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If you were in charge of the Sonic franchise

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What would you do?

Here’s what I’d do:

1. Do away with the “two worlds” nonsense, for the game universe at least. It makes no sense, and is almost impossible to retroactively implement. Just have Sonic’s world be a single cohabitation of anthros and humans.

2. Be a bit looser with the “classic” and “modern” brand separation. I have no problem with the two of them being different brands, but there shouldn’t be character restrictions. Let Mighty, Ray, and the Hooligans transition over to the modern branch, and let classic Vector, Espio, and Charmy exist again.

3. Create some kind of detailed internal document for how the Sonic universe and its characters are meant to be, to make sure everything stays consistent going forward.

4. Lift that stupid embargo on past, “non-relevant” continuities and iterations. I’m not saying bring elements from them into the games (no Knothole Freedom Fighters in the games or anything like that), just be open to actually acknowledging them: let IDW do reprints of Archie Sonic issues (within reason; post-SGW and later game tie-in stories at least), Fleetway (again, if rights allow), Sonic X and Sonic Boom comics.

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Just have Sonic’s world be a single cohabitation of anthros and humans.

always irked me how sonic team's been flip-flopping on this for so long. the easiest way they could do this is to have certain parts of the world be inhabited by humans and others being inhabited by anthropomorphic characters like what we've seen in archie, forces, and idw 

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Sell the franchise to Nintendo.

 

 

 

Okay, for a serious answer...shoot, what wouldn't I do? Probably got way too many things I'd like to change, I couldn't list them all. I think the most important thing for me would be to get a production department specifically for the Genesis/classic half for Sonic up and running; so that there's an actual development team interested in making more games styled after the originals (2D and 3D games, might I add) that is mostly independent from S.Team/CS2/whatever. Rather than it being left in the dustbin of Sega's history for the 2000s or only brought back for (with rare exceptions) cheap nostalgia cash-ins for the 2010s. 

It really says something that the only way one could get a legitimate new classic Sonic project from Sega was that you had to build it yourself and hope you had enough clout at the company for it to go official (Taxman/Stealth and company regarding the remasters of the old games and eventually Mania).

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0) What you said.
1) It's Mobius not Earth
2) Acknowledge Sticks as part of the Main Continuity.
3) Give Knuckes his god damn dinosaur! Chomps will rise again!

But you do realize that does are nerdy demands for nerdy things that barely matter on macro scale, right? My actual projects
1) Make SA3. Only don't call it that and alternative play-stlyes should all be platform based. I already have 2 or 3 ideas for plots that would enhance game play. Ask Flynn to help with dialogues.

2) Try making spin-offs for other characters; Star safe with Knuckles or Chao Garden, then we risk Chaotix, Blaze and if things go really well, see if we can do clear Shadow's name.

3) See if I can make Sonic Animated Movie, probably with Hesse's help. If not then Netflix cartoon.

4) Finally try making Sonic racer without a car that isn't Sonic R.

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  • Like others have said, get rid of the "two worlds"/"two timelines" nonsense. Sonic is on one planet, with one continuity for all the games. Classic Sonic is the Sonic of the past, not Sonic from "another dimension."
  • Regularly release both 2D and 3D platformers. 2D games would use the classic style gameplay and physics, a la Mania. 3D would be more like the Adventure games rather than the boost formula, with more of an emphasis on platforming than racing through mostly corridor-style levels.
  • Continue letting Christian Whitehead have free reign over the 2D games. He and his team know what they're doing.
  • Character-specific spinoffs. Start with ones who've already had their own titles like Tails and Knuckles, before veering into others. And - yes - Eggman would eventually have his day in the limelight after character spinoffs become an expected and accepted "third pillar" of the game series.
  • Hire Ian Flynn as main storywriter. Give him extremely basic parameters but otherwise give the man space to work his magic. He's proven he's capable of writing Sonic stories that are goofy, dramatic, heartfelt, and tense; He has range, and I believe he'd be able to do the world and characters justice in a way no other game writer has.
  • If all of this goes well and the franchise is profitable enough, commission an animated series that's true to the games to continue promoting the brand.

