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Why the Chaos Emeralds should have been in Sonic Forces (A Casual Essay)


frogfireFantasy
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Hi! I know this is a bit of a big first post, but this has been on my mind so much today and I just have to tell somebody about it. Since this place is all about Sonic, I figured I could post it here! 

The Chaos Emeralds are a huge part of Sonic the Hedgehog. The collection of colorful crystals have been in every single game since the original on the Sega Genesis. They’ve been everything from bonus secrets to find to day-saving macguffins, and have an uncountable amount of uses. They’re synonymous with the blue blur himself! Yet, they’re curiously absent in one of his more recent games. A game that could have been infinitely (ha) better if they had been included. And a game where their inclusion alone could have saved many a sour review. If the Chaos Emeralds were included in Sonic Forces, they would have made the game so much better.

 

  1. They have nostalgic appeal

This is a bit of low hanging fruit, but it’s still important. The moments in Sonic Adventure 1-2 where you go super is a huge part of many a fan’s childhood. I don’t know how many drawings I’ve seen of people drawing their characters going super, or of super sonic himself. It’s something that’s stuck in a lot of fan’s minds! And those fans seem to be part of what Sonic Forces was trying to cater to. Those who love the sonic series so much they’ve made, and would be excited to play, as their own custom character! Because of this, including the ability to go super (possibly alongside sonic/your favorite character) would be incredible. It’d give so many fans the ability to live out a childhood fantasy, and it’d probably score some good vibes from the people who love it. And even if you aren’t a long-time fan of the series, who doesn’t love the idea of becoming all powerful and punting the villain into next week?  Some might say it’d be hard to accommodate for all the fur colors the custom character could have, but there’s an easy solution. You could easily have it be that all super of a specific species (ie hedgehogs) were one color (ie yellow). It’s not uncommon for main characters to have their supers looks similar, so this isn’t too far fetched of an idea.

2. They’d be a great narrative through line.

The story of Sonic Forces is kind of aimless. Nothing super exciting happens, there’s only one big battle at the end (which has no impact), and it’s just over. The story could have used something else, some other goal that the heroes could be striving for instead of just stopping Eggman. Maybe even something that could serve the aforementioned egg-stopping goal? I think the Chaos Emeralds would have fit perfectly for this! I can easily see appeal in a story where, in between helping out the resistance fight Eggman, you slowly pinpoint the locations of these incredibly powerful relics. It’d give the heroes a second reason to fight hard to take back the world, since they don’t want Eggman to find the emeralds first. It’d be a good marker for progress, since you can just count the emeralds you have. It could allow for the heroes to go to some pretty nifty locales, too! These gems are known for scattering to the winds, so why not have our heroes search the world to look for them? Not only that, it could also give the members of the resistance hope! With the emeralds on their side, it could be a physical reminder of the fact that they can beat Eggman, and maybe it’d even give some inspiring reason the rebellion is growing stronger. They have a chance to defeat Eggman! Why wouldn’t they fight hard to keep it? While it’s a bit of a departure from the typical sort of story, I think it’d give a good solid task to center the story around. Not only that, it might provide some further nostalgic value to those who loved the games where that was a big thing!


 

3. It elegantly serves to enhance the theme of the game.

Now, this is the part I’m super proud of. Sonic Forces as a game strives to have one major theme. The theme of friendship, and how it can make you stronger. It’s not illustrated very well in the game itself, but I believe that’s what they were going for. The Chaos Emeralds themselves work perfectly in this dynamic, and are a wonderful foil to the Phantom Ruby. Think about it. The Chaos Emeralds are a set of powerful artifacts. They’ve been scattered to the winds by conflict (their previous usage), putting them in tons of unlikely places. They’re strong individually, but they can only reach their true power when brought together. These gems perfectly mimic the rebellion’s situation! The members of Sonic’s crew scattered to the winds after his supposed death. They’re all strong on their own, but they can only best Eggman when they come together! Which is done over the course of the game as the rebellion takes back more of the world! On the flip side of this, the Phantom Ruby perfectly mimics Infinite’s situation. He’s a super powerful foe, with his Ruby being able to conjure nearly anything. But that’s only when he’s able to get you where he wants. Otherwise he’s a pitiful excuse for a foe.  He’s powerful, but he has nowhere near the power of, say, the Chaos Emeralds when they’re working together. This reinforces the idea of “The Power of Friendship” really well, and shows how much being with others can help. You might also even be able to say that the idea of the Custom Character going super alongside sonic could serve this idea! But that’s an idea for another day. 

