Jump to content
Tangled Jack

New characters: Should they stay or should they go?

Recommended Posts

New characters: Should they stay or should they go?

The Sonic series is known for its big cast of characters, even with that, Sega keeps introducing brand new characters, some of them are one-offs and some become eventually recurring if successful. The series is also sadly known for bad writing and lack of character development, so most characters, even the promising ones, get a shitty treatment in the games. A lot of fans dislike the recent entries because of that, they aren't fleshed out at all, or just aren't interesting. Do you think the cast is too large to handle all these characters?

I'm going to try to analyse some of the characters introduced since 2010 and see if there is a place for them in the series, and if there is potential for good writing. I'm only counting those that Sega seems to be pushing (maybe?) as recurring, so no other Deadly Six who didn't appear outside of Lost World, no Hard Boiled Heavies since those seem to be more like Robot Masters in the Classic canon. Although I liked the HBH. So let's start:

Orbot & Cubot

Eggman had a lot of lackeys in the past in cartoons, but he never had somebody to talk to in the games, a surrogate family if you want. Orbot & Cubot potentially work well because of the banter with Eggman. Orbot is funny as the sassy minion and Cubot as his dumb counterpart. I honestly think they have a lot more personality than other minions such as Snively, Sleet and Dingo and Decoe and Bocoe, they are kind of subpar to Scratch and Grounder because they are just for comic relief and can't fight unlike that other duo. So I'm not sure, they can work in the story, but they also can't fight Sonic directly, their interactions with Eggman are fun though.

Zazz

This crazy psycho who debuted in Lost World also seems to be pushed by Sega, he is the first boss in that game so certainly the most recognizable, although that game flopped, so I don't know. I find him quite one note, he is hyperactive and wants to defeat Sonic immediately. He is a minor villain and I thought the Zeti were kind of filler for Zavok. I don't think there is a place for him in the series.

Zavok

Another villain who hasn't had much depth and exploration, however he is a leader, with a design that's menacing and also physically strong, and tries to be manipulative in the story, but with no real personality, they could flesh him out but I don't see it happening in the games sadly, there is already a bloated cast so I'm not sure there is space for him, but I get why he was introduced: the Sonic series lacks recurring villains, most of them are generic giant monsters with no personality and who can't talk, most of them are one offs, so there is desperate need for more villains. Introducing even more could be a high risk, but they could turn out better than Zavok. Although there needs to be more villains with more complexity and perhaps a backstory. I don't see them adding one to this guy sadly.

Sticks

You guys already know how I feel about her, unlike most of these new characters, she is a female and a hero, now, the series is already full of heroes but not many female characters sadly. While a few people find her a one note joke, I think she is a flawed character with lots of potential. She doesn't have a backstory but a background: living alone in the jungle made her a crazy recluse. She is cynical, paranoid, a survivalist, however she can be a heroine, I'm liking her more than Blaze to be honest, a badass Princess with super powers, while her only real flaw is being shy. Sticks has no badass super powers but manages to be a fighter with her home made weapons. Also comparing her to Cream as Amy's sidekick, she works better because Cream is written to be a cute face who tags along with Amy, there is no dynamic in their relationship, while with Sticks there is a "contrast" in their interaction. So there aren't many female heroes in the series but Sticks can be one. She is also a surprisingly good fit in the series and she's actually quite popular.

Infinite

Now, after Lost World introduced homourous villains, Sega thought: let's introduce a proper big bad, a dark one with no tragic past but still have backstory for him. Infinite still suffers from bad writing, but compared to other villains in the series, he seems to have more potential. I think there is a lot. His main trait is Fear, the fear he inculcates into his enemies, the Fear he had when Shadow humiliated him. Although that backstory with Shadow was... Weak, pun intended, it's still something in my opinion. The game's writing sadly doesn't make him justice again. But however I can say that Infinite is a cool villain, a mercenary with an addiction for power, that's why he assumes the Phantom Ruby. His endless powers don't hurt the character but help make him a threat. I just wish he had a bit more of personality but something is there. There is also the prequel comic who honestly creates a better backstory, he and Eggman share a vision while touching the Phantom Ruby, a vision of what they could become in the future, which shapes their destiny. I just wish his ending made sense, right now it's unclear if he's dead, he is not available in the comics, which might confirm his death, or does Sega still plan to use him? After all, he is more popular than the Deadly Six, people wanted him in the comics or TSR, if anything to flesh out his character more.

