In-Depth: The Sonic Cycle

In-Depth: The Sonic Cycle

by July 1, 2017 25 comments

Welcome to this month’s In-Depth article! If you don’t know what these monthly pieces are that I do, the In-Depth articles serve to provide a case study on a particular Sonic subject. Usually, I do a massive load of research on that topic, with the biggest asset being the historical record.

This month’s article is a doozy. It talks about something that a lot of the Sonic community is aware of in some shape or form. This is mainly due to the fact that it’s a meme that just won’t go away, despite the meme being outdated and no longer accurate. I am, of course, talking about the Sonic Cycle. Let me explain.

The Sonic Cycle is old. Very old. Its origins can be traced back as far as April 7th, 2008. when a NeoGAF user by the name of Baiano19 posted one of the earliest forms of an image that would be heavily associated with the meme. The image was later reblogged by PlayAsia that same day. Coicidentally, this around the same time frame that Sonic Cycle searches began to appear. Another thread created on Digg on January 18th, 2009 evolved the Sonic cycle, when the thread ended up on the home page of Digg’s website. A user by the name of goldhearted coined how the Sonic cycle actually goes:

This is the typical sonic cycle these days

1. New info release of new Sonic game, people say it’s gonna be Sonic’s comeback.
2. More or less, hype is generated as info, screens, vids, etc. releases.
3. Game comes out, it ends up like mediocre-shit. People say nothing can save Sonic.
4. Go back to #1

We will actually examine the steps of the cycle in a moment. But I want to direct you to the image itself, the one so heavily associated with the meme:

This is the Sonic Cycle. A nearly 10-year old picture. This goes into more detail about the cycle that the Digg post elaborated on. But let’s actually tackle this cycle, bit by bit, to examine just how inaccurate this cycle has become, or at the very least, how outdated it is. So let’s look at step one:

