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Rebooting the Franchise: Good or Bad?

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So a rumor let out that Sega plan on rebooting the continuity from scratch in the same vein as Spyro and Skylanders. Here is the full article:

Sega May Be Looking to Profit Off Fans Further

About a week before the bomb dropped at Sega Sammy about Sega’s poor financial shape, we learned from a source who spoke to TSSZ on condition of anonymity of possibly serious changes the company may have in store for its flagship franchise. Again, that’s “may”…not “will.”

The source alleged that both Sonic Team and Sega are looking to better monetize Sonic well beyond the merchandise arrangements already in place, as part of what was said to be a potentially “massive” and “total” reboot that is allegedly still in the exploratory phase. We’ve bolded that last part to remind you that nothing we’re saying here is set in stone, and that it may be a least a year or two before any of this may pan out. While we have been told Sega and Sonic Team are “committed” to the reboot, to what extent that stretches is still being pitched. While several ideas are being floated around, what we’re about to explain is the alleged current frontrunner.

We’re told the core tenets of speed, platforming, and surreal environments will remain–as will Sonic and Dr. Eggman and the rivalry they share, though both characters may undergo a makeover. But as part of this possible reboot, anything and everything else is under review, says the source. That includes, at its core, the main supporting Sonic cast, even Tails, our source says. And while the idea of surreal environments would remain, a whole new universe for Sonic to do battle and new characters for him to befriend may be concocted, in effect destroying most canon that precedes the relaunch and wiping the slate nearly clean, according to our source. All the meanwhile, new gameplay methods and gimmicks are allegedly being fleshed out for Sonic to try.

Specifically, our source alleged the concept of “zones” may be revamped. In this possible reboot, zones would be massively expanded and become their own worlds, sort of speak. Within the zones, there would be individual levels masked as missions for Sonic to complete. The source most closely compared it to Electronic Arts’s Burnout Paradise, which is open-world and lacks a concrete, linear level structure. All of this would be enclosed in a new engine. Our source compared its next-gen capability to the likes of Unreal Engine 4, currently in development for the next crop of consoles, and Frostbite 2, used with EA’s Battlefield 3.

If this sounds like Sonic intends to take a turn back toward the serious and photorealistic, not to worry–our source assured that will not be the case, and injecting photo-realism is of no concern in this potential reboot. To be sure, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has said as much in recent interviews.

But there’s a catch, and it lies in that monetizing part. The source tells TSSZ that Sega and Sonic Team may aggressively pursue a collection model as part of the reboot. The source claimed the company intends to target the young audience bent on physical collectibles by perhaps going so far as to require physical emblems and collectibles to unlock special features in future Sonic series. An example would be to purchase a Knuckles statue in order to gain the echidna as a playable character in-game. The strategy could also be used to unlock extra levels.

If that sounds far-fetched, it’s not. In fact, it’s already been executed successfully. Our sourced pointed to Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure as a major source of Sega’s inspiration for this model. Released last year, Skylanders featured more than 30 playable characters, but only came with three out of the box as physical figurines, as did an interactive peripheral. Remaining characters had to be purchased in stores. When a character’s toy connects to the peripheral, which in turn connects to the console, that character unlocks in-game. Skylanders performed pretty well in its multiplatform debut, well enough that a sequel under the same model is planned for release later this year. With Sega’s recent commitment to expand its Sonic merchandise and the partners who make them, the backbone may already be there to support this kind of a strategy.

What’s more, Sega and Sonic Team have already tried this method out–albeit on a much smaller scale–and you may not quite realize it. If you remember the secret statue room in Sonic Generations, it was always Sega’s intent to release codes for that room through various promotions and merchandise. That in fact happened on a very limited basis in some territories despite fans mining the game and releasing all the codes online. If our source’s information holds, this strategy would be an extension of that.

Other possible revenue models our source discussed was for these physical toys and collectibles to have an interactive component with a new cartoon series, or to offer classic characters in-game straight up as DLC. But ultimately, Sega is looking to attract a new generation of fans, the source said. That would certainly explain why classic Sonic was touted as a one-time deal for Sonic Generations, but this information also indicates that modern Sonic, as we know him, is at risk as well.

