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My opinions on Sonic stories


Rey Skywalker-Ren
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I had a debate on this on FB so I wanted to share my opinions on the subject here: should Sonic have serious/mature stories?

Of course, this picture that I made is my short response:

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My long response is that a story can be serious, however it has to be good first. The problem with games like Shadow the Hedgehog is that it put wanting a dark story over wanting a good story that just so happens to be dark; not that Shadow's game was dark. No one would have a problem with Shadow's story being grimdark-ish... well not a lot of people.... if it were a well written story that made sense; however because it focused too much on being edgy, that the final product came off as being comedic instead. Their focus on also wanting Black Doom to be a villain we thought was cool and fearsome, ended up being seen as "hammy".

In comes Sonic 06, the game that was supposed to be the reboot for the series (seriously, this was supposed to be the "start over" game). The game wasn't trying to be serious, no...however, the story ended up being bad and hard to follow. The plot and the characters were all over the place and newer characters were half-written. Again, no one would have a problem with 06 being serious if the story was firstly, good. However, because the final product was rushed, it never happened. 

A example of a good story would be Sonic Adventure 2. It did have some dark moments, however they made sense and they were well written into the game. Sonic Unleashed also had it's share of dark moments as well, again they made sense as the story progressed and the story turned out to be really good. Same with Adventure 2 as most praise the game for it's story telling. 

I am not trying to say Sonic games should take a more serious route; there are certain themes Sonic should stay clear of... but when it comes to the mildly serious or even dark themes that are sensible, they can work with a good story. Same with lighthearted stories. My problem with Lost World is that while I liked it, I felt it was trying too hard to be lighthearted, at least to me. 

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As I'm going to quote Matt from SGB 'Sonic can have serious storylines, it just can't do dark.'(Don't quote me, that was off by memory.) And I personally agree with that.

Lost World was anything but lighthearted if you look further into it.

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4 hours ago, Sonikku Mikyeong said:

A example of a good story would be Sonic Adventure 2. 

It's really not. The entire game is based around the concept of two warring ideologies and Shadow only changes his ideology because he realizes he's misremembered, not really because he's had a change of heart.

It's a story based entirely around two sides with strong beliefs and never once are those beliefs meaningfully challenged, despite the entire climax of the story hinging on one of these sides changing their beliefs.

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3 hours ago, Nepenthe said:

The theme of SA2 is not about two arguably equivalent ideologies coming to a head a la Captain America Civil War. SA2 about justifiable anger, revenge, and forgiveness. At no point in SA2 does the narrative actually attempt to justify the lengths that Shadow and Gerald are willing to go through to punish humanity, nor does it ever try to justify the present actions of Team Dark in general. It simply frames their anger through the ARK incident tragedy to make them more sympathetic villains.

The structure of the game is the perspective of two different ideologies, "Hero" and "Dark" (not even "Evil" or "Villain", which is especially odd and kind of slanted, one is clearly granted more ambiguity and depth than the other...since the Hero side's actual narrative arc is next to nonexistent in terms of theme and character, that makes sense). Which makes its whole structure a pretty hollow gimmick, really. 

Even without that though, it's a genuine cheat for Shadow to be pushed to changing sides because he realizes he misremembered what Maria said, giving him a convenient excuse to go the other way. He didn't actually LEARN anything as much as he learned he was the wrong kind of sentimental sheep.

SA2 gives no actual arcs to its real protagonist, the guy whose name is on the disc, and gives a pretty half assed one to the actual protagonist it wants. It's about as surface level an approach to any of its ideas you can get. 

I say this loving Sonic Adventure 2. I love that it's basically a hokey anime Die Hard and love that it's the kind of game where you randomly fight a ghost while struggling against vengeful terrorists (though it IS odd that, while King Boom Boo is thematically appropriate to a game about the dead, a ghost monster can so casually, irrelevantly exist...maybe he shoud've been a Team Dark boss?). But holding it up as a gold standard does NOBODY any real favors, and trying to insist it is one that other games should live up to is basically saying you want nothing but dramatic monologues of occasional power strung together with the most superfluous structural and thematic gimmicks possible...

...which I thought people didn't want?

