Round Table: What we thought about the latest Sonic teaser

SEGA released a new Sonic teaser via their Sonic Facebook page. What did we think about it? Well, we decided to all sit down and write about it.

Hit the jump and tell us what you thought about the trailer in the comments.

Sharky’s opinion

Until last year (when I bought Sonic Colours, which in my opinion is an excellent game) I had not bought a ‘main’ Sonic game since Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.

“But why Sharky?” you may ask.

I was once a big Sonic fan, when I was a kid I read the comics, watched the cartoons, and of course played the games. But after years of Sonic games that didn’t sit well with me, be it convoluted plots with apocalyptic monsters, or un-Sonic-like gameplay with pointless characters. A lack of platforming, or cringe worthy dialogue and vomit inducing theme tunes by talentless fairies like Bentley Jones. Ultimately I turned my back on a series I grew up with as I found myself hating more than I like and a series catering to a younger audience.

So why did it all go wrong? Well, I think the fans are partly to blame for the downfall. I loved Sonic Adventure when it released for the Dreamcast, I was in my early teens and ate it up: deny it all you like, I’m sure most of you did too.

Maybe it was the beautiful graphics of the Dreamcast or the novelty of Sonic talking but Sonic Adventure impressed everyone, gamers and critics alike, and yet pretty much all of the complaints we have today weren’t just present in Sonic Adventure, they were introduced in Sonic Adventure.

Had we spotted this, had we complained and panned Sonic Adventure, had we been even half as critical as we are with Sonic games today, I think Sega would have realized their mistake very quickly and returned to a classic Sonic model much faster then they have.

But the fans didn’t, many fans have pushed and pushed for darker plots, heavier music and as many playable characters as possible. I still see it even now; Just log onto Segas facebook page and you’ll see so many people asking for Sonic Adventure 3 it’ll make your head spin.

The fan base is split down the middle. I believe some of the series’ biggest offenders, like Sonic 06 and Shadow the Hedgehog, are not the result of Sega ‘not listening’, but instead the result of them listening to the fans far too much! The current fan mindset of bringing Sonic back to a classic style has only really been a popular, majority opinion amongst Sonic fans since Sonic 06. In fact I’m still not convinced it is the majority opinion, instead simply the most vocal opinion.

Enter this new Sonic trailer, what I see here isn’t ‘Sega finally getting it’ I’m sure they knew how to make classic Sonic games. I simply see Sega listening to the fans again, the only thing that has changed is that the loudest shouting fans are the ones who want a return to everything classic Sonic, and I’m one of these people! So this is what Sega does, they make the game the majority, or should I say the loudest, fans want.

Will they do it well? I think that depends. I found Sonic Colours to be a great game that fixed the problems that I had with the Sonic series, and they have a great engine to work with technically. But Sonic fans are some of the most whiney, nitpicky, fanfic writing, nasty little complainers I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting. Making mountains out of mole hills would be an understatement, when it comes to any fanbase out there, you can’t please everyone. But with the Sonic fanbase I’d have given up trying years ago and wish Sega would have too.

P.S I loved the trailer and I like BOTH Sonic character models, green eyes and all!

Barry the Nomad’s opinion

As I’m certain my SEGAbits colleagues will dissect the possible gameplay elements found in the trailer, I thought I’d briefly give my initial impressions as I saw the trailer for the first time, and then some speculation on the plot of the game.

Initial impressions: HOLY F***ING SHIT! HD Green Hill Zone!? Sonic stylishly making his may through the zone, very c- wait… CLASSIC SONIC!? I can’t believe it! What is the title of this thing? Coming 2011, of course. On the 360? Excellent, no need to buy a new console.

So yes, I am quite excited for the game. But if the trailer can be believed as containing something that occurs in the game, both classic and modern Sonic meeting, one has to wonder how that happens. My theory is that modern Eggman’s latest plot is to travel back to when he first encountered Sonic, and to assist his past self in eliminating the blue pest. Modern day Sonic finds out about the plot, and chases Eggman back in time to the days of Sonic 1.

While the games have yet to tell us how much time is exactly in between Sonic 1 and today, I’d think a period of 5-6 years would make sense. Of course, it would be best for SEGA to steer clear of this whole hornets nest and simply toss in a line like modern Sonic saying “Was I really that short back then?”. OCD fans win, and SEGA is safe.

The rest of the game could follow classic and modern Sonic teaming up, racing forward through time (and stages spanning Sonic 1 through to Sonic Adventure 2) to defeat the Eggmen. Characters such as Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Metal, Big, E-102, Shadow and Rouge cameo as the Sonics encounter the respective times. Maybe this could also unlock the option to play as some characters in the trial mode (probably best to leave out Big and E-102 though, for obvioius size and mobility reasons).

