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Should there be a new "Sonic Bible" and reboot based on it?

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Recently there's been a lot of talk about how to fix this series, with a common suggestion being to reboot it.  My reaction to such suggestions was generally that it's pointless to reboot a series whose continuity between games is constantly being altered anyway.

Still more recently, though, the old "Sonic Bible" from Sega of America (without the blessing from Sega of Japan) has been floated back to public consensus, which got me to thinking that this opinion wasn't quite right.  Sonic Team's current attitude towards the series and it's canon basically consists of letting them become whatever because they just don't care.  A reboot, in the truer canonical sense (not the lazy mis-characterization clickbait writers use to make any new entry in a series seem momentous), consists of making the series and its continuity something specific, because they do care.

Which is not to say that the latter is necessarily preferable.  I get the feeling that Sonic Team's current mindset about keeping continuity loose is due to worry that certain games will be so badly received that they'd rather just backpedal.  Also, I find the aforementioned Sega of America Sonic Bible to be pretty dumb, so if they happened to be in one of their bad phases while writing it, the bad stuff could really stick.

However, the counterpoint is that when their whole history is malleable, it renders the well-loved games potentially no more pertinent than any others.  It's no secret that many people like Sonic Adventure 2 better than Shadow the Hedgehog.  It's no secret that the latter's poor reception was so infamous that they backpedalled out of many things in it, like guns, flexible morality, swearing and more serious plots.  However because there is no statement for sure as to what is or isn't canon, we still have to accept that either that game's revision of Shadow's past is still the official one, or it isn't but maybe SA2's isn't either.  

Moreover, if only they'd always cared more about continuity and character identity, we could have avoided the bastardizations that occurred in Shadow the Hedgehog.  There wouldn't be a valid excuse to make Shadow a violent, edgy douchebag because the bits involving him moving on from that in SA2 and Sonic Battle would still be canon.  Instead of that, though, they've gotten even less respectful towards their backstory since then.  They might avoid making Shadow embarrassing in the way he was in that game ever again, but only because they don't want that backlash ever again.  A lack of a clear ideal of what make sure Shadow tick, though, means he can still become embarrassing in other ways; a key example being Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, in which he attacked Sonic just because Sonic had friends and Shadow found that dumb.  Tails is a similar case; if only they'd let his development in the Adventure series stick, they'd avoid him being such a wuss in Sonic Forces.  And poor Amy can barely hold onto a persona.

So this is why I'm thinking maybe it would be a good idea to make a new Sonic Bible.  If not to reboot canon, then at least to establish what is canon and what's not.  I know there is a big chance of annoying people if they put the "wrong" things in and treat them as axiomatic, but hopefully they can please at least enough people.  Everything in the Sonic Bible should adhere to at least one of the main Sonic games, and should contradict games only when other games do.  With that in mind, here are some thoughts.

1) The past is past and important but mostly done.  That's not to say time travel can't be in this series but the past shouldn't be altered just to justify a new status quo they want in the present.  Additions to the backstory can be acceptable in the case that something in the series past doesn't make sense, but only to fill in gaps between then and now.  So for example, you can revisit Gerald Robotnik to explain why he chose a hedgehog for his ultimate life form, but not revise his story to make him choose to make Shadow a llama instead.  If you want a llama character, make a new one.

2) There is a definite world.  Geography is consistent.  If they feel they can't handle that, the best policy would be not to show any maps, rather than showing multiple maps that all contradict each other.

3) Lessons learned stay learned.  Developments started shouldn't be reversed.  Not that every character has to do this, many won't, but if they want to make a plot about a character changing in some way, that change has to stick.  The games used to be better at this; for example Tails and Amy both were getting tougher following the first Adventure, in which they resolved to, but at some point that just went to nought.

4) Coordinate the various aspects of this series to click well.  The IDW writers should know what's happening, what happened and what will happen in the games, and vice-versa.  The game writers should be people who know the plots of past games.  Finally keep lore consistent across the world, so we don't have annoying clashing continuities between Japan and the West again.

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I don't think that we need a reboot, nor a "Bible" either. Just some less contradiction and a better writing. They just should have guidelines that are large enough to be able to do what they want and to keep the diversity of the franchise (that can have colored wacky game as much as more serious ones), but that are organized enough to be sure to avoid contradiction.

 

And I kinda disagree about some of the elements :

- An active geography is fun, but not needed for such a videogame serie. Sonic isn't and shouldn't be meant to be a serie with a strong continuity. So I think they should more have some guideline to make sure that it's kinda working together, but two map that doesn't look the same aren't such a problem for a game like Sonic. It's more the basic rules of the world that should work together.

