Preview: Season 0, Episode 21

With one week remaining until my promised time of next publishing, it’s finally time for the usual preview. Also exciting this week is the release of Sonic Mania! (Dang, another distraction to stop me from meeting the deadline.) This episode is unrelated though. I promise. Though, that doesn’t mean there won’t be references in the future…

Anyways, here it is.

Eggman crouches over the hunk of meteorite at the center of the crater. “You’re certain this was the source of the readings? It’s just an old rock!”

Orbot answers from next to the parked Eggmobile, “Yes, sir. There was a large spike in Chaos energy readings at this location when the meteorite struck the earth.” He and Cubot both join Eggman at the crater.

“Then why is there nothing here?”

Cubot picks up the rock. “Maybe it’s just hidden underneath!”

Orbot tries to take it away. “Put that down, you might damage it!”

“Give it back, I saw it first!”

“Actually, the Doctor saw it first!” The two continue to struggle back and forth, until the rock breaks in two, causing them both to drop the pieces.

Cubot looks up to Eggman, and points to his companion. “Orbot did it.”

Eggman is too distracted examining the newly exposed sides of the meteor. One of them holds a glowing drop of light. “What’s this…?” He reaches out for it. Suddenly, the drop leaps from the rock to Eggman’s hand. “Argh! What is this thing!? Get it off me!”

“Oh no, the Doctor’s under attack!”

“What do we do!?”

Orbot and Cubot run around in senseless panic as Eggman tries to flick the substance off. After a few tries, he is successful, and the light splatters back onto the ground. Almost instantly, it starts to bubble and increase rapidly in size. It quickly takes on a large humanoid shape, somewhat similar to Eggman himself. But then it starts to thin out into more normal human proportions.

Eggman takes a step back to look at the back of the new person standing in front of him. He wears clothing similar to Eggman’s, though colored only yellow, white, and gold. Eggman questions, “And just who are you supposed to be?”

The person turns to face Eggman. He has no mustache, but a full head of blond hair. Despite bearing a vague resemblance to Eggman, he might be described as handsome. He speaks, “Your heart is disgusting.”

“What!?”

“Unfortunately, I have need of this…unsightly form.”

“I’ll have you know, I am Doctor Eggman, world-renowned scientist, and you–”

“I suggest you enjoy your final days in this world, villain. Your kind will soon be obsolete. Now, I really must be on my way. It’s vital that I locate the Controller.”

Who is this strange, handsome, blond-haired man? What does he have to do with the living murals that attacked Sonic? And what ever happened to the strange Moonstone-turned-hedgehog? Find out this and more, as the Dawn of Chaos arc continues.

Review: Season 0, Episode 20

Keep in mind, this is the review for the first episode of the Dawn of Chaos arc, published (oh dear Lords of Chaos help me) 43 days ago. Let’s make a deal. I’m going to publish the next episode within the next two weeks, no matter how little I get done in that time. You have to hold me to that! Writing this arc is just as troublesome as it was last time we touched bases, but hopefully this will encourage me to finish something by that time. Anyways…

Chaos has dawned. I’ve been noticing a trend that involves me focusing on a new component of writing with the first episode of each new arc. While I wasn’t planning anything this time around, I ended up emphasizing pretty heavily the friendly banter that goes on between the characters, which I’m pretty happy with. I suppose this is probably the most “normal” of all the Sonic game ideas I’m using, as if you could use the word to describe a Sonic game. Everything else I do tends to be more on the mold-breaking side, focusing on unusual characters and topics. But this time around, it’s about Sonic and his closest friends, involved in a relatively normal adventure, giving me more time and motivation to focus on those pre-existing relationships. I didn’t mean for the opening scene to be reminiscent of the first scene of Lost World (technically the general idea was planned for before Lost World even came out), but there are definitely some clear similarities, and I suppose that emphasizes the whole “normal” thing. Of course, I think I did it better. I suppose I can also mention about writing style that I was trying to invoke the idea of a horror film when describing the movements of the mysterious blob of light.

