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Monkey Destruction Switch

Highs and lows of Sonic in the 2010s

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Because why not. Personally, I'm going to limit myself to 3 biggest high points (in my opinion) and 3 biggest low points (in my opinion), and others can follow that too if you want to, but you don't have to.

High Points

For me and probably millions of others, two of the biggest high points of this decade Sonic-wise were Sonic Mania and Sonic Mania Adventures. I don't think I even need to explain why.

Personally, I'm also going to list the Archie Sonic reboot as a highlight, and I'll explain why. The Ian Flynn era of Archie in general was great and probably one of my favorite pieces of Sonic media, but thanks to lawsuits and fun like that, it eventually became wracked by legal issues. Impressively, Flynn and the team managed to make lemonade out of these lemons by giving us a reworking of the Archie continuity that, while deprived of many years of continuity and characters established by the comics, made good use out of Western media lore and little-known classic elements while also being much more in line with the games. All this was backed up by writing and artwork that was usually excellent and some solid redesigns and reworkings for classic western characters. I'm not saying that Archie Sonic being rebooted and losing all those years of continuity was completely a good thing, because it definitely wasn't. A lot was lost and there's no way to replace a rich continuity built up over twenty years. But at the same time, I won't deny that there's also a positive side to a lot of baggage being shed because most of us know that for many years, Archie Sonic was a bit...nutty and just bad, and it's definitely not entirely a bad thing to have a lot of that weird stuff excised from continuity. It wasn't perfect, it had its low points and flaws too (cough cough...WORLDS UNITE...), but overall there's a lot to love.

Low Points

I think from an "objective" perspective, the biggest low point was Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. I never played it myself (a fact which I have no particular interest in changing), but there's no arguing that releasing a game that has been compared to Sonic 06 in terms of badness is not a good thing.

On a personal level, what I personally consider the biggest low point of the 2010s may seem rather bizarre and extremely minor to some, but to me, it genuinely makes me have a much lower interest in any current or future official Sonic projects other than Mania follow-ups. It essentially is a significant factor that makes me consider myself more of a fan of past Sonic media than someone who's that interested in Sonic's present or future. And that is Sonic Forces establishing Classic Sonic as being Sonic from another dimension rather than the past.

I don't want to spend too long explaining why something so seemingly small makes such a huge difference to me because honestly I don't want to get myself too worked up. But let me explain it this way. "The Principle and the Pauper" is one of the most hated Simpsons episodes ever for revealing that the Seymour Skinner viewers had been following for years was an imposter. To me, the idea that Modern Sonic, aka the Sonic who we've been following for decades, is not the same person as Classic Sonic, the original Sonic, is essentially saying that he's an imposter. So it stings to me as much as that episode would for Simpsons fans...except in this case, it's not just a side character who's an imposter. It's the main character of the franchise. Actually, it's every character who exists both in the Classic and Modern era who are now essentially "imposters"!

Now, there are circumstances in which it's justified to split off different incarnations of characters as being from different dimensions. For example, the Golden Age Superman and the Silver Age Superman have many irreconcilable differences in terms of personality and background, so it makes sense (though I'll always be annoyed that Golden Age is "Earth-2" even though it came first). But with Sonic, no such thing is remotely necessary because he doesn't have much backstory and his personality, while always in flux, has not undergone any changes radical enough to justify something like this (especially when you consider that in the classic era, he didn't have much dialogue in the games and a lot of his personality was informed by manuals, marketing and non-games media). Heck, Sonic's classic and modern designs don't even LOOK that different! They have to give Classic Sonic a lighter fur color he was rarely actually depicted with just to make him look more different from Modern Sonic!

Beyond this, though, what I hate about this "retcon" (or whatever it is) is that it cheapens both the Modern Sonic and Classic Sonic. As I explained before, Modern Sonic is no longer the same person as the original Sonic, and as for Classic Sonic, he gets demoted to essentially being a side character in his own series. And both of them lose each other's legacies. It's just making both Sonics weaker.

