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Marco9966

Even Yuji Naka didnt want a cutesy funny Sonic

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 Sonic was originally supposed to be this impertinent, cheeky character.

This is correct, and just a look at the concept art for Sonic 1 solidifies this. 

S1concept-WaterArt.jpg

He looks rough, confident, and full of himself. He takes no bullshit. 

But this just means that Sonic was meant to be a little rougher in characterization, and we don't know the extent originally planned. I don't think they were intending something like a StC style Sonic for the main series. That's about it. This doesn't really implicate a darker, grittier series at all. 

The OVA actually portrays Sonic in this light to an extent. I'm pretty sure Naka and Oshima supervised the OVA during production, so if you want to know what they meant by a not cutesy Sonic, you can think of the "shut up, Tails!!" Sonic we got in the OVA. 

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That actually makes sense. Sonic being too cute would badly kill off any chance of the series going longer than it has. I was always a fan of the Adventure games and I do enjoy the reworking of Sonic as a character. Though the first Adventure has some odd and pretty funny voice acting foepaws. Also oddly loud music drowning out dialog. But outside some issues on the tech level, it was a ambitious step in the right direction. It's just a shame that things have still gone down hill for the series regardless.

Cuteness can only carry a character so far before it becomes boring. Though that maybe a different story if cuteness was one of the aspects of a character. Though the world wide obsession of Hello Kitty is cringe worthy.

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This sentiment probably made more sense back when the interview was done (2001, over 15 years ago) because the kind of edgier, attitude-driven stuff was still doing pretty well back then. Even Mario's marketing started taking that angle in some respects - it was a sign of the times, as it were. Modern Sonic's redesign did help the franchise in the throes of the earlier noughties, sure.

 

But now? Ironically I'd say that 90's attitude being the square focus would date him more than the original 'cutesy' design ever would. Classic Sonic is decidedly timeless because he's not just designed around being edgy, he can cover a range of styles and personality in a way I honestly don't think Modern did back then. Using an interview held in a different marketing climate as evidence that's how Sonic should be today doesn't hold to me. 

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3 minutes ago, Ashwalking Bat said:

That actually makes sense. Sonic being too cute would badly kill off any chance of the series going longer than it has. I was always a fan of the Adventure games and I do enjoy the reworking of Sonic as a character. Though the first Adventure has some odd and pretty funny voice acting foepaws. Also oddly loud music drowning out dialog. But outside some issue on the tech level, it was a ambitious step in the right direction. It's just a shame that things have still gone down hill for the series regardless.

Cuteness can only carry a character so far before it becomes boring. Though that maybe a different story if cuteness was one of the aspects of a character. Though the world wide obsession of Hello Kitty is cringe worthy.

Yeah some characters have to be cute like Cream, the Chao, Amy... and some not like Sonic, Shadow, Knuckles, Vector... and some scary like Chaos, Biolizard...

This creates diversity.

Not everything has to be cute and colorful like some people want everything to be classic!

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It was the "bad boy" rebellious attitude of Sonic that made me gravitate towards him many years ago... 

But now this becomes funny with the cutesy Classic Sonic that Sonic Team have been doing. In Mania and Mania Adventures, he's cool, cocky and takes no shit. In Gens and Forces, he becomes this cutesy character that doesn't seem like Sonic at all, and ends up kinda forgettable as a character.

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10 minutes ago, Polkadi said:

It was the "bad boy" rebellious attitude of Sonic that made me gravitate towards him many years ago... 

But now this becomes funny with the cutesy Classic Sonic that Sonic Team have been doing. In Mania and Mania Adventures, he's cool, cocky and takes no shit. In Gens and Forces, he becomes this cutesy character that doesn't seem like Sonic at all, and ends up kinda forgettable as a character.

Yeah in Generations and Forces, Classic Sonic is bland and has no personality.

But in Mania Adventures, he takes no shit from Eggman, he punishes his tentative of scheme. (kinda like in Sonic CD he doesnt let Eggman go away, and in at the ending of Sonic story in SA1 he doesnt let Eggman go away either).

