Broken Base / Sonic the Hedgehog

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Knuckles and Shadow can't agree that their games are equally awesome? At least we can agree that Tails games are awesome too, which is why he has more games. Wait...

Perhaps a more accurate descriptor would be Atomically Fissioned Base. And each faction hates all of the others. This article best sums up the fandom's splintered state.


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    Games 
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series is usually divided into three distinct eras which are each defined by distinct characteristics of the series "main" games; the classic era (1991-1998, Sonic the Hedgehog to Sonic R), the Adventure era (1998-2006, Sonic Adventure to Sonic Riders), and the modern era (2006-present, Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 onwards).note  Certain fans of the classic era dislike everything from the Adventure era and onward, while certain fans of the Adventure era dislike the games of both the classic and modern eras, a situation that Sega has actually become aware about. Funny enough, most people from the modern era tend to like all Sonic games. Keep in mind that this doesn't even include the cartoons, comics, and other media released over the years, which have also broken the fanbase.
  • The notion of whether or not games like Sonic 3D Blast, Shadow the Hedgehog, and the Storybook games are main series games or spin-offs have also caused some conflict. Aside from the fact that all of these games are platformers with a major degree of speed involved, this is often mistaken for being due to the continuity of the games. Shadow The Hedgehog is justified, as it tries to conclude many of the plot points found in both Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Heroes, while the plot of Sonic and the Secret Rings was directly referenced by Sonic himself in Sonic Generations.
  • There are some fans who consider Sonic Heroes to be the last good Sonic game before the Dork Age, while others consider the game the beginning of the Dork Age. Then there are arguments about whether Shadow the Hedgehog or Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) worsened the Dork Age. Spinning it in the opposite direction, fans are split on whether the Nintendo-exclusive Sonic Colors or the multiplatform Sonic Generations should be considered the title that brought the series out of the Dork Age.
  • As shown with Sonic the Hedgehog 4, a game specifically designed to pander to old-school fans, even the slightest mention that the game deviates from the original formula, for good or ill, or that it has a flaw, be it real or imaginary, is enough to send fans into a flame war. When the second episode was announced, some fans cheered that the addition of Tails and two-player co-op is a move most wanted and it'll add a lot of gameplay replay value, while others complained that it's just a crappy throw-in just to cover up the problems that it'll bring over from the first episode.note  It went From Bad to Worse when Tails was clarified to be a mandatory co-op character instead of having him and Sonic be separately playable (with a co-op option) as they were in previous games. Fans were very disappointed.
    • Speaking of Sonic the Hedgehog 4, one of the loudest (if not, the loudest) points of contention over the game's reveal was the the game's use of "green-eyed Sonic": in particular, the use of the character designs used from Sonic Adventure and onwards, instead of the original character designs for the Genesis and Saturn era of Sonic titles. Some in favor of it argued that the game was supposed to be a sequel to the Genesis fans, and thus it should be supported with the designs used for those titles; they also noted that the PR team for the game leading up to the reveal had tons of callbacks to the original designs. Others who argued in favor of the new design that Sonic 4 was not only a new title (hence it should use the designs used for the newer games), but the original designs hadn't been used in a new game over a decade. The debate faded away though with the release of Sonic Generations, which had both the original "Classic" Sonic and the current "Modern" Sonic designs as playable characters; and was entirely absent come Sonic Mania, which became the first game in years to exclusively use the original designs.
  • Want to know how broken the base can get? An interview from Word of God himself said that he would like to redesign the gameplay from the ground up, or create a new "standard" of Sonic gameplay. Cue fans whining about a "NEW SA3," "GO BACK TO 2D," and others flaming both sides saying that the Rush/Unleashed style gameplay is good enough. Mind you, this is only a interview, it doesn't have any concrete information.
