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

    69 vote(s)
    56.1%
  2. Adventure Era (SA1 - SH) Characterization

    66 vote(s)
    53.7%
  3. Dark Era (ShTH - SU) Characterization

    16 vote(s)
    13.0%
  4. Modern Era (SC - SF) Characterization

    14 vote(s)
    11.4%
  5. Other

    14 vote(s)
    11.4%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Wraith

    Wraith

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    I cannot fathom Sonic the Fighters being considered to have more integrity than the other spinoffs when there's an extra chaos emerald and a second death egg that never get brought up again. Those two story details alone should set off alarm bells. Literally any other spinoff you can think of in the history of sonic is more mindful of the games short of the ones that take place in an AU like Boom.

    This really feels like another situation where Sonic fans pick and choose based on what they like. You can't assert subjective conclusions about Amy's character and your own headcanons in a debate.
     
  2. ChaddyFantome

    ChaddyFantome

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    I actually wrote down an outline the other day that I never posted, but I guess I might as well rewrite something akin to it now.
    And it is about the multiple facets of the characters.

    Like, for Amy in particular. Why is it that her being obsessive about Sonic and being a capable leader that cares for her allies is somehow this thing that has to be mutually exclusive?
    This doesn't apply exclusively to her either mind you. I see this tendency to present the writing of characters in this one way or the other fashion very frequently when nothing precludes these aspects of both being facets of these characters.
    For Knuckles for example, I will often see people try to claim any instance of him being somewhat dim or naïve as "poor writing".
    Same with Tails exhibiting fear or anxiety/self doubt.
    These things aren't mutually exclusive, nor a bad thing.

    There's a huge discussion to be had around the number of chaos emeralds in the genesis days in general that I'd rather not get into. Suffice to say that equating an inconsistency/contrivance, one done very clearly for the sake of facilitating the number of playable characters isn't a silver bullet to deny the merits of the game in terms of canonicity. It gets referenced when talking about the development of certain characters like Amy, it being cited as the time she first got her Piko Piko Hammer for example, and last I remember watching a Bumblecast, I believe Ian said himself R and Fighters were.
    The Hyperforms aren't a thing anymore but that of course doesn't suddenly mean Sonic3 not cannon, yes? Inconsistencies are inconsistencies. Ultimately, canonicity is determined by word of god.
    Regardless though, I stand by my overall point that it doesn't really matter. Games like Sonic R have as much story content as any of the genesis games and as much thought put into how the events of the games' story begin and why they occur, etc. It isn't like say Sonic Jump or something that just has things happen because game. And so the thought or lack there of into justifying the presence of given characters doesn't have much reason to be dismissed. It's still an example of it happening because they couldn't be bothered to figure out a more logical way to justify his presence in the game when they did for other characters.
    Comparing it to Boom is completely off base given those are alternate versions of the characters from the games as opposed to events that may or may not be canon. They are different characters entirely with different histories and exist in a different world and have different relations to it and each other.

    I'm not sure what any of this has to do with what I was saying to be quite honest? I'm, if anything, not the one being picky and choosy since I am choosing to account for the given games as examples instead of excluding them. Also...what does any of that have to do with Amy?
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
  3. You're generalizing too much instead of trying to understand the underlying details.

    It's not that those traits are mutually exclusive, its they're often not written with any kind of consistency or integrity.

    To give you the biggest example; the reason people bitch about Tails in Forces isn't just because he's cowering, its because he's cowering against an enemy he has beaten before in its weakest form. There's no rhyme or reason for it, the scene only exists to have an excuse for Classic Sonic to save the day and look heroic without any consideration for the circumstances or Tails' character. Its the complete disregard that pissed people off, not the action itself.

    Ian Flynn wrote a similar scene in the climax of the Metal Virus saga and nobody complained because the writing actually supported it and isn't used as a lame plot device to prop up another character but an illustration of how fucked the situation had become.

    Amy being a good leader isn't on display all that much in Heroes because almost all of her lines are about chasing Sonic. I'm not saying you aren't entitled to your own interpretations of the events, but your reasoning is pretty weak and relying more on your own perception of the events to justify it.

    If Heroes wanted to show Amy as a capable leader who supports her friends, then maybe it should have actually SHOWED it instead of having literally almost all of her screentime about how much she wants to find Sonic.
     
  4. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    sometimes people care too much about things
     
  5. Boxer Hockey

    Boxer Hockey

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    I don't make statements on Sega's behalf, so please do not ask for them. But just from me those two thoughts aren't mutually exclusive. She can be both. This whole conversation started because of the hypothesis that she WASN'T chasing after Sonic. Which is just.. I literally have never even seen that before. Even if her 'marry me' line is only a reference to what she said in SA2, it's conjecture that it wasn't sincere both times. After the fight in Japanese she literally says "I'll see you on our honeymoon". Before the fight with Egg Emperor she points at Eggman and says he's the reason Sonic won't marry her. When Cream mentions Sonic's name Amy laser-locks on him and takes off without so much as a goodbye. Just because she doesn't mention Sonic for a few levels suddenly she's not Sonic-crazy? I don't know like, form your own conclusions but this feels like having a discussion on wether or not Sonic is blue.
     
