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Sonic Frontiers Story Dicussion (Full Spoilers)


MetalSkulkBane

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(I don't think any of the current tops were right place to post it, so I made a new one. If I'm wrong, just merge them or something).

My feelings on the story are…infuriatingly mixed. Kinda wish Flynn was given Lost World or something similarly “meh, who cares” kind of low-priority story so we can see how he would do, not a reach-for-the-skies ambitious project with wild ideas like this.

Let me break my feeling into categories

TONE
I talked a lot about how I want Sonic games to be more serious. But maybe I wasn't always clear I meant “mix of serious and fun” not “devoid of any serious smiles”. Not Dark Knight, not Adam West. Closer to MCU.

Adventure 2 is my favorite kind of serious: it starts with Sonic snowboarding down the street, chased by a giant truck. It's a fun action, with the question “huh, wonder what’s Shadow’s deal” in the back of your head.  Only once you’re invested, you’re hit in the gut with stronger emotions or themes.
Same can be said about Sonic Battle, SA1 or Black Knight. Non-Sonic examples: Undertale, Steven Universe, Spec Ops: The Line, Adventure Time, Centaurworld.

I’m saying this because this game, while having some jokes, has this constant feeling of vague sorrow in the air. Eggman and Sonic VA performances are subtly more toned down than in probably any other Sonic game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% happy that Sonic is tackling more… the word “mature” has a completely different meaning these days, let’s say “more thoughtful” stories. I think Sega over-corrected just a liiiitlle bit. I mean, I'm still not exactly sure if Koco were alive or not and if I should be sad over their “deaths”. Still it's better than joke-per-second some games had.

FRIENDS/NPCs
So, I guess that mystery female human with pink hair never showed up, huh? Frustrating.
Big’s here and I wouldn’t be surprised if Flynn was responsible for it. It’s funny how he’s the only person to get here, but at the same time I’m a bit disappointed this world is so barren.

No point in pondering “what if?”, what we have are Amy, Knuckles & Tails.
Story seems to imply they all grow from this and plan to go somewhere afterwards. So it’s a shame that this isn’t Sonic Adventure where we see their actions and growth, instead they stand around and talk. At least the writing on them is spot on, although I think a slightly lighter tone could help them be a little more endearing. (Comparing them between this game and IDW.)

Take Tails. His arc is the most natural one (reminds me of Sonic & Tails R), but relies heavily on knowledge of past games. It makes perfect sense for fans, but if looking at just this game alone, it feels a bit empty.
Amy I think is most boring personality-wise one, but at least has some of the best emotions. Since shipping her with Sonic is… a no-win scenario, then I guess her helping the couple in love is a clever way to project her personality. The way she insists on helping them despite an arguably large problem is very SA1 Birdy scenario, I like it. And Amy shows some good maturity in those scenes. I just don’t know what’s the final take away. “love that transcends time. I want to share that love with the world”. What the hell does she mean, other than planning to travel?
And Knuckles final message seems to be “you know, I’m slowly opening to the possibility that I should leave my island and live a little”, another thing Flynn really pushed for. I just don't see how his story drove him to this conclusion. He thinks about lost civilizations, about ancient echidnas, he really freaks about some ruins at one point. IDK, I don't see the emotional journey. If anything I would understand if he finally wanted to learn more about his past. But he has fun banter with Sonic,

Overall I liked what was done with them, but 1) there’s still room for improvement 2) I don’t know if casual players will give a single damn about any of this. I think some of the cutscenes should be more focused on just making them fun and endearing before throwing any emotional drama on them.
I also wonder how much they can grow. I wouldn’t mind if Knuckles switched his job permanently to Treasure Hunting, but that requires dealing with ME, not character development. And Amy and Tails seem as mature to me as they need to be. I don’t know how much they can grow without getting their own spin-offs. Which could be a bad thing, Sonic kinda needs supporting characters, not more Shadow/Silver/Blaze people with their own stories to tell.

