Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Petition: A Proper Boycott sign now

Speed is something that is not given; but rather earned through dedication. Speed is not found by simply pushing a boost button, but by building momentum. It is the reward for skill in the face of difficult challenges this kind of speed is the most exhilarating, not only because it is fast, but because of the pure perfection such speed exemplifies. This is the truth of the original Sonic games and this is the truth of Project Needlemouse.
-Sega of America Blog, January 27 2010

It was those words that gave all of us hope. All of us. This includes the generation of fans that spent their childhoods playing the 16-bit Sonic the Hedgehog games and would love a sequel to relive their childhoods (much like MegaMan 9 and 10 did for the oldschool MegaMan fanbase). This also includes the new generation of fans that love the classics (and at least a few of the newer games) and think that a sequel to Sonic 3 and Knuckles would be amazing.

That is, if those words weren't a backstabbing lie.

A while back, the Sonic franchise was in a dilemma. After many failures such as Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and the Storybook Series, a huge outcry began, demanding Sonic Team and Sega to stop producing gimmicks like guns and sword-swinging, or even furthur, to completely abandon the third-dimension altogether and return to the blue blur's roots by making a fully 2D game just like the originals.

In response, Sega announced "Project Needlemouse" on September 9, 2009. Many campaigns happend afterwards: Character Countdown, Concept Art, Hedgehog Week, etc. Then, after so much hype and promises of going back to the series roots, on February 4, 2010, Project Needlemouse was revealed to be Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. Although there was a minor outrage involving green eyes and buying Sonic 1 on release day instead (insert facepalm here), the majority of fans were very excited, because not only was it a new 2D Sonic game on the console, but it was a sequel to Sonic 3 and Knuckles. We were all saying: "Yes! Sonic is back! This is going to be awesome! There's no way this is going to suck! It's just a 2D Sonic game. Sega just has to look at the original games and make Sonic 4 play just like them. Capcom did it with MegaMan, so that means Sega is capable of doing it too, right?"

As soon as gameplay footage was leaked and PartnerNet employees were saying their feedback on the game, we realized we were horribly wrong. There were a myriad of problems, all the way from the rehashed content from Sonic 1 & 2 to the overabundance of speed boosters that littered every inch of every level to the specific levels that utilized horrible gimmicks. The game didn't look like the classics. It looked more like the Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush series. Although those games' quality is debatable, every Sonic fan can whole heartedly agree that they don't even compare to the classics. After a lot of negative fan reaction, Sega delayed the game in order to try and make up. Many community managers tried to convince us that the delay is to fine-tune Sonic 4 before releasing it and that all of the problems people found in the leaks would be fixed.

They werent. In fact, during the entire summer all the way to October, the only major changes were the new Casino Street Act 2 and Lost Labyrinth Act 2, which replaced the score-gathering and mine-cart levels. Other than that, there were little to no changes to the controls and level design, which is what the classics were revolutionary for.

As well as what Sonic the Hedgehog 4 absolutely fails in.

If there's any one specific problem that's the number one concern in Sonic 4, it is definitely the physics. In the classic Sonic games, the physics engine was all about the sense of momentum. Running down slopes would help Sonic to accelerate, and running up a slope would cause Sonic to slow down a little. The steeper the slope, the more pronounced the effect, and rolling in to Sonics trademark spinball form would only increase his slope sensitivity. A well-timed spin would allow Sonic to blow through levels at far faster speeds than he could ever achieve by running on foot. It was a marvelous physics engine emphasized flow and momentum. It was the physics engine that made Sonic the Hedgehog more unique than any other generic platformer during the 90s.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 does NONE of these things. For one thing, Sonic is incredibly stiff and his acceleration is rather sluggish. But then again, all you need is a minuscule amount of speed to go up tall 90 degree walls while Sonic's still in his walking animation. Rolling in Sonic's spinball form is next to useless outside of scripted scenes where one of every hundredth speed booster force you in the spinball form. Plus, Sonic loses all horizontal momentum if you let go of the D-Pad/Analog stick. There are times where if the player wants to spindash off of a ledge, he will shoot off but stop and fall straight down unless he's constantly holding forward (whereas the classic games' physics engine lets your momentum continue regardless of directional input). Simply doing any type of platforming challenge feels incredibly awkward and clunky beyond belief.

