The main nemesis of Sonic the Hedgehog is one who has gone by a couple names. In the earlier, Genesis-era games, he was mostly referred to as Dr. Ivo Robotnik. In the later games, he still retained this name, but was referred to often as Eggman or Dr. Eggman, obviously in reference to the shape of the villain. This may have been a bit confusing to some, but the reasoning behind the naming has finally been revealed.
Head of Sonic Team, Takashi Iizuka, recently sat down with Game Informer to answer some questions about the Sonic series and many of its characters. One of the questions was why Robotnik was called Eggman, and the response was amusing, if a bit unsurprising. According to Iizuka, the name has always been Eggman, but when the game was localized to the West, somebody on the team changed his name to Dr. Robotnik without consulting the development team. Obviously, it couldn't be taken back after the games became popular, so this was fixed in time by saying that Eggman is a nickname for the character, while Robotnik is his real name. Here's the quote:
When the game was originally developed in Japan, they called the character Eggman. That was the name of the character, but when the game got localized and ported into the Sonic the Hedgehog that we know in the West, they decided to, without confirming with the development team, change his name to Ivo Robotnik or just Robotnik. That's kind of when everyone first learned about the character. Of course, this was without consulting the people who made the game. They just kind of went off and did it. It became super popular and everyone in the West kind of learned about the character as Robotnik. That went on through the "classic" series in the Genesis/Mega Drive era, but as far as the developers are concerned - the ones who made the character and the leaders of what this character is doing next - we really didn't want to have anyone in the universe with two names. To us, he's Eggman, but in the rest of the world he's called Robotnik. We wanted to unify that into one name moving forward. This is something I actually did in the Sonic Adventure series. I made it so that we understand the character's name is Robotnik, but his nickname is Eggman, and as far as everyone is concerned in the world now, we're just going to call him Eggman as his official name.
What do you think? Do you call him Eggman, or Dr. Robotnik? Drop us a comment in the section below.
I still call him Robotnik.
I still never liked the name Eggman. It just doesn't sound threatening enough. Robotnik is a name that just inherently sounds nefarious, so it adds more to his persona, I think.
They may call him Eggman officially, but he'll always be Robotnik to me.
At first I was more of a robotnik fan but Eggman grew on me. Having the two names kind of works, cause you have his nefarious evil name, and then you have the name that the characters berate him with.
Whilst I feel the dev's pain in having someone just change their character's name like that, Robotnik is a far better name.
Robotnik makes much more sense because he's always creating different villain robots. I always assumed Sonic and his friends came up with Eggman as a way of making fun of him.
That's sad... Japanese shouldn't have integrated something someone imposed on them. But at least "as far as everyone in the world knows his official name is Eggman now". ^^
I always saw him as an egg in a flying egg cup, so when I learned its real name in an article, it made much more sense and since then I kept that name.
I'll always call him Eggman; by the time I got into Sonic games, they had basically already made that the main name.
I always knew him as Robotnik growing up with the Genesis games, Saturday morning cartoon show, and comic books. It really confused the heck out of me when they started calling him Eggman in later Sonic games, but it is kinda cool to know why they did it now. I would have preferred it if they stuck with Robotnik, but hey, what can you do.
This reminds me of the old Princess Toadstool/Peach and Megaman/Rockman playground arguments.
Changing it back to Eggman is like if Nintendo started releasing Pocket Monster games in America instead of calling them Pokemon.
As a kid i was even more confused.Because in the italian dub of AOSTH he was called Doctor Nik,in the games he was called Robotnik(the very different look of the cartoon version and the original version didn't help)and then he became Eggman.
In the Sonic Boom canon he's just Eggman,no Robotnik,so Sonic call him Egghead when he wants to mess with him,as shown here: https://youtu.be/3dm-AFKUmFw
Eggman is a terrible nickname and a worse actual name. He'll always be Robotnik to me. I refuse to call him Eggman.
"Dr. Eggman's Mean Bean Machine" doesn't sound as cool as "Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine".
It's funny because in the orginal Mega Drive games (well Sonic 1 -3), the main villian's name isn't even mentioned once. Only in the manuals.
Dr. Robotnik is such a better name anyway, but that might be because of the cartoons and later games calling him that.
What upsets me about now calling him Dr. Eggman would be like if Bowser was to be called Koopa (his Japanese name). It would be really sad (although the cartoon, he was called Koopa to add confusion).
