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Why doesn't SEGA give more care and attention to improving the franchise?


Rabbitearsblog

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So over the years, I've noticed that some of the people from the Sonic fanbase tend to be a bit too vocal when it comes to their dislike of something that happened in the franchise.  Sometimes it gets to the point where some of the fans are outright insulting the people working on the franchise, when the people working on the franchise are doing the best they could with what they are working with.  So, it makes me wonder just what can be done to satisfy the side of the Sonic fanbase that is rarely happy with the franchise?

I think that if SEGA made a lot of good Sonic games, then that would at least satisfy the more critical side of the fanbase. Now, that doesn't mean that everyone will be satisfied, because you can't satisfy everyone, but at least there won't be too much noise regarding the state of the franchise.

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Actually high quality and good games mostly. Seriously, it's really not that hard. Sure, you're always gonna have fans who aren't pleased and infighting will happen regardless, but If the game is actually good and enjoyable all the way and is a consistently high quality and polished product, then it's pretty easy to satisfy most of the fandom and critics. Sonic Mania being a good example of such a game, as well as the likes of Sonic Colors/Generations.

 

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This is the wrong question to ask. Why are the fans dissatisfied? That's obvious. The games that SEGA put out are the of an inconsistent, but typically sub-par quality. That is and always will be the core the issue with any dissatisfied fandom.

We can look at nuances such as unfavorable stories and writing, lack of originality and reliance on nostalgia, Sonic-only, weird plot inconsistencies and retcons etc etc, but those are all just subjective, contributing factors to the overall problem. It's near universally agreed upon that the games just aren't good enough. And I don't think that it's too much of a stress to say that all of these various issues would be far less egregious of the gameplay was simply better. That's certainly how I feel.

4 hours ago, Rabbitearsblog said:

Sometimes it gets to the point where some of the fans are outright insulting the people working on the franchise, when the people working on the franchise are doing the best they could with what they are working with.

SEGA as a company deserve all the insults levied at them for their handling of Sonic. And it's only because we wouldn't know who to name that we can't be more specific. But let's take some examples here; Pontac and Graff for their writing, and Kishimoto for his game directing. All of their efforts have seen crap results. Does this mean they deserve insults personally? Of course not. But I want all of them to stop working on Sonic. 

And to be totally honest, I'm always skeptical of saying that they worked their hardest. We just don't know that.

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22 minutes ago, Blue Blood said:

And to be totally honest, I'm always skeptical of saying that they (Sega) worked their hardest. We just don't know that.

This.

"make the Sonic fanbase satisfied" is secondary or even tertiary.

Make good Sonic games. Consistent high quality. Not mediocre Forces, not embarrassing Boom game

No amount of desperate pandering to fans  demand will ever matter if game is bad.

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3 hours ago, Blue Blood said:

This is the wrong question to ask. Why are the fans dissatisfied? That's obvious. The games that SEGA put out are the of an inconsistent, but typically sub-par quality. That is and always will be the core the issue with any dissatisfied fandom.

We can look at nuances such as unfavorable stories and writing, lack of originality and reliance on nostalgia, Sonic-only, weird plot inconsistencies and retcons etc etc, but those are all just subjective, contributing factors to the overall problem. It's near universally agreed upon that the games just aren't good enough. And I don't think that it's too much of a stress to say that all of these various issues would be far less egregious of the gameplay was simply better. That's certainly how I feel.

SEGA as a company deserve all the insults levied at them for their handling of Sonic. And it's only because we wouldn't know who to name that we can't be more specific. But let's take some examples here; Pontac and Graff for their writing, and Kishimoto for his game directing. All of their efforts have seen crap results. Does this mean they deserve insults personally? Of course not. But I want all of them to stop working on Sonic. 

And to be totally honest, I'm always skeptical of saying that they worked their hardest. We just don't know that.

So the right question to ask is "Why are Sonic fans dissatisfied with the franchise?"  Sorry, I wasn't sure how to word this topic exactly.

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9 minutes ago, Rabbitearsblog said:

So the right question to ask is "Why are Sonic fans dissatisfied with the franchise?"  Sorry, I wasn't sure how to word this topic exactly.

It's not something you need to apologise for. It's just that the question puts the onus on the fans as though they're the problem, rather than the people handling the franchise. The right question souls probably be more like "why do SEGA not give more care and attention to maintaining and improving the quality of Sonic games" or "why is SEGA so complacent with Sonic?".

9 minutes ago, Rabbitearsblog said:

So the right question to ask is "Why are Sonic fans dissatisfied with the franchise?"  Sorry, I wasn't sure how to word this topic exactly.

