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batson

My problems with Shadow, in concept and execution

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3 hours ago, batson said:

Hmm. I seem to recall Shadow being divisive even back in 01, but I will admit that the scorn towards the character and what he stood for really kept building up between 01 and 05. Like I said, by the time his own game came out a lot of people had already proclaimed Shadow as the poster boy for everything wrong with the modern Sonic franchise. I remember showing the trailer to the game to my brother and he honest to God thought it was a fan-made parody because it was so over the top edgy.

Anyway CSS, remember years and years ago how you and I used to argue about Shadow like this? You were always on team Shadow while I was on team Knuckles. Like I said in my opening post, I've actually mostly kept my mouth shut about my Shadow-related opinions for many years now, but somehow I just felt the need to pour my heart out again. It brings back memories I guess. :P

Except it wasn’t exactly like that.

I was less on Team Shadow and more on Team Be-Fair-to-All-Characters over who had an easier time appearing or not, and I still haven’t changed much from that either.

Shadow and Knuckles was where I saw this unfairness was most obvious. I’ve been wanting to build Knuckles up as well using things like the Master Emerald, and that kept getting shot down because it would keep him from showing up, which was against a tradition people wanted around for nostalgia sake. Yet people were making every excuse under the sun for why Shadow shouldn’t appear for any reason.

And let’s just say time, and a much broader library of media has made me more aware of the mechanics to storytelling.

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5 hours ago, Kuzu said:

I was mainly speaking in terms of power-sets; I already know Sonic's charismatic personality is what puts him above his peers. Also, this series also never really focuses on traits that benefit outside of a superpower setting...at least nowadays it doesn't (Poor Tails).

In fairness, unless your name is Sonic, the recent games haven't really been focused on traits that do benefit in a superpower setting either. The point is that, assuming the series gets its act back together, Sonic still has something of value to offer the heroes' side that Shadow doesn't, even if the latter is technically more powerful.

 

5 hours ago, Kuzu said:

Also, I should note that a major criticism of the first Avengers movie was that Cap felt "useless" compared to the likes of Thor and Hulk. It wasn't until Winter Soldier where Cap could establish how capable he was without the others around. 

True, but the later films don't really raise Cap's power level, they just make better use of what he already had. Sonic, for his part, really isn't lacking in the power department the way Cap is anyway. He still easily ranks in the top five most powerful characters in the series (alongside Knuckles, Shadow, Blaze, and Silver) and is plainly capable of holding his own next any of them, even if he isn't the absolute most powerful.

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10 hours ago, Kuzu said:

This logic makes no sense to me; you can literally say this about almost every single thing about this series; good concept and bad execution.

Because other than pure gameplay elements (which is of course where this series most significant problems lie) I feel that Shadow was executed in a worse fashion that most things in this franchise, certainly worse than any other individual character... except Elise of coure. Metal Sonic is in my mind an example of the "evil twin" archetype done better. Metal Sonic's likeness to Sonic makes sense within the narrative, his powers doesn't do anything to cheapen Sonic since he is virtually always an obstacle to overcome rather than an ally, he doesn't have a convoluted and overtly dark backstory, and he never went through an exceptionally poorly executed amnesia storyline.

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Honestly I think people are kind of over blowing Shadow's physical resemblance to Sonic. He's a male hedgehog, which given the series fairly homogeneous character designs means he's going to look a fair bit like Sonic regardless. His design is really not significantly less divergent from Sonic's than Silver's though, and it's actually more divergent than Classic Amy was from Classic Sonic or the Echidnas in SA1 were from Knuckles. The cases where people mistake Shadow for Sonic in-universe all have additional factors at play, like them not having a clear view of view of Shadow or being in a situation where they would expect to see Sonic: Eggman initially sees Shadow at an awkward angle, from a fair distance away, while he's in the middle of executing an evil plan and thus expects Sonic might show up to try and stop him at any time. Amy knows Sonic is somewhere on Prison Island, sees Shadow from behind, and, being Amy, goes in for the glomp before fully registering what she's seeing, like that this "Sonic" has black fur and is standing right next to Doctor Eggman. The general populace is less familiar with Sonic than the other two are, saw a male hedgehog moving at superhuman speed in the dead of night, and assumed it was Sonic since he's the only person people they know who matches that description (which is actually impressively accurate as eyewitness testimony goes; in real life there is a non-zero chance Shadow would have been identified as a female capybara, possibly orange in color).

