New Classic Stage ‘Casino Forest’ Revealed for Sonic Forces

A new zone for the upcoming Sonic Forces has been revealed today by the official Sonic the Hedgehog YouTube channel.

Casino Forest seems to boast a mish mash of Casino Night Zone and Silent Forest Zone as main inspirations, as Classic Sonic ricochets off bumpers and pinball flippers to reach the end goal. You can catch the footage below:

Interestingly, in extended gameplay released by IGN, Tails provides mission commentary, insinuating that Classic Sonic is searching for Modern Sonic in this stage. You can see that footage here.

Casino Park is the first new zone revealed for the game since April this year, where a remixed Green Hill Zone was shown for Classic Sonic. The playable Avatar character was shown shortly after, sporting their own versions of Park Avenue and Green Hill, including a tag team stage with Modern Sonic in the latter.

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  1. I think it’s important to note that this looks more complex than the few other stages we’ve seen. There’s several instances of higher and lower paths in the video.

  2. I was really hoping for no boost pads. It looks like it plays itself a little.
    I’m pretty apprehensive about this very empty level…

  3. Basically combining ancient ruin and casino level tropes together. Alright, not bad.

    But look at those Dash Panels being placed all around the stage.

  4. This is definitely a good sign for the game, gameplay looks solid. Definitely a different style than Sonic Mania, but still quite good, atleast akin to the Sonic Generations classic sonic

  5. A new level! Finally! I like it, though I’m wondering if there are any…y’know, forest-related traps. As it is, it’s basically Casino Night Zone with a different background.

  6. Oof, Hopefully they just accidentally released a very early version of this level. The whole thing feels like an empty copy and paste of gimmicks found in Casino Night Zone with no coherent flow rhythm and is so empty that it takes almost a minute to complete casually. (Where are the obstacles or the badniks? The only thing that stands in your way in this level are the 2 floating spike balls.) It feels like they’re just using a stage editor with a bunch of presets to slap together most of the 2D levels for this game, this and Green Hill Zone especially feel like something a kid would make in Mario Maker. The theme isn’t really interesting the way they present it either, a Casino level taking place at night? Wow! I’ve seen that before! The only thing that makes this level any different from Casino Night Zone is the fact that it takes place in a forest (which suspiciously looks exactly like Silent Forest in Sonic Lost World, possibly another lazy copy and paste job SEGA?) The game is less than 2 months away from being released and can safely be assumed to be in development since the release of Rise Of Lyric (3 years ago!), and if this is all they have to show for it, I’m definitely not going to pick it up any time soon.

      1. Just the fact that we’re assuming it’s Silent Forest zone based on the graphics means they copied that levels’ aesthetic.

  7. Oh great, now I’m starting to notice the issues Hogfather mentioned. The level’s length is unforgivingly short, the level design feels a bit minimalistic, and there’s boost pads everywhere. I swear I even saw an instance where Classic Sonic was running down hill unassisted and he didn’t seem to be picking up speed at all. That’s at least something they got right in Generations, how is it that they have allowed themselves to forget how make something they literally just made 5 years ago so easily? XP

    Also, I’ll be honest, I don’t know what to think about the stage theme. Sure, Green Hill was combined with a desert theme, but at least they had a reasonable explanation for that choice, it’s been terraformed. Of all the things you could combine an ancient ruin theme with…why a casino? Did the ancient cultures of Sonic’s world have a thing for gambling and also happened to have discovered electricity but for some reason only wanted to apply it towards their gambling addiction and not into their infrastructure? Is Eggman trying to build a casino on top of the ruins (this would be much more believable but the stage looks like they were built together as if they were always meant to be)? Is space-time being altered by the Phantom Ruby to alter whole zones or create entirely new ones? I need context here.

    Otherwise it’s just the same old “because why not” experimentation that Lost World had, where it sounds good on paper but when you actually see it you ask “Why…?” Why was I in a desert level as the name implies in one act but in the next I’m suddenly in a honey tree forest level, and then a sugary paradise which is only connected to the previous 2 stages through punny wordplay? And then suddenly I’m back in the desert? Like…WHAT!? When you combine stage themes or assets, they have to be in ways that make sense and actually compliment each other, like how Stardust Speedway Past was combined with Marble Garden. They had enough things in common that taking a few assets from one and placing them in the other helped make the act more distinct from its Present counterpart. Here…it’s just a typical casino night layout with a foresty ancient ruin background, nothing even comes to play with the ancient ruin theme as far as gameplay goes. You literally just taped two zones together without really harmonizing them. It’s just the foreground of a casino zone infront of the background of an ancient ruin zone.