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46 minutes ago, Sonikku Mikyeong said:

No one would have a problem with Shadow's story being grimdark-ish... well not a lot of people.... if it were a well written story that made sense

Well, I can say that I definitely would have had a problem with it. Even if the story made sense, even if it was well written, the tone of the game is just not what I consider fitting for the series.

A series has a personality in much the same way as a character has a personality. Like characters, there is flexibility to it; it changes over time as history builds up and as new writers take control, and there's room to argue where exactly the boundaries should be set. But this flexibility doesn't mean that there are no boundaries; a series can be written "out of character" just the same as an individual character can. Regardless of the quality of the writing, you can't write Sonic properly if you write him like Shadow or Cream or Cranky Kong or whoever, because that's not who Sonic is. And likewise, regardless of the quality of writing, you can't write a proper Sonic game if you don't write something that's "in character" for the series.

Now that's not to say that the series can't tell any kind of "serious" story. I think the nature of the series is such that it can accommodate fun, exciting stories that sometimes touch on serious themes. But there are limits to what it can do while still retaining a coherent identity, and simply asking for better writing cannot change that.

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33 minutes ago, Singapore Sling said:

The structure of the game is the perspective of two different ideologies, "Hero" and "Dark" (not even "Evil" or "Villain", which is especially odd and kind of slanted, one is clearly granted more ambiguity and depth than the other...since the Hero side's actual narrative arc is next to nonexistent in terms of theme and character, that makes sense). Which makes its whole structure a pretty hollow gimmick, really. 

Even without that though, it's a genuine cheat for Shadow to be pushed to changing sides because he realizes he misremembered what Maria said, giving him a convenient excuse to go the other way. He didn't actually LEARN anything as much as he learned he was the wrong kind of sentimental sheep.

SA2 gives no actual arcs to its real protagonist, the guy whose name is on the disc, and gives a pretty half assed one to the actual protagonist it wants. It's about as surface level an approach to any of its ideas you can get. 

I say this loving Sonic Adventure 2. I love that it's basically a hokey anime Die Hard and love that it's the kind of game where you randomly fight a ghost while struggling against vengeful terrorists (though it IS odd that, while King Boom Boo is thematically appropriate to a game about the dead, a ghost monster can so casually, irrelevantly exist...maybe he shoud've been a Team Dark boss?). But holding it up as a gold standard does NOBODY any real favors, and trying to insist it is one that other games should live up to is basically saying you want nothing but dramatic monologues of occasional power strung together with the most superfluous structural and thematic gimmicks possible...

...which I thought people didn't want?

The game presenting the viewpoint of two different groups of characters fighting one another is not for the sake of trying to present each group's ideals as having equivalent ethical merit. It's to expand the knowledge of the story the audience is privy to and to make Shadow sympathetic.

Also, I don't really agree that what happened to Shadow is a "cheat" (which implies that he was objectively bound to develop some other way). He was always going to fulfill Maria's promise due to the bond he had with her regardless of whatever it was, but learning that he was mistaken to the point that he would've broken her promise made him remorseful to the point of shedding a tear. He was wrong, recognized that, and made himself an ally. It's a set of story beats that works just fine.

Sonic also has an arc in the game (although I feel it's not necessary for him to have one as he doesn't in nearly every single game because he's a mascot character intended to be the face of a consistent brand), but it's one that doesn't result in internal change of character so much as it does him finally earning Shadow's respect and a new ability on top of it. A character arc is not outright required to result in a change to the character's morals or personality.

Also, boiling SA2 down to just monologues strung together with gimmicks and trying to equate the actual narrative and tone to what we're getting now is the most deliberate misrepresentation of the games involved as well as people's viewpoints that I'm simply not going to engage in it honestly.

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I thought the Gerald backstory was fine. A bad thing happened, Shadow is angry, and he wants revenge. You don't really need any clarification beyond that, and the story doesn't really expect you to look into it. That's the kind of thing that, if it needed expanding, it could be off-screen in a Bible for clarity's sake, and exposition further about it would have just disrupted the flow of the story.

This isn't a case like where Lost World, where the game's narrative beg's the question "What is the Lost Hex? And who are the Deadly Six?" and then just abandon's that altogether leaving it completely in the air. This isn't a case like Elise having the Blue Chaos Emerald, which is a blatant and obvious contradiction of facts of earlier game in the canon. It's vague, sure, but it's not nearly as much of a problem as people choose to make it.

