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Death in the Sonic series.


S0NIC-Keyblade 007
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This was just a thought that I've had about the Sonic franchise for awhile. It seems that nearly any character that typically dies in the Sonic series normally comes back one way or antother. Gamma died in his debute game Sonic Adventure and then came back as Chaos Gamma in Sonic Battle. Emerl died at the end of Sonic Battle and then returned as Gmerl in Sonic Advance 3. Blaze supposedly died at the end of Sonic 06 but due to the whole time reset stunt, she never really died at all. And last but not least Shadow, Shadow died at the end of Sonic Adventure 2 and then popped out of nowhere in a capsule in Sonic Heroes.

These four characters make me wonder if Sonic Team even knows what they should do when they have a death in the Sonic franchise. I understand that it is impossible to have a death of a character without that character's fanbase becoming upset which makes me wonder, should there be any deaths at all? When Shadow was introduced in Sonic Adventure 2 only to die at the end of the game many Sonic fans became very disappointed and demanded that he should be brought back, and so he was in Sonic Heroes. Some Sonic fans were happy that the anti-heroic hedgehog was back however, other fans felt annoyed by the lack of an expanation of his return while the Sonis fanbase argues whether or not he should have come back or if he should have stayed dead. Jump a few years later, after the release of 06 and I see the same exact arguement on whether Blaze should come back or if she should remain dead. Some fans wanted her to remain dead while her fanbase was extremely angry about this event in 06. (Keep in mind, this arguement over Blaze's fate took place before Sonic Rush Adventure was announced).

So my question is, do you believe that the death characters is something that the Sonic series can handle? Or should the Sonic franchise have no deaths at all?

Edited by S0NIC Toadstool
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Don't forget Maria and Gerald.

We hear about Maria being shot in passing, but actually see Gerald's execution, only cutting away just as the firing squad begins shooting (Listen to the scene in the original Japanese audio and note the bullet sound effects that curiously didn't make it into the English dub).

Gerald's death was pretty horrendously brutal, and by far the most disturbing of the series, only enhanced by the man's bitterness and vengeance as he faces his death sentence declaring his own death sentence on the entire world.

Even though Gerald was dead long before the series began, I feel he was truly the most unnerving antagonist in the entire series; His motive and goals just oozed passionate hatred, and despite not being faced directly, was an incredibly effective mastermind behind the events of Sonic Adventure 2.

Knowing that he developed from a kindly old man into that just adds to the creep factor, and the jarring bluntness of his death was markedly different from the other, "cleaner" deaths of the series. This wasn't a heroic sacrifice (Gamma, Shadow) or someone caught off guard (Maria, Sonic); This was a great man driven to madness, a shell of his former self, unceremoniously shot to death after delivering his final words of condemnation for humanity.

So... uh, yeah, death is something the series has already elaborated on in a somewhat detailed fashion in light of this.

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Some Sonic fans were happy that the anti-heroic hedgehog was back however, other fans felt annoyed by the lack of an expanation of his return while the Sonis fanbase argues whether or not he should have come back or if he should have stayed dead.

Just to clarify, Shadow didn't technically die at the end of SA2 as explained as the most inconvenient side note in his game so I don't think it really counts, and his return was explained in his aforementioned game.

As for the topic at hand, I think it should stay the way they've been doing it, but I think it should be avoided whenever possible. It shouldn't feel forced, but it also shouldn't involve ridiculous deus ex machina.

Edited by Black Spy
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I think the only real problem with the deaths in the series is that they don't stick. Gamma, Shadow, and Emerl's deaths were all solidly written and were suitable endings for both the characters and their stories. Blaze's, well...'06's story was crap from start to finish, but aside from coming out of nowhere, that scene isn't particularly bad.

But whether it's an attempt to remain family-friendly, the Team becoming too attached to their characters, or just bowing to fan pressure too easily, they just can't seem to cut the cord with some of these guys. To be fair, Shadow's the only really bad one; the robots really only came back in body, not in mind, and Blaze's existence is all tangled up around that time. Regardless, if death starts looking like a revolving door, it stops being important. If you're going to write a story where death is to be taken seriously, you've got to be willing to permakill important characters, and they haven't shown that they can do that.

