I was going to make this in a few weeks for my "once-a-month" blog thing, but of late here and there I've been getting more involved with oppinions on Sonic Adventure 3 with people asking what I think, so I decided to make this blog in order to help summerize so I don't have to repeat it all over everytime someone asks what I think what a Sonic game needs to define it as a "Sonic Adventure" game over modern Sonic games.
So I'd like to hypothetically talk about Sonic Adventure 3 and what I believe such a game needs to be recognised as a 'Sonic Adventure series' game.
There are many fans out there who would like Sonic Adventure 3, however there are SA3 fans who are divided on how they want Sonic Adventure 3 to be. For example some want it to be a modern Sonic game like Generations and Forces, others want it to be like a traditional platformer but for the latest consoles.
However, I believe that in order for a Sonic Adventure game to be recognised as a Sonic Adventure game, especially after the Dreamcast was finished 14-16 years a go, it needs the following things in order to be successfully recognised as a true sequal to the Sonic Adventure sub-series for the modern era of technology.
So heres what I think should go into the hypothetical game "Sonic Adventure 3" if it ever happens. What I think Sonic Adventure 3 is needed to be regarded as a perfect Adventure game.
What is the "Adventure Series"? And what it means for SA3?
Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 are main-series Sonic games. We all know if this. They're not a spin-off, they're canon and significant games to Sonic's life and the lore of the world he lives in. They're not like the Sonic Riders series or the Sonic Storybook Series which are regarded as canon but not significant to the main series of events in Sonic's life. And there are spin-offs not regarded as canon at all like the Sega Superstars series which is all about gameplay and fun over consistancy and reason to the lore of Sonic's world..
But there are still Sonic fans who specifically want "Sonic Adventure 3" despite the fact such games as Sonic Heroes and Sonic '06 would technically be the true successors to SA2. So if SA3 either happens there might be a 50% chance Sega will recognise it as a spin-off unique from it's prequals. This is because Sonic Adventure 3 will need to be recognised as a sequal to a past Sonic game off-shooting the main series of games over being the next installment to the modern Sonic games. So there is a 50% chance it will be recognised as a canon spin-off even if the first two games in it's series are part of the main series.
The other 50% chance is that Sonic Adventure 3 will be regarded as canon and part of the main series even if the game is different from the modern games yet comes at a later date (somewhen after Sonic Forcess, presumably). It's what happend to Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and why many Sonic fans wish it was regarded as a spin-off than main series.
For starters, Sonic Adventure 3 doesn't need latest modern graphics or Hedgehog Engine that Sonic Forces has in order to be recognised as a big Sonic game and I don't think it should. I think that in order to be recognised as a Sonic Adventure game it needs to adopt art styles in order to be defined as a post-Dreamcast Sonic Adventure game. So heres what I think would be better off for Sonic Adventure 3:
- Storybook quality model rendering.
- HD cel shaded graphics (maybe)
Some may think these choices will severely downgrade the quality of the game in comparison to Forces but keep in mind some game developers make artistic choices that may seem questionable but really brings out the best quality of the game. For example a few recent years a go we had the game Undertale which became a successful PC game even though it was made with 8-bit graphics. But people complimented the graphics due to the nostalgia and creative style it provided for the game.
For Sonic Adventure 3, having limited quality of models and cel shaded graphics will give the game more of a Dreamcast like nostalgia while still making it a quality game for modern gamers. The game may even look better with quality cel shaded graphics that can handle texture well. An example would be the game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 which uses HD cel shaded graphics that gives it a more dated look despite also being released quite recently.
The reasons for these choices in graphics is to define the game from modern titles as Generations and Forces while at the same time be be recognised as part of the Sonic Adventure series outside of the Dreamcast which ended 14-16 years a go. The Dreamcast being the console that defined the Adventure series. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is a good example that modern graphics for a game set in the past will do more harm than good for the reputation of a Sonic game. If Sonic 4 was more like Sonic Mania to begin with then maybe there would never be Mania if Sonic 4 did it right to begin with.
