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The Sonic Mythos Under Your Pen - How Would You Write the Series?


Spin Attaxx

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So since I recall a similar topic existing prior to the Great Fart of March '15 but cannot find it now, I figured I'd make this one. As the title suggests, this topic operates under the mindset that Takashi Iizuka, at his limit, has handed you the keys to the franchise (storywise, anyway), no strings attached, and asks you to just do whatever with the lore (within reason).

 

So how would the series change if you were in charge? Be it characters, settings, how events happened etc., anything goes.

 

To kick off, allow me to rewrite what was lost in the Great Fart: how I'd expand on everything Lost World introduced.

 

The Lost Hex

 

The Lost Hex is a mysterious planetoid. Similar to Little Planet, it appears and disappears from Earth. Unlike it, however, the planet does not come and go in one piece - rather, it manifests itself one piece at a time, often giving onlookers the impression that it is falling apart, or otherwise incomplete in some manner. In addition, the Hex is said to warp to different dimensions, never staying in one place for too long, thus it is given its name, "the Lost Hex". The rumoured "Hidden World", said to be inside the Hex but inaccessible from the outside, is said to hold the key to the Hex's warping ability.

 

The reason behind the unnatural biome diversity of the Hex is unknown, but largely speculated to have been the result of the Hex being created via unnatural means (perhaps by the Chaos Emeralds?), which would also explain the odd hexagonal arrangement of the land. The flora and fauna on the Hex (excluding the Zeti) are equivalent to what one may find on Earth, though not as common.

 

The Zeti

 

Among so-called "Hextorians", not much is known of the Zeti beyond their most (in)famous specimens, the Deadly Six. This is due to them having disappeared from the Hex long ago, with their fates uncertain. However, civilisations did once exist in the Hex's jungle, desert and tundra areas. Zeti reproduce asexually by regurgitating "eggs" that, after a certain period, grow (rather than hatch) into a Zeti. The offspring can inherit their parent's personality traits and powers, but more often than not these diverge once the Zeti matures. What's more, Zeti are rarely considered parent and child, but more like siblings. Zeti always include the letter Z at the start of their names, and deviating from this is considered unorthodox. Zeti are exceptionally long-lived, with some living for millenia.

 

The Deadly Six

 

Long ago, the Zeti were a race that kept to themselves and didn't interfere with the lives of those on whatever world was below them. Though strong, they weren't war-mongering, so to speak. That is, except for one exceptionally skilled Zeti named Zik, who had realised the potential of the Zeti race to become the strongest race in the cosmos, and loved to go to the world below and fight whoever lived there. Together with five Zeti who were swayed by his ideals, he formed the Deadly Six, a squad dedicated to proving the power of the Zeti.

 

As each world was visited by the Lost Hex, the Six would drop down and terrorise it. Few were capable of standing up to them, fewer capable of defeating one member, but none capable of defeating all of them. With each victory, they grew stronger, and the survivors came to regard the Hex and the Zeti with fear. It is around this time that the non-Six Zeti disappeared, perhaps out of shame, perhaps out of a sense to protect other worlds from the Six. Once they were gone, the Hex's areas were all divided up among the Six, with their main headquarters being an imposing castle on top of Lava Mountain, a large volcano that took up an entire area of the Hex, populating it with red soil and mini-volcanoes. Over time, the Deadly Six's members came and went, with "Master" Zik being the sole sticking point, until the curent line-up was achieved.

 

Zavok

 

The current leader of the Deadly Six, Zavok was raised by Master Zik as his student after his biological father (Zik's "son", maybe?) died in battle. Though he had Zazz and Zomom as his rivals, he was clearly Zik's favorite. Strong, smart, apt with special attacks, agile and bulky, Zavok considers himself to be the best in every fighting category, and as such is incredibly proud and egotistical (not that it's completely unwarranted). If someone manages to outdo him, he tends to lose his cool and let anger and wrath go to his head as he tries to kill them. This can backfire on him if his foe is clever/nimble enough. Nowadays, he finds himself acting like his Master to the two newest Zeti; Zor and Zeena. He acknowledges that they have the potential to bring about a new generation of stronger Zeti, so their lack of initiative irritates him as he tries to bring out their abilities. Zavok is considered to be the guardian of both Lava Mountain and the one safe passage into it, Sky Road.

