@Issue Poll Results: Did Sonic Have A Good 2017?

@Issue Poll Results: Did Sonic Have A Good 2017?

by February 12, 2018 9 comments

It’s fitting, perhaps, that our first site poll of 2018 looks back on yesteryear. We asked, simply enough, whether or not you thought that the Sonic franchise had a good showing in 2017. With over 500 votes counted, here’s what you said:

Yes – 68%
Indifferent – 19%
No – 13%

Over two-thirds of the respondents believed 2017 was a good year for the franchise, and just under fifteen percent believed the opposite to be true. With Sonic Mania achieving near-universal acclaim and Sonic Forces finding a dedicated fanbase of its own, it seems clear that Sonic finds himself on surer footing heading into the future.

A new site-wide poll is now open; it asks you to consider Sonic’s modern gameplay and how it has evolved over the years. We encourage you to discuss the aforementioned poll results in the comments below.

9 Comments so far

  1. DTH1971
    #1 DTH1971 12 February, 2018, 10:13

    2017 was the year Archie’s contract with Sonic the Hedgehog for comic book rights was terminated, only to have IDW pick up the rights for April 2018 relaunch (featuring new characters Rough, Tumble, and – SHUDDER! – the might be infamous Tangle the Lemur).

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  2. Hero
    #2 Hero 12 February, 2018, 16:17

    I’d say Unleashed is probably the best Modern Sonic game overall, in terms of not just controls, level design, visuals, and music, but also in terms of story. It’s so rare when we can say that the story of a Sonic game actually feels enjoyable and not objectionable one way or the other (not “too silly”, not “too dark/edgy”, etc.).

    While the gameplay and visuals and music certainly got an upgrade in Generations, I feel like Unleashed did a much better job in feeling more like a “complete package”, I didn’t really feel like anything felt too short or got left out in any way. Generations screams potential, but it also clearly shows that it was meant to have more in it. The story wasn’t at the caliber it was meant to have as an anniversary title, certain concepts, themes, or ideas were cut for the sake of time, resulting in a rushed narrative, and the content is very short-lived, like it’s trying too hard to be as “won and done” as the classic games were.

    Unleashed actually felt like it had a larger scope, it gave you a sense of adventure and it’s story motivated you to keep going, and it made you feel something towards the end. Generations’ story just kind of felt like the toy you get in the happy meal, it looks neat and decent enough for what it is, something colorful meant to entice you to buy the actual thing you’re paying for, but in the end it barely measures up to what you could’ve gotten somewhere else. The story in Generations was an afterthought and clearly didn’t get enough time devoted to it.

    I understand that story isn’t as necessary for a game as actual gameplay quality is, and Generations excels in gameplay quality (apart from how short the levels feel, they really should have given you Unleashed length levels, they end way too quickly), but these days games have shown that a story can be just as important in some cases, it can even have a large impact on how you enjoy the actual game itself.

    That’s why I would rank Unleashed higher on my scale. Generations has the gameplay I want for the series, but Unleashed had the overall effort and polish that cemented my love for the series in the first place and I want to see that kind of effort be put into the series again.

    Build a great game first, make the gameplay as refined and perfected as you can, make the level designs work in a way that not only suits the gameplay style best, but also encourages the player to mess around, explore, and experiment with how they get through the level, and give them plenty of room and length to do so. Make the levels themes, concepts, and ideas inspired again, actually do things like explore different parts of the world to find cool new ideas to put into a level, think of iconic moments that would be awesome to see and center a stage’s concept around that, be creative again!

    Then when all of that is polished and perfected enough, make a story that actually gives you the feeling the gameplay gives you and then some, make it so that when you see the events that carries the character from one location to the other, it actually makes you want to see what happens next, gives you more motivation of going through a stage than simply “I need to beat this level to move on and beat the next level”. Make things feel less arbitrary and more meaningful. Make the story part of the meal itself rather than just a side dish.

    And if time allows, make even more content to add in later through DLC if time is a concern, make whole new paths and stages and acts, each one given the same amount of effort and creativity as the originals. Give us reasons to want more and then actually give us more before we even need to ask for it.

