- For other uses of the term, see Avatar (disambiguation).
The Avatar (アバター Abatā?), also referred to as the Custom Hero (カスタムヒーロー Kasutamu Hīrō?), the Custom Character (カスタムキャラクター Kasutamu Kyarakutā?) and the Rookie (ルーキー Rūkī?), is a character that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. They are a customizable character whose appearance is dictated by the player.
An ordinary citizen, the Avatar took part in the war against the Eggman Empire after it began gaining ground. After months of service in the field, the Avatar joined the Resistance as the group's newest recruit. Although initially lacking in courage, their burgeoning sense of heroism allowed them to rise to prominence among heroes like Sonic the Hedgehog, with whom they formed a strong partnership, and, in the final days of the war, be a crucial element in helping the Resistance reclaim the world from Dr. Eggman’s domination.
Concept and creation
According to Takashi Iizuka, the idea for the Avatar came about to make a character with a unique gameplay experience to differentiate them from other characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. While a lot of fans wanted more gameplay variety, they still wanted to play as Sonic, so the designers gave this character (which would become the Avatar) the Wispon to give it a unique gameplay style, and movements with emphasis on high-speed running and jumping that made it feel similar to Sonic. The idea for the Avatar to be a customizable character first began over twenty years ago when Iizuka took notice of all the Sonic-type characters the fans (especially Americans) were creating and sending him via fan-mail. Iizuka wanted to let people do that to some extent, but it was only until Sonic Forces that Sonic Team acquired the skills, people, and technology to make this possible in a Sonic game.
In the opinion of Iizuka, some the hardest things when designing the Avatar were "realizing what kind of characters [they] want to portray in the world." Because the Sonic series already had a lot of animals, the team needed to stay true to that representation, yet make the Avatar unique enough to stand out on their own without alienating them from the existing Sonic cast. The team wanted in particular for the Avatars to have a "plainer" and "unified" look, yet be identifiable with their distinct species and still feel like different, appealing, unique characters, all while looking cool with their customizable accessories. Another rule was that the Avatar could not look cooler than Sonic.
Many different species were considered for the Avatar, including raccoons, dogs, squirrels, rats, pigs, lizards and more. In the final game, only seven were used. The last species to be chosen was either going to be monkey, dragon or bear, and bear was chosen as it was a power type. To compensate, dragon scales and AiAi ears were added in as a parts. Eastern and western audience preferences were considered in decision making for the Avatar. Some features like eye shapes that were deemed too cute or juvenile for Western audiences had to be altered. The dragon was an example of a species that may be too Eastern, so more neutral animals were prioritized.
As a custom character, the Avatar's appearance is entirely dictated by the player. While an anthropomorphic animal by default, their species can be one of seven options: bear, bird, cat, dog, hedgehog, rabbit, or wolf. The following options can also be customized: gender, upper headgear, middle headgear, lower headgear, gloves, shoes, accessories, bodysuit, eye style and skin color. A multitude of options is given for the player to customize the Avatar in any fashion.
In most promotional material the Avatar is depicted as a male wolf, with red fur and peach skin for his muzzle and the inner portion of his ears. He has four small tufts of fur protruding from both sides at the back of his head, a short bushy tail, pointed ears that curve upwards, orange eyes and pointed fangs. For attire, he wears thick-rimmed black glasses, a military green dome-shaped headset with a black rim and a small black circular-shaped microphone attached to the left side of his head. He also wears a three-pouched tan utility belt around his waist, supported by a strap with a black buckle over the abdomen. On his hands, he wears military green gloves with medium-sized cuffs, a black inverted chevron on the front and tan patches on the back. His boots are military green with black tips and tan padded patches on the back. Much like his gloves, the boots are adorned with a black inverted chevron on the front.
The Avatar started out as an ordinary citizen of Sonic's world. Throughout their life, they would hear stories about the adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends, whom the Avatar wanted to be like despite their own cowardice.
In Sonic Forces, the Eggman Empire began gaining dominance across the world after Dr. Eggman's right-hand man Infinite seemingly killed Sonic the Hedgehog, crushing the public's hope. At some point during the next six months of war between the Eggman Empire and the Resistance, the Avatar began working for the Resistance.