This is probably the most reference-filled episode I’ve ever made, embracing about 17 years of history. Hopefully the references to Sonic 3 &/or Knuckles were obvious, between the Hidden Palace Zone and Sonic’s references to the day he and Knuckles met. There was also talk about Sonic’s previous Birthday party, a reference to the events of Sonic Generations. There was Sonic Adventure 2 with the references to fake Chaos Emeralds, as well as Sonic’s mention of when Knuckles popped out of a sewer. Sonic Adventure with the chant of the Master Emerald and references to Perfect Chaos (the dragon destined to destroy the world). But I’ve passed over an important point here. Sonic’s Birthday! Happy Birthday, Sonic! Now, Sonic has technically never been given an official, canon birth date before. However, it is generally accepted that his Birthday is on June 23rd, the day the original Sonic the Hedgehog 1 came out. This is the first of many characters who will be receiving birth dates in the story. Anyways, making this episode take place on Sonic’s Birthday was completely unplanned. I came in knowing that it would be during summer, and that’s about it. I was throwing around a few random dates, and one of them just happened to be June 23rd, before I realized what that meant. I was going to throw it out, but then I started thinking about the fact that my current publishing schedule would put me pretty close to that exact date. I looked at a calendar, and realized that it would theoretically be exactly one day after. I decided it was too perfect to ignore, so I adapted what I had into a makeshift anniversary episode. Not just an anniversary of Sonic, but an anniversary of the Chaos Project as well. I published the very first episode exactly one year before I published this one, on the day of Sonic’s 25th celebration last year (the buzzing still haunts my dreams). Which makes this the Birthday not just of Sonic the Hedgehog, but also Chaos the Hedgehog, both in-universe and out. That actually has some pretty interesting story implications for the future…

Coming back to the original point I was trying to make, this episode contains the first major references I’ve made to the entire Classic era, not counting a few vague references to CD. As I said, my goal in this story is to embrace all of Sonic’s mainstream video game history, and that includes the classic games. I’ve seen theories before relating to the meaning of the Hidden Palace mural, but it’s always been a supporting part of my Controller idea/theory, and I’m glad to finally show that in the story. Knuckles’ explanation that the Controller is usually interpreted as referring to the Master Emerald is actually something I realized had to be said while doing some research into Tikal for her appearance in the last arc. Apparently, I had forgotten that she had specifically figured out the Master Emerald was the Controller named in the chant. When Sonic said that didn’t make any sense in this episode, that might as well have been me talking, as I agree that it doesn’t make much sense. I’ve certainly never seen the Master Emerald “unify” Chaos before. Anyways, bringing the canon of the old games into the new games felt like good way to celebrate Sonic’s history for his anniversary.

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!

Review: Cast by the Light Part 8

This is where the story actually got quite difficult. At this point, the Hero story and Dark story start to contradict each other. Before, there had been minor differences such as those about who won certain fights, but then they each had the same cutscene afterwards anyways, so it was easily fixable. But much larger difference started to show up here, which you almost wouldn’t notice playing the game casually. For example, in the Dark story, Eggman defeats Tails, takes the Emerald, and tells Shadow to deal with Sonic. But in the hero story, Sonic makes it back to the ARK, defeats Shadow, puts the fake Emerald into the Cannon, and makes it back to the outside of the Research Lab just as Tails defeats Eggman. Time wise, it just doesn’t match up. Then, of course, there’s the problem of which Emerald actually makes it into the Cannon (which will be given an in-universe explanation in the next part). In the Dark story, the Cannon doesn’t explode, it just fails to fire and then the colony starts falling. In all technicality, the Dark story actually makes more sense to be what really happened, since the Cannon is in working order and is fired in Shadow the Hedgehog. Problem is, that would make for a terrible story if Tails failed to beat Eggman and then Eggman accomplished exactly what he set out to do. So, Tails beat Eggman, but Eggman still stole what he thought was the real Emerald, which, in the only explanation I could come up with, Sonic used Chaos Control to swap with the real one (and I had to add a few seconds to the timestamp to allow Sonic time to do this in a scene that didn’t exist in the original). Sonic never actually went back to the Cannon himself, allowing the timelines to line up a bit better. The only change left was to have Eggman tell Shadow to deal with Sonic during his fight with Tails instead of after.