And of course, Sonic's death in '06 is just a steaming pile of shit all around.

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This was just a thought that I've had about the Sonic franchise for awhile. It seems that nearly any character that typically dies in the Sonic series normally comes back one way or antother. Gamma died in his debute game Sonic Adventure and then came back as Chaos Gamma in Sonic Battle. Emerl died at the end of Sonic Battle and then returned as Gmerl in Sonic Advance 3. Blaze supposedly died at the end of Sonic 06 but due to the whole time reset stunt, she never really died at all. And last but not least Shadow, Shadow died at the end of Sonic Adventure 2 and then popped out of nowhere in a capsule in Sonic Heroes.

The first two examples would be invalid seeing as although they look similar, they aren't the same characters.

Chaos Gamma was built from leftover E-100 series parts, including fan-favorite E-102γ. Although Chaos Gamma most closely resembles E-102γ, he shares nothing with him personality-wise. He is considerably more aggressive, and is an over-determined tough guy bent on defeating that pesky Gizoid. He has none of the memories of any of the past E-100 series robots he was built from, and doesn't seem interested in his "family history" in the slightest. Chaos Gamma is an interesting character in his own right, with his "I'm on patrol - don't mess with me." mentality.

G-merl is a completely different robot altogether, essentially being a "pimped-out" E-121φ - it's important to note G-merl is not a revived Emerl, but rather another one of Eggman's creations. Given the E-100 series numbering scheme, Phi was E-121, and Omega is E-123. Although E-121φ was introduced after E-123Ω (Confirmed via Rouge's remark Chaos Gamma's similarity to E-123Ω in Sonic Battle), he was built before him. Given this, we can assume that Eggman had started to devise the Gizoid scheme sometime before Shadow's encapsulement in Lava Shelter - meaning that E-121φ was constructed sometime between Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Heroes. Now, in order for the numbering scheme to continue correctly chronologically, there needs to have been a second robot built within this time frame, as well. G-merl bears a shocking resemblance to E-121φ (and Emerl, of course), and it is worth noting that the the music playing during the Super Sonic & Dr. Eggman vs. Ultimate G-merl boss fight is a remix of the "Phi Battle Theme" featured in Sonic Battle - implying that G-merl was an improvement upon the previous E-121φ. Given the time frame and similarities, it is a safe assumption that G-merl is the 22nd E-100 series robot - E-122χ.

Blaze's involvement in Sonic the Hedgehog was odd to begin with - it contradicted her debut title of Sonic Rush (Completely isolated, no friends, and resident of another dimension. Also, protector of the Sol Emeralds.), and from the context of the game, it was quite evident that a reset button or something was going to be pressed eventually before the game end. Sonic died in that very game as well, after all.

Shadow's case was a near-death experience - he hasn't been successfully killed yet!

Anywho, there are plenty of characters who have died for good:

A WHOLE PACK OF ALIENS, A WHOLE PACK OF CHAO, A WHOLE PACK OF CIVILIANS, A WHOLE PACK OF ECHIDNAS, A WHOLE PACK OF RESEARCHERS, A WHOLE PACK OF ROBOTS, A WHOLE PACK OF TROOPS, Biolizard, Black Bull, Black Doom, E-101β, E-102γ, E-103δ, E-104ε, E-105ζ, E-121φ, Emerl, Gerald Robotnik, Ifrit, King Boom Boo (lol, he's a ghost), Maria Robotnik, Mauro's mom, Pachacamac, Princess Elise II, SCR-HD, Tikal

So yeah, they can handle it. EMERL AND SCR-HD WERE AWESOME TOO. ;_;

Edited by Hunter the Christmas Fan
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Totally agree with Mechano, Gerald's death was horrifying even though the execution itself wasn't shown and his diary that Rouge begins to read out and he continues was very disturbing with the shocking description of desire for suicide and...well...just all of the things Gerald was saying. Definately the most tragic character in the series with the most terrible end.

I don't mind death in the series as long as it's not as eye-wateringly badly depicted as Sonic's was. Why was it that every other character who died got a memorable death scene for all the right reasons and then when it comes to Sonic kicking the bucket, it's a complete joke? Oh right....Sonic '06's awful story....