Oh, and if any human NPCs in the game, they should appear anime like, not how they appear in modern games, This is particularly important due to how simple humans appeared in Sonic Adventure and to an unofficial degree supported in Sonic X, an anime that adapted the Adventure games.
This is simple and straight forward.
Thats it. All SA3 is standard 3D platforming gameplay that corresponds to speed and physics established since the Classic era that Sonic Adventure tried to do in the first place.
The only way I can ask for more is that I would like the gameplay as responsive as it was for the original games for the Dreamcast and GameCube. When the games were released for 2010 and 2012 I believed the games response to modern controllers were too responsive as they once were. I also believe this is the reason why some critics say the Sonic Adventure games have not aged well because they played the modern rereleases which were just not as good as they were back then.
(Oh, and D-pad or right analogue for first-person view to observe surroundings to be more ideal to take pictures with.)
The reason why no boost is because it is recognised as a staple in modern gameplay. I appreciate modern gameplay but I find it has it's pros and cons in comparison to what Sonic had during the Dreamcast era, that if this game had boosting then it might as well be another modern Sonic game.
Sonic was reliant on the Spin Dash and being natually faster than his friends when it came to his Dreamcast games, thus in order for Sonic Adventure 3 to be recognised as such, must not have Boost and be reliant on the old methods.
Late-90s rock music. But as all know Crush 40 should do Sonic's theme and the games title theme as well as music for the majority of the game to really set the mood of what a Sonic Adventure game should sound like.
Alas this is the only part that would be too much to ask for a Sonic game. Sega would be reluctant to have Ryan Drummond, Michael McGaharn and Jennifer Douillard reprise their roles exclusively for this game. Corey Bringas who was a genuine child voice-actor would be too old to reprise the role and Deem Bristow passed away in 2005.
As hardcore Adventure fans would hate it, the modern voice actors would voice the characters in the game. As much as we would all appreciate Sega if they did put in the effort given it is the voices that makes the characters, it'll just be easier to go with who they have now for voices.
If Sega wants the game on majority of modern platforms then sure. If they wish to sell the game in stores then OK. However fans may appreciate it more sold exclusively online than by store. It's the only approach with Sonic 4 that I believe they done right.
However I believe Sonic Adventure 3 would at least be better off exclusively for PC and/or very least Switch. This is because the Sonic Adventure games were for the Dreamcast, thus can be regarded as independant games until ported to GameCube. PC is the ideal platform for independant games so Sega releasing a game for PC is a sclose to Sega can get releasing a game exclusively for themselves than seeking licencing from Nintendo or Microsoft to produce it on their major consoles.
Nintendo 3DS is also an option given the handheld would support the graphics well, however the N3DS and/or mobile OS may have other uses for Sonic Adventure 3 we may cover later.
What I liked about Sonic Adventure was that because it was originally intended to be released for the Sega Saturn. When the production moved into the Dreamcast, Sonic Team realised that this project had much more room to stretch out the game. Thus while Sonic Adventure is a platform game about progressing through story and reaching the goal, with the extra data Sonic Team splashed out to include new models, stage decorations and other various eye-candy.
So for a Sonic Adventure game, I believe it needs at least these things:
- Emblems instead of Red Star Rings
- Places to exlore
- Adventure Fields (want, though not necessary)
- Mini-games and stage puzzles
The Adverture games wern't as linear as Sonic games are now due to before being reliant on boosting, but the developers go as far as allowing us to explore Sonic's world more personally via Adventure Fields, or having beautiful scenery for us to admire in the Action Stages.
