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Mountaindewandsprite

If Sonic was created in America instead of Japan...

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If the whole concept of a speedy blue hedgehog was created on American soil rather than Japan, what would be different about the series? Characters? Settings? World? Story? You name it. 

I for one think that it would've been a lot like early PS1 games such as Crash Bandicoot and Rayman and emulate the Archie comics series.

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Not much actually. Sonic is already a very westernized character. If American's were the ones who created Sonic, the series wouldn't be that much different from Japan's version... or maybe not... there are a few things that American's might would have changed Sonic's direction drastically.  

1. The characters would have been a bit more "in your face“ with the 90's attitude. I mean, we saw this in the cartoon series. Americans really like to rube stuff like this under the nose of people. Sonic would have been more "Poochy" when the Americans would have created him. Maybe Sonic would have done more radical stuff like riding a skateboard, play in a band or did do breakdance battles with Badniks. 

2. Sonic would have talked already in the Classic Era and might have had his own catchphrase in the games. Most likely the same ones his uses in his first cartoon: "I'm waiting...".

3. I also think that the characters would have been more on the whacky side in terms of design and personality. Kinda like Crash Bandicoot. Cute things, at least at the time, were more Japan's thing. I don't think the series would have had characters like the Chaos, Amy, and Cream.

4. I also do not think that a character like Amy would have been Sonic's girlfriend. It would have been a Jessica Rabbit type of character. The Americans really pushed back then the idea of whacky cartoon characters having a tall humanoid girlfriend. Who knows, maybe Madonna would have been Sonic's official girlfriend or an animal girl with a more humanoid body. After all, the Americans were the ones who created Sally Acorn. One of the first furry bait characters created in a kids show.

5. The Americans would have also given Sonic his trademark favorite food, which they actually did, but only in the shows. I think if Americans would have created Sonic, chili-dogs would have been an established element from the first game on.

6. I also think that if the Americans Sonic would have created a rival for Sonic's, it would have been just a classical evil doppelganger, kinda in the same way Negaduck was for Darkwing Duck. It wouldn't have been an edgelord like Shadow, or a mature one like Metal or a friendly rival like Knuckles, it would have been just an evil Sonic. A lot of videogame characters from the 90s did actually have one of these: Mario had Wario, Jim had Evil Jim, Crash had Fake Crash (if we can consider him a rival) etc. 

7. I also think that the Sonic series wouldn't have gotten major storytelling and lore for its universe. Americans are not really open for big, deep storytelling. Only now they are starting this trend with shows like Adventure Time and Avatar. But back then they really wanted to keep everything as simple as possible. Sure, they tried it with Sonic Satam, but it really failed because of it. I don't think we would have ever had a backstory to the Chaos-Emeralds, Knuckle's history with his clan and Chaos, G.U.N., Shadow, Dark Gaia etc. None of these elements would have been part of Sonic's world and story if Americans would have created Sonic.

Actually... if I think about this. If the Americans would have created Sonic, the series would have been most likely more like is first animated shows, most likely more in the style of AoStH.

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4 hours ago, Rowl said:

Americans are not really open for big, deep storytelling. Only now they are starting this trend with shows like Adventure Time and Avatar.

What? Something about this doesn't seem right.

SATam failed because...it was cancelled.

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The only functional difference would have been the games may not have been made as well since most of Sega's first part talent was in Japan at the time. SoA generally ignored all of the "lore" for the games anyway until Sonic Adventure (and SoJ did for SoA's stuff as well), most of the classic games were made in the US anyway out of SoJ's sphere of influence, and Sonic was already deliberately heavily westernized.

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It really does depend how Americanized Sonic is because we have its current form that is pretty much influenced quite a bit from America but still has some Japanese design to him to full blown American made.

If it is current form but just made in the US, then he might have not lasted that long. A lot of the American Sonic stuff such as the comics and the cartoons were only made due to the success of the first two games (as well as CD and the 8-bit games elsewhere). If it was made straight away as its first game, you wouldn't have had the Freedom Fighters or indeed any future Sonic characters but Sonic & Robotnik would be still there. For the US made games, we would have a fair idea of what they are going to be like because they sort of exist in terms of platformers and American made games didn't really have a good reputation back then apart from a couple of companies (EA and Midway). It'll be most likely done by either BlueSky Software or Sega Interactive. Examples are TaleSpin, Batman Returns, Greendog and for BlueSky; Jurassic Park, Ren and Stimpy. The music wouldn't be iconic but rather that GEMS sound so it'll be bland. The game wouldn't be as fast but rather standard or even slow paced. Imagine that SatAM tech demo game and that's probably how Sonic might have been in terms of pace. It wouldn't look as colorful but drab at worse with some stiff animation. The level design would be blocky and simple rather than the curves, loops or the multiple routes. Expect control issues and dodgy collision detection a plenty. Even writing that means that Sonic would have been lucky to get decent reviews nevermind being the Mario beater that it ended up. It would have been lucky to compete against a B rated platformer nevermind Super Mario World! As soon as the mainstream anime wave of the US or the rave scene in Europe kicked in, Sonic would have been seen as old hat and pushed aside that's if he's lucky to get more than one game. It was also during this time that Sega was cutting back on American produced games so as soon as the Saturn appeared, that's it for the blue hedgehog with no comeback.