These are just what I have in mind off the top of my head, but I feel like they're good ideas!

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10 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Reboot. The series is a mess and I don't think there's a way to save what it's grown into. I'd rather try to clean things up and start fresh, actually make something useful out of the various parts of the series.

Hm.

Would you do a total reboot or do it after a certain cutoff point? (i.e. certain games up to a point still "happened," and the next game takes place right on the heels of that, disregarding anything that might have come afterward)

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Literally get a team of platforming/movement based game designers from across the industry together and spend a year working on Sonic moving around until it feels right. Maybe more. I don't care how long it takes at this point. After this I'd start exploring level concepts and movement gimmicks and stuff. Fun stuff that compliments the movement and physics of Sonic while avoiding any extras until later in development. On the whole the series needs to be refocused on interaction without losing it's sense of immersion and iconic setpieces. Sonic needs to be able to move freely around open ended areas and have some kind of interaction with most of the things in it, even if it's something as simple as being able to explore a shallow lake, bounce off the hood of a car rip the grass away from the ground as he runs. This would all exist within linear level design but I want there to be multiple ways to make your way forward most of the time.

I don't really care to change any lore stuff. I don't think any of it really needs to be change unless you're one of those people that thinks about it too hard. I'd push the series to focus on newer characters and concepts besides Sonic himself rather then revisit and dwell on the older. A "new wave" of characters based around whatever gameplay concepts they can come up with first with less emphasis on working backwards from how a character is in the lore. This would mean that the series would end up with a lot more characters than it has even now but that's...fine with me? Hot take. 

 

To me, Classic Sonic represents safety and not the sleek, modern, expressive look the character should have, so I'd push more toward adapting the artstyle to the current times where action is starting to return to western animation and anime is becoming mainstream. I"d still want it to be stylized as hell and not stiff and painteresque like Unleashed, but aside from Mania Sonic Team's classic style is pretty lacking in character. 



 

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29 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

Hm.

Would you do a total reboot or do it after a certain cutoff point? (i.e. certain games up to a point still "happened," and the next game takes place right on the heels of that, disregarding anything that might have come afterward)

So this may be a hot take, but if it were me, I'd do a total reboot and have an 'abridged' entry for the classic trilogy (introducing the primary cast) and a few other loose remakes of some key/popular games in the series to reintroduce the rest of the cast (with the gift of hindsight and without arbitrary restrictions) scattered throughout, and work up from there.

Now... a reboot won't make the games better. That's a different issue. But the continuity is such a mess that I'd rather see it get a proper do-over and codify the original series as a "legacy" timeline, and give this new universe a chance to do some world-building and re-introduce the cast and setting in a less ad-hoc way, free of early-era regional differences and inconsistent continuities... and not leave it up to a third party with no history or knowledge of the franchise (hello, Boom).

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16 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

Hm.

Would you do a total reboot or do it after a certain cutoff point? (i.e. certain games up to a point still "happened," and the next game takes place right on the heels of that, disregarding anything that might have come afterward)

Total. As much as I like the classics, even back then there was a lot that feels pretty slapdash. May as well go all in and clean up everything, try to make the best possible start for the new continuity.

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I feel like the only reason Sonic Team has avoided doing a complete reboot is because they know they wouldn't use the other characters.

Doing soft reboots over the years has been a way of keeping the characters around for story purposes, since they wouldn't bother using them in game-play.

Something like that.

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Have the 3D games be actual 3D and not the 2.5D we have now, along with reinstating multiple playable characters and leaving the Classic pandering to the Mania series.

Also a Sonic rpg spinofff series.

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47 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

Hm.

Would you do a total reboot or do it after a certain cutoff point? (i.e. certain games up to a point still "happened," and the next game takes place right on the heels of that, disregarding anything that might have come afterward)

If I were to do that, I would think of a sort of double reboot, first a cutoff reboot with retelling/abridging the dark age games, followed by a total one and ignoring the Meta Era (with a few possible exceptions) completely.

