Sonic Prime Interview: New Voice, Same Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog has never faced major developments or any kind of challenging story arc – but he has changed since his debut. Compare the cocky, individualistic rebel of Sonic Adventure to the caring, heroic ’hog we saw in Frontiers, and the difference is night and day. Yet with Sega seemingly against any actual character growth with each new game, show, film, or pretty much anything, this is conveyed by the various actors who have given the Blue Blur a voice over the years.

Deven Mack is the latest in a long line of actors to step into the role, and it’s not something he takes lightly. “Throughout the entire history of the character, no matter who was performing him, there was always this prevalent sense of just confidence and swagger,” Mack tells me, speaking in front of an impressive collection of Sonic merch.

“Every performer has brought so much to the table. And I'm seeing what I can borrow here and there, but also carve my own path, put my own unique Spin Dash on things. I just want it to feel like Sonic.”

Watching Sonic Prime, it’s clear that Mack was honing in on the swagger – much more than we’ve seen in the mascot’s recent outings. He’s far from the more uncaring Sonic of the late 1990s, but we definitely back in ‘way past cool’ territory.

Actors aren’t the only ones coming up with creative solutions to stop Sonic characters feeling stuck in time. Sonic Prime executive producer Logan McPherson explains this is why they created the shatterverse, their own take on a multiverse, in the first place.

“The whole idea was to create this shatterverse so we had some flexibility. The ability to take the characters, the situations and relationships in new, different and invigorating ways.”

No character gets more out of this than Rogue, who is too often sidelined in Sonic projects because she’s not necessarily a good guy. “This series is part of the lore,” says McPherson. “So the Rouge dynamic is an interesting one because she's not part of the group. We needed to create a situation that brought her on their side.

“I think it's interesting to see Rouge and Knuckles partnered up in an alternate world. And they're actually buddies. You get these different dynamics without violating the DNA or the mythology.”

Even with the Sonic multiverse giving them a lot more leeway, there’s still one issue that it can’t fix: Shadow the Hedgehog. Sega is notoriously picky with how Shadow is represented on screen, something previous writers have spoken about, explaining why he’s not in more shows and games despite his popularity.

“Shadow is Shadow,” says McPherson. “There's no changing Shadow. He is the ultimate life form. That's the way he is. The challenge was how do we fit Shadow in and have some fun?”

It seems that even in a show about a multiverse, Shadow can’t change too much from how he’s been presented in other media. “His relationship with Sonic… that's something that will never change,” says McPherson. “They will always remain at an arm's distance. They'll always be rivals.”

That doesn’t necessarily have to be limiting, as McPherson makes perfectly clear. “When you have a character that has such a defined description, it's fun to think about what kinds of situations we can thrust him into knowing that he's going to be the way he is. How can we create funny, interesting or dramatic situations that he can play in?”

In season one of Sonic Prime, however, it’s pretty hard to tell what Shadow’s deal is. Without delving into specific spoilers, he seems to be slightly leaning towards the heroic side, albeit still in his typical conflict with Sonic. It does seem to be heading to a more Shadow-focused second season though, and we’ve never seen him contend with the existence of multiverses before.

But we’re now in a Sonic renaissance, so Sega can definitely afford to take a few more risks. And as Deven Mack is quick to remind everyone, Sonic is only still relevant because of the fans.

“The Sonic fandom is one of the most passionate groups that you're going to find anywhere,” Mack says. “They make their voices heard when it comes to what they want and what they don't want. You would not have the movies being the success that they are, and will continue to be in the future, if not for the fans making their voices heard.

“To see so many people happy with the direction of the films, of the video games, and Sonic Prime – it's really, really wonderful. I know there are a lot of people who've waited so long to see a lot of different things come together. I'm really grateful I get to be a part of it.”

Source: Read Full Article