To me, there are no advantages to splitting Sonic into two and plenty of disadvantages. It just makes Sega seem really incompetent and full of bad ideas when it comes to their direction for the series. It's just plain stupid, and honestly, it's a bit upsetting to me on an emotional level for the same reason that I imagine "The Principle and the Pauper" was upsetting. Some may find it cringey, but it's inevitable that when you're a fan of a series for many years, you form a "relationship" of sorts with its characters. Now my "relationship" with Sonic is fractured because, to put it plainly, he's not who I thought he was. It's just awful to me and until Sega throws this bullcrap into the garbage bin, my interest in any future or present Sonic media is GREATLY reduced.

My third and final lowpoint of the 2010s is also a really big deal to me, and it's Archie Sonic ending. Just like the previous low point, I could easily go on and on about why I hate this so much, but I'll try to keep it relatively quick. It's no secret that for many years, Archie Sonic was bad. Real, real bad. But instead of ending the series when it was a furry soap opera or when Knuckles turned into a green demigod for over a year, they instead chose to end it when it was really good and closer to the games than ever before. That irony by itself is almost bitter enough to earn it a place on this list, and I already have established that I love the Archie Sonic reboot, so that should for the most part explain why this event was so terrible to me. But there's also the fact that the cancellation was so horribly dragged on and so shamefully unceremonious. There's the fact that there's something inherently sad that such an old and continuous part of Sonic's history being axed in such a matter. And of course, there's the fact that the last official presence of the western lore of Sonic is gone. To some, this is a cause of celebration, but not to me and many others. To some, the Freedom Fighters and such were just lame vestiges of a bygone era, but you have to keep in mind that these characters had been appearing continuously in Archie Sonic for twenty years. Love them or hate them, they weren't insignificant and many people had gotten very attached to them. Heck, I'm not even a truly "die-hard" fan of the Freedom Fighters and sometimes got annoyed by them being more important than Sega characters, but I still consider it an utter tragedy that they are likely gone forever. Maybe they'll appear in IDW, but honestly, personally, my hopes aren't that high.

I feel like I need to spend a moment on why I don't consider IDW Sonic a suitable replacement for Archie Sonic. Honestly, I've never read IDW Sonic. And a big part of the reason why is that it's forced to follow Sega's current continuity and ideas for Sonic, including the awful idea that I just spent several paragraphs complaining about - the idea that Classic Sonic is "Sonic from another dimension". I'm not sure if that's ever explicitly mentioned, but I know the comic takes place after Sonic Forces, and I've heard that mandates prevent any Classic Sonic concepts from being involved in the comics. That's enough to essentially establish it as being the case in the comic, and that's enough to make me not want to read it. And in general, I'm just plain more interested in Classic Sonic concepts and western media concepts than I am in the Modern Sonic "continuity" (which has been so poorly handled by Sega that the word "continuity" barely even fits), so a series based on the premise of "only Modern Sonic stuff allowed" is a hard sell for me. So all-in-all, I'm just not that interested in IDW Sonic. It's not so much a problem with the comic itself as it is a problem with Sega's current direction for Sonic that to me, infects everything they touch.

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So that's my list. Most of that post was paragraph after paragraph of complaining about things that probably don't seem that significant. Oh well.

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I'll make a proper response later, but right now I wanna say I fully agree with your hatred of the modern/classic split and your post has articulated it better than I could have. The reason why I hate it is because up until recently, nobody was aware of modern Sonic being a continuity reboot of the classic era. Anyone following the series for any amount of time reasonably assumed that it was all the same series and the only things sectioning off the current games from the old ones were the basic gameplay and the character designs. If Sega had been more upfront about this, and I mean REALLY upfront about it by going on immediate record around SA1's release that this was meant to be a fresh start for the series (as opposed to some of us simply assuming it to be the case) then maybe it would have smoothed over better, but the idea of rebooting the series at all was dumb in the first place, so I don't like it either way even if Sega could have handled it better. Mania is considered a "side" game by some even though was the main damn gameplay of the series in the 90s, imagine if they made a Sonic Adventure 3 that was regarded as a spin-off to the other 3D Sonic game that came out that same year. It'd be ridiculous.

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I wish I could be as upset about the whole dimension stuff, and don't get me wrong, it's fucking stupid. But I'm so disengaged with this series that I find it difficult to get upset about it. Especially since I know its only used as an excuse to justify for Classic Sonic merch in the future,. 

