Round Table: What’s next for Sonic after Lost World?

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Whenever I complete the latest Sonic game, the first thing I think about is “what’s next?”. Following Sonic Colors, it seemed like for the first time since the Sonic Adventure titles, speculation was an exciting experience. Would they expand on the Wisp power-ups? Would SEGA continue with some form of boost, or would the slow things down? Sonic Generations answered these questions with a “greatest hits” game featuring modern Sonic gameplay that felt like a mix of the best elements found in both Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors. Following Sonic Generations, Sonic Team promised us something new and unique, and that something was Sonic Lost World. We’ve all played and, and we all have varying opinions on it. Some enjoyed it and some… well, we’re sure to have an editorial soon.

With another Sonic game behind us, the SEGAbits writers and myself are once again asking that question of “what’s next?”. Join us in our super Sonic speculation in the return of the SEGAbits Round Table!

Shigs

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I think Sonic Lost World is a step in the right direction. It was proof that a more open, 3D Sonic game could work. Not just having Sonic boost in a straight line forward and then going into a 2D section. It took a lot of ideas and threw them into the pot, but that was also part of the problem. It needs focus. It needs to refine itself but not so much that it breaks traditional elements that make it a Sonic game. This like speed, platforming and collecting 100 rings for an extra life should be essential. They should definitely keep the spin dash they have going now. It really works. That main thing is trimming the controls a bit. Having a separate run button is great, but two things from Lost World need to go since they can’t seem to nail it down. Wall running and that confusing kick attack. The longer homing attack works better in my opinion.

I’d like to see a Sonic game with not only a tutorial level on it’s own so Omachao doesn’t have to bug you in the future. Although I know it’s not popular, I did enjoy hub worlds and think a full on hub of Sonic’s hometown where you could traverse levels from would be pretty sweet. One last thing..PLEASE bring back more playable characters already! The only reason we were down on them before is because Sonic Team made the alternate characters tend to have horrible gameplay. The main rule if you bring back more characters is that they’d have to play similar to Sonic. Otherwise, you’re putting in new mechanics that probably won’t work.

Barry the Nomad

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I enjoyed Sonic Lost World. As I noted in my review, it was “not as good a game as Sonic Generations, but I am very happy that Sonic Team chose to go the direction that they did with this game”. I enjoyed a slower Sonic, more in line with the classics, free from the boost based gameplay. I also think that Lost World, in many ways control-wise, is an improvement over the boost trilogy. The parkour moves were an inventive new way for Sonic to move through the environments, and for the first time I approve of a double jump in a Sonic game. However, moving forward, I would very much like to see future games taking more advantage of the parkour system. One thing that the 3DS version of Sonic Lost World did better than the Wii U version was the way parkour controlled and how players had to learn to use the new moves to progress through the levels, much like they did when the spin dash was first introduced. No more ninja yellow springs, please.

I’d also like to see Sonic Team dropping the filler acts. With a slowed down Sonic that is fun to control, it shouldn’t be difficult to produce more platforming stages and less “Sonic is a snowball” or “Sonic is flying through the sky but is nearly impossible to control” stages. Also, the Wisps need to go. They were great fun in Sonic Colors, but they felt tacked on in Sonic Lost World. If anything, parkour and the new 3 tier speed system should have been the gimmick that gets attention, not Gamepad controlled Wisps. Really, Sonic Team has the potential to produce a great Sonic game following Sonic Lost World as long as they learn their lessons from this game rather than pull a Sonic Heroes and reinvent the formula all over again.

Ben

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Sonic Lost World was an experience that felt like it began with the right idea. The decision to step back from the boost-heavy mechanics of its immediate predecessors was the right choice, as that style of gameplay just didn’t have much room to grow or evolve. Reducing Sonic’s speed isn’t an idea that on paper fans may immediately embrace, but the slower speed seen in Lost World is where I think the series should be heading. Sonic Team’s been praised for their 2D platforming, but they are no slackers when it comes to 3D platforming either, and designing a Sonic game which focuses more on this is what I’d like to see.