  • In regards to Lost World, the amount of flak the game had received from some fans over the game's more simple, stylized/cartoonish artstyle (compared to past games' more detailed, semi-realistic artstyle) alone, coupled with the aforementioned light-hearted tone the game is continuing from previous installments, led to some calling Lost World the worst of the Sonic franchise and accusing it of being a Mario clone before it even released. Years after release, fans remain split on whether it was a good entry (citing the multiple paths you can take to complete the levels and its complex mechanics) or a bad entry (criticizing its slower pace and underwhelming story). The two DLC levels that crossover Sonic with Yoshi's Story and The Legend of Zelda further muddy the issue, with opinions ranging from them making the game worse to the DLC possibly being better than the main game.
  • With the release of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, there are arguments on whether or not this is worse than Sonic '06.
  • There's a recurrent argument about whether or not Sonic '06 is considered to be a "Sonic Adventure 3." Some fans consider it to be a spiritual successor of the two Adventure games due to the similar gameplay and features such as the adventure fields (for SA1), while others feel that the game isn't worthy of being considered a "Sonic Adventure 3" due to certain issues of the game (such as the glitches). Before '06, some fans considered Sonic Heroes to be the closest thing to an "Adventure 3" due to the game taking place after SA2, though other segments of the fandom disagreed because they felt Heroes was closer to a modern imagining of the Genesis titles in terms of gameplay and level design than it was to the Adventure games. A few could consider Shadow the Hedgehog to be SA3, as it finishes off Shadow's character arc in the series which started in SA2 and was slightly expanded on in Heroes. In other cases, there are people who consider Sonic Unleashed as SA3 since it was, in fact, originally planned to be titled "Sonic Adventure 3" and was actually released in Japan as Sonic World Adventure. And, of course, there are some fans who don't consider any of the said games a "Sonic Adventure 3" and probably won't be satisfied unless there is a game clearly titled "Sonic Adventure 3". Speaking of which...
  • While professional critics have become generally unfavourable to both titles in recent years, there are mixed views within the fanbase as to how well the Adventure games have held up over the years. This overlaps with the arguments on alternate playstyles (see below).
    • When viewed as having aged badly, Sonic Adventure is considered to be overly glitchy (albeit not to Sonic '06 extremes), having unneeded fishing, shooting, and/or chase sections, shoehorning all of the characters into mixes of the same 11 stages making level design less cohesive for all of them, and a badly acted plot; however, the views on the rest of the gameplay are more varied and some people still enjoy the game's attempt at story.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 has seen a bigger drop in prestige, with all the gameplay outside of Sonic/Shadow stages being viewed as controlling badly. The story is viewed by those who dislike it as clichéd, too dark and realistic for a Sonic game, and, worst of all, on top of introducing Shadow to take over for the following few installments, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle helped introduce an entire generation of Sonic fans that would eventually conflict with the older fans. However, the improved and expanded Chao Garden is usually seen as a bright spot to the extent where some like to play it just to experience that section, and the stages that were well-liked are favourites among some fans. Others go as far to believe that it makes up for its gameplay by being surprisingly mature and genuinely emotional. And then there's a camp that feels like the Tails/Eggman stages get a bad rap just for not being the Sonic/Shadow stages when they're actually overall well-designed around their playstyles in their own rights, controlling much less awkwardly than throwing Gamma into stages built around more maneuverable characters. Even fans of Knuckles/Rouge's stages, as well as their predecessors in Knuckles' SA 1 levels, will freely admit that they can be more than a little frustrating, though.
  • Before Unleashed, there was a great deal of argument on whether the series had too many characters, as some felt that they took away too much focus from the core of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles and that many of them had either annoying and/or clichéd personalities and/or poor designs. It certainly didn't help that many of them (Tails and Knuckles included) had completely different styles of gameplay from the core Sonic style, which exacerbated matters.
    • With the absence of other playable characters from Unleashed onward, it's nearly universally agreed that there needs to be more playable characters again. However, in the infamous "Alternate Gameplay" debate, fans cannot agree on how they should be implemented.