When i was a kid i had somr tapes with a Sonic story. In the end Dr. Ivo Robotnik was a dragon (thats what the Dr. stands for) called Ovi Kintobor ( his name backwards).
That's my Sonic canon forever. No eggman!
I thought the reason was because "Nobody calls me that, anymore!"
Should have just called him Eggman from the very beginning. A very silly-billy move by the western side to change things without telling the original dev team. At least it's been fixed for a long time now.
I was expecting to read a new quote, but instead, all I read was the same information in a different way.
Actually it'd be more similar to if they changed Princess Toadstool's name to Japan's name Princess Peach.
I always preferred Eggman. He looks like one and puts "Egg" in the name of hundreds of machines, bases, and ships; so it makes more sense that way. He's a evil doctor who's obsessed with Eggs!
People who say that nonsense about his name being silly; may I direct your attention to a guy called "The Joker."
Robotnik is cool in its own right too; but it just reminds me of the Sonic SatAM and AoStH incarnations of the Doc. Both of which I don't really care for.
This news is 20 years old.
Localisation is as often an improvement on the original.
Although, they justified the name for Western audiences with the release of the original Sonic Adventure, solidified it further with Sonic Adventure 2 (which sort of retconned in the name "Robotnik" for the Japanese audience as well), and had since officially used "Dr. Eggman" as the character's name in English localisations onwards, I highly doubt those who grew up with the series will be able to fully accept the "Eggman" moniker, especially with the older games still using it, and not to mention that Archie Comics' writers phased in using both names in the Sonic the Hedgehog comics depending on the context, with the "Eggman" being pretty casually used.
Grew up with Robotnik, so he's still Robotnik to me. As others have stated, it is a better name.
Knew the guy through the Advance trilogy. Eggman for life!
It just doesn't make sense to me why he'd call himself Eggman - it makes much more sense for him to be called Robotnik and Eggman be a derogatory name that Sonic and Tails call him, because he looks like an egg. At least that's the way I always saw it.
I knew this story, but before I did I thought "Eggman" was an insult that Sonic used to take the Mickey. If you have ever played Sonic Adventure he does say his name is Dr Robotnik, and sonic just laughs and says something like "yeah whatever Eggman"
I always preferred Eggman.
I tend to like characters with multiple names especially some that were once name differently:
Jumpman = Mario
Donkey Kong Snr. = Cranky Kong
Princess Toadstool = Princess Peach
King Koopa = Bowser Koopa
Dr. Robotnik = Dr. Eggman
Sub-Zero = Bi-Han, Kuai-Liang
Scorpion = Master Husashi
Ganon = Ganondorf
Marin = Malon
Tarin = Talon
Ultros = Orthros
Chupon = Typhon
Gojira = Godzilla
Paul = Ralf Jones (Ikari Warriors)
Vince = Clark Still (Ikari Warriors)
Charlie = Nash (he now used this name in Street Fighter V in all regions and the movie)
Black = Rolento (Final Fight, Street Fighter Alpha 2)
Katana = Sodom (Final Fight, Street Fighter Alpha 2)
Andore = Hugo (Final Fight, Street Fighter III)
Knack the Weasel = Fang the Sniper
Wart = Mamu (Super Mario Bros. 2 / Dream Factory: Doki Doki Panic, Link's Awakening DX)
Rayden = Raiden (same name, spell differently)
I remember in the comics that Dr. Robotnik died. So according to comic that another Dr. Robotnik came from another world they werent the same. So they named him eggman. That why i always believed he was. Oh well.
I just call him 'Ivo', or sometimes 'darling'.
It's kind of annoying to me that some people refuse to call him his actual name. I feel bad for the devs that had to deal with this problem that some stupid westerners started.
And btw, Robotnik is not a better name. That's just your opinion.
@RadioShadow Right. Manuals were important back then but if the original games had text (they only had menus and level names) we would have doubts. Plus, he was Robotnik in the cartoons. We were more confused about Bowser/Koopa because he was Bowser in Super Mario World and Koopa in the cartoons, while Peach was just Princess Toadstool in Super Mario World.
By the way, I wish that Sonic and his friends did not talk as much as in recent games.
If the Robotnik name became popular enough to be remembered so well, why let your pride get in the way of allowing it to just be?
Insisting on calling him Eggman probably alienated even more Western Sonic fans.
For goodness sake, don't look a gift horse in the mouth- it's business 101.