 

Zazz

 

Zazz is a madman. His predecessor was an adrenaline-crazed soldier, and that trait in him evolved into being an outright blood-crazed sadist. He is utterly fearless, and will go charging into any situation, no matter how dangerous, if it means someone is there to be beaten up. He is fast, agile and somewhat adept at using special attacks, but physically cannot take much punishment. His blood-knight status has alienated him from his comrades, who see him as a lunatic who wouldn't hesitate to turn on them if he got bored (Zik sees this as the ideal Zeti mindset, however). Zazz is only interested in powerful opponents, and as such usually won't bother with weaker targets, but if irritated enough, he will not hesitate to tear them 25 new ones. Zazz is made ruler of Windy Hill, which comes as a source of much irritation to him as the strongest enemies there are mere sheep.

 

Zomom

 

Zomom is the Deadly Six's punching bag. His mother, a former Six member herself, had no faith in his abilities, and his "brothers" Zavok and Zazz would always use him as target practise during their childhood. This not only drove Zomom to drown out his despair by eating everything in sight (leading to his large size), but also made him a bitter, vengeful bully towards people. He feels better when he enacts the same trauma he experienced as a child towards others, especially if the victim is a child themselves. Oddly enough, his obsession with food translated into him being exceptionally skilled in cuisine. It's said he once prepared a fine three course meal for Zazz, only to eat it all up out of spite. Zomom was laughing even as he was thrashed into next week. Though he's not agile, his large bulk, strong strength and oddly flexible body more than make up for it. He lives in Desert Ruins, and is even said to be the one person who knows the way to the enigmatic "Dessert Ruins". The rest of the Six brush this off as a fantasy of his.

 

Master Zik

 

The sole surviving member of the original Deadly Six, Master Zik has gone into a state of semi-retirement (largely so the name can still be accurate) and usually tends to his garden in Tropical Coast. He has a keen interest in botany and has numerous plants from several worlds in his collection. But beneath his old, tired exterior lies a skilled and sadistic warrior. Once the strongest of all Zeti, his lustre has faded in his winter years, though his special attacks and agility are still nigh-unmatched in potency. He has raised the current lineup to be the ideal Zeti - a pitiless, ruthless warrior, unrivaled in combat, feared and respected. Zavok is his ideal Zeti brought to life, and he is the only thing he would ever lay down his life for.

 

Zeena

 

Zeena is the first of a new generation of Zeti, one destined to be greater than the last one. You wouldn't know this looking at her, however, as she doesn't have much interest in fighting like her comrades. She is also the only Deadly Six member to be completely lacking in fighting prowress - lacking any skills, special abilities etc. She is, however, very clever, and has a knack for machines and gadgets, which she builds in her Frozen Factory empire and uses in combat. Even this engineering aspect bores her, and she often spends her time sitting still doing nothing. Such squandered potential irritates Zavok, who tries to give Zeena initiative, with minimal success. Oddly, Zeena finds more interest in assimilating the culture of other worlds, in particular their technology and fashions. Zeena's wardrobe is bursting at the seams, but she hardly wears anything.

 

Zor

 

Zor was once a bright and cheerful Zeti, or so it's said, until one day the Hex spawned near a black hole. He stared into it, and it stared into him. From that moment on, nothing mattered to Zor anymore. Everything was going to die someday, so why not make them die now? Such a mindset befits Zik's ideal Zeti... but his potential destructiveness is hampered by both laziness and Zor's philosophy dictating to him that even his destruction of things would be forgotten, and that nothing he does matters. Even the insane Zazz finds him weird, and Zomom feels sorry for him, being the one person to hold such an honour. He possesses powers the other Zeti are downright afraid of, making even Zavok hesitant in bringing out Zor's potential. Henceforth, he was made the "spy" of the Six - the one who goes to worlds below the Lost Hex and scouts out its contents. When not doing anything, he lives inside the ruins of Silent Forest, contemplating existence while gazing into his blue rose.

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I'd change up a few characters a bit...

 

Knuckles

 

Despite his youthful appearance; Knuckles is in fact a decade older than he looks, he ages much more slowly than typical mobians due to a mix of Echidna biology and Chaos energy.

Until the events of Sonic 3 Knuckles had no contact with the world beyond Angel island. He has had to adapt to modern culture and socialism in the years since he met Sonic which has lead him to be quite gullible from time to time.

Knuckles is a powerhouse and a cunning hunter and tactician, he has even learnt to use Chaos energy to increase and decrease his mass, this can allow him to put more force into his punches or become lighter than air and glide,

 

Silver

 

A time traveller from almost 200 years into the future; Silver is a wildcard thrown into Sonic and the gang's adventures due to the sheer unpredictability of the circumstances of his presence.

