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Revising Shadow's backstory

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What if instead of being created from Black Doom's blood, Shadow was created through knowledge passed down by a demon prince? It would be kinda like the relationship between Raven and Trigon from Teen Titans except that Shadow wouldn't be created from the demon's essence rather Gerald makes him through a formula the demon gave him. Not to mention in the present he could face Shadow alongside other things like offering to bring Maria back to life or him bargaining with Eggman.

Hell, he doesn't HAVE to be introduced immediately as Shadow's indirect creator. The demon could be introduced beforehand causing Sonic and his friends grief.

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Yeah, I see no point to this. Shadow's backstory is complex....ok, let's be honest. Is complicated.

Last thing it needs is "How about we change EVERTYHING but kinda nothing at the same time".

The only reason to make hit half demon is "because it sounds cool". But how does that fit into Ark, GUN and Maria. Black Doom was a sudden shift, but ARK is in space, there is threat of logic to it. At least we're keeping this "area 51" theme of government conspiracy. I can't really imagine Gerald doing satanism as side hobby.

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I'd... rather simplify it to Shadow just being Eggman's failed attempt to clone Sonic. Any "angst" issues can come from him dealing with his origin as a literal Sonic recolor. 

Needless to say this won't blow over well with Shadow fans, because I have no issue stating how ridiculous and unnecessary I think his original backstory is, and that was before the Black Arms were involved. 

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His backstory is ridiculous, I know, but.... what, remove mystery, tragedy and his Maria-moral-compass? Remove the "Ultimate Life Form" one of coolest tittles in fiction? Embrace "he's just a recolor" mentality? That's a solution? Just burning ideas to the ground and using simplest cliche?

Take Sonic Battle, Archie's "Shadow Fall" or IDK, this obscure Sonic Advneture 2 thing. Those stories can't be told with "ble, he's a clone or something".

And even then, that's Metal Sonic's job. Metal is build in image of Sonic, fueled by hatred toward Sonic, with his only goal being better Sonic than Sonic. And everyday he fail, being forced to see himself as nothing but inferior clone, thus fueling his hatred. That;s a good story, even if it more exist in my head than in actual games.

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Turning Shadow into Metal Sonic just removes everything that makes him compelling. I haven't really seen a good alternative yet for his current backstory nor a good argument for changing it. Everyone always says Shadow's lore is so ridiculous and flawed but whenever you ask what someone would do instead it's always the most bog standard bad guy tropes imaginable. Tropes already covered by the series proper at that. 

The reality is that Shadow proved to be a popular and compelling character despite his flaws. Until you understand why this is you're better off leaving him be. 

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The only minor thing I'd change is probably the nature of Maria's death. Either have her die from her illness due to GUN cutting Gerald's funding, or not be sick but get shot during the raid anyway. Having both is kind of weird and somewhat undermines the drama surrounding the former.

Otherwise, the stuff that used to bother me about Shadow's history... doesn't, anymore. I stopped hating the alien stuff the moment I understood that it didn't fundamentally change anything we learned in SA2 and it wasn't any more ridiculous than ancient water gods destroying civilization or giant planet-sized beasts dwelling within the earth's core to reboot all of existence every few thousand years. If there was anything actually wrong with ShTH's story it was retconning GUN as a force of good lol

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10 minutes ago, Sean said:

The only minor thing I'd change is probably the nature of Maria's death. Either have her die from her illness due to GUN cutting Gerald's funding, or not be sick but get shot during the raid anyway. Having both is kind of weird and somewhat undermines the drama surrounding the former.

You know, you've got a point about that.

10 minutes ago, Sean said:

. If there was anything actually wrong with ShTH's story it was retconning GUN as a force of good lol

Retcon?

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Retcon as in the way ShTH tries to paint GUN as "the good guys" while sweeping their corruption under the rug like it was all just some big misunderstanding or bad management. And how the GUN commander only has beef with Shadow because of some childhood trauma loool. That stuff is way more embarrassing than anything to do with aliens

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Shadow's story is a wild one for a Sonic plot, sure, but it's one I appreciate. It casts a darker, more dramatic, and in some ways more down-to-Earth set of themes and stakes than the usual over the top cartoony shonen action adventure fare. It's a unique story in the series, and for that I really have a fondness to it. There's no wonder Shadow is so beloved, to be honest.

