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Characterization in Sonic games


Duelistic Nature

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Perhaps a bit of a hot topic or maybe Frontiers made it an ice-cold one in terms of discussion, but I'm curious about what people think of how the Sonic characters are portrayed now that Frontiers is out for 4 weeks.

I'm going to list the main cast down here with my views on how they've been represented and what I'd like to see next of them.

  • Sonic feels like Sonic again. All the traits we like and love Sonic for are here on full display. I really liked the line delivery when Sonic converses with Sage after she sicked Giganto on him. "Ah... yo, don't you think that Titan was kiiiiinda overkill?

    Not once did I actually feel like Sonic delivered a really bad line. He sounds concerned, fearless, and tenacious despite Sage constantly telling him whatever he does is hopeless, sounds like he's having fun at times just toying with the others, with Knuckles in particular, with snarky quips here and there when it's in character. Sonic also protects his friends from too much concern about his own well-being, but cracks show when meeting Knuckles, but soldiers on. Really starting to fall apart when meeting with Tails and still he tries to stand tall in face of his lil' brother.

    Toe to Quill, this is a Sonic.

    It's great to see the hero once again live up to what he once was and hope it stays that way.
     
  • Amy
    I've always remembered Amy as a sonic fangirl from back in the day, however, this game sets Amy apart as a character who's comfortable in her own shoes, but still has a soft spot for hopeless or tragic romance. For example, when Sage jabs at Amy's view on the subject of love actually becomes a bit rilled up. Amy easily fills the moral compass role of the group, but I dread that despite this approach being a lot more grounded she'll fall more into a neutral character type. Will she be memorable? probably because she's behaving the most 'normal' of the characters.
     
  • Knuckles
    Ah, what a fun duo Sonic and Knuckles make in this game, It's back-and-forth jabs between them. They just love butting heads together, stare-offs, boasts, and jabs at each other's pride, there are so many fun bits between them. Frenemies? rivals? it's good fun.

    The prologue animation video Divergence also shows Knuckles being an absolute BADASS, but the game also highlights a bit of his softer side for example his solitude being at the back of his mind. It makes him sensitive despite his direct demeanor. Still waters run deep and this more emotional side of Knuckles definitely got hinted at in this game.

    He also comes over as intelligent and competent despite his inability to physically do something in the game (besides blocking an energy blast from Sage apparently). He'd make a good military leader for sure given his Echidna roots, but Forces surely muddied the waters. Frontiers feel like it cleans some of that up. But he'll still remain silly. "I punched it and it didn't buckle, meaning it's stronger than anything of this world." Yup... I'd first punch a bunch of ruins too.
     
  • Tails
    Well...  it's bittersweet for me. First off, I love seeing Tails talk and act like the intelligent wonderboy he is. Using jargon or words a bit too complex even if it sometimes is on purpose. And thank god they ditched the Ipad... he's still on tech duty... more or less... but this story felt more like addressing the elephant in the room... The issue any Tails fan wanted to have addressed for the LONGEST TIME and it's put so eloquently by himself (Sonic Team). "Whenever there's a crisis I'm either running away or standing on the sidelines. You're always rescuing me while all I do is follow you around." When shown examples where he did act the part of the hero he retorts with: "Then I'm wildly inconsistent!"

    THANK YOU FOR FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGING THE PROBLEM! And I'm sorry but I'm reading this like Tails is being a "Sonic Team writer self-insert" here...  but after Forces, simply acknowledging the problem and saying sorry doesn't quite cut it for me yet. Them writing Tails finally gaining the clarity to go at it on his own for a while sounds promising, but please, please, please, please don't fuck it up, make true to your promise and DO IT!

 

Anyways... what do you guys think? what's your favorite? do you think Frontiers nailed the characters depiction or do we wish them to be pushed in a different direction?

 

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There's one more long-established character Frontiers worked wonders with: Dr. Eggman.

While I did like Pontaff's handling of Eggman, I won't deny that (arguably Lost World aside) he was hardly a "complex" character in the '10s. He was funny, yes. Entertaining, absolutely. But those subtle glimpses of humanity that he showed in the '00s was largely replaced with basic (if still impressive) mustache-twirling villainy. Eggman was still fun, and I certainly was glad to see him finally take the final boss spot in a 3D game, but a lot of the nuance he arguably used to have had been sanded off in the process.

Frontiers changed that. Possibly forever.