    TLDR: Generations got the mind and body of what makes Sonic Sonic, but Unleashed always had the heart and soul. Sonic Team, please try to find out what that means for Sonic again, and then find out how to bring all of that together again. Prove that you actually want to understand and are trying to.

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    • Kabam!
      Kabam! 12 February, 2018, 22:50

      This. ^^^

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    • SSJSonicXX14
      SSJSonicXX14 12 February, 2018, 23:31

      The heart and soul of Sonic is apparently bad bootleg God of War taking up over the half the game, levels that too often straggle you with 3D platforming over bottomless pits with controls that weren’t designed for it, QTEs and a ugly monster boss thing that bleeds. The core daytime stages are fine outside of the moments where you have to fight the controls in the slow platforming section. Polish also isn’t a word I’d use with Unleashed when the framerate is infamous for tanking whenever you least want it to like during Jungle Joyride’s water running segments.

      “actually makes you want to see what happens next, gives you more motivation of going through a stage than simply “I need to beat this level to move on and beat the next level”.
      The motivation of going thorough the level should be to beat it and to see what the next level, the core gameplay is what should drive a platformer not generic anime storytelling and cutscenes. What I just outlined is what the highest selling platformers in the history of this industry have followed, for SEGA to ever start making that list again they have to understand that rather than catering to people that would rather buy a Sonic visual novel.

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      • Average Joe
        Average Joe 13 February, 2018, 07:38

        If you insist on bringing up high selling platformers, maybe you should be made aware that Unleashed sold nearly 5 million copies. So its format must have worked for some people. Also, Sonic isn’t a pure platformer. It is half platformer, half spectacle. This has been true since the very first game, and is a concept Unleashed excelled at.

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    • TyrantLizardKing
      TyrantLizardKing 13 February, 2018, 09:20

      I have to disagree on a couple of points here.

      Unleashed’s controls are not better. The more you level Sonic’s speed the more it’s cranked up to the point of being slippery. I’ve counted numerous deaths as a result of going too fast and the game just flinging me to my doom.
      The Homing Attack having its own button was also a nonsensical decision, especially once you get the Air Boost which can result in death more often than you’d like.
      The Werehog controls better in my opinion, but I hate how stiff his jump feels and the game’s selectiveness over whether or not you have a drop shadow. Generations I feel finetuned Sonic’s control to near perfection, it’s much tighter and easier to handle.

      Generations I also feel has the perfect level length, Unleashed’s levels start out good but start getting longer and longer. I hate stages like Arid Sands and Jungle Joyride because of how long and punishing they are, whereas Rooftop Run and Planet Wisp feel much more balanced.

      Lastly Unleashed is still the best looking Sonic game because I feel it has better atmosphere than Forces (and the locations actually matter), but that framerate will haunt the game for all eternity.

      In spite of all that though, the game’s been climbing on my top 5 list recently.

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  3. SSJSonicXX14
    #3 SSJSonicXX14 12 February, 2018, 22:54

    “and Sonic Forces finding a dedicated fanbase of its own” what kind of PR speak is this?

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    • Lou Balzani
      Lou Balzani Author 13 February, 2018, 10:48

      It’s an objectivity thing. Whatever your thoughts on Forces, there are pockets of people out there who really enjoy the game.

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  4. Kenan
    #4 Kenan 14 February, 2018, 09:43

    Don’t comment here too often but I like this topic so I’ll give it a go. Sorry in advance if this is quite long.

    I thought Sonic had a pretty good 2017 overall. In the early months, I believe it was riding off the excitement regarding the game announcements from the previous year, with the social media team carrying a large amount of the weight in the months leading up to their release.

    As I had no major social media accounts at the time and there didn’t seem to be plenty of news, up until the SXSW panel, it was quite a dry season for me. I pretty much made do with what I had at the time, going back to play some older games in the series and watching the fans being creative with their own games, art and the like.

    By the time SXSW came around, I didn’t really know what to expect. Riding high on the announcement of Mania and wanting to know more (this is key to later on) regarding Project Sonic 2017. Lo and Behold; the latter received not only concept art reveal, but a taster for the soundtrack and our first piece of gameplay, not to mention the official name Sonic Forces. The concept art reveal was a nice surprise, yet the music didn’t gel with me too well at the time. I noticed that the style had very much changed to optimise the synthesized sounds over guitars and drums, similarly to the Sonic Runners soundtrack, where I first noticed the change and some tracks from Sonic Lost World. I listen to the likes of Excision, Datsik and Benga a lot so frequency signal based music isn’t an issue, it was simply an unexpected transition for me, and the sounds felt off from the other instruments.

