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How would you fix Sonic's lore, gameplay, narrative, and characters?

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In Shadow's Game, maybe add a few more cutscenes to account for a few things that get brushed over by either the progressing story or by the levels' setup themselves:

  • Amy and later Cream & Cheese's presence in the Cryptic Castle
  • Maria helping Shadow in one of the Ark levels(fuck if I can tell em apart)
  • The mission where Shadow and Maria search for Gerald
  • Omega's take on the Black Arms
  • Why the heck Commander Tower is the Ark before Cosmic Fall
  • Knuckles being on the Black Comet
  • How the Black Arms and Rouge get inside GUN's servers
  • How Prison Island is still somewhat in tact
  • Omochoa

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So based on a tangential prompt I don't really remember from the IDW thread, I thought of a significant change for 06's story. 

I don't remember the exact number and it's been quite a few years since I felt the need to go watch it's cutscenes, but it probably would've helped if the amount of times Elise was abducted was about half and/or only three or at most four times. 

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30 minutes ago, DabigRG said:

I don't remember the exact number and it's been quite a few years since I felt the need to go watch it's cutscenes, but it probably would've helped if the amount of times Elise was abducted was about half and/or only three or at most four times. 

Its hard to get a concrete number because it depends on how you want to define "abducted".

On paper it looks like a ton, but then you have to remember that on one of those occasions, she essentially turned herself in and walked into captivity due to Eggmans threats and several of the other abductions could be considered failed escapes from the original abduction - of which at least 1 was her own doing in escaping. If you get captured while you are escaping, is that a new capture or a botched escape?

 

Either way she got pinched waaaaaay to much. Serious Princess Peach vibes with that.

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5 hours ago, Sega DogTagz said:

Its hard to get a concrete number because it depends on how you want to define "abducted".

On paper it looks like a ton, but then you have to remember that on one of those occasions, she essentially turned herself in and walked into captivity due to Eggmans threats and several of the other abductions could be considered failed escapes from the original abduction - of which at least 1 was her own doing in escaping. If you get captured while you are escaping, is that a new capture or a botched escape?

 

Either way she got pinched waaaaaay to much. Serious Princess Peach vibes with that.

According to Johnny, it was 5, including.

So yeah, I would've tried to limit it to two outright kidnappings and one surrender. I'll need to review the story overall before really going into detail about how and what. 

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Shadow the Hedgehog needed an actual Eggman Empire ending. And an actual boss fight with Sonic mono a mono (no Gun Commander).

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I think it would've been cool if Knuckles showed up in Unleashed for a bit, with Sonic asking Knuckles how the Shattered World has affected Angel Island. Maybe even provide a neat explanation why Knuckles can't restore the Chaos Emeralds power currently or how them getting drained may have affect the Master Emerald.

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Ok, "fix" isn't really the word I'd use, because I'm not presumptuous enough to believe my ideas are a end all solution to the problems this series faces. That being said, I do believe there are certain things that should be considered when developing a video game and what's going to go into it, and they are things that I don't think Sega think too much about when they're making these games...or they do, and things just don't work out for whatever reason.

That said, I'll focus on Narrative and Characters for the time being since...going to into gameplay is a whole other can of worms that I'll need a separate topic for. So I will provide a few questions that one should consider when adding characters and what their roles should be in a given game.

1) What is the plot about? 

This is like, the most straightforward question. What the plot is about, what is it going to entail, themes, etc etc.  

2) How many characters are going to be added?

This is when it gets juicy; how many characters you add depends mostly on how many are needed for the plot. The more complex and encompassing your story is in scale, the more character you're likely going to add. Simpler plots don't really need too many characters to tell their stories, otherwise you risk character bloat.

3) What roles are they going to play?

Once you've decided on the amount, you then need to figure out what roles are they going to play in the narrative. Are they main players? supporting characters? The idea here is that they need a purpose, a reason for being that justifies their existence and inclusion. It doesn't always need to be tied to the main plot, but it does need to justify the character's presence. 

 

This isn't really a rigid guide that I feel needs to be followed to a T, but having an idea on what your cast are going to add can help understand their role and what it contributes to the story. This is something the series doesn't really stop to do, and as such, we end up with games with characters being there that serve no real purpose besides just taking up space.

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So, I've been intending to do some stuff about Elise for several days now and I do intend to do it at some point (with the adequate research) hopefully soon.