If there was one bunch of deaths that really disturbed me, it was the deaths of the resistance soldiers in Sonic X episode 72. It was gruesome and sickening and anyone who says otherwise is a damn liar. I'm still surprised to this day that that scene was kept in the dub.

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The less death there is in Sonic games, the better, from my perspective.

The only "death scene" in any Sonic game that I've thought was handled well and fit the franchise was Gamma's ending in Sonic Adventure. Even then, it was more of a rebirth than a death.

Y'know why it worked? No talking. Everything else has been either heavy-handed, badly written, or poorly executed. (No pun intended, there.)

(I take it back, pun totally intended.)

EDIT:: Just wanted to mention, as an aside, that I also like this scene because it is, from my recollection, one of the the last times (counting the feed-to-chao animals in SA2) we see a cute animal trapped as the core of a Robotnik/Eggman robot in a major console game, post SA-series-reboot. SURE WISH THAT WOULD BE BROUGHT BACK SOMEHOW, SONIC TEAM. I SURE DO WISH.

Edited by bro-botnik
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EDIT:: Just wanted to mention, as an aside, that I also like this scene because it is, from my recollection, one of the the last times (counting the feed-to-chao animals in SA2) we see a cute animal trapped as the core of a Robotnik/Eggman robot in a major console game, post SA-series-reboot. SURE WISH THAT WOULD BE BROUGHT BACK SOMEHOW, SONIC TEAM. I SURE DO WISH.

All of Eggman's robots in SA2 had aminals in them.

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Dr. Mechano says it well with Gerald.

Also, while there's not much depth on Maria's death, we actually see the repercussions of her death through Shadow and Gerald. We also see a lack of freedom and hopelessness because of her disease.

Shadow was supposed to die at the end of SA2. He was only brought back by popular demand. His story, motivations and how it relates to death are somewhat deep as well. I wonder if I'm the only one that felt that Shadow welcomed death at the end. Gerald as well.

Gamma is dead. The Battle Gamma is not the same SA Gamma. The robot was two halves, bird and machine and one of them is missing.

Princess kiss was terrible. But Blaze's sacrifice was not.

I suppose Shahra was meaningless as she was brought to life, but her lover's death was not.

I think the cycle of life and the inevitability of death was also nicely hinted at Dark Knight, as in Sonic Unleashed.

I've seen death handled worse to be honest. At least they're not pretentious about teaching lessons to children about it.

Edited by redmenace
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It truly all depends on how the story is told and what audience they plan on delivering the game to. I think the series could handle death just as Jak II and 3 did, of course those games were no longer the kid friendly guys they once were, but that was ok for that series because it flowed well and Jak didn't have a solidified image. Sonic on the other hand does, but a change of direction can happen depending on how they lead up to it, it can't be like Shadow the Hedgehog "hey let's make it more mature for no reason and give little to no background information" no, if you change the direction of a series it needs to stay on that path in my opinion.

But then again, death in a game doesn't always have to be dark. Like with Gamma, that death scene is saddening, the fact that all he wanted was for his friends to be free he sacrificed himself for them. If that's acceptable in a Sonic game then why not. I really don't mind, but the way they keep making the games is as if they want to try to go to a maturer audience yet still stick with their core audience, and I think they don't know how to adjust without making it too dark or too kiddish.

Edit: Death in a Sonic game can work, but the story makes or breaks it.

Edited by silencer226
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Not so much a fan of the death, if only because it requires of Sega to make another god damn new character to fill the niche within which the deceased once fit (rather than SEGA just creating new characters anyway out of a pathological dislike of re-using viable old ones). Gamma AND Omega, anyone?

Put characters on a bus*, sure, but unequivocal permakills I think we can do without.

(* Lol I hope Kintor's not reading this or imma gonna get yelled at)

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While Blaze's death scene in 06 was touching, I don't feel that it fits her character to have her development end with being a martyr. I mainly see her as someone who shows her strength through the way she lives, trying to find happiness among inconvenient circumstances, than someone who fulfills her destiny through self-destruction. I'd rather see her as the sort to make a more subtle, less final kind of sacrifice.

Edited by BlazeyBakeneko
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The only "death scene" in any Sonic game that I've thought was handled well and fit the franchise was Gamma's ending in Sonic Adventure. Even then, it was more of a rebirth than a death.

