since 1999." I expected more good ideas than bad.

I'm not going to look a gift-horse in the mouth, of course, but Sonic 2k6 is less of a gameplay change than even Sonic Heroes - the changes in Sonic 2k6 (compared to Sonic Adventure games) are like the changes you see between games like Madden 2006 and Madden 2007. Unfortunately, Sonic doesn't quite have the "yearly update" appeal that Madden does.

I don't think I'm asking too much.