SEGA Sequel Saturdays: Sonic Adventure 3

Welcome to SEGA Sequel Saturdays, Episode 6. This week I’m going to take on the challenge of creating another Sonic Adventure, the series in which Sonic broke free from his 2D universe and into full, uncompromised 3D gameplay. We have had many Sonic games since Sonic Adventure 2, but each has been a fairly radical departure from where Sonic’s 3D escapades began back on the Dreamcast. In this episode I’ll look at how a Sonic Adventure 3 could be great, assuming SEGA wouldn’t just be using the “Adventure” name for sales purposes, but actually making another game fully in the Sonic Adventure template. As always, we welcome and appreciate your craaaaaaaazy responses in the Comments section below.

Sonic has become an incredibly divisive series, one that, given a few years, you could conceivably write an entire Master’s Thesis on….maybe you even already can. One thing that can’t be denied is that despite what people say now, the Sonic Adventure series was incredibly well-received back on the Dreamcast, garnering critical praise, big sales, and positive fan reaction. A mere 6 months later, Sonic Adventure 2 was ported up to the Gamecube, and the same critic outlets pretty much tore it up despite it actually featuring additional features from the acclaimed Dreamcast version.

What happened?

Could it be that the Sonic Adventure series just didn’t age well? It’s true that many games don’t, especially from that era. If that was the case, though, wouldn’t gamers have had the same reaction as the critics? A few months back I had a conversation with someone about Sonic Colors, which he didn’t seem too interested in playing, mainly because he hasn’t been interested in playing a Sonic game in years. To my surprise, he then asked me if I remembered Sonic Adventure 2: Battle on the Gamecube. “That game was one of the best games ever,” he said.

Despite the cold critical reception, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle outsold the original Sonic Adventure 2 by a large margin, and it continued to sell all throughout the Gamecube’s lifespan. The game seemed to bring the Sonic series to an entirely new audience of non-SEGA fans and, in general, they loved it: the same way SEGA fans dug the series back on their system.

The Sonic series has, I think, fallen victim to nostalgia. Nostalgia is a great thing in many cases, but for Sonic, it seems to be a curse rather than a blessing. Because of their nostalgia for the 2D Sonic titles, many critics, regardless of the quality of the game, will apparently refuse to accept a Sonic game that commits the heinous, unspeakable crime of featuring 3D gameplay. On the other hand, I think there’s a large amount of Sonic fans out there who instead treasure the Sonic Adventure series, and would love for a Sonic game to return to that.

So how can SEGA make another Sonic Adventure game, with the large cast of playable characters, action/adventure elements like exploration, virtual pet simulators, time attack race modes, and multiplayer battle components that are key components of a Sonic Adventure game? Like it or not, this is what Sonic Adventure always was, the attempt to create a 3D platformer with a large variety of different styles of gameplay, multiple characters to choose from, dramatic final boss encounters, human interaction, and of course, Chao gardens.

Sonic Team has not yet tried to create another Sonic Adventure game. It can be argued that Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 took some cues from the first Sonic Adventure (and thank God they didn’t call it Sonic Adventure 3) but if you were to play Sonic Adventure, then Sonic Adventure 2, then Sonic ’06….it stands out like a sore thumb: a completely different experience from the Adventure series. With Sonic Adventure, you have to have bright (but not too bright) levels, you have to have energetic soundtracks, you have to have pure, uninterrupted, 4-5 minute Sonic stages, you need the Chao gardens, you need all the characters, you need the Knuckles rap songs and the character themes, and a world that’s at stake…

Well, I guess maybe you don’t need *all* those things. If I were to develop a Sonic Adventure 3, there are certain aspects I’d scale back. In the story mode, Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles would be the only playable characters in the levels themselves. Each character would have their own stages, and it would alternate between them like Sonic Adventure 2 did as opposed to Sonic Adventure 1’s character wheel. However, and this is the important part, all of the characters would have speed-based stages. Knuckles was playable back on the Genesis, but nobody cared because his levels were fast like Sonic’s. My Sonic Adventure 3 would have Tails/Knuckles levels that would be all about, like Sonic’s, around 5 minutes of getting from the start to the finish. Sonic’s levels would be a little bit faster, Tails’s maybe slightly more platforming-driven, Knuckles maybe with a little more emphasis on combat, but all high-speed levels.