To again be clear–we’re told this is all very early and exploratory. We’ve labeled this story as rumor for that reason. We are, in some respects, just as skeptical of some of the above as you may be, but we do at least want to tell you what we’ve learned. It’s not unreasonable to expect little else related to this for a least a year to eighteen months. Of course, for any of this to pan out, Sega as a company still has to exist by 2014. Keep in mind we learned of it just a few days before the full scope of Sega’s financial troubles was known, and there certainly are a few components above that may become necessities for Sega to survive as a business. Anything more we learn will be passed along.

But let's say that it wasn't a blatant attempt at copying Skylanders? What if it was an honest to god, Continuity Reboot as a way to reintroduce the characters people seem to hate so much, and make them actually endearing and entertaining? Iizuka did say he had a new vision for Sonic.

So if this fabled reboot is true, how would you guys go about it? How would you reintroduce the characters? And what would you do with the franchise? What direction would you like it to go?

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I've already commented on this sooo.......

I laughed waay to hard at this.

But seriously a reboot could help the series and open up character roles again. Like someone said, Knux is stuck guarding an emerald that really has not had any reason to be guarded since Chaos and Tikal can do it while he's away. Same for Blaze and Silver. One is from teh future and another from a different dimension. Better question is how the fuck is silver still able to communicate with sonic and co if his timeline is not the same as theirs. And after Generations (eggy being trapped in white space) Now would be a good time to see what Sega does next. All the reboot would do is open up opportunities for character development. And as Dio said....DO IT SEGA! I DARE YOU.

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Also, if this reboot is indeed real, I'd like it to be reflected in the next major Sonic game. Sonic Generations would be the perfect way to wrap up that particular string of canon, considering the subject matter.

I was thinking that myself, Generations being something of a send off to the old continuity.

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It's funny that all of this reboot talk has come up since I plan to do a Sonic reboot myself through a series of fan-games.

So how would I handle a reboot? It would be nothing too complicated. The first thing I would do is give the characters their classic designs back. Then I would either omit the modern characters or redesign them to fit in with the minimalist designs of the classic characters. The narrative would be mostly humorous with some dramatic moments sprinkled in to give the dramatic moments more of an impact. The presentation would be more on par with Sonic CD and Sonic the Movie, both which embody that old-school anime charm the series had before Sonic Adventure and Sonic X changed things. Finally, the music would take on an early 90's house vibe, perhaps something you would hear from Yuzo Koshiro or Naofumi Hataya.

Basically, a revival of the Japanese "SegaSonic" of '91 through '97.

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Honestly I've been against a reboot in the past, but if they actually committed to it and it genuinely improved the series...I don't think I'd have a problem with it.

The way I'd go about it, start with the equivalent of the Genesis games, to reintroduce the core cast. Try to get it done in one game, if possible; to get Knuckles in without changing the characters too much it'd probably have to have a good chunk of the story take place on Angel Island, so either contrive the story to start with the island being found or build up to it quickly. Say, start with Sonic, Tails, and Amy already knowing each other and having about the same relationships they have now (well, make Amy less terrible, but otherwise). Run the plot basically like S3&K, except with the Death Egg first being constructed on Angel Island (since there's no game before this), and steal Amy being captured by Metal Sonic from Sonic CD and put it in here. Reintroduce some of the other well-received characters in future games, in circumstances similar to their originals.

I think maybe the most important thing is to not flinch. Don't be afraid to change things, don't cling so tightly to the current/old continuity that you just end up repeating it, mistakes and all. Be bold. Be willing to piss people off; if you're going to do it right you can't avoid it.

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Depends on what a real 'reboot' means. A canon reboot would be really pointless considering the fact that most of the games are barely interconnected anyway. They don't seem very limited in terms of what they can do with characters and story, so I don't think a reboot in the traditional sense is very necessary. Characters can go through redesigns like they have in the past but it's probably best to add to the same canon instead of redoing it all.

I guess if I were to reboot the story, though, I'd probably cut down the cast a lot, scrapping characters that really don't have much to offer, like Silver or Cream. Tails and Knuckles would stay, and be mostly unchanged, besides a few personality tweaks/making them less like bystanders. I'd rewrite Amy so that Sonic isn't the ONLY thing to her character. I also think I'd re-do Shadow's backstory to be less silly.

If we mean 'reboot' as in "the series goes through fundamental design changes in terms of gameplay" then I'm all for that. The Unleashed style isn't my cup of tea, even if I really like Colors and Generations. It's really formulaic and I don't know how much you can keep adding on to it. Not to mention the engine is so exploitable. I'd like to see a return to form and a second attempt at adapting the classic Sonic design theories to a 3D game.