It's not something you need to apologise for. It's just that the question puts the onus on the fans as though they're the problem, rather than the people handling the franchise. The right question souls probably be more like "why do SEGA not give more care and attention to maintaining and improving the quality of Sonic games" or "why is SEGA so complacent with Sonic?".

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11 minutes ago, Blue Blood said:

It's not something you need to apologise for. It's just that the question puts the onus on the fans as though they're the problem, rather than the people handling the franchise. The right question souls probably be more like "why do SEGA not give more care and attention to maintaining and improving the quality of Sonic games" or "why is SEGA so complacent with Sonic?".

Oh man!  I should have worded the question like that!  Is there a way I can change the title of a topic?

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The easy answer is a good game, but more specifically I want a game with real honest to god passion behind it.

It's tough to place exactly but even a lot of the bad Sonic games from the Dreamcast-early Modern era have a certain creative spark to them, that even if the game is broken I feel compelled to play them start to finish and keep at them because damn it I love Sonic the Hedgehog. Lost World and Forces just don't do that for me. 

This should really be the floor and not the ceiling, but what I want is a game that doesn't feel like it's being made just because "couple years since the last one, time for another sonic!" And granted every game ever in any long running franchise from Mario to Call of Duty is made for that very reason, but I want it to stop feeling like it.

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Sega can try to please the fanbase anyway they want. There are always going to be people who don't like it or have their own opinion and that's fine. Sega needs to take their time and show us that they are worth supporting by making another game that holds it's weight against competiters. Once we can do that then i think the fanbase will be in a good place.

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I've said in the past that Sonic fans, despite their finicky and factionalized reputation, will accept a game that isn't what they'd personally prefer, provided that it's still good at being what it is, and I stand by that, but "satisfaction" is at least a bit beyond "acceptance" in positivity.  I'd say the base thing that probably everyone in the fandom agrees is that Sonic should involve platforming and going fast, so getting those things well is important, but that alone isn't going to satisfy many fans since they already have plenty other games that do those things well.  Satisfying fans, I think, requires doing something new in addition to that, but the problem is that many new things Sonic does tend to annoy at least some segment of the fandom.  The best advice I can give them for that paradox is, again, just try to do what you choose to do really, really well, so people will at least tolerate it.

On that somewhat underwhelming note, I won't necessarily be satisfied by Sonic games for the reasons given above, but something SEGA could objectively shoot for is convincing people is that they'll only release games that are, at worse, decent, and here, I think, is a bulleted list of ways to do that.

* Be completely candid about releasing Sonic games blatantly unfinished, concede that this, and not the extra characters, was the big problem with Sonic 06. Then admit that other games have also been released unfinished since then, pledge to stop doing this, and finally, make transparency reforms to ensure they can't get away with doing it anymore.  Host demos of the game early on and have no review embargoes, so the people will always be watching.

*Recognize that no substantial amount of fans are opposed to playing as Tails and Knuckles, and doing so does not interfere with the base of what Sonic gameplay is.  The other characters are more controversial, but Tails and Knuckles can obviously work.

 

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I think a better question for Sega¬†might be, ‚ÄúWhat would make the Sonic fanbase and the targeted core demographic of the general public happy?‚Ä̬†

 

They just need to find something that really works. There is massive potential in this series.

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Can't please 'em all, but at the very least, they can start by keeping the games consistent should they finally find that "secret formula", and not cutting so many corners on game design. A style that focuses on actual evolution of gameplay, rather than another alienating, style that divides the fanbase even further. Allow Sonic to feel more free moving, flex his actual terrain abilities instead of dragging you around every stage. We Sonic to feel right first, THEN focus on extra playable characters, because they literally went the extreme opposite this decade when it comes to "Sonic's shitty friends" (absolutely shitty quote btw).

Most other media for Sonic is nothing to worry about in terms of quality. Their twitter handle and whatnot do a decent job keeping in touch with fans, memes etc. It's usually the games that need to generate consistent good will.

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Alright, I changed the title to "Why doesn't SEGA give more care and attention to improving the franchise?"  So, now I'm wondering about why doesn't SEGA actually take the time and effort to actually improve the franchise instead of just pushing out Sonic games every year?  I think that if SEGA just stop and think about how their product would come out, then maybe it would help the franchise get back on top.  Hopefully, having new writers and a new direction for the franchise might help SEGA improve the franchise.

