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SEGA Nerdcast: Episode 81 (with Stephen Frost)

Our good buddy Stephen Frost joins the SEGA Nerdcast this week to discuss his career at SEGA, his thoughts on Sonic Boom, the SEGA layoffs and much more!

In this week’s show, we discuss:

  • Stephen’s new YouTube channel
  • Chris buys an SG-1000 and a busted Magnavox Odyssey 2
  • Our *early* impressions of 3D Out Run on 3DS
  • ToeJam & Earl Kickstarter announces console stretch goals
  • Tembo the Badass Elephant announced for PS4, Xbox One and PC
  • SEGA Hard Girls vs Hyperdimension Neptunia. Is this real life?
Play
Duration – 2 hrs, 19 min @ 66.9 MB
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About Chris Powell

Chris is the editor-in-chief at SEGA Nerds. Over the years, he's written for publications like Joystiq, PSP Fanboy, RETRO magazine, among others. Oh yeah, he's also been a diehard SEGA Nerd his entire life.

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  • PCxMustRdxRcE

    What the hell man what is with all the banging around? Such an unprofessional interview. Kids talking over the mic with banging sounds? my god

    • TheRequiem95

      The background noise was absolutely, 100% my fault. My daughter was playing in the basement and I thought she was far enough away to not be picked up by my microphone. I had no idea that the sound would carry over so clearly, and I take full responsibility for the noise. Chris did try to mute my microphone a few times before it actually worked, though I should have erred on the side of caution and muted it myself far sooner.

      To all our listeners who found it jarring, yeah, I messed up, and I apologize.

  • big__smile

    Focus groups complained about the speed, so Sega decided to offer more game play styles. If people dislike the speed, Sega should examine why and then work on improving it. I’d wager it’s because of all the annoying bottomless pits and other obstacles that spoil the flow.

    Just adding more gameplay styles is dumb. Imagine if people didn’t like Coke, so Coke responded by replacing cola with orange juice!!

    After Sonic 06, everybody at Sega should be aware of how destructive adding too many features can be. Sonic Colours showed the key is to take the speed formula but find new ways to enhance it rather than replace it.

    Sega need to purge themselves of the “new play style” type of thinking if Sonic is to flourish.

  • Siavash Tazari

    What a load of bullshit!

    I really hope Sega and Sonic Team are NOT listening to this guy!

    A lot of game franchises that are still running since the nineties (in my opinion by far the best decade of gaming) have been ruined, because the publishers or developers think that they need to reinvent the franchise to reach a wider audience. This is in my opinion a very wrong line of thought, as such long running franchises have a big fanbase and the number 1 thing the developers need to do is to make sure that they create games for that very fanbase and make sure that they are most satisfied. This way, the franchise will sustain high recognition and keep its identity. The idea of reinventing for a wider audience makes the franchise lose focus, some fans go away, some new ones come, but they are not united and want different things, the overall regard for the franchise suffers, no one is ever completely satisfied and it only gets worse over time. Sonic and Tomb Raider are perfect examples for this. That being said, there is nothing wrong with spin-offs and new ideas. New ideas are always very welcome, as long as they keep the spirit of the original concept, so that it wouldn’t displease the core fanbase, and spin-offs are acceptable if they are clearly marketed as such and are of high quality in their own right. The concept of a spin-off Sonic Action-Adventure game is a very exciting one to me, but Sonic Boom is far from a good representation of that.