Robotnik is a better name, sorry dude
Never having been so invested in the Sonic-verses, I was aware of "Robotnik", but I can't tell in what proximity of that awareness "Eggman" was normalized to me. Guess they just had both floated into mind, so I'm cool with either. I like the idea of a mad genius branding his ambitions with the Egg-y monikers (and mockers, as duly derided for the sometimes literal lunacy?), with Robitnik brought out for particularly personal – even volitile – stakes. Like Ratigan between jovial headman and unhinged force a' nature.
I'll always call him Robotnik, regardless of whatever SEGA says. Eggman sound like an insulting nickname that Sonic uses to get on his nerves.
@DrVollKornBrot tapes?? I must hear these tapes.
I don't think there's a country where the name is more popular than in mine (Croatia), so I always dug him being called Ivo. Robotnik is cool too, certainly better than Eggman.
Here's an excerpt from the Sonic wiki about the naming: "The name Dr. Ivo Robotnik was invented by Dean Sitton for the original Sonic the Hedgehog English instruction manual. The first name 'Ivo' was picked primarily because of the phonetic similarity to the word 'evil' (some drafts of the unpublished Sonic Bible also specify that it should be pronounced "ee-vo", rather than "eye-vo") but also because Sitton's sister at the time had a boyfriend from Croatia named Ivo. In addition, Ivo is the reverse of ovi, which is the genitive singular form of the Latin word ovum, meaning egg."
Capcom did something similar with a Street Fighter character
in the west he was called Akuma, in Japan Goki. Capcom decided both names would be canon. Goki being his birth/human name and Akuma being his new identity as a master.
"Hey look, it's a giant talking egg!"
I'll still call dr.robotnik
The first Sonic game I played was Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (which I got as a launch title for my GameCube) so I only really knew him as Eggman. But I get people's anger about this matter as I am very finicky about localization names, voices and such myself.
I lived with old and new names for characters. While embracing "Peach" over "Toadstool" felt natural, so was "Ivo Robotnik" over "Eggman". Eggman doesn't sound like a name at all.
Mario was called "Jumpman" when he didn't need a name at all, but when he did, they gave him a normal human name.
@RadioShadow >It's funny because in the orginal Mega Drive games (well Sonic 1 -3), the main villian's name isn't even mentioned once. Only in the manuals.
That's one of the reasons that I liking collecting the manuals for older titles. In addition to the artwork and gameplay controls, they often had story information that simply wasn't present anywhere else.
Now of course nowadays we do have the Internet for that, but I feel they're a lot less complete without them, more so than modern games.
He'll always be Robotnik to me, but I occasionally slip up and call him Eggman. Sorry Japanese devs, Robotnik and his evil robot army just have that cooler and more villainous sound than Eggman and his...eggs.
Nothing wrong with the name eggman. He's egg-shaped after all!
@Bass_X0 Well how 'bout King Koopa and Princess Toadstool? Nintendo ain't above that either
Not really anything new. This was confirmed years ago. I've always prefered Robotnik, because I think it sounds more menacing. Eggman always sounded silly to me.
I still remember the origins comic that introduced Dr. Kintobor and his experiments that turned Sonic blue, and turned him into Robotnik. Nice to see that his real name really is Eggman, though.
The only question remaining is, where is the walrus?
I always thought there was some marketing behind the decision to change Robotnik to Eggman: Russia is a huge market and have a villain name that sounds distinctly Russian, while it may have flown in the 90s, is probably not great for business now…
@TheDavyStar King Koopa is a title, not a name. Bowser is King of the Koopas. We just didn't get his name here until later. Also, Peach is just her first name, she still is Princess Toadstool, and she was called Peach since the beginning in Japan. It just took a while until it finally was put in a western game . It first appeared in SM64. She is Princess Peach Toadstool.
They weren't name changes, we just didn't get complete names in the west.
@RadioShadow call it puyo puyo pop? XD
@Bobb he reason mario's name became that was a honour, they could still call him jump man if circumstances where different. just like kirby. Dr eggman was always called that in japan, the west even altered sonic's original game desgin ideas too.
@Hinaru77 Yeah, that is true in the comics, but the comics have their own canon.
For the games, he was always Dr. Robotnik, and then in Sonic Adventure, the nickname Eggman sticks, becoming Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik. If the comics were to be believed, then his original name is Julian Kintobor. But that was never mentioned once in a single Sonic game.
Edit When I say always in the games, I meant the English Games.
