I Know You’re Supporting Me

I almost cried. I literally almost cried.

Shadow in Sonic Forces has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me. When he first appeared in gameplay footage for Sunset/City Heights, I was very, very excited. When the Villains trailer dropped the next day, the hype died quite a bit as I learned that Shadow was a villain, but I was still craving an answer as to why, far more so than I cared for Infinite at the time. When Enter Infinite came along, I shoved Shadow aside and never turned back, as I was far more interested in Infinite after that. I was accepting, if not satisfied, of the fact that Shadow would do whatever the heck Shadow does, and we would still get an interesting character out of Infinite either way. As we learned that Infinite is just another creation of Eggman’s, I became a bit less interested, but then this happened. I suppose I should post that last video as well. (Edit: Official English version.)

That’s all very interesting, and I’m excited for the story, but we’re talking about Shadow right now. Shadow who stood back and watched while Infinite beat Sonic to the ground. Shadow who didn’t even appear in the above story trailer. Shadow who, after Sonic Boom, had me very, very afraid for what Sonic developers really thought of him. But all of that changes now. Free DLC for all players, which includes a new playable character and 3 prequel levels to go with him (besides the “over 10 Modern Sonic-based stages” he can also play in) as well as a new side of the story. Story! I say it a lot, and I mean it! Supposedly, these new levels chronicle the fate of Team Dark (apparently that’s now an official term outside of the comics) and teach the player about the true nature and origin of Infinite. That is really exciting.

But that does bring up some concerns. Are they seriously telling me that you don’t actually learn about Infinite’s origin in the actual main game? If so, that’s a pretty bad sign for the game’s plot as a whole. I’m glad that they’re telling us at all (that’s more than we got for Lost World), but a story with a powerful villain who never gets an explanation in the main story sounds a bit lackluster. Additionally, that seems to confirm that Rouge and Omega don’t appear in any significant role in the main story, which isn’t necessarily bad, but removes the possibility of some good character interactions that could have gone on with Shadow.

And…there’s something else I haven’t mentioned yet. Even though I’ve been waiting to play as Shadow again for the last ten years, this isn’t exactly what I was hoping for in terms of gameplay. I was kind of hoping that I would never have to see Shadow in 2D. There goes that. And canonically giving Shadow Boost gameplay severely, severely decreases any future chances of him playing in the Adventure style in any future games where they might choose to bring back separate playstyles. The level design that they just showed us…looks okay at best. If they wanted to get us hyped, they should have cut the footage time in half and showed us 3D gameplay instead. Unless…Shadow is almost all 2D. *shivers* I don’t really want to think about that. But these days, who knows? Seeing as Shadow, unlike Sonic and the Custom Hero alike, has only ever appeared in 3D, it seems like this would be the correct opportunity to make Shadow’s levels, like the tag team ones, entirely in 3D (guess I never talked about tag team on this site either. Gameplay style looks like a fun changeup, all-3D levels looks and sounds very nice.). Anyways, I’m sad that it had to happen this way, but I’m thrilled that it’s happening at all. After ten years, Shadow finally gets his chance to shine. Let’s hope that Kirk Thornton doesn’t screw this up too badly.

-Until next time, let’s hope we won’t be losing Shadow before long.

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Official Announcement: Sonic Forces me to Question My Own Judgement

Long title, but I couldn’t resist. Anyhow, I’ve mentioned a few times before that the general theme of Sonic Forces is very similar to my own ideas for this story, which scares me. I’m getting a little tired of using the words “wait and see.” Well, I waited until today, and I saw. New Sonic Forces footage has been released from E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), with more likely to come. This new footage, seen below, actually has me a heck of a lot more excited for the game than I already was, but it also makes me even more scared than ever.

The very first thing you do as Sonic is to go look for Shadow (I think)! It’s so obvious, and it’s so amazing! Story implications for this game just went through the roof! After Sonic Boom, I was really afraid for what they would do with Shadow should he ever reappear in the canon, but now it’s clear that they’re putting him in what is perhaps the exact role I would want to see. But, while nothing absolutely shockingly new happened in this footage (except maybe Silver, but that was already leaked), it put a lot of things in perspective. It is now clear that “Join the Resistance” isn’t just an arbitrary tagline. There is very clearly a larger resistance force at work than just Sonics and the Hero (or is it Avatar now?), especially given the appearance of “Soldier” during the Hero gameplay, suggesting that the forces go beyond even Sonic’s group of friends (a step above what I had planned for at least the first season, so kudos to Sonic Team for that).