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2 hours ago, Shadowlax said:

Not everything needs to be connected somehow. It makes the world incredibly small. Imo

It doesn't, but I ultimately don't like Shadow and Sonic's similarities being chalked up to coincidence myself. The mural thing is a way to fix that with a small tweak that doesn't upend the entire character otherwise. 

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1 hour ago, Bowbowis said:

Honestly I think people are kind of over blowing Shadow's physical resemblance to Sonic. He's a male hedgehog, which given the series fairly homogeneous character designs means he's going to look a fair bit like Sonic regardless. His design is really not significantly less divergent from Sonic's than Silver's though, and it's actually more divergent than Classic Amy was from Classic Sonic or the Echidnas in SA1 were from Knuckles. The cases where people mistake Shadow for Sonic in-universe all have additional factors at play, like them not having a clear view of view of Shadow or being in a situation where they would expect to see Sonic: Eggman initially sees Shadow at an awkward angle, from a fair distance away, while he's in the middle of executing an evil plan and thus expects Sonic might show up to try and stop him at any time. Amy knows Sonic is somewhere on Prison Island, sees Shadow from behind, and, being Amy, goes in for the glomp before fully registering what she's seeing, like that this "Sonic" has black fur and is standing right next to Doctor Eggman. The general populace is less familiar with Sonic than the other two are, saw a male hedgehog moving at superhuman speed in the dead of night, and assumed it was Sonic since he's the only person people they know who matches that description (which is actually impressively accurate as eyewitness testimony goes; in real life there is a non-zero chance Shadow would have been identified as a female capybara, possibly orange in color).

This just feels like a whole lot of work to try and downplay what was unambiguously an important plot point for the first half of SA2. You can make arguments why characters may have justifiably mistaken Shadow for Sonic, but all of those scenes were put into the game for a reason, and brushing them off as meaningless mistakes makes the story worse.

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9 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

This just feels like a whole lot of work to try and downplay what was unambiguously an important plot point for the first half of SA2. You can make arguments why characters may have justifiably mistaken Shadow for Sonic, but all of those scenes were put into the game for a reason, and brushing them off as meaningless mistakes makes the story worse.

I don't mean to imply that there isn't a resemblance between the two. I just don't think it's presented as strong enough to need an explanation beyond simple coincidence. 

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1 hour ago, Wraith said:

It doesn't, but I ultimately don't like Shadow and Sonic's similarities being chalked up to coincidence myself. The mural thing is a way to fix that with a small tweak that doesn't upend the entire character otherwise. 

Eh, I don't like it that personally. I don't even like the mural. Like I hate the mural for knuckles. ( i really do not like that mural in relation to the echidina's and i hate it even more thanks to ian) I don't like sonic being super super fate guy. I like him just being a dude. And I don't think he needs to be connected to everything.

Sometimes the best things in fiction are happy coincidences that can be used for interesting narrative parallels. . That's my take anyway

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5 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

Eh, I don't like it that personally. I don't even like the mural. Like I hate the mural for knuckles. ( i really do not like that mural in relation to the echidina's and i hate it even more thanks to ian) I don't like sonic being super super fate guy. I like him just being a dude. And I don't think he needs to be connected to everything.

Sometimes the best things in fiction are happy coincidences that can be used for interesting narrative parallels. . That's my take anyway

Sonic ends up having a bizarre amount of significance in the echidna arc even if you disregard the mural so I don't mind the bit of foreshadowing. The fact that you can use it to tie SA1 and 2 together into a nice little bow makes it even better for me. Makes a nice through-line from Sonic 1 - SA2 that connects everything. 

