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In Support of Humans


Dr. Mechano
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El Gran Gordo here, with a topic that's not (directly, anyway) about Dr. Eggman! Actually, I've proposed a similar topic at old SSMB, but it's down and- having seen this repeatedly brought up in various topics- thought it was time to raise the issue. An issue which I'm raising in the name of humanity.

Right, so. Humans! I think they're swell, which should come as no surprise since my favorite character is one. But a lot of Sonic fans, both on and off this forum, seem to think they "don't belong" in the Sonic series. I'd like to challenge this sentiment, with my reasoning on why humans not only "belong", but are important and productive additions to the series.

Let's dispel some myths first, shall we? One big misconception is that Sonic's world, prior to Sonic Adventure, was supposed to be an all-animal world that was completely devoid of humans or human influence. But wait- You didn't see any NPCs back then, did you? Oh, there were modern cities to be sure, but the only characters in the classic games were the main cast- The hero (Sonic), the villain (Eggman), and often a sidekick or two.

Think about this for a minute. Nowhere should this setup imply anything about the population of Sonic's world, much less that it's devoid of mankind and that Eggman is somehow the last man on Earth. Yet many fans cling to this notion, not bothering to worry about where Eggman came from, simply accepting him as an anomaly. Of course, when I bring up the equally-human Witchcart, who also predated Adventure... my point is also ignored. Ah well.

My point is, however, that the absence of humans (or any background characters for that matter) in the old games didn't discredit their existance. If that logic means Eggman's the only human, then it has to also mean Sonic and his few sidekicks were the only humanized animals, resulting in a pretty empty planet as far as sentient life goes.

But let's move on to the modern era- Sonic Adventure, with its far more fleshed out storyline and extensive dialog, took a more cinematic approach to the series. Suddenly, background characters could show up to populate the towns, and thus humans were visible en masse. I saw it as a natural expansion of the storyline to flesh out the common everyday people of the world, but many fans were shocked and appalled at these developments. Buuuut develop they did, leading us to Sonic Adventure 2...

SA2 took things a step further by actually making humans more than mere townsfolk. Suddenly Eggman wasn't a mysterious man who came from nowhere- He was given family members, which fleshed out his (and Shadow's) backstory. GUN, in addition, debuted as a massive force that would continue to play a major role in future games. While GUN was, at this point, a faceless organization, I have to say I found Gerald and Maria extremely compelling characters- Not just for their relationship to Eggman, but for being truly interesting characters in their own right.

I won't mince words- I thought Shadow was a horrible game, but the Commander was kind of cool. He had this stern, if misguided, sense of justice about him that I found genuinely endearing. GUN was painted as a pretty shady organization in SA2, so it stood to reason that gamers would suspect the Commander of being just as corrupt as the military of the past was- And at first, he seems like he could be. But his gradual development and sympathetic- if haphazzard- motives rounded him out as a decent character in my opinion.

Elise sucked. Yeah, I won't even try to defend her, but I will say this- I'm tired of seeing Elise used as the posterchild for the anti-human argument. She's an isolated character, and trying to argue that one poorly-written human justifies removing them all is just ridiculous. But hey! Sonic Man was pretty cool.

Chronicles, debatable canon aside, handled this well too. The return of the GUN Commander saw the character become a lot less stern, developing into a more sociable fellow who offers Sonic and his friends snacks at the base. ...Yeah, he doesn't do much, but I liked his role here. And Dr. Madden, one of the side quest characters, really stuck out to me too.

Moving on, though, Unleashed did a fantastic job, I felt. Professor Pickle was an amusing character, who fulfilled a great role as an advisor to Sonic. He was definitely subtle too, despite his personality being quite comical- He helped Sonic, but as a new character, didn't hog his spotlight or bend the story to focus on him like a certain princess did. I honestly hope we see Pickle again- It's really cool to see the heroes with a funny old scientist on their side, after all.

