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Is there any way for Infinite's backstory to have worked?


ShadowSJG
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I talked to Ian Flynn a while back and he pointed out that Infinite's motivation does seem understandable. I mean, his entire squad was defeated and it appears he suffered his first true humiliating defeat. What follows up was silly but his motive doesn't seem to silly or unrealistic. Is there any way this could have been executed better?

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Honestly, I didn't think Infinite's backstory was all that bad.

He was shown a vision of a world in the process of change by the Phantom Ruby(which convinced him to cease his attack on Eggman in favor of accepting his offer to help him purely to see this through), had his entire squad taken out(with the ambiguous, but fairly believable implication they're dead), was curbstombed and possibly seriously injured by Shadow, allowed himself to be used as a living test subject for the most stabilized Phantom Ruby copy(?), cast aside his former self as a fearful weakling(putting on a mask to further symbolize it), and at one point mentioned his goal to make the world submit to the Phantom Ruby's power.

He clearly wasn't all there halfway through that and might have been even more corrupted afterwards.

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Infinite is a character who's overcompensating with his own weakness with a power that gives him the illusion of strength over actually getting it the hard way. It's a pretty basic arc that writes itself imo. Ian could have probably spun it into something interesting if he adapted the game

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Infinite's backstory practically wrote itself. He was apart of a band of mercenaries and was the leader of it from what we know. A smart writer would've had Shadow's story be more than 3 levels and show Infinite interacting with his squad, and letting us get an idea of how they interact. Show their loyalty and their bond, because more importantly, when they're taken down, this gives Infinite a reason to be so pissed off. He was too weak to save those he cared about. His leadership and skills weren't enough to save them. He just wants revenge now by proving he's strong enough to protect those he cares about. That's the basic way it could've worked.

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As Blue Blood said, showing it in-game would be a first. Second, they shouldn't have went with the "Waahhh Shadow called me weak wahhhh" crybaby shit. The best I can think of is Shadow defeating Infinite, Infinite accepting that he took the L, and striving to surpass Shadow and working towards it rather than throwing a tantrum like a 5 year old. Also, they shouldn't have made him into this "You're not worth killing, so I'll let you live" character. I personally believe he should be this sort of honor driven villain (if you could say that for any villains) who wants a challenge and sometimes critiques his foes after defeating them.

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5 minutes ago, Mountaindewandsprite said:

 Second, they shouldn't have went with the "Waahhh Shadow called me weak wahhhh" crybaby shit. 

Also, they shouldn't have made him into this "You're not worth killing, so I'll let you live" character. 

Actually, that's probably the aspect about his backstory that really synched up and worked the best.

6 minutes ago, Mountaindewandsprite said:

 I personally believe he should be this sort of honor driven villain (if you could say that for any villains) who wants a challenge and sometimes critiques his foes after defeating them.

Hm. Kinda makes me think of Zavok or Zik, for some reason.

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I'm actually fairly okay with Infinite's backstory as is. Sure it could have been presented better - but it actually makes sense for the franchise.

Before his encounter with Shadow, Jackal Squads leader had what appeared to be an ego that was only rivaled in size by Sonic, Shadow and Jet. He embraced his title as the Ultimate, and was so sure of his power that he was willing and attempted to take down Shadow the Hedgehog in solo combat, even after the former wiped out his entire squad.

No villain on that planet should have any misconceptions about how powerful characters like Sonic and Shadow are. If Infinite really thought he had a chance - dude must have really thought of himself on a pedestal. Of course, that made the loss hit home even harder.

More importantly, he felt fear. He was shaking. That broke his ego. That broke him. So he went the logical bad guy route and did whatever he could to make sure it would never happen again. He covered up his weakness with a mask, subjected his body to experimentation and once he got the power he absolutely relished in delivering the fear he ran and hid from onto others. There were several times in the story where that was all he cared about. To make others feel that fear.

 

I think that works very well and I'd love to see Infinite stick around with a lesser Phantom Ruby prototype as a henchman like character.

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I have to agree with those who are saying Infinite's backstory was alright. Things must have been going pretty well for Jackal Squad if the guy who led it referred to himself as the Ultimate Mercenary. Maybe a few bumps here and there, but nothing too bad.