So no, I wouldn't change it. Let it exist.

..As it were in SA2, at least. The aliens story ShTH introduces is amongst the series' biggest shark-jump moves, and I don't think I'll ever quite be on board for it. I can think of a few ways I could like it, but I think in general it's just too much.  Ixnay on the Oomday.

 

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I don't want Shadow's backstory to be changed but I think they sidestepped just about every opportunity to make it more interesting and less fridgey than it is. Like, this grump grew up with a younger sister! What was she like? What type of things did they do together What habits did Shadow pick up from Maria, intentionally or no? 


None of these questions and more are answered across all 3 of Shadow's post SA2 adventures. The aliens are one of those things that's easy to ignore in the grand scheme, but adding another character that's in his feelings over maria's death without fleshing her out hurts a lot more. 

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3 minutes ago, Wraith said:

I don't want Shadow's backstory to be changed but I think they sidestepped just about every opportunity to make it more interesting and less fridgey than it is. Like, this grump grew up with a younger sister! What was she like? What type of things did they do together What habits did Shadow pick up from Maria, intentionally or no? 


None of these questions and more are answered across all 3 of Shadow's post SA2 adventures. The aliens are one of those things that's easy to ignore in the grand scheme, but adding another character that's in his feelings over maria's death without fleshing her out hurts a lot more. 

All the Shadow and Maria fan art I've seen has me convinced that his backstory is good, it's just Sega's handling of it that is bad.

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32 minutes ago, Sean said:

Retcon as in the way ShTH tries to paint GUN as "the good guys" while sweeping their corruption under the rug like it was all just some big misunderstanding or bad management. And how the GUN commander only has beef with Shadow because of some childhood trauma loool. That stuff is way more embarrassing than anything to do with aliens

Didn't somebody prove there was stuff cut from the English stuff explaining that a previous President was involved or something?

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2 hours ago, Sean said:

All the Shadow and Maria fan art I've seen has me convinced that his backstory is good, it's just Sega's handling of it that is bad.

 

1 hour ago, Wraith said:

At least one person there understands.

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Given the fact that the series are into character shorts nowadays, I pray we get one depicting Shadow's time on the ark before the incident. SOMETHING to remind the audience that he isn't just an edgy Sonic recolor. Please Sega, give that to me. Just a quick five minute short...

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That whole idea with Shadow's time on the Ark is kinda squandered by the official canon making it that he knew Maria for all of...a week, thereabouts? It's very short at least. That is a little bit of a self-own there, not gonna lie. Means that the games themselves can't really play with the idea.

What I was going to say earlier is that the broad strokes of Shadow's backstory is pretty simple already, since most of the complex stuff is supplementary info. The main beats are that Shadow was made by Gerald to help a sick girl, GUN didn't like Gerald's stuff so attacked the Ark, the girl saved Shadow by sending him to Earth, he's woken up years later. No need to re-invent the wheel just to try a completely different cliche or anything.

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I don’t like the idea Shadow is a demon prince, I prefer his backstory that he was created by Proff. Gerald Robotnik in a lab while trying to cure Maria. I saw Shadow as organic Mecha Sonic of sorts, not designed to specifically destroy Sonic, but that the Botnik family tampers with creation, seeking to create life, wheras Ivan did this with artificial intelligence and robots,  Gerald did this with technilogy akin to cloning and manipulation of cells in organic matter. I prefer Shadow being the byproduct of “playing god,” than some heir of Black Doom or demon prince. 

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I feel like some people more focus on FACTS that make Shadow rather than EMOTIONS core to his identity. Let's look at Shadow's story from very start.

Shadow's backstory is complicated, but complications are what make Shadow. His story is of confused experiment trying to figure out who he is. Even ignoring amnesia, mind games and possibly fake memories he had implanted, Shadow had  multiple "parents" (Gerald, GUN, Black Doom, Gerald after going crazy), who had different ideas who he should be, but most of which want him to be weapon of mass destruction, with one memory of Maria that works as his moral compass.