    Still, this music sounded a bit more fitting for a Classic Sonic stage, especially a new one. It’s not quite Tee Lopes levels of awesome, but it still sounds like a more authentic Genesis tune than Green Hill’s theme in this game. Not only that but it feels like it actually belongs with this stage too, whereas Green Hill’s sounded like it was a power-up or mini game theme pasted onto the wrong stage. This actually sounds like a casino theme, slower tempo and consistent beat and everything, and it doesn’t do the ancient ruin aesthetic any disservice either (even though both aesthetics don’t feel compatible with me).

    Once again the gameplay is giving me mixed feelings while the story details continue to intrigue me. It feels so wrong too, since in theory this game should have everything I’ve ever asked for. Generations style gameplay, (mostly) new stages, a reasonably darker story, and a customizable character. Yet when it comes to the implementation of all of these, it feels like Sega and Sonic Team are really missing the point of what we liked about them in the first place and are just trying to reinvent the wheel rather than reuse the perfectly fine wheel they already had and just touch it up a bit. The story feels like the only consistently promising part of the whole game, which on the one hand is nice since we haven’t had a Sonic game with an arguably good story since Unleashed. But still, at the cost of the gameplay? Especially the gameplay that everyone was praising (myself included) for years as the direction Sonic should have stayed in because it was so close to perfect? I don’t know how, but they’ve even managed to find a way to mess up my favorite gameplay style too. It feels more like Lost World pretending to be Generations now than an actual “Generations 2” like everyone has been saying. Using Lost World as an experiment was a bad idea if it means that they had to completely forget how the Boost/2.5D formula is supposed to work, because clearly all they’ve done is make the strengths weaker and the few flaws it originally much more apparent.

    God, however this game works out, I really hope this sparks a TRUE change in how Sonic is handled. None of this “we’re actually changing this time, we promise” then “whoops I did it again” crap, like actual impactful meaningful actions. Giving yourself more time beyond an anniversary release is one thing, but delaying when you’re game clearly needs more time and attention is also important. No one is going to blame you for saying “yeah we need a few more months, these fans are pointing out a lot of good points and flaws with our current build”. And if Mania has proven anything, it’s that you need more actual fans-turned-developers like Christian Whitehead involved in bigger projects so that you actually have someone who ACTUALLY understands what fans love about each gameplay style and how to actually build the level design, physics, and controls around that, people who actually know the gameplay style inside and out. Maybe not Whitehead specifically (unless he’s just as affluent with the Boost style as he is with the Classic style) but there has to be somebody who is just as insightful.

    I don’t like being negative like this, but st this point it almost feels like I’m rooting for the Titanic. Like, maybe I’m watching the alternate universe where the Titanic actually misses the iceberg and makes it safely across the Atlantic. Oh god I hope I am…

    1. I couldn’t read your whole comment, but this clearly isn’t the whole level, especially if you watch IGNs video which has more footage.

      Other complaints I read though still apply

      1. Sorry for expressing all my thoughts I guess. XP

        Anyway, no trust me, IGN’s video doesn’t give you that much more information, it starts off at the same point, it only goes down a few different paths, and it generally traverses the length of the stage a bit longer than this video because the player in IGN’s video isn’t as familiar with the control scheme and physics of Forces as Sonic Team’s player was. “More footage” doesn’t necessarily equal “more substance”, they’re just traversing the level slightly slower. There’s already enough to scrutinize in either one of these videos on their own.

    2. I just want to say this. Although I see some problems, this whole we are changing thing did not come from “sonic team ” it came from “sega”. It sega as a company that stated they are making changes, I dont recall hearing that from izuka or anybody from sonic team, in fact they seem more or less unaffected by sega reshift, which could be a bad thing or a good thing I suppose

      1. Fair enough, but that doesn’t necessarily excuse Sega from not doing the smart thing and delaying the game’s release further so Sonic Team can address all these issues. 2 months might not be enough time to do so, especially considering how a lot of these issues are kind of tethered down to the genetic level of this game. It also doesn’t mean Sonic Team shouldn’t commit to such a change either.

  8. My lord, this game is going to bomb so god damn hard mechanically, aesthetically and level design all because Sonic Team are so out of touch with the IP.

    This is LITERALLY Sonic 4 all over again, just in 06 format (let the glitches come). Empty stage, poor design, poor music, they looked like they capped his speed rather than fix it from Gens? The annoying thing is that all the objects are 3x sonic’s size and the camera is zoomed in. Do they not know how to make it work efficiently in a 3D manner? Good lord.

    The game looks like it needs another year to scrap everything and do it over again (by those whom have some sense rather than this).

