The Sonic the Hedgehog Continuity Thread of Love and Timelines

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by dredd, Jul 6, 2020.

Where do you stand on the split timeline?

  1. Makes sense

    19 vote(s)
    24.4%
  2. I hate it

    29 vote(s)
    37.2%
  3. It's alternate dimensions, not split timelines

    9 vote(s)
    11.5%
  4. Doesn't matter either way

    21 vote(s)
    26.9%
  1. While many of the Sonic games had some degree of flawed writing consistency even from the Genesis era (Hello, faster-than-Sonic Eggman!), from what I've seen the big continuity snarl (Other than Sonic 06, which un-did it's own story anyway) was "Sonic Forces", a game where characters from previous "modern" games (Or, when you consider episode Shadow, Infinite in the main game himself) acted in ways they clearly would not have had in previous entries in order to justify what the next plot development was.
    Most of the other game entries, even if they were lore-breaking like Lost World, had the wrong tone/atmosphere like Unleashed and Colors, or ignored previously-established character traits like Heroes (loner Knuckles who doesn't trust Sonic? Yeah, forget that. Also the entire Chaotix character profiles retcon.), weren't nearly as glaring about it (Let's face it, you probably didn't really care that Knuckles and Sonic were teaming up right off the bat...), or attempted to justify it in the gameplay mechanics (... or that Lost World suddenly takes place in a setting where everything is planetoids)- things which were not adequately done to any degree in Sonic Forces, a game that tried to pander to fanservice when it didn't actually understand what people liked about the very fanservicey material they were trying to make.

    It'd probably be too simplistic a solution to say "Just ignore Forces", although I suppose Sega can somehow manage to screw things up while still technically fulfilling that suggestion.
    I think ultimately the big problem is that clearly there's no real "Sonic bible" anymore; Iizuka clearly just makes up the lore as he goes along and changes it when it doesn't suit what he wants to do next, to the point where he's lost concern for any sense of consistency.
    He has very few apparent hard rules outside of "Classic Sonic doesn't speak", "Classic Sonic music can't actually sound authentically retro", "There must be guitar riffs in music associated with Modern Sonic" and "Even when we promise Sonic is the only playable character, we have to keep adding new characters to a Sonic game's character roster."
    For Sonic writing to maintain any sort of consistency, a bible like that, with at least SOME hard rules, must be maintained. It doesn't have to be as specific or as weird as the western Sonic bible we've previously come across, but it at least needs to say "This is what Tails' personality and skills are, and how he'd act in various situations", "Here's some stuff Shadow would NEVER do no matter how edgy you want him to be", and "Here are all the possible motivations for Knuckles to get involved in a story, as well as who's side he'd be on in association with those", and probably also "Here's some elements that could be in a comedic episode or a serious episode, but not both."
     
  2. Gestalt

    Gestalt

    Sphinx in Chains Member
    By making a 10/10 uberhit game which lets you gladly forget all this continuity fuckery. Rebooting Sonic '06, maybe?
     
  3. Josh

    Josh

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    I don't even think it's a cynical take. This reminds me of something a friend of mine said a few weeks ago.

    [​IMG]

    Splitting the franchise into "classic" and "modern," making the two of them separate characters in SOME way (whether chronologically or through different canons) is only really to the benefit of Classic Sonic. Hell, regardless of quality, that's what allows him to exist as a concept in-canon.

    However, this same split is probably to the DETRIMENT of modern, because 2D Sonic games have always been more consistent, and garnered more widespread recognition and respect. That does not, of course, mean that every 3D game was bad, but 2D Sonic games were the catalyst for Sega turning the industry on its head, and they always tended to resonate with a wider audience.

    I think that's why most of the people I see arguing that "Sonic should just be Sonic," seem to _be_ 3D fans first and foremost. They don't want their preferred "version" of the character/universe to be separated from the credibility, consistency, reverence, and LEGACY of the Genesis series, and I'm sure plenty of them worry that if Classic Sonic gains TOO much influence, we might simply stop getting ANY 3D Sonic games.

    However, many fans OF the old-school style would prefer to separate THEIR preferred Sonic, the one that actually rivaled Mario, the one that made Sega a household name, from the last 20 years of inconsistency. Post-Adventure ALWAYS felt like a split, critically, tonally, in so many ways. So to see the brand ACTUALLY recapture the magic of the Sonic that changed the gaming industry... this is what they've always wanted, and ever since Mania, it's felt like that magic is finally back. They don't want to LOSE that, and this is equally understandable.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
  4. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    The reason I call it cynical is because, well...I really hate that I've reached this point with Modern Sonic. I hate that I feel apathy towards it. I hate that I have to take this franchise, something that made me who I am today, and throw large chunks of it in the garbage. It's entirely Sega's fault for mishandling the franchise to such a degree, but I still don't like feeling this way. I've literally been playing Classic Sonic since I was old enough to form long-term memories (born Nov '87) and I wish I could still feel the same way about it now, instead of just this tiny portion of the franchise.
     
