Because Why Not: Creators, Copyrights and Chaotix

And you thought the music was a tangled web of who did what. It is, but that opener sounds cool.

Unamused
…It was really that bad?

The Sonic franchise has a plethora of characters scattered about throughout its history. A comparatively small selection are still in active use (most of which were represented in Sonic Generations), others were one-offs that are now restricted to mentions and cameos, and then there’s a small sect of characters that were completely cut when Sonic made the jump from 2D to 3D with Sonic Adventure. For fans of these characters, there are often calls to bring them back, and the Chaotix’s redebut in Heroes is cited as to why it’s feasible. But are they comparable, or is there something special about the trio that came back?

For this first (and possibly only) edition of Because Why Not, I’ll be covering that central question by doing two simple things; firstly, a collation of classic characters and the company that first introduced them into the series. Secondly, and because it’s a bit more of an ambiguous area, I’ll be working out who created who in Chaotix by individual, and then we’ll go from there to wrap around to the opening thought. So, let’s get to it, it’s quite a mess out there!

Two’s Company, Three’s Outsourced

There’s always something interesting I notice in regards to character creation origins. While the most prominent examples are well known, the more obscure and older parts are either largely forgotten or outright unknown.  This can be exemplified more clearly with regards to how people view who made what between the classic games and the more recent games; most fans can easily tell you that the likes of Sonic Chronicles and the All Stars Racing series were outsourced, but not as many can tell you the same of Sonic Triple Trouble or Tails Adventure. It is often assumed that most were made under Sonic Team’s eye when the reality is that they had a hand in surprisingly few of them, although most were still kept within other branches of SEGA.

So with this in mind, here is a rundown of each of the characters that existed prior to Sonic Adventure, and the company that first introduced them. If we know anything about who created them, they will be included.

  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog) – Sonic Team. He was famously created by Naoto Ohshima as part of internal deliberations between several staff. The hedgehog was picked due to exemplifying the ball mechanic and being very streamlined in look. It has inspirations from Bill Clinton and Santa Claus, apparently.
  • Dr Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik (Sonic the Hedgehog) – Sonic Team. He was also created by Naoto Ohshima, but his design was one of the early protagonist designs before it was re-adopted for the main antagonist. Apparently takes heavy influence from Theodore Roosevelt. The Ivo Robotnik name didn’t exist in Japan until Sonic Adventure as it was conceived solely for localisation.
  • Miles “Tails” Prower (Sonic the Hedgehog 2) – SEGA Technical Institute (The part which was effectively the main Sonic Team unit between 1992 and 1995, although other parts of it made spin-offs like Sonic Spinball and the vapourware Sonic X-Treme). The fact his design process was similar to Sonic’s is less famous, but the kerfuffle over his name is still pretty well known. Creator credit is given to Yasushi Yamaguchi, would was insistent on using the name Miles and managed to get a compromise on it.

    Sonic CD Amy
    It’s almost like one of those “this is how I see me, this is how other people see me” virals.
  • Amy Rose (Sonic CD) – SEGA Enterprises (who aren’t Sonic Team, but had one or two key staff). Game creator credit is with Kazuyuki Hoshino. She’s based off a character from the 92-93 Manga, but the design is a combination of Hoshino’s preferences in women at the time and Ohshima’s fashion preferences.
  • Metal Sonic (Sonic CD) – SEGA Enterprises. He was also created by Kazuyuki Hoshino, and he has some very detailed technical aspects to his construction available.
  • All characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon and Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic Spinball and/or Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine) – DiC, not a game team. It is important to stress that it doesn’t mean that DiC owns them, it just means that DiC made them. And the reason why it’s not separated into two different points is because Scratch is the only character to feature in both games. There’s a bit of trivia for you!
  • Mighty the Armadillo (SegaSonic the Hedgehog) – SEGA-AM3. This is the first real swerve off expectations. SEGA had multiple arcade divisions in the past, and they made this as opposed to Sonic Team. Mighty could feasibly be based off a concept armadillo we know of.
  • Ray the Flying Squirrel (SegaSonic the Hedgehog) – SEGA-AM3. Some say he’s based off Tails concepts from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, but there’s no tangible proof of that as far as I know.
  • Knuckles the Echidna (Sonic the Hedgehog 3) – SEGA Technical Institute. Again, less famous than Sonic’s and Tails’ creation histories, but we do know bits and pieces. For example, his very early concepts had him as a dinosaur, and after the Echidna bit was cemented he was green for a bit. Creator credit is given to Takashi “Thomas” Yuda.
  • Fang the Sniper AKA Nack the Weasel (Sonic Triple Trouble) – Aspect Co. They were responsible for most of the Game Gear games, although most didn’t introduce new characters. He’s one of the few outsourced characters where we know where Fang’s creator credit lies for absolute certain; a freelance artist who calls himself Touma. He even used aspects of Fang’s design in some of his later works.
  • Vector the Crocodile ([Knuckles] Chaotix) – SEGA Enterprises, although he is definitely derived from Sonic 1 concepts that were created by Naoto Ohshima.
  • Charmy Bee ([Knuckles] Chaotix) – SEGA Enterprises. Like Amy, he is based off a 92-93 Manga character.
  • Espio the Chameleon ([Knuckles] Chaotix) – SEGA Enterprises. In early stages, the game appeared to have Espio in a more headline role based off the prototypes that have been discovered over the years. Makes sense since he’s an original character for this game, and it also justifies why he was picked out of the game for Sonic the Fighters.
  • Heavy and Bomb AKA the Mechanix ([Knuckles] Chaotix) – SEGA Enterprises. We know nothing of these guys and they’re barely characters, more like walking handicaps.
  • Bearenger, Fockewulf, Carrotia and Witchkart AKA the Villains of Tails’ Skypatrol (Tails’ Skypatrol) – SIMS Co. Ltd. One of the few Gamegear games not developed by Aspect Co. and a branch of SEGA that went independent about 2002-2004. No wonder it didn’t see an international release until 2005.
  • The Battle Kukku Army (Tails Adventure) – Aspect Co. There’s two artists in the credits, and one of them is Nobuhiko Honda, who would later be responsible for the new characters and redesigns in Sonic Heroes, and the new characters in Shadow the Hedgehog. He also acted as enemy character designer in Sonic Adventure 2. That said, he was also an artist in Triple Trouble where he obviously didn’t design Fang so I wouldn’t count his future work as concrete proof he has credit for the Battle Kukkus. The Fang cameo that’s present in the game would be natural to expect given that he’s the company’s biggest contribution to the franchise.