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It's not that Lost Hex and the Deadly Six need explanation as to who or what they are. It's that the setting- and subsequently the characters- aren't predicated on any reasonable context either within the game or the overall canon to justify Lost World's aesthetic. There's literally no reason for any of the characters to be there. If Eggman wanted to take over Lost Hex itself and use it as a home base, you could get away with a lot of the same plot. But instead, he's already taken it over by the beginning of the game (begging the question of how it's "lost") and is using the Deadly Six as guard dogs very very poorly, a group of characters who arguably could've taken Eggman out a multitude of times before being set free by Sonic's kicking of the conch away. The game unintentionally raises these questions simply because it doesn't try to establish why the whole set up of the game isn't arbitrary and done simply for convenience's sake. This same game could've taken place on Earth with some random Angel Island demons or some shit and not missed a beat.

Spoiler

But of course if it took place on Earth, Sonic Team would have to find some other dumb way to justify why the other characters can't show up and/or do anything meaningful anymore, so let's throw it on some bullshit planet and hope people don't notice.

 

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5 minutes ago, shdowhunt60 said:

This isn't a case like where Lost World, where the game's narrative beg's the question "What is the Lost Hex? And who are the Deadly Six?" and then just abandon's that altogether leaving it completely in the air.

Look I really don't want this whole topic to devolve into yet another Lost World argument, but I have to ask, where does the game's narrative raise these questions? Lost Hex just is; it's yet another fantastic location on (er, close to) Sonic's world, conveniently off the surface so Eggman's energy sucker doesn't bother it, and that's the extent to which the narrative cares about it. Likewise pretty much everything about the D6 that's relevant is explained or can be easily intuited; they're a band of power-hungry jerks from Lost Hex with robot mind control, their life stories aren't really relevant.

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I agree with the argument made in the thread (less lightheartedness plus the inclusion of mature stories). However, if I may add an observation,  I would make a slight change to what's being defended:

 

The problem with Sonic games is not the lightheartedness of the plot. The franchise is aimed at kids and young teens (9~11 year olds). Therefore, the plot must avoid heavier material that might shock or impress them. However, heavy material is not a synonym of mature themes. Kids shouldn't be exposed to rape, but they can be exposed to a story that deals with social segregation, poverty that leads to despair and crime, betrayal of family for heritage and other presonal advantages,etc. Themes such as these can be easily made to fit into a kids' universe, much like anything else because it's easy to translate them to the simpler language of a child's imagination. It's all a matter of creating an imagery that will transmit the main concepts with clarity and straightforwardness.

The problem with Sonic games is quite different: it's the overall superficiality with which several elements of the game are treated. From the personality and interaction between the characters to the ingenuity of the villain's plan, everything is done in a way that shows that zero thinking went into formulating them.

 

Take for instance the dialogs in LW. After translating what that blue wisp says, Tails states Eggman is plotting something evil. How profound. It must've taken the Sonic Team HOURS to come up with that one! What about the dialogs with Chip in Unleashed? How difficult is it to make a naive NPC that is easily impressed by everything? As if we had never seen that stereotype anywhere. Or take the predictability of Eggman's plots. It's all about using/developing a super weapon that's meant to obliterate a place or a world. While maniacally laughing about it. This is literally the script of every kids' cartoon villain. Eggman even has the trademark moustache that's associated to evil villains to account for it. Is Sonic Team even bothering to think about the games' content AT ALL?

The core plot in all games is pretty much the same: Sonic rushes through levels, finds Eggman, the villain LITERALLY spills his plan to him and they clash. Epic battle ensues in the end and that's it. If you try to find any other mature or challenging themes going on in the story, there aren't any. It's basically the same old good vs evil done without any complexity being added to it. 