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Just now, Wraith said:

Sonic ends up having a bizarre amount of significance in the echidna arc even if you disregard the mural so I don't mind the bit of foreshadowing. The fact that you can use it to tie SA1 and 2 together into a nice little bow makes it even better for me. Makes a nice through-line from Sonic 1 - SA2 that connects everything. 

If that's how you feel, more power to you.

I just really like it when characters are just...out of nowhere. I think it adds a lot to the world and creates interesting dynamics if they are taken advantage of. Its something that shadow kind of has, that I think could also be applicable to sonic.

Now you might be like " wait a minute how is shadow out nowhere"

Sonic is the guy destined to be some hero

Knuckles is a guardian given a job and apart of the previous guy's destiny

Blaze is a magical princess given power from another world

And silver is from the future with incredible powers kind of destined to save the past. 

And shadows... a guy who is made in a lab by an alien guy and a mad scientist and can kind of slap their shit. And I think that narrative isolation is fascinating. I do not want him connected, the idea that all these people who sound like they could be out of an rpg and then the goddamn space alien is like a living anomaly that stands in contrast to all of that. Not just in the story, but outside of that. Shadow was supposed to die, and he defied his fate. While that may not ever be acted upon, it is an interesting fun character quirk. That I do not think is worth getting rid of because of narrative cohesion. I don't think it matters.

I find these characters facinating, that's just me.

 

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12 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

 

I just really like it when characters are just...out of nowhere. I think it adds a lot to the world and creates interesting dynamics if they are taken advantage of. Its something that shadow kind of has, that I think could also be applicable to sonic.

Now you might be like " wait a minute how is shadow out nowhere"

Sonic is the guy destined to be some hero

Knuckles is a guardian given a job and apart of the previous guy's destiny

Blaze is a magical princess given power from another world

And silver is from the future with incredible powers kind of destined to save the past. 

And shadows... a guy who is made in a lab by an alien guy and a mad scientist and can kind of slap their shit. And I think that narrative isolation is fascinating. I do not want him connected, the idea that all these people who sound like they could be out of an rpg and then the goddamn space alien is like a living anomaly that stands in contrast to all of that. Not just in the story, but outside of that. Shadow was supposed to die, and he defied his fate. While that may not ever be acted upon, it is an interesting fun character quirk. That I do not think is worth getting rid of because of narrative cohesion. I don't think it matters.

I find these characters facinating, that's just me.

 

Narrative isolation is fine with me in most cases. Lord knows I'm glad they stopped hitting up the Echidna well for lore eventually, but Shadow is the only character who's intentionally evocative of another one with no reason given for that. Silver and Amy are also Hedgehogs but don't have any of the same abilities. Half of SA2 is spent drawing attention to the fact that they look alike. Shadow comes out of the pod with a similar spread of abilities and intent with how he uses them. The similarities are too uncanny to just be a coincidence, especially given that the cocktail of influences that created Shadow means that the odds of him turning out like this are relatively low.

Giving Gerald the intent of creating something akin to a warrior in Echidna myth would take advantage of the guy's apparent fascination with the tribe. It would give Shadow's design intent and purpose beyond coincidence. It would add more significance to their rivalry as Sonic and Shadow were both destined for the same purpose of using the emeralds for good, albeit by misinterpretation in Shadow's case. Sonic is the real thing and Shadow is the artificial take, explaining why he is ultimately lesser than Sonic despite being created to do the same thing. You could even wrap it back around to the series core themes of nature versus technology, if you so choose. 

It does all of these things without simplifying his backstory any, or taking any elements out. It's one of the things I most hope they get around to addressing if SA3 ever comes. 

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Shadow was given his own "destiny" at least as of ShtH with the Black Arms blood stuff, and arguably earlier as a being created to help humanity. I find it kind of hard to see his existence as being "out of nowhere" when he was deliberately created in-universe.