    happy bark
    Do you know the homage origin of this polar bear? Answers on a post card please.
  • Bark the Polar Bear (Sonic the Fighters/Sonic Championship) – SEGA-AM2. There’s one character designer listed in the credits, so it’s probable he was designed by Masahiro Sugiyama. He seems to be the only one not based on a previous SEGA-AM2 character, but I wouldn’t say it’s an impossibility. He went on to cameo in Fighters Megamix, Virtua Soccer and Shenmue.
  • Bean the Dynamite (Sonic the Fighters/Sonic Championship) – SEGA-AM2. Like Bark, probable individual credit would be with Masahiro Sugiyama. Based on the protagonists Bin and Pin of Dynamite Dux. He shares the same cameo list as Bark.
  • Honey the Cat (Sonic the Fighters/Sonic Championship) – SEGA-AM2. Again, probably credited to Masahiro Sugiyama. Based off Honey (Candy in the west) from Fighting Vipers. Her mirror form appeared in the introduction to the Saturn version of Fighting Vipers.
  • Metal Knuckles (Sonic R) – Traveller’s Tales. There is a specified character designer though, and it’s…Yuji Uekawa? Yeah, some of the SEGA staff were advising and occupying roles in this, including head of Sonic Team Takashi Iizuka (as Game Design Director, with the Japanese personnel who had gone to STI in America now back with SEGA Enterprises in Japan since the production of NiGHT). It’s actually pretty easy to see considering how faithful to the franchises’ established elements Metal Knuckles is. While definitely based on the same design logic as Metal Sonic, he’s still British-made in terms of company. I think Sonic R is one of the first outsourcing jobs made by a company entirely separate to SEGA.
  • Tails Doll (Sonic R) – Traveller’s Tales. Also presumably credited to Yuji Uekawa. One thing to note is that when asked about production of figures based on the Sonic R exclusives (Jazwares asked SEGA about Metal Knuckles), Jazwares explained that they don’t have the rights to some of the characters for the merchandise aspect as they were not developed SEGA of Japan. So despite Uekawa’s involvement, the developer took precedence here. Again, same design logic as Metal Sonic, only this time it takes on the form of a doll-like creation. Funnily enough, Sonic Adventure would show similar dolls of all three of the Triple Threat in mass-produced forms. But they’re not linked to this Tails Doll.

What we can take from this list is that there is, by and large, a distinctive pattern between the classic characters who have gone to become hallmarks and those who have gone on to become scrap fodder. Most of the scrapped (not all) were made by one of the branches away from the central Sonic Team unit, with a couple being completely outsourced (on a developer level, anyway).

This is all well and good, but then why were characters from SEGA Enterprises later brought into the Sonic Team fold, and how come others didn’t? Well, if we want to get to the root of things, we’re going to have to look at the game that’s the exception to the rule.

Chaotix Conundrum

At the end of the day, Chaotix is quite the oddball hodgepodge of a creator mix. Ideas were taken from pretty much anywhere they could find once Sonic and Tails were decided to be off the cards, and as a result you have pedigree names mixed in with relative strangers. People who worked on the game at the time have explained the long work days and evenings crowded into a car eating takeout meals, which just adds to the strangeness. It makes sense when you consider this; at the time, most of the Sonic Team personnel that had been with Sonic 1 went over with Naka to America by the time Sonic 2 rolled around, so the Japanese side filled out their Sonic efforts with what remainders there were (Ohshima), and either brought in new staff (Hoshino) or dragged others in from non-Sonic branches (A few others).

As such, the Chaotix are usually just written off as ‘unknown’ in terms of creator credit. But I truly believe it can be worked out, and quite easily. For this, we need two things; the Original Character Concept list taken ad verbatim from the credits sequence, and the list of character names seen on the level name cards that appear before you start a stage.

 

Chaotix Character List
Why is it double punctuated?? I don’t know!!
Character Concept List
Original Character Concept (do not steal).

As a starting point, let’s go with the most obvious, and that’s second down in each list;

  • Takashi “Thomas” Yuda: Yuda is the one given credit for Knuckles’ creation in Sonic 3, and Knuckles is the most important character in the game, so it’s easy to guess that he was behind Knuckles the Echidna here too.
  • Manabu Kusonoki: Kusonoki has been in two other Sonic games, SegaSonic the Hedgehog (as a designer) and Sonic Adventure (as a CG movie director). Kusonoki is the only person SegaSonic the Hedgehog and Chaotix have in common, so it’s very likely he’s as much responsible for bringing in Mighty the Armadillo as he was for creating them both for SegaSonic the Hedgehog, which fits with the character list order. This does mean Mighty was the closest to getting in a Sonic Team game from a non-Sonic Team origin (I say close, because SEGA Enterprises isn’t quite there).
  • Kazuyoshi Hoshino: Kazuyoshi is just another pen name for Kazuyuki (we know because Hoshino has talked about his experiences working on the game. His takeaway noodle anecdote is above) aka the guy who made Amy, who was based on a character from the CoroCoro Manga. And wouldn’t you know it, Charmy Bee also appeared in those same Manga. So out of those concept designers, he’s the one with the proven link back to it, thus likely also based Chaotix Charmy on that idea.

