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PerfectChaos

How to re-introduce the cast?

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Let's discuss how Sonic Team can gradually re-introduce the idea of having other playable characters without an excessively hateful response, and therefore greatly increasing replay value without having to create loads more levels than they do now. (I reckon we'd need, ooh, 25 or so Modern Sonic levels for a decent-length game. That's an unreasonable expectation)

One idea I have: they should make a handheld game with Shadow and Sonic, (since they'd have similar gameplay) a bit like Sonic Rush but with Shadow instead of blaze. Maybe he could be unlockable mid-game, or maybe they'd have different stories to be seen from both perspectives depending on who you play as. This worked wonders for Blaze, and Shadow has even less potential for controversy/hatred because he's not new, and he looks much cooler and is an awesome, dark alternative to Sonic. Doing this in a handheld game (again, Sonic Rush) is less risky, would be less problematic if met with fan hatred and just seems a better fit for such a game. I'm not sure why.

Re-introducing Shadow successfully would leave a window open for a few other characters: the next handheld game could maybe feature Tails as Sonic's OPTIONAL partner (like in the classics) while Shadow or whoever gets some other partner, maybe Knuckles, or Omega. That way we get a few more characters, potentially even a bit of two-player action, and different paths accessible by different teams as Tails obviously can't smash through stuff but can fly. Also, Tails and Omega can be relatively fast, fitting in with Sonic/Shadow. Then, after these two games maybe the characters could make a transition to the console scene? Or, if need be, we could see the return of the tag-team system, this time completely optional. That's not open to too much controversy. Let's hear your opinions then...

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The key to making sure there is no backlash is making them optional. As long as they don't force us to switch characters every level SA2 style, or otherwise require them to fully complete the game, it will be fine. The most likely option I can picture would be unlocking Tails, who can be playable to find new areas, but never forced upon the player.

Once they give us one optional alternate character, they could see how the fan/critic response is and act accordingly in the future, adding more later on if it works well.

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How about only including characters involved in the freaking story, and not literally shoehorning in every single character like in Sonic 06? Sonic is still the main character, the less of other characters, the more of him. Sonic and 2 other playable characters involved in the story, plus maybe 1 or 2 unlockable ones.

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Just keep their characterization good and gradually reintroduce them into the games.

Knuckles and Amy should get priority. Then we can move onto Shadow, Rouge, Omega, the Chaotix, Cream, Blaze, and Silver.

But make them not annoying as hell.

I feel Generations was a step in the right direction. After you saved them, you didn't have to hear their voice ever again. Hell, you didn't even need to interact with them. You could just let them be animated decorations. Y'know, adding a splash of color.

As for playability, have them be optional. Weave them into the story, but don't make it so their gameplay segments are crucial. Hell, it could even be handled like Sonic 3K and the Mario games do it.

Edited by Cola

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Well, I think the big problem with the swarm of characters is more to do with the fact that they are associated with the poorly recieved gimmicks which they were often built around. A safe, if not very interesting in the long run, option is just to reintroduce a few fan favourite characters playable again by giving them the same core mechanics as Sonic with a few differents in terms of abilities and the like. This worked for Blaze quite nicely in Rush, and she was created just for that game!

Another problem is that sometimes the characters are used as 'padding' for the game. For example, playing through Sonic Heroes' zones four times to see the final boss or completing Sonic Rush twice with minor differences to reach the final boss as well. Although Sonic Team hasn't done that for a long time now, which is fantastic.

Although, the series doesn't need to take advantage of the huge rooster with every game. Even if this means a few characters are forever sidelined as mere background cameos, that seems fair enough if it allows the games to built on a solid foundation of characters and the game mechanics associated with them.

Just some thoughts and musings~

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I think they should make Tails a fully playable character atleast since they're so insist on keeping him around and he hangs around Sonic all the time. The people who gave Sonic 4 Episode 2 some backlash for having Tails in the game needs to deal with it.