However, as I've been gathering my thoughts, there's been something I kept running into that bugged me a little. While I hoping to hold off on it until I did what I wanted to do for the sake of not tainting the field, I guess I'll finally put it out there:

As you know, Elise is a exemplary Princess bordering on Queen who had The Flames of Disaster sealed inside of her at a young age, giving her some degree of fire-based mystical power. Blaze the Cat, who's in 06 for some reason, is also a dutiful Princess practically Queen that has been cursed with fire powers thanks in part to her connection with the Sol Emeralds.

...What's up with that?

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I think I would do a soft reboot. To me, a hard reboot isn't neccesary because I don't think you need to know the origins of Sonic characters. I don't think you need to play Sonic Rush to enjoy Blaze and know her deal, I don't think you need to play Shadow's loose arc through SA2, Heroes and STH to understand what he is about. The Sonic games often revert to a status quo of Sonic and Eggman being at odds, and Sonic having allies with him and one off guest characters. The world tends to be interesting by being visually exciting, rather than being complicated through mythos like in the Marvel or DC universes. I think the IDW comics prove that you can introduce the Sonic cast without it being their origin stories.

I feel like an example of this is Doctor Who. Doctor Who has lasted over 55 years with one continuity, but I think the reason it is able to do that is because there is a status quo. Earth has seen countless alien invasions but it always reverts to our modern day. The Daleks, the Cybermen and the Master always return, updated and going through modern plots. The Doctor themself is updated for the times, arguably the reason the Doctor is now a woman is simply because it is the current year. Doctor Who did a good soft reboot when the show came back in 2005 by using the Time War plot to get rid off the Daleks and the Time Lords so that they could be brought back in later, and give a fresh clean slate for the show.

I can't help but feel like Sonic needs a Time War. Some kind of event to occur, which causes a time gap, and would give the opportunity to reintroduce characters into the series. I've actually been thinking about writing my own fan fic, because I get bored alot at work and think about stuff like this to myself. My basic idea would be something like this:

Game starts off with Sonic and Eggman in a battle. Eggman is able to escape and it is revealed he has stolen the 6th Chaos Emerald, with the last Emerald being held on Angel Island. Discussing the problem with the Resistance, it is revealed Eggman has a doomsday device, and they are worried that Eggman may inadvertedly destroy the planet in his attempt at conquest. Shadow walks in, explains that GUN has created a Macguffin device. It will create a small portal and exile Eggman to another dimension, where he will be safe, but spend the rest of his life alone, unable to harm anyone. Some of the gang think it is an extreme punishment, others think Eggman deserves, and Blaze believes that tampering with dimensions will lead to nothing but bad luck.

Sonic agrees to take the device, since it has to be used in close range. They lure Eggman to Angel Island, prepared for a battle so Sonic can pull the plan off. Sonic reaches Eggman, and talks with him to stand down before using the device. Eggman refuses, uses a robot to try and kill Sonic. Sonic activates it with no option in sight. It works, taking Eggman, but the portal doesn't close, instead expanding rapidly. The portal grows so large that it takes Eggman's entire air fleet, and begins to swallow Angel Island. In the battle, Tails plane is shot, causing him to crash on the island. Sonic attempts to save him but Tails is swallowed by the portal, and Sonic is too since he tried to save his friend, as well as some GUN red shirts. GUN and Shadow are able to stop the portal, but by this point all of Angel Island is gone too, with the Chaos Emeralds and the Master Emerald.

In the other dimension, Sonic is by himself. The dimension is far more hostile than anyone realised, and Sonic spends his days running from place to place, scrounging for food and exploring the endless empty landscape. Sonic eventually runs into a mysterious woman, who tells him that Sonic is still needed on his home planet, teleporting him back to Mobius. When he returns, he is nursed back to health in Vanilla's house. Sonic is surprised to see an older and more mature Cream, where it is revealed Sonic has been absent for 2 years, and Tails and Eggman havn't returned. In his absence, Knuckles has become one of the heroes of the planet, and with Eggman a small legion of villians have risen too, but none as menacing as Eggman. Amy is revealed to be running for mayor in a city, Shadow is now a high ranking GUN officer, and other character things. The plot of the game would involve a new menace about to hit the planet, with Sonic having to reconcile with his friends to help unite against the threat.