Being too afraid to fight on the front lines, the Avatar took up look-out duty in the City. When Team Chaotix arrived, the Avatar observed their organization of the City's defenses for the next few days. Because of their fear, the Avatar considered quitting the fight. However, they had to alert the City to an attack from Dr. Eggman and his legion of Egg Pawns. With the Chaotix needing aid with the defenses, the Avatar rushed in, hoping to be of use. However, they could not do any good. When the Egg Pawns then broke through the defenses, the Avatar hid, too afraid to fight. When the Chaotix needed to take down the Egg Pawns' battleship however, the Avatar, seeing a way to help without fighting, grabbed a bomb and fired it, hitting the Egg Pawns' battleship with a shot that crippled it enough to force Eggman to retreat, vowing revenge. After that, the Avatar was congratulated for their efforts by the Chaotix. From then on, the Avatar promised to do more and become a real hero.
Later on, the Avatar and their squadron got attacked by Infinite, the commander of the Eggman Army, who disposed of all the Avatar's comrades in the squad, leaving only the Avatar left. The Avatar tried standing against Infinite despite their anxiety and doubt, but Infinite saw through their façade. Wanting to relish in their fear, Infinite allowed the frightened Avatar to live if they ran away in fear (which they did). Eventually making it to the Resistance's HQ in one piece, they joined the Resistance after a couple of months, in spite of the terrified tension among the population. After being introduced to the members, the Avatar received a Burst Wispon from Knuckles.
On their first mission, the Avatar helped steal a Eggman Fleet space shuttle to reach Sonic with, who turned out to be imprisoned on the rebuilt Death Egg. After that, they joined the Resistance on their rescue mission. On board the Death Egg, the Avatar ended up on the best route to Sonic, which led to Sonic's release from imprisonment. Their fear nearly got the better of them though when Egg Pawns swarmed them. After Sonic saved them though, the two returned home in a shuttle. Although their cowardice during the rescue did not sit well with the Resistance, the Avatar was nonetheless given the opportunity to work alongside Sonic when he took on Eggman's weapon factory to destroy the source of the Eggman's munitions. After the attack, the Avatar was sent by Knuckles to rescue civilians from an attack from Eggman's army (as Sonic and Silver were unable to do so themselves as they were still recovering from an earlier fight with Infinite). Having grown more skilled, they were able to help make the enemy forces retreat, earning them praise from the Resistance. Soon after, the Avatar was sent to investigate some readings in Mystic Jungle, around the area where Sonic and Silver fought Infinite. There, they found a Phantom Ruby prototype. They also found Tails and Classic Sonic (who were presently trying to find Sonic themselves), who were brought to the Resistance and revealed that Eggman would have a plan for wiping out the Resistance ready in three days.
When Operation Big Wave began, the Avatar joined the Resistance's attack on Metropolis. However, when Infinite turned the fight around with the Phantom Ruby (the Eggman Empire's secret weapon), the Avatar scrambled to retreat. Along the way, they met Infinite, who tried intimidating them. Remembering Sonic's encouraging words however, the Avatar found the courage to fight Infinite. During the fight, the Avatar's Phantom Ruby prototype gave them some protection from Infinite. Once again though, Infinite allowed the Avatar to live so they could swelter in fear, knowing that Eggman would ultimately crush the Resistance in two days. After that, the Avatar joined Sonic on a mission to defeat a Metal Sonic replica. After handling the replica, the Avatar and Sonic marked their victory with a fist bump. When the heroes then needed to destroy the Phantom Ruby's power source in order to weaken the weapon, the Avatar provided a distraction for Eggman's forces at Guardian Rock while the Resistance destroyed the power source. Joining the Resistance then on an attack on Eggman back in Metropolis, during which they learned that the Phantom Ruby had another power source underneath the Eggman Empire Fortress, the Avatar tried to save Sonic when he was being pulled into Null Space, only to get pulled in with him. However, the two broke out and rejoined the Resistance. Although the duo managed to track down Eggman and Infinite, the two villains promptly retreated to the Eggman Empire Fortress in order to begin Eggman's endgame.
Having less than an hour left before Eggman's endgame, the Avatar and the Resistance confronted the Eggman Army at the Eggman Empire Fortress in an attempt to reach and stop the Phantom Ruby's power source. During the fight, E-123 Omega came to the aid of the Avatar and co. It was then that Eggman had Infinite execute his endgame; using the Phantom Ruby's power, Infinite created a sun to drop on the Resistance. As the sun fell however, Tails noticed the Avatar's Phantom Ruby prototype, and deduced that they could use it to neutralize the sun. Since the prototype's design only let the Avatar use it, they made their way to the sun and wiped it out, giving the Resistance a fighting chance. After being helped back on their feet by Tails, the Avatar joined Sonic when he fought Infinite, and together they beat him for good, which resulted in Infinite vanishing into thin air. Warned by Eggman that it was not over however, the duo then made their way to the Phantom Ruby's power source and destroyed it, seemingly winning the war. After rejoining their friends however, Eggman revealed that the power source was a decoy and that the real Phantom Ruby had been incorporated into his trump card: the Death Egg Robot. With the Eggman Army on the rise thanks to the Ruby, the Avatar, Sonic and Classic Sonic fought Eggman. Destroying the robot, the trio ensured the Resistance's victory over the Eggman Empire.
