Reasonable Assessment: Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 Deserve Remakes

Reasonable Assessment: Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 Deserve Remakes

by May 17, 2017 50 comments

Here’s a game for you. 1) Go to YouTube. 2) Click on any video related to Sonic The Hedgehog. 3) In the comments, count how many times you see this:

“The Adventure games were good. SEGA needs to return to the Adventure games.”

 

Sonic Adventure

Let’s get one thing straight.  If there is any Sonic games that deserve to be remade, it’s the Sonic Adventure games.

You know what people like more than their favorite games? Their favorite games only better: Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy, Ocarina of Time 3D, Resident Evil HD, Rachet & Clank, Metroid: Zero Mission, Super Mario 64DS. Remakes of beloved classic games have been both well-received and successful. It is absolutely a viable business avenue for a gaming publisher/developer in 2017. Just the sheer hype surrounding the Final Fantasy VII remake is a convincing argument, and that game’s not even released yet! The concept and promise of such a game alone can pierce deeply.

The great thing about remakes is that they show you the game as you remember it, not as it actually is. The time and context in which a game was released is important; what was cutting edge in 1998 or 2001 may not look so hot in 2017. I think it can be valuable to update past games to modern standards, introducing them to a new generation of players and reaffirming them to those who grew up with them. The flaws of Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 are flaws of their era, leading lots of people to endlessly complain about how those games “haven’t aged well,” and render them irrelevant games. But hindsight is not that cut-and-dry, now is it?

We can forgive games like Ocarina of Time (which is just as much a product-of-its-time as the Adventure games) because we’ve seen their sequels. You can play Ocarina without incident because you know that Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword exist. You’ve seen that same general gameplay style & mechanics refined and polished over literal decades, with better graphics each time. But Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 don’t have that luxury. That gameplay style exists frozen in 2001, caught in a fixed point of growth. Heck, if anything, the closest thing we got to another adventure game, Sonic 06, did the opposite of growth, which certainly doesn’t help.

I think YouTuber ShayMay put it best when he was comparing Super Mario 64 to Sonic Adventure. “Mario 64 was refined and its good points accentuated in its sequels….When I go back to replay Mario 64, I am able to look past a lot of its more archaic design choices, because I know that they are refined and fixed going forwards.  It’s a product of its time that has since had its kinks ironed out.”

Sonic Adventure 2

So what better way to silence this tired “hasn’t-aged-well” hive-mind narrative than by giving these games the update they deserve? Show these smug and pretentious pundits what these games meant to us during their respective launch. Iron the kinks. Polish the presentation. Make it look and feel the way we remember it in the context of the era. Don’t give us half-baked ports to PSN and XBLA that fix none of the flaws, pacing, and sound mixing. I’m talking about a ground-up remake.

There is so much love for the Adventure era; there is no doubt in my mind these remasters would sell like hotcakes. There are multiple online communities dedicated entirely to this specific era of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and most of them have been asking for a “Sonic Adventure 3” for years. On the subject of SA3, it should be stated that making a brand-new game that attempts to recapture a specific era of Sonic is harder than it sounds. Heck, Sega tried to do this for Classic Sonic with Sonic 4 and failed. It took a second attempt with a different set of hands to give us Sonic Mania. As such, I think it’d be infinitely less dangerous to give us SA1/SA2 remastered, instead of an all-new SA3. While it’s a safer solution, it’s also still an effective solution, as it would still represent the Adventure era and would undoubtedly sell well. It’s low risk, high-reward (that combo doesn’t happen often). Shoot, the existence of a remastered Chao Garden alone is enough to justify it.

Heck, the demand is so strong that fan are attempting to do it themselves, with the #SARemastered project. The project’s twitter has over 1k followers, despite there not being a single second of gameplay footage to back it up. Again, the mere concept sells itself.

Despite the sudden trend to diminish their impact, the Sonic Adventure games are still viewed favorably by many, many people, even those that haven’t played a Sonic in years! I think an overwhelming chunk of the Sonic fanbase enjoyed the Adventure games at the time of their release, and would love to see those games get the update they deserve. Who knows, it could even bring back those who have left the series. By not remaking Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, Sega is missing a big opportunity. That’s my reasonable assessment.


 

Bonus Round
Today, I’d like to introduce a new segment called Bonus Round.

This article is about the general idea and necessity of remaking SA1/SA2. I purposely did not go into specifics, because that could take up another article on its own. But I’m curious you to hear your ideas. Let me know what you think. If these games were to be remastered,

1) How would you want to see the Chao Gardens expanded upon?
2) What could be done to Big the Cat’s stages to make him less boring? Should he get cut?
3) What developer/team would you hire to create these remakes? (it can be Sonic Team or someone else).

I’ll compile your comments and see if we come up with a follow up article, based on your suggestions. I’ve never done before, so let’s try it. Could be fun!

 


Noah Copeland is a somewhat interesting human. He makes music, makes films, and stands at exactly average height. You can follow him on Twitter @NoahCopeland

50 Comments so far

  1. shihe
    #1 shihe 18 May, 2017, 21:29

    I don’t need to read the article to have an answer to this one! (But I of course did otherwise it’d be pretty douchey of me).