  6. ChaddyFantome

    ChaddyFantome

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    No one said she wasn't chasing after Sonic though. What was said is that she wasn't trying to assault him into marriage and that she gives more priority to helping Cream and Big find their pets over the course of the game than her personal chasing of Sonic.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
  7. Sorry, not even close.
    Was gonna mention that. All that was said was that halfway through the game she pushed Sonic to the back burner for the time being.
    Thanks for clarifying :thumbsup:
     
  8. Boxer Hockey

    Boxer Hockey

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    You're right, we are splitting hairs at this point but the topic is what her main priority was. The notion that it wasn't Sonic is something that I've truly never seen before this thread. In the realm subjective interpretation, you're totally welcome to yours.
     
  9. ChaddyFantome

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    Saying "she wasn't at all" instead of "Y was not as prioritized as X" is hardly a case of mere "hair splitting". I'm sorry to say. That's a massive contextual distinction.
    First for everything, I guess.
    I mean,... should we do the math or something? I dunno man.

    Now given the air, I'll preface by saying I don't want this to be taken as some vindication of Forces' overall story because it isn't. But this talking point has always bothered me. In the context of Sonic adventure 1, Tails isn't fighting Chaos 4 by himself. I've seen this particular talking point quite a bit, but it always seems semi-dishonest to me.
    The bossfight in SA1 has Sonic, Tails and Knuckles each fight it, so the implication would obviously be they fight it as a unit. Which, you know, would make far more sense since Tails gets scared at the thought of fighting Eggman alone AFTER that fight and has to push himself through it. Tails assisting in the stopping of Chaos 4 alongside Sonic and Knuckles is much different than him "fighting it on his own with 0 problem", as it is often presented.
    Personally, I don't have a problem with Tails getting scared in that scene on paper given the circumstances and context (The world had been under the terror of Eggman for 6 months and Tails feeling guilty for Sonic's presumed death). The game just does a pisspoor job of conveying it to the player and letting any of that sink in.
     
  10. Boxer Hockey

    Boxer Hockey

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    Yes it was poorly worded, but replace "wasn't chasing Sonic" with "Her priority wasn't Sonic" and the rest of the post is still supported by the same thoughts.
     
  11. I always forget that lol. Thanks for the friendly reminder.

    Agreed though, it's just Forces's shitty writing that makes Tails seem like a bitch lol. So many wasted ideas... I can actually see Tails's stress and everything just kinda overcoming him in that moment, but instead it comes across as "I can't do anything without Sonic", which completely backpedals from literally every single other game that came before, even Colors and Lost World amazingly.
     
  12. ChaddyFantome

    ChaddyFantome

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    Yes..... I imagine replacing the phrase with a radically different one would do that....

    Right. I don't have a problem with Tails having a moment of weakness, especially given he pretty much bounces back right after realizing he was letting his self doubt get the best of him. But it is just done so terribly. The single greatest sin of Forces' story in my opinion is that we don't actually get to see the 6 months of Eggman's take over or see the cast struggle to fight him back in Sonic's absence. The game has a very bad case of "tell instead of show" and it hurts it immensely. It is not unreasonable for the player to feel Tails is just being a coward for no reason in that moment, given how little time the player actually has between Sonic's defeat and the scene despite the game telling us 6 months passed and a lot has supposedly happened in that time. The world also looks no different before or after. It's a mess.
     
  13. Boxer Hockey

    Boxer Hockey

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    I deeply regret forgetting to write “primarily” in one sentence.
     
  14. O-kay, yeah- that's something about Forces that reeeeeaaallly bugged me. But this isn't the right thread for that lol, so I'll leave it at that.
     
  15. RDNexus

    RDNexus

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    And this all just shows how Sonic Team started to screw up characterization from Heroes onwards...
     
  16. Pengi

    Pengi

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    Yeah, there are a lot of problems with that scene. I think a large portion of the fan base focus in on "Tails is a wimp, he should be able to beat Chaos 0 easily!" or "This backpedals his SA1 character arc!", neither of which are really the issue.

    People write off Chaos 0 because he's the very first boss you fight in Sonic Adventure (as Sonic, not Tails), but in the context of the story Chaos is presented as a formidable opponent in any of his forms, being able to overwhelm the police in the present and keep the echidna tribe at bay for years in the past. Then there's Sonic Battle, where you don't fight Chaos 0 until just about the very end of the game, with a very experienced Emerl. (And if you really want to get into the nitty gritty, the Chaos 0 that Sonic fought in SA1 was fresh out of the Master Emerald after 3000 years and missing his tail, so not in peak condition.)

    For the second point, inner growth in the real world is rarely linear. People falter and fall back into bad habits and behaviours all the time. It's understandable that in a scenario where Sonic was captured and potentially dead, Eggman had taken over the world, the resistance against him had been losing for six months and the entire planet was a war zone, Tails would be less confident than he was in Sonic Adventure. He'd probably be dealing with a great deal of PTSD and depression.