As such, I can believe that suffering such a crushing loss to Shadow-- in both losing his squadmates who he'd probably known for a long time and getting his ass handed to him on a silver platter-- would be a serious blow to him, because he's so unused to being dealt a catastrophic failure like this. Being called "weak" was only the straw that broke the camel's back.

But hey, that's what happens when you're overconfident to the point that you think you and your squad can take on a hedgehog with the title of "Ultimate Life Form". Not Mercenary-- Life Form.

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Which backstory? Because I don't think his comic backstory really jives with his Episode Shadow backstory, and neither seems to have had any influence on the main game's story.

In spite of how mockworthy it ended up being, I think the Episode Shadow/"I'm not weak" angle would have been the most interesting one to pursue. Like Wraith said, it would play pretty naturally with his illusion-based powers being false strength, and his over-the-top edgy bravado would be compensation for his fears and lack of actual strength. Instead of being beaten and just disappearing from the story I can imagine him having a breakdown when he's exposed as a weakling (maybe the Infinite we see throughout the game is purely a projection and when we find his actual body he's more obviously frail, maybe on life support or something), maybe he goes full monster with his powers running wild or maybe Eggman steps in and takes full control once Infinite's outlived his usefulness, there's a few directions they could take it. Regardless, it's not just an issue of his backstory, but his entire character and story would need to be rewritten around...well, any kind of coherent idea, if he was going to actually work.

Also not explicitly backstory related but it's a real missed opportunity that they didn't draw any parallels between him and the avatar character. He turned out so much like a cliched edgy fan character apparently by accident; if they had actually been aware of that and willing to play into it they could've tied the game's ideas together more meaningfully. Something like Infinite being the selfish RPer with his god-mode character always twisting things to focus on him, with the player/avatar being more of a team player, contributing to the world without trying to dominate it, I don't know.

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Oh yeah, absolutely. I honestly think if there was just MORE shown in the actual game via cutscenes and maybe even some levels, showing him with his squad before everything went down and a much longer and more interesting battle with Shadow, and then showing him stewing or mentally breaking over being called weak and turning to Eggman and the Phantom Ruby to become strong... in my opinion, that's all really good stuff that would work just fine for a backstory. I think the only problem was that the game was too short and they didn't SHOW any of that - his backstory just needed MORE added onto it, and it would've been just fine. That's how I see it anyway.

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1 minute ago, Diogenes said:

Instead of being beaten and just disappearing from the story I can imagine him having a breakdown when he's exposed as a weakling (maybe the Infinite we see throughout the game is purely a projection and when we find his actual body he's more obviously frail, maybe on life support or something), maybe he goes full monster with his powers running wild or maybe Eggman steps in and takes full control once Infinite's outlived his usefulness, there's a few directions they could take it.

Yeah, I remember Lewis from Brainscratchcomms suggesting that 3rd Phase of the Mega Death Egg Robo may have actually been what was left of Infinite taking over.

2 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

 

Also not explicitly backstory related but it's a real missed opportunity that they didn't draw any parallels between him and the avatar character. He turned out so much like a cliched edgy fan character apparently by accident; if they had actually been aware of that and willing to play into it they could've tied the game's ideas together more meaningfully. Something like Infinite being the selfish RPer with his god-mode character always twisting things to focus on him, with the player/avatar being more of a team player, contributing to the world without trying to dominate it, I don't know.

That did seem to be the common point going into the game.

Infinite even has a Resistance styled scarf around his neck if you look closely.

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I mean, it's like asking if it's possible to write good.

The concept behind Infinite is interesting. 

Just like the concept behind Dr. Eggman having finally taken over the world, is interesting.

Just like a ton of the concepts and ideas they come up with are interesting.

Generating interest is simple, it's the follow-through that they struggle with. I knew Forces was gonna be no Infinity War but... man I wish it was. 

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Infinite actually had a backstory? The way the game presented him was so inconsistent that it was hard to tell what they even wanted to do with him. Some of the dialogue hinted at him being a robot, but no he's not. Some of the Mobians trapped in Eggman's base hint at him being part of a long line of experiments, but he's not. He apparently just slapped on the Phantom Ruby and mask and became Infinite.

 

Actually having a definitive backstory in mind for him would be a great start.

