The Crossfire: Take A Break, Sonic

Happy New Year, Happy New Crossfire. I finally have something to talk about that is not a repeat of 100 threads on the first page of the Sonic the Hedgehog forum on the SSMB. Let’s get on with it.

GiantBomb.com, a site founded by former GameSpot employees, were handing out “Game of the Year” awards this past week, as so many gaming websites do. To differentiate themselves from the thousands of wanks telling people what their favorite games were, Giant Bomb added some entertaining joke awards and dubious honors. One such dubious honor was the “Take A Break” award, where a particular franchise should lay low for a while for it being over-saturated, of poor quality, or all of the above. Well, Sonic is once again the butt of everybody’s joke:

2008 continued the trend of Sega producing bad Sonic the Hedgehog games. It’s a trend that’s been ongoing since, well, depending on your perspective, you could claim it went all the way back to the Genesis. Personally, we pin Sonic’s continuing failure to please on polygons, and the gameplay’s failure to stay true to the series’ high-speed roots. There’s only one problem: Sonic Unleashed has moments that attempt to stick to what Sonic does best–running too fast for you to do anything other than watch–and it’s totally boring.

Aside from a few handheld outings, the franchise has been a mess since Sonic & Knuckles. Perhaps instead of continuing to bash their head against the hedgehog year in and year out, the folks at Sega should take a few huge steps back, take a break, and figure out a new direction. Because it’s become pretty obvious that what they’re doing now isn’t working.

With that said, would a break actually help the franchise or does it really matter how much time there is between games? Can a break put an end to THE ALL-KNOWING CYCLE?! Bring on my personal viewpoints already… Continue reading The Crossfire: Take A Break, Sonic

The Crossfire: Cutscene Chaos

Guest Crossfire with SSMB member, Dan Hibiki.  Check it…

I’m a writer. I write fanfics, of course. Mainly crossovers. The folder containing (most of) my works has so many files with individual chapters that my brother told me he was astounded that I could actually write them all. I’m also the story lead for the 3D Sonic fan-game lead by Chris Senn, Project S (yes, THAT one, it’s still alive and kicking, no worries). What the hell does this have to do with anything, you ask? Well, it helps when I look a discussion involving stories, characters and whatever the hell goes into why Sonic is kicking Eggman’s rounded butt again. What I’m really here for is to write about something fairly simple – deep plot, or simple? Epic cutscenes with full voice-acting, or simple player-controlled scenes with no dialogue whatsoever, ala Sonic 3&K? What an interesting dilemma. Let’s start with…

(Also, I’ll occasionally throw in Tropes with links.)
Continue reading The Crossfire: Cutscene Chaos

The Crossfire: Guest Edition

Hey, dudes, The Crossfire is back!  I’m tied up with school and a few loose ends on the ooool’ fangame project, but SSMB member, Cake, is here to fill the void with a guest Crossfire!  Let’s see how this goes, shall we?

Everyone craves getting caught in The Crossfire so we can’t just stop, can we? What do we have for today’s topic? Each Sonic game seems to throw out the welcome mat for a new character, and the simple question is, are all these characters contributing to the series in a positive way, or are things getting crowded to the point that the blue blur has no room to run?

POINT: New characters take away from Sonic, while serving no purpose in the long stretch of things.

Why are we still calling these things Sonic games? The games barely even feature the blue blur anymore, he’s usually overshadowed (pun completely intended) by someone else, or his time is taken up by some other random character. Who is usually stronger then him too. I mean, Shadow is a seemingly darker version of Sonic, able to match our hero in speed and abilities. But, Shadow has a better grip on Chaos Control. And he knows his way around guns. Lots of guns. Continue reading The Crossfire: Guest Edition

The Crossfire: Ratcliffe Reactions

Hey, broskis, we’re taking a break from the aesthetics of Sonic game design and talking about an equally important part of the game industry, public relations. Today, we’re following up on the GameDaily interview with SEGA VP of Marketing, Sean Raticliffe, which was covered so brilliantly by me last week. I felt that the fanbase could be split on the remarks by Mr. Ratcliffe, in that they could be the soothing words that calm the fan backlash of the newer Sonic titles or that they are partaking in the same PR bullshit that SEGA has been spewing for years now. Where do you stand?

SEGA VP of Marketing, Sean Ratcliffe.  Full of sanguity or shit?

Sean Ratcliffe: Full of Sanguity or Shit?

POINT: SEGA has fully acknowledged its mistakes and the future Sonic games will be of better quality.

We have rarely seen somebody from SEGA step forward and field a question like the one that GameDaily asked (“Aren’t you concerned about the brand though when game after game is mediocre at best?”). Ratcliffe admits that the criticism is indeed warranted, thus proving that the Sonic community’s constant complaining was good for something, in a sense. We can continue to/finally be optimistic about the future of the franchise. Continue reading The Crossfire: Ratcliffe Reactions

The Crossfire: Level Design

Level design has changed with Sonic’s ever-increasing emphasis on speed. Some people have enjoyed blowing through levels at 300-miles per hour, while others have disliked the new levels’ lack of actual platforming. Along the lines of last week’s Crossfire segment, this iteration presents the choice of whether or not the level design of Sonic games needed to change. Are the more linear designs of the Rush series or the upcoming Unleashed title make it stand out in the vast sea of 3D platformer games or are they hardly considered those at all and are labeled as cutscenes that we occasionally get to control?

Before we start the point/counterpoint part, I present to you a diagram that a friend of mine showed to me a few weeks ago. It is so true that it is funny. Continue reading The Crossfire: Level Design

The Crossfire: Grinding

What’s up? It’s “the bad guy” here and in honor of introducing new features to the front page, and respecting both sides of the story, I have got another one up your sleeve: The Crossfire – where two sides rise, but where do you fall? Now that opinions are at the forefront at this time and other bloggers are sweeping up tidbits to fulfill your traditional “Sonic News,” I guess I can take this route. Let’s begin!

Today’s topic: Sonic has been in a lot of adventures. I mean, a lot. Like…totally…lots. However, it was not until 2001 in Sonic Adventure 2, that we were introduced to the concept of “grinding.” Grinding has appeared in every single game since, but has it worn out its welcome in the Sonic world? Or, has it kept itself fresh and interesting to remain relevant? Continue reading The Crossfire: Grinding