EGGMAN & SAGE
Eggman audio logs is something I always knew would be a brilliant idea. I want them in every Sonic game, even if they just have fluff jokes ala Sonic Colors PA announcements (easily the best jokes in that game). Again, Eggman is slightly too restrained, but I think the majority of them still work very well. And they're important, because 1) There is criminally not enough Eggman in the game 2) without them Eggman-Sage bond is kinda a joke.

I can tell Sage’s will be a divisive character, with some people loving her, and some really not caring. A big chunk of the emotional core of this game is focused on her. And while her robotic-analyzing-scenarios way of thinking isn't bad, I just didn't feel a strong connection with her. Definitely not as strong as Eggman apparently cares. This is a man constantly betrayed by his own creation. Someone who abused E-100 series, who treats Orbot & Cubot as slaves. He loves his robot, but as an extension of himself, as a creation of a very handsome genius. So it’s hard to see how Sage is any different from Metal Sonic and such, other than looking like a little girl. That scene where Sage flashbacks to all the interactions with Eggman with singing(?) is probably one of the silliest story moments. Mike Pollock gives a strong performance ("go, fulfill your function") Flynn dialogue works. But there just isn't enough of it to make me believe Eggman could love his creation in that way.

And frankly, I don't know if I want her to return. It will feel odd when Eggman tries blowing up the planet again, to have his beloved daughter try to kill Sonic who she seemed so fond of before.
So no, I don’t see Sage as a success. She’s not Eggette, she’s not Nicole. She might be better than Belle, but I don’t really like Belle.
(With that said, for those who do resonate with Sage, this might be one of most emotional stories Sonic games had since... Black Knight? Battle? SA1? Maybe even all time.)

LORE & SUCH
- So Chaos Emeralds are from space. Ooookay? But Master Emerald is from Mobius. Sure? I hope this thread will be explored more because I don't feel the impact of this revelation. And it does bring more questions, regarding Black Arms, Gaia Temples or general origins.
- Ancients are related to Chaos.... HOW IS THAT WORKING? Chaos is a chao. Did the ancients turn into chao? Can Ancients absorb Emerald to become Perfect Ancients? Why did intelligent species with super advanced tech and culture devolved into something that just swims in some ruins altar? And more importantly, what's the bloody point of making this connection? (I rolled my eyes when Egg Memo claimed Ancients' connection to Chaos is "unrecognizable" when it was so obvious on the first look. And yet Sonic and his friends never comment on that).
- But overall Ancients (not the ones from Boom. Ugh, would it kill Flynn to create a real name for them?) are aliens, landed on Mobius, made this place, somehow all of them died while taking down End, last of them moved emeralds to Master Emerald. Gotcha.
What still confuses me is why this place traps everyone in Cyber Space. Is this End's doing? Is he just being a jerk for giggles? IDK, maybe it's just a defense mechanism, triggered by Eggman hacking attempts.
- End suuuuuuuuucks. Who thought a moon with purple paint was a good final boss? Not even a cool moon like Majora's just evil talking moon. I had bad feelings when they kept him hidden for so long.
- Tangle is mentioned in the game. Intriguing. I would be all for appearing in the games, AS LONG AS there is enough room for a game cast, like Blaze or Chaotix. I want to stress this out because this huge open-world game apparently couldn't afford more NPCs.
- Sticks is mentioned too and that really intrigues me, since, unlike IDW, Boom is dead. And, you know, Boom never pretended to be canon to the main series. Unless we assume Sonic & friend crash-landed on Bygone Island, and couldn't leave so just took everything suuuuper chill for a few months and then found the way back and just agreed to never speak of this again.
- The amount of references to the past is cute, but just a little aggressive and possibly further alienating for newcomers. Knuckles recognizing old murals is cool. Eggman comparing Sage to Maria is insightful. Pointing out that the Ancients are older than Babylonians makes sense. Just random "wow, this place reminds me of X" or "Sure wish character Y was here" is a little too self-indulgent.
(To be completely fair, the latter ones are single lines Sonic sputters while running around the world. It's much harder to make them sound natural.)