As for other changes, the first major one was to add a thought to Shadow’s meeting with Sonic after believing him to be dead. In the original, Shadow first says that he believes Sonic’s Emerald is real, but then almost immediately turns around and accuses that Sonic can’t possibly have used a fake to do what he did. So, I felt it necessary to add a thought in which Shadow specifically realizes that the Emerald isn’t real like he thought it was, allowing for a more smooth, entire thought process to be expressed. Lastly, after Shadow’s statement upon being defeated, I added one last thought, suggesting that Shadow was, at some point, informed by the Professor about a being equal in strength to his own, able to use Chaos Control. This was a lead-in to the Chaos Project, in which I will be exploring the many memories which Shadow has still failed to recall in the present. And that will be all until next time, a special double episode for the Final Story, in which Sonic Adventure 2 reaches its final climax.

– Until then, remember to live and learn every day!

Review: Season 0, Episode 3

The working title for this episode was “Silence is Golden, Absolution is Silver.” While being a nice chance to reference Silver’s theme from Sonic 06, Dreams of an Absolution, I felt that the pun barely worked, and when the thought crossed my mind to call it “Silver Lining,” I decided that was also a much more general idea that could better encompass the parts of the episode that weren’t about Silver. It was also more in line with the previous episode’s title, a simple two-word pun.

Now, the decision to include Silver in this arc was a pretty easy one. One of my major points in making this arc was to show that a good story for a Sonic game can be made using multiple characters, but not Shadow. For whatever reason, the Sonic series decided to drop multiple playable characters and Shadow at the same time, which I have always felt was only because they thought they were overusing Shadow, but couldn’t come up with an excuse to use multiple characters without Shadow being one of them. Whether or not they were overusing Shadow is debatable, but they were using him more than they had originally planned, and I am afraid of overusing Shadow in this series as well. Anyways, first I decided to use multiple “playable” characters without Shadow, then I decided to make this the introduction to the “Controller” concept, then I decided to make a time-travel story. All of those signs pointed me to Silver. I’ve always thought it was a shame that Silver’s participation in mainstream Sonic games began and ended in Sonic 06 (I’d like to mention now that the Sonic Rivals series is non-canon to this story. Too many contradictions, not enough relevance to console games). Silver had such good potential as a character, but his writing wasn’t great, and his overall association with Sonic 06 hasn’t helped his case. I decided that this was a great opportunity to further explore his character, especially in the complete absence of Blaze. The time reset was a necessity, based on the fact that Iblis, the single half-being which shaped Silver’s future into what it was once recognized as, no longer exists based on the ending of Sonic 06. I could have created another apocalypse scenario for him, but I thought that the utopic future would help with how I wanted to portray his character, in addition to not seeming so homologous to Zero’s story (plus it also falls better in line with a random comment made by Silver in Sonic Colors DS, but that’s also non-canon).

Lastly, as to why I included parts to this episode not about Silver, despite the title, that has to do with the fact that this story arc is intended to be structured like a game, rather than a story. I have three concurrent “playable” character stories running, and were I to have continued following Silver, he would have reached that point in the game where you play through a bunch of levels in a row with little or no cutscenes, making for a very boring period of story, where you watch Silver do a bunch of platforming with pretty much no dialogue. The same does NOT go for Zero in the previous episode. That was more just because the point where we stopped following Zero in favor of Silver was the perfect transition point. Otherwise, that episode would have ended the same way that this one did, and then randomly jumped to Silver this episode. The structure simply didn’t work out, so I named the episodes based on the majority of the focus, instead of the entire focus. And I guess that’s all I have for now.