    1. I’m not about to say that Sonic Team don’t seem a bit out of touch with their main IP, that much is apparent, I’m more surprised by the Sonic 4 slash 06 argument sinice I thought we’d have left all that in the past by now. What happened… happened, and the main games (sans spinoffs) have made objective improvements since then, I don’t see the comparison too well. Less I’m mistaken, Hogfather’s earlier article from playing the EGX demo didn’t mention any glitches, the gameplay just doesn’t feel as if it functions how it should; i.e Scripted pathways and linearity with modern Sonic, inferior imitation of classic physics and poor implementation of the custom character etc. The 06 comparison seems a bit void after all this time.

      The other arguments on the other hand seem fairly reasonable. I’m still worried about what this game will release like… but what can I do. I could give constructive criticism, I could pitch my own idea, hell I might try and dictate what direction the developers could go in or who could do better… I just don’t know anyone who can. Give christian whitehead and the guys or the utopia team a while and they probably could, then the more experimental stuff (your riders, racing games, boost titles etc. and even depth of story/character get abandoned because most fans don’t want that, just a return to the old days. I understand gameplay (and aesthetics to an extent) is always first and foremost and I don’t dispute that, but if we’re just going to go with another form of “playing it safe” then I feel I may have to move on from this series… hard as that may be.

      To clarify this isn’t a diss on your opinion, I understand and agree with your sentiments to a degree. I’m making a general statement that especially with a series like this, confirming a brand identity without relying on the past is much easier said than done. I hope you read this with and open mind and have a nice day. Take care. Apologies for any misrepresented views/quotes as well as spelling or grammar mistakes.

      1. I saw my name mentioned.

        In terms of glitches. No, there were none that I could see.

        The only thing which came close that some may describe as being a glitch was how the avatars whip animation means he can clip through enemies.

        From a technical and bug standpoint, the demo was fine.

        1. Thanks for the clarification Hogfather. Small question by the way, what do you think the chances are the gameplay/graphics issues you mentioned might change for the better by launch.

          1. The Switch version should by all rights definitely improve, there is no way they’ll release it in the state it’s in.

            But I doubt the loading times will improve so it’s 1:1 with the other systems and it’s unlikely to reach a constant 60 FPS that the PS4/PC version will see.

            Texture quality? Really don’t know at this stage.

      2. Would be pointless to have an open discussion if I were to be offended, no? 😛

        The point I no doubt poorly portrayed with 06 (of course there are more than this title’s questionable development) was more based on “let’s get it out there even in the current state of affairs” however, we generally don’t know what build the Demo/Casino Forest is using (I generally have no clue, may be knowledge to others) which could simply reassure our concerns. It just looks like it needs more time to be polished from what we’re being presented with.

  9. I want to be positive about Forces, but this stage feels…empty. There are literally no enemies in this level, and it’s crazy short too. I really hope the final product has less of this linear, empty space.

    Looks pretty, though.

  10. I know that in Sonic 2’s Casino Night Zone that there was only one enemy type in the whole zone, and I think Act 1 had no enemies either.

    Still, there should be a few more threats in the level. The level looks nice though.

  11. The level design looks bad. All these bumpers and pinball flippers look annoying and not fun to deal with.

  12. OK, so the concept of a casino forest is interesting. However, I would have *much* rather seen this in Sonic Mania instead of one of the rehashed levels that they decided to shoehorn into Mania for nostalgia’s sake. Based on the video, this level’s design just looks like a good idea with an uninspired implementation. (But then again, all of the Forces levels shown so far look really bland, IMO.) Casino Forest would have surely been awesome in the hands of Taxman and likely would have been a far better level than Green Hill Zone, Flying Battery Zone, etc. were in Mania.

    1. I really enjoyed the remix stages, they were made so well that they felt refreshing. besides Mania was a celebration game to celebrate the franchise 25 years its sorta like a greatest hits collection with a few new songs.

  13. Man this looks not great. Like, in almost every respect.
    However, I do appreciate the extra oomph that the pinball bumpers give you in this stage compared to how they’ve acted in the past. They made sense as pinball bumpers and acted like them, but Sonic is a platformer and treating them more like weak springs seems like a better implementation.

  14. Interesting stage idea but why is it so empty…. 🙁 where is the challenge? where’s the badniks? this game is looking worrying each time.

      1. I feel more and more that that is the only way to enjoy the newest Sonic games: by having zero or very low standards.

    1. That’s not what your unapproved comments that our spam filter picked up on suggest. Nor the ones you posted under the name hifi the hedgehog when you repeatedly spammed the comment section with posts about you becoming a martyr or something?

      1. If you want the facts, I did not intentionally spam the comment section. I was on mobile and they were not showing up properly.

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