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While I would indeed consider the Archie reboot a high-point, I would also, simultaneously, consider the actual end of the old continuity a low point.

The plot threads the original continuity had going on at the time were some of the most interesting the series had had; King Naugus, Geoffrey St. John finally becoming an interesting character, the break-up of the Freedom Fighters, and the state of Silver’s future. Not to mention all the new details revealed in the official encyclopedia that were ripe for exploration.

I remember being among the Archie fandom this time seven years ago: just before Christmas, the second chapter of the long-anticipated “Endangered Species” arc had just come out. After the troubling amount of last-minute dialogue edits in part 1, part 2 saw the arc completely hijacked by legal hassles that very suddenly took the story in a completely different direction. The echidnas, a fan-favourite of the Archie community, were unceremoniously dumped into another dimension off-screen, and the fans waited out the remaining two chapters hoping that *maybe* they’d come back (spoiler: they didn’t), making for a very somber end to one of the comics most noteworthy concepts. The Sonic Universe arc happening concurrently, “Chaotix Quest”, faired a little better at least. Last-minute Rob’O expy notwithstanding. After that, every lingering plot thread was erased from existence, with no closure.

The fandom shift that came about was pretty damn huge too. Many who were attached to the old canon and couldn’t deal with the change jumped ship, with new fans coming in to take their place. Sure, both the comic and the fandom recovered in the end, but it was one hell of a bumpy ride.

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My high point is definitely Generations. I think that marked the game where I really enjoyed a Sonic game in a long time. I remember the pre-release hype, and remembering following the news coming out on the game every single day. I loved seeing what got datamined, and hacks on YouTube showing off Modern Sonic's level during that 20th Anniversary demo we got that only allowed access to Classic Sonic's Green Hill stage. I just remember being so hyped for the game, being super excited for the level reveals, and loving the game when it released.

I'd throw my hat into the ring with my low point being with Classic's appearance in Forces as well. Your post describes perfectly one of the major reasons - I hate the Classic/Modern split. Two worlds was one thing, but retroactively changing Classic/Modern like that, as if the entire modern series was some kind of cancer that just had to be cut away from the Classic part of the series was just annoying as hell to me, especially since I grew up with the tailend of the Dreamcast era with Heroes, and played basically everything Modern wise, and it's utterly pointless because the Classic games have their own fair share of clunkers that aren't really good either. 

That said, that's the first part of the reason I hate Classic Sonic in Forces, but the other part is that it somewhat empathised to me how soulless things had managed to get between 2011, and 2017, and on top of that - killed a lot of the good will Mania garnered months earlier. It was the point to me where it showed me how absolutely and utterly aimless SEGA was with nostalgia pandering bullshit, despite how absolutely and utterly damaging it can be to the game from a story and gameplay standpoint. 

Classic Sonic in Generations comes off as a well-meaning love letter to the history of Sonic, and plays fairly well. Not 1:1 to the Classic games, but well enough that he is a ton of fun to play with. He works the one time because he presents a gimmick that's actually very clever and was well integrated into the game.

But as the Boom initiative ended up dying, and Lost World ended up failing, SEGA went back to Generations and took the absolute worst things you could possibly take from it to try revive the series. They bring back the Boost mechanics, but don't bother with any actual decent level design for it. Generations and Unleashed primarily got away with it by making you have to replay levels and earn better rewards through them. You can get through a level quickly enough if you take a lower path, sure, but you need to have good reflexes and good split second decision making in order to get to higher pathways, and better rewards and secrets. But in Forces, it's just...nothing, there's barely any hidden paths, the levels are utterly short, where at least Generations started ramping up the level length by the time you got to Rooftop Run and especially Planet Wisp.

But even at that, nothing shows it off more than Classic Sonic. What was a well-meaning love letter six years prior is now an terrible gimmick haphazardly thrown in for no good reason other than to nostalgia pander, and the levels reflect it with it. Green Hill is back again, and now it's dusty, Chemical Plant is back, again, and now it's snowy, Death Egg is back, again, and it's the same as ever. It's all just level revamps yet again for no good reason, and to make it worse, it was months after Mania already released with the level revisits and remixes, and did it fifty times better than Forces could hope to do. 