Really, to put it simply, have a situation where Sonic has been away for while, and has to come back and find his friends and see where they have gone in their absence. Make it so the characers have lives outside of Sonic. Also give some redesigns, I think we've honestly reached the point where the entire cast could use a good looking over. Adjust character proportions, new outfits, figure out what characters only need touch ups and what characters could really use a proper make over. Personally I think, Amy, Silver and Rouge really need massive redesigns in my opinion, Amy's dress is out of date, Silver's head plant, and Rouge has such generous... assets, but looks too short for them so that instead of looking naturally curvy it looks like she's had bad plastic surgery.

Give some characters new things to do. Again, maybe have Amy running for mayor or being a mayor in a town. Tails runs a side business where he sells some of his inventions to fund his current experiments. Have the Chaotix doing detective stuff. I must admit, in my head I would probably see a game to accomodate this to be a hybrid of SA1 and Generations, a Sonic only game where you have an open world and could do side quests for other characters to find out more about them. Then the game after would be SA3 or equivelant, where some of those characters would gain the limelight.

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Lore: plan ahead and don't make up shit on the go at the expense of what was already established. (Lol, candy-colored fantasy world populated by underage woodland critters that suddenly has San Francisco and a military organization that murder children that then turns into Final Fantasy mixed with DBZ)

Narrative: make things matter. Don't just create a bunch of pretty looking, but ultimately disconnected cutscenes of characters that are just there standing and talking and try to pass it as a story. Also, please be consistent with the tone... Sonic is supposed to run on saturday morning cartoon logics, not real world consequences.

Gameplay: stick to what works and develop upon it with the goal of keeping things fresh enough to keep fans interested and wanting to see what new features are added in the next games. You don't need to re-invent the wheel every couple years to keep the franchise relevant. Just look at Mario and how he changes and evolves in a natural way without ever betraying what defines his core gameplay.

Characters: define who are the main cast (hint: it's just Sonic, Eggman, Tails and Amy), and make them work based on what they have to contribute. Don't just grant them random qualities that were never foreshadowed nor steal away from other characters to keep around  "popular" ones that no longer have something to add. I'd rather see characters like Knuckles show up less if he is going to be actually relevant when he does get his chance, instead of being shoehorned as sidekick 2.0 to pander to that prescious S3&K nostalgia or be humilliated with NPC worthy tasks such as delivering letters or getting stuck on a rock.

 

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3 hours ago, Skull Leader said:

Characters: define who are the main cast (hint: it's just Sonic, Eggman, Tails and Amy), and make them work based on what they have to contribute. Don't just grant them random qualities that were never foreshadowed nor steal away from other characters to keep around  "popular" ones that no longer have something to add. I'd rather see characters like Knuckles show up less if he is going to be actually relevant when he does get his chance, instead of being shoehorned as sidekick 2.0 to pander to that prescious S3&K nostalgia or be humilliated with NPC worthy tasks such as delivering letters or getting stuck on a rock.

 

You just sound mad people like popular characters

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Regarding Knuckles, while some people seem to like promoting the bit about him being the guardian of the Master Emerald as a way to restore dignity to him in an era when he's become nothing but varying degrees of dumb muscle jokes, I argue that far too many plots involving the Master Emerald also involved him being duped into opposing Sonic, usually by Eggman, and these sorts of plots are the whole reason Knuckles has a reputation for being dumb.

Given that I'd like to see the "Rule of Funny" characterization trend reversed, I'm absolutely fine with moving on to "Knuckles is a priority sidekick because he's the third character to be playable in a main series platformer" and making the plot fit with that.  I don't want to erase the Master Emerald from continuity, but I'm fine with coming up with some way to let Knuckles move on from it.

As for Amy, while I like her and I know she was created before Knuckles, I don't think she has any concrete purpose to the series.  I could be wrong, but from what I've played, read and seen, they either fall back on her being a Sonic stalker or just choose a personality at random for her.  I'd love for her to get a better deal, but I'm not sure what that would entail without a new vision for this series, both in plot and gameplay.

