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Razule

Is "individual bubbles" the best way to view the ""continuity"" now?

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A few years ago, Iizuka once said that every Sonic took place in its own bubble. We thought this dumb at the time, especially with Sonic Generations' existence seeming to make this blatantly wrong, but in retrospect, with Classic's sudden new origin in Forces contradicting Generations a mere five years later.. maybe he's right? So many things change from game to game, even seeming sequels have small things that don't match up perfectly. We could explain those away with varying levels of success, but come on, they're never really thinking about it that hard.

Instead of a nonsensical mess of a timeline held together by string, duck-tape, and retcons, how about this.. every game has it's own timeline. This way there's no contradiction because everything is self-contained in its own version of the Sonic lore, influenced by previous installments but re-fitted to match whatever game. 

Why are the Chaos Emeralds shaped differently in 2 and why are their seven now? Why does the Special Stage change each game? Why is Classic from the past one game, but his own dimension the next? Why are their allegedly "two worlds" now when that clearly wasn't the case before? Why did Tails get a Chaos Emerald as a gift after Adventure when Station Square was destroyed? Why's Blaze suddenly from Silver's future in 06? Where's Knuckles and Shadow in Unleashed? Where's GUN after 06? Why are we seeing the moon from the not broken side when that's not how the moon works? All different universes. 

This seems pretty flawless to me, assume when games reference previous games but clearly don't match up it's just that world's version of the events. We wouldn't need to worry about game-to-game continuity because there simply isn't one. And there basically already isn't anyway. I mean, aside from the odd reference, or whatever they tried with the so-called "Shadow saga" the games are mostly episodic.

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I dunno. The more I think about it, the more I think that the weird continuity actually opens up a whole bunch of interpretations for fans to do what they please with.

I mean think about it. Save for the occasional cross-reference, as you've acknowledged, Sonic games tend to be pretty inconsistent in terms of continuity. Which means that if you don't like a particular game or interpretation, you can totally remove or downplay it in your headcanon without losing anything of importance from stuff you do like.

Think its stupid for Blaze to be from the future instead of the Sol Dimension? Just act like any references to her from the future are just joke-y speculation and not accurate. Bam, your next fanfic/Sonic discussion/etc. is good to go in that category. Prefer Shadow the Hedgehog post-SA2 to be an android and SA2 Shadow to be dead? Discard Shadow the Hedgehog the game entirely and you're good to go. Don't like Sonic 4? Doesn't have to be canon at all-- literally nothing would change from removing it from the timeline. So on and so forth.

I don't know any other franchise outside of Mario or Undertale where this level of freedom with continuity is not only possible but strongly encouraged to make sense of the series lore. I mean, it could be used as cause for infighting as has unfortunately happened on several occasions, but you know, I think it has potential to liberate fans from their endless discussions because no one interpretation of Sonic continuity is inherently more valid than another. So everybody could potentially just express their interpretation in peace.

Sure. View it as separate bubble. Or don't. Or somewhere in between. They're all valid ways of viewing Sonic continuity. So think what you want to think about Sonic continuity and respect what others think too.

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Treating each game as its own separate bubble is less of a way of looking at continuity and more of a way of giving up and declaring that there isn't any.

I could, theoretically, get behind a series that has no real continuity and just maintains an identity through repeated themes and icons and the like. Mario's a bit like that. Even Zelda kind of is; aside from a few direct sequels and occasional references most of the games are more concerned with telling their own stories with their own Link and Zelda than with trying to build continuity between games. You could go even more radical like, I dunno, Final Fantasy or the Tales series, which seem to invent entirely new worlds and entirely new casts for most games.