So what do you guys think? Is there a place for these characters in the series? Do we care about these new entries? Should Sega keep them or introduce even more, perhaps better characters entirely? Hopefully this makes for some interesting discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, you missed Dodonpa from your evaluation but as that is likely due to having nothing but a prequel comic to go on I'm positive it was intentional.

On the topic more seriously though, the problem I have is that a lot of the characters just don't feel like they address the original theme, intentional or otherwise, of man versus nature. Zavok and the D6 are strange mythical aliens(?) if anything and even controlling them was by use of a strange mystical artifact while Orbot and Cubot are not enemies as you say but rather narrative characters to highlight what Eggman is up to in the background. Now that isn't to say that they can't be used as the whole strange mythical angle was played pretty straight and engagingly with Sonic Adventure and it is a core aspect of Knuckles and a minor aspect of Amy so there is definitely room for the D6 to fit. Really their problem is that they were really just stand in villains for Eggman to justify the Sonic/Eggman team up of Lost world so that they've had multiple appearances in any capacity is fairly intriguing. It's kind of like they were meant to be more or SEGA put a lot of money into them and is just trying to get their moneys worth. REally for them to continue to persist they kind of have to be given a purpose beyond be an enemy to stand in for Eggman so he can team up with Sonic. It strips them of any agency and honestly devalues them as characters and villains. At least Orbot and Cubot's roles allow for being recurring characters since they're whole purpose is to be there for Eggman to bounce off in the absence of Sonic and friends. Are they necessary though? probably not since we never needed to see Eggman's side of things to appreciate Sonic's adventures back in the day and still don't really.

Moving away from those two groups, Sticks and Infinite I actually see a lot of potential in however. They fall into the man versus nature argument by being nature twisted by man and nature fearing and not trusting man, and they also both tie into the other characters. Infinite can be the someone for Eggman to bounce off of as well as having his own pride in taking down the heroes (especially Shadow and his equal Sonic) while Sticks is yet another friend of the main crew. To me there at least there is so much to be derived from these characters that their isolation to just Forces and BOOM! is a disappointment, especially since they don't seem likely to show up in the comics anytime soon.

Finally, addressing the last question in OP, I not only expect more characters to show up, but frankly believe the franchise needs them if they intend to continue having narratives. Sonic is supposed to be a globetrotting adventurer so naturally he should be constantly meeting and encountering new people. Should they all be recurring? Of course not, Could you imagine if every NPC to date was a recurring character? Sure some are more important to their respective game's narratives like Chip and Elise, but their roles are also well defined and limited to their one story and situation. Now that isn't to say that if a character makes sense to be reoccurring they shouldn't be. Popularity alone is enough to justify being a reoccurring character and Shadow and Knuckles demonstrate that quite well. So really it depended on the character and the role they have within the grand narrative. Do they need to appear beyond their introduction? Do they have a reason to not stay in one place? Do they contribute to Sonic's globetrotting adventures by bringing in different perspectives to where he is on his next adventure? Are they popular and have the demand to appear again? There are so many ways to evaluate the need to make new characters and the importance that they should have that it's not really an easy question to answer. Bare minimum though is that NPCs at least are necessity if any illusion of Sonic being different places and going on globetrotting adventures is to be maintained.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It all comes down to how well they're used. Personally I hate Sonic Boom so I wouldn't mind seeing Sticks go away and not come back. Characters like the D6 and Infinite are more complicated because there's definitely room for more, but they just don't do anything of any worth with any of the new characters, let alone the old ones.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

-The Deadly Six should go

-Infinite should go

-Orbot and Cubot should stay, they are the official "lackey duo"

-They should introduce Sticks in the IDW comics.

-Tangle and Whisper should be further developed

-Rough and Tumble should stay dumb, they kinda remind of Scratch and Grounder, and they are better than the Deadly Six because they have an actual reason to go after Sonic.

-Starline is the new mix of Snivley and Finetevus, a good idea to have another mastermind villain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Orbot and Cubot are good. Eggman's traditionally worked well with some lackeys to bounce off of (Scratch and Grounder, Snively, Bocoe and Decoe, among others) and it's honestly kind of surprising that it took them so long to introduce some in the games. They're not exactly breaking new ground in the role, but they serve it pretty well. Also:

25 minutes ago, Jack the Shadow said:

So I'm not sure, they can work in the story, but they also can't fight Sonic directly,

Nothing stopping them from piloting a big robot tho'. That's what most Sonic bosses are anyway.

