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Are they the same, or alter egos? Does "Eggman" refer to a specific persona with unique characteristics compared to "Dr. Robotnik"? Does the name change based on between the 3D/2D game perspective, or the game's region (Japan vs. US)? Does he ever assert a name preference, and does he accept or reject the Eggman nickname? They look the same—is there a reason why the Sonic series uses both names simultaneously?

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up vote 22 down vote accepted

They are different names for the same character. The Wikipedia article you linked has the explanation, sourced from the former head of Sonic Team, Yuji Naka:

"Robotnik" is the character's real name while "Eggman" is a "common name taken after his shape."

In various iterations of the franchise, they've chosen different names for him, with Robotnik being more of the English name, and Eggman the Japanese. However, since Sonic Adventure (1999) he tends to go by Doctor Eggman in both English and Japanese translations of his video game appearances.

As far as whether or not this is a preference, a teasing nickname, or just a localization hiccup, the character rarely remarks about his different names or his own preferences. However, as Jupotter points out, in Sonic Generations, Classic Tails refers to him as Dr. Robotnik, and he comments that nobody calls him that anymore. This would seem to indicate that he's at least aware of his different names.

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I'm not sure there's a single game where he's called Robotnik after SA 2. And Robotnik was such an awesome name! Also, IIRC, Eggman was a nickname in SA 1 (which he didn't accept) and he assumed it as his own name from SA 2 on, but it's been a while since I played –  Prinny Brocka May 2 '12 at 3:19
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He was also referred to as Dr. Robotnik in the animated series! –  Fluttershy May 2 '12 at 4:18
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AFAIK Eggman was the original JP name while Robotnik was the original ENG name. "The English instruction manual for his 1991 debut game Sonic the Hedgehog described the character's full name as "Doctor Ivo Robotnik"[3] while the original Japanese version's instruction manual for the same game called him "Doctor Eggman"." –  Pubby May 2 '12 at 4:33
    
There is also the scene from Sonic Generation where young Tails call him Dr Robotnik, and he answer that nobody call him that anymore. –  Jupotter May 2 '12 at 8:41
    
@Jupotter, added that to the answer. I was pretty sure there was at least one time when they brought it up, but man, I could not remember where or when :) –  agent86 May 2 '12 at 14:12
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Same Person different name. This name is Ivo Robotnik, he's called "Eggman" because of his shape. Really a nickname that's been with him since Sonic adventures.

I don't remember him having a preference or not liking the name "Eggman". He like some of the characters, does have alternate universe version of themselves. Like "Dr. Eggman Nega".

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At the risk of showing My Age and Geekiness... (Also My Awesome Memory.).

Just before, or as Sonic The Hedgehog was being released on the Megadrive, a Publication called, "Mean Machines Sega", (UK) had a pull out Comic. http://www.recalledcomics.com/SonicTheHedgehog1UKPromo.jpg

(Sonic The Comic didn't appear, for a couple of Years after that.).

In this pull out Comic, Sonic starts out as being Brown, (The Cobalt turs Him Blue... Why there's Cobolt involved in a Treadmill, I have no Idea,) in the explosion Doctor Kintobor turns evil for some Reason. -To be fair, it was a really flakey Story.

So, being His Polar opposite in a Flakey Story, (Much like the Kaleds became Daleks, for all of You WHOligans, out there,) KintoboR became RobotniK.

After typing, [Kintobor] into a search Engine, I have found this Image. I hope that it does not breech any Rules of posting.

Enjoy:

http://www.sonicstadium.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/STC8-Kintobor.jpg

So, based on that: His name is Robotnik. Although, I suspect that His original Name was Eggman.

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Is there any particular reason for the random initial caps on some words? It's making it hard to understand as I don't know which words are names and which are not... –  deutschZuid Apr 25 '13 at 22:27
    
I remember in the early 90s, this was the official backstory on Sega of America's website as well. –  Shinrai Apr 25 '13 at 23:02
    
"Ovi" means "egg" in Latin(ish). –  SevenSidedDie Sep 29 '13 at 17:47
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Ivo Robotnik and Eggman are actually one and the same. Check this link for references.

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They're actually different guys... who are the same guy:

  • Dr. Ivo Robotnik is a nemesis of Sonic's.
  • Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik is the alternate history version of the first Dr. Robotnik, who eventually crossed over to the main timeline to become a nemesis of Sonic's after the first one was finally defeated.

So, two different guys, but kind of also the same guy. But not.

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In a letter episode of sonic the hedgehog, Robotnik stated that Eggman was his great-grandfather. Eggman and Robotnik are two different people.

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You may be confusing the story of Prof. Robotnik, Eggman's grandfather. Please include sources if you have them, for clarification. –  Coronus Sep 29 '13 at 16:15
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Doctor Eggman seems to be a nickname that both he and the characters around him have accepted and use frequently.

However, Robotnik is his given surname.

In both the Japanese and American version of Sonic Adventure 2, Robotnik has a grandfather by the name of Gerald Robotnik.

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Robotnik is his real name I think that they call him Dr.Eggman is because of his oval belly but I don't get why Tails still calls him Robotnik.

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