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I think what I would do is give the series a bit more focus, because I think that’s something the series has a major issue with. A lack of focus, especially when it comes to the 3D games. The 3D games have this noticeable issue that they tend to change the formula a lot with each game starting with Heroes, and when that formula doesn’t work out the first time, they’ll quickly just switch to a new formula in hopes it’ll be better received. I think the most consistent the 3D games has been was with the first 3 Boost games, and even then, all of them had their own respective gimmick attached to them. Heck, even some of the 2D games had this issue, with the whole Advance trilogy having totally different gameplay styles between the three. I think if there was a bit more consistency, there wouldn’t be such a disconnect between the games

I’d also give the games more development time and have them get delays if necessary, because let’s be honest, a lot of the problems within the games (mainly with polish) would be non-existent, had they had more time to work on it. Thankfully, with the fact Team Sonic Racing had received a delay so it can receive more polish, it seems that Sega is finally aware of that, so hopefully they’ll keep that up.

And, lastly... BRING BACK ORIGINAL HANDHELD SONICS!!! 

(That last request will never happen, but a man can dream, right?)

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Most pressingly, hire EveningStar on a permanent contract to make 2D Sonic games, Make a new 2D Sonic series which runs alongside the mainline 3D titles.

That's the most obvious step that needs to be taken, but knowing SEGA's mismanagement of this franchise, who knows if they will ever do it.

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I'm really against rebooting the franchise.

We got a reboot when they made Sonic Boom and really nothing intelligent was done with the concept.

We'll get a reboot when the Sonic movie comes out, and that version is just doubling down on the things nobody likes while avoiding most of what's recognizable about the character.

Sonic isn't like other fictional characters who have iconic origin stories that can be retold again and again from new vantage points.  I don't think there's anything interesting to be done by retelling Shadow's backstory or the Perfect Chaos stuff.  Mostly it would just create more confusion than there already is about which details from prior continuity still "count".  There's nothing stopping the current Sonic universe from introducing new characters or exploring different kinds of worlds; we had plenty of that back in the Storybook and Rush games.

Sonic isn't being held back by previous continuity, he's being held back by shallow characterization and an obsession with trying to play it 'safe' with the marketing.

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Sonic is being held back by previous continuity and shallow characterization, there's no need for a false dichotomy argument, and playing the "Boom was bad" card is a disingenuous and dismissive rebuttal. Sonic Boom, besides being a spin-off sub-franchise that flopped, was handled by a team of people with a very cursory understanding of the series' backstory, and the less said about the movie the better.

Believe it or not, it isn't about wanting to create yet another origin story; the last thing we really want is too many 'takes' on Sonic like it's TMNT or Batman. It's about trimming the unnecessary trash out of the series' core continuity and consolidating the ideas that have worked into a less convoluted series so there's a solid lore to reference. The Archie comics only benefited from cutting out all of the nonsense it's been shackled to with it's Genesis Wave arc, for example. 

While you don't need a reboot to write new worlds and characters into the series, that isn't the point to begin with. It's about reiterating and reemphasizing what Sonic's actually about, rather than flippantly claiming everything as canon yet not actually committing to that. Certain plotlines are incompatible with each other, and yet are considered canon. A lot of us feel like we shouldn't need to put together a complicated fan theory for every mistake that's made. Could they botch a reboot? Sure. But this thought experiment presumes success, not failure. Would it cause confusion? Yes! But not any more or less confusion than they've already caused. It's clearer than a soft-reboot or series of retcons.

Anyway, the focus of the thread is "what would you do if you were in charge," so I'll reiterate that, among other things (such as destroying the Classic/Modern branding split) a fresh, focused and consistent take on the story of Sonic is what I personally would do. I'd be interested in continuing that discussion in a dedicated thread, though. Just not here.

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Oh geez. 