  1. First info on new Sonic game. Now, firstly, the “lack of friends in screenshots”. At the time that this cycle was created, SEGA was a lot more secretive about new characters, including Sonic’s friends, both returning ones and new ones that would be making their first appearances. For example, Chip was not revealed until August 2008, four months after Sonic Unleashed was announced. However, this was 2008. Nowadays, SEGA is more open to confirming that Sonic’s friends will be having prominent roles in Sonic games, and new characters are usually confirmed pretty early on in a game’s road to release. Just a week after Sonic Lost World was announced, The Deadly Six was confirmed. Now, of course, you may argue “these aren’t screenshots” but here’s the thing. Sonic’s friends, since 2008 and onward, have not had the significant roles in Sonic games that they once had. They are rarely seen outside of gameplay, and when they are, it’s usually from radio communication. This is why screenshots rarely have Sonic’s friends in them. Because Sonic screenshots typically show off the levels and gameplay, not the story. That said, SEGA has been clear in the road to a game’s release that Sonic’s friends will show up in the game and have their own roles to play, regardless of how significant that role is or not. But let’s move on to “hopes are raised” and “fans begin to claim this as Sonic’s return to form”. Because here is where the cycle already gets off to a poor start in today’s world. This is not how Sonic fans are like at all. Fans don’t “raise hopes”. Cautiously optimistic, perhaps, but it’s not the raised hopes that the cycle claims. Fans also don’t claim a new game as “Sonic’s return to form”. Sonic Forces is a classic example of how the community reacts to a new Sonic game as more information comes out about it, especially nowadays. Some people will be interested in playing it, but you will also see fans dislike what they’re seeing, sometimes since the original trailer came out. Our TSSZ comment sections can support this well. This fanbase is not stupid. We don’t blindly support games, and we don’t get hyped at a new Sonic game just because it’s a new Sonic game. But, nevertheless, moving on.
  2. More screens and info on new Sonic game. So here, step two begins with “pictures of friends” and “pictures of Sonic’s new friends”. If it’s not already evident, the cycle has a strange obsession with Sonic’s friends. But, I’m digressing here. I did an image search of Sonic Unleashed screenshots. For the record, this has been a reliable method I have used to search for Sonic images in my research, especially for my In-Depth pieces. Anyway, there were screenshots of the opening cutscene, a couple of the HUD world, but Chip-wise, he was nowhere to be seen. The few screenshots he shows up in were either in the Night Of The Werehog movie, or after the game had already released. Sonic & The Black Knight? The same problem. There were no images of Merlina, except post-release images from fans. It’s worth noting that I didn’t just look at the first section either, further pages of images offered no results. So, based on this, I feel it is worth concluding that the “pictures of Sonic’s friends” part of this cycle is wrong. SEGA simply did not publish any. So let’s move to “gameplay looks to be the same old”. What does this mean, exactly? Is the “same old” talking about bad quality? Gimmicks? Too much reliance on Sonic’s friends? It’s not unreasonable to feel that Sonic’s friends may have something to do with the “same old”, as the cycle notes this in multiple steps. But it clearly states the gameplay is the “same old”. Interpretation of this bulletpoint is very much up for debate. You may argue that “it’s clearly referring to bad quality”. Okay then. Colors. Generations. They were arguably great games, due to their massive success in sales (they both sold well over a million copies), and well recieved reviews from critics (more on that in a moment). Even Lost World’s fate wasn’t a “disaster”. Divisive, yes, and the Wii U’s lackluster state at the time of this game’s release did not help sales at all (and even then it sold nearly a million copies), but not the crappy state and most definitely not the “same old” the cycle says. Maybe it can be argued that there’s a new “same old” nowadays, but it’s most certainly not the “same old” that this cycle refers to. Which is the point I’m making here. As for “hopes hit the ground”, no. Nobody’s hopes in the Sonic community hit the ground anymore. And even when they do, it’s not as we learn more info. For example, hopes didn’t hit the ground for Rise of Lyric until the game leaked just days before release. Hopes didn’t hit the ground for Lost World. People either liked the game or were meh about it, and even those who were disappointed were usually not hopeful to begin with. Sonic Forces is also going down this route. So, again, this is an inaccuracy, especially nowadays. If there’s one thing you should never do, it’s put “Sonic” and “hope” in the same sentence. Because it just doesn’t happen. This cycle was made at a time when bad Sonic games were more of a “new thing”, a classic example of the post-Sonic 06 era. Nowadays, we’ve had games like Sonic Free Riders and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. Nobody is hopeful of a Sonic game being good anymore, and if they are, they don’t raise their expectations to the point where those hopes hit the ground. But there’s no shock value anymore. This cycle was made when there was.
  3. Game released. Now we get to the finale. This is where the cycle really shows just how outdated and inaccurate it truly is. Firstly, let’s tackle “Reviews slam the game”. At the time of this cycle’s creation, yes, Sonic games were frequently getting slammed by reviewers. Unleashed and Black Knight would get heavily criticized in the media. However, as I stated previously, Sonic Colors and Generations received positive feedback from reviewers. Even Sonic Lost World wasn’t as criticized and slammed as Unleashed and Black Knight was (not by much, but still, it’s a very divisive title, something that couldn’t be said for Unleashed and Black Knight when they originally released). I’m not even counting the two All-Stars Racing titles, which were also well recieved, especially Transformed. Rise of Lyric was the only exception to this, and it being an only exception does not validate a cycle. Because a cycle is just that, a cycle. It repeats. We have not seen a repeat. And even if Sonic Forces is slammed, there’s a certain Sonic Mania out there that could negate this anyway. “Massive disappointment” is bulletpoint number two. This doesn’t happen anymore. I mean, yeah, people aren’t pleased that a Sonic game fails, but nobody’s “disappointed”. Unsurprised, but not disappointed. And even if there was disappointment, this wasn’t on a massive scale. Again, the only exception to this has been Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. And, again, one exception does not validate a cycle. And, I know, some of you may be wondering “Sonic Free Riders was mentioned earlier, so why not now”? Because this game was an obscure one, released on the Kinect. It being a Kinect title made it doomed from the start, and even then, it has largely forgotten since. You may also ask “what about Sonic 4”? It’s a divisive title, not a bad one. See, that’s the thing. A lot of what this cycle has isn’t factual. It’s not a general guideline on how Sonic fans behave, or even the gaming community as a whole. It’s an opinion that got blown up into a meme, which got blown up into a gaming media talking point. Yes, at the time of this cycle’s creation, Sonic’s quality was very much a problem. But it has improved since. Granted, “divisive” isn’t “good”, but the cycle implies that Sonic games are bad and ruins expectations. And that’s just not the case. So, “Fans proclaim they will never be fooled again”. This is not true. At all. Sonic fans don’t get fooled by anything. As I said earlier, we’re not stupid. We’re not blind fanboys and by no means do we get fooled by new Sonic games, thinking they’ll be fantastic. Even the most positive Sonic fans with the lowest expectations will tell you that there have been questionable Sonic games in the past, including ones released during Sonic’s dark age. Even during Sonic Unleashed and Black Knight, I recall lots of criticism from fans prior to their releases. I don’t think the general gaming community knows just how much the Sonic community is open to criticizing SEGA and letting them know what they think. It is more than you may think. And even if fans were fooled, they sure as hell don’t “proclaim it”.