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41 minutes ago, DreamSaturn said:

Infinite actually had a backstory? The way the game presented him was so inconsistent that it was hard to tell what they even wanted to do with him. Some of the dialogue hinted at him being a robot, but no he's not. Some of the Mobians trapped in Eggman's base hint at him being part of a long line of experiments, but he's not. He apparently just slapped on the Phantom Ruby and mask and became Infinite.

 

Actually having a definitive backstory in mind for him would be a great start.

Going from the early script leak that happened some months ago, Infinite was apparently meant to be Eggman's bioweapon rather than some merc who got whooped by Shadow (with the Pnatom Ruby instead the Valtron which Eggman apparently built himself). This addresses the intro with Infinite in the test tube, captured anthros, and Infinite being said to have been made by Eggman.

Anyway, I'll veto Infinite's current backstory since:

A. It doesn't come up in-game outside of DLC and now actually clashes with in-game information.

B. It brings in tangents on Infinite's character that don't go anywhere.

C. It really just comes off as a way to force Shadow into being more connected to the plot by whooping Infinite.

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Yes yes and yes.

In fact he could have been a great character in the right hands and in the right scenario.

Hes kind of the opposite of Shadow, while shadow has a rather crappy story as well its over convoluted nature is its biggest crime where Infininte is let down by such a underpeforming writing staff.

They are two sides of the same coin, a coin made out of fecal matter and bile.

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Ok so there are good points in this thread I would like to comment one. 

1) They should probably give him a back story? The back story that he has, has no connection to his character whatsoever. It was thrown on at the last minute and doesn't really effect his character at all and possibly makes it worse, but his character is so inconsistent I'm not sure I can really suggest that

2) 

5 hours ago, DabigRG said:

(with the ambiguous, but fairly believable implication they're dead)

No its not a believable implication, because if you are saying shadow killed them. Well , shadow... doesn't do that. I mean shadow will kill people, he doesn't kill indiscriminately, actually to be honest unless you are a literal super villain he actively avoids it . It is not , in fact a believable implication. The real implication is very simply those characters much like infnite's entire backstory exists in an addon state and is not referenced outside of that, and they just... don't exist outside of that. No , thone cared to do anything with them/ they were added to late to do anything with them, thus here we are. Infnite a character who seemed to care about his squad even in shadows backstory literally says nothing about them. They don't exist outside of that comic. That's it. 

This leads me to my larger point: There are a lot of plot points people are trying to suggest there are implications, there aren't any. This story isn't complicated enough or competent enough to have implications. Its just bad, its a bad fucking story full of holes held together by duct tape.

3)

23 minutes ago, Almar said:

Going from the early script leak that happened some months ago, Infinite was apparently meant to be Eggman's bioweapon rather than some merc who got whooped by Shadow (with the Pnatom Ruby instead the Valtron which Eggman apparently built himself). This addresses the intro with Infinite in the test tube, captured anthros, and Infinite being said to have been made by Eggman.

Anyway, I'll veto Infinite's current backstory since:

A. It doesn't come up in-game outside of DLC and now actually clashes with in-game information.

B. It brings in tangents on Infinite's character that don't go anywhere.

C. It really just comes off as a way to force Shadow into being more connected to the plot by whooping Infinite.

I think the reason they did this is , well I think someone knew that having a character who would by plot points be directly compared the one of the most popular characters in the entire franchise on that level would be awful for that character. They have tried before to this , and those characters not only end up no where near as popular as the character they are aping , are actively made fun of for being that. The characters i'm mentioning are silver and mephilies, their reference of origin being shadow. 

Someone realized this was a really bad idea, the game that they wanted to make wasn't going to be made anyway, and with out any context it would make that story seem even more terrible just making sonic team look like they are out of ideas. And even in the changed backstory he's shit on, imagine if he was a strait rip off of another character, shit would be bad. Not to mention it would be , again trying to take the uniqueness away from one character to translate it to a completely unrelated character and...well it doesn't seem to work in sonic...ever. 

I think its why we got the back story we got, amonst other reasons we might not be privy to at the moment. The shadow backstory outside of the " ultimate mercenary " reference basically seperates him in both theme and tone from shadow. And while poorly executed it makes him a lot more unique that " I was also made in a tube, and i'm also edgy " 

 

4 hours ago, Sega DogTagz said:

No villain on that planet should have any misconceptions about how powerful characters like Sonic and Shadow are. If Infinite really thought he had a chance - dude must have really thought of himself on a pedestal. Of course, that made the loss hit home even harder.

