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How do most Japanese Sonic fans feel about playing as other characters besides Sonic?


Scritch the Cat

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I've been thinking of this for a bit now in light of recent discussions about SEGA's attempts to make the Sonic series popular over in Japan.  Apparently Sonic Frontiers is actually doing well there, defying expectations, though positive reactions to a demo of course do not guarantee a game will sell well.  But also it is widely said that up until now, the Sonic Adventure games were the most loved Sonic games in Japan.  I'm not sure how much that is saying when most other Sonic games have done as poorly as they did in Japan, but that does prompt the interesting question; what is the overall Japanese Sonic fandom's attitude towards playing as other characters in Sonic games? 

I say that not only because it happens to be one of the defining features of the two most successful Sonic games in Japan, but also because it has been argued that the increased emphasis on other characters in those games, and also the accompanying Sonic X anime, was done to appeal more to Japanese sensibilities and the anime crowd.  The same can be said of the chao and of Cream.  But again, while it's understandable why Japanese fans would like some of those other characters, the question I have is whether they overall like playing as those other characters.

So does anyone here have something of an answer?

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For people putting more values in the characters, the high value is in the breadth and depth of the interactions and actions. Many have expressed interest in playing a slower game that feature those, and those are key things that RPG games typically have. The reception of that genre would likely do better in Japan, as one of the reason I'm given when I ask why they're not playing Sonic games (anymore) is because:

  1. They can't complete them (too hard)
  2. The scenario has become too western (the story being an important value)

I haven't really answered your question directly. But it seems that you're looking for an answer in an action game setting. I'll just redirect it a bit in saying that in a game where the setting expects many characters, playing as them would be liked.

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I'm wondering if the Japanese fanbase also has more of a taste for games that have simpler gameplay mechanics, but also more gameplay mechanics.  If so, then that would explain why Japanese Sonic fans prefer the Adventure games and also like Frontiers a lot so far.  Classic Sonic mechanics are tight and deep, but they are narrow; characters have only a few abilities that they'll keep using throughout the entire game, and there is nuance and variety to how they work with every bit of terrain in the games, but you kind of have to dig for it and before you find it the games tend to feel like an awkward combination of simple and frustrating.  Meanwhile Sonic Frontiers seems not to have the deep momentum and angle physics that many fans around here hope it would, but it immediately gives Sonic a lot more moves to work with and gives him more types of objectives to do.

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