Eggman was still funny, still dastardly, and still brilliant just like always in Frontiers - but this time, he was also given a more nuanced, sympathetic, human side. His fatherly bond with Sage is arguably the emotional heart of the entire story, and it was pulled off beautifully (if a bit rushed in parts, even I'll admit that).

No longer must I quibble over ambiguous moments, which could be argued as Eggman merely saving his own skin just as easily as they can be argued to show a more noble side to his character. No, Frontiers has Eggman display genuine love for someone else, in the clearest and most inarguable terms. 

It feels pretty good to see this long-debated "hypothetical" aspect of Eggman's character settled as canon, at long last. I'm thrilled with the current direction, and am excited to see what Flynn brings to the table in the next game.

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I said in an update that Tails was probably the weakest out of all the characters in Frontiers in terms of characterization.

But I partially blame that on past characterizations of Lost World and Forces.

Prior to that point, Tails was pretty consistent as a prodigy who, while maybe unsure of himself at times was still willing to brave the challenges and dangers that came at him. Sonic 06, he was just...there. Inoffensive in spite of the game as a whole. Unleashed was where he started getting scared of things like the Dark Gaia creatures, but I've actually let that slide given he was facing a whole new threat that could give even Sonic in his werehog state trouble. Then Colors came around, and he was just the usual sidekick I had always known he was since the 90s (okay, maybe that's a little too general, but the point here is that there wasn't anything wrong with Tails).

I'm not sure how to put Generations, but come Lost World and Forces, his whole image shattered. Bitching at Sonic out of the blue over trusting him over Eggman despite 1) this not being the first time they've actually had to put trust in Eggman, 2) they've been in this situation where they had to team up with Eggman to face a greater threat, and 3) It's been a while since I've seen the scene, but I don't recall how in the fuck Tails even came to that fucking conclusion to begin with.

Then his most infamous part in Forces when he runs from fucking Chaos 0 despite being brave enough to take on Chaos 4 in SA1. Now if it were actually Shadow or Infinite approaching him, or , then I wouldn't blame him for running--he'd have every reason to feel like he was supposed to feel in that scene, and I wouldn't have blamed him for running away. Shit like this is why presentation really matters--Tails flipping out at Chaos 0 in Forces despite fighting his stronger forms in SA1 is like him going from stomping tarantulas to shitting his pants at seeing a daddy longlegs, whereas if were the other villains it would feel the other way around. (that on top of having Classic Sonic come out and squash him is like an older brother screaming for his little brother to save him)

I get that Frontiers tries to re-rail him back, and I'll admit it definitely did just that, but...I'm not sure how to better word this, but it feels like those points where he acknowledges his previous short failings were meant to have him sulk for the sake of sulking. And like I said, I blame those past characterizations--there is a way to portray what they intended for Tails in Lost World and Forces. But ironically, that just made me ask more questions about him--why did Tails ever feel he was a burden to begin with? The closest case I can think of was Colors when Sonic pushed Tails into the elevator when Eggman came for them, and that seemed more like Sonic was protecting him than anything. And Sonic really hammers this into Tails' head in Frontiers.

"A burden? Bitch, who stopped Eggman from nuking Station Square? Who the fuck broke me out of a SuperMAX prison when I got caught again?"

Okay, Sonic didn't really say those exact words, but I seriously wouldn't have blamed him.

But I get the intent with what was done to Tails.

That said, his "technobabble." Or rather, him somehow figuring out ancient technology functions before they actually...function. Guy looks at a cannon and says it looks on par with the Eclipse Cannon without it even firing a shot. Guy taps at a stone pillar and figures it's an environmental analyzer before it even does any kind of...analyzing. The Death Egg Robot was passable given he's seen it before, and the cyberspace flashbacks showing the island facing off against the true enemy Galick Gunning them out of existence is worth comparing the danger he saw to Dark Gaia. But...I just think there was a better way they could show Tails' intellect.

All that said, Tails isn't bad in Frontiers. It's about time his bad moments were corrected, and Frontiers does that well enough. These are just major points that really bothered me the most when it came to the little kit.

-----


 

Now with all that, there's one major thing I really wanted to highlight: Knuckles.

I've been infamous on this message board since 2006 over Knuckles guarding the Master Emerald and how him being away from it should be explained and justified to the point of writing whole damn essays about it and showing a dozen ways how you could even answer this question. Now at the start, the real reason why was because people were letting him slide with appearances for no reason why they were always getting anal about why characters like Shadow made appearances for any reason, and so I was wanting to see how the fuck people liked it when the shoe was on the other foot (and as it turns out, they hated that hypocrisy being exposed. Big surprise there :rolling_eyes:).