I actually figured this out a long time ago when I became versed in the odd world of localization. On a slightly different note, what I do wonder though, and I'm sure I can find the answer, is whether Princess Peach has always been that and Princess Toadstool was a localization change, or did Nintendo just simply change her name over time. Similar to Eggman, I think Nintendo unofficially married her name together into Princess Peach Toadstool, but I could be wrong.
It's always been Dr. Eggman to me, since I grew up with Modern Sonic. I don't mind the name Robotnik though; it sounds really cool, imo.
But he says it himself — he's the Eggman, and if you ask him again he'll tell you the same!
In any case, I like both names but prefer calling him Dr. Eggman. I like the idea that his true name is Ivo Robotnik but Eggman was a nickname that he goes by.
I like Robotnik better than Eggman simply because it tells what his specialty is unlike Eggman.
Clearly this was a nefarious plot by Dr. Robotnik to cause controversy and chaos while he steals the world's animal population and turns them into robots!!
YOU'LL NEVER GET AWAY WITH THIS, ROBOTNIK!!
Will always be Robotnik to me.
Didn't we already know this? Or was that only speculation that has now been officially confirmed?
Anyway, I grew up with the Genesis games and the various 90's cartoon series, so he'll always be Robotnik to me (which I think is a better name, anyway), but I understand why they combined the names, which was probably the best way the could've handled it, likewise in the very similar situation with Princess Peach Toadstool.
@Bass_X0 They're still called Pokémon in Japan. It's just that the full name of Pocket Monsters is written on some of their merchandise.
@Floof_Cat @Knuckles Yeah, I've seen that comic (which also explained why there were only 6 Chaos Emeralds in the first game), but it became pretty much non-canon once "Sonic Adventure 2" established that his grandfather also had the surname of Robotnik.
@Knuckles oh ok. I played most of the sonic games so i noticed that change but people are so used to calling him either name. But at least that was a goos reason in the comics. Lol
I had a SNES growing up but was a huge fan of Sonic (because of the SATAM show), so to me he'll always be Robotnik
I grew up with Sonic, but I still see Eggman as kind of a nickname or title. I prefer the name Eggman, and I always call him that, but I still think of his official name being Dr. Ivo Robotnik. I blame the Adventures of Sonic. That and Mama Robitnik. lol
I prefer the name Eggman so I can make a bunch of Eggcellent puns.
I will ALWAYS prefer Robotnik.
"I HATE THAT HEDGEHOG!!!"
I know this won't be a popular opinion, but I definitely prefer Eggman. This news isn't really 'new' either; this information that his name was ALWAYS Eggman and not Robotnik has been around for a long time. He'll always be Eggman to me, though I will mention/reference the name 'Robotnik' at times. Mostly referring to Professor Gerald though.
I don't think Robotnik is a bad name, per se, I just don't think it works for the series nearly as well. And puns, of course.
Quick Edit: I will make an exception for the old animated SatAM series (and Underground, though it isn't too popular). THAT version off the character will always be Robotnik to me, too.
I mostly say Robotnik, but I always remember the Eggman name. I've known about it for a long time to, not sure where I heard of the Eggman name, I guess maybe a magazine or friend told me back then. I'd kind of mix it in the name sometime, like Robotnik Eggman, ha ha.
I don't care what people say to me dr robotnik will always be a planet.
I remember my friends and I thinking that Dr. Eggman was the grandson and Dr. Robotnik was the grandfather in Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.
Robotnik is a way better name. Eggman is weak - Robotnik sounds awesome and evil. He's lost a lot since the Genisis days... In the early games he came across as a very serious villain - smart and powerful. Nowadays he comes across as bumbling...
And the Genesis days were when he wore polka-dotted underwear!
To me he will always be Dr. Ivo Robotnik. Of course my headcanon also says his estranged brother is Dr. Neo Cortex so I'm a bad judge of character.
Reminds me of how "Princess Toadstool" simply became "Peach"
ALL I can think of is this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=177z7_mEt5s&ab_channel=mrzzdicaprio
Everyone here in the comments saying “Eggman is a worse name, Robotnik is more nefarious” is missing the entire point of the name. He was NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE INTIMIDATING. That’s why they made him fat to begin with. He’s supposed to be a joke, which is why they called him Eggman. What I’d like to know is why his name ever became “Ivo Robotnik” in the first place. The “Robotnik” part is obviously in reference to his obsession with building robots, but where did the “Ivo” part come from?
The name Dr. Ivo Robotnik made sense to me. He was the Soviet/Russian scientist enemy, dating back to the Cold War.
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