Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sonic Forces New Character Revealed: It is OC!

Something unprecedented is happening with Sonic!
And it's in the new game Sonic Forces for late 2017 release!
And...nobody really knows what to think of it. But this is SonicGear, so it's certainly going to get talked about.

The basics:
The latest trailer for Sonic Forces had the big reveal of the 'new character' for this game.
It's Original Character AKA a "Create a Character" that the player must cobble together out of various parts and accessories & then play with along-side both modern & classic style Sonics.

Once past the basics though, everything gets into history, opinions, guessing, fan-yelling, and, if youtube is any indication, lots of swears. So let's get into it, minus the swears. Yes, an Opinion Zone will appear too here....more than 1!

Almost since the dawn of the internet there have been "Sonic fan Characters". It started out (and still is) mainly Mary Sues & Gary Stus meant to feature in fanfics, chat rooms & RPG rooms. There were also (early on) fill-in characters because the official cast was tiny unless you wanted to use the SatAM or AOSTH shows for more.
They were appealing because the "Sonic Style" is easy to knock things off of. You can re-color the characters and say it's a different guy, or just remove his face & put it on a new/different animals' head & have it look reasonably "realistic" or something that fits in thanks to the style. The barrier to entry was low, so pretty much 'everyone' seemed to enter it. That's fine/normal/part of the fun.

Bad Time:
What's the problem with everyone entering? Anti-quality, kiddie-quality, troll-quality & srs-buziness quality are the majority of what can be found dabbling around the internet & on popular art sites like DeviantArt. That's where the whole "Originole teh Character Do Not Steel" gag began to appear. (A mis-spelling on purpose to suggest a dummy made it up) The rainbow of different-colored fan-Sonics didn't impress any outsider-on-looker so the fandom became easy to make fun of with things like "Do a Google search for 'yourname' the hedgehog' & then make fun of the result". (Where you replace yourname with your actual name)
Another thing that didn't help was the general quality of the fan fics in which the original characters appeared, because most of the fic would be dedicated to explaining why Original the Character is so much better/faster/powerful/cooler than Sonic & then discard the cast to focus upon Original and his/her friends because it is far more interesting to write yourself into a story along-side characters YOU define, than it is to write FOR pre-defined characters. Remember: Easy Entry=loads of entry by anyone who wants to do something easy.

No one would read a story about Generic the Dog, but if you can TITLE the story "Sonic vs the Egg Hurricane" you'll get readers. Then, all you need to do is have Sonic stub his toe in the first paragraph & Generic the Dog will be off to defeat the Egg Hurricane! Readers will love Generic because he hops 10 stories high in 1 leap and is as fast as Sonic! And he can summon the Dark Magician Girl from his own personal chaos emerald! WOW!

Silly as the example may be, it was everywhere.
Don't believe it? It was even in Archie comics! Remember when Mina the Mongoose was a rock star singer AND as fast as Sonic? But see she was COOLER than Sonic because she could sing and she's so nice and can see exactly where that's going. And that's why they took away her speed.

So, with all this still on going, AND as the history you can easily understand how Sega actually encouraging all these wacky fan characters via a Create-a-Char has boggled the community. Will it lead to more of them? Will it stamp them out because now there's nothing unique at all? Time will tell on that but....

What's the character going to DO in the game?
Everyone brings a gimmick to the table. What's this OC going to bring that's not ALREADY on the table? That's where the game play fun element is going to fit in/exist/whatever.

Opinion Zone:
At least it isn't Boom Sonic!
I was afraid it was going to be Boom Sonic as the 3rd character in Forces. He's not. GOOD. I don't grudge Boom the Show but I DO grudge the lame character designs, stupid Knuckles & how it stamped out all things modern Sonic related, including cool characters like Espio & Blaze. The LESS Boom the better. Let it go. Keep it a show. That's it.

Opinion Zone 2:
I never had a fan character. I actually always resented all of them because I love Sonic most of all, and every clone & Mary Sue banging on about how they're better than he is annoys me to no end. It's also why Sally (from SatAM & Archie) annoys me as well. She was written as better than Sonic, especially in the early days. Characters where they replace Tails (common too) or Amy, or stamp out any other character I enjoy also annoy me because I really enjoy the Sega characters & I don't want to see Tails replaced with some magic bird who's faster/better/smarter than he is and is now Sonic's new best friend.

Opinion Zone 3:
I'm actually kinda neutral on the OC thing in the game. It'll have a scripted part, maybe dialogue choices but the writers won't have OC as the main hero of the game after Sonics (both of them!) stub their toe. HOWEVER, the pitfall could be with what they have the OC doing, if some other already-existing character could have done it. Like, is OC a gadget-user? (Why not Tails?) Does OC act like a brawler? (Why not Knuckles?) If that question gets answered by something that does NOT fit an already-existing character who gets thrown out of the game due to OC, I'll be satisfied.

The Boom designs don't work well because they're not slick. Winding everything up in bandages doesn't make sense, and kitting out the characters with accessories at all times doesn't look as good. Adding extra spikes to Sonic makes him look ragged. The problem is the characters as they are (modern and classic) are SO PERFECT you can't add stuff to them without it looking tacked on. And the cast is SO GOOD and diverse with skills/powers/whatever, that you already have what you need to create great stories. Like "We need someone who punches stuff" and then "I know what punches stuff...........a werehog! Yes!" As Knuckles gathers dust in the corner. It came off not making sense (to me) Knuckles is great, he punches, he's a different playstyle than Sonic, fans love him........nope werehog.

Probably not. It's impossible with all the combos, unless there's some 'default guy', and even then it wouldn't make much sense.

Actual Gear Update:
Pretty standard this week, submissions still on the low side. Lots of stuff involving questions though, hopefully someone turns up with some answers eventually.

Next week:
More clearing of the old image bins.