S0 E7: Race Against Time Part 1

The time has come…for the next episode of The Chaos Project, available right here!

Time is up! Now that all of the Sapphires have been gathered, the time to enter the realm of Chronos has finally come, and with only a few minutes to spare. But Chronos is more powerful than any of the hedgehogs had imagined. Will the Sapphires be enough to stop him? And can Janice truly save the universe?

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Preview: Season 0, Episode 7

I have more apologies to offer. I’ve officially entered Crisis City. I’m now on my fifth week writing this single episode that I’m stuck on. At this rate, I’ll simply run out of things to publish if I keep going weekly. Rather than let that happen, I’ve decided to dial back to once every other week. But, in return, I’ll be posting a preview like this in each of my off weeks. So, here it is, the beginning of the final fight between Chronos and the hedgehogs.

Chronos’ voice booms, “Stop this foolishness now, before it’s too late. Give me the Sapphires.” He holds out his hand.

Silver steps forward. “We’re not giving you anything! We will do our duty, and put an end to your tyranny!”

Zero joins him. “We will defeat you, no matter what it takes! For the sake of the world!”

Sonic takes point in front of the two. “We’re done with your games. Playtime’s over.”

Chronos takes his hand back, closes his eyes, and shakes his head. “Foolish mortals. This could be so much easier if you only understood. But I’ve wasted enough effort trying to convince you. If you wish to die fighting for a lie, then so be it!” He raises his staff high into the air. Suddenly, he brings it downwards, slamming into the ground and creating some sort of wave of blue energy. The hedgehogs barely have time to dive out of the way in different directions before the wave passes them and collides with the rift they came out of, somehow shredding it to pieces. “There will be no escape.”

The hedgehogs rise again. They each nod to each other. Then they close their eyes, and a dozen Temporal Sapphires begin to orbit around them. Slowly, they begin to emit a radiant blue aura. Each of them open their eyes in succession, revealing that their pupils have also turned a deep blue, as have Silver’s aqua patterns. At once, they all turn to Chronos and shout, “Bring it on!”

Chronos wastes no more time. He makes a horizontal slash with his staff, forming another wave. The hedgehogs are already running straight towards him. Zero and Silver are forced to dodge out of the way of the wave, but Sonic is able to slide under and keep running. Given a single target to focus on, Chronos roars, unleashing a beam of energy directed at Sonic. Without stopping, Sonic directs his hands in front of himself, and the blue aura concentrates into a barrier in front of him. The beam impacts the barrier, and is reflected in all directions, though Sonic still slows and reacts to the force of the blow.

From far behind, Janice advises, “You can’t rely on the Sapphires to protect you, their power will not last for that much time! You need to avoid his attacks more!”

Sonic ignores her, and continues to charge forward. Finally, he leaps upward, out of the path of the beam, and lands on the tip of Chronos’ staff. From there, taking Chronos by surprise, he launches into a strike on the sundial. Chronos is sent reeling back. Sonic lands and shouts, “Silver, pin him down!”

From where he stands, Silver focuses all of his energy on the stumbling Chronos, psychically forcing him to the ground. “Zero, now’s your chance!”

Janice adds, “Aim for the Sapphire in the core of his clock! We must remove it, it is the source of his power!”

Zero leaps up and lands on the fallen Chronos’ chest. He begins savagely pounding on the gem in the center. After a few moments, cracks seem to form in the area of the clock around it.