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9 hours ago, Skull Leader said:

 

 

116b92be-7ad9-4534-97e4-8247e0a54022_thumb.jpg

(If ya'll didn't see this movie, you're probably gonna be confused)

4 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

Regarding Knuckles, while some people seem to like promoting the bit about him being the guardian of the Master Emerald as a way to restore dignity to him in an era when he's become nothing but varying degrees of dumb muscle jokes, I argue that far too many plots involving the Master Emerald also involved him being duped into opposing Sonic, usually by Eggman, and these sorts of plots are the whole reason Knuckles has a reputation for being dumb.

 

Again, I feel the whole "Why isn't Knuckles protecting the Master Emerald?" thing was really primarily started by how the Adventure games really emphasized that aspect of his character & made a considerable to distinguish him from Sonic, only for Heroes to try & go back to the Classic mentality and every game afterwards being either an epic scale cast herd or a spinoff.

Amongst other things, I feel like this is something the Archie reboot did a good job justifying and balancing.

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7 hours ago, Shadowlax said:

You just sound mad people like popular characters

SMS can probably speak for himself just fine but since he isn't on I figure I can at least address this point before he get's back.

Anyway, SMS is actually speaking from a purely in universe logical standpoint. Sure he's probably the biggest Amy fan you'll find anywhere which makes his pro Amy bias a little hard to ignore in this type of scenario, but from an in universe logic standpoint the reason Amy works better than Knuckles is simply due to motivation and ability/opportunity to follow Sonic around. Knuckles really has no motivation to follow Sonic around compared to Amy who desires to be a part of his life n some capacity and throwing him in that role willy-nilly as is frequently the case strips him of any personal agency. Then of course there is the opportunity to do so. Amy is herself a hedgehog adventurer who doesn't seem to let being a minor slow her down or tie her down and just goes out and follows Sonic whenever and however she can. Knuckles however has a defined role that requires him to stay focused and not just have fun which ties into his personality as it was established that he takes his duty seriously. If Knuckles is off Angel Island it should, outside of spinoffs, be like in Chaotix where he is off island because the Master Emerald reacted to something. So it's not even that Knuckles is stuck up on Angel Island, but more that when he isn't he should not just be all buddy-buddy let's go on an adventure with Sonic. He should be wary of Sonic and his carefree antics if anything as Sonic could very well be a detriment to his current mission and/or investigation. It also allows for a more appropriate tension between the two than some undemonstrated rivalry beyond Knuckles claiming that he's better than Sonic.

Anyway, I went little off point there, but bottom line is that while minimizing changes and using what is already established Amy makes more sense to show up regularly than Knuckles (comically I think she actually has more game appearances than Knuckles even if they aren't as major of appearances). So sure how SMS typically presents himself it could be argued that he just hates popular characters, but I find it more comes from the frustration of his favorite character who fits in naturally and logically getting shafted for a character who does not fit naturally or logically. Sure one can argue that popular sells and that SEGA is a business (a business known for seemingly hating money), but as a Dragon Ball fan I can tell you that the disdain for the Goku & Vegeta show permeates the more hardcore than causal fanbase there just as much if not more so than anything you'll see here. When it comes to story telling consist internal logic is way to important to just disregard for popularity. And considering how supposedly hated Sonic's friends are popularity isn't really an easy to sell argument in this day and age.

-----

Moving on, though I've said in the past that I would address this problem by simply making a spinoff branch dedicated to a singular consistent image of who the characters and world(s) are while being dedicated to a consistent narrative style and progression, I do think another approach could work. Now while this partly stems from my own ignorance of a series I'll be mentioning here, it also goes with my mentality that not every story has to have Eggman in it and that Sonic games with a narrative typically have a cast of characters that are created for the story being told. Because of this, I feel like the franchise could actually do to take a page from what I know of the Ys series, that is, a story of an adventure who has his regulars who follow him while each new game is a one off adventure where he learns about and saves some new location while he's there before heading off never to visit that land again. As I feel Sonic is already primed to follow this type of structure I feel like embracing it would actually play to the narrative strengths of the franchise and call back to the franchise's roots in the classic games in far more nuanced way with having an oil spill of nostalgia suffocating everything in the worst way possible.

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In-universe, the logic is whatever Sega dictates for any given game. So while you can argue and justify Amy's presence, the same can be done for any other character. (Albeit with a bit more difficulty).

So if you're upset Amy isn't getting her due, guess what, everyone else is mad their favorites aren't getting their due either. So blaming the popular characters and people liking them feels like severe entitlement.