In Mega Drive Comic Classic Sonic also has a great portrayal.

12 minutes ago, Tracker_TD said:

This sentiment probably made more sense back when the interview was done (2001, over 15 years ago) because the kind of edgier, attitude-driven stuff was still doing pretty well back then. Even Mario's marketing started taking that angle in some respects - it was a sign of the times, as it were. Modern Sonic's redesign did help the franchise in the throes of the earlier noughties, sure.

 

But now? Ironically I'd say that 90's attitude being the square focus would date him more than the original 'cutesy' design ever would. Classic Sonic is decidedly timeless because he's not just designed around being edgy, he can cover a range of styles and personality in a way I honestly don't think Modern did back then. Using an interview held in a different marketing climate as evidence that's how Sonic should be today doesn't hold to me. 

Modern Sonic (and Classic in Archie) can cover much more emotions in my opinion. The Archie Comic series is proof.

The classic OVA movie was pretty dark, and shown Sonic in more emotions than the Neo-Classic Sonic of today. The only cute thing in that movie was perhaps the owl :P

 

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8 minutes ago, Marco9966 said:

Yeah in Generations and Forces, Classic Sonic is bland and has no personality.

But in Mania Adventures, he takes no shit from Eggman, he punishes his tentative of scheme. (kinda like in Sonic CD he doesnt let Eggman go away, and in at the ending of Sonic story in SA1 he doesnt let Eggman go away either).

In Mega Drive Comic Classic Sonic also has a great portrayal.

Modern Sonic (and Classic in Archie) can cover much more emotions in my opinion. The Archie Comic series is proof.

 

I mean if you compare a largely narrative driven set of materials to a set of narrative-light games, yeah, I'd expect that

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19 minutes ago, A crocodile said:

This is correct, and just a look at the concept art for Sonic 1 solidifies this. 

S1concept-WaterArt.jpg

He looks rough, confident, and full of himself. He takes no bullshit. 

But this just means that Sonic was meant to be a little rougher in characterization, and we don't know the extent originally planned. I don't think they were intending something like a StC style Sonic for the main series. That's about it. This doesn't really implicate a darker, grittier series at all. 

The OVA actually portrays Sonic in this light to an extent. I'm pretty sure Naka and Oshima supervised the OVA during production, so if you want to know what they meant by a not cutesy Sonic, you can think of the "shut up, Tails!!" Sonic we got in the OVA. 

Yeah, I can see that. Sonic in the OVA was still a bad ass, considering everything in the movie. Though I forgot how annoying Tails' voice was. Holy hell!

15 minutes ago, Marco9966 said:

Yeah some characters have to be cute like Cream, the Chao, Amy... and some not like Sonic, Shadow, Knuckles, Vector... and some scary like Chaos, Biolizard...

This creates diversity.

Not everything has to be cute and colorful like some people want everything to be classic!

Yeah, very true. At least with that kind of diversity. It allows for more unique characters and differing personalities to go with it. Hell, I wouldn't like some of the Modern Sonic characters if they stuck to the cute stuff strictly. I suppose that's also why I had a bit of an issue with Team Rose in Heroes. It was too cutesy for me. I appreciated the easier to beat levels though.

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I beg to differ with Naka, given how it was that very particular direction that they took the franchise, trying to turn it into a hybrid between DBZ and Final Fantasy to appeal to a juvenile audience that desire something more "mature", that hurt the image of the franchise... And not to mention how it was around that era that people started creating the typical self-insert, wish-fulfillment OC's that flooded DA.

Naka IMO isn't exactly someone whose words I would take as word of god, since I believe some of his decisions were misguided and just because he co-created the franchise, that doesn't mean that his word alone should have more weight than more sound arguments from the audience.

