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Thread: The Saturn Early Launch in North America - Help Me Understand...

  1. #106
    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Folco View Post
    I was taken aback when that guy said that it's apparent now that if Sega followed Kalinske's advices Saturn could have succeded.
    Adults can't be that naive, right?
    People are easily persuaded by smooth talkers who offer all the answers with certainty.

    At this point, I'm mostly convinced that Kalinske just didn't know what was going on with the software situation at SOA. He had delegated that to people like Joe Miller and he was hands-off.

    Even in this interview, he was asked why SOA produced games like Bug! and Ghen War instead of the type of game that appealed to Genesis gamers. He answered by saying they had no choice in what games they produced. What kind of answer is that? It's well established that SOA produced its own selection of games. I really think he was just so far removed from the software side of the company by then that he didn't know the situation. I can't recall ever hearing him mention anything specific about software (aside from Sonic and Joe Montana) in interviews. He mostly deflects the questions in this interview or offers vague statements: "we needed more sports titles". But why wasn't your company making them?

    This probably holds for the 32X and the Saturn as well. Kalinske was following Joe Miller's lead. In this interview, he was asked why he claimed in 1999 that the Saturn was "unmarketable". He pushed this aside with the answer that he didn't really know anything about hardware and was just saying what Joe Miller had said.

    I think we're just not going to find the answers through Kalinske because his world at the time was focused on a tiny portion of the equation. He wasn't very involved in software or hardware decisions.


    To offer my own take on the issue of short-term gains:

    Focus on short-term gains was always SOA's weak point. They were a marketing company run by marketers. Success was measured only in sales and market share with no thought of the long-term.

    The danger was giving the marketers power over design decisions.

    For software, there was almost a single-minded focus on licensed properties. Licensed games were considered safe bets at the time - practically guaranteed to sell a certain number. Quality never seemed to come into the picture. They were unable to establish original brands effectively. This was the antithesis of the Nintendo approach.

    For hardware, there was a quick rejection of the Saturn as unmarketable due to price, which gave birth to the 32X. These were marketing decisions born out of a short-sighted focus on sales.

    SOA needed to be run as a game company with a strong marketing division, rather than as a marketing company that oversaw a game division. There should have been a focus on resolving the issues at STI that prevented so many games from being completed. There should have been a focus on building quality original brands. There should have been a focus on preparing for the Saturn from day 1.

  2. #107
    End of line.. Shining Hero gamevet's Avatar
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    How old was that interview? Tom did have a heart attack or a stroke some 4 or 5 years ago. He's gotta be getting somewhat senile by now.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    Sega produced it - they didn't develop it. That means Sega paid EA and told them specifically what to add to the game. Production refers to managing the project. SOA didn't do much in-house development. It produced titles with outside developers and published them. The first Joe Montana game was a weird case, but I'd still say Sega produced it (or co-produced it) given their involvement in licensing and altering it.
    Sega had very little input on it. They were pretty much forced to plead EA to make Joe Montana Football, after finding out that Mediagenic had hardly done any work on the game, heading into September. So yeah, Sega paid EA to convert their now complete Madden game into Joe Montana football, stripped of all NFL references, including players, a cut down play sheet and some 3D objects removed. It didn't come out until January of the following year.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post

    Even in this interview, he was asked why SOA produced games like Bug! and Ghen War instead of the type of game that appealed to Genesis gamers. He answered by saying they had no choice in what games they produced. What kind of answer is that? .
    The passing buck answer from Tom Kalinske; it's not my fault, blame someone else. Anyone at the top of SEGA America would have full access to sales and would know what games were selling the best both in terms of 1st party and 3rd party on its system. I get why Bug was made, platform games were popular and making a 3D platform was the next move and making a 3D shooter was a great way to show off 3D, so get why Ghen was looked to be made . I can not understand why SOA didn't look into making A NFL game for Saturn and continuing to use the Joe Montana; this was not a sector of the market SOE or SOJ would be able to help out, given apart from Great Football, I don't think SOJ ever bothered with an NFL game at all

    Maybe it was hard to find to developer able to handle a 3D NFL game on the Saturn for 1995, but why didn't SEGA just look to bring Joe Montana 95 to the Saturn with better graphics, super smooth scaling, fancy FMV and far better sound, early in that would have done; until you get a next gen version ready (I always felt the same for a Sonic CD on the Saturn). It wasn't like in Japan or in Percy Pal land, you had amazing 3D football/soccer games were ready to go early in, even on the PS. It was pretty poor early in, both SEGA's and Konami early 3D games on the Saturn and PS were not the best at all