Suddenly, Chronos booms, “Enough!” Seemingly by the sound of his voice alone, a massive blue shockwave bursts from him, scattering the hedgehogs in all different directions. He rises back to his feet. “You didn’t really think that this would be so easy, did you? This is my realm! I make the rules here!”  Chronos suddenly seems to warp a few steps to his left. Then to his right. Then back to the center. The same cycle is repeated, but faster. Within moments, his location can no longer be traced, as he warps so rapidly that he appears to be in all three locations at once. Slowly, the images on either side appear to change from the one in the middle. On the left, Chronos’ tattered wings grow to many time their original size, as his woody flesh changes shape and form to be smoother and more aerodynamic. On the right,  Chronos’ wings shrink, as his staff disappears and his flesh expands to appear more muscular, his body proportions and facial makeup appearing more beast-like. In the center, Chronos shrinks to a mere twice the size of a normal human, as his staff grows longer, thicker, and sharper on the end. He no longer appears to be warping. There are three of him, each appearing and behaving differently. The Sapphire in each of their cores are smaller than the one seen in the single unified Chronos before. While the beastly one roars loudly, the large-winged one and the long-staffed one declare with different inflections, “Fight me if you dare!” The large-winged one suddenly takes flight, and soars off at high speed deeper into the tunnel.

Sonic shouts, “I’ve got this one,” and runs off after it.

Silver yells after him, “Wait, he’s just trying to–” He stops as the beastly one leaps off in the other direction, and Zero chases after it. “–split us up…” he trails off.

Review: Season 0, Episode 6

Well, this is the first ever episode I’ve made to go over my expected word count limit of 5,000 with a total of 5,337 by the count of my word processing program. If it had gone on much longer, I probably would have just split it into two, but this entire arc already has way too many episodes. The funny thing is, I went into this episode unsure of whether or not I would have to include what will now be the first scene of the next episode, because this one wouldn’t be long enough.

Now, I feel like this episode overall was pretty self-explanatory, and I’ll leave it to you to guess at its implications for the Sonic universe. Everything that was vaguely hinted at in this episode will get a more thorough explanation at a later point in the series. Originally, this whole history with the experiments and the Chaos War was not intended to be explained until not just the final season, but the epilogue, which is years and years away at this point. But when the time came to make Zero, I decided that this would make the perfect backstory for him.

Now, since I have a little bit of free space here, I’ve decided to explain something that I’ve been meaning to for quite a while. As I have mentioned before, Season 0 is composed of what, if matched to my original vision, would actually be video games, not a TV show like the rest of the series. As such, this Speed of Time arc actually has intended gameplay style and mechanics. Loosely resembling the style of Sonic 06, this game would have 3 initial stories, however each one has only one playable character each (Sonic, Zero, and Silver, though Tails, Amy, and Shadow would also be playable in 2-player mode only). Sonic’s story would be unlocked first, and other stories would be unlocked as you encounter their characters for the first time. There would also be a final story unlocked upon beating the other three (which we will be getting into over the next couple of episodes). Now, each character has their own play style, though it would be possible to go back and play old levels as any of the three characters. Sonic’s play style would pretty closely resemble the current accepted model of Sonic games, a high-speed 2D/3D hybrid, focusing on Boost and with parkour as an ability. Silver, breaking from his more traditional 06 style, would more closely resemble dungeon-crawling puzzle solving, making heavy use of Silver’s psychic abilities. Lastly, Zero’s play style might be described as a cross between how Sonic used to play in the Adventure era, and the Werehog portion of Sonic Unleashed, with maybe a little bit of Shadow in 06. A moderate-speed exploration/beat-em-up, in which you would be required to defeat large numbers of enemies in order to progress, and would gain experience and learn new abilities as time goes on. Some abilities, such as those relating to Time Control, would be locked to story progression.

As I said before, any character could play any level, which would be the primary method for unlocking secrets and collectibles. An area in Silver’s level, for example, might be blocked off by a psychic puzzle to solve. However, also nearby might be a cracked wall which Zero can break through, leading to a shortcut area through the level (full of enemies to defeat in Zero’s style), or there might be a long gap with a ramp that only Sonic can Boost over, or wall jump over, or a low wall which only Sonic can run up (leading to a 2D area in Sonic’s style). I guess that sums up all game mechanics that aren’t self-evident. I suppose I can mention that Zero fights more Bosses than anyone else, Sonic plays more levels, and Silver’s levels are far longer. I can also mention music. Obviously, I haven’t actually composed any music myself, but theoretically, Sonic’s theme music and stage music would be primarily orchestrated in the style of Sonic Unleashed and Lost World, Zero’s music would be primarily guitar in the style of the Adventure games, and Silver would be primarily techno/synth, only really comparable to the Classic Sonic levels of Sonic Generations. At some point, all of this information may end up on its own page for game ideas, but this is the only place to put it for now.