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I wouldn't change too much, but I would change a lot of details. Like Indigo said, use the Classic games as a way of establishing the core cast; Sonic 1 would introduce just Sonic & Tails, typical intro, just stomping Robotnik. Sonic 2 would still have Sonic vacationing, but Tails would still be along and his introduction would go to Amy; she follows them after hearing about what they(or Sonic) did in the first game and wanted to meet them, but eventually ends up getting kidnapped by Metal Sonic, and this begins the Death Egg Saga. At the end of the game, Amy, now infatuated with Sonic, decides to tag along. Sonic 3 & Knuckles; The trio head towards Angel Island after the events of Sonic 2, and basically the story plays out the same way it did originally, except that Mecha Sonic would be a simple upgrade to Metal from the last game. I have no idea how 4 would fit into this, so meh.

From then on, I'd reintroduce Shadow in a similar way to his debut in Sa2 but make his "death" much more vague so the possiblity that he does return is viable; his revival would come much later, maybe 2-3 games later to add to the impact. Rouge would pretty much remain the same, except that with Shadow "dead" she would be able to branch out on her own; maybe being that enigmatic ally of the cast whom she's fond of but has no compunctions about manipulating for her own ends; keep the tension between her and Knuckles.

Silver & Blaze would be introduced by coming to stop a certain villain that's threatening Sonic's world, they're both from an Alternate Dimension and at the end of the game, both of their dimensions would merge with Sonic's. Blaze & Silver would govern that section of the planet.

I'd probably introduce Cream and her Mom along with the Chaotix, because I honestly can't think of anything for the Chaotix alone that would be a viable introduction.

Oh, and Angel Island would drift across the planet, and the shrine would be in the hidden palace, out of sight. So Knuckles can, at anytime, be put into a story so people won't bitch.

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Basically what Indigo said. Keep the Classics as canon so you don't have to re-introduce all the core, core characters, and rebuild it (and introduce other characters such as Shadow or Blaze) from there.

Also everything else in his wall of awesome.

Not that there needs to be a reboot per se for most of that stuff to happen, but I would not mind if it was.

Edited by Chaos Warp

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Honestly, as long as they don't let the other characters die off, I'd be pretty interested in the reboot. I'd keep the canon from Sonic 1 - Sonic 4, including SA1 and 2. From there, Shadow could be reintroduced in a better way along with the Chaotix, and further down the line, characters like Silver and Blaze could have their reintroduction.

Although, I'd prefer the franchise not to reboot, but to try to fix up the canon, the best way possible.

Edited by Faceground Unleashed

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I wouldn't change too much, but I would change a lot of details. Like Indigo said, use the Classic games as a way of establishing the core cast; Sonic 1 would introduce just Sonic & Tails, typical intro, just stomping Robotnik. Sonic 2 would still have Sonic vacationing, but Tails would still be along and his introduction would go to Amy; she follows them after hearing about what they(or Sonic) did in the first game and wanted to meet them, but eventually ends up getting kidnapped by Metal Sonic, and this begins the Death Egg Saga. At the end of the game, Amy, now infatuated with Sonic, decides to tag along. Sonic 3 & Knuckles; The trio head towards Angel Island after the events of Sonic 2, and basically the story plays out the same way it did originally, except that Mecha Sonic would be a simple upgrade to Metal from the last game. I have no idea how 4 would fit into this, so meh.

From then on, I'd reintroduce Shadow in a similar way to his debut in Sa2 but make his "death" much more vague so the possiblity that he does return is viable; his revival would come much later, maybe 2-3 games later to add to the impact. Rouge would pretty much remain the same, except that with Shadow "dead" she would be able to branch out on her own; maybe being that enigmatic ally of the cast whom she's fond of but has no compunctions about manipulating for her own ends; keep the tension between her and Knuckles.

Silver & Blaze would be introduced by coming to stop a certain villain that's threatening Sonic's world, they're both from an Alternate Dimension and at the end of the game, both of their dimensions would merge with Sonic's. Blaze & Silver would govern that section of the planet.

I'd probably introduce Cream and her Mom along with the Chaotix, because I honestly can't think of anything for the Chaotix alone that would be a viable introduction.