- The big difference between American and Japanese Sonic wasn't a weakness of the serie. Not everybody liked it, but it's not like Sonic's old american continuities are seen as the same as other cartoon and comic for other japenese continuities. They have a lot of fanbase and many parts of them are seen as part of what is Sonic. And TBH, trying to advocate that when nowaday the Sonic Team is actually taking in leash other continuities to make sure that everything works kinda the same seems to me a bit anachronistic.

 

And TBH, even if we got some contradiction in Forces (the last relevant game), I don't feel that they are the biggest problem of the game or even the biggest risk for the future : for me it's more everything becoming to same-y and repetitive.

 

I wouldn't be against some kind of user-facing encyclopedia though. They are fun.

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TL:DR sorry but in general I'm sure there actually is a bible that the series follows. All a series bible is is a basic plot and who the characters are. 

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If they can get people with enough talent and vision to handle it, sure.

Modern Sonic is a mess of contradictory and unrelated ideas with no clear vision of what it is or where it's supposed to be going. The whole mess needs to be sorted out in some way, and considering how far it's gone, I'd say a reboot is an entirely reasonable option. Take some time off, figure out who the characters are, what the world is, and what it's all supposed to mean, and come back with something (hopefully) stronger than the usual confused mess of a game.

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A reboot you say? Hell yes!

If it were up to me I'd go back to SA1/SA2 era, and start there.. because the crappy games (games I won't even play) came after Sonic Heroes. Even Sonic Heroes has its flaws.
I have had, over the years, many ideas of how to do this, but the starting point is there in SA1/SA2. When the game transitioned to 3D it was cool, after that it seemed it went really pear shaped. SA1 and SA2 are what got me playing, that's what got me into a fully blown Sonic fan from just a casual interest in the franchise.

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1 hour ago, Diogenes said:

If they can get people with enough talent and vision to handle it, sure.

Modern Sonic is a mess of contradictory and unrelated ideas with no clear vision of what it is or where it's supposed to be going. The whole mess needs to be sorted out in some way, and considering how far it's gone, I'd say a reboot is an entirely reasonable option. Take some time off, figure out who the characters are, what the world is, and what it's all supposed to mean, and come back with something (hopefully) stronger than the usual confused mess of a game.

Ok, you say this a lot, but I have to ask...haven't they soft rebooted this series...like 4-5 different times already?

Sonic Adventure was a "reboot"

Sonic Heroes was a "reboot"

Sonic 06 was a "reboot"

Sonic Unleashed was a "reboot"

Sonic Boom was definitely going to be a "reboot"

 

So like...what is another reboot apparently going to change that the other ones didn't?

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6 minutes ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

Ok, you say this a lot, but I have to ask...haven't they soft rebooted this series...like 4-5 different times already?

Sonic Adventure was a "reboot"

Sonic Heroes was a "reboot"

Sonic 06 was a "reboot"

Sonic Unleashed was a "reboot"

Sonic Boom was definitely going to be a "reboot"

 

So like...what is another reboot apparently going to change that the other ones didn't?

In my world view, Sonic Adventure was the reboot as we went into the new millennium.

I didn't see or feel that Sonic Heroes was a reboot. To me Sonic Heroes felt like a game that was started for Dreamcast, then swiftly taken further in development for XBOX, PS2, and PC.

Sonic Boom is definitely a reboot, many sites and even news sites here in my dull part of the world carried headlines like "SEGA refreshes its hedgehog"
I didn't think it needed a reboot, but I do feel the key reboot around SA1 was probably necessary and good. Beyond that, I am not sure

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8 minutes ago, Sonikku2k said:

In my world view, Sonic Adventure was the reboot as we went into the new millennium.

I didn't see or feel that Sonic Heroes was a reboot. To me Sonic Heroes felt like a game that was started for Dreamcast, then swiftly taken further in development for XBOX, PS2, and PC.

Sonic Boom is definitely a reboot, many sites and even news sites here in my dull part of the world carried headlines like "SEGA refreshes its hedgehog"
I didn't think it needed a reboot, but I do feel the key reboot around SA1 was probably necessary and good. Beyond that, I am not sure

The dreamcast was long dead before Heroes was even a thought dude. And the entire marketing of the game was about "going back to Sonic's roots" (Gee, I wonder how many times we've heard that)

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1 minute ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

The dreamcast was long dead before Heroes was even a thought dude. And the entire marketing of the game was about "going back to Sonic's roots" (Gee, I wonder how many times we've heard that)

Possibly, at the time I was highly offended about what happened with the Dreamcast and I was kind of focused on anime

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1 minute ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

Ok, you say this a lot, but I have to ask...haven't they soft rebooted this series...like 4-5 different times already?

"Soft" being the key word. A soft reboot isn't really much of anything, the way I see it; it might include a change of direction, but without giving anything up, it's just adding to the mess the series has become. Anything a soft reboot ends up doing has to be squared with the games that came before it, because it's all still one continuity.

