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

    20 vote(s)
    21.3%
  2. I hate it

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

    12 vote(s)
    12.8%
  4. Doesn't matter either way

    27 vote(s)
    28.7%
  1. Yeah, I agree with all of this pretty much, you summed it up great
     
  2. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    Good stuff, ChaddyFantome.

    Also the conversation about classic and modern being seen as different characters seems to root in "yeah well people have been doing that far before Generations". And I mean, sure absolutely, by some of the very people arguing for it in this topic. Just because it's existed for a long time doesn't mean I'm not gonna believe it's a dumb way to look at it, though. lol

    Speaking of, I feel like that meeting Retro members had back in 2010 with Sega of America PR about how fans felt about Sonic 4 probably influenced how Sega has gone about this in the past decade. I for the life of me will never forget that era and how many of us were acting, touting on our anger with that game and about the "true Sonic" or what have you. I remember being one of those kids, due to how impressionable I was with all the talk of the series and it's design decisions as if it were from an 'objective' POV, haha.

    I've seen Mario brought up in convo a lot the past few days, let's throw him back in one more time.

    I don't imagine kids who jumped onto Mario in 1983/85 really were expecting the gruff-voiced Brooklyn man who ate mushrooms to grow big as his whole gameplay bit ever expected Mario to look, play or sound like he did when he debuted in 3D. The man now sounded like an Italian Mickey Mouse, couldn't stop exclaiming and cheering (man will he ever shut up?? I remember back in the day when Mario never spoke), didn't seem as rotund and small anymore (in the promo art at least.. why is Mario more lanky now?), and the gameplay was anything but what it used to be, in every sense imaginable. There's not even the growing mushroom! What an abandonment of Mario's core gamplay elements!

    Did kids feel betrayed by the changes? Maybe, maybe not. But whatever they perceived Mario to be didn't really matter because it was the same character at the end of the day, regardless of that. It's the same thing here. Maybe some expected Sonic to be a Jaleel White-ish (or even mute) black-eyed cutesy character who stays in our realm of expectations, but oh well. Things can change, and that's not an inherently bad thing. After all, I don't see people crying for the return of "classic Mario" or talking like he's a different character. I mean I'm sure they exist, but who would take them seriously?

    No one. Why? Because that Mario was in nothing but good games.

    Which kind of brings us all the way back around to my point I've always felt about classic/modern Sonic: no one (who isn't like a mega-ultra-hardcore touchy fan) would care if it wasn't attached to some not-good games, and even then it's less a hard stance people take as much as it is half-assed symbolism in the eyes of someone less invested.

    People would and could still have their preferences, sure (I prefer Rayman 2's design to the one used in 3 and onward), and any game could use whichever design they want, but does it matter? Are these really different characters? Different continuities? Different products? Well.. no. And why would they be? The reason people gripped so hard to this concept for 'modern Sonic' was to find a scapegoat for "where it all went wrong". It's easy to point at a design change and say that's the beginning of the dividing line in quality, style, values, whatever. It's harder to be more thorough than that and pinpoint a reason less reductive.

    I've caught myself going on a big tangent right now and I lost my point a little bit, but I think it stands: I'll never get with the obsession people have with dividing the series up like this, why people deem it necessary, nor how Sega has basically enabled it at this point. If Chaddy got most of my mental notes out in the open on it, I guess I was here to drop the rest.

    And that doesn't even scrape the barrel on the 'two worlds' bit. lol
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
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  3. RDNexus

    RDNexus

    Member
    I remember that, for years, the arguments were about the Classic Cast growing older for Adventure. Still irks me ^^"
    (Amy growing older in the comics sure didn't help...)
    Gens brought up the whole "Classic X Modern" thing, but Forces cemented it. It also irks me ^^"

    I can accept the "Classic X Modern" divide.
    As long as ST revamped the classic games as their own thing, connecting to SA1 onwards.
    But I'll never concede on the growing older thing.
    They had aesthetic changes over time, nothing else.
    That and scriptwriters screwing up their characterizations and continuities...

    About the pro-environmentalism thing...
    We now know Sonic2 wanted to play it in a SonicCD kinda way, with mechanization and pollution rising as time went on.
    However, due to time constraints (and SonicCD coming to be) said intent went down the drain, resulting in that convoluted mess of level themes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
  4. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

    Overthinking Sonic timelines. Member
    It is beautiful to see that the discussions on this topic always go back to the beginning. :P

    I keep saying that while Sonic Team changed the status of Classic Sonic to "from another dimension" instead of "from the past", it doesn't make any sense. Generations were entirely about time. Furthermore, this would indicate that Modern Sonic's past is IDENTICAL to the dimension of Classic Sonic, as neither Eggman nor Sonic could tell the difference - and it was Eggman who picked up Eggman and Classic Sonic.

    I still think the split timeline theory is wonderful. At the time of Generations, that was past, and after Generations it became another dimension because it is another timeline. The inconsistencies caused by this theory are a thousand times smaller than those caused by the crude retcon.
     