If it was fully American made without Ohshima giving them a hand, it might be like this... One of the scrapped plans during Sonic 1's US development was to replace Sonic with its own American mascot and not those scrapped character designs for Sonic either. Since it would be early 1990s, imagine something like Kid Chameleon, ToeJam & Earl or even Greendog in tone and it wouldn't be too far of what it might be; probably a human with a backwards cap, baggy trousers, sunglasses and really mismatch of colors who was either a surfer or a cool dude as it was radical back then. If it would have been an animal, it wouldn't be a hedgehog that's for sure. 

10 hours ago, Mountaindewandsprite said:

I for one think that it would've been a lot like early PS1 games such as Crash Bandicoot and Rayman and emulate the Archie comics series.

Not really. Crash Bandicoot was inspired by Sonic and Donkey Kong Country, if Sonic didn't exist as its current form neither would Crash or even DKC. Rayman was its own thing because its French and probably took cues from Mario as well as European platformers of the time so it wouldn't have affected or influenced other series.

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Sonic was created by a specific group of a people with a specific set of ideas and sensibilities.

 

If those people weren't involved, then Sonic wouldn't exist at all. If the same people were involved, but were working in the USA instead of Japan, the end product would have been much the same.

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24 minutes ago, Pengi said:

If those people weren't involved, then Sonic wouldn't exist at all.

Good job thinking logically restrictive.

It really gets the imagination going.

Now try thinking if Sonic's core concept was thought of by completely different people...but in America.

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If someone from america picked up the concept odds are it would be a third rate mascot platformer that's forgotten about after a few games. It's hard for me to answer your question in any real detail though besides what's likely.A lot of things about Sonic were influenced by the culture that created him for sure, but even more than that he was influenced by people. It's hard for me to say what Sonic would be without Oshima or Naka because they essentially are Sonic. Their creative impulses and influences shaped the series. 



 

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We definitely wouldn't have had Maria's death. The more 'edgy' takes on Sonic would probably never have existed.

We wouldn't have Crush40 or Julien-K contribute to the soundtracks of the games, either. The music would've been far more whimsical.

Basically if made in America, they would've just played it safe and just catered to little kids. Fart jokes galore (Sonic's diet consists entirely of chili dogs. They wouldn't pass up a golden opportunity for some toilet humor)

 

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2 hours ago, StaticMania said:

Good job thinking logically restrictive.

It really gets the imagination going.

Now try thinking if Sonic's core concept was thought of by completely different people...but in America.

Then you’d have a completely different game, aside from that concept. Same as you would if a different group of Japanese people made a game with the same concept.

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Probably wouldn't have been a hedgehog, may a wolf decked out in the colours in the American flag or something...

Like this:S1concept-WOLF.png 

In all seriousness, the question would be moot because unless the game had Naka, Ohshima and Yashuhara working on it, it wouldn't have been the same momentum, pinball-physics based platforming game that was able to steal Super Mario World's thunder and probably been a generic, slower paced platformer similar to Kid Chameleon or a run and gun like Dick Tracy. This is due to the fact that this hypothetical game could of only been produced at Sega Technical Institute, SoA's only in-house developement team at the time. While their work was commendable, they were sadly treated as second stringers by Sega as a whole and rarely got any chance to show what they could do.

3 hours ago, Myst said:

 The more 'edgy' takes on Sonic would probably never have existed.

I beg to differ, I think American developers would of gone to that extreme during, if not before, the 32-bit console era, especially had they made a run and gun. However, I feel it wouldn't have felt as genuine as Sonic Team's earliest attempts, but more cynical in nature.

Addendum: Also, it definitely would not of been a hedgehog, as they are non-native to the Americas. Perhaps an armadillo could have been the basis of a character similar to Sonic... but then it wouldn't have been Sonic, would it?

Edited by JustAfooL
Clarification of opinion and intent.

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Then you’d have a completely different game, aside from that concept. Same as you would if a different group of Japanese people made a game with the same concept.

That's slightly less restrictive, but we're not quite there yet.

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He certainly wouldn't have been as timeless a character. I think his design is so strong due to the foundation for him being laid out by the Japanese side and refined by the American so there's a lot of worldwide appeal to be seen there. If he had influence purely from the American side, he definitely wouldn't be a hedgehog, given prior to Sonic, not many in the States even knew what a hedgehog was. I think that's why Oshima initially picked a hedgehog; it's a cute animal and it would be an exotic one to American audiences, and so would be more eye catching.