But as I've started dissecting stories more, and the characters put into them, I've stuck to that main question anytime Knuckles appeared outside of Angel Island: "Why is Knuckles here not guarding the Master Emerald?"

Frontiers answers this by showing a way so extremely simple, without ignoring he's the ME guardian, without making him looking like he was shirking his duties, without making him pal around with Sonic simply just because, and without making him look stupid, although it was shown primarily though the Divergence Prologue instead of the game itself:

"He was exploring his island, found and messed around with some ancient device he didn't know about that teleported him to Ares Island, and then got captured."

My Reaction:

A damn good reason (or excuse, but it works!)

Tell me, really, was that so fucking hard to do? If so, why?

Yes, I'm rubbing this shit in. And I will rub it in as hard as possible. That's not to say I wouldn't have prefered something more major, but damn if it can be shown that easily, what was the excuses prior to that? They could've shown that in 06, they could've shown this in Heroes, they had the benefit of the doubt with ShTH with the Black Arms Invasion, and it was ironically surprising they didn't even take advantage of Unleashed's premise to have him around given the world had just shattered below him when there actually was a bigger danger at play.

And look what it earned him: a teleporter that could now allow more freedom from his island and an easy way back, if they bothered to actually make good use of it. Several birds killed with one stone for years to come.

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6 minutes ago, CrownSlayer’s Shadow said:

"He was exploring his island, found and messed around with some ancient device he didn't know about that teleported him to Ares Island, and then got captured."

Tell me, really, was that so fucking hard to do? If so, why?

This runs a slightly less extreme risk of just going the SA2 route...

Since this plot was only tangentially related to anything involving Knuckles, it already runs that risk just from the premise.

---

So I'm gonna say, yes, it was that hard.

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40 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

This runs a slightly less extreme risk of just going the SA2 route...

Since this plot was only tangentially related to anything involving Knuckles, it already runs that risk just from the premise.

---

So I'm gonna say, yes, it was that hard.

And I'd challenge that it really isn't, and that the reason why it was never bothered with was because of laziness.

Considering that it runs a less extreme risk of going the SA2 route (which, presentation aside, wasn't even remotely bad about this), it would've been an even bigger benefit for Knux.

Really, the easiest thing you could've done was just show an answer to that question. And the way Frontiers demonstrated it is telling considering how anal I've been about it.

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I don't really have much to add to this (very repetitive) topic; given the vocal distaste people had for the last decade of writing or so, anything that was marginally better was going to be seen as huge improvement. 

Me personally....eeeehhh. I will agree that Frontiers' writing is certainly better than the last decade or so of games....but that's an incredibly low bar to me. It's the same thing that always happens with Sonic; people get so accustomed to mediocrity that anything above it is seen as some standout achievement regardless of its merit or not and it just makes this topic exhausting because I know that isn't the popular opinion online and god forbid you don't go along with that. 

For my money, I don't think Frontiers really does anything that hasn't already been done before with these characters, with the obvious exception of Eggman and I'll get to him. Obviously people are excited cuz "the characters are behaving like themselves" but you need more than retreading old ground for good characterization. I already talked about this in other topics, so I'll keep it brief. 

Spoiler

Sonic is fine. Sure, he doesn't get anywhere near as much development as the others, but I've never had a problem with that. And Sonic's always been at his best when he's inspiring and influencing others. It may not make him as dynamic as the others, but it does emphasize his position as the heart and soul of the series. 

Amy is whatever, probably the weakest character here. I get that you can't have a female heroine who's defining trait is only loving the protagonist, but Amy doesn't even feel like herself anymore. Part of that is the tone obviously, but she's way too subdued for my taste. It's a bit too much of an overcorrection imo. 

Knuckles has the best dynamic with Sonic bar none. Unlike Amy, Knuckles is allowed to still be a bit doofy while retaining depth; him and Sonic can be talking shit to each other one minute and having a heart to heart the next. It's perfect, don't change anything about it. I'm skeptical on if he'll actually leave his island to go explore the world, or it won't go anywhere, but I'm glad they finally addressed that Knuckles doesn't have to always be tied down to the Master Emerald, especially if Sega aren't going to do anything with it. Just let Knuckles have some adventures too man...