In the aftermath, the Avatar bid farewell to Classic Sonic, whose return to his dimension was imminent with the Phantom Ruby now gone. The Avatar and the Resistance then set out to clean up the mess Eggman had left the world in. When they were done, the Resistance disbanded. Feeling that there were people out there who would need their help, the Avatar took their leave, now having grown into a confident hero. After then bidding farewell to Sonic when the hedgehog decided to leave, the Avatar left in pursuit of new adventures.
The Avatar is an individual with a strong admiration for heroes. Throughout their life, they looked up to people like Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower and Amy Rose, and wanted to be as heroic and cool as them. These dreams shaped the Avatar into a benevolent person whose greatest desire was to help out others. Their ambitions were not very high however; during the beginning of the war with the Eggman Empire, the Avatar mainly stuck to assignments that did not had them confronting enemies head-on. As the Avatar grew from experience though, they found the confidence to try harder and become a real soldier and a real hero.
Early on, the Avatar was a coward with low self-esteem. Even after joining the war against the Eggman Empire, the Avatar chose duties that kept them away from the fighting and allowed them to save themselves when danger arrived, believing on the most part that they would only get in the way of the real heroes. Also, when finding themselves caught in the middle of a life-or-death situation, the Avatar would get overwhelmed by anxiety and self-doubt, eventually to the point where they would give into their fear and allow their actions to be ruled by it. Probably the biggest instance of their cowardice was with their first encounter with Infinite; they primarily hid behind rubble, and, although they attempted to point a Wispon at Infinite, they whimpered in fear and quaked as they did so while also struggling to pick up the Wispon beforehand, and were then ultimately forced down by Infinite's warning shot before being forced to flee at Infinite's insistence. Aware of their own flaws, the Avatar was not proud of their own cowardice and would constantly chide themselves for being a failure.
Regardless of their shortcomings, the Avatar ultimately proved to possess the seeds of great heroism and courage within them; even before developing a greater sense of bravery, the Avatar was able to activate a Phantom Ruby prototype (an object of which requires a strong will/character for it to be activated) with their innate sense of courage and heroism. These qualities would slowly surface during the war with the Eggman Empire as the Avatar came to have their doubts about themselves disproved by their own accomplishments. Eventually, due to Sonic the Hedgehog's influence, the Avatar ultimately found the inner courage to not give in to fear, even when confronted by Infinite again. From then on, the Avatar would not show hesitation about throwing themselves into danger for the sake of the Resistance's cause and their friends. Their newfound courage was such that they willingly tried to save Sonic from being sucked into Null Space, despite Sonic's insistence that they ran the risk of them being sucked in as well, and later them infiltrating the Eggman Empire Fortress to use their Phantom Ruby prototype to cancel out Infinite's artificial sun.
By the end of the war with the Eggman Empire, the Avatar had grown into an confident, humble, courageous and independent hero ready to make a difference on their own. In addition, thanks to their bond with Sonic, the Avatar had adopted a number of Sonic's traits, including his philosophy about continuing to move forward no matter what.
A noticeable trait about the Avatar is that they are almost completely mute, rarely uttering more than a few grunts, let alone full sentences.
Powers and abilities
The Avatar started out as an ordinary person with no special abilities (such as super speed or super strength) nor did they possess any combat skills. After joining the Resistance however, the Avatar slowly developed proficient skills as a fighter. In fact, near the end of the war with the Eggman Empire, the Avatar grew capable enough to single-handedly fight through an army of robots in Park Avenue and defeat the Death Crab all alone. Also, both Espio and the near-omnipotent Infinite would commend on the Avatar for their growing fighting prowess on different occasions.