 

It’s getting late, so I’m going to wrap this up. Sonic Forces is a very flawed game. It has a lot of good ideas, but fails to execute on them in a way that feels satisfying. The Chaos Emeralds almost fit too perfectly into this game, to the point that I have to wonder if they intended for them to be in there. Their nostalgic appeal, Handy narrative use, and reinforcement of the main theme make them shoe-ins, especially for a game marketed to die hard sonic fans. Maybe they originally wanted to include the emeralds as a part of the plot, but time constraints forced them to cut it (Like everything else). Nonetheless, I believe that they could have made this game a little better, and it saddens me to think of what could have been. 

I hope you guys enjoyed my ramblings! I have a lot of other things I've been thinking about how Sonic Forces could have been improved, so maybe I'll put em together someday if I feel like it. Anyway, Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day!

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you know, kind of agree with Pengi, and at the same time I don't. look, I love the chaos emeralds as much as the next guy, but sometimes they're at their best as rewards for a hard challenge (such as sonic 2 for example). that being said, though, the emeralds are indeed a big part of sonic and have been in the series for almost 30 years, and it wouldn't be smart to remove them. maybe you could use them for a plot that doesn't have "going super for the millionth time" being the plot point, for example:

  • doing what sonic & tails R is doing: the emeralds shatter, and you need to get them back together.
  • having them go corrupt, causing havoc on Sonic's world (which I'm now used to calling it mobius) and you'll have to do some weird capture thing.
  • okay.... hear me out: what if we pull of a SU (yes that one) and make them turn into Zeti-like creatures. just not, you know, too unfitting with design, like the actual Zeti.

those are all that I can think of, but you can probably think of some too as long as you put your mind into it. like I said, the emeralds are a big part of sonic that has done lots of good merits and ideas, but they have loads of potential to be more if we put more mind into the concept.

(also, welcome to Sonic Stadium! as a newcomer-ish myself, getting used to this site can be a bit... to put it nicely: complicated. but I think you'll get more used to it the more people you get to know, and the tools you discover. good luck!)

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Honestly, there is no narrative sense as to why the Chaos Emeralds are not a part of Sonic Forces. 

In a world where the heroes are so desperate for manpower that they have turned to recruiting and arming civilians how can you tell me that not 1 person. Not ONE person would have ever floated the idea of collecting the Chaos Emeralds and try to use them to turn the tides of the war? After Sonic's defeat, it should have been clear that they would need additional firepower to bring down Infinite - The emeralds would have provided just that. 

If not to use them, at the very least to keep them out of Eggman's hands to a keep a bad situation from getting worse. 

Its not like they didn't have the opportunity. Rouge was sent (for presumably months) on an undercover mission to spy on Eggman's plans. That same time could have whisked her across the planet to hunt down the gems. 

Utter madness. Not only should the emeralds have been the top of any we-are-about-to-lose-this-war to do list - but the Sol emeralds are just a phone call away. How did no one boot up the interdimensional payphone and sic Burning Blaze on Infinite? Bah!

 

Outside of the narrative, I can see why you would want to duck the emeralds from a... more meta standpoint. As Pengi stated, they more times you lean on Super forms to bail out the story - the less special it becomes. That's why you can have a special appreciation for games like Colors and Lost World, which all but ignored the emeralds as part of the story. 

But that just rubs me the wrong way with Forces. Colors took place off-world and LW on the Lost Hex, so it was an acceptable narrative for the Chaos Emeralds to not play a role. But in Forces, when they were backed up against a wall like never before, nobody even tried to reach for the stones literally credited with miracles?!  C'mon man. 

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The fact that the Phantom Ruby is basically an evil Chaos Emerald does make the missed opportunity weird. I mean Mania basically established that, prototype copy not withstanding, a Super form is a relative match for its power. Heck, imagine if there was a particular effect borne from the two energies mixing at some point and what kind of madness would result.