    Yes. Most definitely yes. And before stumbling upon this article, I was watching the fan-made recreations of scenes from Adventure 1 and 2.

    And it’s more than just to shut the people who say that “it has aged” (and let’s be honest… it has, but that doesn’t make it less entertaining? Although it kind of makes you wish the gameplay was a little less clunky after playing for extended periods of time), it deserves to be remade because it was a pivot in the franchise that deserves to be preserved as well as it can.

    Now, Sonic 4 was handled by Dimps, which IMO at least did a decent job at “trying” to recreate classic style physics (came pretty close with Generations 3DS), but still wasn’t a sequel by a long shot. But if you’ve played more 2D Sonic than the just the Genesis classics, you’ll find there are many layers of Classic Sonic you can play. (Game Gear, Advance, Rush, etc).

    Don’t be surprised if Sonic Team doesn’t have what it takes to recreate Adventure 1 / 2, and they remake Sonic stages into Boost stages. rehash Werehog mechanics into treasure hunting with more brawling, and introduce yet another NEW gameplay to replace someone else.. because they don’t have the same passion fans do.

    But, I hope they do remake them, and that they treat the project with care. And THEN, depending on their success, make Sonic Adventure 3.

    As for other games that deserve remakes..? Well… I have a ton.

    To begin with, GAME GEAR Sonic games!
    I even have a pretty extended concept here: http://diegichigo.deviantart.com/art/GG-Sonic-FULL-STUFF-366249618

    The Sonic Advance games, under the Sonic Generations 3DS engine, with Sonic 4: Episode II graphics.

    And this is a personal one that I know a lot of people won’t agree… but I REALLY want to see Sonic 3D Blast in REAL 3D. I have a feeling it would be a real blast to play (no pun intended), because MAYBE, a fixed camera angle is the best way to go about 3D Sonic… and people will never know, unless they try this! But with real 3D, it’ll be easier to tell the perspective of things on the maps. I really do believe it can work, it’s just a hunch which is not a lot to go by, but it’s a real strong one!

    Reply this comment
    • Tomoki
      Tomoki 18 May, 2017, 21:36

      “It hasn’t aged well, so let’s change it into almost something entirely different to show them that they’re wrong!”

      You would literally be proving them right that the Adventure games aged badly and needed to be turned into something else entirely. If you want more boost, just play the boost games. The title “Adventure 3” has no merit if it plays nothing like Adventure 1 and 2. You’ll just end up repeating the same mistakes as Sonic 4 (which got a lot backlash for reason; it completely missed the point of what people liked about the Classics and just rehashed stuff in a very lazy way). If Adventure 3 is just another Modern Sonic game with boost and wisps, Sonic only, etc., there’d just be no point in calling it “Adventure 3”, because it already failed to be an “Adventure” game.

      Reply this comment
      • shihe
        shihe 18 May, 2017, 21:43

        I’m aware of all you’re saying, I just don’t know where I made it sound like I wanted any of that,

        I’m saying, that if it were up to Sonic Team, they’d do JUST that, because I don’t see a lot of passion in their projects lately.

        But HOPEFULLY, they do care. But I do want them to refine what they have. Fix what’s broken, and just give us the better version of what we experienced from the Adventure games.

        I don’t know what should be done about Big the Cat, though… I wouldn’t mind if he gets beat-em-up stages with a much easier version of fishing Froggy out of a pond at the end. (Something more similar to how he plays in Sonic Heroes, than Werehog, to be honest).

        Reply this comment
        • Tomoki
          Tomoki 18 May, 2017, 22:02

          Sorry, I should’ve worded my post better. I meant to say that I don’t want remakes of the Adventure games if it means basically turning them into a new game entirely just to please the crowds that think these games haven’t aged well. It’s counterproductive. If you make a faithful remake of the Adventure games, then the folks who hate the Adventure games would still hate them. If you change the game into something else to please the fans that hate the Adventure games, then you’re still only proving them ‘right’- it’ll just further convince them that the originals were ‘bad’, since you’d have to change so much of the original game, thus further alienating the fans that actually LIKED the Adventure games. Then the modern/classic/casual fans will bring up that shallow “YOU GOT WHAT YOU WANTED STOP COMPLAINING” argument, and mock the Adventure fans even more.

          Remaking the Adventure games is like playing with fire. It’s a hopeless situation, either way. I’d much rather these games are left alone for what they are, regardless of how much they ‘deserve’ it.

  2. shihe
    #2 shihe 18 May, 2017, 22:14

    Ah, gotcha, no worries.
    And I agree, that’s pretty thin ice to walk in.

    In theory, just making the same games in modern day graphics should be the way to go, leaving the game unaltered. I can’t really see a scenario where that could go wrong. But then again… we’ve been burned before.