After teaming up with the Resistance, the Avatar developed impressive physical skills, some of which vary depending on their species. These include the ability to run at speeds high enough to let them keep up with Sonic the Hedgehog. However, they were not as fast as Sonic, nor did they have the stamina to keep up with him for long before tiring. Besides speed, they also developed high agility, being able to dodge successive energy blasts from Infinite, and immense jumping skills that rival those of Sonic's. They also gained proficient grappling skills, being able to expertly use grappling gear to grapple on to overhead targets to reach high places or swing across large gaps. In fact, they are skillful enough with their grappling tool to use it to latch onto foes and pull themselves in for an attack similar to the Homing Attack, dodge attacks, make sharp turns at high speed, and safely tie up foes as large as a mass-produced Death Egg Robot.
After spending time with Sonic, the Avatar learned the Spin Attack, a technique where they curl into a concussive ball or cutting disk and direct themselves at their targets. With it, the Avatar can shred or burrow through just about any substance given enough speed and hit with enough force to pierce a mass-produced Death Egg Robot. They also learned how to envelope themselves in an energy field that lets them accelerate beyond the sound barrier on both the ground and in midair for a short time.
Equipment and weapons
The Avatar wears a wrist-mounted grappling hook which can detach its rope at command. The rope is both long and strong enough to tie up three mass-produced Death Egg Robots at once. They also carry around different types of Wispons, a series of customizable gadgets that can harness the power of Wisps and channel their respective Color Powers without causing the Avatar to transform.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog is the Avatar's partner. They met when Knuckles told them to rescue Sonic. When Infinite tried to intimidate the Avatar in Metropolis, they followed Sonic's advice that it was their great moment to shine. This inspired the Avatar to finally take a stance against Infinite instead of being afraid. Ultimately, the Avatar, along with Sonic, ended up being the champion that would end the war with the Eggman Empire.
The Avatar and Infinite have a personal connection, since Infinite was the one responsible for murdering their friends during one of his attacks, but spared the Avatar simply to satiate his sadistic nature by watching them flee in terror. They later met again in Metropolis, with Infinite trying to intimidate the Avatar; fortunately, because of words of encouragement from Sonic, they finally chose to fight Infinite instead of giving in to their fear. Infinite then tried to kill the Avatar, although due to the Avatar's possession of a Phantom Ruby prototype, they managed to evade the attack, leaving Infinite shocked before finally dismissing the Avatar and leaving them alone. Ultimately, the Avatar along with Sonic, ended up being Infinite's downfall.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (partner)
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Amy Rose
- Silver the Hedgehog
- Team Chaotix
- Team Dark
- Classic Sonic
In other media
All the Avatar's levels in Sonic Forces feature vocals with electronic, synth instrumentals and lyrics that describe the stage or the Avatar's thoughts, possibly to make up for the character's lack of true dialogue.
- "Fighting Onward" - Space Port
- "Nowhere to Run" - Prison Hall
- "Justice" - Park Avenue
- "Moonlight Battlefield" - Aqua Road
- "Virtual Enemies" - Capital City
- "Set in Motion" - Guardian Rock
- "Fading World" - Imperial Tower
- During cutscenes, the Avatar can be heard speaking. However, it is only in grunts.
- Due to the variable nature of the Avatar's appearance, none of the cutscenes in which they appear are pre-rendered.
- In the digital Pre-Order bonus theme on the PS4, the Avatar's name is listed as "Buddy".
- In the Steam Market, trading cards and profile backgrounds list the wolf, cat, and bird Avatars as "Buddy A", "Buddy B", and "Buddy C" respectively.
- The bird type Avatar in the promotional material wears a black T-shirt with teal arrows, but in the game itself, the T-shirt is purple.
- The Avatar is referred to as a "child" several times by Infinite and "kid" by Knuckles and Vector, implying they are meant to be quite young, though their age is never specified.
- Renaming "Buddy" to "Avatar" was suggested during the development by Aaron Webber.
- The wolf Avatar makes a brief cameo in the "Come Join the Eggman Empire!" propaganda video for Sonic Forces, where the character is implied to have asked whether they need clean air to live in reference to the massive amounts of air pollution from the Eggman Empire.
- Sonic Forces: Custom Hero Trailer. YouTube. Sega (16 May 2017). Retrieved on 16 May 2017.
- Sonic Forces OST - Park Avenue (Custom Character). YouTube. Sega (7 June 2017). Retrieved on 7 June 2017.
- Brian Shea (13 June 2017). Head Of Sonic Team Talks Introducing Custom Characters. Game Informer. Retrieved on 15 June 2017.
- Scibetta, Nicholas (16 June 2017). Interview: Takashi Iizuka and Shun Nakamura on the state of Sonic in 2017. Gamecrate. Retrieved on 19 June 2017.