Agreed! THat split second at the end in which you see the Flicky that was Gamma fly into frame is handled masterfully, especially considering how clunky the SA in-game cutscenes were.

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I don't think we'll be losing any long runners unless SEGA really feels that they need a stunt to revive the franchise or something. Aside from Sonic and Blaze's not-deaths in '06, almost every character in the series who's died has been a one-shot character: Gamma, Maria, Gerald, Tikal, Pachacamac, Shadow and Chip (and however many others) all died within or were dead before the game that introduced them. Yes, I'm counting Chip going to sleep for millions of years as a death.

Apart from the stupidly teasey fake deaths in '06, I think the series has actually handled characters dying pretty well. Shadow's death is still fairly touching even with the knowledge that he came back, Gamma's suicide and Chip's... going away... were reasonably sad, and Gerald, as mentioned, was pretty frightening. I can't complain where nothing's really broken.

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Agreed! THat split second at the end in which you see the Flicky that was Gamma fly into frame is handled masterfully, especially considering how clunky the SA in-game cutscenes were.

Those giant spherical explosions that don't disturb the surrounding environment in any way are just weird.

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I'd agree with the the idea that Gerald's death in SA2. That was handled very well, and honestly (next to gamma) was the best death sequence that they've pulled off. I don't know why but they just can't seem to do death right at all. Every thing that they've done so far has felt rushed, and the overall idea didn't make any since (*cough* Sonic's death).

I think they should stop doing death scenes unless they can put time and effort to make it work.

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I hate when a good character is dragged out past his time just for a little extra fanservice. There is no way to please everyone in a fanbase(especialy sonic)but I think it they should just leave a character back where he was good and don't just "Duece Ex Machina" them back into to the spotlight because the fans were crying, I hated Shadow's return and wasn't to fond of "Chaos" Gamma because they were useless and felt kinda shoehorned in on their comeback games and are now realy just taking up space in the roster.

Edited by metal madness
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We hear about Maria being shot in passing, but actually see Gerald's execution, only cutting away just as the firing squad begins shooting (Listen to the scene in the original Japanese audio and note the bullet sound effects that curiously didn't make it into the English dub).

Gerald's death was pretty horrendously brutal, and by far the most disturbing of the series, only enhanced by the man's bitterness and vengeance as he faces his death sentence declaring his own death sentence on the entire world.

Even though Gerald was dead long before the series began

I wanted to ask you something after reading what you typed here... Until I read what you typed, I always thought that Gerald was executed at the same time as Sonic and co. were in the ARK reading his diary. Since I was little, I thought he was executed at that moment because he revealed his plans to destroy Earth, but then when I read what you said:

Even though Gerald was dead long before the series began

This surprised me! That execution video that played in the ARK for Sonic and co. wasn't live? That was old footage from years before? Then what exactly was he executed for then, and how in the world did he even plan for an event that would take place years after his death?

-Iceman

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This surprised me! That execution video that played in the ARK for Sonic and co. wasn't live? That was old footage from years before? Then what exactly was he executed for then, and how in the world did he even plan for an event that would take place years after his death?

Gerald's execution, and the ARK raid in general, were motivated by pretty vague reasons.

It's implied that Professor Gerald creating dangerous weapons (Artificial Chaos, Shadow, Eclipse Cannon, etc.) worried the government, who then saw fit to pull the plug on the scientist's operations. ...Granted, why they decided to do this by killing everyone involved and making it look like an accident is anyone's guess, but as part of the coverup, Gerald himself was captured and executed, though not before he altered Shadow's memories to remember the ARK, Maria, and an oddly specific request for revenge.

The diary mentions Gerald heard of Maria's death later, which shows he wasn't on the ARK at the time. Furthermore, there's some pretty good speculation that Shadow's memories of Maria- including the positive non-vengeful ones- were largely fabricated by Gerald to drive Shadow's desire for revenge. Somewhere along the line he innitiated a ridiculously complex program for the Eclipse Cannon to cause the ARK to spiral into Earth as well, though HOW he did this is anyone's guess.

Either way, GUN eventually caught up to him, captured him and Shadow, and then killed him. ...How Gerald programmed his own execution video to play as the Eclipse Cannon was activated, I'll frankly never know.