Here's the thing, they shouldn't have misconceptions on who sonic is. Having misconceptions on who shadow is , is actually one of the most sensible things this story does. Not only is sonic a character who's just, more of an outgoing guy even in his feats of heroism. Shadow ...primary doesn't operate on sonic's planet, Shadow's game takes place on human world, sonic 06 takes place on human world. Heroes could take place in animal world but you are never around anyone outside of the  3 hero teams. 

So that's actually a thing that would happen and is interesting, but like the concept of infnite being a merc and having a merc team, nothing is done with it. Nothing is being done with in the comics either, the comic seems to be avoiding shadow even meeting the people on the planet it seems. 

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17 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

They should probably give him a back story? The back story that he has, has no connection to his character whatsoever. It was thrown on at the last minute and doesn't really effect his character at all and possibly makes it worse, but his character is so inconsistent I'm not sure I can really suggest that

Actually in terms of backstory Infinite isnt too terrible as really having a villain with a basic backstory in on itself is not the issue.

Heck we have several great villains who really dont have a big huge backstory but stand out for being great at their villainy.

Joker, Loki, Palpaltine (unless you count Legends in star wars), The Borg, Ming the Merciless.

All are very basic if you try to look up story in canon but all are great in their own way.

 

Just because you have a basic backstory doesn't make it a bad character.

 

And sometimes going too complex can ruin things for some people (Darth Vader, Shadow, Michel Myers in Halloween VI and in the Rob Zombie remake)

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The pieces were there but ultimately fell apart because part of Infinite's backstory was in the form of a comic & the other as a cutscene in DLC.


Personally I like what we do know already about Infinite (He was a thief, wanted to steal Eggman's tech, was caught, joined Eggman, lost to Shadow, wanted to be powerful, was corrupted by the Phantom Ruby)


I would just change HOW these elements were portrayed. No comic. No DLC. Put ALL of these details in the main game.


Have the game start not from Sonic's perspective, but Infinite's. Game opens with a cutscene where Infinite is running through a wooded area, narrating who he is. He stops behind a tree and looks with binoculars at Eggman's lair.


'Word on the street is, the Doctor's cooking up some new kind of tech powered by a really rare energy source.. Something like that could bring in big bucks on the black market..'


First stage. You are unmasked Infinite in Eggman's lair. (Maybe to give it more of a cinematic effect, have the credits appear onscreen during gameplay, akin to 'Metal Gear Solid') anyway, clear the stage. Cutscene.


Infinite finds the Phantom Ruby. Alarms blare, Doors slam shut, locking him in. Eggman yells over the intercom 'Who are you!?' then comments that usually his intruders are blue and a lot spikier than him. Infinite seems unphased. Metal Sonic appears. Eggman tells Metal Sonic to destroy the intruder. Boss battle.


Cutscene. After defeating Metal, Eggman comments that only one other person has been able to do that. He offers Infinite a job that he promises will be far more rewarding than whatever it is Infinite is seeking. Exposition by Eggman that Infinite seems to be a loner. He needs a partner. Or he can spend the rest of his days as a worthless thief, scraping together whatever dimes he can find. Alone. Infinite agrees.


Eggman finishes work on the Phantom Ruby. Sonic appears outside Eggman's base. Eggman sends Infinite out to stop Sonic. He loses. Infinite then promises the Doctor he won't fail again. Let him test out the Ruby's power. He can destroy Sonic once and for all. Eggman agrees and sends his robots out to Sunset Heights as a trap to lure Sonic. Infinite dons the mask..


Title 'SONIC FORCES' appears onscreen. You play as Sonic in Green Hill now, game goes on as normal.


In the end, as Sonic fights Infinite, a cutscene has the Avatar fire his Wispon at Infinite, breaking the mask to pieces. Sonic remembers defeating him at the beginning of the game. No 'POWER OF FRIENDSHIP' speech.


Instead of Infinite just whooshing away, Eggman appears, scolds Infinite for his failure, and says he could accomplish more with the Ruby than Infinite ever could. A claw extends from the Eggmobile, ripping the Phantom Ruby out of Infinite's chest, causing him to disintergrate into pixels. Infinite is dead. Sonic is furious. Game continues on as normal, Eggman final battle.

