PS3 News: Sonic Unleashed Falls Short, Developer Offers Explanation - PS3 News

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Sonic Unleashed Falls Short, Developer Offers Explanation

Remember the good ol' days when Sonic was a bad-ass blue streak who offered some of the most entertaining interactive experiences around? Well, things started to go downhill rapidly after a few excellent installments on the Dreamcast (so it wasn't the transition to 3D that killed it), and the old-school fans want to know only one thing: why?

The latest release, Sonic Unleashed, is actually quite decent and certainly better than the atrocious Sonic the Hedgehog a few years back, but most reviews will tell you that the game suffers due to incessant brawling levels that seriously interrupt the flow of the game. Well, IGN's David Clayman caught up with one of the Unleashed developers and wanted to know why Sonic Team just couldn't cut the mustard anymore. The answer was in IGN's Three Red Lights podcast:

"I asked one of the developers at TGS, you know I was like, come on everybody just wants Sonic running, like whats up with the werehog? And he was like, well, heres the deal... he runs at this miles per hour, kilometers per hour, and he laid out all of the statistics on how fast this hedgehog goes, and he was like In order to make a game where Sonic is running and everybody enjoys the whole thing we'd have to design this many miles of level, and it was some ungodly number. And he's like and that would be like maybe a three hour game and I was like wow, well that kinda stinks and he's like yeah, so we gotta do this other stuff."

So essentially, due to Sonic's crazy speed, the designers simply couldn't create a world that could hold this fleet-footed hero. Hence, they had to come up with a new element to the gameplay; either that, or have a "three hour game." So the question is, do you buy this explanation, and if you do, would you want a shorter - yet higher quality - Sonic entry...?

Related Game(s): Sonic Unleashed

11/30/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (27 posts)

Scarecrow
Sunday, November 30, 2008 @ 10:22:59 PM
Reply

Wow...lol that's sad
They prefer to make a sub-par game than to spend years creating huge levels...

One thing they can always do is repeat some level designs(parts of the level and/or other levels)

But seriously this is weird....

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MirrorSoul
Sunday, November 30, 2008 @ 10:27:57 PM
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I use to enjoy Sonic in my chilhood and it was great but now...Meh!!. I really think the only way to have a justified sonic return is to put him into an open world al-la GTA and have a rediculous amount of diffrent things sonic can do around this enviroment centered ONLY around speed (anything else such as puzzles and crap you see and could come back to could be secondary) They could basically have it like an RPG were the more missions you complete and baddies beat the more eperience you get and learn new speed abilities (Like creating a whirlwind to trap enimies and so on)Hell even dash in a couple Chaos emeralds and Super Sonic as specials.Create an online mode with things like City Race, T.A.G (Someone has an Chaos Emerald and you have to hunt the down 2-16 players) And some of that crazy stunt stuff that Burnout had earlier this year. Im no game designer but putting sonics speed in a large open enviroment with ramps slides and coins everywhere could work theoretically.

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MirrorSoul
Sunday, November 30, 2008 @ 10:29:35 PM

And yes i borrowed heavely from GTAIV and Burnout Paradise but I really want to see Sonic have one las AAA Game lol


Last edited by MirrorSoul on 11/30/2008 10:29:44 PM

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Scarecrow
Sunday, November 30, 2008 @ 10:33:27 PM
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Thankfully I've never been a hardcore Sonic fan(Mario fan here hehe)

I feel sad for Sonic though, he seems like a great character.

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LightShow
Sunday, November 30, 2008 @ 10:47:56 PM
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hmmm...

well at least the developer knows it's limits.

and while i'm sure everyone would rather them take more time and make these huge levels, the facts are that 1) it is likely that it would take a BD to contain enough sonic for a pleasurable experience, cutting out the 360 (which nobody like to do unless they have to) and 2) the fact that sonic games just dont sell anymore, the money's just not there for a massive game.

so yes, methinks it all goes back to money. Sucks, eh?