Point is, this is turning out a lot closer to what I have than what I was expecting. But it’s not time to abandon ship just yet. Currently, we are finishing up the “Birth of Blacklight” arc. Next up is the “Dawn of Chaos” arc (I’ll give you one guess at the character it introduces). After that was a planned arc which does not have a solidified name yet, which would tie up loose ends and set the stage for Crisis of Chaos. The concept for that…well, let’s just call it “Shadow Forces.” It’s not exactly the same setup as Sonic Forces, but it’s very similar. Sonic becomes incapacitated, and Eggman (as well as another foe) begin taking over the world, with little to stand in their way. Tails manages to recruit Shadow to fight back, then GUN manages to recruit both of them to form a team of generals, composed of all (or most, anyways) of Sonic’s friends. What ensues is a war, including tactics of diversion and defense very similar to those described by the characters in this new gameplay footage. I can no longer ignore these similarities. That’s why I’ve decided to hold back on writing this arc altogether, until I witness the story of Forces for myself, beginning to end. November is quite a ways away. I’ll continue releasing the next two arcs as normal, but after that there will be a long break while I figure this out. I purposefully left room in the timeline for more games to happen between Sonic Lost World and Speed of Time, but I never expected something so heavy on lore after what we’ve been getting over the past 10 years or so. Worst case scenario, Sonic Forces completely obliterates any semblance of canon that my story ever had, and I’ll have to make a spectacular decanonizing special episode very soon into Season 1. That would likely mean that the events of Sonic Forces would be ignored for this upcoming arc, and it would proceed as normal. Best case scenario (which probably isn’t happening at this point because of Silver), everything about Forces falls perfectly into place, stepping on none of my metaphorical toes, in which case I might even be able to convert what I have into a Forces sequel (or at least tie-in).

Speaking of Silver, I give about a 95% chance that I’ll have to start doing some retconning (assuming that I accept Forces as canon to the Chaos Project universe). That would mean literally going back and changing the content of those episodes, and making a note on this website of what was changed. I did what I did with Silver because I assumed he would almost certainly never appear in an important role in a canon Sonic game ever again. Because of that assumption, I constructed the story in a way that does not allow for him to appear between then and 06. But now, he does. Of course, I feel like chances are relatively high (maybe 40% as of now) that this game will end with a giant reset button ala Sonic 06, self-decanonizing the entire contents of the game, including any interactions with Silver. I’m not sure why they would want to do that after the way people complained about 06, but then again, how else would they explain such a rapid removal of Eggman’s influence over 99% of the world? Of course, there are plenty of magic explanations out there, but a time reset would certainly be the easiest and cleanest. One last thing of note is the “Soldier” mentioned earlier. In my story, I have so far inferred and intend to elaborate on the fact that Shadow was one of the only animoids involved with GUN. Of course, there are others, such as Rouge, but the point being made was that it is an occupation dominated by humans. Mr. Soldier was definitely not a human. This doesn’t exactly contradict my story, but I’d say it deserves an explanation. Mr. Soldier may end up with a real name and a character-of-the-week appearance in the Chaos Project. Of course, he might not have been GUN at all, but I’d say the helmet was pretty reminiscent. I’d actually be a little upset if they decided that they should include a military that isn’t GUN. It exists for a reason. But, I suppose Mr. Soldier could be an average joe who only became a soldier when he joined Sonic’s forces, sort of like the Rebel Alliance from Star Wars. I’d be okay with that, but I still really hope they don’t ignore the existence of GUN in this game. It’d be a big waste and a disappointment.

-Until next time, remember, destiny lies before you.

EDIT: 10 steps forward and 1 step back! Take a look.

The preview image for the video alone tells you all you need to know. I was very wrong about the role of Shadow. I’m very fearful of character reversion, but, if we’re being honest, it’s small price to pay for a game with a dramatic, potentially deep and enriching story with continuity to the rest of the series. I won’t even go in to the thousand different theories running through my head. (By the way, Chaos looks gorgeous.)

Review: Season 0, Episode 8

Since I’m taking a longer break between episodes than usual, I decided to spread out my in-between content a bit more, so I’m publishing this today, and will publish the preview for next episode next week.

Well, I predicted 10,000 words for this episode in the last review I wrote, and I went just over 8,000. Still enough to make this episode the longest I have ever written, and probably ever will write. In fact, I believe this single chapter is longer than a majority of entire Sonic fanfictions that there are, considering that most of those are mini-stories or one-shots. So…sorry? I assume it’s a bit of a hassle to read such a long chapter, but I wanted to make sure that nothing was left unsaid.

So, where to begin? I feel a bit like Silver here, as if there’s so much to be said but none of it seems worth saying. So let’s start with Silver, then. I tried my best to make sure that everything I did with him wasn’t outside the range of his original character, but Sonic 06 made his original character a little bit hard to objectify and understand. So I took a lot of liberties. I feel that none of it was forced in and of itself, but I don’t know if that changes compared to the outside. As for Blaze, I had actually completely forgotten that she had ever been outright mentioned until I started writing his vision scene. But I realized that bringing her back in would not only be a very interesting conclusion to his character arc, but would also be better justification for him giving the locket to Sonic, which I had already planned. There was something said about her, however, that will eventually become very important. Only in post-apocalyptic futures, the existence of Blaze was a constant. Why, you might ask? The answer to come around the end of Season 3. Sorry for the wait, but I think it will be worth it.