Silver doesn't always appear in the correct chronological order; sometimes he appears as an awkward teen desperately trying to save the future, sometimes he shows up as an experienced fighter on a mission who knows way too much about the heroes' histories and futures than they feel comfortable with...

 

If you find these interesting I might redo some more characters another time :)

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Yeah midnight seems like a good time for me to stream-of-consciousness ramble a bunch of video game fanfic worldbuilding-type bullshit.

The Chaos Emeralds are supernatural objects that have existed on Earth since long before all known history. The gems respond to life itself, nurturing and empowering it, creating miracles from the collective will of the mindless ancient lifeforms. Through their power life flourishes on the planet, evolving into countless forms, large and small, simple and complex.

As time passes, some creatures begin to develop their own consciousness, their own will. The emeralds' power resonates even stronger with these focused wills, bending their miracles towards the desires of those who possess them. Entire civilizations rise and fall by their influence. Warlords conquer empires. Heroes stand against tyrants. The greedy are destroyed by their own lust for power. Wherever the emeralds appear, chaos surely follows. And those who control the emeralds, control the fate of the world.

In the present, we have our villain. Dr. Eggman, gifted with unparalleled genius in the field of robotics and mastery of numerous other disciplines, wasted on a personality defined by extreme narcissism and borderline sociopathy, barely masked by childish eccentricity and faux gentlemanly charm. He is a man who demands absolute control, absolute obedience, and absolute respect, lashing out violently when denied. He turns his genius against the world, constructing a mechanical army and machines of war unlike any the world has seen before, and with the power of the Chaos Emeralds, world domination would be a foregone conclusion.

But no villain goes unchallenged. Our hero is Sonic, a young hedgehog gifted with incredible speed and an unshakable will. He's impulsive and brash, and won't take orders from anyone. But underneath his spiky exterior is a heart of gold, and he'll never fail to help those in need. With his speed and determination, he may be the only one on Earth able to stop Eggman's schemes.

...or something like that.

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I kinda would want to go the direction of fantasy. Something nice and whimsical. I don't think sci-fi particularly works, because of how in-depth you need to explain just about everything that isn't logical, which is Sonic at its core. Not to mention the literal presence of things like gods, the divine, ghosts, artifacts of power, and all those things. I've been kinda toying at a headcanon with the express goal of tying stuff together in the universe in general.

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I don't think sci-fi particularly works, because of how in-depth you need to explain just about everything that isn't logical,

Dude, then you don't really get sci-fi that well, because it's not that rigid. For one, the scale of sci-fi ranges from hard sci-fi, which is where things require lots of logical explaination and is required to be plausible or well-thought out (think Interstellar), to soft sci-fi, which only needs to sound scientific but doesn't need that much explanation or be plausible (think Dexter's Laboratory, Bungie's Destiny, or Ratchet and Clank).

 

You're talking more along the lines of hard sci-fi, which this franchise cannot do even if it wanted to. This franchise can get by with just soft sci-fi alone where it can make shit up as it wanted so long as it just makes sense in the setting. It's no different to franchises like Ratchet and Clank that made up things like Raritanium, Carbonox, and Trillium, or even DC comics and Transformers which completely made up things like Kryptonite and Energon.

 

Second, it's not like fantasy doesn't require you explain everything that isn't logical. The only difference is that fantasy isn't "scientific" about it like sci-fi is and focuses more or legend and lores, but it still goes in depth explaining it's magical world regardless.

 

In fact, soft sci-fi isn't too different from fantasy, and sci-fi in general doesn't conflict with the presence of things like gods, the divine, ghosts, and artifacts of power. In fact, you'll can just as easily find those things in sci-fi as you can in fantasy, with things like the Q in Star Trek, the many many godlike villains and superheroes in DC and Marvel Comics like Thanos or Darkseid, Bungie's Destiny with the Traveler and the Darkness, Jak and Daxter with the Precursors, or Gurren Lagann which can have mecha robots the size of a galaxy. And there's a whole lot more than just this small list.

 

Not to mention, there's nothing stopping you from combining sci-fi and fantasy together, which is what Sonic actually does.

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I would put more emphasis on how there's some unique, powerful, special quality about Sonic that even he isn't aware of, which was hinted at in Sonic 3:K, Sonic Adventure 2, and possibly Heroes. And a way I'd do that is to put more emphasis on how certain other 'rival' characters reflect that, like Knuckles close connection to the Master Emerald, Metal Sonic copying data of other lifeforms and entities to become more powerful, Shadow being the Ultimate Lifeform with an array of Chaos powers he puts to use, etc. 

