Eggman Was Almost The Main Character Of The 'Sonic' Franchise
Unless you’ve been living in a bunker with no wifi or under a rock like Patrick Starfish for the past few years, you’ve heard of the Sonic character design debacle. When fans first got a glimpse at the objectively horrible face and body of Sonic, not quite human, not quite animal, they understandably freaked out. Even for a notoriously grouchy fan base like Sonic’s, it was an intense reaction. So intense that they delayed the movie and re-did the animation for the main character. What didn’t need changing was Eggman. He’s perfection incarnate. And he was almost the main character of the whole franchise.
In 1990, the video game industry was picking up steam and competing companies were moving rapidly to snap up market shares. Gotta go fast in business as they say. Sega execs knew they needed a mascot to rally their fans around, one that could compete with the Mickey Mouse of video games, aka Mario. They began a design and trial process for potential characters which could carry a franchise of their own and entice kids to buy lunch boxes, backpacks, pencil cases they would someday use to store their dorm room weed in, etc.
Originally at Sega, the most popular design internally was a blue rabbit with long, opposable ears. But when it came to gameplay, the designers weren’t happy with the character. Sega had an internal design competition to generate characters, and one of the designs that made it to the final round was a roly-poly older man wearing his pajamas. It makes sense to offer a mustachioed man with a heart of gold as a counter to Mario, but ultimately, it was a handful of random New Yorkers that decided the character's final design.
Artist Naoto Ohshima took sketches of the rest of the potential character designs to Central Park and stopped passersby, asking them what they thought. They could choose between the round mustache havin’ guy, a dog character, and a hedgehog. Overwhelmingly, they were drawn to the hedgehog. And the rest is history. The round Teddy Roosevelt looking man morphed into the series’ villain, Dr. Robotnik, aka Eggman. And we’re glad it did. Sonic rules and Eggman is the star of the greatest gay lovestory ever told.
For more chili dog loving Sonic info, check out the 4 weirdest moments in Sonic history.