 

A story is ultimately built by the interaction between the characters and how they react to the world around them. If you take away that interaction in EVERY Sonic game - with the exception of SA2 -, you'll come to realise they just don't make a difference. In the end, a game is exactly like the other. It's as if the characters don't matter at all. One game after another it's Sonic pawns another villain, either Eggman or someone related to him. The background of the story - NPCs (Elise, Chip, Blaze etc) included - is so superficially developed it has ZERO importance to the main story. It's just there to say Sonic will defeat his foe in a different location from what you've seen before. But Sonic himself and the traditional main cast - Tails, Knuckles, Amy, etc - aren't affected in any way by the new elements introduced in the new game because their impact is so superficial it's negligible

So in the end, the games don't have any content. It's just Sonic pawns Eggman. Until then, everything that happens is just to delay the final fight. When it's not Eggman, it's another big baddy. The reason why games like SA2 ran A BIT away from that formula and are remembered until today is because the backstory actually mattered. The Ark wasn't just a dead space colony with a lethal weapon. It hid a secret so great that everything the player assumed so far about Shadow was mistaken and there was a lot more going on behind the scenes than we anticipated. The game gave us a glimpse of what a Sonic game WITH A STORY can be, although it could have dared a lot more.

 

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3 hours ago, Nepenthe said:

Sonic also has an arc in the game (although I feel it's not necessary for him to have one as he doesn't in nearly every single game because he's a mascot character intended to be the face of a consistent brand), but it's one that doesn't result in internal change of character so much as it does him finally earning Shadow's respect and a new ability on top of it. 

Finally earning the respect of a new side character who's given the bulk of backstory and story importance and "learning a new ability" might work fine in Shonen Jump, but Shonen Jump is also massive shit. Likewise, I don't see those two things as particularly compelling for a story about the main character of the franchise. 

I really feel like most "serious" Sonic game stories are just the dramatic version of Pontac and Graff. People complain that those are just hollow comedy stories bereft of character, but the dramatic stories before them are pretty hollow in their own ambitions as well. It's actually WEIRD that someone can defend them and point out the central protagonist doesn't really need his own arc since he's just the face of the brand. I think Sonic 06 might be the only game where it seemed, from a pure story perspective, every single character path was necessary: Sonic, Shadow, and Silver each had a different story about loss and Shadow and Silver ended up becoming supporting characters for the final story in Sonic's path. 

Whereas, Sonic Adventures? The paths feel like they're there because they have to be there. Gamma has an interesting story that's good on its own, but the way it's packaged...he's an animal turned into a war machine who never has any meaningful interaction with the central villain, a war machine derived from oppressed animals. His character arc is basically Chaos's without much modification so...why...do they both exist? Why would you dedicate an entire path to the Heroes in Sonic Adventure 2 when the entire story is really only about the Dark path and the Hero side just happens to thwart them at one point? I always feel like when you break the stories down for any of the Adventure era games (except 06 and, I guess Shadow by default since it's based entirely around just exploring those hypotheticals, but even then many argue the irrelevancy of those hypotheticals and they're not wrong), there's so much in there that's not only not necessary but also...doesn't really enhance anything like they are clearly trying to. It always boils down to superfluousness or redundancy.

I really do think that's why the only satisfied Sonic fans ARE the more comedically inclined fans. Not because I suddenly like Sonic MORE now as much as...the series finally noticed all the stuff I'd noticed for years. My favorite game is 06 for many sentimental reasons, but it's a farce...as is SA2, SA. Turning the series into an overt comedy didn't really meaningfully CHANGE anything. Sonic has always been about the illusion of drama and depth, using a lot of faux-b-movie melodrama and imagery to present its highly simplistic stories to a higher depth than they ever really achieved. Unless you're someone like me or others who SPECIFICALLY likes the older games with a combination of sentimental nostalgia and willingness to invest in a b-movie (that I ADMIT is no real difference from, say, a Roger Corman movie or Header or something like Troll 2, too ridiculous to truly be taken seriously...but I invest anyway solely because it's fun for me and I like it), I'm not really sure what to say. The writing of these games don't hold up. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with liking them, I LOVE them, nor is there anything wrong with feeling passionate about them...but no thread predicated on discerning what writing quality is superior is going to work by comparing different Sonic games. 

Unless your comparisons are Black Knight and Secret Rings, because that's really the closest the games ever get to real big boy quality while maintaining the insistence of something resembling a dramatic arc. They don't piss out of themselves to the degree that Shadow does, which, no, is NOT a deliberate misrepresentation. This is how I, another human being, actually feel about this. Someone outside of your perception IS capable of coming to different conclusions, they are not all just trolls trying to hurt your precious b-movies. I genuinely believe the grand majority of the "serious" games are the dramatic equivalent of what people criticize Pontac and Graff of doing, which is a viewpoint someone is able to have. The fact that you choose not to engage on the basis that you believe someone saying their reasons for not finding Sonic Adventure 2 is deliberately trying to misrepresent the story content makes you a petulant child, which would go a long way toward explaining why you feel this way.