    (Although I want to emphasize how the radar from Treasure Hunting stages in SA2 NEED to be fixed to show all 3 treasures at once, instead of 1 at the time, like in SA1).

    Reply this comment
    • Tomoki
      Tomoki 18 May, 2017, 22:44

      See, a faithful remake with some minor changes, additions, or fixes I’d be fine with. Changing SA2’s Emerald Radar for the Treasure Hunting stages to be more like SA1 would be great. Fixing the camera issues, collision detection, and bugs? Also great. Simplifying Big’s fishing mechanics to be less tedious or annoying? I’d be okay with that. Adding in content that was scrapped such as Super Sonic / Super Shadow in normal stages and in SA2’s 2 Player mode? Fantastic! Remaking the cutscenes on the new engine to look less derpy? Great!

      Making SA1 and 2 into Boost games with wisps? No thanks. Another issue that comes up with a potential remake would be the voice acting. Well, the English voice acting, anyway. I can already see the fans screaming at each other over which cast they prefer. It will be like DBZ Kai all over again. Hoo boy… Luckily for me, I prefer the Japanese Sonic voices, so I think only Tails and Eggman would have different VAs in that audio track. The dub cast being completely different will definitely cause backlash regardless of how they handle it. “Nostalgia goggles” and all that jazz.

      Reply this comment
      • Noah Copeland
        Noah Copeland Author 19 May, 2017, 00:04

        “Making SA1 and 2 into Boost games with wisps?”
        That would make my head physically explode.

        Your first paragraph is closer to what I pictured in my mind. You don’t need to change the game 180 degrees to make this work.

        Reply this comment
        • Tomoki
          Tomoki 19 May, 2017, 01:19

          @Noah:

          I agree with you, but the problem, I think, is making this appealing to people outside of the Adventure fandom, without alienating the Adventure fans at the same time. Sure, kids will eat it up because it’s Sonic, but the Boost fans, Classic fans, Boom fans, and gaming ‘journalists’ that always cry “SHITTY FRIENDS” will likely tear it to shreds in reviews, which would easily make SEGA and Sonic Team run away from the Adventure formula yet again. Not to mention that people would complain about it being ‘too slow’ after being spoiled by the boost games.

          I’m just so cynical and jaded now, that it’s hard to have hope for stuff like this.

        • Axx
          Axx 19 May, 2017, 18:59

          Not if it makes it look good. The whole point of remaking the Adventure games would be to emphasize what was great about THEM without the outdated limitations. Noah’s point is that they may cry shitty friends or have a problem with a lack of boost because they’re used to newer games they prefer due to being modern, and this would iron out the bugs in SA1/2 and make them look good, which would likely win over those people. If you changed it, you might as well just make a new Boost game with no Sonic friends–oh wait! They are! :p

  3. Eclipse the Hedgehog
    #3 Eclipse the Hedgehog 20 May, 2017, 00:48

    I have to agree on remaking these two games. Sonic Team have made a big deal out of the fact that even they understand that Sonic’s future is no longer about innovation; by now the series has tried to innovate more than any other series that I can think of to stay relevant. Unfortunately, they seemed to always fail miserably because rather than applying gradual change Sega grabbed the reigns and changed direction completely.

    Beloved Adventure gameplay? Heroes. Cool formation system in Heroes? Shadow the Hedgehog. Epic branching story in Shadow the Hedgehog? Poorly told interspecies love story in Sonic 06. Then for a while they started to get better, make gradual changes. But oh, wait a second…

    Boost formula refined and near-perfect? Lost World.

    Sonic’s future lies in the past. In what everyone loves. They admitted that with the Mania trailer, which was a step in the right direction. I don’t advocate returning to full 2D for all games, but I feel that Sonic’s charm comes chiefly from the characters, music and speed-based gameplay that the original games got so, so right.

    And as such, in order to recapture that charm the best thing Sega can do is to build on the past. Mania is a great step, and I feel something similar could certainly be done with the Adventure games- not so much a remix, but a remake of Adventure 1 and 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog (bear with me here) in one set, running on one engine.

    Why Shadow the Hedgehog? Well, it’s simple- firstly, two games in a set just feels wrong. They need a third to make it feel complete. Secondly, Shadow the Hedgehog heavily builds on the plot of Sonic Adventure 2, moreso than Heroes does. Thirdly, Heroes has a very different gameplay style to the Adventure games, and while a lot of people will point out that Shadow the Hedgehog’s was different as well, Shadow’s is more similar to the Adventure games than Heroes. Fourth, because of a number of serious mistakes in the development and marketing of Shadow the Hedgehog, it is remembered as being bad when in fact it is one of the better games in the series from an objective standpoint; these problems could be fixed with a remake.

    TLDR; the Adventure Games and Shadow the Hedgehog, if remade in one engine could benefit the games like Mania will benefit the classic titles by helping Sega recapture Sonic’s charm and redeem the poor choices that screwed up his early 3D installments.

    Thanks for reading, I hope I’ve given you all something to think about.

    Reply this comment

COMMENT NOWYour e-mail address will not be published.

*