 

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4 minutes ago, Rabbitearsblog said:

Alright, I changed the title to "Why doesn't SEGA give more care and attention to improving the franchise?"  So, now I'm wondering about why doesn't SEGA actually take the time and effort to actually improve the franchise instead of just pushing out Sonic games every year?  I think that if SEGA just stop and think about how their product would come out, then maybe it would help the franchise get back on top.  Hopefully, having new writers and a new direction for the franchise might help SEGA improve the franchise.

 

It's a feedback loop.  The games perform and review poorly, so SEGA deprioritises them and reduces funding and development time, so the games' quality and scope diminishes, so the games perform and review poorly - and so on.  Another way of putting it would be to say that it's quite shockingly poor franchise management; SEGA seems to have little interest in retaining talent or taking care who works on their games or under what conditions.  Perhaps we're seeing a change in strategy for the coming games, but I'll believe it when I see it.

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Same reason Pokemon peaked in 2008 and hasn't meaningfully improved or innovated since. Both it and Sonic rake in tons of cash, and any attempts at fixing their respective problems would be too big of a short term hit to that cashflow.

Although at least Pokemon has the excuse of it being a tightly interconnected multimedia juggernaut where even one part of it being delayed means its other parts (anime, manga, TCG, etc) also suffer. Sonic doesn't, they are still a game series where the games are the star of the show. so Sega not wanting to improve the games is just them being chunderheads.

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29 minutes ago, Salamander said:

It's a feedback loop.  The games perform and review poorly, so SEGA deprioritises them and reduces funding and development time, so the games' quality and scope diminishes, so the games perform and review poorly - and so on.  Another way of putting it would be to say that it's quite shockingly poor franchise management; SEGA seems to have little interest in retaining talent or taking care who works on their games or under what conditions.  Perhaps we're seeing a change in strategy for the coming games, but I'll believe it when I see it.

I don't see why SEGA thinks that this is a good idea.  Shouldn't they at least be concerned when a game is performing poorly?  They do know that if a game is performing poorly, then it could be a disaster for the company.

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3 hours ago, Rabbitearsblog said:

I don't see why SEGA thinks that this is a good idea.  Shouldn't they at least be concerned when a game is performing poorly?  They do know that if a game is performing poorly, then it could be a disaster for the company.

They've done that precisely TWICE in the entire franchises history: once when 06 "nearly killed Sonic" (I'll just take the oldbies word for it since I wasn't a fan at the time) and they pivoted the entire franchise in the exact opposite direction to remind people as little of that game as humanly possible (Which is now biting them in the ass cos the games still suck even without what made that game notorious). And again when a dev build of Sonic 4 Episode 1 leaked and they incorperated feedback as a result like removing a contentious level in the casino world.

Thrice if you count when they patched Sonic Lost World so 100 rings actually gave you lives and made motion controls optional. Which still didnt save the game cos it was exclusive to the Wii U.

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On 1/30/2021 at 1:23 AM, Rabbitearsblog said:

So over the years, I've noticed that some of the people from the Sonic fanbase tend to be a bit too vocal when it comes to their dislike of something that happened in the franchise.  Sometimes it gets to the point where some of the fans are outright insulting the people working on the franchise, when the people working on the franchise are doing the best they could with what they are working with.  So, it makes me wonder just what can be done to satisfy the side of the Sonic fanbase that is rarely happy with the franchise?

I think that if SEGA made a lot of good Sonic games, then that would at least satisfy the more critical side of the fanbase. Now, that doesn't mean that everyone will be satisfied, because you can't satisfy everyone, but at least there won't be too much noise regarding the state of the franchise.

Sonic Adventure 3.  Fully 3D gameplay with at the very least Tails and Knuckles playable, and a Chao garden, done well.  Period.  There are many, many segments of this fanbase, but Adventure era fanbase is the one segment that SEGA hasn't even tried to satisfy since 2006.  Boost fans have a number of decent-to-good games they can play.  Classic fans have Sonic Mania.  Thus the segment of this fandom that isn't satisfied quite literally is the Adventure segment.  The closest they came to this was Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, but on top of that game sucking due mostly to SEGA's meddling in it--which forced Big Red Button to rebuild huge portions of it from scratch--it was primarily intended to bring new fans into the franchise, rather than appeal to an old segment of the fandom.

It's not true that you can't satisfy all segments of the fandom.  You can't satisfy them all with the same game, but it's still more than clear enough what each segment wants, in order to satisfy them each with a game made specifically for them.