 

I'd also do something similar with Tails, since I think that he should have the potential to surpass Sonic, and I believe that Tails as he is now is already superior to Sonic when the hedgehog was 8 years old.

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I really want Sonic to wear more clothes. No, let me broaden that: I'd like it if all the guys wore actual sets of clothes, at least ones that fit their personalities and cultures. It's always seemed odd to me that the girls have to be fully dressed, yet the guys don't. I know, I know, cartoon logic, but it feels to me like a hugely missed opportunity design wise.

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Sonic should be like a kid's version of Indiana Jones. There needs to be action in that characters are constantly trying to achieve a moving goal against the interests of an enemy, and this conflict should form a chain of actions and reactions on each party's part. If Sonic gets an Emerald, then Eggman should make a move to take it. If Eggman succeeds, Sonic either needs to get in gear and fight for it, or quickly move on to the next one. Restoring/Collecting/Destroying x number of things without any actual resistance from an enemy is a chore list. And chore lists aren't exciting or empathetic.

 

Subsequently, there should be adventure. There should be risk-taking and physical danger, travel to interesting locations, quests, a leading mystery that ties into the overall plot and moral, and overall quick pacing. Unless the story calls for a slow or introspective moment, then there should be little to no reason for Sonic to ever get comfortable and justifiably overconfident in the cutscenes. And this should tie into the gameplay like it used to. The example I like bringing up is the beginning of the Hero Story in SA2, where after escaping from a helicopter in a cut scene, the actual game begins with him dropping in on a piece of the helicopter he stole to board away. Ignoring this connection creates dissonance and makes the entire narrative feel fake.

 

In all honesty, these are the only two things I would focus on if forced to write for a specific game. Just constantly ask the team why they wanted to add something in, and if they couldn't answer in a way that pertained to the overall identity of the game or narrative, then to put a pin in it for the next game.

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Stilted and bad plotting and the developers trying to figure out how to interpret my bad descriptions.

 

The only halfwhat-decent thing would be the dialogue, and even that would be questionable.

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I'd probably try to go for the best of both worlds and opt for simple enough mythos so little children aren't overwhelmed and leave all of the speculation and shit to the older fans, kinda like Gravity Falls.

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I'd personally make the story as minimalist as possible, with Sonic fighting Eggman to get the Chaos Emeralds. Essentially bringing the series back to its more pure roots. I wouldn't have any dialogue and have all character interaction shown through gestures in cutscenes, much like Sonic 3, Rayman, Mario and Donkey Kong. 

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If you're going to strip the story to such barebone levels, why not give those who don't care for story a "Classic Mode" feature so they can skip it entirely, but without pissing off those who do want a story? That's just being self-centered otherwise.

 

Plus, one of Rayman's best games in his entire career was the most story heavy he's ever had, and that was considered one of the best platformers back during the N64-era of all times.

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If you're going to strip the story to such barebone levels, why not give those who don't care for story a "Classic Mode" feature so they can skip it entirely, but without pissing off those who do want a story? That's just being self-centered otherwise.

 

Plus, one of Rayman's best games in his entire career was the most story heavy he's ever had, and that was considered one of the best platformers back during the N64-era of all times.

 

Rayman 2 was so popular because of the tight gameplay and a great soundtrack rather than the story although I don't deny it had a good story. But, Rayman 2's story wasn't nearly as complex as stories in the Adventure series. I know how good that game was because I played Rayman 2 when it launched on Dreamcast.

 

As for the option of a Classic Mode and an over the top plot, I'd rather the game have one artistic vision rather than fragment and try to market itself to different tastes. It's not being self-centred, it's wanting a single unified product. I personally would prefer a more minimalist plot. 

 

What would that benefit from, though? Other than oversimplifying for the sake of oversimplifying?

 

I mean, it's really not like having a super simplistic story is a good thing everyone praises. While I haven't heard much about DK, both Mario and Rayman have had more complex stories than one'd probably give them cred for, and there have been people pretty upset that Rayman hasn't tried to do a story more like 2 or 3 in a long time, and that Mario has barely gone outside the status quo since Sunshine (or Galaxy 1).

 

Also note that there was a lot more narrative going on in the classics than people on the western side of the world would like to admit. Sure, it's not to the extent of Adventure - onwards, but you can tell the idea was that there was a lot going on in the big picture of things and the transition to SA1 was actually a rather smooth one, only really being the first to explain those plot points explicity in-game... mostly because there's dialogue.