      Many are against "alternate gameplay" due to it taking away focus from the "main" Sonic gameplay and turning many Sonic games into a collection of smaller games. It's often cited that there is next to no backlash against the playable characters in the classic Sonic 3 & Knuckles as well as the Dimps-developed Advance and Rush games, all of which have characters that fit neatly into the same gameplay style as Sonic. People who argue against alternate gameplay feel that it has unfairly sullied the reputation of playable characters at best and that it has been the downfall of the series at worst, or that it's an effect of Sonic Team's pathological need to put some sort of alternate gimmick in every game.

      However, many other fans, mainly those of the Adventure games, think that "alternate gameplay" is the superior way to implement playable characters. These people feel that making the other characters have different levels/paths and/or goals make them much more satisfying to play as, since their unique goals actually take advantage of their abilities. As a corollary, many of these fans think that characters like Tails and Knuckles are Game Breakers and that shoehorning them into Sonic's playstyle causes the game to lose challenge, not to mention making Sonic, the main character himself, seem underpowered, as his speed doesn't allow the freedom that flying or gliding and climbing do.
  • The Hub worlds in a number of games, such as Sonic Adventure. Some find them to be interesting and enjoyable when it comes to exploration and interacting with people, while others feel they're unnecessary and would prefer the stage-to-stage formula that the majority of Sonic games usually have.
  • As if the fanbase couldn't get even more divided, the reveal of the Custom Hero feature in Sonic Forces divided it even further. Some fans are thrilled to be able to make their own Original Characters canon, and think that the gadget weapons can bring a lot of variety to the gameplay. Others think it's the worst idea in the whole franchise, noting how Sonic fan characters tend to leave much to be desired and that the Custom Hero's gameplay will bring down the two existing playable Sonic characters. Still others who have wanted established characters other than Sonic playable again for years are absolutely chagrined that Sonic Team literally chose to make a OC creator playable over the existing cast.
  • Even Sonic Mania hasn't been immune to this, with many Adventure era fans angry that the classic era fans are being pandered to again.
  • Some think the games released on the Master System and Game Gear are inferior, poorly-performing, and lackluster, while others consider them underrated gems, a few even going so far as to say they liked them more than their 16-bit counterparts.

