Saturday, August 1, 2015

Why Sonic 2006 was such a disaster

Quite an interesting read, thanks to Macrepeh for the tip.

tl;dr: Sonic and the Secret Rings (another really lousy title in its own right) diverted a non-negligeable amount of resources, so did Yuji Naka starting his own studio, and the business suits didn't listen to the remaining devs when they said they needed more time. I'd say this explains why the game feels like an alpha build, but that'd be an insult to alpha builds. (Seriously though, I've heard the game was still actually in pre-alpha stage when release day arrived).

Interesting that they spent so much time flip-flopping on something so minor as what the artifact that contained Mephiles should be. Tears, a book, a scepter? They were so hesitant for so long that they still weren't fixed on that (and multiple other things) when the lines were being recorded! Holy shit, and here I thought everything had been said about how and why this game turned out the way it did. Even nine years later we're finding out new stuff.

And what about the final demo featuring much-needed changes that had no chance of making it into the final release, just for the sake of making the game look slightly better ahead of the big day (when everybody finds out they'd been duped)? And why the (previously known) emphasis on this being the first game where Sonic interacts with the human world? This turd basically treats the Adventures and even Shadow the Hedgehog the same way Other M treated other Metroid games: either they never happened, or they happened differently from the way they actually did. (This comparison holds more water when you consider Sonic 2006 visibly wants to be SA1 on steroids and fails miserably at it the same way Other M wants to be Fusion on steroids and fails miserably at it.)

BTW, gotta laugh at "Kingdom Valley" and "short level" being in the same sentence without any kind of negative. Anyone who's played the game would've rather renamed this place "fucking end already". Often followed by "before I get a game over in the inevitable godawful Mach Speed section and I have to do the trials of Soleanna and assorted loading screens all over again because this game is so shitty it doesn't auto-save". But "Kingdom Valley" actually fits on the screen without dropping the font size into the decimals, I guess.

But this piece kept the best for last. It ends with this: "In 2010, SEGA delisted Sonic 2006 as a downloadable title from the Xbox Live Marketplace because they felt the game was harming the Sonic brand by being available for purchase." Sega basically disowned this piece of shit, the thing that should've been their magnum opus. Though let's not delude ourselves, it wouldn't have been their magnum opus anyway. The shitty lovey-dovey script that reeks of character assassination, Eggman's intolerable design, the countless plotholes, the necrophilia + bestiality combo, and so many other things were here to stay, and wouldn't have been fixed if the development lasted five more years.

Fuck this game. It's largely the reason why many people just assume Sonic has sucked nonstop for the last decade, and won't even give Colors and Generations the time of day.

25 comments:

  1. Even the official Sonic twitter made fun of the game more than once. At least we got some humor out of the game, if only indirectly.

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    1. The official Sonic Twitter making fun of it is one thing (I mean, we're talking about the same official account that made fun of Sonichu here). Sega going all Star Wars Christmas special on us and going out of their way to make sure nobody plays this game is another.

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  2. At least the game erased itself from the canon, except when it doesn't...

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  3. Well, let's be honest here: Sega's always been second-rate. I won't deny that they have a few hits here and there, but largely they didn't know what the fuck they were doing or how to market things. They had no fewer than FOUR consoles being supported at the same time, plus all of the Genesis' shitty add-ons. The only thing they seem to have going for them now is Bayonetta, and that's largely in others' hands.

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  4. I would say that this is a surprising newsflash... but considering the structure of this pitiful excuse for a story/half-retcon, that wouldn't be entirely sincere. I detest this game as much as I detest Pikachump. SEGA nearly committed suicide with this ultimate rush job of a game. If they truly wish to reestablish the integrity of the franchise, then they cannot afford ANY MORE failures. Otherwise:
    It's ONE, TWO,
    THREE strikes! (You're out!)
    At the oooold gaming industry GAME!

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    1. How many strikes do they have at this point, and Sonic is somehow still kicking? At this rate, even if Fire & Ice is a dud there'll still be people worshipping him.

      Speaking of which, what blows my mind about the failure of Rise of Lyric just as much as anything that has to do with 2006 is the fact that they basically said "we were marketing this game towards a new generation of fans, and we were totally surprised when people who've played Sonic for a long time bought it too". Holy shit, they just might be that dense.

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    2. Little did SEGA know that even a new generation of audience would think that Sonic Boom is a bad game and find Sonic constantly saying "bounce-pad" to be a way of patronizing them.

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    3. I may have said this somewhere before; but SEGA are insane. They continue to use methods which don't work worth shit.