 

If people would rather see Knuckles and Shadow over Amy, then just deal with it. You can't dictate who is or isn't popular and who Sega choose to focus on.

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I will second the notion that Amy has more of an inherent lore reason to stick around Sonic than Knuckles and Shadow do, but that reason, her having an obsessive crush on Sonic, annoys many people.  I like Amy better in plots where she has some other motivation, like helping out friends.  Of course those friends could be Sonic and Tails as easily as a Flicky, Cream and Big, but first you need to write Sonic and Tails needing help.

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I can't help but find it ironic that, outside of Boom(which is its own thing) and the post 2005 comics(which attempts to make use of a lot things in generous ways), Amy in particular has been left with little to actually do in the recent decade.

Both in these days of social justice and given that she was a primarily tagalong joke character to begin with. 

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2 hours ago, DabigRG said:

I can't help but find it ironic that, outside of Boom(which is its own thing) and the post 2005 comics(which attempts to make use of a lot things in generous ways), Amy in particular has been left with little to actually do in the recent decade.

Both in these days of social justice and given that she was a primarily tagalong joke character to begin with. 

Maybe they feel a need to use Amy because they want a female character to be prominent, but her lack of features that make her fit with what they’re trying to do makes it hard to settle on a persona that works.  Her crush on Sonic isn’t allowed to go anywhere, her nurturing side isn’t easy to convey unless they feature more characters for her to interact with, and while she’s been occasionally depicted as a good fighter, that doesn’t really factor in when fighting isn’t a big focus of this series.

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Amy's Narrative - Have Amy succeed in making Sonic respect her as said by the ending of Sonic Adventure that involves a smooch or affection.

             Gameplay - Focus on Amy's feminine side with her attacks and animations putting less emphasis on her hammer.

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47 minutes ago, Scritch the Cat said:

Maybe they feel a need to use Amy because they want a female character to be prominent, but her lack of features that make her fit with what they’re trying to do makes it hard to settle on a persona that works.  

Which again, sounds pretty weird considering what I said at the end there.

The Modern games aren't exactly all about that, mind you, but rollin with the stigma for a second.

47 minutes ago, Scritch the Cat said:

 Her crush on Sonic isn’t allowed to go anywhere, her nurturing side isn’t easy to convey unless they feature more characters for her to interact with, and while she’s been occasionally depicted as a good fighter, that doesn’t really factor in when fighting isn’t a big focus of this series.

Huh--those are good points. The only new characters we've gotten as of late are Yacker(who's more of a Tails thing, if anyone), the Zeti(who are bad guys that nearly ended up killing her), and Infinite(self-explanatory).

Which only kinda reminds me of how I didn't get her role in Forces.

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The thing about Amy is that she's more of a spin-off character promoted to a mainstay.  She wasn't playable in her debut game (though neither was Knuckles), Sonic the Fighters established a lot of her signature abilities, and when they tried to transfer that to her playable role in Sonic Adventure and Sonic Advance, she became one of those infamous characters that people complained played too differently from Sonic.  There are other games, like Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Heroes, where she was made to play more like Sonic, but in these games arguably she's too much like Sonic, since unlike Tails and Knuckles she doesn't have signature abilities useful to Sonic-style platforming.  She has her hammer, but it's more apt at hitting hard than hitting quickly and nimbly.

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She does have that ability to get more air off springs using her hammer, but I don't know how that'd translate to 3D. Amy, for the most part, is essentially hard mode since while she lacks a signature ability of her own, she lacks basic abilities Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles share, namely the spin jump and all of her attacks have to be triggered. 

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1 hour ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

She does have that ability to get more air off springs using her hammer, but I don't know how that'd translate to 3D. Amy, for the most part, is essentially hard mode since while she lacks a signature ability of her own, she lacks basic abilities Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles share, namely the spin jump and all of her attacks have to be triggered. 

This clearly won't do as a way to endear people to the character.  Hard mode should be a mode; not a character.

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5 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

The thing about Amy is that she's more of a spin-off character promoted to a mainstay.  

Pretty much. Doubly so if she was really derived from a manga.

Which is interesting.

5 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

 She wasn't playable in her debut game (though neither was Knuckles),ly.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles was originally intended to be one game, but had to be split into two separate halves.

This is why there are sections in Sonic 3 where there are walls for Knuckles to break open.

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