In the end, the whole time travel mess could be tidied up by having Sonic getting a hold of Eggman’s time travel machine and heading to the moment he invents it. Destroying the machine causes the whole chain of events to never occur. Unlike Sonic ’06, this would be a time travel plot device that would be necessary. Last thing we’d want would be to have all of our past games muddied up by two time traveling hedgehogs.

cube_b3’s opinion

SEGA releases Sonic games faster than I get my hair cut, and this is after their big announcement of “being guilty of too many Sonic games.” Last year alone we had 3 games without counting Spin Offs (You have to count the DS version of Colors).

Then we have this recurring theme of the next Sonic game “returning the blue blur to his 16-bit roots.” %@#$ that! I have been sick of this ever since the 06 disaster, every year we get a game devolving the Hedgehog.

As I am a fan of the Adventure Model, I am not too big on solo 2D adventures or the 2.5D mixed bags, I think the whole momentum building, fast paced platforming experience can work better in 3D, it just needs to be done right.

Instead of evolving for half a decade Sonic has been regressing now to take things one step forward or should I say another step backwards: The original short, toothless, iris less model of Sonic has been resurrected.

At this point I am indifferent.

nuckles87’s opinion

As a long time Sonic fan, I’ve long since learned not to take too much stock in the first impressions of a Sonic game. I was all kinds of excited for Sonic 06 when I saw the early trailers, and yet the final game was one of the most terrible things I’ve ever played. I got the opposite with Sonic Colors: what appeared to be an inconsequential spin off – my first guess was an edutainment title – turned out to be the best Sonic game in a decade.

This trailer is something I think we can take at face value though: classic art style merged with modern Sonic Colors styled game play. Drifting and sliding was clearly shown, and the speed boost was implied. Really, all of this was more or less expected, since it’s game play that has been in the last two major Sonic games. The big surprise here was the return of classic Sonic! I was not expecting that, for the simple fact that SEGA refused to resurrect the old design even for Sonic 4.

Of course, this being just a teaser, many questions still remain: what will the game be like? I personally believe all of the people speculating about Sonic “returning color to the world” are looking too deeply into the trailer. I will also say that people expecting different kinds of Sonic with different abilities will also be disappointed. In my mind, Sonic Generations will basically be what the anniversary title has long been rumored to be: an HD remake of the best levels in the Sonic franchise’s history.

Naturally, what constitutes as the best levels will likely tear the fanbase apart, as I’m sure there will be at least a few levels chosen from games most of the fanbase looks down on, which will spark widespread controversy. And the return of classic physics is also probably very unlikely, which will likely (and rightfully) disappoint many classic fans. Myself? Well, I liked Sonic Unleashed and loved Sonic Colors, and I expect this game to further hone the formula of those games into something truly spectacular. Combined with the classic art style, I expect this to be the best Sonic game in 15 years. Crossing my fingers for a remake of the Death Egg stages or Sky Sanctuary!

-nSega54-‘s opinion

Another year, another new Sonic trailer. Similarly to how Sonic Colors was revealed, we’ve gotten a CG trailer from which we can only try to guess the gameplay concepts that will be at play here.

I’m getting a “Sonic Unleashed” vibe from what we’ve seen so far. The way Sonic moves seems reminiscent of his gameplay mechanics and some of his abilities from the (very underrated) Sonic Unleashed. Maybe even more so than how he controlled in the (slightly overrated) Sonic Colors.

Interestingly, Sonic’s joined about 2/3 of the way through the trailer by a version of himself that resembles his SEGA Genesis character model. I’m guessing that each level will have traditional 2D segments, and that when Sonic gets to these parts, he’ll revert to this retro design. I’m hoping that it’ll be more subtle in the game than it is in this trailer, which has the two character models running side-by-side.

Apparently there are a lot of fans out there who have been demanding that Sonic return to his “classic” character design for years now. I have to say, I don’t get it. I consider myself to be a huge Sonic fan, but the idea that Sonic should suddenly downgrade to his older model just never occurred to me. Character designs grow and improve over time, and animation’s been that way forever; did people beg for Bugs Bunny to go back to his older character design once that improved? Here’s a pic of retro Bugs Bunny:

Would they ever go back to this? Of course not, because it got better as they added much more “character” to his design. Going back to Sonic’s original design for anything other than a nostalgic wink just seems kind of like a step back to me.

So I guess I’m probably in the minority in hoping that this will be a subtle thing rather than a major plot point. It is pretty interesting to note though how this issue demonstrates the disconnect between some in the die-hard Sonic community and the rest of the gamers out there. Some major journalism outlets didn’t even realize that this was supposed to be Sonic’s retro model, apparently completely unaware that Sonic’s character design has changed at all, let alone the fact that some people in the Sonic community are obviously (still) annoyed by the change 12 years later. Go figure.