I think that Sonic’s controls and his speed from the Sonic Adventure series would be a good place for Sonic Team to look back to for inspiration for his next adventure, though with far more open paths and of course sections with 2D gameplay. I’d like to see the story continue to be lighthearted and fun, though getting the dialogue fine-tuned a little bit would go a long way. Boss encounters need to go back to the epic scale that we expect from Sonic; no more of the New Super Mario Bros style boss fights, please. All in all, Sonic Lost World had the right idea, it just didn’t execute that idea properly. Sonic has hit his max speed and needed to slow down slightly. Now if we can fix the controls and stray back away from the Mario influences, then I’d say we’d really have something.

Nuckles

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I’ve loved the last couple of Sonic games to come out of SEGA. Sonic Generations especially was a tour de force in speedy platforming. As much as I loved that game and its predecessor, Sonic Colors, I also came to realize that the Sonic series couldn’t persist on the Generations formula forever. Building a level in Generations is a tremendous waste of resources: massive levels have to be produced so that Sonic can spend three or four minutes speeding through them. Due to the loose controls and the narrow focus on speed there is little room in the game’s design for proper platforming, turning the game into an instant gratification boost fest, albeit a very fun boost fest, that had little in common with Sonic’s roots.

Lost World was a game designed to address these issues and in many ways it succeeded. The addition of the run and spindash buttons allow for more diverse level design beyond the purely boost-centric levels of the Rush and Generations, ranging from slower more platform centric levels to longer, faster parkour-filled levels. Unfortunately, Lost World is also a game that lacks focus. Too many unnecessary and sometimes bad ideas were saved from the cutting room floor, and as a result the game suffers. Future Sonic games need to be less focused on length and more focused on quality. The regular platforming stages need to be shorter and tighter in their design, and levels that deviate from proper running and platforming need to be removed all together. Levels like the grinding stages and the absolutely atrocious Sky Road Act 3 were completely unnecessary and only served to muddle Lost World’s otherwise fun selection of levels.

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11 responses to “Round Table: What’s next for Sonic after Lost World?

  1. Hitrax says:

    A proper next gen Sonic for the X1 & PS4, hopefully. With at the very least, the same caliber of Generations.

  2. Icedus says:

    I’d never admit it out loud, but I agree with Nuckles on Sonic Generations. A lot of the enjoyment I got out of my first time with, say, Sonic 3 & Knuckles came from exploring the variety of routes in a level and suddenly having hit the eight-minute mark before I knew it. Generations isn’t ashamed to groom you to GO THIS WAY, RIGHT NOW which is fun too, but not what got me into the series.

  3. radrappy says:

    I honestly have no interest in them taking this franchise to next gen quite yet. They’re not ready.

    The next game should feature the gameplay from SLW but with wide open multi tiered levels that are flat as opposed to spheres or tubes. Lose the bottomless pits, try to minimize the frustration, and baby you’ve got yourself a stew.

    It should also be multiplatform for wiiu/ps3/360.

    • Trippled says:

      “They’re not ready.”

      Why?

    • Radrappy says:

      Because for the amount of money and time it would take to craft visuals worthy of the name “next-gen” the gameplay would still be woefully lacking. They’re better off using the assets and technology they’re already comfortable with to improve the gameplay to find something that works fantastically. Next Gen development is sure to have its own unique technical challenges, something ST is clearly not ready to handle.

    • Trippled says:

      I’m sure they can handle making a good looking game. Never really had a problem with that. They won’t even need to create new assets, just upgrading the Unleashed/Generations graphics is enough for Next-Gen.

    • Radrappy says:

      Define upgrade. The entire reason they went with simpler visuals in SLW was because they were needlessly breaking the bank with games like Unleashed and Generations. What’s the point in spending more time on visuals at this point? What does Sonic stand to gain by going next gen?

    • Trippled says:

      Upgrade as in take…perhaps the maxed out on PC Generations game, and add better lighting etc.

      Now, I think the cost of Unleashed came through creating so much geography throughout so many miles. However just doing background on the level of Classic Sonic Generations is surely doable.

  4. cube_b3 says:

    What I want next for Sonic?

    Hmmm…. let’s see a patch for Sonic Generations improving classic Sonic physics and a mega stage pack. Offering the original level designs for all featured stages and a few new made levels. Maybe Eggman Land from Sonic Unleashed.

  5. cactus says:

    Hopefully the next Sonic game will be really next gen 3D sonci without useless gimmicks, and hope they abandon the SLW formula and design.

  6. SonicFTW says:

    I like the way this guy thinks. This review was amazing.

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