IMO, there was no need to completely twist the world of the Sonic franchise to accomodate the more edgy stuff that came starting with SA2, since Sonic himself was a character with some rough edges in terms of his personality who happened to inhabit a very colorful and vibrant world filled with cute designs, which I think created a very interesting and appealing contrast with the action aspect brought by Eggman and his armies of robots. People surprisingly happen to like when characters with cute looking designs engage in some serious action,,and think that the idea of having cute design making things less badass to be pretty absurd... Just imagine if something like the Powerpuff Girls were to be changed  from their cutesy designs into something that is visually more realistic and dark. It would loose a lot of what made the concept interesting in the first place,just like how Sonic lost so much of it's charm when it went from a vibrant and colorful world meant to be fun and exciting, to a more realistic one with it's so called more complex and "mature" take.

 

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The problem is that they made Modern Sonic a cringey Ryan Reynolds wannabe (Ryan Reynolds is great at sarcasm, but Modern Sonic tries too hard!)

Modern Sonic wasn't like that in adventure era! His jokes helped him in his dominance, not make him look like a jerk!

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8 minutes ago, Skull Leader said:

And not to mention how it was around that era that people started creating the typical self-insert, wish-fulfillment OC's that flooded DA.

I mean, I became a fan after seeing these communities, at first I thought SA1 was great, but then I surfed the internet and saw the fan dedication, and I knew Sonic was awesome.

6 minutes ago, Tracker_TD said:

Actually Oshima tried to do a redesign for Sonic Adventure and showed to Uekawa, he made Sonic like tall muscular guy, perhaps more exagerated and adult-like than Boom!

Uekawa said that if he took this design and continued it, the fans would kill him!

You should be glad that the ACTUAL DESIGNER OF SONIC didn't go too far with the redesign and let Uekawa do only a slight redesign with green eyes!

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7 minutes ago, Marco9966 said:

I mean, I became a fan after seeing these communities, at first I thought SA1 was great, but then I surfed the internet and saw the fan dedication, and I knew Sonic was awesome.

Actually Oshima tried to do a redesign for Sonic Adventure and showed to Uekawa, he made Sonic like tall muscular guy, perhaps more exagerated and adult-like than Boom!

Uekawa said that if he took this design and continued it, the fans would kill him!

You should be glad that the ORIGINAL DESIGNER OF SONIC didn't go too far with the redesign and let Uekawa do only a slight redesign with green eyes!

Uh... huh?

he5JrGd.png

Actually, this was amongst Ohshima's proposed redesigns. Essentially, a slightly tweaked Classic Sonic. I know this because I asked the damn guy. It was accidentally used in the SEGA title SpikeOut. Not necessarily the only one proposed, but I've literally never heard of whatever you just pulled up.

Uekawa's style is still very obviously done with the involvement of Ohshima, hence the far more noodly, exaggerated style common with many of Ohshima's works. It's likely why Uekawa's own style has become more restrained in the years since Ohshima's left SEGA. 

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Here:

http://www.sega-mag.com/Interview+++Les+25+ans+de+Sonic+par+ses+createurs,+part+3-news-9045.htm

Naoto Ōshima : Au début, j'ai passé un croquis « fais quelque chose dans ce genre », il ressemblait à un père qui prenait la pose en montrant ses muscles et ses épines avaient poussé, c’était brutal, Uekawa a eu comme réaction « si je fais ça les fans vont me tuer » (rire).

Translation: At first, I gave him a sketch "do something like that", he looked like a father who striked a pose while showing his muscles and his thorns had grown, it was brutal, Uekawa was like "If I do that, the fans will kill me" (laugh).

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11 minutes ago, Skull Leader said:

I beg to differ with Naka, given how it was that very particular direction that they took the franchise, trying to turn it into a hybrid between DBZ and Final Fantasy to appeal to a juvenile audience that desire something more "mature", that hurt the image of the franchise... And not to mention how it was around that era that people started creating the typical self-insert, wish-fulfillment OC's that flooded DA.

Naka IMO isn't exactly someone whose words I would take as word of god, since I believe some of his decisions were misguided and just because he co-created the franchise, that doesn't mean that his word alone should have more weight than more sound arguments from the audience.

