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

    57 vote(s)
    58.8%
  2. Adventure Era (SA1 - SH) Characterization

    51 vote(s)
    52.6%
  3. Dark Era (ShTH - SU) Characterization

    13 vote(s)
    13.4%
  4. Modern Era (SC - SF) Characterization

    13 vote(s)
    13.4%
  5. Other

    12 vote(s)
    12.4%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. XAndrew

    XAndrew

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    I honestly say do it if you ever get the time and feel to do so. I wouldn't mind more discourse on the poll scale to gage the majority opinion in the Sonic fanbase. You can even poll what people think the WORST Sonic game is, seeing as divisive as THAT topic is.
     
  2. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    I think 06 is the clear winner there by sheer infamy alone. Even though every reviewer called Rise of Lyric the next Sonic 06, people just aren't talking about it anymore 7 years later, whereas 06 still gets easy potshots 15 years later.
     
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  3. XAndrew

    XAndrew

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    Yeah true. 06 Does seem to still get a large amount of hate. Though personally I go more easy on it than Boom Rise Of Lyric.
     
  4. Laura

    Laura

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    I long for the day when no one talks about Sonic 06 anymore.
     
  5. 06 talk is annoying because it feels like a never ending cycle.

    As the proverbial last game of the "Adventure era", it has a ton of meaning for the fanbase of young and old. It's the last time Sega ever really tried to be ambitious with the series as every game after would tone down the scope significantly.

    If you're an Adventure fan, this game is pretty much the death of the extended cast, and thr larger than life stories. For Classic fans, it signifies when the series hit its lowest point and needed to reinvent itself into something else.


    The game has too much significance to ever be forgotten about, and that pretty much ensures Sega will never forget it either.

    I hate this series...
     
  6. Laura

    Laura

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    This is all true but the game happened fifteen years ago now. A lot of what it represents, ie the melodramatic story, the extended cast, the Adventure style gameplay, is almost completely irrelevant now. I don't know the make up of Sonic Team, but I seriously doubt that many of the members of the 06 development team are even still there.

    If SEGA went back to the Adventure formula, then yeah, people would make jokes about Sonic 06 because it's a genuine concern, but also because it's the lazy thing to do. There's no reason to assume modern day Sonic Team would ever make a game that failed in a similar way to Sonic 06 ever again. They could very possibly make a Sonic Adventure successor which has the failings of something like Lost World. Where they make poor design decisions in a way which is completely new and unexpected. I personally find that far more likely.

    On this topic, I think a more relevant game to use as a benchmark for bad serious storytelling is Forces, since it's more recent and thus more likely to be what they would do if they attempted it again and fucked it up again. I don't think we should be looking at something from so long back.

    I just wish people would start rooting criticisms of the games in the here and now rather than something which happened before the lives of some Sonic fans.
     
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  7. XAndrew

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    In recent times I definitely see the topic of 06 as a dead horse. Especially since it actually had a lot of potential to be one of if not the greatest Sonic ever. A lot of people seem to not look into the development issues of that game to see why it came out the way that it did. Again highly flawed but it certainly doesn't deserve to be seen as the worst Sonic game. I personally find Shadow The Hedgehog to be worse than 06. At least 06 had a masterful soundtrack that was varied. At this point? 06 Is not worth even talking about. Especially with the more recent Sonic games feeling more half ass than it.
     
  8. What baffles me about 06 discourse is that I'm almost certain that the people who talk about it's "potential" and whatnot, have probably never even played it. Or they were extremely young when they played it.



    J's review of the game is the prime example of what I mean; I'm not going to criticize somebody for giving their own opinion, but 06 has reached a point where there's an entire generation of fans who grew up with that game as one of their first exposures to the series, and thus, have very little context on how damaging the game was. And it's infamy runs so deep into the fandom that it has achieved some forbidden fruit status. People talk up 06 because they know its bad, contradictory enough. Bile Fascination is why 06 refuses to die.

    In a way, the more people talk about how bad 06 is, the more people will be interested in it and thus, talk about it. It's literally never gonna die because of that.
     
  9. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    To be perfectly fair, while most of the development staff from 06 probably isn't there anymore, the production staff and the Sega Brass are still there. 06 was a major embarrassment not just for Sonic Team but Sega as a company. As Sega executive culture seem to have proven again and again since then, they make inane decisions that don't take into account the nuance of a situation. In this case, in order to prevent even the remotest possibility of a disaster like 06 happening again (which really, they only have themselves to blame for their poor ability to manage; see Sonic & The Secret Ring's Development article) I imagine there's a mandate to throw out anything 06 was attempting to do, which unfortunately includes the expansive story and attempt to add depth to the characters. This probably is focused squarely on the fact that the main criticisms leveled against it at the time were that the story was unpolished (though not as bad as some claim) and that the attempt at "adding depth" was giving Sonic a human love interest. But I digress...