Tails...I'm mixed. I think its good that they acknowledged that his moments of weakness don't make him any less capable, which is something I feel like a lot of Sonic fans refuse to acknowledge when it comes to these characters; that everyone doesn't have to be blandly perfect all of the time in order to be "in-character" and anything less is some affront. But at the same time...it promises growth for Tails in a way that I don't think it can deliver on.  Because there's no way they're going to ever have Tails, one of the most iconic sidekicks in all of gaming, actually move out of Sonic's shadow. At least on a semi-permanent basis; they teased that in the Adventure games and by Heroes, Tails defaults right back to his usual role. 

And let's not even get started on the fucking anxiety attacks Tails fans would have if he wasn't by Sonic's side for an extended period of time. Don't think I forgot that period of time when people were bitching about his lack of presence when the series was experimenting with other sidekicks for Sonic. 

Also...way too much technobabble, but that's just who Tails is nowadays I guess; the typical "say a bunch of shit that sounds smart and then translate it for the dumbasses" 

 

Eggman...meh. I already know I'm in the minority about this, but I'm really not fond of how they just kind of sanded off his edges in this game to justify the whole thing he has with Sage. It ties back into the whole "Every character has to be perfect in order to be [good]" angle I mentioned. That in order for Eggman to "have depth", they have to surgically remove most of his negative traits (ya know, the parts that made him an effective foil to the main character?) It doesn't help that he really doesn't get much to do here; I get that's to make way for Sage as the main focus, but given how the game really wants to sell us on that whole parental dynamic, Eggman really could have used more screentime. 

And its a similar issue with Tails where now they either have to commit to this more sympathetic, parental interpretation of Eggman or just basically ignore what happened in this game and carry on like usual and neither are particularly ideal imo. I know some of you are gonna just say "Well they can just balance it well enough" and to that I say you have far too much faith in this franchise's ability to stay consistent with itself given history. 

That's the ideal scenario, but what I laid out is probably what is going to happen in actuality. Call me cynical or pessimistic, I really don't care anymore. 

 

 

But I'll end this on a mostly positive note; if they leverage the extra material (animations, comics, etc) to flesh these guys out, and let them retain some of their flawed traits (Not a single attempt by Amy for hug Sonic while digital? really?) while still keeping their growth? Then maybe we can find a happy middle ground. Do I expect it to happen? Lol no. Do I want to happen? Very much so. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry people, life happened to me, took me a moment to get back.
 

On 11/28/2022 at 10:25 PM, Dr. Mechano said:

There's one more long-established character Frontiers worked wonders with: Dr. Eggman.

Eggman was still funny, still dastardly, and still brilliant just like always in Frontiers - but this time, he was also given a more nuanced, sympathetic, human side. His fatherly bond with Sage is arguably the emotional heart of the entire story, and it was pulled off beautifully (if a bit rushed in parts, even I'll admit that).

No longer must I quibble over ambiguous moments, which could be argued as Eggman merely saving his own skin just as easily as they can be argued to show a more noble side to his character. No, Frontiers has Eggman display genuine love for someone else, in the clearest and most inarguable terms. 

It feels pretty good to see this long-debated "hypothetical" aspect of Eggman's character settled as canon, at long last. I'm thrilled with the current direction and am excited to see what Flynn brings to the table in the next game.

I sort of skipped Eggman in my list, because he felt like he was more a spectator on the sideline rather than being part of the story. Maybe a bit of an instigator stirring up the hornet's nest in the beginning, but ultimately being a victim and letting Sage do the rest of the talking and activities. Looking back, however, yes, his interaction with Sage carries the emotional heart of the story, because let's be honest.. the rest of the characters mainly have the heart to hearts with Sonic without toooooo much depth.

But I'm of the opinion it actually detracts from Eggman a little.

Eggman's been shown to have a more noble side to him, swallowing his pride on several occasions to team up against a common enemy. He might lately laugh it off as saying he needed the other big bad to go away because said bad would ruin his plans for world domination in the long run. Shows how much respect he had for his grandfather, Geralt and how shocked he was that in Geralt's insanity, his grandfather even was willing to doom in his own grandson along with the rest of "all of you ungrateful humans-". by dunking the Ark on the world. So to me, it's never been a question to me that he CAN do good, he just doesn't want to if it doesn't benefit him or is part of HIS plan.

Seeing him like this in Frontiers somehow feels... diminished. Yes, it is touching to see him actually being absolutely proud of his creation and that his creation is surpassing his expectations. However calling Sage his daughter by the end... I don't know... felt a little forced to put it nicely. If anything it felt out of character in a sense, because Eggman always had this edge to him, not as edgy as the edgy hedgy himself, but still.