On 10/16/2020 at 12:44 AM, Sean said:

The only minor thing I'd change is probably the nature of Maria's death. Either have her die from her illness due to GUN cutting Gerald's funding, or not be sick but get shot during the raid anyway. Having both is kind of weird and somewhat undermines the drama surrounding the former.

If Maria died of sickness, Shadow wouldn't had as strong hatred towards humanity. He was betrayed by people he was created to save.

Maria's sickness could been removed, but it works as essential motive why Gerald creates Shadow. Gerald Robotnik is a good man. He would never work for GUN, unless to save Maria. So he made Shadow. As a cure. As a weapon. As a person with his own heart to make choices (as said in Sonic Battle).

 

On 10/16/2020 at 3:56 AM, Your Vest Friend said:

That whole idea with Shadow's time on the Ark is kinda squandered by the official canon making it that he knew Maria for all of...a week, thereabouts? It's very short at least. That is a little bit of a self-own there, not gonna lie.

I say it adds to misery. Keep in mind that his single week was his WHOLE LIFE. Shadow is a baby told he's Ultimate  Life Form and he has to choose if he want to be a killing weapon or savior. Ignoring 50 years of sleep Shadow's age in SA2 is week on ARK + day or two. Of course Maria is most important thing to him.
And I know that SA2 happened many years games ago for Shadow, but Maria is still his first friend. If you're in 40s and you last seen your parents or siblings when you were 10, would you forget them? Would you love them any less? No, if anything you would glorify them. Especially if they had tragic end like Maria.

Plus the problem of identity. Shadow doesn't want to be space conqueror, destroyer of earth or living weapon. So who he is? He tries to live up to this whole "Ultimate Life Form" but no one taught him how. Because he had 1 week before his life feel apart.
This is why he's so cold and serious, because he doesn't know how to be normal. All mighty Ultimate Life Form is afraid people will know he's a few month baby, angry, confused and vulnerable.

On 10/16/2020 at 1:02 AM, azoo said:

..As it were in SA2, at least. The aliens story ShTH introduces is amongst the series' biggest shark-jump moves, and I don't think I'll ever quite be on board for it. I can think of a few ways I could like it, but I think in general it's just too much.

On 10/16/2020 at 1:01 AM, Sean said:

ShTH tries to paint GUN as "the good guys" while sweeping their corruption under the rug like it was all just some big misunderstanding or bad management. And how the GUN commander only has beef with Shadow because of some childhood trauma loool. That stuff is way more embarrassing than anything to do with aliens

Sonic started with magic stones, robots, two-tailed fox, time travel, only adding more concpets as time went. Variety is what makes Sonic interesting. Non-Sonic designs aside, I don't see how Black Arms are any weirder than Deadly Six, Chaos, Dark Gaia... or Wisps that are also aliens.

Like I said above, existence of Black Doom mostly galvanizes identity struggle. One more papa, why more reason to fight humans, one more person trying to manipulate Shadow. Doesn't add much new, but still fits into core of his identity.

But Black Doom affects GUN and honestly I see it as improvement.
SA2: GUN hire Gerald, build ARK and fund Shadow. Then they kill everyone. WHY? Because they jerks. And Shadow is filled with anger and wants to kill all the jerks. But Maria said "forgive them". So Shadow does. I know that most of planet was innocent, but guilty aren't punished. What the heck?
Shadow: Now GUN had a reason to attack: they learned that Gerald is working with evil alien. Little Commander wasn't imagining that Shadow is evil, he probably heard Black Doom talking about invading earth and use Shadow as a weapon.
Of course Gerald never intended to do so, but he never told anything to GUN. He probably needed Black Doom to finish Shadow and cure Maria, a little longer than Gun would agree to it. So Gerald tried to play both sides and pays ultimate price for that.
GUN, Little Commander, Gerald, they all wanted to do good, but mistrust lead to tragedy. That means Shadow backstory is akin to Greek tragedy like story of Oedipus. It's misunderstanding, yes, but born from human emotions. Romeo and Juliet ends with misunderstanding, and it's still classic.|
Finally, it just gives Maria's wish more sense. She doesn't say "I know GUN are evil, but turn other cheek, 'kay?" Rather "forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. I believe deep down people are good and. Give them second chance." which honestly sounds like a better moral for me.