Well, most of what I have to offer is stuff relegated to the world and the story so I'll go off of that. 

1) Soft-Reboots for select games. Basically, ever since Crash N-Sane Trilogy, I've had it in my head what would happen if we took select Sonic games and revamped them so that they were not only functionally better but written to make more chronological sense than they do? I don't like the idea of scrapping the last 25 years of content we have with a full on reboot BUT I love the idea of re-doing some of the old games, ironing out the kinks, and molding it into something that has the soul of what the original tried to do but not the execution. Even the Adventure games, which I love, have this air about them that makes it enticing to see what could be done with remakes for the two of them.

The ones I'd focus on would just be the ones where major characters were introduced within the franchises. Adventure, Adventure 2, and Heroes would be the first collection I'd do. The next three would probably be Shadow, Rush, and Rivals as strange as that sounds. Shadow's game would probably be the only one that I'd make a straight up reboot, to the point where it barely resembled the old game. I'd probably go for something that dealt more with the Shadow Android subplot that was introduced in Heroes and semi-touched on in Shadow. Rush's story would be the same. It'd just be in 3D now. Rivals would be in 3D as well but I'd probably crib ideas from its sequel as well as 06 and mash it into one big game for Silver's introduction.

I'd probably leave Unleashed, Colors, Generations, and Lost World alone. Unleashed, however, would be nice to re-release with some remastered elements to it. The option to turn off the battle music. Making the werehog stages shorter and having him be more powered up and faster so that he was more "Unbeatable Sora from Kingdom Hearts" rather than "Slow and methodical, regular beat-em-up". Also, I'd get rid of the medal collecting system and tighten up the controls a bit. Maybe add in some new missions with some of the other Sonic characters for neat little bonus story missions and a chance to seem them in that beautiful lighting engine.

After those two collections of soft-reboots and the Unleashed remaster I'd probably have the last one be a Forces remake.  I wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing I never took the chance to completely build Forces from the ground up again. I'd even give up on the idea of softly-rebooting those other games if it meant I could JUST remake Forces. It's too good an idea to waste on that game. 

06 can be ignored since it's written within its narrative that it didn't happen. Secret Rings and Black Knight don't really affect the canon that much (and don't really squander any storytelling opportunities actually). Same with the Riders games. If I have to, I'll just pull an Iizuka and release a statement stating what's canon and what's not, if these game ideas aren't viable or possible.

I realize all this might not be realistic or possible but it's what I want. 

I really just want a chance to iron out and fix what's been given to us here. I don't want it all scrapped but I don't want it all to stay this way either.  I want it all revised. Because, as was stated, we can't have things that contradict each other be considered canon. This canon is a mess and it needs to be cleaned out before it fires again.

2) 3D games are 3D games. 2D games are 2D games. No more 2.5D. Unless I have a REALLY good fucking idea for it that doesn't take away from the experience, no more.

3) I'd really, really loosen up how stingy they are with the character roster. I'm not even talking about how they won't let anyone but Sonic and the occasional gimmick character be playable in mainstream games too. I'm talking about how, in a game like Team Sonic Racing, there's only 15 playable characters, which isn't even enough to get in the full 18 characters that make up the expected main cast. The only time they ever loosen up is when they're making a mobile game. In Sonic Forces Speed Battle you can play as Team Sonic, Team Rose, Team Dark, Team Chaotix, Team Eggman (minus Eggman), Team Babylon, and Chaos... I believe in Runners you could play as Tikal and Mephiles. I wouldn't necessarily go so far as to require characters like Mephiles or Erazor or what not but I'd at least go for all the ones who've gotten like... I dunno, one of those Sonic Channel comics that came out for the 25th anniversary? If you got one of those comics you'll be playable in the Sequel. Even Sticks.

Better yet, just bring back the SEGA franchises for the next one and split the roster in half for Sonic and SEGA. Like have 34 characters with 18 of them from Sonic and the other 18 from various SEGA franchises. That way none of the Sonic fans can complain about their absolute favorites not making it in and we can also see Beat and B.D Joe and Ulala going at it again. And put in that guy from Yakuza 0. And make Oil Ocean and Studiopolis a stage. 