 

As I've stated, simplicity in itself isn't a bad thing. There are many great games that have simple plots, as I've listed above. And yeah, many do appreciate that other platformers don't have the convoluted plots that Sonic games are notorious for (which really, should be ringing alarm bells). In particular, Sunshine was under fire for the ridiculous plot, which was akin to plots found in Sonic Adventure and beyond. The simple fact is that platformers like Sonic go for a rather pure atmosphere, represented in the art direction and music. An overcomplicated anime-esque plot being thrown in isn't part of the formula (I'm using anime as an example since that's the main influence in Sonic plots). Sure, the problem is that the plot's badly written, but it's not really part of Sonic's essence or other similar platformers either. 

 

The Classic games had a narrative that was told entirely in manuals or very simple cutscenes (which tied in better with the game's art-style and ambient sound) and since it wasn't forced into the game in a contrived manner I hardly think that's at all similar to the plots that were shoehorned into the franchise since Adventure. With bad dialogue and voice-acting and all.

 

Look, I know you guys want a plot like the one in Sonic Adventure but significantly better, but there a lot of people like myself who want the franchise to go back to its roots. It's like Final Fantasy. Many appreciate Final Fantasy 7 for bringing a major shift to the franchise but many also wanted a more pure Final Fantasy experience and were catered for with Final Fantasy 9. Sonic Adventure is like Final Fantasy 7, it completely overhauled the series. Some of us Sonic Fans are clamouring for a title like Final Fantasy 9, a true return to the series' roots. We've never really had it, we've only seen Sonic Team go halfway with Generations, Colours and Lost World and end up not pleasing anyone.

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I think simple is the right way to go, just not "Sonic fights Eggman, the end" simple.

You need a hero, a villain, and a few supporting characters (ideally for each side), all with enough personality to hook people, and some kind of conflict, maybe with a few twists thrown in, and not really much more than that. Simple characters are not bad characters; so long as you can get people to like them, they'll fill in the details on their own. And in an action series, especially one so tied to speed as Sonic, it's important to keep things moving and to keep the player playing.

So what, like Wonderful 101?

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I'm not asking for something like a convoluted plot, gosh diddly doodly dang it man.

 

I'm asking for a good plot at all. A competent story. I know Sonic stories have had the tendency to be over convoluted or too serious at times (both Adventures particularly SA2 also being at fault for that in places), but the reason I keep referring to those are because they're the best we've got.

 

Is that sad? Yes. Yes it is, actually. But man is it better than "Sonic beats up the Eggsman and Tails was there", because let me tell you how interesting that has been the past three games. 

 

I want minor world building. I want character interactions. I want action and adventure, tension! None of those things require cutting the fat entirely, so why is that a good answer to the issue?

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Kid Icarus Uprising is pretty much the perfect way to handle a Sonic story IMO, but something like that would have the characters chatting during the levels a LOT and I'm not sure if people would be up for that after the last few attempts at that. As long as the dialogue is good and the story is fast paced and simple, it should be fine, but who knows. Some people like levels to be completely devoid of dialogue. 

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I'm not asking for something like a convoluted plot, gosh diddly doodly dang it man.

 

I'm asking for a good plot at all. A competent story. I know Sonic stories have had the tendency to be over convoluted or too serious at times (both Adventures particularly SA2 also being at fault for that in places), but the reason I keep referring to those are because they're the best we've got.

 

Is that sad? Yes. Yes it is, actually. But man is it better than "Sonic beats up the Eggsman and Tails was there", because let me tell you how interesting that has been the past three games. 

 

I want minor world building. I want character interactions. I want action and adventure, tension! None of those things require cutting the fat entirely, so why is that a good answer to the issue?

 

Ok, to give the other side a point here. I think you're confusing simplistic with inherently bad writing, or at least what we've been getting since Colors.

 

There's nothing inherently wrong with simplistic and to the point the writing, its all in the execution really. I mean I see we constantly cite the Adventure games as "how Sonic should be" or pretty close to it, but that's kind of ignoring the other good stories the series have had.

 

Like ya know, the Storybook games? I'd argue those are even simpler than the Adventure games and only slightly more complex than the current writing and yet I consider them some of the better writings the series has had. The focus is generally on Sonic, and Shahra/Caliburn with a few appearances by the supporting cast and yet it still manages to be engaging and gripping.

 

There's also the Rush games, which gave us Blaze, probably the only character to not be vehemently hated upon her debut and she had a pretty extensive character arc despite Rush being "Find the emeralds and save the world" more or less.

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