NiGHTS is the protagonist of the NiGHTS into Dreams series, developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega. NiGHTS is a genderless first-level "Nightmaren" who lives in the dream world of Nightopia which takes shape according to the thoughts, ideas, personalities, and will of the Visitors (humans from the real world). As a Nightmaren however, NiGHTS' origin is henceforth the dark realm of Nightmare.
NiGHTS was one of the most powerful creations of Wizeman, a malevolent entity from NiGHTS' realm, and was meant to steal Ideya, the energy of dreams. However, NiGHTS was a remarkably mischievous free spirit who did not like taking orders, so Wizeman imprisoned them. NiGHTS subsequently rebelled and have allied themselves with Visitors to stop Wizeman from taking over the Dream World and eventually, the Waking World. However, their motivation is simply because they do not like Wizeman, and not because NiGHTS is inherently 'good'.
Because of their shared creators, NiGHTS has made multiple appearances within the Sonic the Hedgehog series, either as cameos or as a playable character.
Concept and creation
Naoto Oshima was the original NiGHTS designer and Kazuyuki Hoshino was the character designer for the video game Nights into Dreams.... By the time of its sequel, Nights: Journey of Dreams, Naoto Oshima had left Sega, and Kazuyuki Hoshino was placed in charge of character design for the game.Takashi Iizuka, the lead game designer, felt that, with Hoshino, they captured the style used for the character in the original game.
NiGHTS' personality is described by Iizuka as "a mirror of the child's personality." NiGHTS' speaking role in Journey of Dreams was performed by Julissa Aguirre, who gave the character an English accent. In addition, NiGHTS was made genderless, leaving the impression of the character "totally up to the player" so that both boys and girls could identify with the character, according to Iizuka.
NiGHTS wears a purple jester style hat and outfit, with a diamond-shaped red jewel on their chest (according to the mini-series release by Archie Comics, the diamond-shaped red jewel is really a shard of the red ideya of courage).
In Sonic Adventure, NiGHTS appears as a pinball game (along with a Sonic pinball game) which features elements from NiGHTS into Dreams. These cameos reappear in the Director's Cut version for the GameCube and PC. In the missions, NiGHTS' picture can be seen on a small billboard next to Tails' shop. NiGHTS themself can also be seen in person in the NiGHTS pinball game in Casinopolis. They appear to be floating over an Ideya Palace when Sonic loses his last ball.
In Sonic Shuffle, when the date on the Dreamcast is set to December 24, NiGHTS will make a cameo appearance, replacing Lumina as the guide, although the voice will still be Lumina's.
Sonic Adventure 2
In Sonic Adventure 2, NiGHTS makes multiple cameos. In the City Escape stage, billboards and posters depict advertisements for The NiGHTS Hotel, which can be seen in the skyline of Shadow's Radical Highway stage. NiGHTS also makes a cameo appearance as a Chao. The Neutral Fly Type Chao resembles NiGHTS, while the Dark Fly/Normal Type Chao resembles Reala, or an evil-looking NiGHTS. A Neutral Fly/Power Chao resembles Jackle, a boss from the first NiGHTS game.
Sonic Pinball Party
In Sonic Pinball Party, NiGHTS appears as a pinball game once again, featuring many elements from NiGHTS into Dreams. Sonic Pinball Party is the only game where NiGHTS actually interacts with Sonic, where NiGHTS helped Sonic free Amy and Tails from Dr. Eggman's hypnotism. NiGHTS is also a level two competitor in the Egg Cup Tournament.
In Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, NiGHTS appears as the flagperson who waves the checkered flag at the start and end of races. Steve Lycett of Sumo Digital said that NiGHTS could potentially become a DLC character if the game became successful. However, later that year, Sega announced that they no longer planned to include any downloadable content after the release of Metal Sonic and the Death Egg Zone track.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Due to popular demand to make NiGHTS a playable character in the first game, NiGHTS and Reala appear as playable characters in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. They appear as the vehicles while a Nightopian and a Nightmarian drive them, respectively. When the player gets a All-Star Move as either racer, they'll control NiGHTS or Reala for a limited time. A NiGHTS related race-track, Dream Valley, also appears in the game. Because NiGHTS is a playable racer in the game, Ristar replaces them as the flagman.
NiGHTS appears in the Nightmare Zone, where they help Sonic in escaping Wizeman's curse at the end of the zone by paralooping Reala (who was opening paraloop portals to Nightmare) and escorting him to the end of the level.
In Sonic Runners, NiGHTS appeared as an equippable Buddy during two of the promotional events for the game. When they were equipped, the music would change.
A costume of NiGHTS is unlockable in the game with the bonus edition of Sonic Forces.
NiGHTS behaves childishly and mischievously, never for a moment thinking of the consequences of their actions for example sometimes scaring people just for fun. However, they are playful in nature and NiGHTS' actions can mostly be considered chivalrous. An overly free spirit, NiGHTS detests being ordered around or restrained, and freely flies through the skies of Nightopia. NiGHTS is full of curiosity, and loves anything new or unusual.
Although NiGHTS does not have a strong sense of righteousness, they are unhappy about Wizeman's attempts to eliminate Nightopia. They also enjoy showing Visitors around and generally sees them not only as allies against Wizeman, but also as companions. Sometimes, when very relaxed, Nights will pull out an invisible flute and start playing.
NiGHTS is shown to be rather sympathetic toward some of their enemies, such as Reala, which is easily turned against them and cares greatly for the Visitors, even letting themselves get captured so they would not be harmed.