IMO, there was no need to completely twist the world of the Sonic franchise to accomodate the more edgy stuff that came starting with SA2, since Sonic himself was a character with some rough edges in terms of his personality who happened to inhabit a very colorful and vibrant world filled with cute designs, which I think created a very interesting and appealing contrast with the action aspect brought by Eggman and his armies of robots. People surprisingly happen to like when characters with cute looking designs engage in some serious action,,and think that the idea of having cute design making things less badass to be pretty absurd... Just imagine if something like the Powerpuff Girls were to be changed  from their cutesy designs into something that is visually more realistic and dark. It would loose a lot of what made the concept interesting in the first place,just like how Sonic lost so much of it's charm when it went from a vibrant and colorful world meant to be fun and exciting, to a more realistic one with it's so called more complex and "mature" take.

Fair enough. If a character is inherently suppose to be cute, then changing that character to be more serious or cocky would destroy that character. Though Sonic was never meant to be cute. At least not to a level that would destroy any instance of him being a serious character. Sonic inherently is meant to be brash, cocky and a light-hearted sort. Not too dark that it'll make him a edgelord and not too cute to where you wanna puke from it. It's a good balance that allows for him to remain interesting and in some way, his own character.

The thing is, the original Powerpuff Girls could pull off being cute but violent because that cuteness is meant to off put how sadistic they are as heroes, and in the reverse with avoiding cuteness overload.

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1 minute ago, Marco9966 said:

Here:

http://www.sega-mag.com/Interview+++Les+25+ans+de+Sonic+par+ses+createurs,+part+3-news-9045.htm

Naoto Ōshima : Au début, j'ai passé un croquis « fais quelque chose dans ce genre », il ressemblait à un père qui prenait la pose en montrant ses muscles et ses épines avaient poussé, c’était brutal, Uekawa a eu comme réaction « si je fais ça les fans vont me tuer » (rire).

Translation: At first, I gave him a sketch "do something like that", he looked like a father who striked a pose while showing his muscles and his thorns grew, it was brutal, Uekawa was like "If I do that, the fans will kill me" (laugh).

I see.

Even then though - these kinds of large deviations are normal within the design process. You do a small change, a medium tweak, and a large overhaul, and work in those parameters. It's a sensible way to draw up concepts, even if most of them go unused.

I don't see how this should somehow invalidate Ohshima's opinion though. Again, I'd trust the original designer of the character over Naka. Particularly with Naka's own imperfections in mind.

Take in mind the time Peter Moore, former SEGA CEO, conducted a study that found SEGA's brand presence was weakening against its competition (ironically during the DC era you trumpet so much):

"I said, 'We need to be incredibly aware of the challenges we face as a brand at Sega,' you know, and so I play the video. Yuji Naka, Naka-san, maker of Sonic, is in the room. Now, he and I have a love/hate relationship on a good day. And we show him this, and it's subtitled in Japanese, and when it comes to that piece he just [slams his hand on the table], 'This is ridiculous. You have made them say this. Sega is the great brand, nobody would ever say this, you have falsified!' He just gets in my face. So I said to the translator, 'Tell him to fuck off.' And the poor guy looks at me and says, 'There's no expression in Japanese.' I said, 'I know there is.' And that was it. That was the last time I ever set foot in there," Moore explains.

I'm not suggesting Naka's arrogance here invalidates his thoughts on Sonic, but likewise Ohshima doing his job and proposing designs doesn't invalidate his either.

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1 minute ago, Ashwalking Bat said:

Fair enough. If a character is inherently suppose to be cute, then changing that character to be more serious or cocky would destroy that character. Though Sonic was never meant to be cute. At least not to a level that would destroy any instance of him being a serious character. Sonic inherently is meant to be brash, cocky and a light-hearted sort. Not too dark that it'll make him a edgelord and not too cute to where you wanna puke from it. It's a good balance that allows for him to remain interesting and in some way, his own character.

