Sega: Fixing Sonic Is Going To Take Time

Once was a time Sonic games were just as good as Mario games. Some may even say better. That time, however, was back in the 1990s. And it's been a while since the 1990s.

Yet the blue hedgehog is still Sega's most prominent mascot, and Sega keep on churning out Sonic games, even though they suck. Which begs the question: when can we expect Sonic games to not suck? Sega America's VP of marketing Sean Ratcliffe got stuck with the excuse-making:

The quality is something that will be fixed over time. It's not something where you wake up one morning and say, 'You know what, we're going to improve our quality on this franchise,' and it magically happens. A lot of hard work goes into striving for quality.

Normally, we'd stop things there, but we like Ratcliffe's continued response so much we're going to run it:

Interestingly, I think Sonic Unleashed was very well received by the kids. There was some talk about the werehog aspect, the slower pacing and more combat-oriented gameplay, but when we go out and test this stuff and sit down with the consumers, kids actually like that. I think older, die-hard Sega fans who grew up with the franchise and the first Sonic the Hedgehog associate Sonic more with 2-D side-scrolling super fast, and they liked the daytime gameplay, but when it came to the slower paced gameplay they were fairly critical of that, and that's fine – they have their opinions.

"But the kids like it." Bet other publishers wish they could peddle that one out!

Sega: Sonic Quality to Be 'Fixed Over Time' [IndustryGamers]


    I'm kinda hoping that they see other games like Explodemon, LBP and other 3D side scrollers people like to refer as being in 2.5 dimensions, and realise that that's the path they should have taken.

    I hate to sound like a bitter old-school fanboy, but that's the kind of thinking that leads to average games. "Hey, everybody with some sense of intelligence hates our half-assed ripoff of God of War gameplay. But it's all good, because kids dig that crap. More werehog for everyone!".

    The problem is that it is hard to have it both ways and have it work. You want a game experience that you can market to the kids (not unlike most licensed titles)? Give them a shitty Sonic game focusing on the werehog crap and build a pool so you can swim around in all the money you've made. You want a fun, fast-paced and functional Sonic game with plenty of opportunity for time trialing and other such 'old-school' flourishes? Throw out a game with just the daytime sequences, ala half of Sonic Unleashed, and you might sell a few copies to the Sonic fanboys who aren't so bitter that they'll only accept a direct sequel to Sonic & Knuckles. Not a feasible option with the financial climate the way it is right now.

    Sean Ratcliffe is correct in saying that those who hated the werehog gameplay are welcome to their opinions. But what he's really saying is "Kids love this crap, so stfu fanboys!". Gotta pat the guy on the back for having the balls to piss off one of the most rabid and scary fanboy groups out there. ^^

    arrrgh!!! i'm sick of people saying sonic was all about speed, i remember the megadrive days as being tight platforming more than high speed.
    sega, make short 2D games and release them as downloadable, there is just too much padding for a full retail title!!

      Finally! Somebody else sees that the Megadrive games weren't just about speed! The damn solid platforming was what had me, especially the control those games gave you, even at high speeds. The various paths through levels was nice too, and something that its major competitor didn't really have at the time (ironically, Mario gained this with it's foray into 3D, whereas Sonic lost it).

      It's a shame that even Sonic Team didn't really understand what the essence of a Sonic game really was, as their attempts at 3D Sonic games were either all over the place (Sonic Heroes, Sonic 06, et al), or mostly (or completely) on-rails to keep the speed aspect, while forgetting the gameplay.

      The short, downloadable option isn't actually a bad idea at all. I'd be happy for them to throw out the average retail games to reel in the mainstream gamer dough if they were delivering decent experiences via Live Arcade or equivalent for the dedicated fans. Hell, I'll even take new downloadable levels for Sonic Unleashed's actual Sonic gameplay. While it's not really at all like the old-school Megadrive games, it was a bit of fun, and they could just as easily use the Hedgehog engine they've already put together for Unleashed, saving them a ton of money on development.