I'm inclined to keep the D6 around, not because they're particularly interesting, but because the series is so starved for recurring villains. I don't think they're terrible characters, but if they're going to be used they do need to put some thought into what their deal is post-Lost World. Forces and TSR can be overlooked because Zavok is fake in the former and the latter is just a silly racing spinoff but if they're going to make another meaningful appearance they've gotta be around for a reason.

Sticks I could take or leave. She's not even part of any currently ongoing continuity anyway, and while I could see some use for her as a minor NPC I'm not sure it's enough to be worth taking her in when there's already so many characters laying around being poorly used.

Infinite can fuck off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll say yes to all four.

Orbot and Cubot frankly should have existed earlier, and even without combat abilities could work as boss fights.

If Infinite stays around, we'll have an Eggman ally who isn't a robot with a creative power, and that's all a plus in my book.

Sticks as a minor NPC in group shots like the rest of the cast harms no one, and if they ever actually make her playable, I'd be fine with that too.

The D6 are closer to the middle, but they work as recurring non-Eggman villains. Maybe flesh them out a bit more, but they're honestly fine as one note bad guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It kinda depends on how they are written. Characters like Chip, for example, can't return for obvious reasons. He has to stay in the center of the earth and sleep until the day he and Dark Gaia will awake and fight each other again. Same also with characters like Maria. She got killed by a G.U.N. soldier and then probably got organ harvest by them. She can't come back for reasons as well.

If a writer wants to create a recurring character that will be an established part of the cast, then he/she needs to be written like one. The recurring characters need to be a part of the world and narrative. And sadly a lot of Sonic characters are not like that. So many of them are written in such a specific way, that they can only be used when specific circumstances will happen in the story.

Blaze, for example, lives in another dimension. She can only be used for a story if the story has something to do with her or her dimension. Same also with Silver. He lives in another timeline. So he can only be used if time traveling elements are part of the story the writer wants to tell. And then we have other characters like Shadow and Big, who feel like they are more part of their own separate story, that has nothing to do with that of Sonic's.

Like I said before, some Sonic characters are too complex written for their own good. Infinite and the Deadly Six could maybe work as recurring bad guys. But for that, they need better motivations and a clear backstory, but characters like Sticks, for example, have almost no real chance of getting a good role in a Sonic story. Because she will be just another friend of Sonic, which he already has a bunch of them. Heck, some of Sonic's friends haven't been used in years like Jet and Cream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Marco9966 said:

-The Deadly Six should go

-Infinite should go

-Orbot and Cubot should stay, they are the official "lackey duo"

-They should introduce Sticks in the IDW comics.

-Tangle and Whisper should be further developed

-Rough and Tumble should stay dumb, they kinda remind of Scratch and Grounder, and they are better than the Deadly Six because they have an actual reason to go after Sonic.

-Starline is the new mix of Snivley and Finetevus, a good idea to have another mastermind villain.

This, but... Orbot alone is enough. And Infinite is a less of a “should go” and more of a “don’t care if they ditch him or not”. DoDonpa’s in the same category. The Wisps join the Deadly Six and Cubot in the “should go” Category.  Cubot’s more in-between, he doesn’t have much as a major character but as a rarer minor recurring character he could work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Sonic Fan J said:

Well, you missed Dodonpa from your evaluation but as that is likely due to having nothing but a prequel comic to go on I'm positive it was intentional.

On the topic more seriously though, the problem I have is that a lot of the characters just don't feel like they address the original theme, intentional or otherwise, of man versus nature. Zavok and the D6 are strange mythical aliens(?) if anything and even controlling them was by use of a strange mystical artifact while Orbot and Cubot are not enemies as you say but rather narrative characters to highlight what Eggman is up to in the background. Now that isn't to say that they can't be used as the whole strange mythical angle was played pretty straight and engagingly with Sonic Adventure and it is a core aspect of Knuckles and a minor aspect of Amy so there is definitely room for the D6 to fit. Really their problem is that they were really just stand in villains for Eggman to justify the Sonic/Eggman team up of Lost world so that they've had multiple appearances in any capacity is fairly intriguing. It's kind of like they were meant to be more or SEGA put a lot of money into them and is just trying to get their moneys worth. REally for them to continue to persist they kind of have to be given a purpose beyond be an enemy to stand in for Eggman so he can team up with Sonic. It strips them of any agency and honestly devalues them as characters and villains. At least Orbot and Cubot's roles allow for being recurring characters since they're whole purpose is to be there for Eggman to bounce off in the absence of Sonic and friends. Are they necessary though? probably not since we never needed to see Eggman's side of things to appreciate Sonic's adventures back in the day and still don't really.