Unlike Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, where everyone loved Sonic’s levels but only tolerated the other characters’ stages, in this game, it would be totally possible for a Tails or Knuckles stage to be your favorite in the game. They’d all have their amazing, jaw-dropping moments and their fast speeds. Where they’d improve on what we saw in the first two Adventure games would be in the amount of different paths, which would be vastly increased, as well as of course the amount of epic set pieces now possible on next gen hardware. The controls would return to the Adventure physics and speeds, no more of this slippery stuff that’s become commonplace in Sonic games over the past couple years.

Other characters would be playable, but not in the same sense. Characters like Eggman, Shadow, (like it or not, guys, he’s still alive, and the kids love him, so….) and Amy would be playable for the occasional boss fight, probably a boss fight each, but would not have their own levels. They all would play roles in the story, some big, some small, but the story would contain the same strong writing and voice acting as Sonic Colors did, maybe with slightly less slapstick but with a sense of humor. The world would still need saving by the end, and the Last mode would be pretty epic.

If someone wanted to, those above three paragraphs could be their entire game. They would have a pure Sonic experience in the most basic sense, and not have to worry about any of the other “Adventure” aspects getting in the way of their enjoyment of it.

When you would load up your copy of Sonic Adventure 3, you’d end up in a hub world. The hub worlds would be big and expansive, but, like everything else, totally optional. A big red dot on the map in the top-right corner of the screen would make sure you’d always know exactly where you would need to go to get to the next level and progress the story, and you would never be required to do anything else in the hub worlds.

However, for those who’d want to do more, the hub worlds would offer a ton of options. Here you’d be able to select your character, and you’d get to pick anyone who was playable in the story, even if they didn’t get their own stages. You’d be able to head to the Chao gardens, where you could hatch and breed your chao, bringing it animals and energy capsules from the levels, just like in Sonic Adventure/Sonic Adventure 2. You’d get to race them, have them fight, take them to school, and, in a new feature, bring them outside the garden on a leash and into the hub world, where you’d get to take them into previously-visited levels. Sort of like an in-game Chao Adventure. You’d only have access to certain parts of each stage with your Chao, but they’d get to hunt animals for themselves and meet other Chao who are out on an adventure, boosting their stats more than usual by doing this.

You’d also be able to take them to things like the Chao Theatre, where they’d get to watch their fellow Chao either perform music, perform in talent shows, or whatever….all of which would increase the Chao’s “intelligence,” providing a stat boost. Your Chao would also be able to enter the talent show and be judged by a panel of Chao judges. Prizes would be awarded depending on how well you’ve trained it in the skill that it’s performing. You’d get to provide encouragement as the Chao performs his talent, like how it worked in the races in Adventures 1 and 2.

Rather than your Chao simply becoming “good or evil,” they’d begin to partially resemble the character who raised them, so Eggman’s Chao would probably grow to be slightly fat, Sonic’s would develop some spikey hair, all that good stuff.

Aside from the Chao raising, which anyone could spend hours upon hours doing, you’d also be able to experience some great mini-games when in the hub world. For example, you could head on over to the Spinball Zone where you’d get to play some Sonic-themed pinball games with your character of choice, (a machine would role Eggman up into a ball) there would be mini-games based around the levels themselves (think: Twinkle Circuit,) there would be a Retro Hut where you could experience some old school 2D sidescroller action reminiscent of the old games, and, of course, you’d have the option to purchase additional cool moves for your character (Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles only) or outfits and toys for your Chao. Some of this would be unlockable, which you’d purchase with the hub worlds’ currency. You’d be able to get this cash by trading in rings you collected during the levels, playing multiplayer games, or doing tasks for people.

Like Super Smash Bros, you’d gain rewards (in this case, currency) from playing multiplayer matches, both online and offline. The multiplayer would have race modes, it would have co-op, it would have online Chao competitions, and even Sonic Shuffle/Mario Party board game stuff. Secret Rings tried doing this, but Sonic Adventure 3 would actually do this well.

People in the hub worlds would act differently to you depending on which character you’d be controlling, and they’d offer you different types of missions. These missions would be, again, entirely optional. This is where you’d get the hub world currency if you didn’t want to get it from the multiplayer mode or by trading in rings from the levels.

