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Kuzu

Does the series have too many characters?

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Not really? The Avatar and Sonic do practically everything with only Silver and Rouge in a pinch not screwing up/being helpful enough among Sonic's Friends.

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1 hour ago, Almar said:

Not really? The Avatar and Sonic do practically everything with only Silver and Rouge in a pinch not screwing up/being helpful enough among Sonic's Friends.

Well, Omega of all people gets to have a moment to shine.

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27 minutes ago, batson said:

Well, Omega of all people gets to have a moment to shine.

He shot at Infinite, missed every shot, and proceeded to do nothing. Rouge said he swooped in at the end to save the day, but that's...not what we saw.

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2 minutes ago, thumbs13 said:

He shot at Infinite, missed every shot, and proceeded to do nothing. Rouge said he swooped in at the end to save the day, but that's...not what we saw.

He didn't miss every shot, he forced Infinite to deflect a few. And him showing up pushed Infinite into doing the falling sun thing instead of fighting directly, which ended up getting countered, so I'd say that's a positive outcome.

I mean it's not exactly a huge showing but it is still more than anyone not named Sonic accomplished in Generations.

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That's a recurrent problem with many 'whole cast team ups', they often struggle not to bring it all down to a couple key characters doing nearly everything and the others doing superficial or negated steps at best.

Hell if we buy that Forces is based off of SatAm and the comics, those two medias did this a LOT (remember the whole build up to the multiple Freedom Fighter units vs Doomsday Project...and then everyone got captured near instantly and Sonic and Sally ended up doing everything?).

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It's generally a matter of trying to give things a focal point by the very end and having 15 different characters do something is hard to manage. Metal Madness and to an extent the battle at Imperial Tower are about as close as you can get.

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On 5/2/2020 at 10:46 AM, Wraith said:

The topic title and the question being asked by the OP are completely different. We'll start with the title.

Short answer: No.

Long answer: 
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It's a dumb question. It's illogical. What does it mean? That too many Sonic characters currently exist? Well, that can't be. There are over two thousand Mario characters on the Mario wiki as of this writing. Too many characters in a given Sonic game? Sometimes? That's case by case thing, but this is usually a question directed at the entire franchise as if it might be a long term issue. How many playable characters did the last Sonic game have? 

Normally I would not care to make these points again, but let's make sure everyone who scrolls through this topic sees this and save ourselves some time.

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Five playable characters.

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Four playable characters. I guess the number four is unlucky in some cultures. Maybe they would have gotten a higher meta-critic if they pushed for more.

So we've established this doesn't mean anything. Why does it keep getting asked? It's just designed to be provocative. Ooooo. Are those characters you like actually the problem, sonic fans?It's also intentionally designed to blame other Sonic fans who aren't really doing anything but enjoying controversial characters and games for the series woes.  It stopped making sense to ask this because Sonic games have functionally had two or three characters since 2008, but as long as there are still Silver and Charmy fans out there we have to put them on trial, right?


Now onto the actual question being asked:

I don't think anyone really considers Mario the gold standard for character writing. Most people I know wish they would do a lot more them. This is a question that wouldn't really be humored in other fanbases, so I don't know why it's happening here. It's repetitive setting and bland characters are one of the few parts of the franchise that are actually derided by fans and critics alike, so it has to be succeeding in spite of this issue, not because of it. 

Doubling down on this for Sonic would really only be taking away one of the few advantages this series has over that one. The fact that Sonic Team dared to risk pissing you off by putting a bunch of different characters in front of you and asking you to emphasize with them beyond their gameplay features paid off in spades in the long run and it would keep paying off if they kept doing. They annoyed people at the time but created long time fans at the same time just by having a character that dared to be quirky enough to click with them. 

The truth about making something for the average consumer is that the average consumer doesn't exist. Every person in this world is different. It's possible to create broadly appealing concepts but you can't truly be loved without getting specific, and you can't get specific without ruffling some feathers. I'd argue that even though Mario is a beloved franchise, it's characters really aren't. It's gameplay is usually why it's successful with it's characters designed to serve that. 

