So, I ran across this post (written by one of the Overclocked devs, actually!), which postulates a reason for why Forces' story was so messy. I'll quote most of it below: This also means that Classic Sonic was ALWAYS going to be part of the game, even before Mania existed. He wasn't thrown in at the 11th hour in an attempt to tie the two games together for cross-promotion. That he was part of the game that early and STILL gets so little focus that he feels shoehorned in to many players is quite an indictment. But TL;DR, the kicker of this whole thing: "They wrote an entire backstory for a character 4 to 5 months before release and didn't bother to change anything in the main script to account for the changes made in the DLC." It seems they also threw in a six-month time skip at some point late in development, opening up room for some of the game's biggest plot holes. (Sonic being "tortured," Tails "losing it," etc.) Between that, and Episode Shadow completely changing who Infinite WAS, it's no wonder the story can't keep its head on straight. And maybe it's old news, but I also hadn't heard that Forces had new writers: Makoto Goya and Eitaro Toyoda.