You could've added more fuel to the desperate situation by having Eggman already find a few and that's what he's uses some of his bases and maybe a few boss for. The heroes can just waltz in ro take it without the risk of either dying trying or Infinite pulling up on their way out. And they can't reliably track down the others either--not only are they missing four of the characters who can reliably find them, but again they're risking the situation getting worse if one of the Eggy Six show up to take it.

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9 hours ago, frogfireFantasy said:

3. It elegantly serves to enhance the theme of the game.

Now, this is the part I’m super proud of. Sonic Forces as a game strives to have one major theme. The theme of friendship, and how it can make you stronger. It’s not illustrated very well in the game itself, but I believe that’s what they were going for. The Chaos Emeralds themselves work perfectly in this dynamic, and are a wonderful foil to the Phantom Ruby. Think about it. The Chaos Emeralds are a set of powerful artifacts. They’ve been scattered to the winds by conflict (their previous usage), putting them in tons of unlikely places. They’re strong individually, but they can only reach their true power when brought together. These gems perfectly mimic the rebellion’s situation! The members of Sonic’s crew scattered to the winds after his supposed death. They’re all strong on their own, but they can only best Eggman when they come together! Which is done over the course of the game as the rebellion takes back more of the world! On the flip side of this, the Phantom Ruby perfectly mimics Infinite’s situation. He’s a super powerful foe, with his Ruby being able to conjure nearly anything. But that’s only when he’s able to get you where he wants. Otherwise he’s a pitiful excuse for a foe.  He’s powerful, but he has nowhere near the power of, say, the Chaos Emeralds when they’re working together. This reinforces the idea of “The Power of Friendship” really well, and shows how much being with others can help. You might also even be able to say that the idea of the Custom Character going super alongside sonic could serve this idea! But that’s an idea for another day. 

I feel embarrassed that I didn't read this before commenting. this is one of the better points than mine.

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6 hours ago, Sega DogTagz said:

Outside of the narrative, I can see why you would want to duck the emeralds from a... more meta standpoint. As Pengi stated, they more times you lean on Super forms to bail out the story - the less special it becomes. That's why you can have a special appreciation for games like Colors and Lost World, which all but ignored the emeralds as part of the story. 

But that just rubs me the wrong way with Forces. Colors took place off-world and LW on the Lost Hex, so it was an acceptable narrative for the Chaos Emeralds to not play a role. But in Forces, when they were backed up against a wall like never before, nobody even tried to reach for the stones literally credited with miracles?!  C'mon man. 

Yeah, that's very much it as well.

As is, there is zero reason for the emeralds not to come up in Forces' story. Even if it was just to justify why they can't use them.

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8 minutes ago, Detective Kaito said:

The Chaos Emeralds are too much like DBZ, can't have them in a Sonic story anymore. lol

 

Are they? 

I mean the Chaos Emeralds are power ups for dire confrontations vs the Dragonballs being there to fix massive problems.

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10 minutes ago, DabigRG said:

Are they? 

I mean the Chaos Emeralds are power ups for dire confrontations vs the Dragonballs being there to fix massive problems.

I don't know, but I assume they don't want to involve the Chaos Emeralds in their stories anymore cause it's too much like DBZ.

The comics can still use them so I guess I could be wrong. It could just be something that Sonic Team doesn't want to do anymore, similar to how Sonic games no longer have a monster of the week like Perfect Chaos and Dark Gaia, and instead opt for an Eggman final boss.

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I don't feel there's much nostalgic appeal to collecting the emeralds/a Super Sonic final boss considering how many games go that way. People fret a bit about them not showing up as much recently, but it's only actually been two games since the last time (and that's if you're not counting Mania) and otherwise it's been the default assumption since 3&K.

The idea of them representing unity among the Resistance as opposed to the Phantom Ruby and Infinite as a lone force is a better angle, but I'm not sure if they could pull it off since, again, collecting the emeralds has so often been a default assumption. They'd need some way of expressing the theme to make it different from every other instance of characters collecting the emeralds. And I feel it'd be hard to keep that theme going when the game would presumably end with 3 Super characters (at most) rising above the rest of the Resistance.

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29 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

I don't feel there's much nostalgic appeal to collecting the emeralds/a Super Sonic final boss considering how many games go that way. People fret a bit about them not showing up as much recently, but it's only actually been two games since the last time (and that's if you're not counting Mania) and otherwise it's been the default assumption since 3&K.