To me, the game shined strongest when it tried to do it's own thing, and gave levels stunning visuals. Like Egg Gate, the majority of the level is a boring Death Egg level, sure, but then you get outside, and you're greeted with this utterly stunning visual of Sonic rail-grinding in space, as Earth is shining in the background, and Eggman's security bots are flying around the place trying to stop you, it has heavy vibes of Final Rush in SA2 but it actually works this time because it's the first time we get to see a full technical upgrade for that kind of level. 

And the thing to me is I don't even mind as much bringing back the levels if they served a purpose. Chemical Plant, to me anyway - despite being a reuse works fairly well because the new snowy area works to show off how the place has become inactive, and become a storage base for Eggman and his forces more than anything else, but even then, Modern and Classic Sonic gets rid of that vibe entirely by making you run through Chemical Plant exactly how it's usually depicted, except neither do anywhere near as good a job as Gens or Mania did prior. Grand Metropolis to me is a lot more boring than it was in Heroes, comparatively speaking, but at least it's a reused level that wasn't used before.

Luminous Forest to me shows it off best how I really wish SEGA would've stuck to their guns and worked with original stuff more than bringing back older levels. Yes, it's a reuse of the casino trope that's usually depicted in Sonic, but it uses it with a completely different twist that gives it a huge spark of life. You've got Sonic dashing through a darkened forest surrounded by rivers and water slides, and broken ruins, that's been lit up and glamoured up by Eggman deciding to make a massive casino base in the middle of the whole thing. I really wish we could've gotten more like this. It's probably the one level trope in the whole game to me that stands out among the other fairly bleak level tropes, or reused tropes.

But even all that said - I could get over the reused levels. I don't think they're great, and I think it would've been much better used if they were changed up a ton to empathise Eggman's rule - instead of minor stuff like Green Hill being filled with sand, or Chemical Plant basically being the exact same for Classic/Modern's levels, but whatever.

But Classic Sonic is just the worst part of the game. He's a needless, boring addition that feels like a afterthought, and a chore to play as. As if he wasn't at all planned to be present, only for SEGA to force him in at the eleventh hour. He harms the game in so many ways. His gameplay is awful, the mechanics and physics have been so badly messed up that he somehow slows down from running straight down a hill - the infamous slope at the beginning of his Chemical Plant level requires you running down it in a very specific way, and doing a spindash as well to simply get enough speed to go up a small slope at the end to reach a shortcut, and it is so inconsistent that it makes S-ranking the stage a nightmare. The music in his stages are an awful attempt at replicating the music found in Genesis games, and there is such a huge misunderstanding of what made the Classic soundtracks so good that it's not even funny, and it's definitely not helped by Mania releasing a few months prior and having one of the best soundtracks in the entire series.

Then we get to the story, where Classic Sonic barely has an effect on anything. Tails ends up losing a lot of his agency and having a pretty confused story in order to justify Classic's appearance, because they needed someone for Classic to travel with for awhile, which means Tails had to be separated from Sonic, and the other resistance members to justify it. You can basically write Classic Sonic out of the game, and barely anything of a difference would be made. He's randomly plopped into the game thanks to the Phantom Ruby, and he's randomly gone again, thanks to the Phantom Ruby.

I don't know, maybe it wouldn't feel like such a low point if Generations and Mania hadn't released prior to it and done this concept a whole lot better. But they did, and they did it in a way that felt well-made, well-crafted, and had active effort in making Classic Sonic and everything that comes with him feel important. Gens had a reason for him to be there, and had good gameplay that felt like it was a core part of the game, as opposed to an afterthought, while Mania was lovingly crafted by long-time fans of the series, filled with in-jokes, references, and coupled it with great new characters, great level remixes, fun new level tropes, possibly the best Classic gameplay in the series to date, and a brilliant soundtrack on top of it. 
Forces took the bright spot that Mania gave the series, and just somewhat dimmed it. I don't know if I'd say it was enough to kill the goodwill Mania garnered, but it definitely didn't help when Mania was getting love from tons and tons of reviewers, and fans alike, and then it all died back down again after Forces came out less than six months later.