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Let's discuss how Sonic Team can gradually re-introduce the idea of having other playable characters without an excessively hateful response
Impossible.

The best that can be done is to give them good gameplay. Good Sonic styled gameplay, so people are actually playing what they paid for. If you can get people wanting to play as a character, you've done the bulk of the work. Next is characterization and story; they need to be interesting and they need to contribute, which means rethinking their personalities and their relationships with other characters and writing stories where they legitimately matter and aren't just forced in out of habit/expectations. And they should probably take it slow, focus on just one or two "reintroductions" at a time, both so they can give a proper amount of time to those characters and so they aren't overwhelming people with numbers the way Heroes and '06 did.

Of course they need to get the core gameplay right before they can do any of this...

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In case I didn't make this obvious, I imagine other playable characters being VERY similar to Sonic like in the classics. Tails, for example, needs to be re-established as a FAST character.

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Any attempt to reintroduce characters is probably going to be met with negative reception, particularly Shadow.

- Expand the levels for alternate pathways and cater for different character abilities so they don't feel like clones

- Keep platforming as the core aspect

- Don't make their stages last longer than 15 minutes, 20 at most

- Either make them optional or keep their stories short and separated, don't merge them in with Sonics like SA2

- Sonic should still be the focal character of the game

As long as they don't flood the game with alternate characters with filler gameplay, they can't really go wrong imo.

Edited by Azzy

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I think the first step would be to make Tails playable. And playable right, mind you. As in built off the core gameplay, and not resorting to genre roulette. Make sure he's completely optional to play as as well. Tails is with Sonic in all the games now anyway, and in general not minded by the majority, so he'd be the first logical choice in my eyes.

SEGA can do this and gauge the response from this baby step. If the response is good, then they can start re-introducing everyone (in plot and gameplay) and start chipping away at the "shitty friends" stigma. If not, chalk it up as a fail and go back to Solo Sonica for a bit, maybe trying again in a few 'games time.

And before you throw the "They should just go for it, make sure it's good and fuck what everybody says", argument, well, as much as I agree with this, the series can't really afford to have a big negative backlash right now. The series is still recovering it's reputation in the public eye, and the last thing we need is more negative rep.

Edited by Chaos Warp

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As soemeone else said. 1500 small steeps strategy won't really work. You see people love to hate. Especially people in internet or gamers. I say Sonic Team should just bring them back. How?

Gameplay:

Make them similliar to Sonic but give them different moveset. For example ONLY Sonic and Blaze should be ably to boost but Shadow would have a little higher speed limit so his gameplay will put more focus on momentum. Knuckles will glide and Tails will fly. Silver will float while moving at high speeds and deafeat enemies with Psychokinesis. Silver Tails and Knuckles (and probably Amy) will have more focus on exploratiob while Sonic, Shadow and Blaze will get similliar gameplay to current formula.

Story:

I preffer them not to be optional as then they will feel shoehorned. We should make it like *goes to bunker* like 06. Now before you flame me, let me explain. Sonic should be main character and his story should be focused on fighting EGGMAN. He of course meets others on his way. You can finish whole game from intro to Eggmab boss with Sonic only BUT! If you wany to get to the bottom of things see what is the plan of EGGMAN tgis time. And discover whole intrigue and of course to unlock finał boss you have to finish stories of characters you unlock as you progress in Sonic story.

That's what I think about this

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I'm not against the idea but pretty much what Dio just said, any extras need to be variations of the main gameplay. Although I wouldn't object to mini-games using other characters, chases with Tails in the Tornado, or punch out with Knuckles or something. The Shadow and Sonic game idea has merit I think, but the problem with Shadow is that he's never had good consistent gameplay. He was a basic Sonic clone in two games, then used guns, then had some kinda homing/combo system that wasn't amazing either. I'd actually love to see some characters get useful, fun to play movesets, as fun as boosting or the spin dash. But chances are we'd get another pile of fail instead. Interesting to note is the inclusion of new gameplay features gives a lot of room to move with extra characters. Look at Rush. Sonic gets a few new abilities - boost and trick - Blaze is just the flip side of these new abilities. Sonic moves fast and Blaze moves slow. Blaze tricks high and Sonic tricks low.