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7 hours ago, batson said:

Because other than pure gameplay elements (which is of course where this series most significant problems lie) I feel that Shadow was executed in a worse fashion that most things in this franchise, certainly worse than any other individual character... except Elise of coure. Metal Sonic is in my mind an example of the "evil twin" archetype done better. Metal Sonic's likeness to Sonic makes sense within the narrative, his powers doesn't do anything to cheapen Sonic since he is virtually always an obstacle to overcome rather than an ally, he doesn't have a convoluted and overtly dark backstory, and he never went through an exceptionally poorly executed amnesia storyline.

That's the besides the point; a concept being used terribly does not make that concept inherently bad. 

Metal Sonic is used comparatively less than Shadow, so yea you can say he hasn't been used enough for them to mess him up, but that's damned by faint praise if anything.

If you prefer him over Shadow, power to you, but there's kind of a reason Shadow is given more focus than Metal even nowadays. The former just has more than writers are willing to work with.

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I'm also gonna double back and argue that Metal Sonic is exceptionally terrible opposition to Sonic specifically because he doesn't challenge him in any meaningful way. Metal Sonic has been used to wipe the floor with so utterly in such a vast amount of Sonic games without even getting so much of a cut-scene where Sonic is intimidated by his precedence. Sonic straight up doesn't feel pressured when he's around, and with how mechanically brain-dead almost every boss battle he's in is he ends up being little more in the series than a footnote. 

Compare this to Sonic's drive to best Shadow despite Shadow's inherent advantages and you can see which rival character brought the best out of our hero. The thing all good rivals are supposed to do. 

But hey Metal Sonic is less likely to be made fun of and that's what we value in this fanbase amirite? I mean, he's never done anything edg-shit.
ce3879ceb39bbd95ea5bde30fa8290ee3b7945dc6b2fa6d677e496fa03b3cfcefd151b4706bfccaf

Fuck Metal Sonic. Wasted potential: The character moreso than any other concept in the series. I don't care if he has seniority. 

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And I like Metal Sonic for the record, but at the end of the day, he's just a really cool design and nothing more. 

He never gets any focus besides just being a footnote as a boss fight. He doesn't even get to show off how strong he is against other characters or even have his own spotlight to flesh him out because he's never anything more than Eggman's attack dog.

The simplicity of the character is fine, but come on, even Knuckles got to get in Sonic's way when he was still an adversary, and Jet actually got under Sonic's skin in the one field Sonic prides himself in. So it's not even exclusive to Shadow.

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19 minutes ago, Wraith said:

Narrative isolation is fine with me in most cases. Lord knows I'm glad they stopped hitting up the Echidna well for lore eventually, but Shadow is the only character who's intentionally evocative of another one with no reason given for that. Silver and Amy are also Hedgehogs but don't have any of the same abilities. Half of SA2 is spent drawing attention to the fact that they look alike. Shadow comes out of the pod with a similar spread of abilities and intent with how he uses them. The similarities are too uncanny to just be a coincidence, especially given that the cocktail of influences that created Shadow means that the odds of him turning out like this are relatively low.

Silver does has access to some chaos control , he's just not that good at it simular to sonic. But if you mean just being able to move fast, most people in sonic land can move pretty fast. I think the reason they drew attention to it because it was kind of a sell at the time, but also in concept art shadow was supposed to look more like sonic.

But it doesn't really matter, its a fun coincidence. Sometimes shit doesn't matter, sometimes shit not matting is more thematically appropriate than making it matter

19 minutes ago, Wraith said:

Giving Gerald the intent of creating something akin to a warrior in Echidna myth would take advantage of the guy's apparent fascination with the tribe. It would give Shadow's design intent and purpose beyond coincidence. It would add more significance to their rivalry as Sonic and Shadow were both destined for the same purpose of using the emeralds for good, albeit by misinterpretation in Shadow's case. Sonic is the real thing and Shadow is the artificial take, explaining why he is ultimately lesser than Sonic despite being created to do the same thing. You could even wrap it back around to the series core themes of nature versus technology, if you so choose. 

I kind of hate everything you said. But I want to talk about the bolded is important.