    And that's where the problems kick in. Sonic Forces didn't show a capable, confident Tails prior to Eggman's take-over. You couldn't even extrapolate that from previous games in recent memory, since Tails only played a tech support role in the Rush games, Unleashed, Colours, Generations and Lost World. Tails hadn't been an active action hero since Sonic Advance 3, or Sonic 2006 if you want to be generous. So if Tails' fear was supposed to be interpreted as PTSD (which I think it was, he's calling out for a "dead" person to save him), it wasn't conveyed very well, the full context wasn't there.

    Then Classic Sonic takes out Chaos with one bop on the head. Nothing flashy or impressive, no boss fight. So the Chaos 0 illusion ends up looking like a chump and Tails an even bigger chump. Then Tails is immediately chipper and back to his old self when he sees Classic Sonic. His PTSD is cured just like that!

    It was handled poorly, like little care or thought was put into it. Not just the script, but also the direction and acting of the scene, it wasn't played as a dramatic moment with any weight to it. There was no sense of danger to the scene, no real sense of fear in Tails' voice. Tonally it was all off. Which is another issue: is a Sonic the Hedgehog video game the right venue to cover a subject matter as heavy as PTSD? It's certainly not the best fit. It can be done, if handled sensitively, and not going too deep into it, keeping it on a level that can be understood by kids. Sonic the Comic did it with Porker Lewis. Some cartoons, like Steven Universe, have done it. But if a Sonic game can, in theory, handle this subject matter, is Tails the right character for it? Probably not. For the same reason it's okay to kill off Gamma or Shadow, but not Cream the Rabbit. Even if a series can support a heavy subject matter, not every character within that series necessarily can.

    Tails having PTSD is a bummer. Tails having PTSD and it being handled poorly is a frustrating bummer. Tails not having PTSD and just being a coward is a bummer. It's a no-win situation.
     
  17. Even if the scene had the narrative weight it needed to get its point across, I feel it's a hard sell and pretty much requires that you ignore prior details. But that's kind of hard since its literally the main enemy from Sonic Adventure lol.

    They made a conscious decision to bring back a main antagonist and structured a scene around PTSD without any real care for the prior events.

    Character development isn't linear, but the Sonic series doesn't exactly justify itself all that well when characters start relapsing, so you have to literally go inside your head and justify this stuff.


    Could I believe Tails was suffering PTSD and that was affecting his ability to perform? Perhaps, but as said, that's on top of Tails being a tech support role for the better part of a decade when he used to be on the Frontline with Sonic.

    There's too contradicting elements in there and it goes back to Sega not really caring about consistency or long term storytelling but still trying to make call backs to prior events without any actual consideration for them.

    Its just a mess.
     
  18. Laura

    Laura

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    In the modern games Tails is not a good fighter. He's the cliche gadget guy. It's totally sound in Forces for Tails to cower before Chaos because he can't fight on his own in this incarnation of his character.

    I don't like this incarnation of his character and it is contradictory with what came before in the series. But it's just how he's presented ever since post Sonic 06.
     
  19. This is true, but it wasn't my point. Its more of the fact that Sega still consider Tails' original incarnation and his current incarnations to be one in the same. And using Chaos, a being from a game where Tails' original incarnation was a prominent character, just makes it that much more obvious.

    Sega are basically saying "Yea these characters are exactly the same as you knew them, just ignore the fact that they act completely differently than they have with the past"

    Its like when Ken Balough was talking about Sonic 4 "as we truly imagined it" and this entire site called out how full of shit his words were, even though we know he's just Sega's PR guy.


    I don't think fans would have anywhere near as much of a problem if they just stopped pretending like people can't notice these inconsistencies, yet still expect you to be ok them.


    Like at this point, just remove all pretense that you actually care about the narrative beyond a superficial level and just give us a bunch levels to mess around with. Id respect that more tbh.
     
  20. E-122-Psi

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    I suppose it's to even out Sonic and Tails' dynamic in the simplest way possible. Sonic is the brawn, Tails is the brain. We get more moments of Sonic being air headed and careless in the newer games, while Tails is conveyed as more weak and cowardly, thus it feeling like they balance each other. I suppose on paper if Tails was smart AND as powerful, he might risk making Sonic redundant and there's be no synergy between them (a similar situation occurred with the Crash Bandicoot series for example, Coco started off the tech girl but slowly became Crash's equal in physical power and gained all his abilities. Since Crash is still academically stupid, Coco kinda makes him feel redundant now).

    There's definitely ways of balancing this out WAY better, they have in PLENTY other medias after all, it's just right now it's the easiest approach with bare bones writing. Sonic is strong but simple, Tails is smart but weak.

    A lot of it is really down to substance. Tails is known for being cowardly sometimes after all, but it was circumstantial. You take one trait of a character and understand it at surface level only and of course it's not always gonna work the same. It's the same reason we get cocky but good natured takes on Sonic and others that are just full time narcissistic assholes.