    Characters (Base Breaking Characters) 
  • Sonic: A cool guy with a golden heart or just an annoying and stupid git who doesn't learn anything over the games?
    • Some fans prefer Sonic's characterization of the "hedgehog with the 'tude" which was mostly apparent in the television series and the comic books. Other fans, however, don't mind him being portrayed as the cocky yet kind-hearted hero he is in the games (i.e., Sonic Adventure, Sonic Unleashed, etc.) and aren't too fond of his characterization in the comics, particularly his Fleetway portrayal.
  • Tails started as a inseparable friend who idolizes Sonic. Now, is he an independent genius kid who is like a little brother to Sonic or a useless fox who talks a lot? His performance in Lost World got some Hatedom as well. Despite this, he still remains one of the most popular characters.
  • Knuckles started as a cocky and mistrustful rival who protects the Master Emerald. Now, is he some kind of big brother who is always looking out for his friends but sometimes makes mistakes? Or is he some Plucky Comic Relief who always does the wrong thing? There are also those who think he's a "gangsta" type character, which can be blamed on the use of hip-hop music for his theme songs in the Adventure series, even though his actual character doesn't fit that stereotype whatsoever.
    • In the topic of his personality, there are some fans who prefer the aforementioned cocky and mistrustful characterization in his debut where he would chuckle every time he traps Sonic and Tails. Some others prefer his stoic and serious characterization in the Adventure series, and consider it a good contrast to Sonic's carefree personality. Then there are some who liked his gruff, hot-headed personality from Sonic X, which provided some comical moments.
    • Some feel he should revert to his role as the lone guardian of the Master Emerald instead of going with Sonic and Tails in their adventures, while others don't mind him being the powerhouse member of the team and feel that him being a guardian would be limiting his involvement with the series.
  • Amy Rose always had a complete Broken Base. Is she shallow and selfish for taking her love too far, or is she just a nice girl who just follows her heart and isn't afraid to show her emotions?
  • Shadow. Is he a good rival that is cool and likable, or is he just a lame Evil Counterpart of Sonic made just to fit in this trope? Is his backstory a good way to add more story and complexity to the franchise, or is his backstory pointless?
    • In addition, his return to the games garnered some mixed views. One side says that bringing Shadow back cheapened his Heroic Sacrifice in Sonic Adventure 2, thus turning him into a Creator's Pet, while others say it's good just to see Shadow make a reappearance. Then after the release of his self-titled game, there's a split on whether Shadow is still a good character who's just been the victim of overexposure and bad writing, or a glorified Gary Stu who should have stayed dead after his debut and just does not fit with the whimsical nature of the series. (The latter point of detraction was given even more fuel thanks to a completely random and inconsequential boss fight in Rise of Lyric, strangely enough.)
    • There are some fans who were less than pleased that Shadow had taken Knuckles' role as the arch-rival due to him being the aforementioned lame Evil Counterpart and feel that Knuckles had become a less relevant character since Shadow's inclusion to the series. On the other hand, others find him to be a good match to Sonic and feel that Knuckles wasn't really that much of a rival because he would always get tricked by Eggman into fighting Sonic.
    • There's a divide on whether or not Shadow should serve as a GUN agent. One side says that joining GUN would give him more purpose, while the other side states that it doesn't make sense for him to join a military organization who killed his best friend/surrogate sister.
  • Dr. Robotnik started as a simple yet effective Evil Genius, enslaving cute animals into robots, destroying nature, lying to Knuckles, and using the chaos emeralds' power to create his own empire. Nowadays, his name is Eggman and his design changed many times with games — this is a result of the American canon (and name) being effectively banished in favor of his Japanese canon. Is he the man with the master plan, ready to destroy/trick/enslave anything that stands in his way and conquer the world by any means necessary, but unluckily Sonic gets in the way? Or is he getting worse every game, making silly or exaggerated plans instead of evil or efficient ones, unleashing a Sealed Evil in a Can (accidentally destroying the world), and losing control over his own robots/minions?
  • Silver. Is he a good character with an interesting ability, deep plot, and unique characterization, or an unlikable Jerkass who is also a huge idiot?
  • Every new character SEGA creates automatically starts like this. Either because "We don't need new characters", or "that character is just a copy of another one", or just dislike over the personality/voice. The newcomer Sticks the Badger barely exists and already has a broken base, mostly because "she is not Cream!" and "she is just a copy of Marine" (but Marine is a Raccoon...). You just can't please the fandom.
  • Fans will also argue constantly over romantic pairings between characters, despite the fact there are no official romantic couples whatsoever in any of the games. The only official pairings of any kind have been from the SatAM/Archie end of things, and they will go so far as to whine about those couples because they don't conform to personal preference. Some fans are known to push their personal beliefs on Sonic fanon as absolute truth, to the point you'd think some of these people were the legal owners of the series. If you want to avoid an argument, then do not, under any circumstances, bring up which Sonic characters should be dating. The worst case scenario is if the pairing(s) involve child characters such as Cream, for example. No doubt a major reason Sega avoids any official couples is because they fear Fan Dumb backlash, given what they already have to put up with.
  • Try asking Sonic fans who is Sonic's true rival. Some will say Knuckles due to him being the one to knock Sonic out of his super form and also being a foil to his character (strength to his speed, solitary lifestyle to his carefree lifestyle). Some will say Shadow due to him being a darker counterpart to him and having similar abilities like him (both are hedgehogs, both are fast, etc). Some will say Metal Sonic because of him being an evil robotic counterpart and that he solely wants to defeat Sonic so he can prove himself to be the real Sonic. A few Take a Third Option and accept ALL of them as Sonic's rivals.