So with that, a full analysis of the Sonic Cycle has been done. I honestly didn’t think I’d have to write an article about the Sonic Cycle, let alone examine every bulletpoint it brings up. And in 2017, no less. But here’s the nail in the coffin for the constant mentioning of this cycle. You see…it was already declared dead in 2010.

This image was created post-Colors. Some of you may remember it, as it became somewhat of a meme of its own back then. To add even more weight to that declaration, remember NeoGAF? You know, the forum I sourced as having originally starting all this? Yeah, even they don’t see the point in the cycle either. And that post was made a few years ago. Even after Rise of Lyric released. Even GameSpot had a thread that was entitled in honor of the cycle’s death. In fact, since 2010, multiple variations of the Sonic cycle have come out, all of which either criticize the cycle being brought up in the first place or give some praise to how Sonic has come since the cycle was born.

So why, then, is a cycle so criticized as irrelevant, outdated, and dead still showing up? So much so that it has gotten to the point where I’ve actually had to write this article? Because of the mainstream gaming media. They still bring it up. Again and again. Part of why is that one theme that shows up in the cycle: Sonic’s friends. The hatred never went away after 2008. Sonic Generations recieved criticism in IGN’s review for merely having Sonic’s friends appear in the game, and the NeoGAF community is none too pleased about the presence of Sonic’s friends in Sonic Forces either. Sadly, this is why a playable 3D Knuckles or Tails may not happen anytime soon. I would love nothing more to play as Knuckles or Tails in a 3D Sonic game again, and I fully understand those of you who do, but from a business standpoint, it may not be the best thing to do if you want to bring in new fans. SEGA can’t rely on just the Sonic fanbase. The fandom would just stall out and gradually decline. If SEGA’s going to pull off successes, you have to bring in new fans too. And that includes those that may not be so welcome to Sonic’s friends. It’s not so much “playing it safe”, but more so trying to not let the Sonic community decline and, especially, for good sales. Sonic’s sales history has shown that the fanbase is not as large as it may seem. Yes, there’s loads of people who don’t interact with the online community, but it’s not the 500,000-1,000,000+ fanbase that some may think it is. And the Sonic fanbase alone is not going to deliever a Sonic game that sells well. There’s a reason why SEGA relies so much on the gaming mainstream media to get the word of their games out, such as E3 interviews, even though some feel that the gaming media isn’t that fair to the Sonic brand. Like it or not, the mainstream gaming media is how you PR, and it is, perhaps, the #1 asset to have in making your game a success. Sonic fans, and even a gradual increase in sales from word-of-mouth, won’t do it. But I’m digressing a lot here.