I don’t think there’s anything important to be said specifically of Sonic’s or Zero’s scene, so I guess I’ll move on to the general. The Lords of Chaos are something that I’ve been throwing around for a while now in the story, and I’m glad to finally have them explained, in addition to a lot of the Flow, Balance, Network, Chaos mumbo-jumbo that I’ve been discussing. It’s probable that the Crisis of Chaos arc will make a little more sense now that you know all of this, but if you intend to re-read it I would advise waiting until I re-introduce Chaos and Blacklight as characters. Despite the sheer overload of information that the Lords of Chaos gave in this episode, there is almost none of it that isn’t important. For example, the mention of why gemstones are so important in relation to them directly pertains to Chaos the Hedgehog. But he’s not the only one. In fact, I intend to use this one little fact to tie a lot of the entire Sonic the Hedgehog series together. Sonic 06. Sonic Unleashed. Sonic Rush. It all ties back to the realm in which the Lords of Chaos exist.

Let’s see, anything else? I suppose I can mention that writing for the final boss fight was painful. It’s hard and boring enough to write about Super Forms smacking into the enemy over and over again when I’m just describing something that already happened, like what I did for the Finalhazard fight in Cast by the Light. But this time, I had to do it all from scratch, figuring out what the abilities of the enemy are, how to describe their weakness, and how each of the fighters uses their abilities in different ways, all without sounding stupidly repetitive. In the end, I feel like the Chronos fight was probably more interesting than the Janice fight. But hey, it’s supposed to be more fun to play, not to read about. Also…I’d like to mention that it was a complete accident/coincidence that the arc’s opening and climax were both in the cold and snow, coming full circle, so to speak. I decided on the setting in each for completely different reasons, and they just so happened to line up perfectly. By the way, the setting for the climax was chosen as a good place for each of the characters to put their abilities to the test, in addition to added drama of freezing in the blizzard. I thought it worked out pretty well. And I suppose that’s all for now.

Next time: when Shadow the Hedgehog goes missing in one of the most dangerous cities in the world, Sonic must harden up and face one of his most deadly threats yet in order to find his friend. But who is the mysterious Black Cloak?

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

S0 E8: Race Against Time Part 2

Hopefully, this double-length winter finale episode makes up for the fact that I’m a week late in publishing it (sorry). Read it right here!

Banished and unable to escape, each one blaming themselves, the hedgehogs must join with an unexpected ally to return to the Timestream and save the universe once and for all. But can they really overcome the power of the Temporal Sapphires? And what secrets lie in wait for them if they do?

Preview: Season 0, Episode 8

The hedgehogs have been banished to a place from which there seems no escape. They only have one hope left, the Chaos Emerald. Can they make it in time?

The hedgehogs have stopped. Steep, sharp, high-rising cliffs of ice rise high all around them. High on the top of the cliff directly in front of them, an opening deeper into the cave can be seen. Silver says, “I could probably get us up there. But it would take a while.”

Sonic steps forward. “No time. I’ll go, and bring back the Emerald as fast as I can.” Without waiting for a reply, Sonic runs straight for the wall in front of him. His momentum is enough to allow him to run up several steps. Just as he reaches his peak, he kicks off the wall and onto another, which he runs up for a few more steps. He continues this way, leaping from wall to wall, taking advantage of whatever foothold he can find, until he finally makes it into the opening at the top. He continues in at top speed, leaving his friends behind.

—–—

Sonic has reached a wide clearing in the very center of the glacier. The yellow Chaos Emerald lies in the center. “There it is.” He reaches down to pick it up.

Suddenly, his communicator goes off. “Sonic…I think this is it. This is the end.”

“Don’t say that Tails, I have the Emerald! We’re going to fix everything, right now!”

“I’ve taken shelter in the basement, the rifts seem to move slower through solid mass than they do through air. But they’ve made it all the way through. I’m surrounded on all sides. I only have a few minutes left, maybe less.” Sonic takes on renewed anger and determination at the words, but says nothing. “Sonic…I believe in you. You can fix this. If it’s possible to close the rifts, then it doesn’t matter if I get swallowed. It’ll be like it never happened.” He’s silent for another moment. “I was right. It was less. Sonic…good luck. I–” The message cuts to static.

“Tails? Tails? Tails!?” Static is the only response.

Sonic looks down to the Emerald he holds. He pushes it up slightly, and it begins to float into the air, orbiting around him. Six more Emeralds join it. He closes his eyes and clenches his outstretched hand into a fist. As his fist begins to shake, he begins to lift into the air. His quills raise up as if blown by an unseen wind, as his fur takes on a golden glow. The Emeralds around him orbit faster and faster, until Sonic’s eyes burst open, now a deep red color. “Chaos Control.” With those words, he disappears from the room.

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?

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.