...You know, Gerald's plan is full of questionable plot elements.

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For the interested, here's Rouge's report to her spymasters regarding what happened with Gerald and the ARK; as told in the Japanese SA2 strategy guide.

During my latest criminal investigation, I found secret information about Project Shadow through a Security Hole in GUN, and informed the President. It was a letter addressed to Professor Gerald from the President of its time, 13 Presidents ago, confidentially requesting him some new research. The subject of the letter is as follows.

"Mankind's ultimate eternal dream, researching for immortality."

Gerald had refused this request stubbornly, for it crossed over Man's limits. However (although ironically), in the end, Gerald's dearest granddaughter "Maria Robotnik" gave him a reason to look over the plans. Maria suffered from an illness "NIDS: Neuro immunodeficiency syndrome", by which medical treatment was difficult to provide. Although she seemingly could not expect recovery from this, medical treatment research was continued aboard the ARK, before they finally thought the incurable disease could be conquered because of Gerald's declaration of his new immortality studies. Advanced research was strictly confidential, inside the ARK. Records state, "Project Shadow" was named this because of the sarcasm involved in not actually being able to create a Shadow (Which didn't exist in the world).

At first, everyone thought that this plan was far too reckless and far-fetched to have ever been fabricated by Professor Gerald's gifted mind. Chaos Emeralds were researched and resulted in the creation of Chaos Drives, which were a test to apply their infinite energy to a life, while the main project would only be started once the prototype was complete. The "Prototype of the Ultimate Life-form", made after the image of a lizard, showed many signs of wonderful growth. Regeneration, restoration, and self-reproduction. The researchers were thrilled at this.

But, while their joy of how well the Prototype was doing quickly went to their heads, it became unruly and hard to control causing many problems. A voice of doubt soon arose, as they questioned their continuation on this project, as well as the safety of others aboard. The truth is uncertain, about who had leaked private information about the Project to GUN, however it was considered to have been one of the few who were concerned with the Prototype, as it became reckless.

Those who were among the top ranking of GUN, had a strong disliking of the research organization, and formulated a plan to shut down the ARK itself, taking advantage of its current situation. Their secret plan was code named, "ARK's Indestructible Seal"

All of the colony's residents were to be evacuated from a bio hazardous calamity generated from within the ARK research institution, and it would be sealed away. This was their ostensible purpose of the strategy. Of course, the true purpose was to close the ARK research facility, erase Project Shadow, and put the blame to Professor Gerald as the person who had caused the accident.

The plan was carried out, on the premise that GUN knew nothing, and within only seven days of the Plan's commencing, all the residents of the ARK were moved to the planet. All the research facilities aboard the ARK were frozen by GUN, and all persons involved in Project Shadow, except for Professor Gerald, were announced as victims of the disaster. The plan was finally completed, when the "Prototype of the Ultimate Lifeform" was found, and then sealed away in the deepest part of the Colony.

But, there was miscalculation in their plan. It seemed Professor Gerald was already finishing off the Ultimate Lifeform "Shadow", but using another desirable form, when the plan was being executed. When GUN's Special Forces rushed into the research institute, Gerald escaped, and entrusted it to Maria, his granddaughter, checking to make sure that the one escape capsule was ejected toward the planet. (In addition, the whereabouts of the capsule at that time were not known, either.)

Now, it is not known if the hedgehog "Shadow the Hedgehog", being the "Shadow" that was sealed away in Prison Island, was a copy created by someone else, or was the original "Shadow" that was ejected toward the planet. (There is no real way to confirm this anywhere...)

~ A partial excerpt from the last investigative report by Rouge, about Project Shadow ~

Edited by Frozen Nitrogen
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Gerald's execution, and the ARK raid in general, were motivated by pretty vague reasons.

It's implied that Professor Gerald creating dangerous weapons (Artificial Chaos, Shadow, Eclipse Cannon, etc.) worried the government, who then saw fit to pull the plug on the scientist's operations. ...Granted, why they decided to do this by killing everyone involved and making it look like an accident is anyone's guess, but as part of the coverup, Gerald himself was captured and executed, though not before he altered Shadow's memories to remember the ARK, Maria, and an oddly specific request for revenge.

