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)
    24.7%
  2. I hate it

    28 vote(s)
    36.4%
  3. It's alternate dimensions, not split timelines

    9 vote(s)
    11.7%
  4. Doesn't matter either way

    21 vote(s)
    27.3%
  1. laughing_sun

    laughing_sun

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    There is a Classic Green Hill Zone, an Earth Green Hill Zone and a Modern Green Hill Zone. Not sure what makes Seaside Hill special.
     
  2. Pengi

    Pengi

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    The cut-scene of Eggman using his machine to track Metal Sonic's location on Little Planet implies that's where he was last seen.

    Why would the destroyed Chaotix version be on Little Planet?

    There's no explanation that completely makes sense. The second one could be the version that was destroyed in Sonic Generations. Time doesn't flow normally in White Space and time doesn't flow normally on Little Planet. Sonic CD's Metal Sonic was destroyed in Stardust Speedway's Good Future (in order for the good ending to happen) and Generations' Metal Sonic was destroyed in Stardust Speedway's Bad Future.

    The most recent interpretation takes precedence for what is considered current continuity.

    The Chaotix manual writers couldn't anticipate Sonic 4 and Sonic Mania. The Sonic Mania Introduction Manual writers chose not to mention the events of Chaotix, Sonic 3D, Sonic the Fighters or Sonic R, and treat Sonic 3 & Knuckles as the most recent adventure. The Sonic Mania Plus art book writers chose to mention the events of the SegaSonic arcade game and chose not to mention the events of Chaotix.

    This, like anything else, could change with a future game. But currently it's the most definitive thing we have to go on about where Sonic Mania fits into continuity.
     
  3. laughing_sun

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    I agree, in the sense, that typically a managed brand will take into consideration the more recent story material when creating new story material. But. But. But, we know that isn't even true for Sonic. Case in-point, Sonic Generations versus Sonic Forces on the topic of what Classic Sonic is.

    Here is the other thing. We aren't really doing that in this topic. We are constructing timelines. Timelines that include ABANDONED MATERIALS. Timelines that include retcons that change the nature the original materials are perceived, retcons that have no respect for the original writing and the original ideas. We have a current "continuity" that is defined primarily by meta-brand identity rather than in-universe storytelling. So the moment we try and piece together this so-called "timeline" in any sort of serious analysis, we are already going way beyond the scope of what is "canon." Because Sonic Team doesn't care. So if what we are tying to do is replicate the "canon" in the sense of "the material that Sonic Team will use for future projects" then that is kind of a fools errand. They've already shown that they will change everything and anything at any point in time with zero respect to the original material. So to strictly follow the Sonic Team canon in this sense, is to basically just allow ourselves to be led by the nose with each new Sonic game because who knows what lore-shattering change is coming next?

    So, if we are really trying to put together a "canon" timeline of in-universe events that we expect to be respected and referenced in future titles...I think that goes something like this:

    upload_2020-9-30_10-10-23.png

    But that's just a guess and could change at any point. Looks pretty empty to me. But also pretty accurate. Everything in red by the way, is something that is referenced, but also retconned so that the original material as released is not respected. I don't know, not really as interesting of an exercise to me. That's why I choose to treat Sonic Mania as a 20-year-after-the-fact afterthought and perceive the classic timeline as what it was at the time, not what it is said to be now, with Mania simply being an addendum after the completion of the classic era or just a nod to it.

    I'll concede it's possible that Mania was intended to be a direct follow-up to Sonic 3 & Knuckles. But I'll also contend that those marketing materials were not created for fans like you and I. They were created for fans that don't know what a Chaotix is or even care. That don't know that there were 32-bit games or even care. Part of writing is knowing your audience. Sonic Team doesn't write for people that care about the lore and timeline and the canon. They write for a broader audience that is consuming whatever title is currently in their hand. When we as consumers and interpreters of this story-telling take a look at this content, I think it's beneficial to consider the wholistic view of the material. What is the story itself? What is the context it was written in? Who is the audience? Is it taken into consideration in later titles or abandoned? Does this particular piece of minutiae even matter? What if I changed it? Does it change anything else?