    You're absolutely right about looking at Forces instead though. Like anything, if time has passed, things will inevitably be different. The more time that has past, the more things are different, and so on. The most recent example is going to be Forces and given the present circumstances of the franchise is the best place to base an opinion on. That said, depending on when development has started on the yet-to-be-announced 30th anniversary title, we could see a change for the better or worse as far as characterization and writing go.

    However, we do have points in our favor based on recent news:

    • Pontaff & Graff are gone and with it all the self-referential and frankly unfunny humor the series has had for the past 10 years. It also means we won't have writers in charge of a franchise they knew little about in the first place. I might also argue that the fact that we won't have writers who came out of the western television landscape will improve the quality of the writing tremendously (that is a whole other massive topic...)
    • Aaron Webber is now working at SoJ as The Director of Strategy, Studio & Community Relations. This means he has a lot more pull with the direction of the franchise than he did as the head of Sonic Piller. He also was potentially the one who pointed out the major flaws in the Forces script before release and has been proven right in retrospect.
    • While I won't say Roger and some of the other actors leaving is good in itself, it does mean we'll have new actors that can potentially bring more nuance to the roles of Sonic, Amy, and whoever else are being replaced. There's still the same Japanese cast, but I'd argue that the western view of the franchise is what's driving the majority of decisions on Sonic atm (feel free to prove me wrong).
    Characterization-wise, it really could go both ways here.
     
  10. Let 06 die.

    Imo there's a sonic game that based on the game alone is infinitely worse than anything 06, boom, or labyrinth could ever be- Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis.

    It's not a new experiment. It's not a shift in direction. They literally took the cornerstone of the series- the game that started it all, and broke it. They took the untouchable, holy 2d classics, and made then unplayable. Imo, singlehandedly Sega's biggest disgrace to the franchise to date.
     
  11. BadBehavior

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    I mean, is it too much to ask to redirect our "That looks garbage, lets be better than that" finger-pointing away from the game that came out 15 years ago where literally everything about it's style and content is firmly dead in the ground, and toward the latest main entry in the series where some modicum of influence over the future can still be had? What good does it to remind them constantly of the failure they made ages ago and not the failure they made relatively recently?

    All this constant reinforcement of shittiness does is sour the people who genuinely like 06 on its own merits as well as people who think other entries are worth discussing.
     
  12. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    I want to clarify that my intent was not to beat the dead horse. But as long as people outside the fanbase are willing to throw its failure in our faces (and as of 2021 they still are), it won't go away.
     
  13. Me. I had more fun with 06 than plenty of other sonic games. I don't care if it's glitchy. A lot of games are. And I'm not here to watch Elise kiss sonic either, I'm here to play sonic's stages cause dadgumit they're actually fun fightme
     
  14. TheKazeblade

    TheKazeblade

    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member
    Speaking as someone who was probably about 16 or 17 when originally playing it and who has gone through the duration of its existence thinking it's reputation is frankly as earned as it can be, I think it's still dismissive to say it didn't have immense amounts of wasted potential.

    Everything about its structure felt like it was going to try and be a far more fleshed out Adventure 1 experience. A hub world that actually had activities instead of just being a buffer between stages. Adventure 2's extra challenges, ranking system and multiplayer. A pretty streamlined way of including tons of playable characters without having to dedicate entire campaigns to them all and reducing it to 3 gameplay styles that didn't stray too far from the main running platforming and skill mastery conducive to the Sonic experience. Not to mention a plot that regardless of being bad in numerous ways was no doubt the most ambitions plot attempted in a core Sonic platformer.

    But in talking about it's wasted potential, you have to understand that each tenet it bungles failed because of one of two things (or sometimes both): bad concept, or bad execution.

    Big hub world with tons of optional missions? Good in concept, arguably far better than Adventure's, but let down by execution; way too large of a world with benign missions and loading times that made it too tedious to be worth the effort to seek them out.

    Ranking system and multiplayer? Great additions let down by terribly executed controls that don't make the game enjoyable enough to experience to make it worth pursuing better ranks or exploring the multiplayer components.

    Streamlined utilization of multiple characters? Again, something that the Adventure detractors have always cited as one of those games' greatest issues was attempted to be rectified in '06. Problem being the same as what held back the ranking and multiplayer components: the game feels like crap to control. Silver's abilities should have been a fun extension of Sonic's physics oriented platforming, but ended up being really half-baked with a character who's groundspeed was abysmal and amigo characters who, if Silver's gameplay was half-baked, all but Blaze could be consider quarter-baked generously.