Actually, you know what-

4) Make another Sonic and SEGA All Stars Racer with 34 characters. Half of them are Sonic and half of them are SEGA. It'll have the guy from Yakuza 0 and Oil Ocean and Studiopolis as stages. Also Eggmanland. Also an easier Burning Rangers stage but keep the song because the song was awesome. Also, let us choose which songs go in the stages again but remix the songs by default. If you can, put some Persona 5 shit in there too like you did with Forces. It'd be trippy as hell, driving in a Mementos stage. Get Capcom to see if Mega Man and Dr. Wily can be guest characters. You did a comic book crossover together. It'll be like saying hi to an old friend. Oh and Hang Castle but also a House of the Dead stage. Actually, four haunted themed stages. Halloween is my favorite month of the year. That's right. It's not October anymore. The entire month is now called Halloween.

5) Bring back the best Sonic character, Danica Patrick.

5) Get someone who knows how to do good writing and localization (if that's even going to be a problem due to how up in the air the state of Sonic Team is) on board. It can be someone you know has proven to be mostly well-liked by the community, like Ian Flynn, or just someone who's well-known to be a good writer, period. After I do that, I'll hold them and ourselves to some consistency and stop doing the George Lucas thing of changing our minds every two years about something super important.

6) Yes, I'd get rid of the two worlds thing too. Anthropomorphic animals co-exist with weird, strange looking human beings. Humans are animals too. They're allowed to be weird and have strange powers too. It's a fantasy world. Who gives a shit? It's not like the powers of Sonic and his pals are explained or make any sense. Not everyone has to have powers of course but flesh things out so that they don't feel as random. There are normal, powerless, civilian type animal people just the same as there are normal, powerless, civilian type humans and vice-versa. Revamp G.U.N so that they have more weird looking human AND animal soldiers. They've exemplified that they can be over-the-top and wacky with that weird, fuck-off, G.U.N truck that's basically become a meme at this point. They can do that in other areas too.

7) Do the thing Nintendo does and just make sure they're all good games. Decent length. Decent amount of rewards. Stuff like that.

8 ) For god's sake, make a Sonic Warriors game. I need it, yesterday. Thanks.

9) I probably can't do this if I were in charge of Sonic Team but I'd see what I could do about another action-adventure Sonic cartoon/anime that looked super pretty, had 90s map painting backgrounds, and fights in really pretty looking bars. I've said this before but I'm just kind of in love with that older, gritter anime style look that the OVA had. Something like that but obviously not as old looking... it's hard to describe. I know what I want. I'm picturing it in my head but I can't get it on the computer.

10) Stories that were more personal on top of having high stakes. There's something to be said about a story that's more personal for individual characters that can also manage to be connected to something that's climatic and has high stakes as far as the standing of the world they live in. Attempts to do more things like that instead of just "We have a problem, go solve it" would be appreciated. I'll always give Lost World a tiny nod for attempting it, even if I'm not a fan of the way it was done. 

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3 hours ago, Dr. Mechano said:

Hire Ian Flynn as main storywriter. Give him extremely basic parameters but otherwise give the man space to work his magic. He's proven he's capable of writing Sonic stories that are goofy, dramatic, heartfelt, and tense; He has range, and I believe he'd be able to do the world and characters justice in a way no other game writer has.

Evan Stanley too. Get her to do a Silver spin-off :P

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24 minutes ago, Ivo-goji said:

I'm really against rebooting the franchise.

We got a reboot when they made Sonic Boom and really nothing intelligent was done with the concept.

We'll get a reboot when the Sonic movie comes out, and that version is just doubling down on the things nobody likes while avoiding most of what's recognizable about the character.

And we got a continuation with Forces, and nothing worthwhile came out of that, either. I don't believe a reboot in itself would fix the problems the series has; it's a way of breaking away the built-up crust around the series and having more elbow room to do the actual work of fixing things.