Nevertheless, despite all this, the Sonic Cycle is flawed. It’s outdated. And, most importantly, it’s dead. Regardless of how you feel about Sonic’s friends, there is absolutely no point to bring it up anymore. The fact I even felt that this entire article needed to be written, and in 2017, still confuses me. I feel like I’m contributing to beating a dead horse, so to speak. But at least, now, you know why it feels that way. As for how the Sonic community sees the Sonic cycle, it is largely ignored for the exact reasons I have already given. In the case of Stadium’s message boards, it is even banned from being discussed. The simple fact is, even with how critical the Sonic community can be towards new games, the Sonic Cycle is just tiring. The media keeps bringing it up, when people want to move on from it.

And so do I. It’s time to move on.

25 Comments so far

  1. AllStarSonic
    #1 AllStarSonic 1 July, 2017, 04:48

    It’s truly time to move on from this “Cycle”

    Reply this comment
  2. Ninetails2000
    #2 Ninetails2000 1 July, 2017, 07:49

    This is just another case of the mainstream shitting on something just to stick it to a group of outsiders. It’s painfully obvious at this point that the mainstream wouldn’t give a shit if a modern Sonic game was a masterpiece of gaming theater that gave out margahritas with every S-Rank, they WILL find fault with it. And if they can’t, they’ll fall back on the Werehog or the Elise kiss or Ow the Edge or some other outdated, overblown meme hyperbole to justify shitting on the game. But that’s who SEGA has to answer to and depending on how Forces plays out and how tightly they cling to their hatred, that may mean that we end up getting nothing but Mania clones and re-masters of Genesis games from here on out, which is a fate worse than death.

    Reply this comment
    • SSF1991
      SSF1991 Author 1 July, 2017, 08:44

      Exactly.

      The sad truth is, it doesn’t matter how much the Sonic fanbase may want a playable Knuckles or Tails in a 3D Sonic game. The general gaming community’s distaste for Sonic’s friends is that bad. And, well, they had to pay attention to this crowd, too.

      Reply this comment
      • sonicgalaxy27
        sonicgalaxy27 1 July, 2017, 15:09

        Well SS1991, i seen alot of few people all over the internet started to lose hope for sonic games. i’m not trying to be mean or anything but, SEGA being criticized over there lack of development of the sonic titles schedule. its not like the fans can go back in time and ask SEGA to listen to there fan base fans to ask one of the developers to get other characters to be playable again since Sonic Heroes because thats not gonna bring back the old fans from Sonic 06.

        Reply this comment
  3. Dom Greer
    #3 Dom Greer 1 July, 2017, 10:53

    There’s nothing wrong with Sonic’s friends, the real problem is the numerous gameplay styles that stray too far from the way Sonic plays.

    The gaming community can’t see that outside the Sonic fanbase because they follow popular opinion in the gaming media and think it’s cool to hate on Sonic’s friends.

    They’re just trendies plain and simple and they’ve never actually played a Sonic game in their lives or even a good one….

    They’re the same people who think the 2D era is flawless because they never had to play as Sonic’s friends except they forget about Tails and Knuckles.

    They’re confused people even more than the Sonic fanbase itself…. we loved Classic Sonic in Generations, but in Forces we despise him!

    Deep down the trendies actually love Sonic’s friends…. they just don’t know it yet!

    Reply this comment
  4. sonfan1984
    #4 sonfan1984 1 July, 2017, 13:22

    The problem with this is that the friend characters barely appear in the main series games as it is. Since 2008, the games is only focused on Sonic, Tails, and Eggman while the other characters in the series is becoming less and less relevant. People complaining about characters in games where they don’t show up.

    Sonic Generations is the last title where most of the characters appear in, but they are only there as a cameo. The game is enjoyable, but the game is way too short and the story is lacking.

    Lost World brought in Knuckles and Amy, but they only play a minor role in the story and the rest of the game focused on Sonic and Tails.