    With story though, it failed both at execution and concept. Execution-wise, you had some of the worst voice direction the 4Kids cast ever had to act under, the worst cutscene choreography (besides the pre-rendered opening and ending cutscenes) of any 3D Sonic game which considering what came before set the bar pretty low is even more insulting as well as the plot feeling like it was more structured for a stage to stage progression like Adventure 2 instead of based around revisiting a shared hub world (case in point, Elise is taken by Eggman in Old Town Soleanna, Sonic chases after in Wave Ocean, fails, goes back to Soleanna only to go in a completely different compass direction for the next stage).

    But even if you stripped away all of that and had a competently executed vision of the '06 story, you are still left with an atrocious plot (with the exception of Shadow's, which I will defend).

    To bring it back to the subject at hand, '06 has probably the second worst character portrayals of the pre-meta era, at least when it comes to Sonic, Tails and Knuckles who are all paper thing caricatures of the caricatures they had already become in Heroes from the interesting but flawed portrayals in the Adventure games. Silver was just Trunks and Kyle Reese in hedgehog form, Blaze is there, Amy is awful and so on and so forth. I'll say I think that Team Dark was executed pretty well all things considered though. Seems like a pretty natural place for those characters to be by that point and Shadow confronting a possible future being essentially betrayed by Omega and humanity but Shadow deciding to cross that bridge when he comes to it and living by his own sense of morality until that time comes is pretty great.

    As for what has the best characterization in my opinion, the OVA is still unmatched as far as representing Sonic as the character I think is the most compelling, he and Tails friendship dynamic, Knuckles' rival dynamic and Eggman's comedic menace. It was accomplished only once and I'm sad it will likely never be topped.
     
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  15. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    From what I recall of the OVA, Sonic could be a little bit of a jerk, especially towards Tails (but maybe it's just the English dub that gives this impression?). Aside from that awful nasally english voice of Tails, I can agree that the rest of the cast was well executed.

    It's the Sonic the Jerk thing I will never really understand though. Sonic's supposed to be cool, not a rude brat who gets short-tempered when he's inconvenienced. Granted, from what little of STC I've seen, it seems it's far worse there, but still "Shut up Tails!" never really sat right with me. If this is just a side effect of the dub, please set me straight, but in the original Japanese release he flips off black Eggman doesn't he?
     
  16. TheKazeblade

    TheKazeblade

    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member
    Sonic the Jerk is actually something that really resonates with me. I find it a much more compelling characterization than the generic cocky hero that he has been predominantly. I enjoy Adventure and Adventure 2's portrayals of the character despite this, but Heroes onward I feel as though they took the already diluted antihero facets he originally had in a slight quality and totally ironed them out. There's a reason that since he went 3D and started talking that my favorite portrayals of him (the Unleashed opening, rival battle cutscenes in Generations, etc.) All have him either mid-action or striking cool poses and more specifically not talking.

    There's still room for kind-heartedness in the ova characterization, his attempt to save Metal Sonic being an example, but it feels far less like it's there because I felt like the creators wanted to teach me a moral and more like despite Sonic being a jerk externally, he does care, but he isn't likely to convey that outside of circumstances in which it matters or is a matter of life or death.
     
  17. Sonic being a jerk doesn't exactly gell with him as a corporate mascot.

    Additionally, its not really something that's needed imo. I know he's the "mascot with attitude" and all, but even that's an American creation.

    You'd have re context his character for it to fit better imo.
     
  18. Forte

    Forte

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    I'm replaying Sonic Heroes now. What caught my attention was that Knuckles and Eggman behave differently from what we know from SA1 and SA2.

    - Knux is more laid back, not so serious anymore
    - Eggman (I know it's not him, but we only find out about it at the end of the game) starts to look more like a cartoon villain here. "HUEHUEHUE GUESS WHAT SONIC HEROES?! 1!"

    Amy seems more obsessive than usual, Sonic and Tail's are largely similar - but not so serious anymore.

    I know Heroes was the first new game for a fresh audience and the gameplay was adjusted a bit more for PS2, Xbox and GC owners, but as you can see, we already have inconsistencies when it comes to characters.
    upload_2021-4-12_13-0-6.png
     
  19. Dek Rollins

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    Sonic told Tails to shut up because Tails was annoying him. Sonic being a bit of a jerk with a bit of an ego is only one side to his character in the OVA. He doesn't like being inconvenienced, sure, and he's a bit rude. But, when he knows he's needed, he's on it. (see: everything that happens after "shut up, Tails!")

    In the classic games, leaving the controller for too long makes Sonic visibly annoyed at the player. He was always supposed to be a cheeky character with an attitude problem. The OVA seems to me like the closest portrayal we've had to the kind of character Sonic is supposed to be, though maybe add in a little of his laidback mentality from Sonic X for my taste.
     
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  20. Nova

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    I've always seen this less as inconsistency, more as them deciding to crank the characters up to 11 and exagerrating all of their major traits - Knuckles is a bit of an anomaly, admittedly, but I think the shoe fits generally.

    (Also, what's with that little image you attahced to your post...?)