Yesterday at Anime Expo, SEGA hosted a special panel to promote the upcoming game Sonic x Shadow Generations, set for release on October 25, 2024. Voice actor Zeno Robinson, known for roles such as Hawks in “My Hero Academia” and Hunter in “The Owl House,” hosted the event. SEGA provided insights into the creation of Shadow, including his design process and motivations. Studio Giggex presented an exclusive preview of the animated prologue, “Sonic x Shadow Generations: Dark Beginnings,” which blends anime and Western animation styles.

The article covers the highlights of the presentation since there’s no official way to rewatch it online. Zeno Robinson introduced the panelists, including Takashi Iizuka, co-creator of Shadow the Hedgehog, and voice actor Kirk Thornton. The panelists shared their excitement about discussing Shadow, who debuted in Sonic Adventure 2 in 2001 and has since appeared in various games, comics, and animated series. Fans in the audience had been following the franchise for varying lengths of time, from one year to over 20 years. The panel covered Shadow’s history and upcoming projects, including Sonic x Shadow Generations and the animated prologue by Studio Giggex.

The speakers discussed Shadow’s creation, which began during the development of Sonic Adventure 2 in 1999. Inspired by American dark heroes like Spawn, the team conceptualized Shadow as a dark hero rather than Sonic’s rival. Takashi Iizuka clarified that Shadow was not inspired by Vegeta from Dragon Ball. Various designs were considered for Shadow, with one featuring a damaged eye being a favorite. Ultimately, they chose black and red as his theme colors, inspired by Kabuki face paint.

The panel revealed that the new game will include a character skin for Shadow called Terios, an early concept design that wasn’t used in the final product. Players will now have the opportunity to play as Terios. Shadow is described as a “dark hero” with motivations rooted in his deep connection to Maria, driving him to save the planet. The panelists were excited to share new insights into Shadow’s past and backstory in Sonic x Shadow Generations.

Originally inspired by Sonic Generations, which introduced various versions of Sonic, Sonic x Shadow Generations aims to delve into Shadow’s background. The speakers were enthusiastic about exploring Shadow’s story and revealing new facets of his character. Kirk Thornton, who has voiced Shadow for years, discussed his experiences and discoveries during the recording process, noting Shadow’s cool exterior that hides deeper emotions. The team decided to let some of that emotion show in the game, leading to a collaborative effort to explore Shadow’s history and mission in life.

The voice actors shared the intricacies of bringing their characters to life in the animation process, with many corrections and re-recordings to achieve perfection. Stephanie Sheh, voicing Maria, relied on guidance from the Sonic Team and voice director Jack Fletcher to find Maria’s voice, balancing emotional moments with her physical weakness. The panelists emphasized the level of care and attention given to the characters, which is not common in other video game recordings.

Kirk Thornton described Maria as Shadow’s “super objective” and the reason behind his actions, creating a protective bond between them. Stephanie related this to her experience of isolation and having a pet for companionship, describing Maria as Shadow’s moral center. Both actors appreciated the depth of their characters’ relationship and its significance to the story. The panel concluded with an exclusive preview of the animated prologue from Studio Giggex.

During the Q&A session, fans asked about Shadow’s preferences and relationships. One question addressed Shadow’s preference for coffee beans over Sonic’s chili dogs, to which the panelists humorously suggested he might enjoy a jalapeno popper with caviar. Another question touched on Shadow’s comment about Sonic being the ultimate life form during their battle in Sonic Adventure 2. The panelists explained that Shadow, who gets amnesia afterward, might not remember making the statement.

The discussion also covered the final battle against the Final Hazard, where Shadow contemplates if Sonic is the ultimate life form but decides against it. The panelists speculated on Shadow’s relaxing hobbies, suggesting he might practice Taichi or enjoy a beach vacation with Maria. They encouraged the audience to follow Sonic’s social channels, pre-order the game, and sign up for the newsletter for exclusive content. The panel ended with a group Chaos Control attempt, with the audience holding the Chaos Emeralds.

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