And while Mario's gameplay is popular, I'd argue that part of that is because it's not concerned with being for everybody. It's designed to be easily accessible and understandable but it's not bloated with features or constantly cribbing from as many other popular releases as it can. It based around jumping around and it does that well.

If you want proof that this approach wouldn't work out for Sonic...look at some of the franchise's blandest characters.

 

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Information fairy who's species also serves a mechanical function like the Luma.

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"Master of ceremonies" character ala Ballyhoo from Mario Party 8

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Boss team ala the koopalings. Personalities strong enough for them to have banter with Sonic but nothing that they don't already know is safe from other kids shit. 


 
They've already tried this and it's just lead to characters nobody is particularly fond of. You could probably argue that the likes of Shadow and Blaze are stereotypes in their own way but the fact that you're asked to play from their perspective means the game had to dig deeper into who they were. There was nuance beyond their function. They were given goals and purposes beyond being a tool or an obstacle for Sonic. Can you say the same about any of the Mario cast? Don't you think that might be holding them down a little bit?

And I don't know about you all, but I would be heartbroken if all the quirks and wrinkles that defined all of these characters went away for them to better serve as raw, inoffensive gameplay functions with cute faces attached. It's not why I'm here and I imagine a lot of other people feel the same way considering the vast majority of discussion on this board is centered around characterization. 

I agree with everything in your post except for this:

 I'd argue that even though Mario is a beloved franchise, it's characters really aren't. It's gameplay is usually why it's successful with it's characters designed to serve that. 

Nope. These characters are definitely beloved. There's lots of people that draw fanarts, write fanfics, and create many things about them. Hell, I've even seen a guy on Twitter that draws Rosalina and Rosalina only almost everyday! 

Sonic has more detailed characters, discussion, projects and fansites, but that doesn't mean that the Mario franchise doesn't get it's share of love from fans as well.

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The series doesn't have to many characters, as many said before Sonic Team just doesn't know how to handle most of them correctly. Majority of any adventure series will have lots of side characters over time as exploring new places & meeting new faces along the way is more then normal and to be expected. Honestly a fact is that it can hard to sell/market a long running series if nothing new & exciting stands from each new title. Adding new interesting characters is a nice quick method to make a new title more flashy to the general public.

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I'm going to say, no and yes.

I think the issue to me was more that Sega basically didn't know what to really do with the characters in the later games at time. Plus sometimes they botched the characters at times (Like Knuckles being dumbed down, and Tails kind of becoming a know it all). However done right a series can have a large cast of characters and not have issues.

Plus it feels like Sega/Sonic Team have just shoehorned the characters into the games, but that's just me.

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9 hours ago, Mountaindewandsprite said:

The series only had "too many characters" when SEGA tried to squeeze them all into one game rathers than featuring those who were relevant to the plot.

Essentially.

Situations like Generations, Forces, and Shadow aren't bad in themselves and are technically fine, but there's a clear issue with cast balance that SonicTeam has unfortunately had as early as Heroes(which was still probably one of the better uses of a big cast).

Honestly, the complaint with Forces and to an extent TSR is really only exacerbated by that and especially how starved people are to see each of the characters be used in a significant light again. Yeah they're around and sometimes do things, but they're not as important anymore and "not doing anything" in a lot of people's eyes.

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2 hours ago, DabigRG said:

Essentially.

Situations like Generations, Forces, and Shadow aren't bad in themselves and are technically fine, but there's a clear issue with cast balance that SonicTeam has unfortunately had as early as Heroes(which was still probably one of the better uses of a big cast).

 

I think Shadow did it the best. Have every character do their own unique thing and you meet them all on random stages. It's not even everyone, either. Big wasn't in the game at all, and you don't even get to team up with Cream. They knew who they wanted to use and who they didn't. It's also one of the only last stories where some characters don't show up for the final cutscenes. If more games had characters pop in and out after they stopped being relevant to the plot (maybe like Rush but done well), I think characters would be less hated. 