- Shinkichi Tanahash (24 November 2017). 第2回 キャラクターパートリーダー 棚橋伸吉. Sonic Channel. Retrieved on 12 March 2020. "It was widely loved and the result of considering the distinction between races was decided, but in the process of reaching the decision, sketches of dozens of races such as raccoon dogs, squirrels, rats, pigs, lizards, etc. were drawn and examined. Was. In the last seat, three races of bear, dragon, and monkey competed, but as a result of the discussion, the bear won by ultimately trying to make it an easy-to-understand power race."
- Miranda Sanchez (21 September 2017). TGS 2017: Sonic Forces: Your Custom Character Can't Be as Cool as Sonic. IGN. Retrieved on 12 March 2020. "Yoshitaka Miura, and artist for Sonic Forces, said the team was also considerate of customization preferences for both the Japanese and western audiences. For instance, there’s no dragon character archetype because it may be too eastern and they wanted to prioritize more neutral animals. Very early on in development, Miura also said they also had to change some features, specifically eye shapes, that were deemed too cute or possibly make the characters look too juvenile for western audiences."
- Sonic Forces: Moment of Truth
- Sonic Team (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. "Infinite: I can taste your terror, child. All that anxiety and doubt... It's delicious. Give in to your fear. Flee, screaming, and I'll let you live."
- Sonic Team (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. "Infinite: I remember you. You ran from me before. You survived, but throw it all away now. Curious."
- Sonic Team (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. "Charmy: Not everyone is terrified. Isn't a new recruit joining us today? / Silver: Yes, a survivor from the city, right?"
- Sonic Team (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. "Knuckles: Eggman's forces have chewed through our defenses at Green Hill, and the resistance in the city is reporting that whatever it is that finished Sonic... Sorry, I'm still not used to saying that. Whatever it is has got them running in fear. All except for this brave kid who survived the battle and made it here in one piece. Meet our newest recruit."
- Sonic Team (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. Area/Level: World Map. "Vector: You sure about this? The kid was shaking like a leaf the whole time we were at the Death Egg."
- Sonic Team (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. "Tails: He said the Phantom Ruby prototypes only react to the person who activated it. That must be you, buddy! Your courage and heroism are probably what triggered it."
- Sonic Team (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. "Knuckles: What? You're leaving us? There are others who need your help? But OK, I'm not gonna stop you."
- Sonic Team (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. Area/Level: Ending sequence. "Sonic: Hey, you're taking off, too? I was thinking the same thing. You gonna keep moving forward? No matter what, yeah? Heh, you and I aren't so different."
- Sonic Forces - TGS 2017 Otakumode Interview (16:58). YouTube (23 September 2017). Retrieved on 24 December 2017. "Shun Nakamura (as translated by board's translator): Yeah of course, uh, a lot of the fan quirk and everything that's going on around the Sonic universe thought has inspired to make, uhm, a-a character creation, but all the arts we did, uh, for the game was made internally, and uhm... the idea behind the Avatar was that you're not going to the... you're not going to play the hero this time, you're going to play a normal citizen in the world of Sonic, which, uh, cannot, uhhh, blast at high speeds like Sonic does, so that's why we also created the Wispon system to give you a little power to compensate for the lack of speed Sonic would have, but... still allowing you to progress through the game and enjoy the adventure alongside Sonic."
- Sonic Team (7 November 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. Area/Level: City: Park Avenue. "Espio: Nice work! A fine display of skill. / Chamry: Wow, you really showed them who's boss. / Vector: Come on, how am I gonna top that?"
- Sonic Team (7 November 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. Area/Level: Metropolis: Vs. Infinite. "Infinite: You've put up quite a fight! I underestimated just how desperately the feeble cling to life."
- Sonic Team (7 November 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. Area/Level: City: Red Gate Bridge.
- Sonic Team (7 November 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. Area/Level: Eggman Empire Fortress: Vs. Death Egg Robot.
- Dornbush, Jonathon (16 May 2017). Sonic Forces Character Creation Feature Announced. IGN. Retrieved on 17 May 2017.
- Sonic Official - 14 - Hero Side Episode. YouTube. Sega (25 March 2017). Retrieved on 26 March 2017.
- Sonic Wars (Forces) Scirpt from 2016 (25 July 2018). Retrieved on 25 July 2018.
- Come Join the Eggman Empire!. YouTube. Sega (2 November 2017). Retrieved on 25 November 2019.