    Sonic Forces is the first Sonic game since Sonic 06 where there’s a possibility that other characters might play a big part in the story. If Sonic Forces doesn’t do well, then I’m afraid that 3D Sonic games will continue on with solo-Sonic and SEGA will find every excuse not to have other playable characters in the games.

    Reply this comment
  5. sonicgalaxy27
    #5 sonicgalaxy27 1 July, 2017, 15:31

    Now i see why the Sonic community, was not very pleased with this Sonic cycle from before. The the old fans from Sonic 06 thinking that sonic is a huge failure and its completely doom back then. I recently don’t understand fans these days. People complaining about characters in games where they don’t show up as a playable character. That’s a certain reason why they give up Sonic games for there reason because of the friend characters didn’t show up most often in 3D games. I think they are started to lose hope for sonic games. I honestly hate to say this but, There is no way SEGA will get old fans back from the day friend characters was playable. Besides, Sonic Heroes story was a little story.

    Reply this comment
  6. Well
    #6 Well 1 July, 2017, 18:09

    Complaints about Sonic’s friends are due to FORCED gameplay that did not resemble Sonic’s core gameplay, and was generally filler or padding.

    It is common sense, and obvious. Sonic Mania’s team knows it. Aaron Webber knows it. Iizuka doesn’t.

    Obviously, something like Sonic Heroes could cause an issue. Werehog turns people away from alternate Gameplay.

    Medal Collecting done in Extreme in Unleashed turns people away from that. There are OBVIOUSLY fans of other characters. Sonic Team is too stupid to understand what people like or don’t like about them.

    Reply this comment
    • sonfan1984
      sonfan1984 1 July, 2017, 18:55

      “There are OBVIOUSLY fans of other characters. Sonic Team is too stupid to understand what people like or don’t like about them.”

      It seem like people don’t seem to understand…nowadays the characters will be criticized just by showing up in the games. They don’t even have to be playable at all. Sonic’s friends haven’t been playable in over 10 years because of this stigma.

      Reply this comment
      • Well...
        Well... 1 July, 2017, 18:58

        But, do you know why the characters are hated? They were done poorly and often harmed the game.

        How many people are complaining about the extra characters in Sonic Mania?

        Reply this comment
        • Well...
          Well... 1 July, 2017, 19:00

          Sonic Mania is an example of a game where additional characters won’t be an annoyance.

        • sonfan1984
          sonfan1984 1 July, 2017, 19:06

          I can understand this criticism if the characters are still playable in the recent 3D games. But they haven’t been playable in a 3D game in years, and people are simply complaining about characters for just showing up. Hence why every Sonic game after Secret Rings only focused on Sonic, and it being Sonic only doesn’t necessarily means it will be a quality game that is substantial.

        • sonfan1984
          sonfan1984 1 July, 2017, 19:27

          I’m happy to see that Knuckles and Tails are playable in Sonic Mania…it just a shame that we still can’t play as them in a 3D game, but Mania is better than nothing.

      • sonicgalaxy27
        sonicgalaxy27 1 July, 2017, 21:09

        You know, it’s very obvious that SEGA stop caring about the characters that they known and love. Take mighty the armadillo for sort. it’s a forgotten character that it haven’t appear in any modern sonic games for the past 19 years and they forgot to bring him back in future sonic titles. I honestly think that SEGA doesn’t even care there characters that haven’t been playable for so long. You know, maybe one day, they will realize that there characters will not be forgotten. It’s like SEGA trying to throw everything away from there daily basis in there past sonic games.

        Reply this comment
    • SSF1991
      SSF1991 Author 1 July, 2017, 20:15

      I cited multiple sources that indicates that “forced gameplay” is not the problem, and that them showing up at all seems to upset people. Before you start claiming things as “common sense” and “obvious”, read the article first.