Back to the levels themselves for a minute. Like in Sonic Adventure 2, you’d have additional misions to complete in each stage to acquire emblems, and you’d be able to access a map of all the levels for easy mission selecting (similar to Sonic Adventure 2) from a place in the hub world.

As far as music goes, the theme songs would have to be less…terrible than those featured in Colors, which shouldn’t be too hard to do, but they’d only be featured in small bits throughout the game. (You’d be able to hear the full song in the sound menu if you so desired, also accessed from a place in the hub world.) Crush 40 would return for those, I mean, they might as well, and hopefully their lyrics would go through some sort of approval process. I’d mainly want them back not for their theme songs, but because I think level tracks like this one just make Sonic Adventure what it is.


And whoever’s responsible for this…


…whatever this is, we’d need them back. It would be my absolute mission to get this guy to come back to do at least one song. I don’t know where I’d put it, but it’d definitely be there somewhere, I just don’t see any other choice. 😈

I’m convinced that Sonic Adventure 3 could be done. It could be faithful to what made Sonic Adventure what it was, but at the same time, it would address the complaints that many critics have, in retrospect, had with the series. This wouldn’t be the game for “only Sonic being playable,” it wouldn’t be a game for (much) 2-D platforming, it wouldn’t be a game with roller coasters of death or 10-minute long levels. This would be a return to the same fun style of the Sonic Adventure series and all the content that they offered, but this time, much of that content would be optional. For those who would choose to explore it, though, it would be a lot of fun.

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32 responses to “SEGA Sequel Saturdays: Sonic Adventure 3

  1. cube_b3 says:

    I am sorry I couldn't read all of your vision.

    "thank god they didn't call it Sonic Adventure 3"

    Yes it was a much better decision to call it Sonic the Hedgehog that way it only destroy's the entire franchise and not just a series.

    To me it will always be Sonic Adventure 3 and I love it almost as fondly as the last 2, my only regret is Yuji Naka walked out and didn't complete his vision for the series.

    I supposed he knew the game required a lot more time in development and SEGA SAMMY wouldn't push the dead lines, therefore he bailed.

    Yuji Naka may not have made the next Sonic yet, but all his games are critically successful.

    I'll read your entire post soon.

  2. CrazyTails says:

    This coming from soemone who got all emblems in the game.

    Sonic adventure 2 isn't really that great. It's actually pretty average (not crap). I think the game is indeed a case of nog aging well but also tedious gameplay thrown at ya. The latter being the worst part. Honestly I cannot believe how I had the patience to pour all the time into getting all emblems with the emerald hunting and shoot levels. I hate them today. I hate playing sonic adventure 2 from scratch because I do not enjoy those said stages.

    If it were some years ago i'd give the sonic and shadow stages alot more credit. Sadly sonic/shadow stages aren't all that either. The stages are linear, which is somethign sonic was suffering from alot ever since colors and sonic 4. It is the total package I sorta dislike.

    The creative imaginable world from everything before were replaced by realistic realworld based environments which luckily are gone. The story is just anoying serious BS. I'm sorry if anyone disagrees but why did it have to be so dark? The first sonic adventure did it perfectly.

    Anyway in short. The game has aged.

    The things I do have credit for is how polished the game was. The controls were excellent. The homing attack has never been made better than how it was done in SA2. The 2 player mode was awesome. The content was GREAT. CHAO's. Green hill zone after collecting emblems was the best unlockable ever. There's more but the bad things just overweigh the good imo.

  3. CrazyTails says:

    A sonic adventure 3 would be great if they brought back the great open worlds and push them further to a new level. I really loved the hub worlds from adventure 1.

    If they made the alternate gameplay actually fun. Alternate gameplay just belongs with the name, needs to stay consistent.

    Surrealism. Man a little spice of oldschool surrealism would make the world alot more apealing, to me at least.

    Characters playing similar to sonic in a way or another. NOT slow and just fill the rest up in your mind.

    Visual awesomeness should not play a larger role than input. The reason why I hate sonic unleashed is because it's apeal come from the visual specatle. I'm more of a gameplay guy. Stages like crazy gadget were friggin epic. Needs more of that with the surrealism thing.