On that note I sort of agree with Kuzu:

On 11/29/2022 at 5:24 AM, Kuzu said:

Eggman...meh. I already know I'm in the minority about this, but I'm really not fond of how they just kind of sanded off his edges in this game to justify the whole thing he has with Sage. It ties back into the whole "Every character has to be perfect in order to be [good]" angle I mentioned. That in order for Eggman to "have depth", they have to surgically remove most of his negative traits (ya know, the parts that made him an effective foil to the main character?) It doesn't help that he really doesn't get much to do here; I get that's to make way for Sage as the main focus, but given how the game really wants to sell us on that whole parental dynamic, Eggman really could have used more screentime. 

And its a similar issue with Tails where now they either have to commit to this more sympathetic, parental interpretation of Eggman or just basically ignore what happened in this game and carry on like usual and neither are particularly ideal imo. I know some of you are gonna just say "Well they can just balance it well enough" and to that I say you have far too much faith in this franchise's ability to stay consistent with itself given history. 

That's the ideal scenario, but what I laid out is probably what is going to happen in actuality. Call me cynical or pessimistic, I really don't care anymore. 

 

But I'll end this on a mostly positive note; if they leverage the extra material (animations, comics, etc) to flesh these guys out, and let them retain some of their flawed traits (Not a single attempt by Amy for hug Sonic while digital? really?) while still keeping their growth? Then maybe we can find a happy middle ground. Do I expect it to happen? Lol no. Do I want to happen? Very much so. 

I still thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Kuzu, despite it being a topic that's been the subject of discussion at length. And I can't fathom how much you've seen and gone through in the franchise, but with all the ups and downs the franchise has I find it more than understandable that you'd take a more reserved standpoint on all this. Even if you'd call it cynical or pessimistic.

On the topic of Eggman, like I mentioned before I actually agree with you. I recently read up on story tropes and a hero is only as good a hero as the villain is opposing them, like you said, the villain can provide a nice foil for the main character to shine. Seeing Eggman this softened would look SUPER weird if Eggman was actually the main baddie of this game. Let Eggman be a mean baddie is just fine, actually, it is what defines him. Nothing's wrong with a Saturday morning cartoon villain. Give him just a HINT of moral depth.

I do like villains that are doing evil but have morally understandable arguments or reasoning to do evil. The same with heroes doing evil, because sometimes there's no good way to do it. This can deliver very interesting story dilemmas.

In that sense, Eggman is made to look TOO sympathetic in this game. An example is that Sage continuously plays the pronoun game with everyone never talking about "the End" who's been locked up in the last Titan. Eggman even has to finally ask WHO sage is referring to instead of outright COMMANDING her in an earlier stage to fill him in on what is locked up here when it's first mentioned by Sage.

Sage is still Eggman's program, would have been way more of an edge for him to outright handle her like the program she's designed to be early on in the story, he had no issue ordering Orbot and Cubot around maybe because they're imbeciles, but still... they're robots and he's never really gotten attached to his machines because they always were a means to an end.

 

On 11/29/2022 at 4:19 AM, CrownSlayer’s Shadow said:

And I'd challenge that it really isn't, and that the reason why it was never bothered with was because of laziness.

Considering that it runs a less extreme risk of going the SA2 route (which, presentation aside, wasn't even remotely bad about this), it would've been an even bigger benefit for Knux.

Really, the easiest thing you could've done was just show an answer to that question. And the way Frontiers demonstrated it is telling considering how anal I've been about it.

I do have to admit that Frontiers had the benefit that it had an easy solution/ explanation to the whole 'guardian-of-the-master-emerald" conundrum. Although every time Knuckles show up, do you really need answering what justification does Knuckles have showing up here and not being on his private retreat in the sky guarding the largest chaos emerald magnet known so far?

On 11/29/2022 at 4:06 AM, CrownSlayer’s Shadow said:

I said in an update that Tails was probably the weakest out of all the characters in Frontiers in terms of characterization.

I get that Frontiers tries to re-rail him back, and I'll admit it definitely did just that, but...I'm not sure how to better word this, but it feels like those points where he acknowledges his previous short failings were meant to have him sulk for the sake of sulking. And like I said, I blame those past characterizations--there is a way to portray what they intended for Tails in Lost World and Forces. But ironically, that just made me ask more questions about him--why did Tails ever feel he was a burden to begin with?