The idea of them representing unity among the Resistance as opposed to the Phantom Ruby and Infinite as a lone force is a better angle, but I'm not sure if they could pull it off since, again, collecting the emeralds has so often been a default assumption. They'd need some way of expressing the theme to make it different from every other instance of characters collecting the emeralds. And I feel it'd be hard to keep that theme going when the game would presumably end with 3 Super characters (at most) rising above the rest of the Resistance.

It doesn't matter if they collect the emeralds or not, all the finales since Sonic Generations (maybe even Colors) have felt pretty weak, like none of the games were building up to a final boss like SA1 or Uneashed were, a final boss just exists because it's a video game and that's pretty disappointing.

Not to mention how they keep forcing the final boss to be Eggman just because Classic Sonic did it like 30 years ago.

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Just now, Detective Kaito said:

Not to mention how they keep forcing the final boss to be Eggman just because Classic Sonic did it like 30 years ago.

It's more because he's the villain of the series and behind most of the evil goings-on in the series.

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2 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

It's more because he's the villain of the series and behind most of the evil goings-on in the series.

That doesn't mean it's not forced.

Eggman is a pretty boring villain too. Chaos, Metal Sonic, Black Doom, Dark Gaia, and even Mephiles are at least a bit more interesting.

Modern and Classic are split now, Classic should just stick to always having an Eggman final boss while Modern should do something different. I'm not saying that "monster of the week" is that much more unique, but it's certainly better than fighting the final boss of Sonic Colors again.

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31 minutes ago, Detective Kaito said:

That doesn't mean it's not forced.

Eggman is a pretty boring villain too. Chaos, Metal Sonic, Black Doom, Dark Gaia, and even Mephiles are at least a bit more interesting.

Modern and Classic are split now, Classic should just stick to always having an Eggman final boss while Modern should do something different. I'm not saying that "monster of the week" is that much more unique, but it's certainly better than fighting the final boss of Sonic Colors again.

Do you mean Perfect Chaos/DarkGaia, Metal Overlord, Devil Doom, and Solaris or...?

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15 hours ago, Pengi said:

It's repetitive when every adventure Sonic has involves the Chaos Emeralds and when every finale involves Super Sonic. Diminishing returns each time.

I guess I can kind of see that. I admit, Sonic Forces is the only sonic game I've played so far, so I don't really know how many of the other games end with chaos emerald transformations. 

 

15 hours ago, iambitter21 said:

(also, welcome to Sonic Stadium! as a newcomer-ish myself, getting used to this site can be a bit... to put it nicely: complicated. but I think you'll get more used to it the more people you get to know, and the tools you discover. good luck!)

Thank you! I appreciate it! I've been a huge fan of sonic for a while, probably ever since I watched sonic x as a kid, I figured joining a forum for the blue blur was long overdue. I haven't played that many games, but i hope I can chat with you all on here regardless!

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21 hours ago, Detective Kaito said:

That doesn't mean it's not forced.

 

...How? That's literally the most naturally conclusion someone can make.

The main villain who the game's plot is about being the one you fight at the end is just called common sense.

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I kind of dig the idea of reinforcing the theme by having it so the two Super Sonics fight what seems to be the true final boss, but it somehow isn't enough.  It's only when the whole of the resistance - lead by your avatar - bands together that they're able to defeat Eggman for good, following some kind of dialogue that reinforces the theme, with Infinite being hyper-fixated on how the emeralds aren't enough to defeat him, and Sonic or Tails iterating how by working together, they outshine even the emeralds' power... or something.

I don't think the plot was too bad though, it didn't super feel like meandering around to me - I feel like every stage had some narrative justification for why the characters were doing the thing.  It was kind of refreshing to see a Sonic game do that when all the recent ones have been fairly repetitive or injustified (the justification for every stage in Colours/Generations/Lost World being "Sonic is heading towards the chain generator" / "Sonic is restoring this point in time" / "Sonic is tracking down the next member of the Deadly Six" etc).

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  • 1 month later...

Really thinking about it, this could've been an opportunity to bring back the Hyper Mode and/or the flower making ability by having Knuckles/Classic use them on the Resistance to empower them enough to take on phenoms like Shadow, Chaos, and Zavok.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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