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Who wrote "The Truth of 50 Years Ago"?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by DefinitiveDubs, Jun 2, 2024.

  1. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    https://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic_Adventure_2_-_The_Truth_of_50_Years_Ago

    So, this document of Shadow's backstory was published in Sonic Adventure 2 Perfect Guide. Perfect Guide isn't a guidebook in the same way that Rockman 20 or Hyrule Historia are guidebooks, it's a strategy guide created by Famitsu and published by Enterbrain. I've seen the Sonic Wiki cite it when writing up its lore synopses about Shadow, and it makes sense that something published in Japan would be considered more reliable than Prime's strategy guide for example. So if this elaborate story concerning Project Shadow is published in it, one would assume it was something written by Shiro Maekawa, and it's one of the biggest pieces of evidence people have for the "Sonic is the real Ultimate Lifeform" theory.

    Here's the problem: no one from Sonic Team is listed in the book's credits.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Admittedly, the translation is a bit awkward as it comes from a Google image translation (satiety center?), so the names may or may not be 100% correct, but regardless, Sonic Team seems to have had little to no involvement with the book, having been mostly created by Famitsu staff. They definitely partnered with SEGA to produce it, but the extent of that is unclear. So how do we know this document isn't an elaborate fanfiction written by Famitsu's editorial department?
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2024
  2. Levi Church

    Levi Church

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    I don't think it's canon honestly. Shadow the Hedgehog threw it out two decades ago with the introduction of the Black Arms.
     
  3. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    Even if it is, it's an in-universe report by Rouge. It could be canonical, but wrong or incomplete. I mean, how can Rouge verify that Gerald was talking to aliens?
     
  4. Vertette

    Vertette

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    Interview them.
     
  5. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    It's not as if the Black Arms completely disprove that document. The document makes no mention of the Black Arms, and GUN obviously never knew about them, so it's from their perspective, and it could all still apply.

    Regardless, it was written in 2001, so the question is if it was canon in 2001. And that entirely depends on if it's from Sonic Team themselves.
     
  6. big smile

    big smile

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    A lot of those strategy guides had images that weren’t available anywhere else. So it’s probably likely that Sonic Team were closely involved.

    Sonic being teased as the ultimate life form is actually in SA2. If you play the Super Sonic fight long enough, Shadow will remark that he thinks Sonic is the ultimate life form.

    The report doesn’t contradict anything, so I think it’s safe to say it’s “canon”.

    Although (sadly) canon is a pretty meaningless thing when it comes to Sonic, as they keep on flip-flopping their mind on what’s canon. So if something is non-canon, just wait a few years and it’ll probably be canon again.

    Now the trend seems to be to make all of Sonic past gaming history canon. So they probably do include the strategy guide stories as part of the canon.
     
  7. Gestalt

    Gestalt

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  8. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    Yes, I do.

    Also, gonna rewrite the title since the definition of "canon" is not the point I'm trying to raise here.
     
  9. Deep Dive Devin

    Deep Dive Devin

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    There's no explicit contradictions in the document, with or without Shadow's own game. I'm not sure what the "Sonic is the real ultimate lifeform" evidence is supposed to be here, unless the implication is that Sonic is the real Shadow from 50 years ago? That would be really weird. Honestly, the retcons I hate about Shadow are less about the in-universe consistency, and more that Black Doom's existence absolves Gerald and GUN of a lot of their blame, and retroactively turns Maria's sacrifice into future-proofing for an alien invasion, which is a lot less meaningful than wanting Shadow to love life.

    I think this is a little reductive. The canon is far from perfect, but the decisions they've made with it aren't nonsensical. It's not like they're making Mean Bean Machine canon, or Sonic Boom or anything.
     
  10. big smile

    big smile

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    I never mentioned anything about it being nonsensical? I just said they change their mind a lot.
     