You'll notice I didn't mention Erazor, Shahra, or Merlina, and that's because they aren't human, despite their appearance. (At least I don't think they are- Merlina might be.) Still, I found them all to be well-written and compelling characters too, so if they help my pro-human position, so be it, I guess.

I don't even need to elaborate on our beloved main antagonist, Dr. Eggman. The first, and most prevelant, human in the series needs no introduction. Really, neither does his psychotic double, Eggman Nega. Both of them are great examples of well-written and likable human characters who fit right into Sonic's world.

I think the animal characters, and robot characters for that matter, are just swell. They're an important part of the series, and the fanbase gives them much love. But I think humans are underappreciated and irrationally despised by a good chunk of the fandom. It's a mentality that I'd like to see fade over time, and arguably it already is subsiding.

Of course, these are just my opinions. Whether you fully or partially agree, or simply disagree altogether, I'd like us to have a civilized, intellectual dialog about humanity's place in the Sonic series. Let's discuss, shall we?

Edited by El Gran Gordo
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Merlina

Uh, she is human. I think, anyway. She's Merlin's grandaughter, and considering who Merlin is, she probably has some non-human bits in her blood, but still.

I support humans, and I believe a balance between humans and anthro characters sounds like a good idea. The thought of removing humans is just plain silly.

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I'm neutral on the whole thing, but I'm fine with their presence if only to provide an incentive for you to save the world. Plus, I do like the concept of both humans and anthropomorphic creatures living together on the same planet. If there must be other humans, I'd prefer for them to have a cartoony design and a certain degree of character like the Unleashed NPCs. Not only does it fit, but it prevents them from being dull and boring like the Sonic 06 NPCs. I mean, seriously, "Middle-aged man?"

Edited by A Ham Sandwich
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I'm neutral on the whole thing, but I'm fine with their presence if only to provide an incentive for you to save the world. Plus, I do like the concept of both humans and anthropomorphic creatures living together on the same planet. If there must be other humans, I'd prefer for them to have a cartoony design and a certain degree of character like the Unleashed NPCs. Not only does it fit, but it prevents them from being dull and boring like the Sonic 06 NPCs. I mean, seriously, "Middle-aged man?"

But of course- You know me, I'm always a fan of the flamboyantly over-the-top. The cartoonier the better, I say- It helps the human characters stand out and have a more distinct identity for themselves, which I felt worked extremely well in Unleashed.

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I am completely PRO humans... as long as they aren't too creepy and realistic looking like in 06, or horrifyingly drawn like in Chronicles. They were alright in Unleashed, but I feel Sonic X has the best look to the humans. A good mix of realistic and unrealistic without looking too "Anime-ish"

But what bugs me is that there are far too many humans in a world with Sonic and his friends in it. Where are all the talking animals? It's gotten to a point where there is no such thing as a talking animal in Sonic's world, unless it's got some super power or has been playable in a past game, save for the characters in Sonic Rush Adventure...although that DID take place in an alternate universe.

I like how the Sonic Comicbooks has both Animal and Human cities. I remember the first issue I had picked up in years had the President of Station Square, a human, warning Princess Sally, a..squirrel?... of an impending missile attack on Robotropolis. That interaction made me smile.

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I am completely PRO humans... as long as they aren't too creepy and realistic looking like in 06, or horrifyingly drawn like in Chronicles. They were alright in Unleashed, but I feel Sonic X has the best look to the humans. A good mix of realistic and unrealistic without looking too "Anime-ish"

But what bugs me is that there are far too many humans in a world with Sonic and his friends in it. Where are all the talking animals? It's gotten to a point where there is no such thing as a talking animal in Sonic's world, unless it's got some super power or has been playable in a past game, save for the characters in Sonic Rush Adventure...although that DID take place in an alternate universe.

I like how the Sonic Comicbooks has both Animal and Human cities. I remember the first issue I had picked up in years had the President of Station Square, a human, warning Princess Sally, a..squirrel?... of an impending missile attack on Robotropolis. That interaction made me smile.

I can agree with this, but I'd like to clarify a few things too.