    ” you can only do so much with these eras/characters” is such a saddening and maddening thing to hear from “professional” game developers! Once again, it’s the result of the franchise having lost focus and now, even the people in charge for the various new games in the series don’t know what the series was originally about. Sonic 1, Sonic CD and Sonic 3 & Knuckles were excellent games and so far, there hasn’t been a SINGLE Sonic game to recapture their feeling in even 2D, let alone 3D! How can a “professional” claim that there is nothing more to do?! Even when talking about the Sonic Adventure games, they had LOTS of room for improvement! The number one thing past the nineties that most game developers (not talking only about Sonic) have OBVIOUSLY forgotten how to do right is level design! I’m still longing for a new game that actually manages to present an awesome balance of variety, challenge, exploration and imagination with it’s level design, the way that actually many games of the nineties did! Usually, 2D games do it better, but modern 3D games are FAR from the ideal! You don’t know what to do with the original concept of the Sonic franchise anymore? I tell you what: Translate Sonic 3 & Knuckles to 3D! Too incapable of doing that? Fine, then pick the Sonic Adventure games, or the Sonic Unleashed type games, or the Sonic Story-Book games, or Sonic Lost World, and they ALL have still a LOT room for improvement! Again, first and foremost: LEVEL DESIGN!!!

    Speaking of the newer Sonic games: I love the core concept of Sonic Unleashed! In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the concept of having the boost ability in a Sonic game and challenge based on lightning-fast reflexes. The problem is that the idea is not executed in the best possible way. In both Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations, you have practically endless boost. It would have been much more satisfying if the boost ability was difficult to sustain. Additionally, having the boost ability should not result in repetetive gameplay. Again, think of what the original Sonic games were about! What WERE the original Sonic games about? This is what I think:

    – Flow! It doesn’t mean that you have to run fast all the time, but it means that, if you master a level, you can play it in a way that you rarely ever come to a halt. You are always in motion and the whole experience feels fluid, dynamic and uninterruptive.
    – Momentum and a general sense of good physics! You should feel a difference when you go up-hill or down hill, you’re character must have a nice sense of weight, and you should gradually pick up speed when rolling down a slope, which should also increase your jumping ability.
    – EXPLORATION AND THOUGHTFUL LEVEL DESIGN!!! I just can’t stress this one enough! One of the very biggest appeals for me of the original Sonic games were the complex level layouts and how thoughtful the various routes were designed, offering different experiences based on the player’s skill level and goal, which could go from slow and explorative to fast and competitive. Few of the modern Sonic levels, like the modern version of Seaside Hill in Sonic Generations come close, but the classic level designs are still yet to be topped!
    – Imaginative locations! We are talking about a blue fast-running Hedgehog in a video game! So, developers, go crazy with your imagination! Although, arguably, I thoroughly enjoyed Sonic Unleashed’s interpretation of real-world locations.
    – Variety in each individual level, not only in how they look, but also in how they play! This is what all good platformers are about and what recent Sonic games have definitely room for improvement for!
    – Challenge for the experienced players, while still being fun for not-so-experienced kids! The key to success? Multiple routs throughout a level and rewards for skillful play! Non-skillful players should at least be able to get to the final parts in the story of the game, but there are soooooooo many skillful Sonic players out there who deserve to be challenged through harder but more rewarding routs, special stages, and a well-designed score-system and ranking.
    – Special Stages! I really don’t understand why these are absent in the 3D Sonic games (except for Sonic Heroes). Again, they were a nice rewarding feature for skillful players, while being optional for the main path through the story.
    – Water Levels! 😀 OK, I know, most people hate them, but I love water levels and miss them very much! 😀

    None of the things mentioned above are against having a boost ability with rewarding paths through a level that challenge your reaction-ability. Again, it is not like new ideas are not welcome. It’s always nice to see your favorite game franchise evolve over time, so long the main aspects that made you fall in love with it in the first place remains unharmed! And, again, spin-offs are absolutely fine, as long as they are clearly spin-offs and are designed well in their own right!

    Also: CO-OP AND MULTIPLAYER IS NOT THE FUTURE OF SONIC GAMES!!! DON’T DEVIATE EVEN FURTHER FROM THE CORE OF THE SONIC FRANCHISE!!!

    “Solo Sonic games, I don’t know how long that can last there isn’t enough variety to sustain it.” <——– THIS IS UTTER BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jesus

    Good thing this dumbass was fired.