  11. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    It would have been vetted by Sega/Sonic Team. This is why in real journalism you wait until there are multiple sources before claiming something as fact (but we can't do that here, so)

    If I don't trust a source my approach is usually to turn

    "Shadow is a hedgehog[1]"
    into
    "Shadow is said to be a hedgehog[1]"

    or words to that effect. The default approach to reading a wiki should be that the claim is probably correct, but the more references, the more reliable it is.


    It's probably unwise to claim there's an overarching canon to Sonic the Hedgehog - if the wiki is suggesting that, it probably shouldn't be.
     
  12. Deep Dive Devin

    Deep Dive Devin

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    I mean, yes, but the way you said it suggested to me that a given Sonic product changes whether it's canon or not a lot, but I don't really think that's true? Individual pieces have had their status changed, but not usually more than once each time.
     
  13. shilz

    shilz

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    I'd have to assume that whoever wrote it got some notes or bullet points at least because it feels like it follows things pretty well. The biggest "?" In the whole thing is the capsule, but that also lines up, so the biggest question that'd need answered is "Is the name of Maria's disease official?"
     
  14. Blue Spikeball

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    AFAIK it was The Truth of 50 Years Ago that revealed that Maria suffered from a fictional disease, which carried over to the Sonic Team-supervised Sonic X. So yes, I'd say that text aligns with Sonic Team's plans and canon.

    Basically, yes. That's the implication.

    SA2, The Truth of 50 Years Ago and even Sonic X (even if it's non-canon) all suggested that Shadow isn't the original ultimate lifeform created aboard the ARK for benign purposes, but something else, and his memories were implanted by Gerald. The Truth of 50 Years Ago elaborates that he might a recreation Gerald was forced to make for GUN as a weapon after the real deal was jettisoned in that capsule. Shadow even claims at various points in Sonic Battle that he was created as a weapon.

    So if that's the case and Shadow isn't the original ULF that was sent to Earth by Maria, then who is? Sonic is a longtime prime suspect among fans, based on things like Shadow's line during the final boss, the fact Sonic has so many unexplained similarities to Shadow (to the point of being mistaken for him in-universe), the fact both can use Chaos Control (it wasn't until Sonic 06 that other characters like Silver displayed the ability), the fact Sonic's backstory was never explored in the games, or the fact that unlike Shadow he has no difficulty maintaining his Super form during the final boss.

    And yes, it's a really weird concept. Though TBF it's not much weirder than the Mary Garnet story, which appears to similarly date Sonic's origin to half a century ago. Sonic and Shadow being both ultimate lifeforms but created for opposite purposes would also link them even closer as opposite rivals.

    Though I'll say that I don't personally believe Sonic being the ULF is or has ever been canon. I feel things like the insinuation that Shadow might not be the original ULF, or his suggestion that Sonic is, were just put there as fuel for fan debate and speculation.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2024
  15. HEDGESMFG

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    I was a big fan of this theory as a teen, as nonsensical as it may seem, just because of how weird it was.

    I don't necessarily believe it to be canon, but it's probably still my favorite Sonic conspiracy, as there's still numerous unexplained ideas that point towards ambiguity about Sonic and his abilities that they seemed to hint at back then.

    Again, I don't think they ever went through with it, but I do think some version of it was considered at least once. I'm very fond of the idea of Shadow being based on the Super Sonic mural from Angel Island as well, but that may not even be compatible with the prior theory.

    It also carried with it an even more disturbing, yet interesting, idea that Shadow may have never even met Maria at all. That added a level of tragedy to his character that I really found fascinating, that he overcame his destructive, vengeful, hate filled programming by rationalizing what a girl he never met would have really wanted, based partially perhaps on Gerald's own memories of her. Shadow was essentially an inhuman weapon who found his "humanity" anyway, and I love that kind of story. Another "Mewtwo Strikes Back" type tale, about the circumstances of one's birth not defining you. As far as I know, Shadow 05 directly contradicts this idea, but Sonic X somewhat supported it (Maria releases 2 capsules, and Shadow is not seen directly with her at all when she does), which again, was written based on the original team's intent for SA2 alone.