Now here’s where things sort of go less certain, but it’s still pretty clear if you look into more of the background;

  • Takumi Miyake (and Yasufumi Soejima). While Miyake doesn’t have many SEGA games to his name (five, apparently), he was everywhere design wise in Knuckles Chaotix. He was Chief Graphic Designer, Attraction Designer, Character Designer, Enemy Designer, Boss Designer and credited for Original Character Concept. That overlap into enemy and boss design makes me suspect that he was the designer for Heavy (as he was doing a lot of badnik designs regardless). The only other game Soejima has to his name at all is something called Dragon Force, so it would fit that he would do a simplistic design, which is what Bomb These both also fit the character list quite nicely.
  • Naoto Ohshima: Ohshima is first in the credit list, while Espio the Chameleon is first in the character list. Seem strange? Not so much if you know his history; beta concepts suggest that Espio was going to be a much more headline character than he was, as many shots say “Starring Espio the Chameleon”. Not only that, but even in the final game he took more prominence that the other Chaotix by both being the one Knuckles rescues in the cutscene and by having a more elaborate background intertwined with Knuckles’ history, and he was the only one of that debuting cast who was also included in Sonic the Fighters. It’d make sense for the man who created the face of the franchise to be given that important role of making a new important character. But the proof isn’t just from his background. Take note of this concept art in the Japanese Chaotix manual;
fangs for the memories
The first thing you’ll notice is the lack of any ground in this place.

Notice the fangs? They were a hallmark of Ohshima’s early Sonic designs before SEGA of America came in a asked for them to be removed. It seems like it’s a common trait amongst his works.

Speaking of that art, the other character on the page is unaccounted for, and just like the fangs, it links back to pre-Sonic 1 history. As is commonly known, there were lots of concepts banded about for the first game, one of which were characters made for a band to be featured in the soundtest and the intro/ending. Due to space and time restraints, these characters were cut and left as ideas. Now, these concepts, as such as Sonic and Eggman, were created by Ohshima as well, and since he was involved in Chaotix as is, it’s very likely that he revived Vector the Crocodile himself and readapted him for it. It would also explain why there’s one less original character concept credited than there are “playable” characters.

Christmas Adden-dee-dum: Well, as it turns out, we may have found out that step between the famous band concept art and Vector’s reappearance in Chaotix! User Black Squirrel over on Sonic Retro found pages from Computer and Video Games #126 (aka a very old British magazine issue), featuring an article on the then-hot topic (since it was the May ’92 issue) Sonic the Hedgehog (See references for images). In the background, you can see various different pictures depicting the band in amusing situations. There are a couple of interesting points;

  • Interviews with Ohshima have indicated that Sharps changed species during production, from a chicken to a parakeet. This colouring fits more for a parakeet, and heavily suggests that this was later in development and more finalised. This would apply to all of the characters.
  • The bands’ dud have changed from matching Sonic’s red and white to blue and yellow.

Considering that you can see a fraction of Vector on the right side in image 1, and he appears to have the yellow underbelly his Chaotix design would have, a hypothetical later concept Vector in blue and yellow would match the Chaotix design far more than the early concept. This is even stronger evidence that Vector was wholly Ohshima’s work if not much actually had to be altered for the official game design.

A Formal Meta-Analysis Essay Subtitle Like Conclusions or Discussion Goes Here

Right, now we’ve done the listing part, it’s time to take a look at our possible options in terms of what it means for the scrapped characters.

Option 1: The characters were cut for copyright reasons. I suppose since all the characters not used now are outsourced (or just insignificant, in the case of Heavy and Bomb), it’s technically possible, but I find it highly, highly unlikely to be the case. Even if their usage in the games since Adventure has just been old art assets, their image would come with a cost if they didn’t own copyright. And they wouldn’t let Archie have at them in their comic, because that counts as new material.

Option 2: Sonic Team have a negative bias against non-Sonic Team creations. At least it’s somewhat more feasible than option 1, but it still seems far-fetched. How would they recall the origin of each and every one of them given that there’s at least a dozen to keep tabs on, while also focusing on the franchise’s current situation, and everything in between? I don’t think they’re that petty, especially when some of the possible creators were still with the series at the time of Sonic Heroes’ development (Honda has a big role there to boot), or are still active on Sonic to this day (Uekawa, who did cover art for the portable titles for a good while, and now puts out monthly official art on Sonic Channel).

Option 3: Sonic Team have a positive bias for Sonic Team personnel creations. Now this one seems more in the realm of reality. Charmy is pinned down as Hoshino. While he wasn’t on Sonic Team when he began at SEGA, he was folded into it by the time of Sonic Adventure, and in a fairly important role to boot, and he was . It seems natural that one of his creations would get preference. Vector and Espio meanwhile are pegged as Ohshima. Ohshima left after Sonic Adventure, but he has the small credit of being the creator of Sonic as a character. Plus, both Hoshino and Iizuka seem friendly with him even after all these years. It would only be natural for them to want to keep what he made up to that point. Of course, they had to be retooled a bit because Sonic Adventure essentially marked a streamlining of the continuity which edged Chaotix out of canon, but they’re at least still there.

  So after all this, we’re essentially left with two overall conclusions, based on the above. The first is that we’ve had the information available to us to work out who made who in the Chaotix. Ohshima created Vector and Espio, Yuda created Knuckles (but that’s obvious), Kusunoki created Mighty, Hoshino created Charmy and Miyake/Soejima created Heavy and Bomb.