 

Cutscene shows Eggman in the Death Egg Robot, ready to kill Sonic & the Avatar. From the cockpit, all the computer screens suddenly turn pink. Infinite now lives inside of the Ruby, which is powering Eggman's robot. Infinite shuts the robot down from the inside, yelling to Sonic & the Avatar to attack. TOGETHER WE CAN SHOW THE WORLD WHAT WE CAN DOOOOOO--


Sonic & the Avatar defeat the robot, a pink orb surrounds the robot, pulling Eggman and the robot in with it. Imperial Tower collapses while Sonic & the Avatar run for it.


Ending goes on as normal, with Sonic feeling sad for Infinite. Tails wonders what happened to Eggman. Sonic doesn't seem bothered, saying they'll probably see him again. 


Post credits scene shows a close-up of the Phantom Ruby in the sand of a desert. The ruby briefly glows.

 

 

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53 minutes ago, MadmanRB said:

Actually in terms of backstory Infinite isnt too terrible as really having a villain with a basic backstory in on itself is not the issue.

Heck we have several great villains who really dont have a big huge backstory but stand out for being great at their villainy.

Joker, Loki, Palpaltine (unless you count Legends in star wars), The Borg, Ming the Merciless.

All are very basic if you try to look up story in canon but all are great in their own way.

One, Loki has a backstory, he actually has several. Depending on when you are reading, same with the joker. Actually uh one of the most well regarded batman stories of all time is gives him a backstory. Some of the most famous an well regarded batman stories actually give him a back story. Some more intracate than others, and Jokers and Loki's get pretty intricate. If you wanna talk about Nth metal. 

53 minutes ago, MadmanRB said:

 

Just because you have a basic backstory doesn't make it a bad character.

I never said that, but infinite has NO backstory. He doesn't have motivation, he just exists and that's actually bad

53 minutes ago, MadmanRB said:

And sometimes going too complex can ruin things for some people (Darth Vader, Shadow, Michel Myers in Halloween VI and in the Rob Zombie remake)

It could ruin it for some people, but shadow is still liked so...I mean if it works it works. And Darth Vader's backstory wasn't that it was too complicate its that george lucas is actually bad at story telling and other people had been and are giving vader more interesting background in supplementry material 

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I actually really like the version of Infinite we got in Sonic Forces, the main reason I think his portrayal doesn't seem focused is because the narrative of the game as a whole is unfocused. In another game, the story would have been about how Sonic inspires the Avatar to be a hero and makes Infinite's god complex unravel into the temper tantrum villain he is at his core. But when the focus shifts between so many events and characters; Modern Sonic, Classic Sonic, the Avatar, the Resistance, Shadow, Infinite, Eggman, the villains sub plot, etc. Infinite just doesn't get to be the center of attention he would need for us to see any real arc for him like we do in most Modern Sonic stories. So yeah, not really change any of Infinite's backstory, just rearrange the narrative to make it clear who the story's about.

All that said, I really don't care about his backstory, especially going forward. I like how he bounces off other characters and just want to see him act as Eggman's arrogant toady if I'm lucky enough to have him stick around.

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...did I stepped into an alternative universe? Because I don't remember people being that generous towards the Infinite year ago.

And just to be clear, I thought the guy had potential before it was cool...

He had a neat design, voice, song, backstory, an arc with Avatar. The only thing missing was in-game dialogue doing anything with his personality other than 'boastful jerk'.

Small thing I liked about him was his body language. SA2 Shadow had his fantastic showing off (the first appearance in both stories, talking about Eclipse cannon), Mephiles has this creepy-mysterious atmosphere (meeting with Shadow, Silver, killing Sonic. Really, any second he was on screen). And Infinite had few moments to, like when taunts Avatar or messes with his stage.

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8 hours ago, Shadowlax said:

One, Loki has a backstory, he actually has several. Depending on when you are reading, same with the joker. Actually uh one of the most well regarded batman stories of all time is gives him a backstory. Some of the most famous an well regarded batman stories actually give him a back story. Some more intracate than others, and Jokers and Loki's get pretty intricate. If you wanna talk about Nth metal. 

I actually dont take the killing joke as the official origin of the Joker as even Alan Moore said it was speculation and that by all counts the killing joke may be an elseworlds story.

As for Loki eh again it depends on who you ask.

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