 

Alien or Demon Prince, Experiment or Clone. Looking at big picture, his background is secondary to themes and emotions that make Shadow who he is.

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It's worth mentioning that the Black Arms are foreshadowed in Sonic Adventure 2 in the Dark Side story before Shadow even makes his first appearance. After Eggman inserts the Chaos Emerald to release Shadow, text on the floor reads "ASTRONOMERS ARE CONCLUDING THAT MONSTROUSBLACKS". It's the yellow text on the top and bottom of the screenshot.
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I watched SA2 cutscenes, and Shadow has an isentity crisis. Because Project Shadow is the Biolizard, although Gerald calls it a prototype. Maria calls Shadow by his name, which begs the question, how many prototypes were there? Is Shadow the Ultimate Lifeform? Sonic proves he can do Chaos Control, even with a lower powered fake Chaos Emerald. 

So many questions, which is one of the reasons I love Shadow. Mysterion makes charactera interesting. 

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I can understand the general aversion to Shadow's backstory, especially if you're someone who feels like the series doesn't need that level of grimdark in the series and for how flawed the entire thing ended up being. But the fact remains is that Shadow is still an immensely popular figure regardless of how anyone feels about it, and that there is an appeal in the character's mythos.

If it's honestly too antithetical to what you feel the series should be, then please do not forget that this franchise has literally been everything under the sun at this point. It's almost three decades old, it's going to appeal to different people for different reasons because there's always going to be a constant influx of newer fans who don't give a shit about what Sonic was in the 90's. 

Shit, we already see what stripping Shadow of his more dynamic personality traits and simplifying him into a grumpy Sonic recolor has done; it's not only unpopular among fans of the character, it hasn't really done anything to win him over with anyone else either. So what exactly is accomplished by stripping the character of the things that make him unique? I get it, his backstory is severely flawed and poorly written in many areas but it's time to get over it and move on. 

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11 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

I can understand the general aversion to Shadow's backstory, especially if you're someone who feels like the series doesn't need that level of grimdark in the series and for how flawed the entire thing ended up being. But the fact remains is that Shadow is still an immensely popular figure regardless of how anyone feels about it, and that there is an appeal in the character's mythos.

If it's honestly too antithetical to what you feel the series should be, then please do not forget that this franchise has literally been everything under the sun at this point. It's almost three decades old, it's going to appeal to different people for different reasons because there's always going to be a constant influx of newer fans who don't give a shit about what Sonic was in the 90's. 

Shit, we already see what stripping Shadow of his more dynamic personality traits and simplifying him into a grumpy Sonic recolor has done; it's not only unpopular among fans of the character, it hasn't really done anything to win him over with anyone else either. So what exactly is accomplished by stripping the character of the things that make him unique? I get it, his backstory is severely flawed and poorly written in many areas but it's time to get over it and move on. 

My understanding is that the debate over Shadow’s backstory stems from SA2 versus Shadow The Hedgehog Video Game. 

I personally was not thrilled with the Black Doom addition, it felt too Mammoth Mogul and like the near diety characters in the comics. 

I preferred Shadow being an experiment by Prof Gerald Robotnik. If Black Doom was simply Dark Matter, that might have been intriguing but Shadow being connected to Black Doom felt like the Midi-chlorians of TPM that nearly ruined the Force. I really don’t understand why SEGA felt the need to add Black Doom backstory, when SA2 flushed out Shadow’s story brillantly. Black Doom feels like Solo A Star Wars Story, did we really need it?  

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yes Black Doom happened, but you can just as easily ignore it and move on. It's not like the series has even referenced it since, it's only fans who seem weirdly obsessed with that particular plot point despite it no longer being relevant. 😕

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