  The second is a heavier one; essentially, the Chaotix (the modern line-up, not the classic) always had a bit of an edge that the other non-main cast didn’t. Their creators weren’t just staff from other teams; they’re notable players in Sonic’s overall history. Citing the Chaotix as an example of when Sonic Team revived old characters and how it’s possible to do it again is essentially meaningless when they were always in the correct position to be brought back, it might have even been an eventuality as opposed to fortune. And with the aforementioned streamlining of the continuity with Adventure in combination, the scrapped characters will probably never get a look-in on being revived.

Rest in aPpearances
Here lies Fang, the Cream the Rabbit of his time.

So there we have it, we’ve covered creators, copyrights and Chaotix. Now, when do we start on Chaos, chili dogs and mint candy?

Sources;

All credit information is taken directly from their respective games’ credits.

The information about Espio’s backstory is taken from the Japanese Chaotix manual.

The Touma information; Touma: The Man Who Birthed a Sniper, TSSZ

The Hoshino anecdote, the Sonic Team separation information and the band in the Sonic 1 intro information; SEGA Mega Drive: Collected Works

The Metal Knuckles figure information; Interview with Joe Amano, SEGA Blog

3-Player SegaSonic the Hedgehog Playthrough Image; SegaSonic the Hedgehog 3 player arcade game 60fps, arronmunroe

Japanese Chaotix manual image; Sonic Retro

Later Sonic Band Design Discovery; Black Squirrel, Sonic Retro

Sonic Band art; Computer and Video Games #126. [image 1], [image 2], [image 3]

74 Comments

  1. im just annoyed as a fan of metal sonic that they decided to stop including him – hes a core classic character and in almost every game from CD to Rivals 2 – then he just vanished. they held a pole to see who was the most popular character and metal was in the top 3, so why not act upon that information? – its only recently sega have gone “oh yeah… people like him… they really like him…” (DLC permission, free riders, sonic 4, generations, sonic runners, maybe sonic’s 25th)

    1. Uh, what? Metal Sonic has more appearances than any other minor character, including Shadow… This is including merchandise and other media that SEGA owns the rights to, either fully or partially.

    2. “then he just vanished”
      4 years isn’t that long of a time. I mean, Rivals 2 came out in 2007, and then (correct me if I’m wrong) the next time he shows up is in Sonic Generations in 2011. Heck, I think the time period between his cameo in Sonic Adventure and Sonic Heroes was what, 5 years?

      On a side note, I’m pretty glad they put Metal Sonic in an episode of Sonic Boom.

      1. Metal was in rise of lyric and shattered crystal. And sonic runners. Who said anything about dropping him?

  2. This is actually one of the coolest articles I think I’ve seen from TSS in a while. Not only did you do quite a bit of research in tackling what I found to be a really interesting topic, but there’s some stuff here I didn’t happen to know about as well. I’ve watched the credits for Sonic R so many times, but somehow I had never noticed until now that Yuji Uekawa did character designs for that game! I started reading this to maybe learn (from a different angle) what went into making Knuckles Chaotix, but I ended up coming away learning a lot more.

    Maybe it’s just because I’m always fascinated by learning about what went into producing a project, but this article had me hooked once I started reading it. You did a great job formatting the article as well and making it look presentable.

    I don’t know how you could continue this series (maybe there’s some other aspect of production you could talk about that’s been hardly mentioned in the past?), but if you find a way, consider me interested! 🙂

  3. It’s amazing that people are in love with this article, despite the fact that it kills the extended Sonic cast.

    I’ll risk jail at this point, because SEGA is full of douche-baggery. And there’s no way in hell I’m letting these characters stay dead.

    I had a bad feeling the minute I saw the title of this article. So what can we possibly hope for in 2016 (and years to come), now that this is dead and burried? Do I have to created an expy of the entire Sonic franchise just to compensate. Sonic has so many possible alternatives to help the series grow again, but SEGA just doesn’t want them bad enough. Long live the world of homebrew and headcanon!

    1. You’ll risk jail because of how a gaming company is handling what a talking anthropomorphic hedgehog is doing…

      Over-obsessive much?

      1. Fine. Someone has to be an “over-obsessive” martyr, in order to give Sonic fan what they secretly want, or would probably, but are too jaded and skeptical to admit.

        I am not going to jolly over Sonic Boom or a mobile-exclusive Sonic Runners, while the rich history of Sonic goes to waste.

        In a perfect or semi-decent world, we would get the best of both worlds from different mediums of the Sonic franchise. But nowadays, we get whatever SEGA is will to put out, thanks to:

