Single Status Update
I've started to realize that characters like Knuckles, Blaze, and Shadow; all of them are very heavily defined by their backgrounds rather than their own personality quirks.
Like, when you think about those characters, your first thoughts are immediately said backstories.
While somebody like say, Sonic, Tails, or Amy are things like; Sonic likes chilidogs, Tails likes machines, Amy likes...girly things.
Its a pretty big difference in how these characters are defined.
When I think of Knuckles, I think of his original characterization as kind of a smug rival. The guy who's always a step ahead of you, always laughing in your face as he knocks you aside, dumps you down a trap-door, blows you away with a fan, etc.
Knuckles was taking Sonic seriously as a threat to his home, but damn if he wasn't having fun messing with him the whole time. It's an element of his personality that I kind of miss in later games.
We see this humorous playful side a little bit, like when he's all "Maybe that was the ghoooost of Shadow" in Sonic Heroes, or him reading the "Knuckles and Knuckles" story to the little animals in Sonic Mania, but I feel like generally they've mostly stuck to writing him as grumpy more than anything in most later titles.
those three are definitely more defined by their background than most of the cast but i'm not sure i'd say that's more of a factor than their personalities. or at least when i think about what i like about the characters it's stuff like, knuckles is this big tough hotheaded dope who clearly considers sonic a friend and ally but still butts heads with him over trivial stuff, and blaze is always projecting this image of elegance and control but a lot of it comes from suppressing her emotions and she struggles to really deal with them or let anyone else in.
Silver was already kind of awkward and bumbling, so they just turned that up so it doesn't feel out of place. Same thing with Knuckles` temper and lack of intelligence, they were always there they just got exaggerated to give them some personality.
Shadow is weird because...well...outside of his backstory, he really has no definable personality that ISN'T dependent on his backstory. Hell, you only have to look at his Boom incarnation to see what Shadow without his backstory would be like.
@Diogenes Its certainly a large reason why those characters have large fanbases however. But take Blaze for instance; sure, she was kind of a hotheaded mess in her debut games, but later games just kind of settled on her being a rather stoic, older sister figure for the rest of the cast (Silver mainly).
And most of the complaints about Knuckles stem mainly from the lack of focus on the backstory they established in Sonic Adventure.
And then we have Shadow...who is by far the biggest offender of a character being defined by his backstory. Its actually really hard to pin down his personality without talking about his backstory. Hell, he canonically has no likes whatsoever. He's so defined by his actions and whatever plot he's in, I never realized that he's lacking in a personality quirk. So when they try to give him a personality quirk (like they've been doing lately), it always feels awkward because...well....that's never been what defined the character.
When I think of Blaze, I think of how cool she is, and how cute she can act at times. Her background hardly occurs to me when I like her for the unique type of character she stands as among the Sonic cast. She's cool, she's responsible, she kicks ass, and she's unlike anyone else in the way she acts.
But oh, she comes from another dimension too, I guess.
Eh kinda hard for me to agree with now a days as they try and skim over those backstories and barely acknowledge they even exist. They are barely relevant to the characters anymore. Knuckles backstory has barely anything to do with him. He has it but it doesn't really drive him anywhere. It's more of an explanation of why he does a "thing" rather than a compelling narrative importance. It COULD be, but the series doesn't care to make it so.
Same with Shadow. Except they did like a trilogy of games then dropped the whole thing. So he had more than Knuckles at least. Then it basically stopped effecting him at all and it feels like he might as well have been Shadow Android as at least then his personality wouldn't be such a step back from his arc and would make sense.
Blaze....er....her Princess role really doesn't effect or mean shit. She never really does anything that seems to show she is a royal authority. Her guardian role is far more delved into by comparison, but they didn't want that to be her only thing, or people would go "Fem Knux". So she's slapped with Princess....of a monarchy we know jack shit.
Does Amy have much of a backstory? Tails at least does, but it doesn't really contribute to him all that much now. The big difference between the likes of Shadow, Knuckles, and Blaze when compared to Sonic, Tails, and Amy is they have more established independence compared to Tails and Amy, and not purely reactionary when it comes to Sonic. Sonic is mostly a guide for us to interact with the characters more than establishing himself. Tails and Amy are far too linked to Sonic that they don't have much of anything driving them on their own.