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  5. I know they delisted several other Sonic titles as well, around the time Colors came out. Anything with substandard reviews was not shipped to retail anymore. I don't know if they went as far as removing any of them from the Marketplace, though.

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  6. Seems Sonic just needs to stay 2D. I've been watching the Grumps play Sonic Adventure lately, considered to be one of the 'best' 3D Sonic games, and even that game blows. Everything about the animation, dialogue and story is nonsensical and just some of the most awful presentation I've ever seen (even if I try to look at it as campy, it's not. SA plays everything completely straight). Glitches everywhere, perhaps not on the level of '06 or Boom, but still unacceptable on any level. There's no direction for where to go, and it's not just Arin being stupid this time. The game can't decide what it wants to be, so it's essentially a mini-game collection. One of the biggest problems I see with the 3D Sonic games is that they try to do so much that people just don't care about. When people play Sonic, they want to go fast. But Sonic speed levels take up maybe an hour of these games at most, and the rest of the time is filled with pointless crap few people ever want to do.

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    1. Yeah, I tried to replay both the Adventure games last year, and it became pretty clear that nostalgia was a big reason I still liked them. Both are pretty shoddy in terms of glitches (especially SA1), both have a cheesy story, and both try to cram stuff that simply doesn't belong in a Sonic game.

      I do think SA2 improved a lot on the original, with more streamlined gameplay (no running around for hours in a confusing overworld!), more speed-oriented levels and at least an attempt to make the emerald-hunting stages bearable. There are even moments when the story isn't completely ridiculous, and some of the music is great (that's one of SA1's better qualities, too). It did give us Rouge, though, so I don't want to get carried away here.

      I still think it's a good game, but both games fall well short of what the designers clearly had in mind.

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    2. "Confusing overworld"? SA1? Man, aside from the Egg Carrier being annoying, I honestly don't know what you're talking about. I mean, I GUESS you could say that tree maze in the Hidden Ruins, but you have a fucking map!

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    3. That's the predicament, though. On one hand, the developers of the 3D games(who are usually Sonic Team) keep changing the formula and don't establish some sort of adaptable formula for future games. On the other hand, even though it's partly their fault for trying to draw in as many different types of platformer fans as possible, they kept on listening to fans even though the fanbase itself has no universal idea on what they truly want from the 3D games. If future games regressed back to a 2D structure, it would imply that SEGA was too afraid to touch 3D anymore and decided to subscribe to the Mario School of Game Development thought. I'd like some more consistency myself, and I would be still content if they prove that they could do some amazing things despite remaining in a 2D environment, but I don't like to immediately resort to purist thought if it seems like I'd be limiting developers' creative thought.
      Besides, why are you even watching the Game Grumps play anything? Most of it IS just Arin being completely stupid and fraudulent. There's no way SA1 is as terrible as '06. I'm convinced he's triggering the glitches on purpose.

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    4. The Adventures have aged very, very badly, no doubt about that. However, they're not even close to being in the same league as 2006. Same goes for the glitches. It can get messy sometimes, but they're still infinitely more playable.

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  7. On a brighter note, it seems that the PotW writers couldn't resist putting in a Singles set for Skarmory that isn't its tried-and-true set it's been using for years. Oh, that's on top, but they decided to put in a specially defensive set despite the fact that most people just use a specially defensive Pokemon for that. Skarmory is predictable, but very effective in the absence of Taunt and Magic Bounce. It was the first defensive Pokemon I took a liking to, at any rate...

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    1. Oh, and the team forgetting Defog and Rapid Spin always helps...

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  8. Secret Rings is still better than Sonic 06. Then again, that's like saying Gen 2 of Pokemon is better than Gen 1. These days, with the remakes, the first two Gens exist only for Genwunners to put on a pedestal and for historical value and fascination...

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    1. The first two gens were great at one point, though. Most of the Sonic games from the last decade... nope.

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    2. Even though there are some morons (and SomecallmeJohnny) who would defend even Sonic 06...

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    3. I don't think he defends it as much as he believes it's not the worst Sonic game.

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    4. He defends the Sonic sections...

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    5. The embarassing thing is that out of all the playable characters, Sonic is probably the least horrible of the bunch. Either him or Blaze, at least. At least she doesn't get Mach Speed sections.

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  9. Say, Slow, I know you don't do much on Youtube anymore, but what do you think about their new video layout? I dunno, it feels weird but I think this one's actually decent.

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  10. Especially interesting as I believe that exact same scenario was what made NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams a disappointment. iirc, Sega told the Sonic Team to port it from the 360/PS3 to the Wii with a very strict time constraint, and it was a miracle it's as good as it is.

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