– And until next time, remember to live and learn every day!

S0 E6: Behind the Times

After a week’s delay (and against my better judgement, as I’m still running very behind), the next part of Speed of Time has finally been published, here.

The final battle fast approaches. But when Zero refuses to visit his own past, he is forced to switch with Silver, who had been visiting his own past. What will each of these hedgehogs discover about the other? What really happened to Zero, and what happened to his world? What is Janice really hiding?

Apologies

Now, almost 8 hours after I intended to post the next episode of the Chaos Project, this is my very first chance to do that, and I may not even have enough time. I’ve been pretty busy, and the 25 hour Sonic game livestream going on at https://www.twitch.tv/sonicofficial didn’t help. Since I’m a little behind on writing now, and I’m so late anyways, I’ve decided to hold off on publishing the episode until next week. Sorry for any inconvenience. Instead, please enjoy this little preview of the episode.

Silver has made it to an upstairs area. As he walks down the hallway, he passes a window at regular intervals looking down at a room in the floor below. Some rooms contain tables covered in what appear to be beakers of various chemicals of every imaginable color. Other rooms contain what appear to be stasis pods, or small, empty cages. Still other rooms contain only a single chair, covered in straps and harnesses. “This place just keeps getting creepier.” Silver just keeps walking along, keeping a close eye out for the Sapphire.

He stops as he hears a noise from up ahead, the clanking of metal. He runs ahead a few rooms and finds where the sound came from. Through the window to the floor below, a tall, somewhat large man in a lab coat can be seen opening a cage. The sounds coming from the room can be heard clearly. Not noticing Silver watching him, the man begins to speak with a gruff, vaguely familiar voice, “Subject 000, it is time for your next test.”

A weak, almost unrecognizable voice responds from within the cage, “I…I can’t. I’m not ready for another test… None of us are.”

“Now, now, my friend, how am I to help you if you won’t help me? Didn’t you tell me that you want to learn more of your own potential?”

“I…I won’t. Not another test…”

The man begins to raise his voice. “That’s quite enough fooling around. You are coming with me right now, even if I have to force you!”

Slowly, carefully, the one called Subject 000 begins to emerge from the cage. He is none other than Zero the Hedgehog.

Review: Season 0, Episode 5

Heh heh, funny thing… I thought that I had pre-written a review for this episode after I finished writing the episode itself (that would have been back in June, if memory serves)…but if that review ever existed, it’s missing now, likely gone forever. So…let’s see what I can remember.