        -Yuji Naka being more interested in NiGHTS, than Sonic X-treme.
        -Sally Acorn being made more important in the franchise than she actually is.
        -The cancellation of SatAM.
        -The the development hell and cancellation of Sonic X-treme.
        -Hayao Nakayama’s pissy-fit over Sonic X-treme. (Watch miiyouandmii2’s 3-part video)
        -The failures or SEGA CD, the 32X, and the Saturn.
        -SEGA’s failed experiment Sonic games (Game Gear, 32X, Saturn, etc.).
        -The end of the Dreamcast.
        -SEGA’s multi-platform deal with Sony and Microsoft. (Sonic Heroes)
        -SEGA shelfing Chao Garden
        -Chris Thorndyke being the central-focused character in Sonic X: the only real Sonic anime, hailing from the same country faithful to the games.
        -The dark nature, convoluted plot, and gun gimmick in Shadow the Hedgehog.
        -Yuji Naka leaving SEGA.
        -SEGA rushing Sonic 2006
        -SEGA barring other playable characters after that fiasco.
        -Sonic fans’ inconsistent complains about how Sonic games should return to its glory days.
        -SEGA shelfing the Adventure gameplay.
        -Sonic’s shift towards storybook games, boost-to-wins, and denser and wackier tone.
        -Sonic Generations not being released on the Wii because it’s HD/too powerful, but SEGA refuses to port the game to the more powerful Wii U.
        -Lost World’s parkour engine and attempt to make the franchise more akin to the Mario games.
        -Penders meddling with the Archie comic.
        -Sonic Chronicles not resolving their cliffhanger in a sequel, because Bioware got bought out by EA, and Penders suing them over similar concepts he claims to have created.
        -SEGA scrapping several obscure characters, because their games didn’t sell as well as their Genesis titles, the creation under several different ex-divisions, and their bias towards mainly Sonic himself.
        -SEGA’s interest in Sonic Boom, in an attempt to appeal to younger westerners (the same people who like Regular Show and Ratchet & Clank)
        -SEGA’s focus on mobile games and Japan-exclusive games, thanks to Rise of Lyrics’ failure.

        If any quality with the rich history and world-building of Sonic in mind is to see the light of day, a true fan who isn’t bound solely by demographics, profits, and IP legality will have to make it happen. And since SEGA still owns Sonic and still intends to make a profit off of the series, I’ll risk jail (since that’s the divine punishment when fans take their beloved franchises into their own hands and try to create something meaning, but end up intimidating SEGA’s compotence and challenges the popularity of their brand).

        (You don’t have to read this part if you’re not intellectual enough to handle something this detailed and lengthy, but I am going to get my point across)

        And there is no edgy, adventurous, or iconic anthro-platformer who can substitute Sonic. Unlike Mario, Sonic has actual dialog. Mario does have the mismanagement and inner-controversy SEGA has, so the least we can ask from Mario is say more than a few catchphrases and exclamations. We already know who Sonic is as a character. We can’t say the same for Mario, unless you want to fill in the blanks with how he can ride Yoshi, jump off of him at the last second to get an extra jump, while Yoshi falls into a bottomless pit, how Mario can use a warp whistle in SMB3, how he can grind for 1-ups with a random Koopa shell, and how he can access minus world.

        1. Holy wall of text, Batman!

          If you honestly expect me to pick apart all of these, you’re mistaken. But I will look at the ones that caught my eye.

          First, how is Sega appealing to younger fans with Boom a bad thing? In case you’ve forgotten, Sonic has always, ALWAYS pandered to the kids demographic since day one. Give him spiky hair! Make him ride a snowboard! Make him quote 90’s lingo like “this is happenin’!” or “Gotta speed, keed!” Sonic’s been doing this for years. But did you notice back then? Of course not! You were a kid too! The reason Sonic’s style has changed is because the kids of today are not the same as the kids from the 90’s. You need to adapt to survive.

          Next, the thing about Mario? Nintendo doesn’t focus on his character growth or personality for one simple reason. They’re more focused on a much more important aspect of his games: The GAMEPLAY.

          You ever noticed that the mainstream Mario games have always done consistently well? It’s because Nintendo fine-tunes their games. It’s not about why this person’s doing this, or how this character’s growing. It’s about making sure that this platform moves the way it should, or that this obstacle isn’t unfairly placed. Gameplay is the single, most important factor in any game. If a game is not fun to play, it becomes a chore. And if something feels like a chore, then people will be disinclined to play it.

          As for Mario himself, the lack of personality makes him much more versatile when it comes to his games. No one questions anything when he hops into a go-kart, whips out a tennis racket, becomes a doctor, or runs around a giant board game. But because Sonic has a personality, it seems weird when he does it, because you have to question “Why would he drive a car when he can just run the entire track in under 10 seconds?”

          Finally, the whole world building thing wasn’t really necessary in the first place. It was taking Sonic down a path that he had no right to go down in the first place. Trying to be dark, edgy, and “mature”, and failing, and as I mentioned before, distracts the developers from making the games actually work the way they should.

          But when Sega went to more lighthearted tones, the games themselves actually got better as a result. Colours and Generations are still hailed as some of the best in the entire franchise, and Lost World is, IMO at least, the single most underrated game of the series.

          In my mind, it’s because Sonic’s going back to his glory days. Back to a time when people didn’t have to worry about story other than “stop Eggman, save animals”. A time when gameplay was more important than whatever melodramatic story was being told. A time when the games were fun to play, and felt polished and complete.

          Anyways, that’s my 2 cents.

          (PS. “Martyr”? “Divine punishment”? What is this, a religion?)

        2. You risk going to jail in order to wage a one-man war over a difference in the branding idealogy of a video game character? You wish to be a “martyr”?

          Either you are somehow even more off you’re rocker than 10 Ken Penders combined or…You speak like someone who tried to do this before.

          *GASP*

          Are….Are you Chris-Chan?

          1. Nah, it can’t be him. Otherwise, he’d have dedicated 4 paragraphs to why Sonic’s arms shouldn’t be blue.

          2. I don’t cause lawsuits to get my way.

            And I’m not letting SEGA keep these characters dead.

            Did Iizuka recently post a tweet confirming their retirement, just as he killed the possibility of Nazo this year? Or is this article paranoia fluff, because some of us actually like having something to believe in, should we ever attain creative control one day. We’re not all random fanboys who just bitch about the latest Sonic news. I would like to believe that SEGA can’t sink any lower and these good things will return, but only after the quality of the core gameplay returns first.

            I only say I’d risk jail, because that’s all anyone tells me will happen. That’s the expected punishment for those who interfere with copyrights. To be thrown in jail with people far more dangerous and homicidal than you aren’t.

