Well, the latest trailer for Sonic Forces just hit, and... well. That character creator rumour is true. Essentially, it allows the use of seven species to use as a base to create a character. Those species are wolf, rabbit, cat, dog, bear, bird, and hedgehog. No foxes, echidnas, or chameleons in sight. From the small teases within the trailer, it looks as though this is going to be an interesting system. Yeah, count me upset at no chameleon base, but what we do have looks to be a good start.
However, this post isn't just a news update, as there's some thinking to do here that I'll be talking about. And no, it isn't a thousand word essay on species I'll be using.
Having a character creator makes sense within the theme of the game. It's all about a resistance. Now, we already know Sonic's friends are fighting, along with the main hog himself [twice]. Being real though, Sonic and his friends are already going to be fighting, and as long as Espio, Tails, and the like are used in cutscenes in a manner that shows them fighting, this should be enough. Even in-game dialogue through a communicator that gives updates adds to the experience. A resistance should be more though. It's about the people as a whole rising up. Think Star Wars, and the rebellion from that. Most of them are ordinary people willing to fight to rid the galaxy of the evil it is currently under. With Forces and the character creator, that is exactly what this is pulling off. If we can store creations and use one in a level, then use another in a second level or a repeat of the current level, that in a way builds the idea of ordinary people rising up. Sure, not all of them will be visible in cutscenes - I doubt that would ever happen except in some sort of large-scale battle with many different characters - but at least it gives the impression of a larger fight.
These characters have the power of wisps, in the form of wispons. In other words, wisp-powered weapons. While we've only seen Burst giving a flamethrower and a screw attack, I can imagine some of the other wisps giving similar abilities that don't interrupt the flow of the game. Laser I can picture allowing use of a laser gun and the power it gave before, but this time without pausing the flow of the game. Along with the wisp powers, these custom characters have a grapple gun, which appear to be similar to the Espio missions in Generations where he would assist with a rope swing. It also appears to be fixed a bit.
The gameplay of Sonic, Classic, and Hero - as the created character is defined - all appear to play well, even if Classic is looking a bit rigid. And from the extra gameplay snippet we got of Hero, it looks as though vocal songs within levels are back. Everything about the game is saying they are getting more serious with it, as though they want this to be a big game. The story is yet to be fully revealed, but I'm hoping we get a more balanced tone with a larger scale than the more trimmed-down stories of recent games.
With E3 upon us in a month, I am hoping for a lot more out of this game - including a fuller look at all three gameplay styles and a bit more about this character creator. There's also the story to get a look at, and I hope we get to see the extended cast.