25 minutes ago, Ivo-goji said:

I don't think there's anything interesting to be done by retelling Shadow's backstory or the Perfect Chaos stuff. 

The point's not to retell existing stories, but to tell better ones. Ones that don't leave major characters as vague amalgamations of inconsistent traits, or with unnecessarily overwrought backstories, or without a clear purpose going forward. A reboot wouldn't need to retell Chaos' story because neither Chaos nor anything directly related to it's story have stayed relevant to the series; they could explore the history of Angel Island and Knuckles' people in an entirely different form. They wouldn't strictly need to retell Shadow's backstory because they could make a different one that still results in the same basic character.

36 minutes ago, Ivo-goji said:

  Mostly it would just create more confusion than there already is about which details from prior continuity still "count". 

...none. That's kind of the point; wipe the slate clean and rebuild from scratch, no 3-decades-long mishmash of different styles and tones existing together, no "read this fan-translated Japanese manual/strategy guide to understand what really happened", no retconning Eggman's name with a joke but then acting like it's always been Eggman, no sloppy plotholes about the moon or Blaze and Nega's homeworlds, no secret human world/animal world retcon, no second separate-but-intersecting-but-maybe-also-overlapping continuity sprouting up...just, whatever happens in the reboot game, and the games that follow it (obviously with the assumption that they wouldn't just go and fuck it all up again). It'd be no more confusing than understanding that Boom was a separate thing. Less, even, as it'd be the only game continuity, not a competing one.

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On the subject of other things I'd do:

Canonize the Classic era or sprite-based designs as nothing more than an artistic styling. There doesn't need to be two concurrent timelines or dimensions to justify why Sonic looks shorter and has black eyes or plays in 2D rather than 3D. It was originally just the way the visual design changed over the years before it was "young" Sonic, then retconned to "alternate dimension" Sonic. (another reason why a reboot would be nice) 

Basically, Modern Sonic is just Classic Sonic with more detail, Classic Sonic is just Modern Sonic with less detail, you feel me?

And on that note, go wild with art direction so long as it doesn't go too ridiculous. Leave room for creativity. If other beloved game franchises like Mario and Zelda can go from cute to serious to artsy back-to-back, I don't see why Sonic can't!

I'd also keep it to one planet. Personally I'd call it Mobius what with all the animal people living there, but I won't die on that hill. So long as it can facilitate a dwelling for both humans and animals as well as justify creative and surreal worlds seen throughout the series (not just Classic, I'm talking Heroes and Colors, too) then I'm cool with that. No need for a human planet and a sapient animal planet. Just call the animal denizens Mobians or something and we're good. Maybe even hint at a backstory for why there's talking hedgehogs and foxes chilling around the place. 

Double down on Classic 2D gameplay as a valid and major way to play Sonic, and put more effort into bringing Sonic back into a full 3D space. It doesn't have to be Utopia levels of huge, but something more expansive and interactive than Forces is. I think something close to what Sonic Adventure had going on would be a good starting framework, just with less fishing or treasure hunting. I'd also like the boost gameplay to stick around as a way of playing through Special Stages, too, perhaps. 

Anyway, that's all I have time to write up for now. Maybe more to come later.

 

7 minutes ago, Sean said:

I would introduce the Freedom Fighters into the games and watch the internet burn.

Also Blaze will be playable in every game from now on

Okay, but really, this would rock.

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3 minutes ago, Indigo Rush said:

Basically, Modern Sonic is just Classic Sonic with more detail, Classic Sonic is just Modern Sonic with less detail, you feel me?

That's all well and good, but some characters - like Eggman and Amy - changed their clothes and hairstyle in such a way that we can't just chalk it up to detail.

Sonic Pocket Adventure is - I think - the only game to use both designs for the same instance of the same character at different points in the game; Eggman spends most of the game in his classic outfit, then changes into his modern jacket at the end.

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