            No, I am NOT crazy. And I don’t need your support. But that’s what I think of this article. I hate it.

        3. You seem to have just made a list of things that you want from Sonic, then labeled them as things that must happen for Sonic to be glorious again. I can tell because the list is so specific that there’s no way Sega can realistically resolve all of these– and that’s assuming that all of these are problems in the first place. There’s just a lot of dubious stuff on there. Yuji Naka caring more about NiGHTS than Xtreme? Seriously, do you want him to make nothing but Sonic? That’s the reason he got burnt out and left Sonic Team in the first place. Unless you were referring to him disallowing STI from using the NiGHTs engine, in which case I’d say he was well within his right to do so given how Sega didn’t ask for permission to use it in the first place. Sonic X was the only real Sonic anime ever? The OVA begs to differ, and it blows X out of the water in terms of quality. Not to mention that it makes no sense to port Gens. to the WiiU given that Gens was about a year old when it came out— and besides, if you dislike boost2win so much, why would you want Gens to get ported? And those are just some of the weird stuff, but there’s no way I can address everything.

          Having a dark, edgy story and worldbuilding isn’t bad per say, but its not necessary for Sonic to have those things to be worthwhile. Boom TV is really good and I’d hardly call it dark– same goes for Sonic Riders, a lighthearted, comical Sonic game. While Colors, Gens., and Lost World aren’t strong on the story front, they do everything else really well or at least enjoyably.

          But if you want those things, there really is nothing stopping you from making it. Sega is actually really chill about fangames– some fangame makers like Taxman even got hired to make Sonic games. Sega’s only condition is that you don’t charge money for the game.

          1. Okay, but the titles deserve to be acknowledged and licensed by SEGA.

            I DON’T want money, just the right for them to exist. SEGA can take everything if it comes to me not receiving so much as a cent. However, people far more talented than me, who services I need to acquire will not work for peanuts.

            Why am I asking for career advice in the biggest jungle of the Sonic fandom again?

          2. And who says that world-building needed to be dark and brooding. That’s the mentality people really need to get out of their heads.

            What I mean is, don’t throw away concepts like Super Tails, Super Knuckles, Hyper Sonic (fine, the super emeralds themselves aren’t necessary), older characters, Christmas Island, etc., all while introducing pointless gimmicks like Werehog Sonic, Caliburn, the Wisps, and the parkour engine.

            Oh, and this site needs an edit button for comments, so we don’t have to make careless spelling/grammatical errors and double-posts.

          3. Acknowledged and licensed? Which titles exactly? There’s so many Sonic titles out there that its impossible for Sega to cover all of them– from a business perspective, some sacrifices have to be made. This is ESPECIALLY the case for Sonic due to the sheer volume of ideas, quite a few of them conflicting, that have been put into the franchise.

            I never said you wanted money, I was just pointing out how open Sega is about fangames by noting that it only has one stipulation. You mentioned that passionate fans’ attempts to improve Sonic always get shut down by Sega, so I brought up stuff that disproves that notion. You can always learn how do do fangaming– there’s plenty of people on SSMB that would be willing to help if you asked them for advice on how to do it yourself.

            Super Tails, Super Knuckles, and Hyper Sonic were always meant for Sonic 3 only, as they are basically redundant to the role of Super Sonic. Christmas Island has never been featured in the games or shows and is only briefly mentioned in an early 90s character bio (with no description of it, might I add), so you’re basically asking for it rise back to its former glory when it never had any former glory in the first place. Meanwhile, the Wisps serve a similar role to the monitors in that they give Sonic helpful powerups that allow him to traverse different parts of the level and are plot important, and parkour serves to (in theory) give Sonic a better sense of freedom and sense of flow. They have points for existing. If they didn’t, well, they have every right to be abandoned. You can’t realistically expect Sega to reference and use everything the franchise has provided– there’s too much and stuff like Hyper Sonic is, well, pointless.

          4. Oh for the love of…Why are you trying to reason with it? My god, remind me to give Johnny, Melvin and any of the other weirdos I antagonize a great big hug. You never appreciate the people in your life until you run into one of THESE posters.

            Though, from what I infer from the other responses, this shambling malformed monster is merely misunderstood in it’s intent. For all it’s rage and bile, the poor thing is just sad that his favorite characters got the boot and wants attention or a hug…but not from me. One of you do it. It also seems to want affirmation that it can safely make a Sonic fan game without SEGA shutting them down, which they have rarely, if ever at all. But why stop there?

            Hey Mr. Martyr, I don’t know if you knew this from your cave on top of the Lonely Mountain, but you don’t need the Sonic brand in order to make a Sonic game. Have you ever heard of a game called FREEDOM PLANET? The developers of the team went from a regular bunch of Sonic fans who tried making a Sonic fangame with OC Donut Steels, into a legitimate original Action-Platformer IP that got Kickstarted, got media attention and most importantly, GOT PROFIT without owing a dime to SEGA.

            So after you take a chill pill, start coming up with some game concepts and aspire be someone who doesn’t need licensed IP or brand recognition to make great original games, rather than coming off as an angry member of some creepy, redneck, ultra-militant Sonic version of the KK-KHeeeeeyy, now I understand the name!

            “AManFromDeCLAN”

            Pretty clever, eyy…heh-heh-heh…heh…yeah.

            Maybe you should start a blog instead.

            I’m gonna do what i should’ve done & abandon this sinking ship. Sad, this WAS a very interesting and informative topic. Good job Vedj-F.