 

In conclusion to this wall of text, no one will read, this game's story is directly written to appeal to the fans. And I appreciate that I really do. But I think that by focusing on the past, future and “big picture”, the story neglects the here and now, the “small picture”. Somber tone, arcs based on previous games and Sage failure to be endearing, all those elements will make it hard for casual players to care and even proper Sonic fans may have a hard time getting invested. In a few aspects, this might be the best story Sonic games ever had (especially if you like Sage). But I don’t think all the risks paid off.

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10 minutes ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

What still confuses me is why this place traps everyone in Cyber Space.

That's all Sage's doing, I think. She keeps Eggman there to protect him (I guess maybe cyberspace would still exist even if the planet was destroyed?) and jails any intruders to keep them from fucking with things (which, of course, gives Sonic his primary motivation for fucking with things, so, good plan kid).

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26 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

That's all Sage's doing, I think. She keeps Eggman there to protect him (I guess maybe cyberspace would still exist even if the planet was destroyed?) and jails any intruders to keep them from fucking with things (which, of course, gives Sonic his primary motivation for fucking with things, so, good plan kid).

Sage keeps saying "there is no SAFE way to get you out", so I think she can only free everyone at once, including End.

And that wouldn't explain what captured Eggman in the first place. If there was some kind of defense system, then it might as well attacked Sonic& co.

 

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Start of the game, just before Eggman's pulled into cyberspace, Sage says "Simulations complete. Executing protective initiative." She gets the gist of The End, decides there's no way to stop it, and puts daddy in the panic room.

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5 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Start of the game, just before Eggman's pulled into cyberspace, Sage says "Simulations complete. Executing protective initiative." She gets the gist of The End, decides there's no way to stop it, and puts daddy in the panic room.

That would make sense, but End is already "stopped". He's been stopped for thousands of years. Eggman could die of old age before End escapes. Only person who could unleash him are Eggman and Sonic (who comes here due to Sage summoning Emeralds).

And considering GUN helicopters, the panic room is more dangerous than outside. Heck, shouldn't End be somewhere in Cyber Space? He must have some limited control of his prison, since he can talk to Sonic through out the game.

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6 minutes ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

That would make sense, but End is already "stopped". He's been stopped for thousands of years. Eggman could die of old age before End escapes.

Sage doesn't seem to think so. And Eggman already started the process of waking things up; left to his own devices he'd continue, regardless of the risks.

6 minutes ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

And considering GUN helicopters, the panic room is more dangerous than outside.

You think a bunch of helicopters are more dangerous than all the robots wandering around outside?

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This story is going to be extremely divisive once everyone is off the hype in about six months. I haven't finished it yet but I essentially have the details.

I knew after all of the bitching and moaning for "serious" storytelling, we'd get something that overcorrected and sure enough. I don't hate it, but the story sure feels....flat. I'm glad Flynn is trying to portray growth in these characters, but it assumes that you've played every game prior to understand the character arcs. If you look it from this game itself, its remarkably flaccid. A game that only fans can appreciate for the numerous references. 

Sonic & Knuckles have the best dynamic when they're just taking the piss out of each other, cuz that's fun. 

Sonic & Amy have the most boring interactions. I get that the whole "obsessed fangirl" angle is a no-go nowadays, but then they didn't really replace it with anything. So I'm left wondering what is their dynamic supposed to be besides a generic pair of friends.

I'll update this with the rest of the story once I'm done.

 

And now for the big one...Eggman & Sage. This is the most controversial dynamic in this game as it depends entirely how much you buy into it. For the most part, I do find the idea cute at least. And for what its worth, I do like SAGE...but then I just like Eva too. Sonic is no stranger to ripping off other popular franchises, so Sage just literally being Rei doesn't bother me despite how unoriginal it is.