A proper reboot would sweep all that stuff away. It's a chance to start fresh, to get rid of what didn't work, to retool what did (or almost did), and to build new ideas into the foundation of the series. It allows for a level of flexibility and freedom that you can't get if you're still beholden to a quarter century of sketchy writing. That alone doesn't guarantee success of course, you still need the right people with the right ideas, but cleaning up and starting fresh can give them the space to do their best work rather than being held back by the existing continuity's problems.

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1 hour ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

Ok, you say this a lot, but I have to ask...haven't they soft rebooted this series...like 4-5 different times already?

Sonic Adventure was a "reboot"

Sonic Heroes was a "reboot"

Sonic 06 was a "reboot"

Sonic Unleashed was a "reboot"

Sonic Boom was definitely going to be a "reboot"

 

So like...what is another reboot apparently going to change that the other ones didn't?

I do not think sonic boom was going to be a reboot.

It was I think , if successful going to essentially be a justification to remove all of the adventure elements from the non boom games. Because it seemed like " Hey ... what if we made an adventure type thing because people are asking for it, but made it its own thing " which...is actually a neat idea , just executed poorly in... almost every way possible, and combined with a TV show that definitely not the tone of what you want with that sort of thing

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So to be clear-

A proper reboot would be like taking what worked, keeping that as a starting point for improvement?

In which case I can see the likes of Sonic Boom, being sent the way of the trash can, along with a number of new characters.

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1 hour ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

 

So like...what is another reboot apparently going to change that the other ones didn't?

To answer this specific part

In itself as a concept, nothing.

However, I dunno if someone knows what they are doing and kind of accepts the weird bullshit that sonic is, i'm interested to see what they could create.

Otherwise rebooting for the sake of it seems pointless besides character design updates , which I think we are overdue for

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51 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

"Soft" being the key word. A soft reboot isn't really much of anything, the way I see it; it might include a change of direction, but without giving anything up, it's just adding to the mess the series has become. Anything a soft reboot ends up doing has to be squared with the games that came before it, because it's all still one continuity.

A proper reboot would sweep all that stuff away. It's a chance to start fresh, to get rid of what didn't work, to retool what did (or almost did), and to build new ideas into the foundation of the series. It allows for a level of flexibility and freedom that you can't get if you're still beholden to a quarter century of sketchy writing. That alone doesn't guarantee success of course, you still need the right people with the right ideas, but cleaning up and starting fresh can give them the space to do their best work rather than being held back by the existing continuity's problems.

Sooo, you didn't answer my question before. What would this "reboot" change that these soft-reboots did not? 

Because a lot of the soft reboots did exactly what you described, only really keeping the names of the characters the same. Continuity has been kind of thrown out of the window beyond the general "HEY REMEMBER WHEN THAT HAPPENED!?" The series has built new ideas before (and screwed them up), they've "started fresh" (And fucked it up), and the new writers literally had tons of flexibility in the newer games (And they still fucked it up) 

A lot of the problems that you think are holding the series back are not continuity or story related problems, its just really a matter of the people behind them like you said. They've advertised "going to Sonic's roots" more times than anyone really cares for, and I don't think another "reboot" is going to change anything if we're stuck with the same people piloting the ship.

The only way a "reboot" would work under your guise is if it wasn't done under Sega, period. But even that carries the risk of alienating the people that are drawn to this series by all of it's dumb shit. 

 

9 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

To answer this specific part

In itself as a concept, nothing.

However, I dunno if someone knows what they are doing and kind of accepts the weird bullshit that sonic is, i'm interested to see what they could create.

Otherwise rebooting for the sake of it seems pointless besides character design updates , which I think we are overdue for

 

So creating yet another version of Sonic that might alienate people :V

There are so many alternate versions of Sonic, all of them advertising themselves as "new and improved". Boom  tried to do that and it still fucking sucked because they never capitlized on anything with it. 

Really, a reboot is unnecessary...at least with how Sega currently treats the series. They're content half-assing everything about Sonic, so I feel that's a more immediate problem than once again trying to rebrand the series, because people aren't stupid. They're gonna see it as a blatant publicity stunt to garner attention and knowing Sega, they'll just half-ass it once again . 

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3 minutes ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

So creating yet another version of Sonic that might alienate people :V

There are so many alternate versions of Sonic, all of them advertising themselves as "new and improved". Boom  tried to do that and it still fucking sucked because they never capitlized on anything with it. 

Really, a reboot is unnecessary...at least with how Sega currently treats the series. They're content half-assing everything about Sonic, so I feel that's a more immediate problem than once again trying to rebrand the series, because people aren't stupid. They're gonna see it as a blatant publicity stunt to garner attention and knowing Sega, they'll just half-ass it once again . 