      “Sonic Team is too stupid to understand what people like or don’t like about them.” Wrong. Lots of the actions Sonic Team has done was because of things people liked. i.e. Colors focusing on Day stages, Shadow not dying after all, a “Sonic 4”, a return of Classic Sonic, and more.

      Reply this comment
      • sonfan1984
        sonfan1984 1 July, 2017, 20:39

        I remember when critics praised Sonic 4 for not having playable characters, and Sonic being the only character is the selling point of it. Many fans including myself find that to be a huge negative and a step backwards. Now Sonic 4 is seen as mediocre cash-grab, even as Sonic the only character playable.

        Reply this comment
  7. That Guy
    #7 That Guy 2 July, 2017, 22:50

    Basically, the whole problem surrounding the Sonic Cycle is about jerks who try to be “insightful” by attempting to speak for everyone. The people who proposed the original cycle did it, but that was on a small scale. Anyone in a fandom knows that a good chunk of debates are about ego more than the truth. That some guy made a picture out of these insights signify the bandwagon nature of popular arguments.

    But then, the big gaming “journalists” got a hold of the meme, and treated it like scientific law. Of course, these guys never did any research. They just found a lazy way to state their opinions of the franchise, with all the usual arrogance of a fanboy, but none of the passion of a true fan. The meme died in the fanbase because more perceptive fans slowly dismantled it over the years. No such dialogue ever occurred within the gaming media. It was more about clicks and views instead of the truth.

    Having said all that, I do think that Iizuka has a part to play in the direction that the franchise has taken. The Sonic Cycle never existed. However, Iizuka is still sensitive to those who act like it did. In my unprofessional opinion, when you are designing a franchise around how it will be perceived, rather than what can move it forward, that indicates a lack of a coherent vision. I genuinely worry about the future of Sonic, because I’m not sure that Sonic Team knows where that future lies.

    As for a solution, I feel that Sonic Team should just forget the critics and focus on making the best game that they can. The mainstream gaming media has earned itself a good shakeup for years now, and I think that smaller, more passionate sources of information might be just the source to undercut their profits. Maybe that’s just the Idealist in me. All I know is, things can’t continue like they have been.

    Reply this comment
    • Kenan
      Kenan 3 July, 2017, 10:06

      I agree with this sentiment; both on the journalism usage side and developer’s direction. Throughout time companies have always had to appeal to the masses, that much is true. With Sonic Team they have a franchise that in some way shape or form has lasted 26 years, people were more or less tired of it after five or six from what I’m aware of. Some of those factors/arguments were propagated by the crittics others by the fanbase but they all contribute towards a general series reputation amongst a community.

      Obviously the developer’s will try their level best to fix the series with their next title based on those criticisms and arguments but that can be difficult if the team changes and they don’t know what they’re working with or they don’t know how to fix it based on what others have said.

      With Sonic Team I think it’s generally the latter, at least under Lizuka, even though the series started well and gained a following, at some point while trying to get others on board, they began appealing to the masses and lost the direction they already had. I generally think post 06 is where they stopped using regular series elements, and post Black Knight is the point where they started playing it safe. I understand their decision but still believe they should have carried on doing their own thing.

      Granted they have a semi refined winning formula now, I think there is still room for experimentation in small amounts and I think that largely comes down to how they handle Modern Sonic. He has a great character and a fairly fleshed out identity which I think Black Knight proved well at the time, I think it’s his actual character design (in part, I just mean his proportions) and his gameplay as a whole that needs the overhaul.

      There’s long been a disconnect between the way Sonic’s marketed and the way he plays compared to series like the Witcher, Ori and of course Mario where the average consumer knows exactly what they’re getting. Sonic is marketed with speed, in what has been established as a platformer, it’s not impossible to put the two together but it is difficult, it’s almost ingenious that Yuji Naka and the team found a way for that to work in the 90’s with the spin attack and while the boost is a decent evolution of that, it’s more in the hands of the player than an accentuation of the level design.

