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Characterization in the Sonic Franchise

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Beamer the Meep, Apr 2, 2021.

What style of characterization do you prefer?

  1. Classic Era Characterization

    70 vote(s)
  2. Adventure Era (SA1 - SH) Characterization

    67 vote(s)
  3. Dark Era (ShTH - SU) Characterization

    17 vote(s)
  4. Modern Era (SC - SF) Characterization

    14 vote(s)
  5. Other

    14 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    I'm been seeing this topic come up a lot across the Generations of Fans and Continuity topics so I figured it might be better to make a separate topic for it to keep things organized. I'm hoping that by discussing it, we might be able to better understand each other's viewpoints. To be clear, this is more about how characters are portrayed rather than the stories themselves really.

    Honestly, while I think each 'era' has it's own merits, I'm more in the Adventure camp of characterization. The presentation might seem a bit wonky, but I'd say that the core traits are well defined and they actually tried to create fitting character arcs. Sonic I will admit might seem a little more static, but as he says in his own words "what you see is what you get".

    Dark era is a mixed bag for me but I appreciate what they were attempting to do with Shadow up until '06 with him eventually joining GUN and his failed temptation from Mephiles. I also like how Sonic was portrayed in Unleashed & Black Knight, expanding a little more on his good-natured sense of adventure and what it is he really believes in respectively.

    The Modern era is where I will have the most criticism. Aside from the constant cracking of bad jokes, which is more a writing issue than a characterization issue to be fair, I feel as if all the characters were made a little more one-note and less interesting. We all know the complaints about Tails and Shadow so I'm not going to beat a dead horse there, but others like Knuckles and Sonic have some very confused and mixed interpretations. I will say I think how Amy has developed in Forces is an interesting and refreshing take on the character by making her just a little more serious. I am curious though why some people are saying they're a lot rounder characterizations though.

    Classic Era I kinda hesitated to put on here since that's all relegated to the manuals and ancillary information, but I figured someone might have some points I haven't considered.

    Just a few starting-off points, I'd love to know what everyone thinks.
  2. Azookara


    yup Member
    I don't feel like anything about the Adventure era characterization really goes against whatever the classic era wanted you to see in them (circa those bios in Jam & etc). I voted Adventure, but honestly they're super close to the same thing. The only difference really is that one talks more. lol
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  3. RDNexus


    I voted Adventure era, as I believe that was the height of the cast's characterization until nowadays.

    I admit Sonic's current snarkiness feels refreshing and kinda part of his attitude. Too bad the latest stories don't make it due justice.
    The rest of the cast, however, suffered in hindsight, as time went on. They lost whatever development they've had to favor Sonic's attitude and position as sole playable character. And to deliver those dry jokes.
    I liked Eggman's 06 persona, since it suited a villian role better. But it's not like a bit of the current childish side of him couldn't remain, since even his profile states it, I guess? Anyway, it also suits his character ^^"
  4. I voted "Other" as I'm not particularly concerned about the characterization; I'm playing a fun platformer game for the gameplay and not for the story. So long as the story and characterization don't go too far into "lolwhat" territory (read: Shadow, Forces, and parts of Heroes' story) then I don't worry about it much.
  5. About Sonic itself, Unleashed and Black Knight will be always the best option. Sonic wasn't too jerk, serious or goofy; he was just alright on those games. And I really missed that on Sonic Forces. I do like Adventure-Sonic too tho', but I do think sometimes he tried way too hard to be "radical" (especially on Sonic Adventure 2).

    On another side tho', Tails in the Adventure-era will always be the best. I think SEGA needs to stop creating characters and starts to USE them.
  6. doc eggfan

    doc eggfan

    Are you pondering what I'm pondering? Wiki Sysop
    GreatMegaLD, GreatSC3k, Great SG1k
    When you think about it, there's kind of a split in the "Classic" era. There's the modern retrospective interpretation of classic era that we're getting now in things like Sonic Generations, Sonic Mania and Sonic Mania Adventures where the cast is generally mute. And then there was the 90s characterisation, which includes the comics, books, TV shows and merchandise that surrounded the games, when Sonic was voiced by Jaleel White and was a bit of an arrogant prick.
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  7. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    I voted Modern, mainly because I think the characters had barely any personality in the Adventure Era except for Shadow. I think the 2000s era is just a worse version of the Aventure era.
  8. Nova


    The core characters done exactly as they are in the OVA. I think they're pretty much perfect in that. Modern is a good compromise, just I'd like to see more situations in the story that actually show us some depth of character. Not much, just a little.
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  9. BadBehavior


    Voted Adventure but then I saw that multiple votes were allowed. If I knew that I would've also thrown in a vote for Dark Age based on Shadow in 06 and the Storybook stories.
  10. RDNexus


    There's an option to change votes ^^"
  11. You know what I find fascinating about the Classic era? It's so interpretative that you can imagine it to be anything and you wouldn't technically be wrong.

    Which of course means we all got different ideas on what the series is however.

    Anyway, voted Adventure and Modern.

    Adventure kind of goes without saying; I love watching these characters kick ass and have some interplay between them.