Thus I believe Adventure Fields along with Emblems should return to encourage players to feel more immerse in the world around Sonic. Some did find Adventure Fields as glorified intermissions between the stages while others appreciate them for providing the story in the games as well as pleasing the players who enjoy exploring their surroundings. On the Egg Carrier you can go as far as explore Dr. Eggmans quarters or certain side-rooms on the bridge. To some they serve no purpose other than to find emblems, but I appreciate the ammount of detail the map developers put into making places for us to explore. Sonic Adventure also had various mini-games such as traditional game puzzles, cart racing, sky chase, pinball and hedgehog hammer which made the game feel even more interactable for players to feel more involved in the world.
Sonic Adventure 2 weened off Adventure Fields, but the Action Stages became more elaborate that exploring was still a fun thing to do in the game. I erspnally would like elaborate Adventure Fields in Sonic Adventure 3 because a Sonic adventure game is more than just completing stages. It's telling a story and inviting the players to interact more with the world provided in the game.
While regarded as modern, Red Star Rings can still be a thing in Sonic Adventure 3 as long as exclusively to the Action Stages. Perhaps 5 red rings = 1 emblem per stage.
Characters and Stories
Modern Sonic games have Sonic solely as the playable character, often acompanied by his classic self for some reason. A Sonic Adventure game should have at least 6 playable characters. In Sonic Adventure each playable character had their own story while in Sonic Adventure 2 there were two stories and the six playable characters were clones of one another in groups of two.
If the story can be divided amongst players then sure, but a Sonic Adventure game should have at least six playable characters.
The most important defining trait of the Adventure games that set them apart from the Modern games is chao gardens, the pet AI system. For Sonic Adventure 2, Sega had ideas for MMO Chao Gardens a well as a world leader board for Chao Racers but couldn't execute the idea properly. Maybe something of the like could be done for Sonic Adventure 3.
If the game is for PC then the Chao Gardens can have the return of Transporter Machine that allows you to download the "Chao Adventure 3" or "Chao RPG" app for your mobile phone so that you can bring your chao with you on your phone while you're out and about.
If Sonic Adventure 3 is for the Nintendo Switch, then "Chao Adventure 3" or "Chao RPG" can be a free game from the Nintendo Store. Chao Gardens can have Chao Machine that allow players to have their chao on their N3DS.
I would like the game to be PG or E10+ rating so that the story can have a mature story. The story needs to be around a crisis of sort which are often on terorist to apocalypse tier of crisis. Don't want it like Sonic Colours or Sonic Lost World in story which tried to be as kid-friendly as it should.
Dr. Eggman once tried to blow up Station Square and blew up half the moon. While modern media makes a big deal over terrorism and tries to make TV shows and games for certain audience appropriate, the fact remains Dr. Eggman is a terrorist and he's his most villainist when he behaves like one. And in order to do that, Sonic Adventure 3 would need a decent rating. One that isn't too mature for gore, sex or whatever but mature enough for the games story to be taken as serious as one can about colourful anthro-animals with various powers.
The reason why many Sonic fans want a "Sonic Adventure 3" is not just because of nostalgia, but because of how the Adventure games presented themselves differently from the classic and modern Sonic games. And that while the Dreamcast games star Modern Sonic, fans believe that Sonic Generations having a "Dreamcast era" is rightly so due to the revolutionary gameplay from it's classic routes as it is introduced to the Dreamcast.
Sega did try to continue the Dreamcast era of gameplay up until 2006 where Sonic '06 accidentally ruined it. But fans still want games that allows the freedom to explore the world of Sonic than to simply run through it.
Sega has learned the hard way that in order to emulate a classic games take more than just gameplay alone to emulate a past game style, but given Sega have good relations to their fanbase, able to work together with them to make such games done right. With games like Sonic Mania that appeal to the classic fans and Sonic Forces to appeal to the modern fans, will there be a game that will appeal to the Dreamcast fans? If Sega is catering for it's older fans and reinvigorating 32-bit classic appeal as well as Takashi Iizuki not entirely denying there will be no SA3, then we can hope there will be something along the lines in the future.
The very least a sequal to Shadow's game or Silver get his own game, or canon spin-off games that are less about Sonic and more on the world of Sonic and individuals that deserve a game.