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And before you throw the "They should just go for it, make sure it's good and fuck what everybody says", argument, well, as much as I agree with this, the series can't really afford to have a big negative backlash right now. The series is still recovering it's reputation in the public eye, and the last thing we need is more negative rep.

That negative rep will cease to exist the more they continue to pump out games that please and satisfy the masses. Even Generations faced heat for including Shadow, Silver, and Crisis City, and as much as Sega's aware that people aren't fond of these three things, that did not stop them from including them anyway in a game that was more positively received than its direct prequel. While I maintain that gamers don't know what they want, they appreciate quality more than anything else.

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I really thought Black Knight did it right as far as having alternate playable characters. (Whatever your opinions on the gameplay or story may be, I think this is one aspect that truly nailed it.) You weren't required to use them, but they were waaaay more fun to play as than Sonic. Each had their advantages (Blaze can jump over the entire level, Shadow has chaos control, Knuckles plows through everything), each felt a little bit different from the others, but they all played MOSTLY the same as Sonic. I think that kind of concept could be extended to the current Sonic gameplay, especially since we've seen how new abilities can be incorporated via the wisps in Sonic Colors.

If a new game were to try to reintroduce those characters, I think they'd be the least offensive if it did something like that.

As far as story goes, I don't think it really matters. It would probably be better to bring characters back in small doses (one or two at a time), though, so that they have a chance to be relevant and not forced in with the ENTIRE rest of the cast.

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That negative rep will cease to exist the more they continue to pump out games that please and satisfy the masses. Even Generations faced heat for including Shadow, Silver, and Crisis City, and as much as Sega's aware that people aren't fond of these three things, that did not stop them from including them anyway in a game that was more positively received than its direct prequel. While I maintain that gamers don't know what they want, they appreciate quality more than anything else.

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Interesting to note is the inclusion of new gameplay features gives a lot of room to move with extra characters. Look at Rush. Sonic gets a few new abilities - boost and trick - Blaze is just the flip side of these new abilities.

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1) Use characters where it is relevant in the story, but don't have them overshadow the main plot.

2) Don't deviate too heavily from Sonic esque gameplay, but at the same time, don't make them total clones of each other.

3) Give a middle finger to the people who bawl and whine about them being there even if the character is useful in the plot and is actually well characterized; they will hate regardless of what character is used, so there is no point kissing their asses.

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Yes, if every single character in Generations was playable and pivotal beyond being reskins, people would naturally be upset. But that's not what I'm advocating anyway. And on the flipside, remember people were also upset that Tails wasn't playable solo in Episode 2, nor did people really complain about the cooperative missions in Generations on any sort of principle.

This goes back to what I was talking about. Give a disgruntled gamer something he finds fun and he's not going to care that the game isn't to his exact design specification.

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Like I said in my first post, take a cue from the Storybook games. Allow a small set of wildly different characters to be able to have some spotlight in the games, not just the same Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy team-up. Give the character purpose in the narrative beyond bumping into Sonic and having a few words with him. As for gameplay, you can go for straight reskin style in the same levels- although I hate this- give them their own levels within the same areas Sonic traverses so you both justify the characters' existence and don't have to create new assets (e.g. Sonic's Planet Wisp would not be the same as Tails' Planet Wisp), or you can give them new levels altogether, especially if the characters are prone to splitting up. Ultimately, leave them optional for completion of the main storyline.

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Well if the environment changes significantly depending on the character I think that's cool.

Knuckles' game in S3&K was like 40% new material right?

Also, are we forgetting he has an alternate final boss. New bosses would be a big reason for me.

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New bosses would be great, yes. Also, maybe, MAYBE, new objectives? Perhaps a few characters could act as missions, e.g Espio's the one stealthily evading robots, not Sonic. Or Red Rings only accessible to certain characters...

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