The thing is, the original Powerpuff Girls could pull off being cute but violent because that cuteness is meant to off put how sadistic they are as heroes, and in the reverse with avoiding cuteness overload.

True!

The creators were taking inspiration from american presidents and from toei animes.

Where's the cuteness supposed to come from??

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2 minutes ago, Marco9966 said:

True!

The creators were taking inspiration from american presidents and from toei animes.

Where's the cuteness supposed to come from??

...his design inspirations from the likes of Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat? They literally had a Sonic cuddly toy made for the initial pitch.

And on the topic of Toei animes...

Image result for dr slump anime

Sonic lifted a couple of bits from Dr Slump, which is pretty dang cutesy if you ask me. 

This isn't to say Sonic wasn't designed with attitude in mind, but he was more than his attitude. Modern Sonic arguably wasn't. 

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8 minutes ago, Tracker_TD said:

I see.

Even then though - these kinds of large deviations are normal within the design process. You do a small change, a medium tweak, and a large overhaul, and work in those parameters. It's a sensible way to draw up concepts, even if most of them go unused.

I don't see how this should somehow invalidate Ohshima's opinion though. Again, I'd trust the original designer of the character over Naka. Particularly with Naka's own imperfections in mind.

Take in mind the time Peter Moore, former SEGA CEO, conducted a study that found SEGA's brand presence was weakening against its competition (ironically during the DC era you trumpet so much):

"I said, 'We need to be incredibly aware of the challenges we face as a brand at Sega,' you know, and so I play the video. Yuji Naka, Naka-san, maker of Sonic, is in the room. Now, he and I have a love/hate relationship on a good day. And we show him this, and it's subtitled in Japanese, and when it comes to that piece he just [slams his hand on the table], 'This is ridiculous. You have made them say this. Sega is the great brand, nobody would ever say this, you have falsified!' He just gets in my face. So I said to the translator, 'Tell him to fuck off.' And the poor guy looks at me and says, 'There's no expression in Japanese.' I said, 'I know there is.' And that was it. That was the last time I ever set foot in there," Moore explains.

I'm not suggesting Naka's arrogance here invalidates his thoughts on Sonic, but likewise Ohshima doing his job and proposing designs doesn't invalidate his either.

I'm no way trying to invalidate Oshima.

On the contrary, it's to further prove that Sonic is not supposed to be kiddie-cutesy, reinforcing my claims with the original designer's words.

If anything, I validate Oshima to be willing to go to a new direction and experiment (though not to an extreme extent thanks to Uekawa).

Not like today's SEGA where they shove Classic Sonic and Classic zones into everything for nostalgia pandering to the classisists.

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Just now, Marco9966 said:

Not like today's SEGA where they shove Classi Sonic and Classic zones into everything to for nostalgia pandering to the classisists.

I can't deny that with something like Forces there's an element of nostalgia pandering to it, but in the case of Mania and the like... you're aware people, even outside the fanbase, have been clamouring for a new Classic title for ages? Many of them with the Classic design in tow, given it's considered pretty dang timeless? 

Using Classic Sonic in of itself isn't nostalgia pandering. Why not use a really, really good set of designs and aesthetics, especially when the attached gameplay is considered the best in the series? If using Classic Sonic alone is enough to garner the label of 'pandering to Classisists', would the DC-era revival you yearn for not just be the same thing but based on the nostalgia of those born a couple years later?  

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On 5/19/2018 at 2:06 AM, Tracker_TD said:

would the DC-era revival you yearn for not just be the same thing but based on the nostalgia of those born a couple years later?  

Yes, I liked Mania, but I would love a new SA style game.

Classic fanboys got what they want.

Adventure era fanboys deserve something too, because they're also a huge part of the fandom. (people love Shadow, Blaze, the Chaotix... but these characters are just used as decoration in the modern games to make place for Sonic's jokes. They just can't be well developed in a cutie world a-la Generations-Colors-Lost World, although Forces is a tiny step to the right direction).

That's why I'd like a 3rd timeline with DC era vibes and stories.

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