It’s often taken for granted that 2D Sonic games are better, but on the face of it, there’s no reason the move to 3D should produce failures.
It is almost axiomatic that 2D sonic the hedgehog the games are better than the 3D ones. Although the taste is subjective, the only 3D Sonic game generally considered awesome is Sonic Adventure for the Sega Dreamcast. Other entries have had mixed results, sometimes leading to games that many fans consider bad, like shadow the hedgehog. However, there may be some explanations as to why 2D Sonic games are generally much better than 3D ones.
First, it’s important to remember that 2D Sonic was born in the heyday of Sega. Not only was the company still making consoles, but it was at the height of its power, and Sega was seen as a serious challenger to Nintendo’s throne. He had a lot of financial power and had access to top designers like Hirokazu Yasuhara. In fact, Sonic was designed as a mascot to fight Mario, so there was a strong incentive to do the games right.
If there’s one fundamental obstacle to making the series happen in 3D, it’s what defines Sonic: speed. A character barely under control in 2D can become nearly unusable if dropped into an open world. This is why 3D games often use rails and other elements that limit players’ options. Still, removing freedom defeats much of the purpose of a 3D game, leaving the developers with a catch-22 – or at least a delicate balance.
Have the Sonic games been crippled by terrible events?
With the company running out of consoles after the Dreamcast, Sega also found itself in the wasteland, metaphorically speaking. It has become just another third-party developer struggling to keep up with 3D technology. The original members of Sonic Team gradually dispersed, and Sega sometimes struggled by experimenting and trying to regain a foothold on other consoles. This could explain why 2D games are considered better, as these types of major development changes can often inhibit the quality of a game.
Finally, a factor not to be overlooked is nostalgia. For older gamers, the original 2D Sonic the titles coincided with their childhood, and younger people may also associate pixel art with an idealized past, even if they weren’t there for it. Of course it didn’t stop Super Mario games to stay relevant – so it could be that sonic the hedgehog is just inherently difficult to make fun in 3D, but still impossible for Sega to give up on, because it would mean losing a character that has defined its identity for decades.
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