 

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2 hours ago, Sonikku Mikyeong said:

My long response is that a story can be serious, however it has to be good first. The problem with games like Shadow the Hedgehog is that it put wanting a dark story over wanting a good story that just so happens to be dark; not that Shadow's game was dark. No one would have a problem with Shadow's story being grimdark-ish... well not a lot of people.... if it were a well written story that made sense; however because it focused too much on being edgy, that the final product came off as being comedic instead. Their focus on also wanting Black Doom to be a villain we thought was cool and fearsome, ended up being seen as "hammy"

I think you'll find that at the time and even now, fans and critics alike despised the dark tonality of the game and found it to be out of line with the Sonic series.  I mean, it's true that the game wouldn't have been quite as bad if the story had been well written, that just goes without saying that being good in one way is better than it being bad in all ways.  I know I personally resented how overtly-dark and gritty ShTH was, and so even if it was well-written, it would not be my preferred tonality for Sonic.  I know I'm not alone in that regard, too.

Bear in mind, that most people who want a "darker" and "more serious" story are not saying they want something that is super violent and grimdark.  What they mean is that they want a bit of weight given to the overall story.  They want Eggman to be a serious villain, they want the actions of the characters to have consequences and impact on the world around them.  Since Sonic Colors, the games have sort of been lacking in that department, with things like "Tails being possessed by mind control for one whole minute before things are back to normal," and then "The planet is dying, but now it's magically okay," in Lost World and things like that.  Things that render the adventure meaningless.

I mean, I like the modern games enough and don't really hate the stories, but I do see why some people might not enjoy them or want something a little bit more suspenseful.  My main point is that there's no need to look at the story in polar extremes.  Advocates of more serious stories aren't necessarily advocating an M-rated gorefest, and advocates for more lighthearted stories aren't necessarily advocating a preschool adventure.

Except me.  I'm an adult, so it would only make sense that I would want a preschool adventure. =/

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@Stardust I agree that a character's interaction to others and the world around them matters, simply because we already know that Sonic isn't going to ever lose the war, but I disagree with what you've concluded with the secondary characters as not mattering at all. Their arcs and characterization matter in terms of elaborating on a game's themes, allowing us insight into the established characters' thought processes towards solving problems or dealing with specific situations, and for simply adding overall entertainment value. Chip is the easiest example and subsequently the worst character to have tried to hammer on this point.

For one, he saves Sonic three times and is the only reason Sonic is even able to stand a chance at beating Dark Gaia due to his identity as Light Gaia. He's also there to emphasize the game's positive outlook on world travel and friendship: He's curious about and infatuated with different cultures and people, eventually expressing his gratitude to Sonic for introducing him to something he loves despite being the planet's guardian for billions of years, adding sentimentality to the plot. His gluttony and affinity for sharing chocolate with people he first meets or wants to cheer up serve as links to the facts that cultures are defined in part by their cuisine and that people get together to socialize and bond at the dinner table. On top of that, his personality and relationship with Sonic is nicely elaborated on over the course of the game despite the second act being pretty naff: He's a little scrappy and prone to wanting to fight bullies and villains despite understanding his size and being hesitant about joining in. He's very curious, tending to leave Sonic with the details while he goes off to do his own thing, usually finding food or daydreaming. He also comes to care for Sonic in a brotherly way, asking him for help to get another drink of tea, hitting back when he's knocked about, and again trying to cheer him up.

Chip is not a significantly deep character, but he's rounded enough to be interesting on his own, be helpful, and still reiterate and emphasize the larger themes of the game in question. And subsequently it's fine if Sonic doesn't change for the long haul; again, he's not going to because this is a flagship franchise meant to be enjoyed without significant investment in its ever-growing backlog. What matters is that he responds to Chip's antics in a logical and entertaining way that matters to the secondary character development and issues of the moment.

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10 minutes ago, Tara said:

... and then "The planet is dying, but now it's magically okay," in Lost World and things like that.

...I'm not sure what the alternative is supposed to be here? Sonic stopped Eggman, Tails gave back the life energy sucked out of Earth, the heroes saved the world.