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15 hours ago, Rowl said:

Not much actually. Sonic is already a very westernized character. If American's were the ones who created Sonic, the series wouldn't be that much different from Japan's version... or maybe not... there are a few things that American's might would have changed Sonic's direction drastically.  

 

I have to disagree  with some of this, as sonic is the japan idea of an American character. and that would bring a  HUGE change in terms of character design, and aesthetic, and in sonics personality.

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19 hours ago, Mr Loopone said:

If it was fully American made without Ohshima giving them a hand, it might be like this... One of the scrapped plans during Sonic 1's US development was to replace Sonic with its own American mascot and not those scrapped character designs for Sonic either.

This is true, though it should be pointed out that that was only the plan until Katz was thrown out of SoA and Kalinske replaced him. Kalinske was way more amenable to the ideas Sonic Team was coming up with, just changing it further to fit American tastes (which seems fair enough in hindsight, because a lot of the stuff that Sonic Team was still kicking around that they were angry was changed by SoA ended up being tossed anyway).

 

 

18 hours ago, Pengi said:

Sonic was created by a specific group of a people with a specific set of ideas and sensibilities.

 

If those people weren't involved, then Sonic wouldn't exist at all.

Nope. Ohshima, Naka and Yasuhara didn't just start working on Sonic out of the blue. Ohshima's design was chosen as the preferred one out of a company wide solicited attempt to make a mascot character to directly challenge Mario. After his design was chosen is when the other two came on board, but there's no reason whatsoever to think that if it hadn't been done by those three guys that it wouldn't have been done at all.

 

 

In fact, there's a decent chance that Yasuhara would have worked on it anyway even if it had been developed in America, because he had already been recruited to go to the US to work at S.T.I. before he ended up working on the first game instead. Yasuhara, it should be reiterated, who was the director of the game.

Edit: Now that I think of it, Naka may have ended up at S.T.I. anyway, albeit obviously not by the time of the first game. Cerny specifically sought him out when he quit Sega, and I assume something would have eventually driven Naka to tell SoJ to fuck off even if not Sonic 1 specifically.

15 hours ago, Pengi said:

Then you’d have a completely different game, aside from that concept.

Nope. It still pretty obviously would have been a platformer, for starters; and very early on the idea of Sonic was to be a fast paced game to contrast the speed of Super Mario 3/World because that was what Sega preferred. The main difference possibly would have been that it would have controlled something akin to Super Mario Bros. 2 or Jazz Jackrabbit instead since it was Naka who decided to get rid of the throwing mechanic to reduce the complexity; but most of the basic ideas of the game were established even before Naka was brought on board.

 

 

I get that you're trying to be ultra reductionist and clever, but don't go so far down that rabbit hole that you ignore the actual history of the game's development.

Edited by Tornado

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6 hours ago, Tornado said:

I get that you're trying to be ultra reductionist and clever, but don't go so far down that rabbit hole that you ignore the actual history of the game's development.

???

Was that really called for?

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On 2/3/2019 at 9:35 AM, Myst said:

Fart jokes. 

You joke, but when you try talking to Dreamworks in the mid to late 2000s about a Sonic movie and their suggestions involve Wanda Sykes playing a sassy version of Sally Acorn who plays Youtube videos on Nicole and for them to play up Robotnik being a fat man who eats, drinks, and farts a lot, it gets a lot less funny. 

The film industry for animated movies was a mess unless you could work with Disney. 

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2 hours ago, Pengi said:

???

Was that really called for?

Seemed like pretty straightforward advice based on you being both wrong about the context of the first game's development and then using that to be dismissive of the thread in general. If my understanding of your motives for posting were in error than I apologize, but it's hard to determine otherwise when someone already notes your post as seeming that way and in response you double down on it.

Edited by Tornado

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To be honest I think "speedy blue hedgehog" would be too out there for American developers. Like, I think it's plenty possible they'd think of making a speedy platformer to play up how people ended up running through SMB as fast as possible, but mixing that with ball physics and making that the focus of the design choice? Seems like a stroke you'd only get in very specific circumstances. 

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4 hours ago, Tornado said:

Seemed like pretty straightforward advice based on you being both wrong about the context of the first game's development and then using that to be dismissive of the thread in general. If my understanding of your motives for posting were in error than I apologize, but it's hard to determine otherwise when someone already notes your post as seeming that way and in response you double down on it.

I have no ulterior motive. In terms of causality, I think this hypothetical scenario would result in a game so drastically different that it wouldn't resemble the Sonic we know.

I'm unclear on why you're saying I'm wrong about the context of the game's development. Naka, Ohshima and Yasuhara have been very open about their role and contributions in the development of the game. If any of them were never involved in the "mascot to rival Mario" project, then the resulting game would be very different. It's highly unlikely another dev team would have independently hit upon the same ideas and executed them in a similar manner.

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