Alright, before I move onto stages themselves, I'd answer a few questions and begin putting up the chracter profiles, plot and descriptions as well as begin to flesh out the playable differences between characters. At this time, I would also like to announce that I am opening this design document to your outside assistance in the form of concept art. Those of you who don't know as much about game design may be shocked to find that games can call for literally thousands of pieces of concept art, some of which never makes a public appearance, some of which sets the tone for the games many ideas, and some that goes as far as to add new ideas that can be built into the game. I'm not an artist in the visual 'draw, paint, or sketch' category myself, the best I can do is straightforward 2D sketches, so at this point I am opening the call to SatLoA concept art. If you read through this and want to do your own design of what the Atlantian cityscape, levels, or characters may look like, feel free and post a link in the comments of the section that best applies to that art. If if gets a favorable response and fits the vision, I'll go through and begin putting it in the design doc itself (with permission of course). So those of you who have the artist itch. sharpen your pencils, ink your pen and get ready!
Sonic the Hedgehog:
For those wondering, since this is a "storybook" title, the cannon is loosely following the Sonic Adventure cannon and characters as opposed to the Genesis cannon. For those of you set to argue that one out, do it elsewhere.
Personality and History: Sonic is a free moving and fun loving hedgehog who just can't stay in one place for long. Imbued with the ability to run, jump, flip and move at extreme speeds, Sonic is always looking for the next new experience, believing that life should be free and every day should bring a new adventure, no matter how large or small. Because of his constant free spirit, Sonic has often clashed with the insane egotist known as Dr. Eggman, who's constant inane plots of world domination Sonic has consistently foiled through his speed and his hard edged determination to never, ever give up any fight, no matter the odds.
Although a free moving spirit at heart, Sonic has always taken the time to be there for his friends when needed and has been loyal to the very last, even if he's exchanged hard knocks with them in the past. His closest friend is the young fox Tails, who idolized Sonic when he was younger and followed him everywhere. As a result, Sonic sees Tails like a younger brother and tends to fill that role in Tails life, alternating between best friend and cocky older brother.
Interestingly enough, Sonic has never, ever learned to swim, much to the amusement of his friends. It might have something to do with the fact that he hates seafood, as he doesn't mind getting wet. Then again, since Sonic's usual response is to spindash along the bottom of any water (or across the surface) until he's out, maybe it has just never become an issue for him.
One of the eternal struggles of Sonic's life is that of his obsessed stalker, Amy Rose, a pink hedgehog determined to make him settle down and stop his journeys, or at least take her with him on all of them. While it is unknown what Sonic actually thinks of the ever hopefully obsessed Amy, the fact that he spends much of his time traveling and on the run from her would seem to bear the truth of "actions speak louder than words." This has only made Amy all the more determined however, and no one knows how long the game of cat and mouse will go on.
Game Plot: Sonic's goal in SatLoA is very straightforward. Stop the Chancellor, save Atlantis. Sonic is always up for a new adventure, and saving Atlantis is right up his alley. Unfortunately for him, this one may prove to be more then he ever bargained for, as enemies have become friends and friends have become enemies in this world. Most notable of all (and a conflict point for Sonic) is that in Atlantis, Tails is the master of the Atlantian air corp, working directly under the chancellor and doing his best to stop Sonic outright. This will be a central theme of Sonic's story, the idea that Sonic does not want to face someone that he views as a younger brother, but is going to be forced to in order to save Atlantis.
Play Style and moves: Sonic is going to be the "base" character that everyone will play as first and therefore will be the character that all others are measured against. But he needs to still be Sonic in design and execution. Sonic should be one of the fastest characters and have a pretty high jump.
Combat wise: Sonic's dash attack can be executed both in the air and on the ground, and should have a length equal to six body-lengths (or just enough to get him almost to the edge of the screen when he dashes). Combo wise, Sonic should be able to hit three, four times at the most before being countered by an opponent. Sonic's specials should revolve around mixing abilities we already have seen in prior games with the staff he uses here. For example, his aerial dash should be a homing attack that ends with an overhead staff attack. His special attacks should include attacks such as spinning jumps that lash an opponent with multiple staff hits, catching and throwing light opponents (no heavier) on the tip of his staff, or rapid, spinning combos. Sonic's dash will stop at the first opponent he comes to. In the event of an equally powered attack meeting one of his, Sonic will bounce off at an angle relative to the impact (this applies to dashes).
Time-Powers: Sonic does have access to time powers when using the staff and they may be applied to combat and non-combat situations. Current Power cocepts: Mid-air stop (use time to freeze momentarily while in the air, then resume movement), Time stop (use to freeze an enemy or a moving platform for a moment), rewind (rewind a gimmick, enemy or even the player for a half-seconds worth of time).
Special Note 1: Underwater swimming combat will behave in the same manner but be more in line with aerial manuvers.
Special Note 2: The player must learn many of Sonic's special attacks and combos by purchasing the necessary training from Knuckles in various levels and will not have them from the start. They will also gain new time powers as they beat levels.
Aqua Sonic Form: This is the one thing that sets Sonic apart from any other character, the Aqua form he gains thanks to Silvers powerful magic. When fully submersed in water, Sonic will change (instantly, no loads) into his Aquatic form, which will allow him to breath underwater as well as swim when desired. This allows the player to retain Sonic's speed and ability underwater as well as adds a new ability to effectively "fly" when underwater. Level design will need to be carefully structured so that the underwater areas do not allow game breaking jumping using the swim ability.
Physical Description (Normal Form): He's the Sonic we all know and love, and not much different. He should however, have a few design differences to show visually that this is Atlantis. The most obvious will be the staff of Chronos that he carries, but he should also prominently display the Aqua form amulet that Silver gave him. Perhaps on a bracer on one arm (Must be congruent with Aqua design)? The Staff of Chronos should be somewhat intricate, not to fancy, as it needs to function, but must look cool. Wood with gold colored designs maybe?
Animation Note: The staff should retract when spindashing, cutting it's length by half. This will keep it from clipping through objects.
Physical Description (Aqua Form): Sonic in the Aqua form is a lighter shade of blue in color and his body should be more streamlined then normal Sonic. his gloves and shoes should be gone (yay magic right?) as his hands and feet (especially feet) will be elongated and have webs that allow him to swim. He should also have fin ridges running the length of his forearms and lower legs. Don't thing fish, think dolphin or Zora. He should have a cool look still, even slightly streamlined and with the webs and fins. People should be able to look at a silhouette and immediately see Sonic.
That's all for Sonic, comment below!