I sort of agree with you and don't really have a strong opinion on this.

All I think all that really needs to be done personally is slight character design changes ( I Think the new comic characters with their sort of modern shoes gloves and bangless is a good direction ) and a commitment to making good games.

Just saying in a hypothetical sense, that is what would get me on board

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Don't see a need. They've done plenty of soft reboots that are, for all intents and purposes, full reboots since Sonic barely has continuity anyway. It's all superfluous, goofy bullshit that gets disregarded almost immediately. It's not some grand coherent mythology and it doesn't need to be.

I agree they could use some loose guidelines to prevent too many contradictions, and some stronger characterization, but that's about all that's needed. I think after nearly 30 years of this franchise's existence, the messiness and stupidity is part of its shlocky charm. Sonic is never, at this point, going to be "redeemed" in the way people want it to be, so they might as well embrace the stupidity. Not in an excessively self-deprecating way like the social media, but in the way, say, Archie Sonic did under Ian Flynn (I know it might seem weird for me to say that since I'm not a huge fan of the comics, but I do think that's one thing it got right. It had shit like the Black Arms and Wisps co-existing and had fun with it).

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5 minutes ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

Continuity has been kind of thrown out of the window beyond the general "HEY REMEMBER WHEN THAT HAPPENED!?"

What does this even mean? How do you simultaneously throw out the continuity and acknowledge it? There's a difference between actually starting fresh and just being lazy and uncaring.

5 minutes ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

A lot of the problems that you think are holding the series back are not continuity or story related problems, its just really a matter of the people behind them like you said. They've advertised "going to Sonic's roots" more times than anyone really cares for, and I don't think another "reboot" is going to change anything if we're stuck with the same people piloting the ship.

The only way a "reboot" would work under your guise is if it wasn't done under Sega, period.

Yes and I have acknowledged that the people responsible for the series need to change or at least get their heads out of their asses for this or anything to work. That doesn't mean there isn't value in doing the same for the continuity.

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I mean is there anything wrong with his current design that needs to be changed? Cuz I think Sonic's design is timeless enough as it is.

2 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

What does this even mean? How do you simultaneously throw out the continuity and acknowledge it? There's a difference between actually starting fresh and just being lazy and uncaring.

Yes and I have acknowledged that the people responsible for the series need to change or at least get their heads out of their asses for this or anything to work. That doesn't mean there isn't value in doing the same for the continuity.

Ok, so why do you need a reboot to do this? 

 

And yes, there is a difference...guess which one Sega falls under. 

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9 minutes ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

I mean is there anything wrong with his current design that needs to be changed? Cuz I think Sonic's design is timeless enough as it is.

 

I think redesigns are fun, and sometimes represent changes in visual style. I think we could do for some fun changes, timeless characters go through redesigns all the time, for products , general changes , crossoevers ect. I think Sonic could go for one, i'm interested to see what some people could come up with it

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16 minutes ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

Ok, so why do you need a reboot to do this?

If by "this" you mean getting new people on the series, then you don't. Obviously. And they should do that regardless of whether they reboot or not.

If you're talking about clearing the crud out of the series and replacing it with something better...I'm not sure how else you could do it. Massive retcons, maybe, but then the story's a big sloppy patchwork job and I don't think people like big retcons any more than they like reboots.

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Sonic is an episodic action serial with staff that rotates frequently. That's why all of these so called soft reboots exist. They're literally keeping themselves free to make changes for the next generation of staff to suit the next generation of kids. This sounds like they're trying too hard to be trendy or something on paper but you won't catch Mario or Zelda making much in the way of long term commitments outside of lip-service for similar reasons.

 Actually rebooting everything is an entirely meaningless gesture in the wake of what this series is. It's a series of products that have their own different stylistic nuances, not an attempt to do one long running story. I honestly prefer it that way. I like being surprised. I like Sonic changing things up. The more a series gets caught up in it's own lore the more it tends to bore me.

The loose continuity was never a thing that stopped people from buying, playing or enjoying Sonic games. It's a non-issue that you'd lose more people 'fixing' than you'd gain. It's fun to fantasize about long form Sonic storytelling but I never thought the games needed to be the place for that. Read the comic and help us push for it in other formats.



 

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I don't think they should do another reboot or anything... rather, I think they should just stick to any of the past versions/canons/etc. and just revisit them while adding onto whatever parts they want, building off of already laid groundwork.

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Sonic Team themselves said Sonic Boom was a spin off to sell more toys to American children, not a reboot. They were very quick to inform that to everyone else. It was just a way for Sonic and co to  look slightly different and therefore having more designs to sell. (it failed)

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