    I agree with Al, SEGA should just have expanded the 2D side scroller with a touch of 3D and a perhaps a a few cut scenes between levels. Hey look at the new super mario bros, successful on the ds and soon to be twice as and now coming to the wii, why is it so hard for SEGA do that, thats what the fans want! and it will sell at least a million or 2 and even the "kids" will like it. Y'know SEGA's motto they been rolling with lately, "too be good it take AGES"? well i hope it doesnt take any longer than the decade of monstrosities they have bestowed upon us thus far. Mario made a great transition to 3D but that doesnt mean Sonic can, wake up SEGA, WAKE UP! Like Al said bring us some 2D downloadables on xbla, psn, wiiware and even steam. It's a franchise that's worth taking the risk on and it should be!

    Sega's problem was and very much still is;
    that it seemingly never really understood the value of ensuring high quality sequals and arcade ports of its once poentially hugely lucrative, now pretty much worthless IP.

    Nintendo on the other hand has mostly done decent quality Mario, Zelda & Metroid sequals and has maintained good profits from these titles while getting a reputation for quality which has encouraged people to at least sample pretty much everything else they come up with.

    Sad, as I always longed for "acade perfect" Sega Rally, Daytona and Scud Race conversions along with updates to many 16bit Sega faves.
    Not anymore! They can go f*7^ themselves.

    Sega has shown no respect for their loyal customers over many decades or their own IP and does not deserve my dollars anymore.

    Unless they finally come thru on those arcade perfect ports, of course ;)

    Sega are idiots.

    They constantly release Mega Drive collection and Sonic XBLA games yet they do not have the sense to make a 2.5D modern sonic game.

    Perhaps they should have given the old sonics a 'bionic commando' style make over. I would buy!

    Agreed though a brand new old school style modern graphics sonic with no swords, werewolves or any stupid shit like that should be made.

    And finally this guy is an idiot because the Sonic Team should wake up, read the internet and realise that they make crap games not oh well the kid's like it. Sonics Megadrive/Master System/Game Gear fans have grown up now and have a lot more money if you make the right game.

    I thought they did a really good job with Sonic Rush for the DS. I haven't really enjoyed the Wii games that much. Some levels r okay.

    That’s how marketing works mostly. When a company sees a winning formula, they are very hesitant to double-take away from it. If Sonic is selling to kids, more so now than ever before, than Sega isn’t likely to fix up our favorite blue hedgehog anytime soon.

    But if Sega's okay with last place as far as quality is concerned, why should anyone expect better of them?

    However, in a gamer’s defense (which is by far more important), quality gaming is of the utmost. I couldn’t care less about who Sonic markets to if his games were of actual quality. The Mario franchise is still hailed as king because it actually has backbone in gameplay. It wins awards, it’s the standard to what most games are set by. Sonic, not so much because all Sega can say is “But kids like it”. Kids like Pokemon but Pokemon is also a phenomenal game. Im 24, I still play the thing. The developer's at Nintendo even discussed changing the formula to using more action in the generation 5 installments, (hear that Sean? That's called Progressive Thinking).

    It’s weird because Sega has all of these questionable ideas with Sonic and all they really need to do is listen to not only it’s current fan-base, but it’s older one too. Shadow the Hedgehog, kids loved because it was a little more grown up for them yet you’d be surprised to know that the same age group is interested in the quality ancient cartoons and older games.

    To me, Sega’s reasoning is flawed but effective. Profitable but lazy… and a little offensive. “That’s just their opinion” simply means money speaks louder than veteran loyalty and it’s sad considering Sonic is now the lame-duck of the game world… FACT. Every review that I’ve seen has Sonic listed as a C-rated game at BEST over the past five years. I believed Sonic to be the best game character of all time so certainly he’d be worth more than that. However, with half-hearted reasoning such as what is seen above, it’s no wonder Sonic isn’t taken as seriously as Mario.

    Sure, kids like Sonic NOW. But kids grow up. I dont remember a single game I’ve bought of Sonic that has been new. Mario? I keep coming back. THAT’S the strategy Sega needs, not the one that says “Out with the old, in with the new”. The youth take credit from elderly if dim-witted gameplay is what Sega is happy with, well then Mario Galaxy 2 will be out soon anyway.

    Jesus christ its SO simple Sega. You remember when you released that footage of Sonic Unleashed that had ZERO Werhog shit in it? It was just a 3-D sonic running across a 2-D landscape, as if you'd taken the old know the GOOD ones, and simply updated them. See now THATS a good idea. It wouldn't even need to be a full retail release just put it on XBL/PSN for 1200 points.

    not bad tryout

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