    Further adding to the confusion of SA2's backstory was the Archie adaptation from issue 98, which... who knows where the lore that led to that version of the story came from? Ken Penders wrote the story, but it had to have come from at least some description of events that was given to him, as I doubt he just played the game himself to write it. The issue came out the day before the game's release, as I remember buying it and reading it while waiting for my copy to be shipped to my local Funcoland back then. Elements like Maria's disease are directly mentioned in it, and we see Gerald directly implant his own "bio-material" into the Shadow capsule, similar to the implanted memories idea other sources discussed. The game was more ambiguous about some of these details, yet it's stated here fairly clearly.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2024
  16. Kilo

    Kilo

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    Gerald's designs for the Ultimate Lifeform were inspired by the murals found in the ruins of Angel Island.
    The Bio Lizard, would've been taken from this mural at the end of Lost World.
    [​IMG]

    Upon the failure of the Bio Lizard he would've gone deeper and find this mural in Hidden Palace and used it to build Shadow. And since it depicts Super Sonic, that's why Shadow has upwards facing quills instead of normal Sonic.
    [​IMG]

    This is supported by the fact that the ARK is litered with Artificial Chaos enemies which means Gerald would've had to been aware of Echidna history, and seen some sort of mural about at least Chaos 0.

    So I'm team Sonic is the ULF.
     
  17. Chimes

    Chimes

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    I'm starting to get Sailor Moon vibes thinking about this theory...
    upload_2024-6-2_11-5-58.png
     
  18. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    Fake news.

    It's a popular headcanon, but not a single piece of lore either outside the games or within them has ever suggested that Gerald or his research team set one foot on Angel Island, let alone saw that Super Sonic mural. It literally wouldn't even make sense. Are you suggesting Gerald found the Sonic equivalent of Atlantis, and punched Knuckles's ancestor in the face to gain access to the Hidden Palace, just to study one mural and ignore everything else including the giant glowing green rock, and not mention any of it in his journal? I doubt he saw that mural of Perfect Chaos either; the Artificial Chaos Series resemble Chaos 0, not Perfect Chaos, and he would've needed to brave the perils of Lost World to find it. It's not like Gerald's Indiana Jones. He may have known about the Mystic Ruins and studied that region, but that's entirely separate from Angel Island, which was high in the sky and hidden by the clouds. I doubt anybody even knew it existed before Eggman crashed there.

    The only thing we know for certain, as far as SA2 is concerned, is that he was studying the Chaos Emeralds and that the Artificial Chaos Series are a byproduct of Project Shadow, after combining Chaos Drives with water. And also that he made a perfect replica of the Emerald altar as it existed 1000 years ago, not how it would've existed at that time. So it's more likely that the Chaos Emeralds and the "long lost civilization" they belonged to were being studied long before he came in. That would make sense, realistically. The alternative is that Gerald invented Chaos Emerald research, which is never suggested.

    If Shadow is based on Super Sonic, then either Super Sonic was there 50 years ago, or it's entirely coincidence.

    Debating Sonic canon is like debating the Zelda Timeline. Facts get handwaved and shrugged off because nobody really cares. Debating details about the lore of a franchise involving a speedy blue hedgehog who runs fast and beats up a fat man is really nerdy and socially unacceptable, and so nobody wants to really sit down and take it seriously.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2024
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  19. Chimes

    Chimes

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    Fake news implies the existence of real news
    (wait a fucking second this is my 666th post? Damn)
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2024
  20. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Unless it specifically calls back to events in a prior entry, every Sonic game is best viewed as an isolated "thing". Otherwise you risk inventing the Kong wars as you try and tie all the bits together.

    Think Looney Tunes*. Bugs Bunny is antagonised by Elmer Fudd in multiple shorts, but at no point is it implied the stories are connected.

    ...in fact Warner Bros. were hoping you wouldn't try and work out the "lore", since that way they could they recycle gags.

    *although if you really want to think like a wiki editor, note that Bugs Bunny usually appeared in Merrie Melodies shorts, not Looney Tunes.