    Now you're probably thinking "why would EVER like the modern era then". Contrary to popular belief, I don't think the Modern era is as bad as fans would have you believe. There is a lot that I actually like; the dialogue feels less stilted and more natural, and there is occasionally a funny line or two. And hey, I like the IDEA of a rift forming between Sonic and Tails even if the execution was terrible. The Modern era is incredibly flawed, but its not completely without merit.
  12. Does Modern Sonic (and everyone) from Team Sonic Racing Overdrive counts?
  13. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

    Working on my art!
    I'm assuming that's the modern era on this poll.

    Anyways ya I'm for Classic/Adventure personalities. Knuckles wasn't a complete idiot, Tails was still smart but not useless, and Sonic was just the impatient hero type. It's simpler than most interpretations but it's a good amount of characterization for light plots. That's what I prefer really, light plots with good gameplay.

    That being said I don't hate the current Sonic characterization, but really just Sonic. For a while he was interpreted as having no flaws whatsoever and it was really boring. Mario's like that too and that's why in Mario 3D World I'll play as every character except Mario.

    Oh and the grim dark era? Awful. All of them, voices, personalities, hell character models. It's not an era I care for revisiting, except Unleashed. That found a good middle ground between light and dark I felt, even if Chip was an annoying precursor for what was to come.
  14. I'm Shonen trash so I'll always gravitate towards a Sonic that's akin to that.

    I feel like Sonic being "boring" is a by product of introducing more flawed and dynamic characters like Shadow and Blaze as his foils, who have much more in depth character arcs, so it just serves to highlight how Sonic lacks those interesting traits.

    Reminds me of what Roger from sonic_dissected said once; a strength or personality trait that other characters have will be one that Sonic lacks, and vice versa. With a smaller cast, its manageable but with over 15 recurring characters, everything starts getting diluted.
  15. Brainulator


    Regular garden-variety member Member
    I really need to look through a lot of the games to see how Sonic and company are portrayed in each one, but I have a few thoughts:
    • The only justification for Tails cowering at Chaos in Forces is if that's what Silver means by "Tails has just lost it".
    • I've heard good things about Shadow in '06 and Sonic in the Storybook games, but I can't vouch for their quality myself.
    • I think Classic Sonic and the others should be able to talk for a few reasons*:
      • This limitation clearly did not exist before, as the cartoons, commercials, manuals, and games had Sonic talk.
      • How can Classic Tails, who is even younger than Classic Sonic, speak in Generations while Classic Sonic can't?
      • How does a mute guy suddenly shift into a regular wise-cracker?
      • Generations has a really thin story, so perhaps a silent Classic Sonic isn't the worst thing ever. Forces, on the other hand, is clearly going for a more story-driven route, so seeing Classic Sonic be given such a heavy focus only to barely contribute to the plot is just disappointing. This is doubly so when the characters discuss the Phantom Ruby. Everyone's so confused about what it does, but Classic Sonic could have easily filled the others in on his experiences with the glowing rock. But alas, we're left to a decision that fundamentally hampers the story's competence.
    • Dr. Eggman strikes me best as a villain who mixes in some silly, over-the-top machinery and antics with sheer determination and threateningness.
    • I think I like Sonic, Tails, and Robotnik better in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog more than in Sonic the Hedgehog SatAM. Robotnik is more of a personal preference thing, I guess, with me being more of a comedy guy, but I think the two Robotniks' differing levels of success have less to do with their own personalities and more to do with SatAM Sonic fleeing in situations where AoStH Sonic would have destroyed. Tails feels like a contractually-obligated-to-appear character in SatAM, though I heard that the proposed third season of that show would have rectified that problem.

    *Note: I'm not prejudiced against things like Sonic Mania Adventures adopting a no-dialogue format akin to many of Pixar's short films (for example, One Man Band).
  16. Overlord


    Now playable in Smash Bros Ultimate Moderator
    Long-term happiness
    Modern and Classic. Adventure has never felt right to me, and the less said about Dark the better.
  17. Only for viewing

    Only for viewing

    aka Superstarxalien Member
    the first two riders games are probably better for knowing not to stick shadow, rouge, and et all alongside turnings knuckles from a guy with a duty to a more active treasure hunter of sorts, so none of that "but where is the master emerald" business

    besides that, I'm biased towards classic and adventure
  18. Huh...
    I think I'm seeing a pattern or something which may explain how the adventure fans feel a little.

    Sega originally had a small cast of characters in the games, and each character had a pretty extensive personality. As time went on, and they kept creating new characters, instead of developing entirely new personalities, they just kept pulling traits from the existing cast and diluting the overall characterization. People begin to clamor that "sonic's shitty friends" are getting in the way, so sega decides to sideline them without fixing the preexisting characters. So each of the characters left feel very one note and dull, and everyone begs for their favorite characters to come back. But since everyone has to fit back in with the new, smaller cast, now everyone is a dull, one note, hollow shell of their old selves :p
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  19. RDNexus


    Hmm... You may actually be onto something...
  20. Azookara


    yup Member
    The part that gets me is that the characters were never deep to begin with, so the argument for better characterization is less for intense interactions with heavy, quo-changing storytelling and moreso for characterizations (and their stories) to be two-dimensional instead of one.

    It’s amusing how low the bar is, especially since even some people see that as asking for too much. lol