    There is no "real Sonic" to go back to and verify if our theories or interpretations are correct. There is only an ever changing "canon" that is what it is at the time that it is said to be and is no more relevant once the next title releases. Again, that was the reason I made those charts to begin with. To illustrate that what is "treated" as "canon" changes radically over time. This is not a cohesive universe with grounded continuity that is well planned. Being led-by-the-nose by each of Sonic Team's new games really doesn't interest me. So what some "exclusive" pamphlet says to me is irrelevant. Sonic Mania is canon to any followup modern game that chooses to acknowledge it's existence. But it's not canon to the twelve years of (loose, but attempted) continuity following Sonic & Knuckles. Which is more important? Well, the fact that we aren't just using the chart above and going about our day, suggests to me the "true canon" is not as important as trying to understand our favorite Sonic games and how they can all fit together to make a story that works for our own subjective experiences and interpretations of this series we love.

    Even when we look at the classic games, just the first few years, we see that there are discontinuities and little things that don't quite work together. And yet, we try our very best to stay true to the individual materials while still coming up with a coherent argument about why it all works together. Why bother? Just take the most recent material, call it good, and ignore the rest? Well, if we are trying to reconcile the contradiction there is no reason to necessarily default to the most recent material as we have learned that can just as easily, and just as quickly be abandoned from consideration of future stories. Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 retcons ITSELF out of existence even while it contradicts prior entries. How do most fans choose to handle it? They just ignore that Sonic '06 even happened and move on. Is that because Sonic Team told us to? Or is that because to understand and enjoy the series as a whole, it makes more sense to just ignore Sonic '06 outright?

    So, I'm not denying what that promotional material says. I'm not denying the intent of the promotional material. I would suggest that it's ODD that said material's language does not make it into the final manual, but assuming that was for some other reason, sure Mania is intended to be a follow-up to Sonic 3 & Knuckles. But if I'm going to assemble a timeline that takes into account certain titles, then Mania is going to have to wait it's turn behind the more important ones. Sonic Team doesn't have to follow any timeline that I make. Any rationalization that any of us make. "Canon" is what they say when they say. We don't get a vote. So any "canon" timeline is basically us reacting to the changing environment as dictated by the brand managers. And again, that's just not so interesting to me. The entire reason I made those charts was not so I could alter my perception of the world on the basis of Sonic Team's constant reinvention of the brand. The purpose was to illustrate to myself how broken everything is, so I could properly ignore it and focus on the stories that I think matter.

    One final timeline, the one that matters to me:

    upload_2020-9-30_10-36-57.png

    At the end of the day, this one is more important than Sonic Team's. Why? Because Sonic Team's will be what it is. There really isn't room for discussion other than conjecture about the next game. But with this timeline, we can discuss. We can talk about our subjective experiences with the game. We can talk about the parts we like. We can talk about the parts we value. We can talk about why particular games are important and why others are not. That doesn't mean that your argument is invalid. Strict adherence to the lore as it changes is perfectly valid. But it's not the only way to interpret a body of work, and if it was, this topic would have 47 pages of posts in it and wouldn't nearly be so interesting.

    At the end of the day, if I'm forced to choose a follow-up for Sonic 3 & Knuckles amoung Chaotix, Sonic 4 and Sonic Mania, I choose Chaotix, because it's simply the most valuable addition to the continuity in terms of lore and story, it's certainly more interesting, and the other two are damaging. As games, Mania is obviously the more fun one to play.

    I hope that clarifies my wiggling position and how I look at media. It is a bit subjective. But after years and years of looking at this stuff, I think that's honestly unavoidable.
     
  4. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

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    This would simply mean that Chaotix is non canon, or it belongs to another timeline, or something like that. Like Sonic the Fighters.
     
  5. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    Yeah, the good timeline where continuity is loose but exists, instead of this "throw darts at plot elements" approach Sonic Team currently have while being unable to maintain a plot thread through two games without randomly swerving to avoid that dreaded "continuity".

    Naka's Tenure: Sonic went through the events of the Classic games before Sonic Adventure. Shadow's backstory is expanded upon between three games (Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic Battle) with new elements added with few plot-holes due to the loose nature, etc.