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2 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

...I'm not sure what the alternative is supposed to be here? Sonic stopped Eggman, Tails gave back the life energy sucked out of Earth, the heroes saved the world.

I don't know.  I guess you could make an argument for a more gradual recovery period than "energy gone, energy back."

I mean, the way it's done is supported by the narrative, but that doesn't necessarily mean the actual narrative is good.

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To clarify what I think Tara means. Over the course of Lost World, we don't see everything instantly die off when the Zeti activate the machine. We see a very gradual course of the energy being stolen, where Amy and Knuckles are complaining about how the air is getting more cold, and how the world in general just begins to feel lifeless to the point it occurs to Amy in the last zone. This occurs over the course of Zone 3 up to the final zone of the game. So it's odd that when the machine is placed in reverse, it doesn't have the opposite effect (Giving the energy back gradually, slowly bringing colour and life back to the world). It's honestly a little inconsistent due to that.

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1 hour ago, Diogenes said:

Look I really don't want this whole topic to devolve into yet another Lost World argument, but I have to ask, where does the game's narrative raise these questions? Lost Hex just is; it's yet another fantastic location on (er, close to) Sonic's world, conveniently off the surface so Eggman's energy sucker doesn't bother it, and that's the extent to which the narrative cares about it. Likewise pretty much everything about the D6 that's relevant is explained or can be easily intuited; they're a band of power-hungry jerks from Lost Hex with robot mind control, their life stories aren't really relevant.

Because when it immediately propagates the Lost Hex as a new and exciting thing, it asks the reader to be invested and ask that question. 

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1 hour ago, Nepenthe said:

@Stardust I agree that a character's interaction to others and the world around them matters, simply because we already know the outcome of any given Sonic game since Sonic isn't going to ever lose the war, but I disagree with what you've concluded with the secondary characters as not mattering at all. Their arcs and characterization matter in terms of elaborating on a game's themes, allowing us insight into the established characters' thought processes towards solving problems or dealing with specific situations, and for simply adding overall entertainment value. Chip is the easiest example and subsequently the worst character to have tried to hammer on this point.

For one, he saves Sonic three times over the course of the game and is the only reason Sonic is even able to stand a chance at beating Dark Gaia due to his identity as Light Gaia. On top of actually saving Sonic, he's also there to emphasize the game's positive outlook on world travel and friendship. He is curious about and infatuated with different cultures and people, eventually expressing his gratitude to Sonic for showing him something he loves that he previously had no idea about despite being the planet's guardian for billions of years, adding sentimentality to the plot. His gluttony and affinity for sharing chocolate with people he first meets or wants to cheer up serve to link back to the fact that cultures are defined in part by their cuisine and the fact that people get together to socialize and bond at the dinner table. On top of that, his personality and relationship with Sonic is nicely elaborated on over the course of the game despite the second act being pretty naff. He's a little scrappy and prone to wanting to fight against bullies and villains despite still understanding his size and being hesitant about joining in. He's very curious, tending to leave Sonic with the details while he goes off to do his own thing, usually finding food or daydreaming. He also comes to care for Sonic in a brotherly way, asking him for help to get another drink of tea, hitting back when he's knocked about, and again trying to cheer him up.

Chip is not a significantly deep character, but he's rounded enough to be interesting on his own, is actually helpful, and still reiterating and emphasizing the larger themes of the game in question. And subsequently it's fine if Sonic doesn't change for the long haul; again, he's not going to because this is a flagship franchise meant to be enjoyed without significant investment in its ever-growing backlog. Same with Sonic winning. What matters is that he responds to Chip's antics in a logical and entertaining way that matters to the secondary character development and issues of the moment.

You're right. As a character, Chip wasn't as two-dimensional as the stereotype of a naive, happy-go-along character usualy is. There's another layer to him that became evident in his relationship with Sonic, a layer which you demonstrated with great care and detail.

Unleashed had its virtues as a game, and Sonic's relationship with Chip is no doubt one that immediately comes to mind when players discuss the game.  

IMO, it was a light relationship, one that would fit in the criticism made in the first post of the thread, but Unleashed wasn't meant to be a deep, mature Sonic game. So for the targeted audience, it fulfilled its role as a fun, lighthearted game, well portrayed through Chip's character. 