But I don't think that Sonic has ever really committed to that. Sonic's never been a continuity-heavy series, but there's often been some. Enough to give a sense that the games are a sequence of events and not just independent takes on a general concept. Even with more recent games shying away from explicit connections, Forces still has, 1, the returning villains, 2, a direct connection to Mania via classic Sonic, and 3, an implied connection to Generations via Tails and modern Sonic recognizing classic Sonic. The game is very clearly not staying within its own bubble; these parts of the game don't make sense without knowledge of the games they're tied to. Forces gives no explanation for Chaos; the only way to understand the character is with knowledge of the other games he's appeared in. But then you can't just say "oh, well, continuity is like, whatever" because that throws the only context we have for the character into question.

Of course, this is all secondary to the fact that Sonic Team can't write a story worth a damn regardless of how they approach continuity. That they decided to suddenly retcon classic Sonic to be from another dimension is bad and sloppy, but even if they declare Forces to be its own bubble with no strict connection to any other Sonic game, classic's existence in the game is completely pointless anyway. Declaring that the game is meant to stand on its own in terms of continuity is a dodge when the game cannot even stand on its own as a functional story.

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That only works If you only use sonic tails and eggman

As soon as you venture into knuckles, amy, shadow and various other characters that there is an idea that multiple games exist in that world because those characters come from places. Silver being in forces, along with the forces comic, acknowledges that sonic 06 happened. The comic directly comments from him being from the future. 

If the series was only sonic tails and eggman, you can do whatever the shit you want. But if  they go back to using other characters, other games have to happen. And some are worse than others. With knuckles  you have to assume, about 3 games happened. With shadow, you have to assume at least 4 games happened, and one of those games assumed that 3 other games happened. 

And if you do shit like forces then you have to assume multiple other games happen, because they are dredging up old shit. 

Shit being in a bubble only works if you have an extremely limited cast that can change their shit up on a moments notice, and they don't have the first thing and they started bringing other characters back, and they can't and refuse in some cases even when its other continuities like with sonic boom to do the latter .

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15 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Even with more recent games shying away from explicit connections, Forces still has, 1, the returning villains, 2, a direct connection to Mania via classic Sonic, and 3, an implied connection to Generations via Tails and modern Sonic recognizing classic Sonic. The game is very clearly not staying within its own bubble; these parts of the game don't make sense without knowledge of the games they're tied to. Forces gives no explanation for Chaos; the only way to understand the character is with knowledge of the other games he's appeared in. But then you can't just say "oh, well, continuity is like, whatever" because that throws the only context we have for the character into question.

 

5 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

That only works If you only use sonic tails and eggman

As soon as you venture into knuckles, amy, shadow and various other characters that there is an idea that multiple games exist in that world because those characters come from places. Silver being in forces, along with the forces comic, acknowledges that sonic 06 happened. The comic directly comments from him being from the future. 

If the series was only sonic tails and eggman, you can do whatever the shit you want. But if  they go back to using other characters, other games have to happen. And some are worse than others. With knuckles  you have to assume, about 3 games happened. With shadow, you have to assume at least 4 games happened, and one of those games assumed that 3 other games happened. 

And if you do shit like forces then you have to assume multiple other games happen, because they are dredging up old shit. 

Shit being in a bubble only works if you have an extremely limited cast that can change their shit up on a moments notice, and they don't have the first thing and they started bringing other characters back, and they can't and refuse in some cases even when its other continuities like with sonic boom to do the latter .

Ah, that's what broad strokes are for.

Quote

Broad Strokes is a concept regarding canon where the writers pick and choose what elements of an older story they want to accept into a more recent story. It could be that the overall story is intact but the specific details are changed, or that the story is ignored but the details introduced within are still being worked with. This is most often used when parts of the official canon or even basic continuity cannot be reconciled as they stand.

 

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I didn't think it was dumb in the first place because like...my takeaway from what he said is that the series is episodic despite some recurring elements (as well as attempts earlier on to have running plot lines). If the games are literally considered separate universes though then...sorry, but I don't get that at all?