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14 minutes ago, Scritch the Cat said:

Sonic Adventure 3.  Fully 3D gameplay with at the very least Tails and Knuckles playable, and a Chao garden, done well.  Period.  There are many, many segments of this fanbase, but Adventure era fanbase is the one segment that SEGA hasn't even tried to satisfy since 2006.  Boost fans have a number of decent-to-good games they can play.  Classic fans have Sonic Mania.  Thus the segment of this fandom that isn't satisfied quite literally is the Adventure segment.  The closest they came to this was Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, but on top of that game sucking due mostly to SEGA's meddling in it--which forced Big Red Button to rebuild huge portions of it from scratch--it was primarily intended to bring new fans into the franchise, rather than appeal to an old segment of the fandom.

It's not true that you can't satisfy all segments of the fandom.  You can't satisfy them all with the same game, but it's still more than clear enough what each segment wants, in order to satisfy them each with a game made specifically for them.

I think that's what SEGA needs to do.  Just create different games for each fan of a different era instead of trying to put all of those types of games into one game and expecting almost everyone to love that one game.

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On some level, Sega the cooperate entity, may not actually care too much about quality rather than sonic as a brand makes money. I feel as though if they did , they  would give time to the games, fund them according and hire specific talent to make these games the best they can be, and not overwork that talent. But they don't do any of that because on some level they don't care too much. 

I firmly believe at this point if sonic stopped being profitable tomorrow , they wouldn't try to rebrand and figure out what the issue is. They would just stop selling sonic and move on. Which there is nothing inherently wrong with that. We are not " owed" sonic, but running it into the ground leaving its audience unsatisfied and then leaving it to die speaks to at least how little I feel sega cares about this brand in the grand scheme. 

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19 minutes ago, Cadence said:

On some level, Sega the cooperate entity, may not actually care too much about quality rather than sonic as a brand makes money. I feel as though if they did , they give time to the games, fund them according and hire specific talent to make these games the best they can be. But they don't do any of that because on some level they don't care too much. 

I firmly believe at this point if sonic stopped being profitable tomorrow , they wouldn't try to rebrand and figure out what the issue is. They would just stop selling sonic and move on. 

That's the bad thing about the whole corporate side of SEGA.  I understand they are trying to make money, but they should at least care a bit about the franchise they are handling because if they don't try to meet with the fans halfway, then yes, this franchise could fall apart soon and they probably wouldn't care if the fanbase goes wild because of it.  I do wonder what would happen if the Sonic franchise stopped running.  Would the fandom be even more vocal than before?

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The thing is, Sonic doesn't just still make money; it still makes money because a lot of material along the fringe of the series is still pretty good.  The movie was a success.  Sonic Boom , the show, was doomed by Cartoon Network's abysmal leadership but was beloved by critics and at least a good portion of the fandom.  All of Tyson Hesse's cartoons have been well-received.  The mobile games are lucrative.  Team Sonic Racing, fizzled out quickly but mostly because past SEGA racing games were so good.  Sonic Mania was good.  It really seems like for whatever reason, core games are the part that have waned in vigor and I'm assuming that might be because they're harder to get right than some other games in some other franchises, as well as Sonic's fringe content.

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34 minutes ago, Scritch the Cat said:

The thing is, Sonic doesn't just still make money; it still makes money because a lot of material along the fringe of the series is still pretty good.  The movie was a success.  Sonic Boom , the show, was doomed by Cartoon Network's abysmal leadership but was beloved by critics and at least a good portion of the fandom.  All of Tyson Hesse's cartoons have been well-received.  The mobile games are lucrative.  Team Sonic Racing, fizzled out quickly but mostly because past SEGA racing games were so good.  Sonic Mania was good.  It really seems like for whatever reason, core games are the part that have waned in vigor and I'm assuming that might be because they're harder to get right than some other games in some other franchises, as well as Sonic's fringe content.

I do wonder why they don't take some examples from the other media in regards to how to tell a good story for Sonic.  The movie and the Sonic Boom cartoon to an extent had a pretty good balance on humor and drama, so why not incorporate that into the games?

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1 hour ago, Rabbitearsblog said:

I do wonder why they don't take some examples from the other media in regards to how to tell a good story for Sonic.  The movie and the Sonic Boom cartoon to an extent had a pretty good balance on humor and drama, so why not incorporate that into the games?

I can't remember much drama in Sonic Boom, except maybe "Give Bees a Chance".  As for the movie, it's almost miraculous how good it ended up when it was leaning on both a tired out adaptation formula and ass-pulled deus ex machinas, and that doesn't change that these things are not advisable and I especially wouldn't want more questionable writers to try to squeeze some juice out of them.  What the movie does prove, though, is that Sonic himself is still overall an asset to media and not the toxin that some critics have made him out to be.

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