Powers and abilities
NiGHTS' main and most notable ability is flight, able to fly freely and gracefully through the air. Besides flying, NiGHTS shows various other abilities in both games. NiGHTS can create small portals called paraloops if they fly in a circle using their "twinkle dust", a bright substance emitting from their hands when they fly. NiGHTS is also able to spin to gain speed and hit enemies, this move is called the "Drill Dash", possible reference to Sonic's Spin Dash. In the first game, NiGHTS shows the ability to transform into a bobsled, an ability that was expanded upon in the sequel with the introduction of Persona Masks. Each mask allows NiGHTS to change forms and abilities accordingly, including those of a dragon for gust resistance, a rocket for acceleration and a dolphin for swimming. Along with the persona masks, NiGHTS is also able to transform into a boat and a roller coaster, as well as rolling up in a ball to roll down slides.NiGHTS has also been seen playing an "invisible" flute on numerous occasions, called the "Dream Flute", which plays "Dreams Dreams". NiGHTS can also be noted to have the ability "Acrobatics", which is when NiGHTS releases a yellow bright ribbion-like light from their hands and then does a frontward flip in the air.
NiGHTS is kind towards the children they encounter, helping all four of them to defeat Wizeman on two separate occasions. NiGHTS shows the children around different Dream Worlds and works together with them to dispatch numerous Nightmaren.
NiGHTS lives alongside Owl, a brown owl who acts as elder and guide. NiGHTS shows disrespect for Owl on a regular basis, but also shows a sort of friendship with the old bird. Owl often seems frustrated with NiGHTS' rambunctious behavior and occasionally lectures them, but to no avail.
NiGHTS shows a special distaste for Wizeman. NiGHTS was once loyal to Wizeman, but eventually began to view what Wizeman was doing as wrong and in need of being stopped. NiGHTS also wished to have free will, which Wizeman did not allow; NiGHTS therefore decided to rebel. Their hatred for each other is strong and neither show mercy in battle.
NiGHTS is glad to put a halt to Wizeman's plans, and has defeated Wizeman in combat twice. Any orders given to NiGHTS by Wizeman are in vain, as NiGHTS simply continues the rebellion against the creator of Nightmare. It should be noted that the reason that NiGHTS rebels against their master is not because NiGHTS is good and Wizeman is evil, but simply due to NiGHTS' extreme dislike for Wizeman and his ideas. He is also regarded as NiGHTS' "father".
NiGHTS' relationship with Reala appears complicated and they behave very much like rivals. NiGHTS seems to still hold Reala as a friend or at the least, a former one, while Reala pities NiGHTS for rebelling against Wizeman. Reala often plays on NiGHTS' mercy, using it as opportunity to imprison them. Reala sometimes refers to NiGHTS as a "sibling" and would later on nearly always will try to talk NiGHTS into surrendering before starting a fight.
In his review of Nights: Journey of Dreams, Kevin Vanord of GameSpot described the character as an "androgynous jester." Vanord said, "NiGHTS is smoothly animated", but said its "vocal personification [won't really be] everyone's cup of tea." Vanord wrote, "The jester is genderless...and the accompanying voice is, well, correspondingly confused. But whether you think NiGHTS sounds like a young woman or a young boy, it's a good fit for the character."
Referring to Nights into Dreams..., IGN said "Nights was essentially Sonic in the air..." The IGN review of Nights: Journey of Dreams called NiGHTS a "mysterious creature." The IGN reviewer noted, "strangely Nights and all other characters in Nightopia are from England?" but said the voice acting was "decent, if not a bit over-the-top." In the English version of the game, NiGHTS is voiced by American voice actress Julissa Aguirre.
NiGHTS's theme song is Dreams, Dreams, which is also the main theme of both NiGHTS games and they play an instrumental version on their Dream Flute.
Though NiGHTS is technically genderless, they are generally referred to as a 'boy' in the in-game dialogue to simplify the matter as referring to something as an "it" would be considered rude. Though they have a feminine-like tone to their voice, they were meant to sound like that of a child as the dreamers are children.
Despite Sonic having visited a dream realm in Sonic Shuffle, he did not encounter NiGHTS there, although NiGHTS can be found in the game as a cameo. An explanation might be that the world Sonic visited is Maginaryworld and NiGHTS resides in the Night Dimension known as Nightopia. It should also be noted that Lumina and Void bear heavy resemblance to NiGHTS.
The first time Sonic appeared in full 3D was in the Limited Edition Christmas NiGHTS, where he was an unlockable character in the "Sonic the Hedgehog: Into Dreams" minigame. In the minigame, Sonic is only playable in the Spring Valley stage, and the original game's Puffy boss is re-skinned to resemble Doctor Robotnik. The music is a slightly remixed version of "Final Fever", the final boss battle music from the Japanese and European version of Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
NiGHTS makes more appearances in Sonic's media than their own.
In Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, there is a Chao that appears to resemble NiGHTS. Another Chao resembles NiGHTS' rival, Reala, and a third one resembles a boss from NiGHTS into Dreams, Jackle.
NiGHTS' fifteenth anniversary takes place in the same year as Sonic's twentieth anniversary.
NiGHTS is considered to be one of SEGA's most popular characters, along with Sonic, Amigo and Billy Hatcher.
NiGHTS has made more cameo appearances in the Sonic franchise than any other non-Sonic related Sega character.
In Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, NiGHTS and Reala are the only characters who do not transform into plane form when using their All Star moves.