To be frank, it's not necessary to do that to rationalize any of this (see also: the whole "two worlds" bit, assuming that's literal). Generally, inconsistencies are oversights and/or wildly different ideas from different directors/writers/etc. that end up contradicting each other. That's just how it is, we see it all the time in other franchises too.

We went from six to seven emeralds? Okay, the seventh wasn't on South Island. (Plus this was the series' early years and they ultimately, firmly established it as seven Emeralds in SA1.)

Tails got an Emerald for saving the city even though it got destroyed? Well, the survivors must've still been grateful for his efforts. This is the kind of thing where yes, they don't spell it out, but it's not hard to fill in the blanks with something that makes sense and isn't such a huge deal that not explaining it feels egregious.

Blaze's backstory? It's been said a few times that Rush is the real deal, and yes there's been the occasional nod to Blaze and Silver's connection in '06, but I put that down to someone on the team not being able to let that idea go, for whatever reason.

The moon? ...Well, ya got me there. It was instantly ignored for no reason and it still doesn't make sense to me since it'd be so easy to implement, and I doubt they forgot. It could go back to what I was saying about different people on the team having different ideas on what the series should do or be like, but...as far as I know it was roughly the same team from SA2 through '06, so...?

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15 minutes ago, Razule said:

Ah, that's what broad strokes are for.

If you try to put every game in its own bubble yet keep the "broad strokes" of whatever you find useful, you are basically ushering in a hell world where nothing can ever be properly known or trusted. Anything can be added, changed, or removed at any time for any reason. Nothing is true until it's observed and it's free to change the moment you look away.

No good can come from allowing Sonic Team that kind of power.

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5 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

If you try to put every game in its own bubble yet keep the "broad strokes" of whatever you find useful, you are basically ushering in a hell world where nothing can ever be properly known or trusted. Anything can be added, changed, or removed at any time for any reason. Nothing is true until it's observed and it's free to change the moment you look away.

No good can come from allowing Sonic Team that kind of power.

Well.. that's basically how it is now, except we assume everything is the same until they say some new dumb thing.

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50 minutes ago, Razule said:

 

 

Ah, that's what broad strokes are for.

 

That doesn't work when you are talking about specific characters like that. It also doesn't work when specific events key to each story needs to occur. When dealing with comic books, if something cool happens in the middle of a shitty story that doesn't require the story sure go ahead. But if its required for the story, then that story happened. 

Like to use the " worst examples" Shadow is the St Elsewhere of sonic

For him to exist as he exists now, like a large number of games, have to occur, or they have to completely reboot sonic. Like HAVE TO occur. Like from sonic and knuckles to sonic 06, have to. 

I wouldn't mind them rebooting sonic where things can be more self reliant, but they haven't done that , and as it stands, the characters need games to exist... to exist

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Me foolishly attempting to make sense of Sonic continuity:

GuOWIL.jpg

 

I think the main issue here is that it just seems... I dunno, cockteasy, for them to equally pick and choose when they feel like treating them as bubbles and when they don't.  It also doesn't help that... pretty much up until, I dunno, Sonic Adventure 2 -> Sonic Heroes with it's moon thing, nothing really ever did clash in the Sonic games.  It all felt consistent and people liked that.  What you suggest in the OP would be fine if that's what Sonic always did from the beginning but the fact that it KINDA did for a while can never really be undone.  If continuity is your bag it's just super frustrating to know they did do this for a while and now they just don't seem to care anymore.  And even the most positive scenario where all previous continuity was accidental in it's non-clashingness and they didn't even think about it back then, it doesn't even ease the frustration because then you're just like "man you guys found this so easy before what's changed?"

I think it doesn't help that often, fanon suggestions to fix plot holes tend to be very straightforward and obvious. One throwaway line from Tails about The Lost Hex being a floating continent that was just a myth beforehand.  Another from Sonic about "Hey seems like Wisps are local to this planet too, Eggman's been capturing them again".  Two of the most contentious issues from that game solved, just like that.