    I have never really cared for a new sonic adventure game, but when I think about it, if they did it right it could become really good. Sonic adventure is a big name, no doubt alot of people see the series as one that have great potentional to built upon.

    Writing all this stuff has kind of made me wanting a new sonic adventure game as well lol.

  4. ribbitking17 says:

    The thing i didnt like about the about the adventure games was that you had to go through of all that sonic filler stuff to get to the real game, the CHAO

  5. -nSega54- says:

    Regarding the storylines, I kinda think Sonic Adventure 2 was less dark than the 1st game's. Sonic Adventure 1 had the massacre of an entire civilization. 0_o

    SA2 was a lot more "fun," with Sonic escaping from imprisonment on a makeshift snowboard, and freefalling from a helicopter. I mean….awesome.

    I think primarily the games' stories were held back by the writing. Though at the time I really enjoyed the stories. And they inspired tons and tons and tons of fanfiction, showing that people did love 'em.

    "Writing all this stuff has kind of made me wanting a new sonic adventure game as well lol."

    Haha yup. Alternate characters with fun, Sonic-styled gameplay and completely optional but great hub worlds would I think solve everything.

    (alright videos now back in the post.)

  6. SMT_Xero says:

    although i would like everyone to have a "high speed level" that doesn't really sound like a adventure game to me. sonic adventure was always about a lot of characters that have different game play even tho no one liked any of them besides sonic and shadows. but if sega was ever going to make a sonic adventure 3 i would say take the engine from sonic adventure 2 and just make it a XBLA and PSN title. with some cool online vs modes and a online chao HUB world that would kinda turn out like PSUs hub world just with chaos and mini games. although it would be a dream come true for a sonic adventure 3 i don't think current sega could really do the game justice and would turn out like a sonic 4. it would have the general idea down but in no way come close to as good as the originals.

  7. crackdude says:

    "Anyway in short. The game has aged."

    That doesn't make it not great. When it came out it was mind-blowing! It's still fun today, and probably the best 3D Sonic gameplay to date.

    "Surrealism. Man a little spice of oldschool surrealism would make the world alot more apealing, to me at least."

    Oi? Pumpking Hill anyone? Final Chase? Are you sure you played Sonic Adventure 2?

    "Sadly sonic/shadow stages aren’t all that either. The stages are linear"

    what.

    I loved this article.

    While I don't think it's the best, Sonic Adventure 2 certainly is my favorite Sonic game.

    I would love to see a sequel, and what has been described here pleases me a lot.

    Though as for storyline, maybe it could be 4 playable characters: HERO Sonic and Tails, DARK Knux and Shadow.

    Make Knux a bad guy again 🙂

  8. -nSega54- says:

    "I loved this article."

    I really appreciate it!

    Thanks for reading.

  9. CrazyTails says:

    Haha, just my take on it man. It was mind blowing for me at the time too, but when a game "ages", it means a game was never really that good. Take the classics as example. Those games will still be fun after 1000 years.

    When I think of surrealism I think of imaginitive visuals. Even those examples you gave are things that felt more real than the most surreal environment in any of sonic adventure 1 stages. I think it was especially the textures and lack of badniks.

    Sonic and shadow stages are the best what it has to offer. Yeah I do them sometiems, I just don't don't enjoy them that much anymore allthough I do think the sonic stages are 10x better than sonic adventure 1's.

  10. crackdude says:

    That's not exactly true.

    Take the first Gran Turismo for example. It has aged terribly! The graphics are hideous and the gameplay is slippery. Still, it was the best back then and still is today regarded as one of the best PSX games, even if no one plays it today.

    And Sonic Adventure 2 has aged better than Gran Turismo ;P

    Hmm I see what you're trying to say. I don't agree though.

    Does Sonic Heroes style fit into your idea of surrealism?

    If that's sort of what you're aiming at, I prefer SA2's realistic nonsense (LOL SONIC GRABBING ONTO A SPACE LAUNCH)

    I think that your major issue with the game is that you got bored with it. You played it to the point where you're full of it. So your perception changed a bit, no?