The controversial part is what she does for Eggman and uh...I'm not sure if I entirely like it? Especially since we have Belle from IDW as a direct point of comparison given the similarities. But I think it says a lot that Eggman had to be an entirely different person to give a damn about Belle, but now he's doting over Sage? I dunno. It feels weirdly incongruent. 

Obviously if you like Eggman being more a sympathetic and nice character, then this will resonate with you. And Sonic fans love fluff in these stories anyway, I I can see people being more happy than upset.

 

But for my part, it's just weird. I don't hate it but I'm not sure if I entirely agree with it either. Its by far the most significant change for Eggman as a character and its gonna influence how he's perceived from now on. You can't run this back and turn him into a mustache twirling saturday cartoon villain without it feeling jarring now.

Its the same thing that happened to Bowser when Jr. got introduced.

 

 

 

I'll about the Anicent and The End stuff once I'm finished with the game.

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38 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Sage doesn't seem to think so. And Eggman already started the process of waking things up; left to his own devices he'd continue, regardless of the risks.

 

While I could buy she disobeys Eggman (protecting master >>> obeying master), it seems a bit odd she would constantly lie to him, even with some "technically I didn't lie" computer logic.

38 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

You think a bunch of helicopters are more dangerous than all the robots wandering around outside?

Egg Memo claim he would not survive here without Sage. So he is in constant danger. Outside he can fly away, call reinforcements, build something. Sage's conversation with Sonic during the last act implies she can't be in 2 places at once, so yes, she sometimes left Eggman alone, hoping nothing will kill him.

And that's the best-case scenario. Worst is the assumption End would eventually find Eggman and even Sage wouldn't be able to fight him.

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3 hours ago, Kuzu said:

Its the same thing that happened to Bowser when Jr. got introduced.

It is?

Bowser during a long period of time after that was just kind of goofing off in the RPGs...

Eggman's probably gonna go back to his early 2000's self and be the cause for conflict, but help stop it anyway.

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6 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

It is?

Bowser during a long period of time after that was just kind of goofing off in the RPGs...

Eggman's probably gonna go back to his early 2000's self and be the cause for conflict, but help stop it anyway.

That's kind of the same thing; both them pushed to the side in favor of other threats.

But Bowser in general is fine since he's consistent.

Eggman isn't consistent cuz how much morality he has varies. But Frontiers commits to the sympathetic angle, its gonna be harder to justify him as a threat in the future without it coming off as jarring.

They straight up say he's a good person here lol.

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56 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

Eggman isn't consistent cuz how much morality he has varies. But Frontiers commits to the sympathetic angle, its gonna be harder to justify him as a threat in the future without it coming off as jarring.

I think they can still do it. But they have to walk a tightrope of not letting him be so cruel that it undermines his development in this game, while not so nice that he's no longer a villain entirely.

X and Boom both presented softer depictions of Eggman who were, at the end of the day, still constant antagonists despite their nicer qualities so I think the games could do that too.

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4 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

I think they can still do it. But they have to walk a tightrope of not letting him be so cruel that it undermines his development in this game, while not so nice that he's no longer a villain entirely.

X and Boom both presented softer depictions of Eggman who were, at the end of the day, still constant antagonists despite their nicer qualities so I think the games could do that too.

I think of it as something of a similar bout after we've had Eggman do "good guy" stuff, but return to villainy afterwards. One thing in mind, is setting boundaries as to how evil he can be.

Like, nothing too monstrous, or at least show that he has standards toward certain people who have earned his favor, trust, and whatnot.

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1 minute ago, Dr. Mechano said:

I think they can still do it. But they have to walk a tightrope of not letting him be so cruel that it undermines his development in this game, while not so nice that he's no longer a villain entirely.

X and Boom both presented softer depictions of Eggman who were, at the end of the day, still constant antagonists despite their nicer qualities so I think the games could do that too.