  5. Darth Taco

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    I really don't get what you guys are saying. It might make sense for the idea of what the split was, but what has it actually done for us? Mania is the only new "classic series" game we've gotten and it has been directly tied to a "modern series" game within itself, and the new "modern series" game that came with it has "classic sonic" from Mania himself literally appear. It's not like this "classic series" is a clean slate. Mania is associated with new 'main' games almost as much if not just as much as any other Sonic game. It also already has continuity problems because Encore Mode and Mania Adventures directly contradict each other.

    If there was a new "classic series" game, how do you know it wouldn't have a totally new developer or be controlled by the publisher the same way the rest of sonic is? Mania was a bigger success than they thought it'd be, do you really think they'd get a team of indie devs to make a new game in that series again?
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
  6. dredd

    dredd

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    Personally, I think Iizuka should retire and make way for new talent. While he has been involved in some of the most acclaimed Sonic games, even the original creators can't pump out gold forever. They run the risk of losing their touch as time goes on.
     
  7. Ralakimus

    Ralakimus

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    Just delete it all, it's all a fockin' mess.
     
  8. SpeedStarTMQ

    SpeedStarTMQ

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    But wouldn’t you rather the games weren’t split in to classic and modern, but just 2D and 3D? The current take reinforces the notion that Classic = 2D and Modern = 3D when in fact they’re just styles of character that really don’t need to be differentiated, seeing as they also tried really hard to make Sonic Lost World look like Sonic 1 & 2.

    They really do just need to do a soft reboot. Keep everything that happened before but draw a line under it and say that from now on there will be games of both styles using the same Sonic: a hybrid style of both, like the Nendoroid Sonic.

    This way they can provide us with a mix of locations and styles adhering to both gameplay styles without alienating fans of either. Games like Sonic Advance 1 & 2 handle this type of style tremendously and with people like Taxman and Stealth now in the mix it could lead to something truly wonderful. Imagine playing a Sonic Generations style 2D Sonic game but with original physics and classic level design? We’ve had Mania now to satisfy our need for pixels and there’d be nothing wrong with having a 2D pixel game again in future either if they did decide to make a 2D game with 3D assets. They can co-exist at the same time, just like 3D and 2D can co-exist.
     
  9. big smile

    big smile

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    A lot of requests for a reboot seem born out of a desire to clear away bad games, rather than for any storytelling purpose.

    Which doesn't make a lot of sense, because most of these bad games are unlikely to be every referenced again (outside of easter eggs). So they have already been cleaned away.

    Plus, bad games like Sonic 2006 transcended time. It's over a decade old, and people still crack jokes about it. It will live on even after a reboot.

    Also, we did get a reboot with Sonic Boom and we saw how that turned out, so it's not like a reboot is guaranteed to be a fresh start for the franchise.

    If the continuity was some horrible mess that was making it hard to follow the plot of new games, then that's when a reboot would make sense. That's why comic books often have reboots, because the storylines get too complicated for new readers to follow.

    But now that each new game is effectively standalone, all the messes of the past have been cordoned off in the past, so a reboot doesn't actually achieve anything.

    In fact, one of the few nice things about the stories of modern games is that they do have little Easter Egg references to past games (such as Sonic mentioning genies in Generations, or the dialogue between Tails, Blaze and Silver in Colours which was a wink to Sonic 2006), so if you did a reboot, you'd be tossing that away.
     
  10. RDNexus

    RDNexus

    Member
    My peeve with Sonic Games, more than gameplay, is precisely about storytelling and continuity.
    I yearn for a reboot, yes, but more on those grounds. Restart the storyline from scratch, paying attention to the relevant characters, their original backgrounds and the stories that worked well in the games.
    No need for reboots the kind of Sonic Boom, just stick to the original continuity, but in a better and more concise way.
     
  11. SpeedStarTMQ

    SpeedStarTMQ

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    I think the term reboot is being taken too literally here: my use of the term reboot is to simply start what would be the ‘next phase’ of Sonic.

    Liken it to the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Endgame. It’s not ignoring or wiping out anything that happened before and it can still reference past events and whatnot, but it’s a new slate for upcoming games. For Sonic, it would be to follow a clearer narrative, more consistent gameplay and artistic style, for both 2D and 3D, removing the rubbish like separation of The ‘Classic’ and ‘Modern’ entirely, which currently is a band aid to fix the issue of Modern Sonic not being universally popular.
     