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

Review: Season 0, Episode 2

Continuing from last week’s discussion of the history of Season 0, we can now come to Speed of Time itself. Even though I did say that the “original game ideas” came before the concept of the Chaos Project, that actually isn’t true in this case. There was something else, however. The original concept was entirely different, the basic premise being a dimension-hopping adventure instead of a time traveling one. The main antagonist would have been an evil, parallel universe version of Sonic, who, with Sonic’s unwitting help, would have taken over Sonic’s home city while Sonic was locked away in yet another dimension. Twelve dimensions total were planned, one of which would have been the Sol Dimension. In the finale, Sonic would have called upon the power of not just the Chaos Emeralds, but seven “miracle gems” from each dimension, becoming what I was at the time calling “Hyper Gem Sonic,” who would literally have had his skin entirely coated in gemstones. In this state, Sonic could not only have spoken to, but had his actions controlled by the Lords of Chaos, the one factor which connects this concept to Speed of Time. This arc will serve as the proper introduction to the concepts of Controller and Lord of Chaos, hopefully answering most of your questions. Anyway, the primary reason that I cancelled this idea was that I couldn’t come up with that many concepts for other dimensions, though I was also having trouble properly planning a connection between the middle of that story and the end. That was almost the death sentence for Season 0 as a whole, but as I said earlier, I just couldn’t give up having Chaos and Blacklight in the premiere. So, I reinvented the idea instead, and Speed of Time is what I came up with.

Now, on to this episode, starting with Zero. His name is has something like three hidden meanings, and his appearance in Season 0 is not one of them. You may have noticed, based on the episode title, his connection with nuclear detonation, and while this wasn’t 100% intentional, I had my choice of apocalypse methodology after creating the character, and that was part of the inspiration. The other two meanings are actually story important, so I won’t spoil it. I’d like to mention here that most of my important OC names are directly linked to the story, something that I’m actually quite proud of. Now, the addition of Zero was something that I knew was necessary. Even if I wanted to use Shadow here (something that I wanted to take a step back from for a little bit) he wouldn’t have fit into this story well at all, and I knew that just Sonic and Silver (more on that next week) would make for a pretty lame story. So I knew that I needed to make a third character, preferably one with a deep past that could help drive the story along. The concept for Zero came along pretty quickly from there. And for now, that’s all I’ve got!

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

Review: Premiere Event Part 1

In case you aren’t already aware, these episode reviews are going to be a regular component here on the site. After an episode has been out for a few days, check here for plenty of explanation of hidden references, concepts, and other behind-the-scenes information. Keep in mind that they will not usually be this long. Now, on to business. Where can I start when I introduced so much into just this one episode? I suppose I should begin with Chaos the Hedgehog. No, I’m not going to reveal his origin story here, but yes, it will be revealed soon, as part of Season 0. After all parts of this Series Premiere are completed, the story will jump back in time by one year, explaining the origin stories of both Chaos and Blacklight the Hedgehog. Back on topic, Chaos, just to clarify things, is as of this time training both Sonic and Shadow in the ways of the Chaos Emeralds, something that he clearly knows all about. Also of note is his reference to Sonic as “Controller.” A cookie for you if you understood what this meant. It will be explained later, but “The Controller” refers to the chant of the Master Emerald. You may recall, “The Controller serves to unify the Chaos.” What Chaos suggests is that Sonic is this unifier of Chaos, almost as if by destiny. More on that later. What else you may have noticed is slight discrepancies in the characters of Sonic and Shadow. Sonic may have seemed a bit unusually serious compared to what you may remember from Sonic Colors and Sonic Lost World. This is not simply a result of creative liberties, but rather a result of character development which has/will occur in Season 0. The same goes for Shadow, who may have seemed a bit too calm, almost to the point of being friendly. I wish I could say more than “I’ll explain it later,” but for now that’s all I have for most of the rest on this episode.

One last topic to discuss is the “Flow of Chaos.” I’m sure you can already guess what I have to say about its in-universe purpose (I’ll explain later). However, I can certainly take this time to give a little bit of real-life history. It begins with a simple question I asked myself as a young child: “What are the Chaos Emeralds? How do they work?” With all of the Emerald-based plots we’ve had in so many Sonic games, it’s honestly a complete wonder to me that the only provided answer to the first question is “ancient magic rocks.” And in all honesty, this fact is probably the only reason that The Chaos Project exists. A vast majority of this series is and will be dedicated to giving a legitimate answer to that simple question. And that answer begins with the introduction of the concept of the Flow of Chaos.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Eggman no longer owns Eggmanland. This was actually a last minute decision, but one that fits in well with my plans. The main purpose of this was to show right-off-the-bat that Blacklight is no joke, despite his…odd personality. Eggman temporarily owned his very own small country, but Blacklight seems to have casually taken it away. That’s all on that for now.

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