This isn't really comparable. Both Boom and X are more Slice of Life shows where the cast are going through their every day lives, and Eggman is treated as more of a "Friendly neighborhood villain" than an actual threat. I distinctly remember a scene in the third season of Sonic X where Sonic tells Amy go with the rest of the supporting cast while him and Knuckles dealt with one of the Metarex generals, saying "we're not just dealing with Eggman here" and that just says it all. 

So unless the games are going to just suddenly shift towards being Slice of Life, or start having other "serious" villains; i'm curious on how they plan on using him going forward and if they can even balance that at all. 

 

But then I was never fond of a sympathetic portrayal of Eggman anyway, even if I did think his interactions with Sage were cute. But they went and did it so they kind of have to commit to it now. 

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Having mostly spent my time watching the cutscenes (no money for the game *opens pockets with nothing*), I'd say I like a lot of the character bits and the lore is generally okay overall, but that the execution could be much better when it came to various character conversation cutscenes. It makes me think too much of the 2016 Ratchet and Clank game where Ratchet and Clank just talk in the most overly robotic way possible while just standing still. Very uninteresting visually, especially given how much more real estate they have to work with. Really just feels like the budget or time wasn't put in there consistently.

That said, the moments that DO take advantage of the background and integrate it with the story and character moments do feel better handled than previous games, if mostly by virtue of there actually having better story and character elements.

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I find it easy enough to buy into a villain who cares about his own but won't hesitate to destroy everyone else.

I'm more concerned with how Sage would come off, if she ends up sticking around. Most of her emotional development comes from watching the heroes. Her goal is supporting Eggman so if he says to blast Sonic to pieces she'd do it, but I doubt she'd be enthusiastic about it.

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2 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

I find it easy enough to buy into a villain who cares about his own but won't hesitate to destroy everyone else.

I'm more concerned with how Sage would come off, if she ends up sticking around. Most of her emotional development comes from watching the heroes. Her goal is supporting Eggman so if he says to blast Sonic to pieces she'd do it, but I doubt she'd be enthusiastic about it.

This is partially what I mean; Eggman would be kind of a dick to force her to hurt someone she admires, and undercut the whole dynamic this game spent building. 

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Kinda wonder if that ends up being a major story dynamic for the future. Eggman possibly being put into a situation where he has to juggle his desire to be a halfway decent Dad to Sage, but juxtaposed and conflicting with his deep selfishness and evil intentions. Meanwhile Sage finds herself torn in multiple directions due to wanting to be a good daughter to Eggman, but also not able to reconcile his evil goals with her more noble qualities (and Eggman's own capacity to be nobler, as withered away they may be).

It'd be hard to do, and with Sonic Team's erratic history it'd be hard to tell if they'd allow something like this, but it'd make for one hell of a tragic element if they ultimately can't reconcile these traits because there's too much fundamental difference between them, even if they care for each other.

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3 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

I think they can still do it. But they have to walk a tightrope of not letting him be so cruel that it undermines his development in this game, while not so nice that he's no longer a villain entirely.

X and Boom both presented softer depictions of Eggman who were, at the end of the day, still constant antagonists despite their nicer qualities so I think the games could do that too.

Boom was very cartoony. Even at his most diabolical, no one would use the word "cruel" to describe him. "Jerk" maybe, but not "monster".

X Eggman was a threat, but the show was committed to the idea that he doesn't want to actually kill anyone (with exception of Adventures 1&2, but hands tied, they had to follow the script.). it was very consistent through all 3 seasons.

Game Eggman is a pretty terrible person. From day 1 he put cute animals into robots, which is the capital "c" Cruel. He followed with nuking the city, shooting Sonic into space with a bomb, breaking the planet into pieces, sucking the life from cute aliens, deciding NOT to reverse the damage done by Zeti and finally a lot of implied mayhem in Forces. Sonic may keep laughing at him in Colors, but what Eggman does is still serious evil. And he gets much worse if IDW is meant to be canonical.
Only spin-off games take Eggmans schemes to much more... let's say "Bowser level". Racing games, Olympic games etc. And even then, Eggman isn't softy in those games, he's evil plans are just way less dangerous.