To have more NPC animals would (hopefully) not mean "less" humans, of course. The idea is for them to be added to the human population, not to replace it.

And that's another thing- Aside from Eggman, no humans are ever playable. I'll make a bold move here- In addition to animal ordinary citizens, what about an occasional playable human? Granted, it'd be someone who'd make sense in context, like an overzealous and theatrical GUN officer, or just Eggman again, or something along those lines. I for one think this has good potential. (Animals and robots get no opposition- It's only fair.)

As for the comics, I kind of don't like the idea that animals and humans live in functionally-segregated cities. It'd be less jarring for them to simply live among one another in the same modern towns, I find.

Edited by El Gran Gordo
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Technically, Maria was playable in Shadow the Hedgehog via 2nd player.

Oh. Well, that's kind of cool then. Bravo for that.

...A shame Dr. Eggman himself was one of, like, the only three assistant characters who weren't playable. Meh.

Edited by El Gran Gordo
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You didn't see any NPCs back then, did you?

Solution found.

what about an occasional playable human?

Come on, Sega finally got something right, and you want them to screw it up again?

I felt like the humans in Unleashed looked too much like background characters from a Pixar movie.

Take Valkyria Chronicles style characters

valkyriachroniclesvi5.jpg

Reduce the taper on their chins, and give them the proportions of Xbox Avatars, and I think you're got a winner.

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Come on, Sega finally got something right, and you want them to screw it up again?

What makes a robot any different? There's no vocal outcry against Gamma, Metal Sonic, or Omega and their playable roles, and they aren't animals.

And while they've only dabbled in it, Eggman was quite good in his playable roles. If hypothetical playable characters were presented in a manner as wacky and cartoony as he, I fail to see how it would be a "screw up" at all.

Explain this double-standard. Robots were a new addition too, that clearly went against the "only animals are playable" norm, and fans accepted it. What exactly makes humans different in this situation?

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I, for one, am a huge supporter of humans in the Sonic series. It adds a sense of realism to their world, and unlike some people claim, don't instantaneously make a Sonic game horrible. Why, some of my favorite characters are human - there's Dr. Eggman, of course, but then there are the 95 new human NPC's introduced in Sonic Unleashed. Every last one had their own story to tell...their character developed as the game progressed, and in the end became interesting, entertaining individuals that could stand out alone against the crowd.

Wentos (See avatar) is one of my favorite additions to the series. When you first meet him in Unleashed, he is a mysterious puppeteering youth who is a complete sociophobe and can't speak for himself when confronted - and instead, his Chao puppet does the talking for him. Interestingly enough, you (Sonic) can choose either to attempt to befriend him, ridicule him, or scare him off (I'M GOING TO EAT YOU!). After many attempts of warming up to him, the two eventually warm up to each other, and he gradually overcomes his fear of people. His puppet still does all the talking, though.

Louie Montaine is the second human to fall madly in love with Sonic. Except, instead of being a 17 year old princess, he is a perverted 38-year old homosexual man with the hots for Sonic. When you first meet him, he treats Sonic like any tourist to Empire City searching for the right way to go. However, as the story progresses, he suggests that Sonic be a student and take some of his "lessons of love". (He is a self-proclaimed Love Guru, after all). After each lesson, it became obvious that he has taken a liking to Sonic, even holding himself back from saying so "Sonic, I have something that I have to confess...I love-- No! I can't say it! I can't reserve my love for one person! I love this whole city!" (or something to that extent...this is by memory). And, even going to extents of stalking Sonic during a werehog mission, and sending him to retrieve a present for his "secret admirer" (Him). I find Louie to be downright creepy, but he gave me some great uncomfortable internal chuckles throughout his storyline.

Boss? Boss rocks. The corporate-head honcho that can move millions of dollars with the wave of a finger who's lonely heart melted when he came across a little girl performing endless chores and errands for her grandmother when she became ill on a business trip to Spagonia. Soon after departing, he becomes worried about that little girl...and as he travels the world, he commissions Sonic to be his passenger pigeon to deliver her presents time and time again... he ultimately then seeks a different path in life, and wants to benefit and bring joy to people, regardless of the decrease in income.

