Sega Wants to Make a Comeback, for Real This Time: What Can be Done?

GaemzDood

Well-Known Member
#1
They're actually committed to quality control this time around. Meaning we'll hopefully get Sonic Mania in 3D (aka Sonic Utopia being financed) and less Forces.

On that note about Sonic...
Look, as much as I like Unleashed's daytime levels and Generations, the boost formula has become repetitive. It's too one note, and while there is genuine skill involved, mainly with memorizing the levels to speedrun and control the set-pieces better (kind of like Sonic Heroes even though everybody hated that game), it's less about getting a handle on the physics. The feeling of exhilaration you get from spindashing on a rollercoaster of a hill and then flying off at your own free will, or spindash jumping across half the stage, isn't there. You just press one button and you go at the same speed no matter what. Even Sega knows this, hence why they include gimmicks in every boost game: the Werehog, the Wisps, classic Sonic, the fan character, and all of those blatantly pandering "see, this is what the fans like" 2D sections. This alone proves that the boost gameplay isn't sustainable on it's own. It was understandable with the Sonic Adventure games, since Sega wanted to show off how many gameplay styles the Dreamcast could handle (and to be fair, Tails in Adventure 1 was actually kind of fun to play as), but now they're just compensating since they know the overarching gameplay is shallow. On top of that, the art style in Forces compared to a fan project like Mania is night and day. Look at any level in Forces and then Press Garden Zone in Mania. Also, playing Mania really made me realize how much the series staple amazing OST had declined. I legitimately cannot listen to Forces' OST for more than a couple of seconds it's that bad. Now consider this, Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 had a god damn amazing soundtrack. That's sad. My other problem is how a lot of new titles are explicitly pandering to kids. I'm not asking for another edgy the edgelord game or another god awful melodrama with more plot holes than Heavy Rain, but Tom Clancy's Sonic Adventure 2, for all of it's problems with the story, actually had half decent character development and some memorable scenes. Sonic 3 was also a good early attempt at storytelling, and probably the best in the series (mainly because there's no voice acting).

So, what kind of 3D Sonic game would I envision? Well, it would be linear but have lots of multiple routes, similar to 1, 2, 3 & Knuckles, CD, and Mania, run at 60 FPS (this is something only Adventure 2 and Forces nailed), it would rely less on bottomless pits, the physics would be similar to Utopia's, it would be more well optimized for Xbox, and the storytelling would resemble something along the lines of Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary in terms of still being accessible for kids while also being somewhat dark (and lets be real here, Brawl's story was dark at times) without bordering on edgy.

Now onto the main piece.
For one, reboot franchises using the Hedgehog engine. The Hedgehog engine is an amazing piece of tech and the fact that it's not being given company wide recognition is sad. The engine was way ahead of its time in 2008, being the first engine to really deliver simulated global illumination, character illumination that blends in with the GI, soft focus depth of field without a lot of artifacts, textures with GI maps, per object motion blur, realistic specular highlights, image based lighting (something Crysis didn't even do), real time directional shadow maps, light shafts, and HDR lighting. Hedgehog 2, which actually had its origins in a Wii U game, further iterated on it with support for screen space reflections, physically based materials, and improved shadows. On top of that, it really showed itself by delivering a locked 60 FPS game at native 1080p on PS4. Keep this in mind: Sega is sitting on a goldmine of franchises. All of which haven't seen installments aside from minor PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade sequels or re-releases. Sega would theoretically have to play catch up with modern games' visuals, but given that the Hedgehog engine is so versatile and great, they would only have to just add some things.

Golden Axe hasn't been in the picture since that awful God of War clone, Sega GT and Sega Rally are out of the scene, Panzer Dragoon hasn't had a sequel since 2003 (though hopefully the backwards compatible re-release of Orta gets people interested), OutRun hasn't had a true follow up since 2006 besides re-releases of OutRun 2, and Jet Set Radio has been gone since 2002. These would all be perfect games to reboot. Reboot OutRun as an open world arcade racer because we haven't had any good ones in a while (Forza Horizon isn't arcade, I think Burnout Paradise when I think arcade), reboot Sega Rally as a DiRT Rally style simulator, and Sega GT as a racing sim with a dynamic track world in the vein of Project C.A.R.S. minus the piss poor performance and image quality. Also, what about Golden Axe? Beat em' up combat systems have come such a long way since the original games, that they should look to something like Sengoku 3 for inspirations in regards to a decent combat system. Reboot After Burner as a AAA arcade flight game with tech that rivals Ace Combat 7 (volumetric clouds and all). Oh yeah, Jet Set Radio and Panzer Dragoon especially.

Also, why hasn't Hedgehog been used for Yakuza yet? Yakuza 6's engine is awful. Both games [6 and Kiwami 2] are 900p, sub-30 FPS, have awful anti-aliasing and low resolution textures everywhere, and loads of screen tearing despite the excellent lighting, physics, and post process pipeline; 6 had the excuse of being rushed. The engine is clearly unoptimized as all hell, as there is no reason for either of those titles to be 900p and 30 FPS on PS4.

And as Ubisoft showed, sharing engine code across developers can result in a unified workflow, and it actually does show up in some ways in their titles. For example, most of their PS4 Pro titles run at 2880x1620p.

If Sega really wants to capture more old fans besides just Sonic ones, they have to reboot more of their franchises for the AAA market. Keep what made them good and satisfying to play obviously, because as Sonic and Golden Axe: Beast Rider showed, experimentation isn't an option.
 
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