Clustering everyone together like Forces did was a bad idea from the get-go. 

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I'm glad this topic is still getting attention; bait titles work pretty good I guess.

 

3 hours ago, thumbs13 said:

I think Shadow did it the best. Have every character do their own unique thing and you meet them all on random stages. It's not even everyone, either. Big wasn't in the game at all, and you don't even get to team up with Cream. They knew who they wanted to use and who they didn't. It's also one of the only last stories where some characters don't show up for the final cutscenes. If more games had characters pop in and out after they stopped being relevant to the plot (maybe like Rush but done well), I think characters would be less hated. 

Clustering everyone together like Forces did was a bad idea from the get-go. 

Sonic Team likely stuff all of the characters in some game because they want to appease the people who want to see them, but don't wanna take the extra mile in actually making them feel significant. 

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I think a big problem with Forces' use of the characters is that they're largely interchangeable. Swap any two of the "radio chatter" characters' lines and, most of the time, they work about as well as they did before. Because most of their lines are just exposition, just explaining what's happening on-screen without much in the way of actual characterization.

I don't think it's that Sonic has too many characters, but that it's really bad at properly utilizing them. They're often there just to be there rather than because the story has an actual purpose for them.

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54 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

I think a big problem with Forces' use of the characters is that they're largely interchangeable. Swap any two of the "radio chatter" characters' lines and, most of the time, they work about as well as they did before. Because most of their lines are just exposition, just explaining what's happening on-screen without much in the way of actual characterization.

I don't think it's that Sonic has too many characters, but that it's really bad at properly utilizing them. They're often there just to be there rather than because the story has an actual purpose for them.

Well think about it; in the case of Forces, its really only centered on Sonic, Classic Sonic, and the Avatar. So the series can't really think of anything for these characters to do besides exposition, because they were never designed around the game to begin with.

Like yea, they really ''are'' just there to make appearances, because Sega had no other intentions for them to begin with but knows that fans want to see them. 

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51 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

Well think about it; in the case of Forces, its really only centered on Sonic, Classic Sonic, and the Avatar. So the series can't really think of anything for these characters to do besides exposition, because they were never designed around the game to begin with.

Like yea, they really ''are'' just there to make appearances, because Sega had no other intentions for them to begin with but knows that fans want to see them. 

Sure, but sometimes nonplayable characters are utilized in an interesting way, like Amy in SA2.

I think they could've given the side characters more actual presence in the game if they'd tried.

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3 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

Sure, but sometimes nonplayable characters are utilized in an interesting way, like Amy in SA2.

I think they could've given the side characters more actual presence in the game if they'd tried.

That also depend on who you ask; Amy not being playable in SA2 was a pretty big complaint at the time, especially after being playable in the previous game. 

They CAN give the side characters more presence, but the question lies in where's the incentive to do so. 

 

Like for instance: if Sega for whatever reason wanted to make a game focused on Sonic and some new guy, and designed the entire game with those two characters in mind and nobody else. Should the other characters be added at that point despite not really being part of the initial game plan? Where's the incentive to do so. 

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The thing to remember about Forces and I guess Generations is that those games premises kinda required having the other characters around to give the feel they want.

Forces is supposedly about Eggman nearly taking over the world with Infinite and the other villains taking Sonic out of play, so Tails, Knuckles, Silver, and their other friends & allies form a Resistance force to fight back. With or without the rumor in mind, you kinda need as many of the recurring characters as possible to go along with that plot.

Similar deal with Generations, except nowhere near as serious--Sonic has a birthday and his friends throw him a party, but the Timeeater crashes it and starts destroying much of the continuum to eventually wipe him out. The sight of the other characters around a picnic table yelling surprise is a surprisingly pleasant, down to earth one that's the first time they've congregated without the world being in danger iirc and goes to show how many lives the hedgehog has touched in universe.

If you include things like Team Sonic Racing, Free Riders, and other games or not, there are clearly instances where much of the cast can be there just as much as instances where they aren't.

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