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John Shoemaker
Sunday, November 30, 2008 @ 10:59:12 PM
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Seriously? That is the best they could come up with?
Sonic was fast on the Genesis and they had levels on there that were long. And many of them.

Do they really think we will believe this bull****?

Just have a 3D Sonic on a 2D platform and it would work out. Just remake Sonic 2 and we will be fine. With that formula though.

God this is ****ing stupid. Even for them to say it.

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LightShow
Sunday, November 30, 2008 @ 11:09:27 PM

just about anyone is gonna say a PS3 level takes up many magnitudes more memory and processing power than a genesis level, dude.

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recks1jtp
Sunday, November 30, 2008 @ 11:46:15 PM

I agree John,
They (or someone) were able to do this years ago on the Sega systems, and everyone loved it. Just a simple(?) run though speed and bash game, but somewhere along the lines, they tried to over-complicate it. Simplify it, and people will line up for sure.

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Aftab
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 1:49:35 AM

I do agree with John, here. Those estimates are things they probably could've figured at the beginning of developement, and before the showcasing of the game and all the hype. I think it was just a matter of poor management. And Sega doesn't have resources like EA or Capcom. But to be fair, we haven't played the game, yet. Even if it averages 7'ish out of 10, that'll be an improvement for the franchise.

Last edited by Aftab on 12/1/2008 1:51:11 AM

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The_Benny
Sunday, November 30, 2008 @ 11:26:55 PM
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One of the things that bugs me about Sonic Team is that the old Sonic games weren't necessarily built on speed. Sonic might have been a fast character compared to others at the time, but it wasn't out-of-control fast, or sacrifice-all-other-gameplay-for-speed fast.

The levels were large, multi-levelled (and generally with multiple routes), they had distinct styles, and were well designed. There's an editorial about it at the following link that pretty much ties with my opinion:

http://www.kombo.com/article.php?artid=11909

All in all it's very annoying to see the games disappoint time and again, not just because Sonic Team aren't doing it well, but because it isn't even what they should be focusing on in the first place...

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BigT_1980
Sunday, November 30, 2008 @ 11:34:59 PM
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I think they should just go back to the roots of what makes a Sonic game good and run with 2D platformer. Better yet make it 2.5D platformer and release it on the PSN and XBL marketplaces. It would surely get much better reviews, and it probably sell better as well. The best part about it for Sega the development cost should be significantly less. I feel this would be a win win situation for both Sega and their consumers.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, November 30, 2008 @ 11:46:45 PM
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LOL, I was just watching the football game with my Dad and the Unleashed commercial came on and he's like "Why would anyone want to play that game?" I laughed, he knows nothing about gaming and had no idea he hit the nail on the head.

That said I have Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 on my Dreamcast and they were pretty tight, but Genesis Sonic 2 is definitely FTW.

Agree with the others, you need Blu-ray for that kind of space, or just take it down to 2.5D and please everyone. The guy quoted above might as well have said "Yeah we can't make the levels that big cuz all the cross platform crap so we threw in a bunch of garbage."

If I need a Sonic fix I'll be utilizing my Time Machines (old consoles).

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FLYING_APE
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 12:17:47 AM
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Sonic is a 2d game only. All the 3d sonics have been shockingly awful imo

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ShiningPhantasy
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 3:15:34 AM
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I have Sonic Unleashed for PS2 and it really is not as bad as reviews are indicating. I'm really not sure why people are griping about the werehog levels so much and will refer back to the "good old days" of Sonic Adventure 1. These werehog levels are far better than the alternative levels from the original Sonic Adventure, like those awful Big the Cat levels. They are also better than the Knuckles/Rouge levels of Sonic Adventure 2, as there is more thought put into the level-designs. The Sonic speed levels are still the highlight, but these are arguably some of the most entertaining Sonic 3D levels created, this game is actually better than I expected it to be. I guess I really do not mind the variety in game-play styles since the werehog levels are executed competently.

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Vivi_Gamer
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 3:36:53 AM
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Well from all the reviews i've read its because of the wherehog stages, there ment to be awful, they loved the daylight sections, they say its just like classic finaly in 3D.