Moving away from those two groups, Sticks and Infinite I actually see a lot of potential in however. They fall into the man versus nature argument by being nature twisted by man and nature fearing and not trusting man, and they also both tie into the other characters. Infinite can be the someone for Eggman to bounce off of as well as having his own pride in taking down the heroes (especially Shadow and his equal Sonic) while Sticks is yet another friend of the main crew. To me there at least there is so much to be derived from these characters that their isolation to just Forces and BOOM! is a disappointment, especially since they don't seem likely to show up in the comics anytime soon.

Finally, addressing the last question in OP, I not only expect more characters to show up, but frankly believe the franchise needs them if they intend to continue having narratives. Sonic is supposed to be a globetrotting adventurer so naturally he should be constantly meeting and encountering new people. Should they all be recurring? Of course not, Could you imagine if every NPC to date was a recurring character? Sure some are more important to their respective game's narratives like Chip and Elise, but their roles are also well defined and limited to their one story and situation. Now that isn't to say that if a character makes sense to be reoccurring they shouldn't be. Popularity alone is enough to justify being a reoccurring character and Shadow and Knuckles demonstrate that quite well. So really it depended on the character and the role they have within the grand narrative. Do they need to appear beyond their introduction? Do they have a reason to not stay in one place? Do they contribute to Sonic's globetrotting adventures by bringing in different perspectives to where he is on his next adventure? Are they popular and have the demand to appear again? There are so many ways to evaluate the need to make new characters and the importance that they should have that it's not really an easy question to answer. Bare minimum though is that NPCs at least are necessity if any illusion of Sonic being different places and going on globetrotting adventures is to be maintained.

Obviously they need to introduce new plots and new gameplay styles so more characters will follow, it's only natural. So yeah, they are gonna ditch somebody, but a couple of characters are a good fit and I believe should be kept. Maybe they can introduce new villains and heroes, but Orbot and Cubot for example fit in a unique way, perhaps. 

The Deadly Six I could take or leave, because they can introduce new villains. Sticks... Her time was in Boom and that's done, sure, but she is a cool concept too. I find her more interesting than Cream, as I said.

If it was for me yeah, I'd probably axe Cream in favour of new characters. The other old supporting characters all have a fan following, it's be a shame to see them go. Maybe add a new team of mobian rivals, like the Rogues but not relegated to spin-offs with extreme gears.

The recurring cast for me would be: 

Main: Sonic, Tails, Eggman, Amy, Knuckles, Shadow, Metal Sonic.

Supporting: Silver, Blaze, Vector, Charmy, Espio, Big, Rouge, Omega, Sticks, Orbot, Cubot.

Obviously there is a lack of villains in that...

Although even Cream has fans so I'm not sure if axing any one would be a good idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Overall I don't like any of these new characters and would shuffle most of them out if it were me.

I never liked the idea that Eggman would need anything like Orbot and Cubot. I've always thought Boko and Decoe were awful and I just kind of tolerate Scratch and Grounder because they work with that specific take on Eggman specifically. Game Eggman doesn't really need a bunch of lackeys getting everything wrong and telling him he ain't shit in every scene because we have Sonic for that. I kind of like how Metal Sonic contrasts with his larger than life personality and tendency to get distracted by being more serious and all about his goal, so I prefer him as the 'Dragon'. 

The amount of rewriting you'd have to do around the Deadly Six to make them reoccurring antagonists doesn't make it worth it to me. They only attacked in the first place because Sonic and Eggman were stomping about on their land. Them leaving to chase him around is dumb. I'd rather them introduce(or reintroduce) some petty thief types instead if you want a bigger rogues gallery. The same goes for Infinite though his story kind of ended on a cliffhanger so I wouldn't be surprised if he returned. 

Sticks is the only one I could take or leave. I don't think the series needs a ton of reoccurring characters in general though. I'd rather them continue to introduce new ones and cycle through old ones as they see fit alongside that.
 


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me, it depends on three things: The character themselves, the plot, and the setting.