    Story 
  • Yet another schism was created between those who want the serious, dramatic storylines Sonic games had between Sonic Adventure and Sonic 2006 (barring the lighthearted Sonic Heroes), and those who prefer the more lighthearted, comedic approach that came afterward. This really came to the forefront when it became clear that Sonic Lost World would be the fourth Lighter and Softer main-series Sonic game in a row. The day the first trailer appeared, this instantly became the primary divisive opinion on the game. Apparently, even Nintendo cannot stop the Sonic fandom from denigrating into civil war. This only worsened once Sonic Forces was announced and appeared to be Darker and Edgier again, which excited some fans and alienated some others (as by this time many of the older, more serious 3D titles — including the once-revered Sonic Adventure 2 — had been roundly mocked for their attempts at drama).

    Voice Actors 
  • The English voice acting is also split into three distinct groups. Some will say Ryan Drummond was the perfect voice actor with just the right amount of emotion and energy. Some will say Jason Griffith was better as he had a calm and mature voice. And then some will say that Roger Craig Smith is the best voice actor with a perfect mix of mature and emotion. Yet if you bring any of this up, many will counter with Drummond being too high (and for giving Sonic a voice... for most gamers, anyway), Griffith being too emotionless (and the fact that the games had gotten worse when he appeared), and Smith being too deep. There's also a fourth group that wants Sonic to be mute.
    • With Brawl confirming Sonic as a playable character, the idea of Jason Griffith voicing Sonic did cause Sonic fans to rage up at Nintendo using Griffith over Drummond. Even Nintendo is not immune to Sonic voice actor arguments. Bringing up Sonic being in Brawl at all in some circles can lead to unpleasant results, mostly from the Sonic Hate Dumb itself reasoning with things about him in Brawl and outside of it on why he shouldn't have gotten in, such as all of the info above and below. This is in direct competition with the many fans and even non-fans on why Sonic deserved to be in Brawl. As such, Sonic being in the fourth Smash game (now voiced by Smith, his current VA) has only broken this specific part of the base further.
    • There is, in fact, a fifth small group who wants Jaleel White, who voiced Sonic in the '90s cartoons, to return as the voice actor for the video games (despite him having never done so). To these guys, no one can hope to compare to White; though on the other hand, he remains a Sonic fan to this day and appreciates everyone who's voiced Sonic after him. It also applies to another voice actor of Sonic around this time with an even smaller following, Martin Burke; an obscure British voice actor who played him in the English dub of the OVA, but by now; the OVA is more well known for being memetic in nature. Strange, isn't it? Still others just regard Junichi Kanemaru himself as the best Sonic voice, at least in the "subbing" side of the Subbing vs. Dubbing debate and ignore the English voices altogether.
  • Shadow has the same problem as the above-listed Sonic. Debates rage over whether Humphrey was the supreme version of the Ultimate Life Form, whether Griffith's Large Ham portrayal is hilarious, badass, or neither, and whether Kirk Thornton, his new voice actor, sounding older and more vicious than both is a good plan, with some arguing, especially on the side of Boom, (Where he likely isn't immortal) that Shadow's old, and is only biologically young, and so, should sound Older and Wiser. Thornton's portrayal, however; is mostly dismissed when it comes to debates.

    Other 
  • Fans have shown to be split on the pronunciation of certain zone/stage names such as Hydrocity Zone (Hydro-City or Hy-dra-city), as well as most of the ones that end with opolis. Polis is used as a combining term that means city, and either it is used in actual words (Metropolis, Acropolis) or accompanies a word that ends with the letter O (Casino, Studio). Sandopolis, however, is the one exception to this.
  • A small but significant portion of fans seem to prefer the universes of other media adaptations to the universe presented in the games. The Archie comic and SatAM show are those which are most subject to this. These fans wish that Sega would adopt certain characters from these universes into the main canon, much to the annoyance of fans who wish for alternate media characters to stay in their own universes. One partial reason this doesn't happen, however, is that Sega would have to pay licensing fees for many of those characters and they don't feel it's worth the expense.
  • The official Sonic accounts on Facebook and Twitter: Funny and knows to laugh at the franchise's past mistakes, or an unfunny mess of overused memes that can get outright hostile at times (such as when the Twitter account made jabs at Mighty No. 9's release)?

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