All that said, Tails isn't bad in Frontiers. It's about time his bad moments were corrected, and Frontiers does that well enough. These are just major points that really bothered me the most when it came to the little kit.

 

The answer to that question? Because writing dictated it was the only way to admit the flaws in his character I feel. I don't like how cleanly it was handled. "oops, I stumbled, even though I'm not known to be clumsy, but people are allowed mistakes right?" Yeah.. sure... benefit of the doubt/ being a young character? 

it's like breaking a vase and acting like your nose bleeds, but finding the perfect elegant excuse that it wasn't you that you know is absolute bs, but coincidentally fits so well that it sells and lets you off a hook.

What also irks me is that people mention Tails saying he has these flaws "FIXED" Tails... it didn't fix ANYTHING. Like I mentioned, it feels like a convenient excuse that's sold with a bit of sulking to get you on Tails'/ the writer's side. And that makes me mega madge 1079646841_Tailsmadge.png.8f37164cf55e7896986655c1aa84e958.png

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7 hours ago, Duelistic Nature said:

I do have to admit that Frontiers had the benefit that it had an easy solution/ explanation to the whole 'guardian-of-the-master-emerald" conundrum. Although every time Knuckles show up, do you really need answering what justification does Knuckles have showing up here and not being on his private retreat in the sky guarding the largest chaos emerald magnet known so far?

Yes? That’s a question that’ll be asked with any character that gets involved, even Sonic himself.

I’m not gonna stop asking it for Knuckles anymore than I would any other character, just give and show a good reason unique to him that isn’t a copy-paste excuse for everyone else.

Frontiers did that spectacularly easy (and I’ve been saying and showing for well over a decade that it was easy, only for people to show they just simply didn’t want to try or instead put more energy in fighting against any idea that did), then it gave Knuckles a teleporter for added freedom to show that he can reach his home without it looking like he doesn’t care about it. That’s not going to stop the question than it will open room for more stories that include him when asked.

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On 12/14/2022 at 5:32 AM, CrownSlayer’s Shadow said:

Yes? That’s a question that’ll be asked with any character that gets involved, even Sonic himself.

 

Well... Sonic I feel gets an easier pass because he's got a severe case of wanderlust if you'd ask me.

Although it all comes down to character motivation for being where they are that needs to fit and since Knuckles is a prime example of his main motivation being written as 'Must guard master emerald because that's my identity' it is incredibly strange to see him away from the Emerald unless it's believable explained.

Shadow same drill, what purpose does Shadow have for being there... For him, it's more difficult because it's a pure coincidence he's there or needs to spend quite a bit of time explaining his being there for it to sound believable. I mean... WHY does Shadow do?

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7 hours ago, Duelistic Nature said:

Well... Sonic I feel gets an easier pass because he's got a severe case of wanderlust if you'd ask me.

That and that he has the freedom to be able to be at a place at a particular time with fewer questions asked about him. You can ask why he's there, but he doesn't have much responsibility that keeps him from taking agency without reason. Characters like Tails and Amy are in a similar position, but that can't always be said of everyone.

7 hours ago, Duelistic Nature said:

Although it all comes down to character motivation for being where they are that needs to fit and since Knuckles is a prime example of his main motivation being written as 'Must guard master emerald because that's my identity' it is incredibly strange to see him away from the Emerald unless it's believable explained.

Yes. Yes it very much is, and I've been saying such was the case for the longest.

Although I wouldn't call it an "identity." It's definitely a motivation, that one can't just ignore with the character like it isn't there.

That's not to say it's difficult to make it believably explained--Frontiers did a wonderfully simple way to involve him, but it's not like you can't take that "must guard master emerald" motivation and make a story around it. Or you can just have Angel Island in the vicinity of a specific location where the trouble of which starts involving him.

In other cases, such as a worldwide catastrophe, it's easier to let that slide--much as I've been anal about that aspect of Knuckles, I figured a plot like Unleashed would make sense to have Knuckles be off the island to help fix the planet, but ironically Sonic Team didn't capitalize on that opportunity.

7 hours ago, Duelistic Nature said:

Shadow same drill, what purpose does Shadow have for being there... For him, it's more difficult because it's a pure coincidence he's there or needs to spend quite a bit of time explaining his being there for it to sound believable. I mean... WHY does Shadow do?

Honestly, Shadow is a lot less difficult to work with than Knuckles. In fact, he's much more similar to Sonic in this regard, but driven more by a purpose than exploration, which can be summed up more often than not as "there was a major threat in the area and it needed to be taken out." It is really that simple.

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