So I really think Eggman should remain a heartless bastard. And I must agree with @Diogenes and @Kuzu. Eggman can be still ruthless and care about his little daughter, the real problem is Sage's morality.

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6 minutes ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

X Eggman was a threat, but the show was committed to the idea that he doesn't want to actually kill anyone (with exception of Adventures 1&2, but hands tied, they had to follow the script.). it was very consistent through all 3 seasons. 

Actually, X Eggman did some pretty catastrophic stuff that wasn't based on the games at times.

One anime-original arc had Eggman try to stimulate a spot on the Earth that would trigger cataclysmic worldwide earthquakes, utterly destroying most of society so he could swoop in and rebuild on top of it and rule over the survivors.

Mind you, this is the same series that had Eggman shame the Metarax for actually hurting their hostages just a season later, so his softness was a little inconsistent in this show.

 

25 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

But they went and did it so they kind of have to commit to it now. 

Honestly the best way to look at it.

At this point, they need to come up with the best way to depict a more fatherly Eggman, rather than backtrack on it and undercut one of the central emotional arcs of the game. I think Ian has what it takes to strike the right balance, but obviously it's all in the execution here.

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31 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

I find it easy enough to buy into a villain who cares about his own but won't hesitate to destroy everyone else.

I'm more concerned with how Sage would come off, if she ends up sticking around. Most of her emotional development comes from watching the heroes. Her goal is supporting Eggman so if he says to blast Sonic to pieces she'd do it, but I doubt she'd be enthusiastic about it.

I wonder if they could get around this by making Sage mostly a noncombatant in the Eggman Empire.

She'd manage the Eggnet, assist the Badniks with repairs and upgrades, that kind of thing. But perhaps she won't be sent out into the field to fight Sonic directly.

Like yeah. In a roundabout way this is still working toward the heroes' defeat, but it'd be easier to reconcile I think.

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Just now, Dr. Mechano said:

I wonder if they could get around this by making Sage mostly a noncombatant in the Eggman Empire.

She'd manages the Eggnet, assist the Badniks with repairs and upgrades, that kind of thing. But perhaps she won't be sent out into the field to fight Sonic directly.

Like yeah. In a roundabout way this is still working toward the heroes' defeat, but it'd be easier to reconcile I think.

On one note, I like how this has basically been the Eggman and Sage story thread so far despite being intended for Frontiers as a whole.

On another, if Sage, Metal Sonic, Orbot and Cubot don't end up having sibling like shenanigans, I will be very disappointed.

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5 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

Honestly the best way to look at it.

At this point, they need to come up with the best way to depict a more fatherly Eggman, rather than backtrack on it and undercut one of the central emotional arcs of the game. I think Ian has what it takes to strike the right balance, but obviously it's all in the execution here.

Well yea, but in my eyes, you can't really do that unless you tone down his villainy like they did here...or just make Sage a non-active part of the story from here on out. But the latter defeats the purpose of bringing her back to begin with.

So all I can think of is that we're gonna be dealing with other villains besides Eggman for a while like before.

Just now, SenEDDtor Missile said:

On one note, I like how this has basically been the Eggman and Sage story thread so far despite being intended for Frontiers as a whole.

On another, if Sage, Metal Sonic, Orbot and Cubot don't end up having sibling like shenanigans, I will be very disappointed.

Because Eggman & Sage honestly have the most depth in this game lol.

Not that Sonic, Tails, Amy, and Knuckles are bad, but their stuff is just things we knew but reiterated.

And it comes from nothing within the game itself.

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Just now, Kuzu said:

So all I can think of is that we're gonna be dealing with other villains besides Eggman for a while like before.

Y'know what, I'm okay with that.

Let the Doc take paternity leave from active villainy - at least, for a little while. Some fresh faces in the rogues gallery wouldn't be the worst thing anyway.

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