That game was one of my favorites soley BECAUSE of the NPC's. The game was extraordinary in itself...this was just the icing on the cake.

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I don't mind humans. Unleashed did them perfectly. Wentos was pretty funny.

However I would like to see more towns, citys and villages with animals.

Who knows? It could be a great way to introduce a few choice characters and **** up a certain comic that we all know and love. That'd be interesting.

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More human NPCs, I'd love that. Story important or not, I'd like to see them around, but I'd prefer them to play a little larger role than usual. GUN Commander? He was great. It's been apparent since SA that Sonic lives in a world with humans. They have kingdoms and presidents, militaries. But then games like Heroes, and the handhelds especially seem to ignore this and head back to the simpler world of the 16-bit, where humans were invisible. Unleashed was great at putting some personality to these people in the background.

Playable humans, though? I'm gonna have to say no, save Eggman. The series is based on Sonic, a blue hedgehog. It begs you to wonder what a world with these furries would be like. Besides Eggman the humans of the series are very plain, ordinary people. If you want a playable human, you have to give him some interesting gameplay. But humans don't really have powers or abilities in this universe. GUN uses firearms, which is boring compared to the anthros in the series. Bringing a human up to that level of gameplay would mean a creating a superhuman character. Many people see Eggman like that. Robot armies like what he has, his inventions, his intelligence, his magical means of production, are all beyond what an ordinary human could do. The only place I see in the series for a human ally is where the lesser furries are right now, like Rouge or Big. Doing things that don't really require super-skills. But even then, it's more interesting to play as a bat or giant cat than play as a human caught up in the adventure with furries. Also see Chris Thorndyke, for major human protagonists.

Edited by Badnikz
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Holy crap is that Vyse and Aika?

Ohh the pain for a sequel...

Yeah. They're in Valkyria Chronicles.

Anyways. I think that's a bit too anime-ish for Sonic.

Take them out of the Canvas Engine, and most of that goes away. I think there might be too much detail in their hair, and a few other places as well.

Actually, a cool gimmick in Sonic Unleashed would have been if citizens of a country were drawn in a style that is known to originate in that country. Cool idea, but it would probably be weird to jump between so many different styles.

What makes a robot any different? There's no vocal outcry against Gamma, Metal Sonic, or Omega and their playable roles, and they aren't animals.

And while they've only dabbled in it, Eggman was quite good in his playable roles. If hypothetical playable characters were presented in a manner as wacky and cartoony as he, I fail to see how it would be a "screw up" at all.

Explain this double-standard. Robots were a new addition too, that clearly went against the "only animals are playable" norm, and fans accepted it. What exactly makes humans different in this situation?

The distinction is "Characters that do/don't suck to play as".

And Eggman was a copy of E-102, only somehow completely drained of any fun. As E-102, you felt like you were going on a rampage. As Eggman and Tails, you were going down the hallways because that's where the end of the level is.

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Any piece of gameplay with a human always had the human inside a machine. Two points from this. The first is that humans have never been interesting enough on their own to support some kind of unique gameplay, be it the GUN Commander inside Diablon and any GUN bosses, or Eggman in SA2 and any boss fight with him back to the start of the series. Humans have no abilities to compensate when compared against the furry gameplay. Second, robots have been part of the series since the first Crabmeat, so why wouldn't people like to play as them? And Gran Gordo, Eggman has also been part of the series, but always inside a machine.

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I don't really have anything against humans, but I'd really appreciate it if a balance were struck between the two sides. All too often I find myself in a hubworld with only humans in it thinking "Wow, is Sonic, like, the only furry on this whole goddamned planet? Why then, do these ordinary people think nothing of such an abnormality among them, when they clearly aren't familiar with the blue blur at all even as a heroric figure?" Even as far as Sonic games go, I can't help but feel that this kind of thing robs from the immersion of a game, let alone the hub worlds, immensely. Even if there aren't any furry NPCs in the game, the least they could do is actually acknowledge that these creatures clearly don't belong. Hell, call me crazy but I don't think a single NPC in Unleashed actually referred to Sonic as a hedgehog.