Shadow as of currently is an alien science experiment with infinite potential. To confine him as to that mural just makes him shitty not real sonic. And what's the point of that, narrative cohesion? What do you gain. Shadow's entire narrative, is that shadow is is own person. That's the point, that's why its good.  Even in the sea of glitchy shit that is sonic 06 its why shadow's narrative is claimed to be one of the best things about that game. Because he's this character with seemingly infinite potential, given the option to turn heel and he doesn't.

But it seems like you would rather see him relegated to the literal thing people make fun of him for, being shitty sonic , for what, narrative cohesion? Canon is an abyss and i'm willing to disregard potential cohesive canon, if I can get cool stories. I mentioned this on the other page, but tikal could rise from the grave this instant and I wouldn't give a shit as long as cool stories came out of it.

He's just some dude, that's all i needs to be. Narrative coincidence.

 

19 minutes ago, Wraith said:



It does all of these things without simplifying his backstory any, or taking any elements out. It's one of the things I most hope they get around to addressing if SA3 ever comes. 

I think if they ever do more shadow backstory they are just gonna lean more into aliens.

8 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Shadow was given his own "destiny" at least as of ShtH with the Black Arms blood stuff, and arguably earlier as a being created to help humanity. I find it kind of hard to see his existence as being "out of nowhere" when he was deliberately created in-universe.

Shadow's game does the opposite of that. The whole point of shadow's game is is essentially saying " I'm my own person and my fate is what i choose" but also it doesn't give him a destiny. While it elaborates on how Gerald got to creating shadow or augmenting? Shadow's weird. Point being that he was made made thing. Everyone else is like " will of the universe " type stuff

  • Sonic's destiny is will of the universe sonic needs to save the day type stuff
  • Knuckles's gaurdianship and the echidna's also play into that
  • Blaze is a job she was just from what we understand given from birth. Its a combination of sonic and knuckle's backstory and is more will of the universe.
  • Same with silver he's this guy who comes back in time to make sure the future isn't messed up, to correct a timeline.

Shadow's on the outside of all that. He was made in a lab, by an alien dude who's just kind of around. In a sea of magical people doing magical things, he's just a man/alien made dude. Who's existence is just kind of outside of all that , and brings fun perspective to it. He's a super hero origin story in the middle of RPG characters and that's kind of neat. And I wish it was used more.  One of my favorite issues of the archie comics is where shadow and Knuckles are just hanging out and they have a bit of an argument and then knuckles pauses for a second... and then he gets it. Moments like that allow for shadow to bring this weird ass perspective to narratives. And I think that only happens because he's kind of an isolated weirdo, both in personality and lore.

 

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There's a point when coincidence starts becoming contrivance. Shadow has every ability Sonic had, while the other two Hedgehogs do not despite all of them being the same species.

That's stretching the suspension of disbelief quite a bit there to say "it doesn't matter"

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9 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

Silver does has access to some chaos control , he's just not that good at it simular to sonic. But if you mean just being able to move fast, most people in sonic land can move pretty fast. I think the reason they drew attention to it because it was kind of a sell at the time, but also in concept art shadow was supposed to look more like sonic.

But it doesn't really matter, its a fun coincidence. Sometimes shit doesn't matter, sometimes shit not matting is more thematically appropriate than making it matter

I kind of hate everything you said. But I want to talk about the bolded is important.

Shadow as of currently is an alien science experiment with infinite potential. To confine him as to that mural just makes him shitty not real sonic. And what's the point of that, narrative cohesion? What do you gain. Shadow's entire narrative, is that shadow is is own person. That's the point, that's why its good.  Even in the sea of glitchy shit that is sonic 06 its why shadow's narrative is claimed to be one of the best things about that game. Because he's this character with seemingly infinite potential, given the option to turn heel and he doesn't.

But it seems like you would rather see him relegated to the literal thing people make fun of him for, being shitty sonic , for what, narrative cohesion? Canon is an abyss and i'm willing to disregard potential cohesive canon, if I can get cool stories. I mentioned this on the other page, but tikal could rise from the grave this instant and I wouldn't give a shit as long as cool stories came out of it.

