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Crossing Lines: Narrative and Dimensions in the Sonic Games


CrownSlayer’s Shadow
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Great topic CSS!

I do believe that there should be times when the characters cross lines. As you said it allows for greater characterisation aswell as seeing how they would react in different situations.nit to mention it would make them more dimensional seeing then be affected by their emotions, like we all are at times.

I know it was a 2D game but I can imagine the beginning of Wing fortress to be when Sonic would cross a line in his characterisation. If that was in 3D I can imagine Sonic being so devastated by Tails being shot down, watching the plane fall, black smoke trailing from it, that he would be after Eggman with a sort of unwavering determination ( re: any movi/cartoon/anime where the hero blindly walks through the obstacles to reach the emery, not really caring anymore).

Not to kill the good doctor, but more to stop him once and for all. A good example if what I mean is the "Wing Fortress" chapter of the Sonic 2 fanfic "Rising Star" (don't know how to link so forgive me)

Another one I could see being effective would be Eggman causing some sort of self destruct or system overload to his base or weapon, that could cause him and maybe even the entire planet to be destroyed. That he would push or activate after Sonic beat him in his base as a sort of last ditch effort. He would be so fustrated and annoyed, maybe even slightly insane at the fact Sonic beat him again that he doesn't care what happens as long as Sonic is destroyed and out of his way for good.

Amy could have one where Eggman has harmed/injured or even captured Sonic, it wouldn't surprise me if her usual hot headed temper became more of a murderous rage, nor would it surprise me if she was literally about to squash Eggmans head with her hammer and has to be calmed and stopped by Tails, Sonic or another member of the heroes. She cares a lot about Sonic and I could tell you a lot of people that would quite gladly harm those who would harm their children/girlfriends/partners, and a lot of them are not violent by nature.

Along the other lines of crossing the line, I would love to see some interaction between Knuckles and someone else (maybe Amy, she's good at this stuff) where maybe he opens up a little bit, maybe he's jealous of Sonics ability to go where he chooses, maybe he envies Tails and his cleverness, maybe he envies Amy that she has found someone to care about. Doesn't have to be a huge thing, just something that shows he is a complex being too and not a hunk of meat. I call this an example of crossing the line because knuckles is always the "loner" or "hard head" and I'd love to see a softer side, but would be technically be classed as "crossing the line" in his characterisation.

Of course it is all up to what SEGA and Sonic Team want I do, but I would like to see characters crossing the line, either in their characterisations or their actions, it would not only make them more interesting and complex, but also more 3 dimensional, more real, more relatable.

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That scene in Colors where Eggman mind controls Tails had so much potential for this kind of stuff - and yet it wasn't able to reach that. Seriously, I wanted to see what would have happened if the mind control machine didn't 'run out of juice'. Sonic having to choose between fighting harming his best friend and yet possibly freeing him or not fighting him and loosing him could have been a very tense and dramatic moment.

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I find it also interesting how the anti-heroic characters like Shadow are the only ones where these lines are actually tested. Even Rouge could be considered such despite how little attention she's given, such as in her debut where she was more than willing to do whatever she wanted within the bounds of her mission...until the Colony Drop sequence was commenced.

 

Obviously being an anti-hero means they're more than willing to cross those lines, but they've been given a lot of well done tension (as well as narm when done poorly, like in ShTH), while heroic characters like Sonic have hardly been put in similar situation since the Adventures.

 

Kind of a shame really.

 

Even more of a shame when Eggman has continued to cross lines and yet it's been treated very underwhelming. Shatters the world in the first 5 minutes of Unleashed and beating Super Sonic trumped a lot of what he and any other villain could accomplish, but then Sonic fixes the world with not so much tension until the final act, and that tends to be carried out very predictably unless you're going for an even more bittersweet or downer ending than what Unleashed delivered. The same with Colors where Eggman's plan fails entirely through a fluke incident on Sonic's part, or Generations where after all this time of getting betrayed by eldritch abominations he turns the running gag on its head and makes the god his bitch instead.

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I think maybe looking at it from this end is the wrong way around. That is, you don't make underperforming characters better by having them cross lines; characters' limits are tested because they have complexity and are written honestly. Granted in practice there's probably plenty of back and forth with it, but a story needs to be written to build up to these sorts of moments, so we need to know where the characters are going first.

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Like Dio said, moments like these need to be built up to otherwise you're going back into the forced drama we had from the Post-Sa2 era. One thing we should consider above everything else is who these characters are; not just personality traits, but their temperament, background, and overall state of being. What events would cause another to get a reaction? Obviously an obvious example is Eggman causing trouble and Sonic responding by fighting back. Beyond simply being the hero, Eggman is Sonic's arch enemy due to Eggman representing everything Sonic hates(I.e. control, totalitarianism, selfishness) and naturally Sonic is going to foil any scheme because of that. However, Sonic is a laid back guy who's genre savvy enough to know that he can beat Eggman, and normally he's right. So...what if he wasn't sure he could beat Eggman? What if Eggman takes advantage of Sonic's complacent attitude towards him and cause some serious harm because of Sonic's nonchalant attitude?

 

Obviously Sonic would be forced to address the situation, so the question becomes, how would Sonic react? Well if we assume Sonic has a more real and relatable personality, then obviously it would be shock, possibly guilt, regret. Now everyone is probably going off "SAWNIK NEVA GIVES UP" well you know what, fuck that. If everyone wants a more meaningful story than the characters need to have more meaningful reactions to things react to things normal people would. I don't care if they aren't normal.

 

So yea, more human(but still somewhat comically exaggerated) personalities.

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I think maybe looking at it from this end is the wrong way around. That is, you don't make underperforming characters better by having them cross lines; characters' limits are tested because they have complexity and are written honestly. Granted in practice there's probably plenty of back and forth with it, but a story needs to be written to build up to these sorts of moments, so we need to know where the characters are going first.

 

No, it's not about making them better because they're crossing lines, it's about what new side of them we may or may not see whenever that line is about to be crossed. Pretty much, no different to what you said. You can still screw them up and make them even worse if you write it poorly when making them cross lines. But doing it right is where we see other dimensions of these characters.

 

The matter is about is finding out how to get them to that point where that line is being tested, the options that make wonder if they will or will not cross it and the consequences that will come of their choice. An example would be how Sonic has been treating Eggman as more of a joke despite all the work that has gone into his plans since Unleashed. What if using that, Sonic ends up screwing up and once again underestimating Eggman, but in the process Eggman wrecks a city and injures many people there. Does Sonic keep treating Eggman as a joke now, or does he drop his acts and treats him as a serious threat at that moment? What will his response be towards Eggman's actions as a result? Does he lighten back up to treating Eggman like a joke, does he jest while taking Eggman seriously, or does he treat it full on serious until Eggman gets stopped?

 

You can choose either choice of a path for Sonic to behave, there's no wrong answer so long as you don't go overboard and/or screw it up, but you should display the consequences that come of it. If he keeps treating Eggman like a joke, then more havoc will be done until he wises up and treats him like a threat in addition to his friends wondering what the heck is wrong with Sonic not taking this seriously; if he still jests while treating Eggman like a threat, Eggman will adapt even further to whatever roadblocks Sonic tries to put forth and try to make it harder to stop him; if Sonic goes full on serious for that moment before settlng down in the end, his friends end up worrying about him throughout the course of the narrative. (and even more if you want to develop it along further lines)

 

So which line will Sonic cross? That's up to the scenario.

Edited by ChaosSupremeSonîc
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