      I do have faith in Sonic Team as arbitrary as it seems but from what I’ve seen in each entry of the series, they do have good ideas, they just need the right implementation. We’ll see how the future pans out though and I do hope for the best.

      Reply this comment
  8. IceHedge
    #8 IceHedge 5 July, 2017, 08:30

    The Sonic Cycle was flawed from the start. The Advance series had just finished and the Rush games were enjoyable on the DS. After 5 amazing traditional plstformers.. people flocked to that image like it was the truth. It made no sense. To make matters worse, whoever was in charge of otherwise great fan websites like The Sonic Stadium posted blogs on their main page about the Sonic Cycle encouraging it’s angle and mocking Sega and Sonic Team right on the home page. It was definitely an odd time to be a fan.

    Reply this comment
  9. Axx
    #9 Axx 5 July, 2017, 15:33

    I agree the Sonic Cycle is ridiculous. But I disagree with a few of the claims here.

    I recall it starting around 2008 as well, as if Sonic games were consistently bad even though all we had was Shadow the Hedgehog and 06 to go by. Not much of a cycle.

    From what I’ve seen, the Sonic Cycle includes news of Sonic’s friends being part of what leads to hopes going down. Except starting in 2008 is when ppl started complaining there WEREN’T the friends. And it’s been that way ever since. One could argue that the cycle is real then just with a different bit of info.

    I disagree that no one hopes a So in game will be good. I ALWAYS hope so. It’s not like everyone went emoji and lost faith. Of course a lot of ppl’s hopes DID crash. Not usually mine or quite a few others, but a noticeable amount.

    People DO always claim the next game will return Sonic to its glory. I also frequently hear “FINALLY Sega is listening”. However, it’s not a cycle cuz Unleashed got a lot of flack, Colors got a lot of praise. Generations got a LOT of praise. And Lost World was mixed. Of course they’ve all gotten some praise AND some flack as time went on at least
    in a trending fashion.

    I also dunno how much the gaming community is aware how open Sonic fans are to criticizing SEGA…. but I coulda swore that was the biggest thing about the fanbase that gained its infamy. lol

    Reply this comment
    • SSF1991
      SSF1991 Author 5 July, 2017, 18:28

      “I disagree that no one hopes a So in game will be good. I ALWAYS hope so. It’s not like everyone went emoji and lost faith. Of course a lot of ppl’s hopes DID crash. Not usually mine or quite a few others, but a noticeable amount.” I get where you’re coming from with this. There’s definitely hope, but as I say in the article, I feel like you could call it “cautious optimism”. It depends on how you interpret it, so I’m not sure. I don’t think it would be wise to say “hopes are raised” in any case.

      “People DO always claim the next game will return Sonic to its glory. I also frequently hear ‘FINALLY Sega is listening’.” Really? Where at? And how is it that people always see things I don’t? lol

      Reply this comment
      • Axx
        Axx 6 July, 2017, 15:24

        Whoops, typo. I make a lot more of those over a phone so my bad if it’s ever hard to tell what I’m saying.

        I mean “that no one hopes a Sonic game will be great” and “it’s not like everyone went emo”. XD

        Yeah for some it’s cautious optimism, but in the comment section you can see people specify cautious optimism or that they’re looking forward to the game. It’s always mixed, as you know. Which is why I still agree that the Sonic Cycle is a bunch a horse poop.

        Usually in YouTube comments and comments on SonicStadium/TSSZ.

        They’re not like everyone saying it, but there’s always a handful for each game. Usually on trailers or major news. o3o trust me, a lot of people see a LOT of different things. The Sonic Adventure 3 Facebook group apparently sees Mania going unnoticed and no one’s excited for it while Forces is getting all the attention. That’s not the case from my point of view at all.

        Reply this comment
        • SSF1991
          SSF1991 Author 6 July, 2017, 15:55

          “I mean ‘that no one hopes a Sonic game will be great’ and ‘it’s not like everyone went emo’. XD”

          Oh. Well, I mean more so that the fanbase is more open-minded than it was at the time the cycle was born. The cycle implies that fans get overly hyped and set up for disappointment when a new Sonic game shows up. That’s just not the case.