Conversely though, I wouldn't mind some more important humans in the spotlight either. Hell, throw us a playable G.U.N Sergent or something and I'll be happy, no question about that. Either way, Sonic Team need to get their balances straight. As it is now, things just plain feel out of place.

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I don't mind the idea of humans in Sonic games. It only makes sense after all.

But if there's anything that bothers me about them, it's that none of them are ever in the least bit surprised to see Sonic walking around. Even if anthropomorphic characters aren't that extraordinary in Sonic's world, you think they'd have something to say upon seeing SONIC HIMSELF- besides giving him their shopping lists and stupid requests.

As far as their design goes, I like the more anime inspired designs, but Unleashed's Disney-esque characters had a charm to them as well.

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I kind of liked how in the Adventure games, Eggman was the only "cartoony" human in a world of otherwise very realistic humans. That made him stand out more, and made him seem to fit in more with the equally cartoony animal characters than with the other humans. Im not sure why i liked that, but i did.

Edited by batson
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I won't mince words - I personally would prefer there to not be humans other than Eggman in the Sonic games. I don't like them, and I don't like how Sonic's world is so similar to our world. It ruins the fantasy for me.

BUT and this is a big but... I am fully aware that this is the direction that the games have gone. I can't change it. It is a world populated by humans. I won't argue with that.

All I can hope for is some sort of compromise. I want to see more animal NPCs. I want to see a world that at least has SOME other animal inhabitants, not just cities and towns full of humans. It makes me feel deeply sad to think that Sonic and co are the only animal characters in that world. What about some normal non-powered every day furry folk? Do they basically not exist? It makes me feel as though Sonic and co are odd freaks of nature - experiments, even - rather than just skilled and gifted members of a larger community of furry people.

As for playable humans - please no. We've got humans up the wazoo now in terms of them being around. Sonic is a series about a non-human hero and his non-human friends who do things in very non-human ways. We have Eggman to represent human playability already. Give him some more playability, I'm fine with that. But there are so many games out there where you can play as soldiers and gunmen etc. I don't want to see that in my Sonic gameplay.

Yes, I am anti-human in the games, and I'm not going to hide that. But I'm willing to compromise, seeing as I can't change what's established now. It's just personal preference, that's all.

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Yes, I remember that. Cute cartoon. Humans have been around in the Sonic world for quite some time.

I wish the diversity was more like AoStH though... a good mix of humans and animals, rather than all humans. (Although, AoStH also had some REALLY weird folk who weren't exactly either O.o)

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I won't mince words - I personally would prefer there to not be humans other than Eggman in the Sonic games. I don't like them, and I don't like how Sonic's world is so similar to our world. It ruins the fantasy for me.

^ Flyboy articulated my sentiments pretty much precisely. The profusion of humanity in the post-Adventure games, bringing their world ever closer and closer to "mundane reality with a couple of furries thrown in" serves largely to render the series bland more than anything else.

Much as one can cite Witchcart and the Man Of The Year as pre-Adventure samples of humanity in Sonic's world, they were very, very, very much the exception rather than the rule. Pretty much all the additional media - the comics and the books and such forth - were staunchly in the camp of no-humans-all-Mobians. While these might not be canonical, they nonetheless established a fairly powerful premise that I was by no means happy to see thrown out of the window wholesale with the introduction of Station Square.

Still, as has been mentioned time and again, it's far, far too late to extricate them. But I'd much, much rather see some Mobian hubworlds than human hubworlds; just to establish some sort of pairity. There has actually been one furry hubworld: Pachacamac's city, in the SA1 flashbacks. I suppose you could cite the Nocturne as another one if you wanted.

But it's quite odd how the only furries that have ever been seen en-masse are Echidnas. Despite the fact that Knuckles' gimmick is supposed to be that all his people are long, long dead.

Edited by Frozen Nitrogen
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