I wouldnt really care if it was 4 hours, so were the old megadrive games, but if it was an entertaininggame like the classic ones the replay value is unlimited. Another big problem with Sonic games nowadays (and all platform games) is the storylines are way to complicated, when theres no need, i mean come on its a blue hedgehog, you cant really take drama seriously with that. I wish they were just as simple as the classic sonic games go through level ,litttle intro for the boss,boss fight x 20, Then mediu cutscene before final boss fights, final battle, ending.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 3:59:57 AM

Amen, I mean we didn't need a reason for a level to be a giant interactive casino, it just kinda was.

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Tim
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 7:08:57 AM
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Maybe they should borrow the level creator from Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet, so Sonic users could create miles and miles of interesting levels?

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Duff
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 8:42:21 AM
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sonic games went to S*** after sonic adventure 2 for me. old genesis games were all ftw specially sonic 3 and knuckles ;D. The team sucks now too, thats a sad excuse for a game developing team.

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shreevin
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 9:23:15 AM
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I don't really read IGN, but are all their articles so surfer dude-ish?

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Kiengo
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 10:38:30 AM
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Whenever I want Sonic, I just pop in a Sega Genesis cartridge.

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shadowpal2
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 10:39:01 AM
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You know I really do feel sorry for them. Sonic is still one of my favorite action heroes even after all these failure games. Personally I felt that Sonic Heroes was a great installment - I had a lot of fun with that, especially in multiplayer mode. Shadow the Hedgehog wasn't bad either - but I guess it kind of ruins the Sonic franchise with all this action and stuff. But then again it would be hard for the developers especially with new technology to lay out a huge environment for Sonic to run in.

Hmm...it's difficult - but to be honest difficult situations like these could possibly mean that if you find a solution that restores the Sonic franchise - it would be one hell of a game. Hopefully it will be revived. At least Sonic is still kicking ass in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

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ActionJackson
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 1:58:56 PM
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All I want is another Sonic Adventures Game. :)

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LightShow
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 4:26:51 PM

one of my favorite parts was the chao garden, and linking up with sonic advance 2 on your GBA.

if they made a sonic adventure game for PS3, with a companion game on PSP, i'd be all over both of them, provided they dont screw it up...

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shaydey77
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 2:50:05 PM
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It has to be back to the original. Im a MASSIVE sonic blue hedgehog fan.It was my introduction to gaming.Even the start up music rocked!! adn the tune that plays when you have the silverstars whirling round you..

This we cant do it coz there isnt enuff space crap because of his speed...yeah...he hasnt gone fast enuff on my TV to outrun the sidescrolling screen!!

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meatee
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 2:53:44 PM
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I don't remember Sonic or Sonic 2 having a million miles of track, and those are brilliant. Sonic doesn't have to be running at the speed of sound constantly during the entire game for it to be fun, and there's definitely more 'classic' platforming action that he could be doing instead of lumbering around like an idiot in a beat-em-up.

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Xanavi23
Friday, December 05, 2008 @ 5:00:10 PM

I think it makes sense.. I mean they would have to program that much level properly, so that if YOU stopped running there would still be an a$$load of detail everywhere as well as properly built level.

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tlpn99
Monday, December 01, 2008 @ 7:23:29 PM
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How long were the original Sonic levels anyone know ? I loved the Sonic game on the Sega when when it first came out, including the ones after that (I forget the order but Sonic 2, Sonic and Knuckles were great I loved them) never did the Sonic Adventure. I did try Hero's and Didn't like it. Then the last one in 2006 and didn't like that as I thought it ran too fast and I couldn't control the lil blue critter as best he could (either that or im crap at Sonic etc) I spoke to my mate today and asked him what he thought of the new Sonic, right away he said it's too fast and there is so much to do/collect. I was like hmmmmmmm have to borrow maybe before I buy and then decide.

Last edited by tlpn99 on 12/1/2008 7:24:14 PM

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