Smash For Wii U and 3DS broke a lot of perceived fan rules for character inclusion. Little Mac could only punch, Shulk came from a standalone game that was too new, and Villager was from a game series that was just too damn peaceful. Still, when DLC rolled around, people clung to a lot of their preconceived notions only to have them completely shattered. Ryu was from a fighting game, and he was a second Capcom rep! Cloud never had a mainline game on a Nintendo console! Bayonetta wasn’t from a historic or “iconic” franchise! There are very few qualifiers when it comes to potential Smash reps nowadays (with the exception of the obvious “they must be from a video game”), however one still persists for some in the speculation community. Third parties, they say, should stick to just one representative. I’m not sure how true that is…. Especially when one of your third party characters in Sonic the Hedgehog.
The year is 1990, and SEGA is on the verge of being the first true challenger to Nintendo’s market share in the video game sector since they entered the market with the Famicom/NES. SEGA’s prior system, the SEGA Master System, performed well, but it was not true threat to Nintendo’s dominance. The Mega Drive/Genesis, however, was primed for more. The system launched in 1988, when the Famicom (created in 1983) was beginning to show it’s age. It wouldn’t be until 1990 that the NES successor, the SNES, would be created. SEGA just needed one final ingredient to push themselves into the spotlight, a true rival for Mario. Enter Sonic the Hedgehog.
Sonic the Hedgehog may very well be the fastest thing alive. Carefree and with just the right amount of attitude, this blue blur races through moebius (among many other worlds) to stop the evil machinations of Doctor Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik. The hedgehog is not a solo act, however. Sonic is usually accompanied by his best friend Miles “Tiles” Prower, a mechanically inclined two tailed fox, as well as various other animal friends (most notably amongst them Amy Rose and Knuckles the Echidna).
Sonic’s creation is a direct response to Mario, but he is by no means a cloned concept. He is responsible for the entire 90’s “animal mascots with attitude” trend in video games, but he manages to stand separate from them. Indeed, Sonic has remained relevant far beyond the 90’s, having featured in over 70 games since his inception. This also includes a 3DS release later this year, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice. Since his inception there has never been a doubt about who SEGA’s true mascot is (sorry Alex Kidd).
Sonic’s success isn’t limited to just video games, however. Sonic has starred in 5 different cartoons and currently holds the record for longest running comic book based off of a video game, as his Archie’s Comics has run for over 250 issues since it’s debut in 1993.
Reasons for inclusion:
Sonic is huge. If we look at total sales, the franchise has sold over 140 million units. That puts it behind only Mario, Pokemon, and the “Wii” series in total number of games sold in regards to franchises with playable character in Smash. It is, infact, the 9th best selling franchise of all time. Much like Mario, the Sonic franchise also gave birth to many spinoff series…from racing to puzzle to pinball. fThe series also has a huge media presence, due to a constant stream of cartoons and comics since it’s birth. These aren’t one off affairs or products of a bygone era. Sonic’s latest cartoon, Sonic Boom, is currently on the air and has been since 2014. SEGA’s speedy mascot is even set to star in his own movie in 2018.
Sonic the Hedgehog has a long and interesting relationship with Nintendo. Originally created as an answer to Mario, this all changed when SEGA exited the hardware market in 2001. Sonic Advance for the Gameboy Advance was the first Sonic game on a Nintendo system, and it was quickly followed by Sonic Adventure 2 Battle on the Nintendo Gamecube. These first steps were monumental. Remember, Sonic and Mario had been bitter rivals for years. The small step were just the beginning in what would become a long and fruitful partnership.
Sonic has been in 34 games on Nintendo platforms. Many of those have been system exclusives, including a 3 game deal to produce games exclusively for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U in 2013. More than that, though, Sonic and friends have crossed over with Nintendo franchises on multiple occasions. Most obviously to readers of this site is the Super Smash Bros. series. Sonic is, currently, the only third party character to be in multiple Smash games. Sonic Boom is also one of the few third party franchises to have a puzzle swap puzzle on 3DS. The biggest crossover is the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games series. Consisting of 5 games beginning with a 2007 Wii release, the series has Mario & Sonic, as well as all their friends, competing in a wide variety of Olympic events. This is the first time that Mario characters such as Yoshi, Luigi, and Bowser were able to interact with Sonic character such as Tails, Knuckles, or Eggman.
Another point to note is that Sonic actually does have many interesting, varied, and important characters. Knuckles, Amy, and Tails are almost as important to the series as Sonic. Eggman and Metal Sonic are very iconic villains. That’s not even considering characters such as Shadow the Hedgehog, whom also have a fair amount of popularity. Sonic is not wanting in potential characters.
Reasons for exclusion:
The reason the Sonic franchise might not get another character is simply because he is a “guest star,” in Smash and some would consider his inclusion special enough as is. It could also be argued that SEGA already has two characters, in Bayonetta and Sonic, and that if SEGA were to get another rep it should be from a third franchise. The truth of the matter is that there are not hard and fast rules on third parties, and while some don’t want an over abundance of third party characters, Sonic is by far the biggest third party (and the biggest possible SEGA third party). It just might be that that is not enough to warrant a second spot…especially because a character like Tails or Eggman would not likely have the same “wow” factor as an entrant from a brand new third party franchise.
We already have Sonic music in Smash, so here’s some random Sonic spin off music for you!