  12. Jason

    Jason

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    I'd have them make a game that takes place when Sonic and pals leave Earth and go back to not-Mobius. Also name their planet. Dancing around the issue is annoying, it would take the headache out of where all the people went.
     
  13. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    I'm actually OK with Sonic living on Eart- PUT THE PITCHFORKS AWAY AND LET ME FINISH.

    Sorry, couldn't help myself.

    I'm actually OK with Sonic living on Earth with some rules. The surreal environments are what makes Sonic's World, not the name. While in the West the classic trilogy happened on an unnamed world, and Expanded Universe writers (TV shows, comics, etc) chose to call it Mobius, in Japan the classic trilogy took place on Earth, and there was no harm in that. IMO Sonic should take place on Earth in the same way Dragon Ball does: it's a planet called Earth, but it's demonstrably not our Earth.
     
  14. SpeedStarTMQ

    SpeedStarTMQ

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    I feel like the people thing is a non-issue.

    We didn’t need to see humans populate the buildings in Sonic 1 or 2, and we don’t need to see them until a plot point specifically makes this important. We can have a mix of humans and anthropomorphic animals without needing to go in to detail, just like Dragon Ball. Funny that parallels to Dragon Ball have been drawn three times in this topic so far.
     
  15. Gestalt

    Gestalt

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    We need to make up our minds. Do fans want an explanation for everything or a 10/10 video game that gives us a feeling of "This is as good as it gets"? The way I see it, both. In order to achieve this they would need to hit the right balance between fanservice and new elements that don't feel shoehorned in. Methinks that this alone takes a lot of time and effort. Not only that, but you're also running the risk of wasting a lot of potential for the sake of nostalgia-driven ideas. Continuity means restriction. Classic Sonic is Modern Sonic's alter ego and vice versa. That's one way to look at it.

    Who's the real Sonic, then? :tinfoil:
     
  16. SpeedStarTMQ

    SpeedStarTMQ

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    Both! One in the past and one in the present - they just need to merge the two together and move forward.
     
  17. Palas

    Palas

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    Just reboot the whole thing, make it a new series, place elements from previous series in a new context. Sonic is pretty much at comics-level clusterfuck at this point. Who cares.

    The thing, though, is identifying which roles need to exist. For instance - you really have to do pick one amongst humans, flickies or wisps and just completely forget about the other two. They all play the same role -- commodity folk you treat as a group rather than picking individuals and giving them stories. They're the world's minions, so to speak, and I believe they're important. And it's important to there be only one.

    Chao serve a similar purpose, but I do think they have a very specific and great reason to exist. They're attached to the whole Master Emerald and whatever higher power there is in this universe. They can stay regardless.

    As for characters, well. Sonic can only have so many rivals, and setting clear themes to write about is more important than bring back this or that character. Is the story about emeralds, a higher power, tradition vs. progress etc.? Bring in Knuckles. Is the story about speed, nature vs. machinery etc.? Bring in Metal Sonic. Is the story about... whatever Shadow can bring? Bring in Shadow.

    There's no point to talk about continuity with a single game. It's a long term project that we're talking about here. Not everything has to be done at once.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
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  18. SystemsReady

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    Classic/Modern isn't a split. They're just two different art styles. S3&K goes into Mania and then in the distant future goes to Adventure (Eggman has to come from somewhere, it makes sense that there are other people somewhere, just not where Sonic often is). Rush is canon and Silver is a rando. Chao are omnipresent. Wisps can stay too. SA1 is the last main series game whose plot stays relatively intact, and everything else gets nuked.
     
  19. Gestalt

    Gestalt

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    But that's impossible! By that logic, everything is canon. :V

    LMAO How many times have you heard these exact words?

    Curse you, SEGA!
     
  20. Pengi

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    I agree. Even Sonic Unleashed before it was very light on continuity.

    Sonic Team have, a few times along the way, introduced a new character or idea in an inconsistent or contradictory manner (Eggman Nega in Rush vs Rivals, for example). The Sonic Team approach to fixing continuity is not to explain the contradiction, but to pick one and stick with it going forward. Essentially, the most recent version is the correct version, and that's usually the version that best serves a long-term status quo. (Should Infinite ever return, I'm sure he'll be dealt with in a manner that leaves him with a static status quo, even if it doesn't quite mesh with Sonic Forces.) So the contradictions are there if you look at previous games, but don't really affect future games.

    If there is one thing that truly does beg an explanation, it's the Human World/Sonic World divide. Even if they don't explain the "combined world" of Sonic Adventure, they could at least give some context for how the two worlds connect and how characters travel between them. But that wouldn't be particularly relevant until they decide to make another game set in a human world. And really, I think we all know that if an explanation ever comes, the answer will be "it's like in Sonic X" - and that probably is the best way of explaining it.