    Maybe the game hasn't aged at all! Maybe YOU have aged O_o

  11. CrazyTails says:

    hahaha maybe I did :P. I don't know, I may be wrong when I think about it. The game is really well polished, and even the boring gameplay is done pretty well. Yeah it's me.

    Yeah sonic heroes is a pretty good example of surrealism but not the best. I'd point more towards the direction they were taking in the sega saturn era. Or even the more recent sonic colors did it right imo.

    Ah well, if there would be a sonic adventure 3, seeing how the developers have been listening so much to the fans recently, looking at how sonic colors as a reaction to all the feedback, i'm sure it would turn out fine. I'd love to see what they'd turn it into in this time of day.

  12. -nSega54- says:

    Some games just age. Final Fantasy 7's incredibly dated today but I don't think you could argue that it "wasn't a very good game to begin with" as there are millions of people who would disagree with that.

    A lot of games from the PS1/N64/DC have aged poorly, 3D platforming was a brand new concept then and developers were still finding their way. Shooting segments that were fun in Sonic Adventure 1 at the time are seen as simplistic and dated today. It's just a matter of the industry changing.

    At the time, having gameplay variety was considered a positive thing. When SA1 came out, people were legitimately excited to see all the different gameplay styles offered by each character.

    I think I get what you mean by surrealism vs realism. The Genesis games, Heroes, and (sort of) Colors took place in worlds that didn't really bear much resemblance to our world, whereas the Adventure games were taking place in…sort of our world, with humans, cars, etc. Station Square may have had outer space-themed amusement parks and floating bumper car races but it still looked like a regular city when it was destroyed in that CG cutscene.

  13. Essay says:

    CrazyTails, I can relate to your original post. I think I logged…180+ hours on Sonic Adventure 2: Battle and got all the emblems, etc. etc. etc.

    I really enjoyed Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, but I'm not clamoring for a third title. I feel as if the Adventure titles were a DC/GCN era-games, and that Sonic Team has moved on–as they should.

  14. -nSega54- says:

    Well we'll see what they name the upcoming 20th Anniversary Sonic game. I've got a strange feeling….

  15. cube_b3 says:

    I finally read it.

    If I would make Sonic Adventure 3 I would resume work on Sonic 06 thing would be to get Sonic 06 bug and load time free.

    Then to give the graphics an over all.

    All the new gameplay gimmicks in 06 would either be removed, downgraded to the ones featured in previous games or extensively play tested to get the new gimmicks done right.

    Incorporate your idea about Chao Expansions.

    The script would receive orders for 2 additional rewrites, the first rewrite to remove/reimagine Silver as a different character maybe as a decedent of Knuckles, so he would be reimagined as an Echinda and not a hedgehog, this would give a rise to Sonic Vs NeoKnuckles rather than a 3rd Hedgehog several tweaks would be made including plot hole elimination, better roles for supporting casts and once that is done we'll have another draft just to make sure everything is perfect. Princess Elise will obviously remain as if only difference the ending would involve Sonic turning into SonicMan rather than Super Sonic 😛

  16. -nSega54- says:

    I'm still amazed that you actually liked Sonic '06.

  17. crackdude says:

    Sonic's storyline wasn't half bad.

  18. CrazyTails says:

    Sonic 06 had one of the best level design of any sonic game imo. It also had a beautiful ost. Another thing I really like is that the alternating gameplay was actually pretty decent. I enjoyed shadow and silver.

    Other than that, it was a load of shit.

    I think sonic 06 sets great examples when it comes to level design. It was everything but straightforward. Lots of platforming, lots of variety.

  19. -nSega54- says:

    I'll agree about the soundtrack, great soundtrack at times. Level design, though, I thought was some of the worst in the entire series, with only Shadow the Hedgehog being lower.

  20. crackdude says:

    Level design was absolute worst in Sonic 06. Very confusing. It has some good moments, but it's still confusing then.

  21. cube_b3 says:

    I love the level design, it is just like Adventure 1 just 10 times larger. Remember how everyone used to play the same stage and reach different areas depending on their abilities 06 had that!

    The hub worlds sucked.

    06 had great moments but the game was an incomplete, it wasn't play tested, and an over all mess but beneath the mess was a fun game burried. Real Deep.

  22. -nSega54- says:

    I'm not sure how the level design was anything like Sonic Adventure.