That said, as ridiculous as I think it is that people complain about Sonic’s character model evolving, I guess I’ll now be a bit hypocritical and complain about a different superficial detail. I can’t stand Sonic’s new, more wholesome grin, and when he and his younger self are flying together and grinning, it’s hard for me not to cringe and think of Nick Jr. I’m a much bigger fan of his more mischievous grin from the Adventure series or his “I’m cool and you’re not” facial expression from the Genesis era, but…oh well. It is what it is.

All that aside, I’m definitely excited to see more about this game, especially some gameplay, and hopefully we’ll get to do that soon.

George’s opinion

[Classic Sonic start up for the video? Check]

The new teaser for the untitled Sonic Anniversary game is basically everything I thought it would be. I knew that SEGA wasn’t going to give us real gameplay footage, but just give us a bit of a tease of what the concept for the upcoming game is going to be.

I have to say, I’m a bit more excited after seeing this teaser. I think SEGA is going down the right path with the last couple of Sonic releases, focusing more on Sonic instead of his friends. So I applaud them and can’t wait for this title to be released.
The trailer starts off with the ‘neo’ Sonic, running around a half finished 3D version of Green Hill Zone. If you guys remember the leak from Sonic Paradise last year, they said that the anniversary game will have remade levels from Sonic’s history. This teaser basically confirms this as true. This is basically the most exciting aspect of the new game, I have wanted 3D remakes of levels since Sonic Adventure 2 had Green Hill Zone as an unlockable.

Green eyed Sonic in the trailer behaves mostly like Sonic from Sonic Unleashed, busting out his sliding move and drifting corners. He even does a loop, which we all come to expect from Sonic games. Then he goes to jump and there we see it, retro Sonic is back. Which is very exciting since I prefer the original design compared to the new one.

Another thing that the trailer suggests is that they didn’t just skin green eyed Sonic, as you can see from the image above, retro designed Sonic has a different landing animation. I know this trailer is just CGI, but the fact that they went out of their way to make them a bit differently animated could reflect the full game.

This game can still go either way, but I’m excited about it and I don’t really care much about Sonic games. I hope this redeems the franchise from their 15th anniversary game, Sonic the Hedgehog 2006.

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15 responses to “Round Table: What we thought about the latest Sonic teaser

  1. CrazyTails says:

    Great article guys and i'm glad you've done this round table thing cuz I "was" really interested in what most of you guys thought about the teaser in detail. My opinion is very much along the line with george's. You who know me a little bit, know that i'm one of those anoying nitpicky "retrofags" (yeah i've been one of those swearing frustrated fans towards s4e1 about classic sonic) but I never felt stupid or retarted about having my preferences. Finding out th at I haven't been the only one after reading so many opinions at lots of forums really gave me more power in expressing that opinion, cuz I learned that we, the retro croud, are still very much alive.

    Sharky stated that it was the fans who killed the franchise. I agree to an extent, but I blame SEGA/sonicteam more than the fans. As a company, as game designers it should be in them to know what's good and what not. You pick the right suggestions and opinions and build upon those. Sonicteam are not from yesterday, they exist ever since the 90's and have made one of the best games ever. They should know better than listening to some random fans to make a shadow the hedgehog game and add more darker plots. Mistakes kept on being made and I concluded that sonicteam was ran by a bunch of retards today.

    The thing that sat this all straight I think is how SEGA and sonicteam are consiously aiming for more quality. SEGA of america have been following us at the SEGA forums and after sonic 4 episode 1, they managed to get a lot of the retro fans back. Fans that hate what sonic has become the last few years and even though if some couldn't keep their temper, I was happy to find that they still exist.

    SEGA of America's community managers have obviously taken notes and probably agreed since sonic games had been getting bashed for years. Being a sonic fan is even now seen as a retarted thing and that reputation needs to be fixed.

  2. Laelaps says:

    Funny how not one of you mentioned the "Kinect" at the end of the video…

  3. @Laelaps: Just about every 360 game trailer has "KINECT" in the fine print. Check out the trailer for L.A. Noire, it has the same thing but is not a Kinect compatible game. Unless you see the logo proper alongside the XBOX 360 logo, it isn't a Kinect compatible title.

  4. ezodagrom says:

    About that "Kinect" part, ever since the Kinect was released, all new games mention the "Kinect" in the small letters part of trailers, even if they don't use it.

    About the article, it was a really nice read.

    About -nSega54- part, where he mentions that some major journalists haven't even noticed that classic Sonic is the genesis Sonic, I'm assuming that you're talking about Gamespot here, right?

    Well, Gamespot are ignorants (at least about SEGA games). It's not the first time they make a big mistake in an article about a SEGA game.