Do I think removing Classic Sonic, and all of the classic-pandering nonsense from Forces would've fixed every problem? Absolutely not. There's problems that are at the core of Forces, three out of four years of the development period was squandered developing Hedgehog Engine 2, and getting core ideas for the game down on paper. It was being created by the guy who came out with Colours, which is one of the other controversial games in the series in terms of level design, and on top of everything else, it was being worked on with the majority of team members being new and likely inexperienced IIRC. 

I do think at the very least, removing Classic from Forces would tightened the story up, and allowed more time for polishing Modern/Avatar's gameplay, and helped not make his inclusion just feel so utterly soulless, as well as not leaving a black mark on Mania's ending by forcing it to tie into Forces by the end, as well as not causing an needless and bad split between Classic/Modern. 

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The decade started very strong with Sonic clearing its mind of needless concepts with Colors and Generations, but then it never quite did anything from there, instead adding worse concepts in Lost World, before attempting to recuperate. Archie was on the right foot for quite some time. Well, Mania was fun, I guess? There's stuff like comics and shorts? Forces was an honest attempt to return to form, even if it felt short. Half of the music this decade has worked well, too. 

 

I could sum up the lows in song:

 

(to the tune of "They'll Never Stop the Simpsons")

Pendergate, Sonic Boom,

Donut stage, Deadly Six,

McNosehair, Gacha wheel,

Giant tarp, Archie died,

Hooters stuff, Jazwares toys break

Storm gets a toy before Blaze

Jazwares cancelled, Tomy steps in

And soon after Jakks-Pacific

ASRT guests are bupkis

Blaze is not in Sonic Forces

Nor even in SEGA Heroes

Why’d they listen to the critics

IGN, Game Informer, and more

Sega Forums goin’ down

 

 

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Classic Sonic getting dumped into another dimension is extra bad considering how there's actually no difference between him and Adventure One's Sonic in personality. Just compare the OVA's Sonic with Adventure One's Sonic.

It frankly makes you wonder if ST is a little too influenced by fanon/meme interpretations, not in a good way anyway. It'd especially work for Two-Worlds too considering the "what what how did sonic end up around humans (eggman doesn't count he's special) ugh elise go planet of the furries" crowd.

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The most significant low-point in this decade which finished with an amazing high-point started with Sonic 4 and finished with Mania.

I'm not a fan of Sonic 4 (which I've made perfectly clear countless times on this forum), but I am grateful it exists, because I'm firmly in the belief we never would have gotten Sonic Mania (with the amazing amount of love, care & attention and it's deserved success) if it wasn't for Sonic 4 and the massive backlash which ensude.

Whilst Sonic 4 Ep1 was everything I didn't want in a hyperthetical sequel to the classics, if it wasn't for SEGA deciding to bring back Metal Sonic-teasing his return at the end of ep1, we never would have gotten a new release of Sonic CD (as SEGA wanted to link Sonic CD to Sonic 4's backstory). What was originally gonna be a crappy emulation/port gave Taxman (Christian Whitehead) the chance to show-off his Sonic CD mobile proof of concept, which led to the release of the definitive version of this game (improved physics, 16:9 widescreen, unlockable Tails). Then we got Sonic 4 Ep2 which was an improvement over ep1 but still flawed. Taxman who obviously made a good impression with SEGA for his work on the CD remaster then teamed up with Stealth to make the mobile remasters of Sonic 1 (with unlockable Tails & Knuckles) & Sonic 2 (Boss Rush mode & Hidden Palace reimagined etc). Then submitted the 3K proof of concept which was not taken up by SEGA and then they got the chance to make Sonic Mania in 2017. Thanks to Mania's success they then got the chance in 2018 to add missing/scrapped content with a new release along with a gorgeous physical release, and the brillaint Sonic Mania Adventures created to help promote Sonic Mania Plus and the three or four Mania Adventures extended remixes done by Tee & Jun.

So for me as a classic fan, the decade started with a terrible low point (classic Sonic's gameplay in Gens not being much better than Sonic 4's didn't help either), and ended on such a high with Mania's success.