The diary mentions Gerald heard of Maria's death later, which shows he wasn't on the ARK at the time. Furthermore, there's some pretty good speculation that Shadow's memories of Maria- including the positive non-vengeful ones- were largely fabricated by Gerald to drive Shadow's desire for revenge. Somewhere along the line he initiated a ridiculously complex program for the Eclipse Cannon to cause the ARK to spiral into Earth as well, though HOW he did this is anyone's guess.

Either way, GUN eventually caught up to him, captured him and Shadow, and then killed him. ...How Gerald programmed his own execution video to play as the Eclipse Cannon was activated, I'll frankly never know.

...You know, Gerald's plan is full of questionable plot elements.

You have answered a world of questions for me, while at the same time introducing a whole world of new ones for me to ponder about... What you said makes sense as well, he must've been one ingenious, efficent man to be able to create such an elaborate and complex plan to erase humanity in such a short amount of time, considering how long it took the government to go to the ARK, destroy it, capture him and kill him, which probably wasn't long at all... Although it was a deeper and hidden meaning, The game really proves that this man was one of, or the greatest scientific mind of all time!

-Iceman

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You have answered a world of questions for me, while at the same time introducing a whole world of new ones for me to ponder about... What you said makes sense as well, he must've been one ingenious, efficent man to be able to create such an elaborate and complex plan to erase humanity in such a short amount of time, considering how long it took the government to go to the ARK, destroy it, capture him and kill him, which probably wasn't long at all... Although it was a deeper and hidden meaning, The game really proves that this man was one of, or the greatest scientific mind of all time!

-Iceman

That said, somehow programming every TV broadcast in the world (fifty years into the future no less) to be overridden with a broadcast of his own execution video (How did he get that recording to the ARK posthumously?) goes beyond scientific genius and into "magic" territory.

One could theorize Gerald had someone helping him, but Shadow had also been captured by GUN by this time, so he couldn't have helped Gerald set up this plan.

I mean... what? How did he DO this? It bugs the hell out of me, quite frankly.

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Death in the Sonic series is a pretty big thing whether you're for or against it. And the Sonic series has had some good and bad moments with this. Shadow scene was no doubt one of the most (if not THE most) touching moments in this series until Sonic Team mucked it up by not explaining his survival and added extra junk in his own game, and Sonic's death scene...was handled in the most ass way possible.

Problem with handling death in this series is how it is handled, and for a series like Sonic I don't think it's really easy to handle, particularly when it comes to the more well known characters. It takes guts to actually kill a good character and pull it off without being forced/cheesy/poorly executed, you know the vocab. And when you actually go along with it, there's a lurking thought that you could've done more with the character before they died.

On the flipside, if you're going to revive a character from said death, you'd better be one helluva creative writer to actually pull that off depending on how the character died especially in the case of Shadow. Even if you don't like the character, you'd have to admit that Shadow's revival could've actually been simpler to execute than the way it was handled if they had to bring him back. Chaos Controlled somehow and a scene showing that he fell from the atmosphere could actually have saved a lot of trouble that came with the character afterwards. Sadly, we got a whopping mess.

Anyway, given that most of the more well-known characters are not going to die anytime soon, if at all, it's not likely that we're going to see any actual death in the series. I think the series can handle a faux death scene where it actually fools even the player to believe a character is dead. Kinda like how they did Goofy in Kingdom Hearts 2 in Hollow Bastion, I seriously believed him to be dead when that boulder hit him square across the head. But the surprise came in showing that he was just knocked unconscious the whole time.

But unless Sonic Team are willing to go through with an actual death scene for a character, be it Tails, Knuckles, Shadow, Eggman, Sonic, whoever it is they decide to actually kill (and do a decent job of it at that), we're not likely to see any major characters die off either due to them doing a shoddy job of it in the past with Shadow, fan backlash for killing one of the characters (which is all to predictable anyway), etc.

If they didn't want to kill a major character they could create another minor character whom the player actually finds likable and decent and then off them after a few games (because I think introducing them for one game and killing them afterwards is a big waste of future potential). But knowing the fanbase, there are many who might not sit well with it...that is unless they actually find the character likable.

Edited by ChaosSupremeSonic
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