He's just some dude, that's all i needs to be. Narrative coincidence.

 

Quote

Shadow's entire narrative, is that shadow is is own person.

 

Shadow choosing to be his own person is what's important. He's not just "his own person". He rejected the will of his creators twice over. That was the point of all of his story arcs: to reject what people thought he should do or what they thought he would do. This would only add to that by giving him a predefined connection to Sonic that he chooses to not let define him. 

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31 minutes ago, Wraith said:

But hey Metal Sonic is less likely to be made fun of and that's what we value in this fanbase amirite? I mean, he's never done anything edg-shit.
ce3879ceb39bbd95ea5bde30fa8290ee3b7945dc6b2fa6d677e496fa03b3cfcefd151b4706bfccaf

Fuck Metal Sonic. Wasted potential: The character moreso than any other concept in the series. I don't care if he has seniority. 

Metal Sonic has been "edgy" from day one. Everyone just gives him a free pass because he debuted in 90s, and we all know Sonic was never edgy in 90s.

latest?cb=20200325085009Metal GIF - Find & Share on GIPHYMetal Sonic | MMKB | FandomSonic Forces 'Grim Gala' Begins, Reaper Metal Sonic Up For Grabs ...Image may contain: possible text that says 'EVENT NOW ON! SONIC DASH'latest?cb=20181221004710

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8 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

There's a point when coincidence starts becoming contrivance. Shadow has every ability Sonic had, while the other two Hedgehogs do not despite all of them being the same species.

That's stretching the suspension of disbelief quite a bit there to say "it doesn't matter"

And this a series about 3 to 5 foot anthropomorphic animals that move quickly.

There are bunches and bunches of fiction aimed at more mature audiences have weird ass narrative coincidences that serve the narrative. Even things like dbz just reased or "just" released new broly a character who just happens to be mad strong. And people love it because its engaging.

I love lore, I love when a universe neatly comes together. I love it when some comic writer takes a small detail and connects to a larger set of universal properties. But even the best comic writers will tell you, sometimes shit just happens. It's like life, sometimes shit just happens.

And the idea that this series should be held up such narrative scrutiny to deny this , is baffling.

If people like it, it stops being contrived and it starts being interesting. And that's all that matters.

4 minutes ago, Wraith said:

 

Shadow choosing to be his own person is what's important. He's not just "his own person". He rejected the will of his creators twice over. That was the point of all of his story arcs: to reject what people thought he should do or what they thought he would do. This would only add to that by giving him a predefined connection to Sonic that he chooses to not let define him. 

It's more so rejecting what people think he is, a weapon. A point that would be undermined by making him shitter sonic in lore.

Like you talk about the OP but are doing the exact same thing. Arguing that a character should be made worse for minor lore gripes no one gives a shit about because they love the character.

Just let cool shit be cool.

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9 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

And this a series about 3 to 5 foot anthropomorphic animals that move quickly.

There are bunches and bunches of fiction aimed at more mature audiences have weird ass narrative coincidences that serve the narrative. Even things like dbz just reased or "just" released new broly a character who just happens to be mad strong. And people love it because its engaging.

I love lore, I love when a universe neatly comes together. I love it when some comic writer takes a small detail and connects to a larger set of universal properties. But even the best comic writers will tell you, sometimes shit just happens. It's like life, sometimes shit just happens.

And the idea that this series should be held up such narrative scrutiny to deny this , is baffling.

Dude, comic writers  and even manga writers try to contextualize shit through retcons and continuity reboots, so this reasoning doesn't hold water.

When you're telling a story, it's the writers job to sell that this is a cohesive and logical universe unless you just don't give a shit about the story you're trying to make. 

And they clearly were trying to tell a story with Shadow, so this idea that all of the shit about him "doesn't matter" is some grade A bullshit and it feels like you're trying to stifle discussion.

It feels like you only care about Shadow's story in a vacuum, and not how it fits in the universe it's set in.

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