  5. Josh

    Josh

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    Haha, for real though. I woke up this morning, saw this topic, and was like, "I think I had this same conversation with these same people 3/6/8/24 months ago," haha. I've said pretty much everything I have to say about it, and I've probably said it quite a few different ways. :V

    I think this is just what happens when Retro runs out of stuff to talk about. We eventually just circle back to our default topic, "black eyes versus green eyes."

    Although, I would like to know...

    I don't remember this one! Could you elaborate?
     
  6. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    I mean, if people make the same arguments, expect the same responses. :)

    There was a time around mid to late 2010 where a couple of members of Sonic Retro went to Sega of America, courtesy of whoever was PR at the time, where they went to air their thoughts about Sonic 4 Episode 1. It was.. uhh. Not very maturely handled, if you ask me.

    Ah yes, found it. I'll let it speak for itself.
     
  7. So what your saying is that this is all Retro's fault; gotchu, time to revolt against this site :V
     
  8. RDNexus

    RDNexus

    Member
    I'm facepalming...SO HARD!!! What did I just read?!
    I don't even know what to say! I don't wanna insult the guy!
    Still, his attitude before, during and after the event was bad, given his report.
    Regardless of having reasons or not, I don't think that was the right approach.
    Weren't people better suited for that event available at the time?
    Maybe Sonic4 could've gone a better way...nah, impossible. It was dead set in stone it'd pan HARD.
    I wonder if Retro got bad fame from that event alone...
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  9. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    I think for maybe the most direct and forthright feedback received from classic fans to be that volatile paints a pretty clear picture of why the series carries that aspect of itself the way it does now.
     
  10. Josh

    Josh

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    Yeah, I don't think pointing to that single event as some kind of definitive "turning point" is really fair. For one, you made it sound like there was a dedicated meeting with members of Retro specifically. For another, this happened just under a year before Generations was released, and I'm sure the game's concepts were pretty well-finalized by then. This was also just after Colors had come out, and actually gotten a positive reception from the press AND plenty of fans for the first time in ages. "Sonic Team is finally listening!" and all that. I guess what I'm saying is, the pendulum was already swinging.

    You can find passionate-to-the-point-of-volatile fans anywhere, at anytime. It's up to SEGA to separate the pearls of worthwhile criticism from the ocean of nerd rage. :V Though I will say, WOOF, the latter half of the 2000s were cynical in general, but the period surrounding Sonic 4's announcement and release was absolutely the most miserable the fandom has ever been.

    EDIT: Hey, I thought I recognized the name "Brad Flick." He was credited in the "Special Thanks" for Sonic 4 Episode II, and is now at Evening Star, having worked on the level design for Sonic Mania!
     
  11. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    I know they were already doing the classic Sonic thing with Generations, I'm just saying the way the discussion morphed over the following years is probably rooted in the sentiments of that general direction. The kind of sentiments that emphasize that you need to cater to these people in a way that clarifies they have their own thing just the way they like it and their peas won't mix with the carrots unless you make it clear to everyone first. :v

    And sure it'd be good if they knew how to separate those forms of criticism, and you could say that'd be their job, but whenever people in our community assume that position so hard that it's not only a topic but an article on Sonic Retro speaking on behalf of this sect, how can you ignore it? Especially considering Retro's position to the fanbase having been one of the biggest culminations for the longest time, and the direct audience of a product like both Sonic 4 and Mania.

    Sure it may not have literally been a confrontation with Retro, but how else are you supposed to take it when not only this was on this website's front page once, but it was a shared sentiment with a grand majority on this site? When the person in question went as an ambassador for it? When everyone's response (including my own at the time) wasn't out of their favor but rather in absolute support for it?

    I just don't think it's as easy to shrug off as you think. Especially when one's arguments are in favor of seeing these things as separate and feeling the need to emphasize those dividing lines, just like the angle the article takes.
     
  12. On a serious tip, I do agree with @Josh that you can't really pin the blame of the handling of the franchise on one singular event. I highly doubt that meeting was the straw that broke the camel's back, it was a culmination of things of where the franchise was heading. It feels just a bit disingenuous to label "It was THIS particular point when everything went to shit" because that's just looking for something to scapegoat.

    Like Josh said, every fanbase has an insane and overly passionate portion of that love to use hyperbole and exaggeration to get their points across; it happened back then, and it's happening right now with the fall out from Forces.

    The only thing that link tells me is that Sonic fan discourse has never actually changed and always been the same; people loudly complaining about what THEY want and how THEY want the series to be.
     
  13. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    I didn't say or mean it was the singular event, but I do think it was the start of Sega seeing that side up close and personal. You can't really ignore something like that when you called the meeting up yourselves.
     
  14. I just find it hard to believe that Sega would consider the opinions of ONE person to suddenly shift the entire direction of the series.

    Because if that's the case, then this video will single handily be responsible if we get Sonic Adventure esc games and Mania dies in the future:V



    For the record, Aaron Webber himself personally responded to the creator and agreed with this video too.
     
  15. ChaddyFantome

    ChaddyFantome

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    Uh... guys? I thought we were talking about continuity.
     