    I just put it all down to the 32X and MD So much of SEGA was still focused on wasting its time, money and resources, trying to keep an ageing old system alive, instead of moving on and looking to the future and truly embracing the next gen. This is another huge advantage SONY, no worries of trying to support an old console and just focus on a single platform.
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    Is there any hypothetical situation where they just reskin BUG! as a launch Sonic Saturn game? Replace the sprite and maybe Sonic runs is a bit faster? Not saying this would be great but it's Sonic on launch in some form. I know the best solution is Sonic CD on Saturn instead of SCD.

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leynos View Post
    Is there any hypothetical situation where they just reskin BUG! as a launch Sonic Saturn game? Replace the sprite and maybe Sonic runs is a bit faster? Not saying this would be great but it's Sonic on launch in some form. I know the best solution is Sonic CD on Saturn instead of SCD.
    "just reskin" is probably a bit of an understatement, since Bug! uses all of those pre-rendered sprites that would have to be completely re-designed and re-rendered.

    But yeah, probably the only thing worse than no Sonic game is a bad Sonic game. And the design of Bug! just does not translate into a good Sonic game, even if you speed it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leynos View Post
    Is there any hypothetical situation where they just reskin BUG! as a launch Sonic Saturn game? Replace the sprite and maybe Sonic runs is a bit faster? Not saying this would be great but it's Sonic on launch in some form.
    It's funny you say that because I had the same reaction when I saw Bug!. You get to the bonus area where you race against Sonic and it's like, why didn't you just make a Sonic game in the first place? Speed it up a bit, add some loops and corkscrews, I can totally see it. I agree it wouldn't have been perfect but at least you launch with your most familiar IP.

    It's hard to believe Bug! was ever considered a mascot for the Saturn. I bet Sony and Nintendo would have loved that. Picture an ad with a fly buzzing around, only to get squashed by Crash Bandicoot or Mario.

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    The worst thing about the whole situation is that Bug! isn't even a Sega-developed game.

    That article I translated said by the start of 1995, SOA employed 600 people involved in game development, making it one of the largest software developers in the world.

    I find it crazy that they couldn't get a decent killer game ready and we're even discussing reskinning Bug!

    I'm sure the same thought was going around SOA at the time - "We'll have that Sonic X-Treme game ready soon, right?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    The passing buck answer from Tom Kalinske; it's not my fault, blame someone else. Anyone at the top of SEGA America would have full access to sales and would know what games were selling the best both in terms of 1st party and 3rd party on its system. I get why Bug was made, platform games were popular and making a 3D platform was the next move and making a 3D shooter was a great way to show off 3D, so get why Ghen was looked to be made . I can not understand why SOA didn't look into making A NFL game for Saturn and continuing to use the Joe Montana; this was not a sector of the market SOE or SOJ would be able to help out, given apart from Great Football, I don't think SOJ ever bothered with an NFL game at all

    Maybe it was hard to find to developer able to handle a 3D NFL game on the Saturn for 1995, but why didn't SEGA just look to bring Joe Montana 95 to the Saturn with better graphics, super smooth scaling, fancy FMV and far better sound, early in that would have done; until you get a next gen version ready (I always felt the same for a Sonic CD on the Saturn). It wasn't like in Japan or in Percy Pal land, you had amazing 3D football/soccer games were ready to go early in, even on the PS. It was pretty poor early in, both SEGA's and Konami early 3D games on the Saturn and PS were not the best at all

    I just put it all down to the 32X and MD So much of SEGA was still focused on wasting its time, money and resources, trying to keep an ageing old system alive, instead of moving on and looking to the future and truly embracing the next gen. This is another huge advantage SONY, no worries of trying to support an old console and just focus on a single platform.
    Did you get banned for this lame post?


    LMFAO!

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-Training Trepanned Jam's Avatar
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    They weren't discussing to reskin Bug! as a Sonic game, it was the opposite. Dave Warhol stated that Bug! started out as a Sonic game in its early development, but SoJ didn't want a third party to make a mainline Sonic title, so they switched it into an original IP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    Did you get banned for this lame post?


    LMFAO!
    No, he got banned for the mess in the Resident Evil 2 Homebrew thread.

  11. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    The worst thing about the whole situation is that Bug! isn't even a Sega-developed game.