          5. You’re right FalconKick (well, minus the weird KKK thing…). Mr. Martyr here is probably just bitter– and really selfish for wanting Sega to only do what he likes and getting upset when it can’t do all 20+ of his incredibly specific and unreasonable demands. We ought to demand basics from Sega– good technical performance, honesty, updates that actually fix stuff, etc. But when we start demanding absurdly specific stuff, stuff that may not even be resolving a problem in the first place and may upset more people than necessary, as the only way the franchise will ever be good, then that’s when we become selfish and whiny.

            Mr. Martyr, if you’re as passionate about games as you claim, get some work done. Maybe Sega can’t realistically make Sonic X as you truly imagined it or put Mighty the Armadillo into a game, but if you put in the time and effort, you can. Sega is super chill about fanworks after all. Or you can take FalconKick’s advice and make your own games. There’s a world of possibilities in indie gaming. That’s all I’ll say for now, but I hope you’ll consider what FalconKick and I told you.

          6. You’re an asshole, FalconKick. Do you know that. You are such a rude jerk. I honestly can’t believe Hogfather turns a blind eye towards your condescending prick attitude. I can’t believe Dreaknux lets him do it too. I’m dead serious. I am sick of your bullshit.

          7. If you think FalconKick is going too far, then report it. The mods are busy people so they sometimes don’t catch things. Just know that that will not necessarily win you sympathy points, and the mods may not agree that what you’ve reported is bad.

            I mean, c’mon, FalconKick and I disagree on a ton of stuff and we’re willing to openly criticize each other and anybody else we come across. But I still respect the guy because he’s not actually a bad person, and always has a point to what he says, regardless of if I agree with it or not. What he’s trying to say here is that you’re being highly stubborn and disagreeable to the point of being impossible to reason with– which isn’t exactly an illogical thing to think, given how you continue to bring up how you’re willing to risk jail to save Sonic when you won’t be jailed for making a fangame at all. He’s also telling you to stop whining about ideas that will never be and start making those ideas reality, since your whining is getting you nowhere. Again, not exactly an illogical idea.

          8. Alright, looks like you posted in the wrong place. I’ll repost what you said here for convinience:

            “Don’t you think I already know that.

            In all honesty, it’s taking me forever to make anything a reality. I have no connections, or resources, and I just managed to land my first permanent part-time job this year, no thanks to this economy. And in the time it took to finally get hired, since I graduated college, I was cursed with only 69 new Pokemon, Sonic Lost World, a loss of faith in the Pokemon anime, the news of Penders’ BS and the comic retcon, Sonic Boom, Ice Climbers not returning in SSB, Dr. Mario returning in SSB, SEGA focusing on mobile games, Sonic Runners being a smartphone-only game, missing the Gold Mario Amiibo, Club Nintendo shutting down, a dissapointing E3, Iwata’s passing, Blip.tv shutting down (with no warning), Super Mario Maker being called ‘the ultimate evolution of the series’, ATHF being cancelled, and everything else until this October. And then I learned of Project M’s end, out of the blue.

            Back to Sonic, SEGA is able to fuck up the franchise in such a short time, before I can even get ahead. Yet, all I can do (aside from my current job) is sit, watch both the company and fanbase go up in flames, and pray for 2016 as the next 1998, before any more damage happens.”

            Well, if you know already to report stuff, why not do it? Did you try and the admins said no or something?

            Half of the stuff you said, what with citing the Ice Climbers not getting into Smash 3DS as reason that the games industry is going to hell among other dubious things, is just whining over the games industry not catering to your whims. There’s plenty of free programs that are availiable– have you tried Sonic Retro? They have a ton of hacking and fangaming resources. Plus with the internet, who needs connections?

            Of course, I’m not saying that you have to do this. But I feel like you have to gain some perspective on the matter. Is it really a big deal in the long run if Dr. Mario gets in Smash, or you only get 69 new Pokemon?

          9. Do comments even have report buttons. Because the only think I see is “post comment”. This isn’t the forums.

    2. You know these characters are recurring characters in the comics right? They weren’t scrapped all together.

  4. Well it cant be that SEGA cant use them otherwise all of them bar the Tails sky patrol crew ( the only ones who have yet to debut in the Archie comic) are used in the comics frequently.
    That right or am I missing the point? 🙂

  5. Overall it seems strange that Archie has used almost all these characters in their comics (all of whom still make causal appearances in the comic from time to time), yet Jazwares was given the No-No to make figures on the Sonic R characters. What is up with that? Are there differences in copyright between comics, games, and toys? Disregarding copyright for a moment, another guess as to why SEGA ditched the classic characters is that (1) they saw no ready to or didn’t care (2) they knew critics hate Sonic’s friends in the games but the characters are used in the comics as fan-service…. Idk, whatever the reason I would love to see these characters return with a modern update. The characters add to the feeling that Sonic’s world is inhabited with many others like Sonic as apposed to Mario’s world being inhabited by a couple humans and 2,000,000+ Toad recolors.

  6. even so that SEGA did get rid of those few characters long ago but SEGA did spend there hard on time on making those characters as creations and cartoons but i got to say they should do alot of handwork on making them for the sonic series. bark the bear was ok but he did not appear in any of the future sonic games but bean and fang and ray well there personalitys seems to be weird but i don’t like them that much as much as anyone but from this page i read maybe this is SEGA reasons why they did not appears in the games anymore so i guess they decided to take them off in there games and not put them on there in the future sonic titles including the 25th anniversary. i know some fans think that they wanted some other old school sonic characters back in the game but i understand there reasons you know SEGA really need to get there act together and start listing to fans again.

  7. Hey, great article! Very interesting, and it makes a lot of sense. It does bum me out that the conclusions is we may never see some of those old characters again… bit at least I know why, now.