    Iizuka's Tenure: Sonic went through the events of the Classic games but didn't as that's an alternate world but references those events as if they happened to him, such as commenting the Death Egg just won't stay blown up despite not seeing it for Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles (remember: Classic World is different) leaving only Sonic Battle and Sonic Generations, only one of which would have seen it blown up by him, the other by Alternate Dimension Sonic in Sonic Generations. The Phantom Ruby was found by Robotnik and used against the cast except it wasn't, it was constructed and the final battle uses the final prototype before the Phantom Ruby takes Classic Sonic back to his alternate world despite not being used during Sonic Forces but hey, at least Sonic Forces was fun, right? Etc.

    Honestly, it's why I've settled for this approach:
    [​IMG]
    They can muck up their World 2 while those of us who care can just have World 1. Haven't included the spin-offs to make it simpler, as this is only to get the point across.

    And hey, if Sonic X is truly considered canon by the Sonic Team staff, as has been alleged by those leaks earlier, you can still have the events of Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Battle accordingly, just bastardised and including Chris Thorndyke. Just a small price to pay to avoid that dreadful continuity.
     
  6. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

    Overthinking Sonic timelines. Member
    There is no Earth Green Hill, at least not anymore. Adventure 2 and Battle (I think) shown a Green Hill that was just a bonus, not something related to the plot. Chronicles does that, but the game is non canon. Even so, these 3 games were made when Earth and Sonic's world were one and the same, which now we could say that the two planets were merged. That doesn't mean Green Hill belongs to Earth; that means Green Hill belongs to Sonic's world but the two planets were merged. Angel Island on Earth in Sonic Adventure (and Chronicles) is the same thing. Of course, assuming that something in this lore makes sense after tons of retcons.

    And maybe there is a Classic Seaside Hill, who knows.
     
  7. Overlord

    Overlord

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    For what it's worth, this is wrong - Western canon had Sonic living on Mobius, a planet explicitly stated to not be Earth, with Kintobor (later becoming Robotnik) crashing on it in a spaceship and as such the only human there, waaaaaaaaaaay back in the early 90s. Predates Sonic X by over a decade.
     
  8. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

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    What I don't understand is why Sonic Team doesn't say Sonic's world is called Mobius for once. Does the 90's show state this wasn't his home planet?
     
  9. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    It really depends on the continuity:
    • The games never elaborated on the relation, and precious few used the Mobius concept. I know Sonic the Hedgehog CD does, but it also called Amy Rose Princess Sally, sooo.... Otherwise, Sonic Triple Trouble, Sonic Spinball and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine are the only other games that actually use the Mobius concept, if I recall correctly.
    • The Story Comics plot seems to indicate so, but never elaborates on the relation. Kintobor says "your world" in reference to Mobius, so it does imply the worlds are separate.
    • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog never featured Earth or any mention of, so relationship unclear.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) doesn't address it in the cartoon, but it was apparently written in the bible that it is Earth, just XXX amount of years into the future after a cataclysm. This is also where the crashing spaceship story comes from, so no relation to the game's canon.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie) used the above and expanded upon it.
    • Sonic Underground doesn't address the relationship either, and while it shares elements with Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) I'm unsure if the future Earth concept is one of them. Then again, some designs do seem nuclear mutant-esque...
    • Sonic the Comic is, ironically, the one that fits what the games are currently trying to pull, with Earth and Mobius being separated by location, dimension, even matter, but are "sister planets" and are otherwise linked together. Anyone who read the Chaos Arc of that comic can probably understand why it's otherwise incompatible with the modern games.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  10. laughing_sun

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    Archie actually starts with Two Worlds. In the "Sonic Live" special, it's explained that SEGA somehow tapped into another reality (Sonic's) and basically uses the "real life" events of Mobius as the basis for their Sonic games. This was later retconned into Mobius being a futuristic post-apocolyptic Earth, similar to Ben Hurst's SatAM head-canon. Of course Archie uses the "multi-verse" concept quite a bit, so it's possible that it's less a retcon and more that it's an AU Earth that is post-apoc and also there is normal Earth in another "Zone" that is not. Because comics.

    Wow.