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Well I don't think the first post is so much lambasting lightheartedness so much as it's trying to defend the ability for Sonic games to do something other than be bright and cheery 100% of the time. A Sonic game can both have a lighthearted tone while also having the characters take the situation and opposing forces at hand seriously and at face value. There can be a Disney animated film-esque balance to this series, which is why Unleashed tends to have a really fervent defense of its narrative. It has jokes and happy moments just like Colors and Gens do, but no one goes after its jokes because they're actually better structured than the verbal humor it actually has a little bit more to offer in its narrative beyond just that.

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It's weird topic, I think most fans (at least here) prefer deeper stories.

BUT, when I think about it more, I don't necessary need for stories to be "darker", "maturer" or "deeper". It would be nice (along with better humor and giving some love to Sonic's friends), but my fundamental demand is for story to have any story.

Colors: Eggman enslaves Wisps, stop him. That's whole story. "Eggman reformed" charade has no point. Hypno ray is never really used. Place being a theme park has no point (story wise anyway). We have 30 minutes of jokes, if you hate them (like me), this hurts.

Lost World: Amy and especially Knuckles do nothing. Team-Up with Eggman doesn't let you play as him, or get toys or anything. He says somethin about "being complicated man", but that goes nowhere too. Tails being turned into robot has no pay off. So whole story is "Deadly Six are new one dimensional bad guys.Stop them." and that weird Sonic/Tails conflict.

In comparison, take Sonic Adventure 1, but remove Tikal, Gamma's death and whole Chaos backstory. Those "deeper" elements make it way better, but even without them it's still cool adventure with little arcs, proper structure and epic battle at the end.

I just want cutscenes to have some point, not just jokes and plotlines that go to nowhere. If you really going to have simple story, just admit it and make 10 minutes of cutscenes. It's still no what I want, but at least it more budget for other things. Games in 90s didn't had 40 minutes of cutscenes ant they worked fine.

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It's particularly annoying because Sonic games have lots of moments that are so close to doing the important stuff, like getting characters motivations and reactions right and exploring that, but they don't really nail it. I don't think they really need Sonic Adventure esque scope if they can get that stuff right. Colours felt appropriate, honestly, and I don't really get the flack it receives. You can only threaten to blow up the planet so many times...

I've mentioned this before, but the most infuriating one in that respect is Unleashed - there's something really promising in Sonic being insecure and embarrassed of his Werehogliness, which is a side we don't often see of Sonic, but they only give it one scene. The scene where Amy mistakes Sonic for someone else, which was a nice twist on a staple of the franchise by that point, was done quite well. Sonic is really upset by it! And that's it. Less than five minutes later, Amy realises it's Sonic and everythings fine. Lets just have more rubbish Chip bits. It's something like a 25hr+ game to beat, there's plenty of room for that stuff.

And yes, Colours is fine - the whole reason the 'Eggman Reformed' thing is in there is just to get Sonic and Tails up there because they don't trust him, and of course they're right! Eggman's the baddy, it's what he does! Using a theme park as cover, and it's revealed that he's going to use the mind control beam to enslave the planet, Sonic stops him, makes space friends, and all is cool. I'd almost wonder what else you'd add to make it more 'interesting'. Maybe less translator puns, but Sonic moonwalks and has the Copyright Law line, and Sonic and Tails make a good duo.  

I even think Lost World had potential, what with Tails and Eggman, Tails getting kidnapped (his robot cosplay, not so much), etc. The one where Eggman saves Tails is actually pretty good, conceptually, but the writing is just hackneyed, and the D6 are just so poor they might as well have called them The Deadly Tropes and have done with it. I also don't quite like how Tails seems like a egomaniac for some reason, that's Sonic's job. But there's a germ of goodness in there.

I don't necessarily want deeper stories (if I want that, I'll just play Metal Gear or FF or something), but I think a Sonic game with well done characters and interactions with a 'run to the right and jump on robots' level of story would be fine. 

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59 minutes ago, Hyp3hat said:

And yes, Colours is fine - the whole reason the 'Eggman Reformed' thing is in there is just to get Sonic and Tails up there because they don't trust him, and of course they're right!

How about they don't find out that he's evil immediately and actual try to convince me that Eggman's good. I won't fall for it, but at least you're doing something with the material.

Or if that's too hard then drop the charade: Eggman built base bigger then planets. I think Sonic could notice it on his own and Tails could built a space racket.

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