    When Phantasy Star Portable 2 was first announced, Gamespot mentioned that Portable 2 included new features that weren't in the first, like the option to change hair styles, but Phantasy Star Portable 1 did have the option to change hair styles. :>

  5. -nSega54- says:

    Haha yup, I was referring to Gamespot.

    I can't COMPLETELY blame them though. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was funny that that writer didn't understand the trailer, but then again, every single video game character changes when he goes from 2D to 3D, so I'm still to this day surprised that some Sonic fans are so upset about it. Mario of today looks different from the way he did on the NES too….just the way it is. With hardware advances, developers are given the ability to add more visual flair to their characters and to maybe get closer to their original visions of them.

  6. CrazyTails says:

    I think I found the problem to sonic's downfall

  7. CosmicCastaway says:

    As I said before I am incredibly excited for this next Sonic title, and this is coming from someone who is excited about each and every Sonic game that has ever been released. I think this is one of the coolest premises I've ever seen for a video game title and I can't wait to see more of it.

  8. Fallout911 says:

    Fuck Pedro Mendes.

    With that said, I think that this is an excellent way for SEGA to say: Look we're giving you EXACTLY what you want, if you don't buy it this time we're going to stop listening.

    If that happens, we might all be screwed or it very well could be the best thing that could happen, as it seems that SEGA even listens to morons like Pedro Mendes.

    I'm psyched though, I am also one of the old schoolers that have been bitching about how SEGA changed sonic since SA.

  9. Pao says:

    Sharky why are you putting the blame for Sonic's downfall on the fans? I understand their demands might have negatively effected the series development, but honestly the biggest and most apparent flaws for Sonic in the past decade apparently was from Sonic Team's incompetence, Technical faults, bad level design, bad game mechanics, bugs, etc… I do not think fans have ever asked about these kind of stuff before, and even if you say those were present in SA1 & 2 and we liked it, its Sonic Team's job to know what will work in today's standard and how to implement it.

    I think its entirely ST's fault and the fans should be really blamed, there is fanfiction and horrible ideas for almost every popular franchise, a good developer wouldn't heed them (That is of course if what you suggest is what truly happend)

  10. matty says:

    "Character designs grow and improve over time"

    Funny you should mention Bug Bunny, as "Loonatics" was the first thing that came to mind.

    I haven't played a Sonic game pass the Genesis, but I'd wager that "neo Sonic" has so much disdain towards him because he represents when the games just took a turn for the worse, where else "classic Sonic" represents the holy grail of platform games.

    Which leads to another point one of you made about Sega listening and not listening to fans. I think Sega should listen to fans -and- think really hard about what they can make work.

    What Sega did with Sonic reminds me of that Simpsons episode where they added Poochy to Itchy & Scratchy; they took in fan feedback, tried to do something with it regardless of how absurd it was, then it ended up being the worst idea they had and they literally killed him (on his way back to his home planet).

    I'll say listen to the fans, but not all of their ideas. Just the ones that don't lead to something like Sonic 06.

    Now, all that said, the next teaser I want to see is classic Sonic curb-stomping the shit out of the other Sonic.

  11. Now now Matty, to me the current design of Sonic embodies an upswing in quality for the franchise: Unleashed, SASASR, Colors, Sonic 4. All far better than what we were given between '03 and '07.

    If you want to curb-stomp a modern incarnation, go for that noodly armed goofball from 2006:

  12. -nSega54- says:

    Retro Mario:

    Current Mario:

    Sonic fans act like what happened to Sonic was unique. ALL long-running characters go through re-designs. You look at how the characters looked in Season 1 of the Simpsons compared to now, you look at Mario, you look at Sonic…it's what happens. Going back to old school character design is….. well, insane to me, I dunno. There seems to be no reason for it. Sonic 4 wasn't bad because they used the new character design; it was bad because it was uninspired and had bad controls.

  13. matty says:

    @ns54: I don't think anyone is inane enough to think Sega/Sonic tripped up because of his new look. It's a symbolic gesture, as shown by what Sega is doing here. An "era", like with David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust days.

    btw, Disney does it with Micky. I see the original design sold more today than the modern design. Not sure why, but people (especially women) prefer the OG. Transformers, Batman, Street Fighter for a few more examples.

    To be absolutely fair, although I think the old design is cooler I couldn't give two shits what design they use. I find this topic really interesting, though 😛

  14. matty says:

    BTW, not to show I'm biased towards one over another, I thought 3D Blast and Spinball were absolutely one of the worst games on the system, so I know Sonic has seen ugly times in his classic days as well!

  15. -nSega54- says:

    Epic Mickey recently went back to the original design, yeah. But Kingdom Hearts (which is much more popular) stuck with the modern design and I dunno….I just prefer the modern design by far.

    I understand the symbolic gesture and it makes total sense with this game….but people thinking that Sonic should permanently go back to his old design? I'm just not behind that movement.

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