    That's pretty much how I deal with it, though I'd ditch Mania and Generations personally because all they do is infect the old-canon with the new-canon. The five years after Sonic Adventure 2 are kind of take it or leave it. I appreciate them expanding on Shadow's story and continuing the actual continuity, but the games are so mediocre that it's pretty "meh" as far as I'm concerned. That's why I tend to just cut things off after Sonic Adventure 2. Maybe it's just me, but once SEGA stopped making consoles I think the brand just stopped working for me in almost every facet. Every once in a while a game would do something good or be halfway decent, but nothing like the first ten years. I think they stumbled a bit after the death of the Dreamcast, learned all the wrong lessons from Sonic '06 and basically did a hard reboot (while still refusing to admit it) somewhere between Unleashed and Colors. Sonic Forces has made me slightly optimistic, but I need to see some more before I get invested in these new games outside of one or two playthroughs.
     
  11. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    Yeah, when you look at the Iizuka-era Lore for more than two seconds, it goes to hell real quick.

    Eh, I don't mind the next 5 years. I appreciate their effort and I don't mind the alien thing, Sonic the Comic had aliens fighting over the Chaos Emeralds long before Shadow the Hedgehog, so the idea doesn't put me off as much. While that may seem contradictory to my absolute hatred of the Iizuka Canon Two Worlds, since Sonic the Comic ALSO did that long before the game (seriously, that comic was pretty much predicting everything before the games did them. Rogue super-robot built by Robotnik but absolutely despises him and seek his destruction? Shortfuse the Cybernik and E-123 Omega)

    My problem isn't the idea, it's the forcing the idea onto something where it doesn't fit what canon established already. Minor retcons, like making the Chaos Emeralds only seven in total, fine, I can accept that, it's streamlining the lore and makes sense on why Robotnik doesn't just double back whenever Sonic leaves an island and collect that set. Two Worlds? Three with Classic World? Look at that mess up there on the right side of your image and tell me that's streamlined in any way shape or form:
    Sonic Adventure established it was all one world: Earth is where the legendary civilisation talked about in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3's lore was wiped out. The kid establishes that Sonic the Hedgehog CD and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles (and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, by extension) happened and some Humans know about it. Sonic Adventure 2 establishes that Sonic has saved Earth numerous times via the news broadcast detailing Shadow's breaking into the bank.

    And I'm expected to buy that Sonic is an alien that only happened upon Earth for Sonic Adventure? An Earth where Amy and Tails have established a home and workshop, the Echidna existed 4,000 years ago with ruins dotting the Earth, Angel Island actually rising from the Earth herself and Gerald was researching a Chaos Emerald 50 years ago, but the Earth is not the world they come from?

    For a guy who is claimed to be simplifying the lore, Iizuka sure has overly complicated it. Provided the Adventure titles happened, of course, since I'm under the impression Modern Sonic Team is embarrassed by those games, with how they treated Chaos and Shadow during Sonic Forces. No boss fights, no involvement in Sonic's story, just smacked aside by Classic Sonic and Shadow respectively. At least Zavok and Metal Sonic have a boss fight..

    Oh! Oh! I know this one! It's because SEGA don't sell consoles!

    What I mean is that these games were developed primarily to show off the hardware. The Super Mario series is the same: you'll see them do things to show off the console's capabilities: we didn't need that shooting star pointer with Super Mario Galaxy, but they put it in because it showed off the Wii Remote. Sonic the Hedgehog was designed to highlight the Mega Drive's speed, graphics, etc, Sonic Adventure shows off the Dreamcast's lighting, 3D capabilities, etcetc. They're designed to show off consoles to better sell them to the public.

    Notice how all those mascots that weren't designed for a console, just a company, flopped. Crash Bandicoot was 'Playstation's mascot' and it was phenomenal during that Mascot Era, but it was primarily showing off the PlayStation. Then they went third party, how'd that go? Bubsy didn't have a console to show off. No more need be said there.

    You can see the effect in the Sonic Adventure DX port: they aren't trying to show off a console, they're just trying to sell a game. They ended up including a bunch of new bugs and glitches into the game, lighting was butchered, etc, but so long as the game is stable enough, it'll sell. And that's perpetuated as the series has gone on: if it works well enough, it'll sell the game, no need to worry about also selling a console.