Joystiq (www.joystiq.com/2010/10/.../sonic-the-hedgehog-4-episode-1-review/), Wired.com (www.wired.com/gamelife/2010/10/sonic-4-review/), and an honorable Sonic fan (http://www.tssznews.com/2010/10/16/review-sonic-the-hedgehog-4-episode-1-xbox-360/) have clearly stated these points in their reviews of Sonic 4: Ep. 1. It's a pure shame that the rest of the media is too ignorant and unintelligent to actually know what made the classics so good other than "It's a 2D Sonic game" (some of the most dim-witted reviews had quotes like Breathe easy Sonic fans, Sega got this one right! and Oh, and the physics are absolutely fine, you whiny bastards!).

If you're too lazy to read, just watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6-1cGzPn3E

And for fun, this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nDRsjiXiMo

There's so much more I can rant about, like the Sonic Rush, "hold-forward-to-win" level design staples, the bland, forgettable, uninspiring music, the fact that all of the enemies and bosses are rehashed from Sonic 1 & 2 (even down to the final boss of the game), etc. However, the physics engine is the most important aspect of the classics. It's what truly made Sonic the Hedgehog well-known even to this day. It's something vital if Sonic Team truly wanted to make a successful return to his roots and capture the magic that the originals had years ago.

However, you failed, Sonic Team and Sega. You failed to make the sequel Sonic fans have wanted. You disappointed your retro crowd and you disappointed the younger crowd as well. You had all the resources to make a good sequel (http://info.sonicretro.org/Category:Sonic_Physics_Guide) and you squandered it by leaving it to Dimps' Sonic Rush-based Engine. You had all the time in the world, but you wasted it on useless additions like a world map and character animations. You even had all of the opportunity to gather feedback, yet the feedback session was a mere thirty minutes when each and every fan could rant for HOURS detailing each and every flaw in Sonic 4 Episode 1. Thus, this sequel fans have waited 16 years for resulted in a strange mismatch between the classics and the Sonic Rush games in a futile attempt to please both the older and younger generation of fans. However, it didnt accomplish classic Sonic gameplay, it didnt even accomplish Sonic Rush gameplay, and you failed to please BOTH generations of fans. You have accomplished NOTHING except for disappointing EVERYONE.

The only positive point of the game is the visuals, but even fan projects like Sonic Fan Remix and Sonic 2 HD are more visually impressive, not to mention having the proper physics. It sure is a shame when the fans are capable of making better programmed games than the team that develops Sonic games, isnt it Sega?

But we still had a lingering amount of hope left. We had a small amount of hope that you would examine the feedback and learn from your mistakes. We had a small amount of hope that you could make it through and make Episode 2 more of a true sequel, with proper physics and more original levels and enemies. However, hope can only take so much of a beating.

In this title, we have not done a straight port of the gameplay [from the Genesis games], but rather updated it with actions which could not be done in the previous titles, like ceiling-running. These changes probably made for a different feel to the longtime Sonic fans.
-Takashi Iizuka, Sonic 4 Producer

Yes. The Sonic 4 producer states that the broken physics in Sonic 4 are updated physics that let you do stuff like ceiling-running, despite the fact that Sonic could run on the ceiling as early as Spring Yard Zone in the very first game of the franchise. This tells us only one thing: You, Sonic Team, have absolutely no idea how the classic Sonic games played and are absolutely incapable of recreating that same magic. However, instead of looking into the feedback or playing the originals for yourself or even just acquire Sonic Retros physics guide (again, http://info.sonicretro.org/Category:Sonic_Physics_Guide) and make a functional programming based off of the guide for the modern consoles, you will just rely on the same broken engine, pretend nothing is wrong, and continue to produce episodes with no improvements and use Sonic 4 as a scheme for quick and easy money.

However, none of us want more of the same. None of us. So until we see improvements, we refuse to purchase any future episodes of Sonic the Hedgehog 4. If there was anything the True Blue Initiative has told us, its that you are desperate for profit off of Sonic 4, going as far as begging simple-minded fans to buy two or more copies of the same game (which already had an unreasonable $15 price tag). You have too many resources (AGAIN, http://info.sonicretro.org/Category:Sonic_Physics_Guide) and opportunities to improve upon future episodes, so there is absolutely no excuse for incompetency.

In conclusion, please heed to our demands, take action, and everything will progress smoothly. If you do notthen it is surely your loss.

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Karin PenningtonBy:
MusicIn:
Petition target:
Global Entertainment R&D Dept. (Sonic Team) and all divisions of Sega Corporation

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