It could’ve been a Pokemon for all we care.

I watched the pilot trailer again. The failed attempt at humor in which Sonic somehow knows that Robotnik’s “burn bot” is not appropriately named. Because “lol it’s a burn bot with no pyrotechnics lol!”. The irony is that this failed attempt at humor actually explains what is wrong with these character designs, other than being ugly.

Sonic

Tails

Knuckles

Why were these characters given these names?

The Sonic series isn’t exactly strict when it comes to their naming conventions, but for a long time, characters within this series had names that usually matched up with their powers/physical traits.

Sonic for his Super Sonic Speed

Tails for his 2 Tails which give him flight

Knuckles for his spiked knuckles which allow him to dig and shatter stone. “Stone fists” as he called em.

Big the Cat for being… well.. “Big and fat”

Espio IE Espionage as he can cloak himself and sneak about (which is actually very relevant to his species)

Bean the Dynamite as he uses explosives

Fang the Sniper for using a gun (and having a visible tooth, I guess)

Chaos for being nothing but water (an element that represents chaos itself, if that makes sense)

Blaze the Cat for having fire abilities

Chip for….liking chocolate chips, so on and so forth.

Most of the time, not all, the character’s names were given based on their primary attributes. It’s a common thing amongst super heroes as well. Spiderman for his spider-like abilities, the Hulk for his hulking stature and strength, Wolverine for his wolf-like combat abilities, so on and so forth.

Their character designs did not emphasize their abilities, however, because before the Adventure games or Knuckles Chaotix, the characters were designed to be compatible with the pinball physics-driven nature of the Sonic series. The Japanese have a keen sense of detail when it comes to these things.

For example, when it came to Gundam, there was a mobile suit named the Hyaku Shiki model which was originally conceptualized to be a transformable gundam. However, the team during the Zeta series decided it had a flawed design and couldn’t realistically transform into a plane, so it was made into it’s own suit while they went with another design for Gundam Zeta (that could transform only by adding more daka or w/e).

Same rules applied to Sonic games. The most of the characters were designed in a way that they could compact themselves into a ball. Reason being so they could logically roll around the half pipes in 2D Sonic games without looking ridiculous or having illogical animations.

Well…. the verdict’s still out on Tails and Cream, but it would explain why certain characters like Espio and Blaze prefer to spin around, or why Amy acts so retarded in the Advance series. Their designs simply did not work in the favor of ball compacting. Samus would work more logically in Sonic games than Espio. 😛
Could probably be the same reason Silver is… Silver and why Shadow does slow spin attack animations. Character designs after Adventure could be as wild as possible because the games barely played anything like previous Sonic games. Instead of focusing on half pipes and wild loops, the games focused more on exploration, missions and basic running speeds. Or as one commenter pointed out

But ofcourse, because of that, character designs started to… “erode” after a while. Characters started looking disproportionate to some fans (Sonic being too “tall” in 06, for one, or Knuckles’s snout being too small) while others just looked stupid (pick one). But through lacking fucks to give, biology of Sonic characters no longer apply to pinball physics. The problem (or not a problem) is that people still LOVE how the characters originally looked, so drastic changes would be a huge problem.

Now we get to Sonic Boom where the fucks to give are completely gone. Sonic Boom’s designs could be quite frankly the most contradictory designs in the series yet. Instead of having the character’s names emphasize their primary traits, you have the DESIGNS emphasize traits that most kids wouldn’t have given 2 damns about prior to this game.

A Vrael pointed this out earlier, Sonic having mummy straps on his shoes would be more a hinderance than a benefit to Sonic’s super speed, his PRIMARY trait. Instead, these designs were given to reinforce Sonic’s SECONDARY trait, which is his personality of being adventurous.

Tails’s extra coatings don’t make him look any worse than before, but it seems like with all those tools, Tails would get tired even faster from flying around so much. Tails’s primary trait is his ability to fly with an abnormal biological Tail. But the extra gear reinforces his secondary trait of technological proficiency (which didn’t really matter to people until SA2.) And for the record, I don’t have a problem with Tails using gadgets. But I do take offense to him being completely dependent on gadgets rather than his own abilities. Afterall, he takes down an Egg Walker…. with his ASS!

And then there’s Knuckles, the most offensive design that surprisingly EVERYONE takes issue with (how delicious!). His primary trait was his punching ability and big spiky fists. Here, all that bulk went into his torso to reinforce a trait that pretty much came out of nowhere (striking power is not the same thing as upper body strength). Unless some assholes wanna use Sonic Battle as an excuse, the same game where Amy can somehow box and Chao can cause tornadoes by crying or whatnot. As you can see, Knuckles’s fists are pretty small. Shit, he’s got FINGERS! While he wears brass knuckles, it looks cheap. I remember issue #25 of the Knuckles Comic series where they revealed that Knuckles’s spiked fists were unique to himself. And since SOJ didn’t give a damn to explain the design oddity (the Echidna tribes from SA1 had REGULAR FISTS for example, poor Tikal), it sounded legit. Look at this cheap ass mess he’s rockin now. All to reinforce what shouldn’t even be a part of Knuckles’s character (thanks a lot, Sonic Heroes!) Dis mother fucker goes hard.

Amy was nothing special so I can’t comment.

You see what I’m sayin? These character designs marginalized the primary traits of the main 3 Sonic characters. Sonic isn’t about speed (and the team is making a point that Sonic Boom isn’t just “speed” which means that aspect will be marginalized), Tails isn’t about flight, and Knuckles isn’t about punches, digging, and climbing. Instead, we’re treated to the aspects that were originally not emphasized or really cared about up until Sonic Adventure/Heroes. I suppose since the jump to 3D, characters are, as a general rule, given more depth and/or powers just to show off how good and unlimited the hardware is… I guess. Or because Sonic is supposed to be “the fastest thing alive” and it would be “false advertising” if every character could keep up with Sonic anyway (like anyone gives a damn this day in age cept the nerds).

And I suppose the excuse is since the game is not going to play anything like Sonic beyond a few running segments and automated sections like the pulley, the characters aren’t restricted in design constraints that would logically allow them to curl up into a ball (I suppose the guys beyond Knuckles Chaotix were stressed out having to find a way to deal with Espio or Charmy). But in either case, Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are essentially the Burn Bots in this case. Their names no longer attribute to their primary abilities but rather marginal traits. Sonic is designed to be “adventurous”, Tails is designed to be a genius, and Knuckles is designed to be a douche.

The only thing wrong in this case is that the designs are just… off-puttng at best. So fan input is really the only thing that could stop this mess from being a permanent change. And I say this because Sega in general is such a dishonest company, do you folks honestly buy that BS about Sonic Boom being “just a branch off” the Sonic series that isn’t permanent? This company has lied several times, screwwed over their fans several times, and dicked around with their own developers on numerous occasions. Suuuuuuuure, they listened to fans for Sonic 4 after lying to them for episode 1, and then canceling the series after fucking meeting fan demand (and news of the games selling “decently”, whatever the hell decent means these days), I can’t take their word on anything. There hasn’t been any consumer trust in Sega since after the Sega Saturn for good reason, they dick you around too much. And Amma knows we ALL can’t forget about PSO2 (I am forever peeved that Asia gets a goddamn English version while western territories get shit). I can’t take Sega’s word on Boom being a temporary stunt to get cheddar.

 

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