  10. Hero
    #10 Hero 6 July, 2017, 01:26

    I mean, I am personally always hopeful that “the next Sonic game” of any given year will be good, there have even been rare occasions where I had hoped it might be “the one” to set things right going forward (I’ll be honest, Generations was pretty much as close as it got for me and even then the story was disappointing. Lost World was in second place until I actually played the game and got fed up with it). But at no point have I ever placed by expectations so high that I may as well have been asking for a game from another franchise or something. Certainly not now anyway. So at the very least, you’re on the mark there, even those of us who are hopeful aren’t getting that far ahead of ourselves, not anymore anyhow.

    I still feel that way towards Mania and Forces, but there’s a huge difference at this point for me as I’ve matured as a fan this past decade or so. While I’m really hopeful for Forces to actually shatter some concerns and expectations and actually be a pretty decent modern Sonic title, I’m not expecting it to be a “magnum opus” like Generations was looking to make itself back in 2011. It’s trying to be different…okay, while also looking VERY familiar, but the main point is that it’s really trying to establish it’s own identity here, it certainly feels like the freshest thing I’ve seen in a while since Generations, even with sandy Green Hill Zone in it.

    Mania on the other hand I’m pretty optimistic about it. Not even “cautiously optimistic”, I mean optimistic-optimistic, like as in this could literally change how the franchise works from this point on, or at least certain parts of it anyway. I haven’t felt this comfortably assured of a game’s quality since Generations, though again Generations did surprise me with it’s mediocre story, so I guess I shouldn’t depend on that comparison too much. Still, I mean it, I’m not nearly as worried or concerned about this game as I am with Forces, the more I learn of both. It’s like the more news we get about Mania, the more reason I have to be excited. Everything from the way it plays down to who’s actually making it, it’s actually giving me the most “hope” I’ve ever had for Sonic in a long while.

    I’m still trying to keep my expectations small and realistic, I’m not expecting a “Sonic masterpiece” anytime soon (though Mania is getting dangerously close to that moniker with each passing day…), but even when a game doesn’t turn out as great as I would have liked, I never act like the franchise has lost me altogether. Pretty much all I can do is just hope that the next entry in the series will be better than what preceded it, see whether or not it does, form my opinion of it, and then wait for the next one and see how that goes. Maybe that’s a “cycle” in of itself, but it’s certainly not one brimming with angst and despair like the original meme was, bad or iffy Sonic titles might still exist but the mania behind their existence has dimmed down considerably (I mean, people being used to your games being iffy isn’t necessarily a “good” thing but hysteria rarely helps anybody anyway).

    Whatever “cycle” fans find themselves in nowadays, it’s most likely their own, which it really should be anyway. It’s nice and important in some cases for the fanbase to come together as a whole on some things, but when it comes to how to enjoy and interpret their feelings on particular games, I feel that it is something that should largely be individualized. I mean, we should all still take steps to calm down and maybe not be all “doom and gloom” about the series when things don’t go the way we want them to, but other than that it should still be to each their own. Hopefully one day media will be better able to recognize that, that the Sonic fan base isn’t as cut and dry “laughable” as it is convinced it is.

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  11. BlueDragon992
    #11 BlueDragon992 6 July, 2017, 02:58

    Even with the time period this stupid meme was considered “relevant” taken into context, it’s pretty obvious that it was created by a jaded non fan who hadn’t played a single Sonic game since the Classic era (possibly in their entire life). I mean honestly, the only Sonic game from that (or any) era that I can think of to which the “Sonic Cycle” came even close to applying word for word is Sonic 06 and even then, many within the fanbase didn’t have very high hopes that that game would be anything better than at least mediocre. People outside of the Sonic fanbase honestly don’t seem to have the slightest clue just how varied it’s opinions towards the franchise have been for years…

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