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I think most of the things that "clash" in Sonic games can be hand-waved with simple explanations and if it can it shouldn't be treated as a plot hole.

"Why are the special stages different?" Is it hard to believe that with all the weird shit in them they could be ever changing too?

"Where's Knuckles and Shadow in Unleashed?" Considering this is the first Sonic game of this scope it could be that they just didn't run across them. Not every Sonic game has every character in it. 

If you think about the series this way, most things line up, and the things that don't can be explained by the games changing hands so many times over the years. Mistakes will be made. There's no need to dwell on them and act like there's more problems than there are on top of it.
 

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12 hours ago, Razule said:

A few years ago, Iizuka once said that every Sonic took place in its own bubble. We thought this dumb at the time, especially with Sonic Generations' existence seeming to make this blatantly wrong, but in retrospect, with Classic's sudden new origin in Forces contradicting Generations a mere five years later.. maybe he's right? So many things change from game to game, even seeming sequels have small things that don't match up perfectly. We could explain those away with varying levels of success, but come on, they're never really thinking about it that hard.

Instead of a nonsensical mess of a timeline held together by string, duck-tape, and retcons, how about this.. every game has it's own timeline. This way there's no contradiction because everything is self-contained in its own version of the Sonic lore, influenced by previous installments but re-fitted to match whatever game. 

Why are the Chaos Emeralds shaped differently in 2 and why are their seven now? Why does the Special Stage change each game? Why is Classic from the past one game, but his own dimension the next? Why are their allegedly "two worlds" now when that clearly wasn't the case before? Why did Tails get a Chaos Emerald as a gift after Adventure when Station Square was destroyed? Why's Blaze suddenly from Silver's future in 06? Where's Knuckles and Shadow in Unleashed? Where's GUN after 06? Why are we seeing the moon from the not broken side when that's not how the moon works? All different universes. 

This seems pretty flawless to me, assume when games reference previous games but clearly don't match up it's just that world's version of the events. We wouldn't need to worry about game-to-game continuity because there simply isn't one. And there basically already isn't anyway. I mean, aside from the odd reference, or whatever they tried with the so-called "Shadow saga" the games are mostly episodic.

.

Actually, (canonically) they found the seventh Chaos Emerald on South Island

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36 minutes ago, ClassicKnuckles said:

Actually, (canonically) they found the seventh Chaos Emerald on South Island

I don't think the old Western canon is canon, as far as Japan goes, seventh wasn't till 2.

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I do think that there are Era-specific bubbles for Classic and Dreamcast with all their continuity in addition to the disconnected Modern bubbles. This is how Classic could permeate his bubble into Forces’s bubble, while Generations’s bubble has its own classic. Maybe the Phantom Ruby was from the Dreamcast bubble?

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I think it's more that it feels relatively new to Sonic, or that we've only recently realised how much it has affected Sonic.  It was possible to overlook lack of continuity between certain games in the past as there was a clearer division between mainline and spin-off (nobody really expects the Advance or Storybook games to get referenced in mainline (though the latter was, of course)) or because when they papered over certain details it was because they would have been inconvenient or confusing to new players (like the shape of the continents from Unleashed or the damage to the Moon in SA2).  Forces is the first time we've encountered historical revisionism on a franchise-altering scale.  (Blaze's multiple-choice backstory is analogous, but nobody cares about '06 and it retconned itself away anyway.)

I don't mind soft continuity particularly; so long as each game is good in itself, I don't need them to link together into long sagas.  But once you start ignoring or changing mainstay parts of the series status quo without any narrative justification, then that's soft continuity, it's no continuity at all, and intergame lore becomes impossible to care about because it has effectively ceased to exist.  That's fine if there's no real intergame lore to start with; it doesn't hurt Mario because lore was never the point.  But if you used to have intergame continuity and then you abandon it, well, the franchise appeal is literally lesser for it.  The weight of accumulated continuity was never a problem for Sonic, it was the ideas being bad in the first place.

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