These three things tend to go hand in hand, as a character needs to work or fit into the game. For more lighthearted and humorous games, characters like Orbot and Cubot are perfect. Not so much with darker toned games. That's where characters like Infinite (as much as I despise him) should come into play. Also, as others have stated, characters like Knuckles, Blaze, and Silver shouldn't be placed in a game for fanservice. Knuckles is tied to his duty of guarding the most powerful artifact in existence, Blaze is tasked with guarding the Sol Emeralds in another dimension, and Silver is the protector of the future. If SEGA wants to use these characters, they need to develop plots that will involve said characters, i.e. something threatens Angel Island or some wicked, Thanos-like being who wants to curb the population or whatever goes after the Master Emerald. The problem is that SEGA limits themselves. They've been focusing exclusively on Sonic and relying on short-term, forgettable gameplay and plot elements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly Orbot and Cubot just suck. They don't really have anything beyond being generic Saturday Morning villain lackeys. I particularly don't like Orbot's role as being the sarcastic minion who is the real genius of the group. Eggman isn't the sort of villain where this is appropriate, he is incredibly cunning and intelligent and his plans are usually pretty sound in the context of the universe. Orbot and Cubot are only there to undermine Eggman even more and make him even ineffectual, which isn't fitting at all. 

Eggman's goofy, but he isn't a moron who has clearly hopeless plans from the start that are quietly pointed out by a more competent minion. That's kinda the opposite of Eggman actually. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Osmium said:

...who is the real genius of the group.

This is inaccurate as heck.

That wasn't even the case in Unleashed.

Even in, he only pointed out the failure that Eggman was already aware of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be fair, they haven't done that with them since Colors.

And SA-55 was more about having foresight and common sense, something Eggman usually forgoes due to his ego and immaturity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea, saying Orbot is the "actual Genius of the group" is blatantly false. 

 

Anyway, I can take or leave a lot of the series` characters. Obviously you have a few standouts, but for the most part a lot of them are just too undeveloped and two-dimensional to really care about. That said, the premise of the series necessitates constantly introducing characters, so it's kind of necessary, so it's really more on Sega for dropping the ball on them a lot of the time.

That said, assuming this series got it's shit together and actually started to give a damn about its narrative more. I'd want them to start having a good mix of old and new characters depending on the game. Obviously, some characters are more popular than others and will generally appear more regardless of whether they're relevant or not (Tails :V), but I feel like that's the ideal way of handling them as they are now. And actually bothering to flesh out their individual character traits. Obviously every character can't be a protagonist, but you can still do enough to flesh out a character if you're clever enough as a writer.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't mean that Orbot is actually the most intelligent, I mean that he acts like he's more intelligent and competent than Eggman since that's the archetype he's meant to fill and it doesn't work. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty sure it's clear my stance on the Deadly Shits is they should just go away. They offer nothing at all beyond being walls. A rogues gallery would be nice, but let's have good rogues and not settle for 6 piles of shit.

Infinite I'd keep for sure. Mainly cause his cool as hell powers could be used for neat and interesting things. He's far more of a threat than those shitty zeti ever were. His backstory is dumb, and his character isn't great, but he can still offer more than just a wall like the zeti do.

Sticks.....well maybe as small support character might be fine. Anything close to Boom status means if she becomes a villain, or robotisized XP

Orbot and Cubot on paper I think can work....but it's just they make no sense. Why do they exist? Why does Eggman need them? They don't do jack shit. I'm glad we did away with them undermining Eggman all the time, but still what even is their purpose? They could at least pilot some of Eggmans more combat savy mechs to battle in his stead if he's busy on something else. Maybe be repair bots who can fix up damaged minions quickly....uh.....full on caretakers who clean, organize stuff, bring Eggman food, I dunno. More than just standing there and talking/doing nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Osmium said:

I don't mean that Orbot is actually the most intelligent, I mean that he acts like he's more intelligent and competent than Eggman since that's the archetype he's meant to fill and it doesn't work. 

Even that's really true though?

Even in Unleashed, he just points out when Eggman makes an obvious mistake and laughs at his expense, but he's supportive of the doctor nonetheless. For the most part though, he's more reluctant than "acting more intelligent".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Orbot(and/or SA-55) and Cubot are basically there to give Eggman someone to boss around while overseeing his overall operations. Orbot in particular seems to be analytics monitor that provides feedback, while Cubot has just been a dim lackey to have fetch simple things or broadcast information when Eggman is away from a database.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Marco9966 said:

I'm interested to see how the dynamic of Eggman and Starline will go.

Will they potentially fight each other like Eggman did with Snivley?

If Eggman doesn't give Starline the mentoring he wants, perhaps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

You must read and accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to continue using this website. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.