    That article I translated said by the start of 1995, SOA employed 600 people involved in game development, making it one of the largest software developers in the world.

    I find it crazy that they couldn't get a decent killer game ready and we're even discussing reskinning Bug!

    I'm sure the same thought was going around SOA at the time - "We'll have that Sonic X-Treme game ready soon, right?"
    I think you are right, with all those people working on games the management must have thought a new Sonic was just around the corner. Otherwise it seems insane to launch a new system with Bug! and Clockwork Knight but not your most famous character. In one of the other articles posted recently (I think by you?) we saw that Knuckles Chaotix had also been intended as a Saturn game at one point, I wonder how that might have turned out.

    It reminds me of the 3DS launch, sales were very slow until Link and Mario showed up.
    Last edited by axel; 08-17-2022 at 01:02 AM.

  12. #117
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    Bad Sonic games never stopped SEGA from making them. Saturn still got 3D Blast and that game is shit. Same with Sonic R even tho I love the OST. BUG! as a Sonic game be far less offensive than either one of those. Esp Sonic R. Maybe even Sonic Blast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trepanned Jam View Post
    SoJ didn't want a third party to make a mainline Sonic title, so they switched it into an original IP.
    This was standard practice. If you had the capabilities to do development in-house, it always made sense to do your big titles that way to avoid having to pay second-party developer royalties. It might not have mattered much if your sales target was 100,000 copies, but for a game that might sell millions of copies, we're talking a lot of money.

    Added to that, if STI were unable to release a Sonic title without Yuji Naka, it undermined the entire purpose of the company and the (likely) tens of millions of dollars SOA had spent setting it up. Basically, nobody in management wanted to be the one to say, "Uh, I don't think we're actually capable of releasing this game." So I'm sure it got dragged out with lots of promises that went nowhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    we saw that Knuckles Chaotix had also been intended as a Saturn game at one point
    I'm not familiar with that...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    I'm not familiar with that...
    It was in another Kalinske interview: https://lukezapart.com/tom-kalinske-interview

    There was a 2D Sonic the Hedhehog project on the Saturn that ended up as Knuckles Chaotix for the 32X. It was supposed to have the Sonic & Tails characters and they were cut. What was that about?

    Yeah I remember it. It was another one of these things where we just needed titles, because we didn't have enough. The original game was long and it was taking too long to get done, so the decision was made to cut it into parts and introduce it quickly on 32x and that was a simple decision because there were too many needs to have more products on the 32X, it wasn't going to be ready on Saturn, it was too big, it was taking too long, it was over budgeted, it was behind schedule all those reasons.
    I'd forgotten why Kalinske said it was moved, so maybe it wouldn't have worked in any event. But if resources hadn't been diverted to the 32X, maybe Knuckles could have been the Saturn's mascot. I would have enjoyed seeing that anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    To offer my own take on the issue of short-term gains:

    Focus on short-term gains was always SOA's weak point. They were a marketing company run by marketers. Success was measured only in sales and market share with no thought of the long-term.

    The danger was giving the marketers power over design decisions.

    For software, there was almost a single-minded focus on licensed properties. Licensed games were considered safe bets at the time - practically guaranteed to sell a certain number. Quality never seemed to come into the picture. They were unable to establish original brands effectively. This was the antithesis of the Nintendo approach.

    For hardware, there was a quick rejection of the Saturn as unmarketable due to price, which gave birth to the 32X. These were marketing decisions born out of a short-sighted focus on sales.

    SOA needed to be run as a game company with a strong marketing division, rather than as a marketing company that oversaw a game division. There should have been a focus on resolving the issues at STI that prevented so many games from being completed. There should have been a focus on building quality original brands. There should have been a focus on preparing for the Saturn from day 1.
    I have your same impression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leynos View Post
    Is there any hypothetical situation where they just reskin BUG! as a launch Sonic Saturn game? Replace the sprite and maybe Sonic runs is a bit faster? Not saying this would be great but it's Sonic on launch in some form. I know the best solution is Sonic CD on Saturn instead of SCD.
    That would be a mentality I expect from the old SoA, that is believing brandname trumps the product quality.

    The reason Mario is so beloved from multiple generations of people isn't that people like to impersonate middle aged slighly overweight plumbers, is that the games he starred in are always fun for all ages and Nintendo put the utmost care to preserve the goodwill around the character (and since the character is the face of the Company, they assure the goodwill around the Company)..
    Last edited by Folco; 08-17-2022 at 05:08 AM.

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