    I spent the next day (weeks more like) analysing the gameplay clip that was shown at the event. My initial reaction was stellar, having missed the boost gameplay and environments and seeing the increased spectacle that could be achieved with the Hedgehog engine 2 gave me very high hopes. Even the music initially had me invested in the overall atmosphere of the stage, but I still noticed things were off as I looked deeper, something I’ll go back to later on.

    The months leading up to Mania were a bit different. A large number of streams and skits from the social media team were uploaded to the youtube page, some of which kept up my spirits, with the gameplay, merchandise and Q&A’s being shown off at the time. Sonic Mania content was generally shown off much more, as it was the most anticipated release of the two games, but bits and pieces of Forces were also revealed. The Mania pre-order trailer and other bits of gameplay were a highlight for me. Forces did receive coverage at E3, as well as the custom hero reveal prior, but to say I was worried about its development at the time would be an understatement. The highlight of that time was the villain tease at the end of the trailer, the soon to be known Infinite, who’s theme and story content was the only thing giving me hope for the game at the time.

    Fast forward to mid august Mania was released to critical and public acclaim. I still haven’t played the game as I pre-ordered for PC and couldn’t chance the Denuvo thing as it was my first time hearing of it. When people became aware that such would be in the game, the community was set alight with anger, and nobody would shut up about it so that put a damper on the whole thing leading up to the PC release. Aside from that though, I actually felt really happy for SEGA. After years of bad press over controversial decisions, they got something right in the eyes of the fans, and there was peace and enjoyment for a while. However, “You were lucky Sonic… but luck can’t last forever”.

    We weren’t there just yet, Mania was still being marketed with soundtrack pieces on youtube and heavy press elsewhere, which was cool. Forces had it’s fair share of coverage as well with music tasters and gameplay reveals and yet, I could feel that something was off with the game but couldn’t pinpoint it.

    I think the only other announcement around this time was Archie losing the comic license after what seemed like a year or so’s hiatus and the transfer to IDW. Having not grown up on the comics but being aware of the continuity, I felt bad for the staff and long time fans but still thought that a new lease of life might be good for the series, plus it seemed like it was in good hands. I think it’s still the longest running game comic officially speaking.

    November 7th… can’t complain. In the days leading up to the game’s release, I knew that something was going to hit the proverbial fan, no thanks to game leaks a few days prior, public opinion of the game went down pretty quickly I’d say, and the fans were well within their rights to have those opinions. I’m the kind of person that makes sure they know what they’re getting before they get it, not looking towards any particular standard, if it seems alright I’ll buy it. I preordered the game the day before release on PC and XBOX ONE.

    I have no regrets about getting it but will admit, for a series that’s 26 years old and I’ve been a part of for 13 years, this is the first time I’ve been disappointed with what I’ve gotten, mainly because my expectations were way above what was being shown, so that’s on me. Without going into a full review, the game has its moments and improves upon past entries in some areas but overall didn’t really deliver where I personally wanted it to.

    When I’ve seen over the years what Sonic team can develop with very little time and it becomes a game I really enjoy, looking at Forces makes me feel upset more than angry. After a development time of apparently 4 years I just think it’s a shame, because I know they can do more, so why didn’t they or what stopped them. Datamining and analysis seems to show a lot happened last minute or problems were run into during that time, but even then the management at SEGA could have delayed it if they knew of it, though this is a very naive assumption so I’ll leave it there.

    I think the year for Sonic was level for a while, had a major high point and an average point. Where it’s going to go this year I have no idea, but despite what’s happened, I still have faith in Sonic Team and SEGA as a whole. I honestly believe that even though the fans are important, they should take a break, consider what they have and talk amongst themselves to take Sonic in a better direction. It may be wishful thinking at this point but having faith is all I know how to do, and is something following this series requires a lot of. Sorry again for the length of this comment but yeah, these are my thoughts overall.

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