I mentioned the time skip that happened in the review of the last episode, and, as I said there, all it really did is cut out a lot of story-lacking content intended for the format of a game. It would have been boring and senseless for me to write, and only slightly less boring for you to read, I hope. The meaning of the episode title “In Due Time…” is that this episode served as a major lead-in to the next arc in The Chaos Project, all about what’s going on with Shadow. I guess I should go there next. For some time in this story, I have been emphasizing that Sonic, while still physically capable, has had a recent personality change that has left him less psychologically capable of being a hero, a “fool” in the words of as many characters as I could possibly get to say it. Ever since Roger Craig Smith began voice-acting for Sonic (particularly in Sonic Colors), I have been noticing such a change. I needed Sonic to be a strong and mildly serious character for my series, more like he was in the late-Dreamcast early-Modern era of Shadow the Hedgehog through Sonic and the Black Knight, as performed by voice-actor Jason Griffith (I like Ryan Drummond too, but he didn’t get as serious) . Rather than simply ignore Sonic’s current personality, as many writers would, I decided not only to do something about it, but to use it to my advantage, and give Sonic a real character development arc. I thought, “Who better to snap Sonic out of his recent clouded judgement than the strong and serious character who has been missing from his life for all of this time?” It didn’t take long after that to imagine the scene in question. Funny thing is, that scene wasn’t originally intended for this arc at all, back before I had really planned these game ideas out as a real story. It was more likely going to be in the arc which will provide backstory for Chaos the Hedgehog, which I estimate to be about 14 episodes away at this point. Of course, that arc was supposed to take place a little earlier at that point, so it wouldn’t have been all that bad that way.  Actually, I originally imagined the scene in a grassy, outside area, and Sonic would have been hit into a tree instead of a wall. Anyways, when planning out this story, after putting everything in proper order, I decided very early on that I couldn’t go writing Sonic’s dialogue in the modern style for 20 episodes before he changes, that just wouldn’t have worked for me, and I don’t think that I could’ve been able to keep it up. So I knew that I had to do it now or never, and I chose to do it now. You may or may not have noticed a slight oddity in that Sonic was sent after a Sapphire which was only a very brief time in his own future, which Janice could easily have chosen as the time to recruit Sonic and sent him after it immediately. I still have a couple of excuses for that, either that Janice hadn’t found that Sapphire yet, or that she didn’t need to send him after it because she thought it would be faster to give him the one that she had. Point is, you may have noticed that the scene was kind of spliced in there. I could potentially have avoided such awkwardness by making the event in Sonic’s somewhat distant future instead, and there would have been an interesting layer of story added by having older Shadow suggest that Sonic has been this “fool” for years and years, and something went very wrong because of it. That would have been a nice bit of inspiration for Sonic to make the change. It was a choice between that, and leading into the next arc of this story with Shadow (which wouldn’t have worked if I made it in the far future). And, as mentioned above, I chose the lead-in. Maybe it was a mistake, but there’s no going back now.

What has yet to be discussed is Silver. If I remember correctly, I wasn’t 100% sure what I was going to do with that scene when I started the episode. I knew that I’d had it mentioned that Silver is “the last Controller,” and I knew I needed to do something to explain that (I originally said that because I needed some real reason as to why Silver is so important). So, I decided that he needed to go to his own future and meet himself. At first I was thinking along the lines of maybe having our Silver watch future Silver perish in some unusual manner which would somehow end the Controller lineage (perhaps by having him die in his Super Form, sort of like how the Avatar State works in Avatar: The Last Airbender). But I decided that that would require me introduce some incredible, indescribably dangerous force which would not only completely overshadow Sonic’s role in this episode, but would likely overshadow the entire arc. And then I’d have to get rid of it within half a chapter and ignore its existence for who-knows-how-many years. Instead, I decided to go with something a little more vague, suggest that something imperative is happening without outright showing it. That way, you don’t necessarily have to know the full story to understand what’s happening, while still leaving the room open for examining this idea in-depth at a later time. So, I had future Silver destroy the Chaos Emeralds, which is just as incredible, just as life-changing to know for our Silver, and still just as well explains why Silver is the last. (Still working towards explaining exactly what the Controller is.) Next came the setting. I quickly thought back to Cast by the Light (Sonic Adventure 2), and how the Master Emerald exists to counter the Chaos Emeralds. If anything has the power to destroy them, it would be that. Angel Island was the logical place to put it. Now all that’s left of note is that Silver not only saw a vision of the near-future within the Master Emerald, but activated its powers with a chant, things that only Knuckles has ever been known to do. Why that’s possible…well, let’s just say it has something to do with the concept of the Controller. But if you aren’t happy with that explanation, let’s put it a different way. Suppose, hypothetically (not actually going to spoil anything here, this is just a thought experiment), that Knuckles really is the last Echidna there is and ever will be. Wouldn’t the Master Emerald have to find a new, non-Echidna protector? Wouldn’t it be best if said protector had a pre-existing connection to Chaos, as Silver does? Not necessarily saying that Silver is the protector, but that he potentially could have the ability to interact with the Emerald. And…that’s everything that I can think of. Wow. I guess I overcompensated for the whole missing review thing. But, as they say…

– Live and learn, every day!