    The Sonic Adventure games were all about breezy fun. Sonic '06's level design relied on enemies with health meters that you had to battle to progress, it relied on nothing but sudden death pits, and it featured really confusing parts where it was unclear where to go. I really don't see any similarities at all. Play Red Mountain and then go and play the Mountain level in '06. Play Emerald Coast then play the beach level from '06. I just don't see at all how they're similar.

    And the speed sections were horribly executed and nothing but try-and-die frustration.

  23. cube_b3 says:

    Sonic 06 was so screwed up it didn't even show you the name of the levels while loading :S.

    Anyway the mountain level, Radical Train is my favourite stage in the game. The thing about Sonic 06 is that it is so bad people assume the new good things are bad as well.

    For example the massive sizes of the levels, I was initally lost as well specifically the 2nd stage Dusty Desert maybe the camera should've shown you the right way but Sonic Adventure 2 did that and I hated it. I wanted free exploration badly in Adventure 2. You have to get used the level design that is one thing that functions and the so large you get lost is intentional and gives you replay value.

  24. CrazyTails says:

    The level design was good! 😡

  25. -nSega54- says:

    Cube: I meant the Volcano level.

    Anyway my problem with 10 minute+ levels is that with the lives system, losing all your lives means starting again, which made it hard for me to really want to explore or try anything risky for fear of dying.

  26. cube_b3 says:

    Ideally the more you explore the more lives you get. Their are 2 volcano levels Crisis City which is one of the best levels in the game and then Crisis Core which was a pain in the ass but I recently played through it (last week) and it was surprisingly easy to beat, but yeah that level has the annoying walls that demand you clear the area of enemies or the door won't open but that's what happens when you get OverWorks in to complete a Sonic game.

    Exploring is mandatory in 06 if you want to collect those fucking silver medals some dum ass decided to place 10 fucking silver medals in one level. In hindsight, it isn't really that bad of a thing, after playing Colors we immediately popped 06 in to see which game is better. I hate how the timer doesn't restart when you die in Colors and Unleashed, a bug that isn't present in 06.

    Also all 3 of us concluded that 06's level design and the open exploration nature is way better then the invisible wall level design of Unleashed/Colors.

  27. Chaosmaster8753 says:

    I kinda like seeing a more positive outlook on a possible Sonic Adventure 3 for once.

  28. -nSega54- says:

    haha I guess we won't agree, Cube. I have given Sonic '06 more than a fair shot, I've gotten all S-ranks on both Easy and Hard mode for every single Sonic/Shadow level…I've also beaten the game twice.

    I actually don't think Sonic Colors is as great as people make it out to be, I liked it and gave it a positive review but I definitely didn't think it was perfect. Sonic Unleashed HD I actually loved

    Chaosmaster: haha thanks bro. I definitely think it could work if it were done well.

  29. Final Hazard says:

    This is what we need with a few tweaks here and there. But be realistic, if Sa3 is made it would probably be 5 years from now. 25th anniversary most likely

  30. Avid Elf says:

    Your right about the style, but you’re forgetting that in Sonic 2, Eggman, Shadow and Rouge WERE playable.

    Shadow has always been a favorite of mine and considering how he “died” in the end, Sega needs to find a way to bring him back.

    A side store like in Sonic Adventure 2, or in the 15th anniversary Sonic the Hedgehog, would be a great way to do this.

    Players can live out there sonic dreams while playing through Sonic, Knuckles, Tails levels; while players like me who cried over the end of Shadow could enjoy finding out where he is and helping him along through the game.

    Also, seeing as Sonic is the main “hero” with Knuckles and Tails as his partner: Shadow should be the main “anti-villian” with Rouge and– who I was thinking would be better than eggman– Omega.

    We can’t forget that although every one’s a fan of Sonic; alot of people are fans of Shadow, and will only play the game because Shadow is in it.

  31. Sonic63 says:

    Well this is the best idea sega has had yet but my Shadow The Hedgehog 2 idea has yet to be worked on because its in the early stages of development such as the basic planning but when i get it to where you can actually form out the gameplay it’ll be one heck of a shadow game possibly better than STH1 thats why im taking my idea to sega and i’ll introduce them to the newest possible non-suckish shadow game there will ever be

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