    Oh the boost formula is popular? We'll keep using that, it's not like we need to show off our hardware's capabilities.
    Sonic Lost World is to be Nintendo exclusive? Capitalise on Mario's popularity, since it's Nintendo's hardware being sold we'll just capitalise on that fanbase.

    It's sad, but unless SEGA plan to hop back into hardware, which I very highly doubt, I don't expect much improvement on that front.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  12. Pengi

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    Sonic Generations and Sonic Forces contradict each other. But Sonic Forces is the one that is correct in current continuity, because it's the most recent.

    Christian Whitehead's original story idea was that Eggman was depressed after his defeat in Sonic 3 & Knuckles and the Egg Robos left out in the world after Sonic & Knuckles went mad and became the Hard Boiled Heavies. That story changed for the final game, but from the beginning he was thinking of a story that followed S3&K, not Sonic R. With that in mind, the fact that the Sonic Mania Introduction Manual treats S3&K as Sonic's most recent adventure seems intentional and something that should be taken at face value.

    They were giveaways for fans at convention panels. More hardcore than the typical consumer. They didn't have to refer to the events of S3&K at all, but they chose to do so and they chose to treat it as the previous adventure prior to Sonic Mania.

    Until something official comes along to supersede it, then it remains the official word on the matter.
     
  13. No I know (some of my first Sonic stuff was Archie/SatAM lol). I was saying that the result of people growing up with that canon is probably why Sega thought it was a good idea from Sonic X and onward to try the "two worlds" thing.
     
  14. ChaddyFantome

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    Is Sonic Christmas Blast canon to AoStH? Because in that, Robotnik takes over Santa Claus' job and we even see humans and everything.


    Not sure what this is worth, but I thought I'd share.
     
  15. laughing_sun

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    This is very helpful. This is a clear deviation from the original timeline and an obvious retcon. Thanks for this information.

    Very well, I have made the edits to my file to take this new (to me) information into account. Likewise, since Sonic Mania defines itself as being out-of-continuity with the original timeline, I will consider it as such.


    upload_2020-9-30_20-58-5.png
     
  16. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    Humans in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog are just one of the many, many, many species that inhabit Mobius, since they live in Robotropolis and all that. Still don't know the relation to Earth with regards to that series.

    Thank you for the extra information, though.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  17. Xiao Hayes

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    Movie has the Green Hill from South Island and the Green Hill of the US, plus a bonus Hill Top for the second one.

    Sonic GT fangame got ahead in this an made a Sunset Boulevard in the city of Studiopolis (I know, irrelevant, but caught me off-guard when I saw it).
     
  18. The KKM

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    same as it ever was
    same as it ever was
    same as it ever was
    same as it ever was

    This was already discussed repeatedly. Sonic's World isn't called Mobius because Sonic doesn't live in Mobius because Mobius is a separate planet from Sonic's World, as established in Spinball's JP manual and referred to in the internal production bible they still use nowadays. It'd be like asking why the Avengers don't live in Mars. It's plainly not the same location.
     
  19. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

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    Or it's just because it's a western media thing and Sonic Team didn't give a fuck about it then and won't do now.
     
  20. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

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    This is not what I was questioning. I am aware of the game and the Bible, but that doesn't explain anything. You are just saying what they did, not why they did it.

    I heavily doubt that SoJ cares about Sonic Spinball so much that the information about the name of the planet became a canon to the Sonic universe. It's not like Sega considers every game canon so they manage to make a consistent canon using all of them. In fact, Sega barely cares about continuity, so probably they don't give a shit about Sonic Spinball.

    Once Sega wanted to establish that Sonic's world is not Earth, and everyone in America knew a show which stated that Sonic lives on a planet called Mobius (the show doesn't state Mobius is a whole another planet), it was very easier to use that name. Just Like they adopt Robotnik, which only existed in America, as Eggman's real name. The fact that the Bible adopts Mobius as another planet that never appeared in any main game, and at the same time doesn't name Sonic's home planet, is a very weird decision.

    If they don't care about Western media at all (which is very possible indeed), the reference of the name Mobius on the Bible is also weird. They could just pretend that this has never existed in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2020