Oh, and Angel Island would drift across the planet, and the shrine would be in the hidden palace, out of sight. So Knuckles can, at anytime, be put into a story so people won't bitch.

You know, I think the idea of a reboot is kind of pointless since the games have just started to get better. But if the reboot goes somewhere along the lines of your idea I'm all for it. Especially the idea of Silver being from an alternate dimension like Blaze. That really makes it a lot less complicated when it comes to working him into a storyline.

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What's the worst possible scenario if this goes bad?

They cut out everything except Sonic and Eggman and the losers that pretend to be REAL Sonic Fans rub it in everyones faces, only for Sonic to fall on his face AGAIN and permanently fade into obscurity in which I and a select group will go find those "REAL" Fans and tell them "This is your fault and we will make sure the whole world who cares about Sonic knows that so they can come and destroy you for us."

...This plan is fortified with what the world wants and deserves TYVM.

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No. It seems like they have a damn reboot every 5 years, and before I could understand, but now it really seems like they're just doing it for fun. I mean, since Unleashed (in the eyes of the majority), Sonic has gone nowhere but up. It's like Unleashed was a righteous God-Bomb for Sonic, like I've said before.

The only reason I can think of that they;re having a reboot is because they're aware that they've gained new fans to the series since the announcement of Gens., and even more so now that it's finally out. So they want to start off on the right foot, and start all over.

Again.

But hey, their choice, not mine. But I wouldn't recommend it.

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It could actually turn out to be REALLY good, but giving Sonic and Eggman newer designs? I like the modern design we have now but what more can they do with Sonic's design? Give him clothes??? Hmm...

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First of all would a reboot fix Sonic?

Story-wise a reboot could be interesting however a story reboot is also unfair to certain fans, and if the story sucks then Sega's right back to square one.

Gameplay-wise if the gameplay's crap then it doesn't matter if the series reboots or not. Sonic is first and foremost a video game series which means that gameplay is ultimately the most important thing.

Characters: One thing that bugs me is how a lot of game reviewers keep saying that all the Sonic characters other then Sonic and Dr. Robotnik need to be killed off. In my opinion these people are just butt hurt that Sonic has changed since 1991. A series that only has two main characters is not interesting.

Personally I think that reboots are just gimmicks half the time since they ultimately don't address the problems.

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Hey Guys, don't you see the reboot has already been happening, right under our noise. It called Sonic 4. Episode 1 had only sonic and Eggman, now Episode 2 has Tails and Metal Sonic.

In all seriousness. I would only like a reboot in level design, there really is no reason to dump character you just have to expand on them thats all.

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Guuuh I'd really hate this. I really don't care how many things they could "fix". I've invested in the characters and stories we've been given, secret alien dads and all. I don't want them to just wipe all that clean.

^This.

I like the series the way it is and would hate for Sega to go back and start messing with what is already established. It just seems too counter-productive for such a long running series, especially since the series is starting to be seen in a more positive light among the general gaming public again thanks to Colors and Generations.

What's the worst possible scenario if this goes bad?

The rebooted form of the series ends up not being well received critically or commercially, Sonic fades into obscurity, and the series dies off?

Since the series would be rebooted, many fans might lose the nostalgic connection they currently have towards it (which also means they won't be as tolerant with the series's shortcomings) and jump ship. Just look at Crash and Spyro.

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The rebooted form of the series ends up not being well received critically or commercially, Sonic fades into obscurity, and the series dies off?

Since the series would be rebooted, many fans might lose the nostalgic connection they currently have towards it (which also means they won't be as tolerant with the series's shortcomings) and jump ship. Just look at Crash and Spyro.

I don't know if Donkey Kong can be used as an example. Donkey Kong Jungle Beat eliminated the core essence of the DK series down to just Donkey Kong. Many people were not happy with it. Then DKCR came and brought back the general gameplay from the country games and brought back Diddy, Cranky, Rambi, and Sqwuaks. So some reboots can be well recieved.

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I am pro-reboot, as Eggman would say, Time for a change of pace.

This current canon is a monumental clusterfudge, every era effs up the previous canon in one way or another. I'm all for a table flip and restarting the canon after Sonic 3 and Knuckles, Sonic 4 was never meant to be Sonic 4 in the first place so it doesn't even count, it was supposed to be a series of downloadable mini-adventures but had the name changed to Sonic 4 for more sales.

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