  16. Josh

    Josh

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    Sure, to steer things back toward continuity...

    Maybe the reason this whole thing causes such a continuity snarl is that the people asking for "Classic Sonic" weren't particularly concerned with continuity, in the first place. I mean, I remember people VERY early-on in the Adventure years talking a lot about the Genesis and Adventure games being in different "universes." But I think fans of the classics cared less and less about "canon" over time. You look back on the fandom by the late 2000s, and what people want isn't a "return to the classic universe." What they wanted was PHYSICS, they wanted the classic design, aesthetics, characters, and gameplay style back. I mean, even in the write-up of the feedback event, it doesn't sound like anyone on either side of the discussion ever brought up anything story-related.

    Moreover, I don't think the zeitgeist was that classic AND modern should team up... people just wanted classic BACK, in whatever form it might take. And much more commonly, it sounded like people would've been fine with modern simply GOING AWAY entirely, or maaaaybe continuing as a more "kiddie" branch they could safely ignore, and Sega returning most of their focus wholesale to the classic aesthetic. How this was supposed to make sense from an in-universe perspective seemed the furthest thing from everyone's mind, so it's no wonder that any attempt to "explain" it has been met with such consternation.

    Well. There was at least one person I knew who wanted classic and modern Sonic to just be in the same game together. I guess what I'm saying is, if you really need to blame someone for all this, it's basically all my fault. :V
     
  17. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    I think it's more that prior to Generations, people saw classic and modern as simply different art styles. A game that went back to the classic designs would have been seen as just a game with a retro look, not something that needed an explanation. Modern Sonic was just a redesign in people's eyes. After all, Sonic 4 featured him and it was officially an immediate sequel to S3K. It was Generations that canonized the design differences as an in-universe change, explained as Classic Sonic being Modern Sonic when he was younger.

    That was presumably what led to the two universes mess. Sonic Team realized that any new games focused on Classic Sonic would have been seen as a prequel set before the Modern Sonic games, which in turn would have constrained story possibilities and invited nitpicking from fans following the timeline and paying attention to continuity. So they took the easy way out and retconned Classic Sonic into being from a separate dimension/timeline.
     
  18. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    Honestly, I think continuity for the franchise became less of a concern for Sega the moment that they stopped producing hardware. Maekawa-San was still trying to tie things together as best he could for Heroes given the circumstances, but by the time Shadow the Hedgehog came out, they really stopped caring about building on past lore in any meaningful way. Shadow did still have continuity with prior games, but there was a lot of lore that was ignored or retconned in that game and following.

    You can't exactly blame them considering writing for the series has been all over the map in terms of quality and it's easier to just ignore it. As you said, it constrains what you can do in a story and makes their job a lot harder (a problem that may explain the prevalence of reboots and incarnations that retcons old lore in recent years, but I digress). If there's anything we've learned about "Sonic Team" and Sega's management of Sonic games over the past 10 years, is that they like to cut corners and make things "easier". They're more focused on short-term profit than long-term goodwill, but that's a whole other topic unto itself.
     
  19. Josh

    Josh

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    I probably mentioned this earlier in this very topic, but I think it's relevant...

    Kevin Eva, who was the community manager of Sega Europe in the mid-2000s, described it like this: "The canon was and is somewhat in flux all the time. As since it is, for want of better phrasing, whatever SEGA want or need it to be at the time. So it could easily change."

    Seeing it like that explains every inconsistency. It's why Knuckles doesn't seem to guard the Master Emerald since Heroes, why Blaze and Classic Sonic keep swapping between different timelines and dimensions, why Amy got older in SA1 when nobody else did, all the way back to why there were six emeralds in Sonic 1 and seven in Sonic 2, etc etc etc. I don't think they ever really thought about it that hard, especially not between games, and especially not between writing teams. Whatever happens is there in service exclusively of the game being made RIGHT THEN, unencumbered by anything that happened before, and can be freely changed AGAIN as soon as the next game rolls around.

    I think it's this loosy-goosy approach to continuity that makes fan-theories for this series so attractive. Especially with stuff like the "true nature and power" of the Chaos Emeralds, or the Hidden Palace tapestry. It always seems like there's more going on beneath the surface, because you can retroactively see it fit together in a way that I don't think was really intended.

    In a more macro sense, I think it probably IS the case that Sega started cutting corners and rushing short-term profit after they went third-party, and ESPECIALLY after the Sammy merger. I've gone on about it in other topics, but suffice to say I've heard nothing good about Sega-Sammy's upper management and how they view this series.
     
  20. Linkabel

    Linkabel

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    Yep, I agree with this. Never really liked the idea that they split the Classic/Modern universes because they didn't want to restrict themselves to certain storylines in case they kept making Classic Sonic games.

    Established canon has never stopped them before and I don't see that changing in the future.

    Plus, only way I can see it being restricted is if they're willing to do drastic changes like killing off established characters or completely destroying locations etc etc. And I don't see that happening.

    (That is not even going that probably one of the main reasons why the universes got split was due to branding and not be willing to use Classic Sonic in games as much.)