  8. It’s kinda depressing we’ll probably never see these guys again but at least we still have good ol’ Archie, right? Even with SEGA there sticking their spoon in the proverbial gumbo, they managed to revive a whole bunch of AOSTH characters (albeit with massive revamps in some cases) which SEGA never owned, Mighty, Ray, Bark, Bean, Fang/Nack and Honey the Cat so here’s hoping for more reappearances like that from them!

    1. “they managed to revive a whole bunch of AOSTH characters (…) which SEGA never owned”
      I ask you to re-read the article again, particularly the sentence that goes something like “the DiC-made characters are still owned by SEGA”.

  9. I would like to say this, among the sonic cast mighty, Ray, bark, bean, and nack/fang are my most favorite the first time saw these characters I was filled with happiness and joy they make the best of sonic its seems to be a waste of good characters to leave them out of the games for so long, I still have hopes that they will comeback one day at least i still see them in the comics.

  10. I would like to say this, among the sonic cast mighty, Ray, bark, bean, and nack/fang are my most favorite the first time saw these characters I was filled with happiness and joy they make the best of sonic its seems to be a waste of good characters to leave them out of the games for so long, I still have hopes that they will comeback one day at least i still see them in the comics. 123

  11. I got something to say here my favorite characters other than the main cast are mighty and ray while nack,bean,and bark are my least favorites its such a waste of good characters to leave them out of the games for so long but at I still see them in the comics and even so I still have hope that they will comeback some day.

  12. my most favorites are mighty and ray there like sonic and tails in many ways its such a waste of good characters to leave them out of games for so long at least I sill see them in comics but I still have hopes that they will comeback someday.

  13. Perhaps in a big competitive -Sonic- game a lot of these characters can come back, perhaps a fighting game or a new racer.

    1. A Sonic the Fighters like game with all those characters would be pretty cool. It would be a great way to highlight the characters without having the character count feel like too many at once.

      ‘Course, there’s always copyright issues that get in the way of these things… 🙁

      1. I was thinking of something along the lines of Marvel vs Capcom 2. So far we have Pokemon x Myster Dungeon, Pokemon x Nobunga’s Ambition, Legend of Zelda x Dynasty Warrior, and Mario x Dance Dance Revolution.

        Why pass up on Marvel vs Capcom 2. Not only is its fast-paced fighting ideal to the Sonic series, but since the game deals with 2D sprites, rather than clunky 3D models, the game should run smoothly and hold over 50 characters. And the original was just from the 6th generation. Imagine how much more polished this game could be in the 8th generation, plus online battles, and DLC. Why MvC2 alone already has a competitive community on par with Melee. If there was ever a good time to bring several characters back, it would be for this.

        1. Couldn’t agree more! And perhaps even Capcom itself could be the developer of that game since they have good relations with Sega and they can’t use the Marvel brand anymore, a game like that could fill their current void of crazy fighting games.

          Also would be awesome to have 20+ Sonic characters in a good fighting game, with story modes, online tournaments, iconic stages, music themes, etc.

          1. Tbh, I’d much rather it be 3D, making it a nice call-back to all the AM2 fighters.
            Hell, give me another Fighters Megamix but this time making it basicly Fighting Vipers X Virtua Fighter X Sonic, then adding in all the other crazy extra charactetrs.
            Vector VS Kumachan, the fight we all need.

  14. I think of all the characters in this list that aren’t currently appearing, the only ones interesting enough to come back are Fang and The Battle Kukku Army. Rouge has been criminally underused as a thief and Fang could fill that role better than she ever did, and Kukku Army is just weird enough without being affiliated with a faction already (GUN, Eggman, the Babylon Rogues, etc.) that they could make an interesting new enemy for Sonic and co.

    Think you’ll be making another article like this discussing newer forgotten characters like Void, Emerl, and Shade?

    1. Void, Emerl and Shade all have plot-based reasons for not reappearing though. Their stories all ended in a way that prevents them from canonically ever being able to reappear.

      1. Not really, Emerl become Gemerl and lives with Cream and Vanilla, Shade story was left on a cliffhanger, though personally the only character from those that I would like to see again is Shade.

        1. There’s also the matter of Penders’ BS. And he’s more impossible than any video game division out there, where he isn’t even part of one. I bet he never once held a video game controller. That’s how distant he is.

          1. Though I think his case against Sonic Chronicles is really weak, especially that he thinks Shade is too similar to Julie-Su, I think that if the re-introduced Shade in a new game without telling the events of Sonic Chronicles (except that Shade and co met) there wouldn’t be any problem with Penders.

          2. While they’re at it they might as well reintroduce Mephiles (in his true form). It worked for Silver in Rivals.

  15. Honestly I love the Sonic Cast we have now. Cream, Silver, Blaze, They’re all good characters. And these guys are all not gone forever, They’re still used in the comics and appear quite often too. So they’re Still here, not gone. As for the games, You all need to have a little faith, Sega’s trying to improve themselves and the games. they’re not like konami acting like asses. Just give things time and wait to see how things unfold before passing the death judgement.

    ….Welp got that out of my system, feeling better now

    1. yeah I guess your right, believe they’ll come back one day and will keep on believing until it happens.
      they brought the chaotix back in sonic heroes, and are putting mephiles in sonic runners it will be possible for them too.

  16. Great article! Love the fact that you dug up all this information and made it fun and educational to read. ❤️ I thought I knew more than I did, and boy do I love learning new things about the franchise…!

    Also, I really would like it if they’d use Nack/Fang again. I like his character, and moreover his design.
    Great job!

    1. That’s not even mentioning the risk of new discoveries being made during and after the research is done with. I didn’t realise there could be such a dynamic update on our knowledge base, but here I am Christmas Day adding something discovered just two weeks ago.

      Ah well, it’s all worth it in the end.

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