Whilst classic Sonic ended the decade on a high, Modern Sonic has gone in the opposite direction. What started well with Colour & Gens (which is considered a decent game even though I'm not it's biggest fan), went down-hill with SLW, Rise of Lyric (which could have been a decent game if SEGA hadn't fucked over Big Red Button who developed it) and Sonic Forces which was meh at best. Team Sonic Racing was at least decent and I like the Overdrive animated shorts. 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Almar said:

Classic Sonic getting dumped into another dimension is extra bad considering how there's actually no difference between him and Adventure One's Sonic in personality. Just compare the OVA's Sonic with Adventure One's Sonic.

It frankly makes you wonder if ST is a little too influenced by fanon/meme interpretations, not in a good way anyway. It'd especially work for Two-Worlds too considering the "what what how did sonic end up around humans (eggman doesn't count he's special) ugh elise go planet of the furries" crowd.

Yeah, honestly whenever I look at Sonic Forces' cover and see Classic Sonic there, it's just so cringeworthy to me, like it's one of those old Sonic fan comics or other low-quality Sonic fan material where Classic Sonic is portrayed as a separate character. Even as a kid, I thought that was silly because it's obviously the same character. And Sega chooses to follow that ridiculous idea...

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6 minutes ago, Monkey Destruction Switch said:

Yeah, honestly whenever I look at Sonic Forces' cover and see Classic Sonic there, it's just so cringeworthy to me, like it's one of those old Sonic fan comics or other low-quality Sonic fan material where Classic Sonic is portrayed as a separate character. Even as a kid, I thought that was silly because it's obviously the same character. And Sega chooses to follow that ridiculous idea...

Generations making him Past Sonic was still rather awkward, as it opens up the question of why Cream lacks those black eyes. 

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I might have said this at some point before, but there's honestly not a huge gap between Adventure One and the Genesis Era at all. AO's only jarring for someone who's too influenced by Westernized Sonic with its Kintobors and Mobius (the already mentioned Planet of the Furries). I already pointed out how OVA Sonic's personality is really the same as Adventure One Sonic's. I'll also point out that we see Sonic running around a city with plenty of humans in Man of the Year.

My ultimate point is that there would've been no really big gap between Classic and Adventure if the character designs stayed how they were in Genesis. Station Square's honestly not that much more jarring than the city in MotY accounting for its game's graphics limits.

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7 minutes ago, Monkey Destruction Switch said:

Yeah, honestly whenever I look at Sonic Forces' cover and see Classic Sonic there, it's just so cringeworthy to me, like it's one of those old Sonic fan comics or other low-quality Sonic fan material where Classic Sonic is portrayed as a separate character. Even as a kid, I thought that was silly because it's obviously the same character. And Sega chooses to follow that ridiculous idea...

Being fair, I think part of the problem is that the perception of Classic Sonic has shifted in between years, at least from Sonic Team. In the OVA, he is very clearly defined a lot like Adventure!Sonic, and still holding some of the attitude of the 90s. He's heroic, but he's also someone who also wants to relax when he's not adventuring, someone who questions a lot of stuff (Namely, why should he bother to agree to work for Eggman when it's likely another scheme, especially when he's making this request while holding the president and Sara up with robots), irritable, and what have you. OVA Sonic to me at least still seems drenched in that "edgy punk" style to me.

But in recent years, Classic's moved into two personalities, which shift depending on who is writing him. You've got Hesse, who portrays him as mute, but also expressive, irritable, smug, and not in the mood to put up with crap, among other things, and you've got SEGA...who basically portray as a happy go-lucky guy, or determined. Gens plays around with it a little bit, since Classic can still have a few annoyed expressions when freeing some of Sonic's friends, such as Amy, or even a little hurt when Knuckles and Cream criticise his spines and weight, but Forces especially seems to portray Classic as mainly that. It really does feel confused because Sonic Team/SEGA seem to want to differentiate the personalities somehow by making Classic happy and/or determined/curious, while Modern Sonic has the snark and attitude, while others like Hesse write him how Classic really should be - Sonic himself, snark, attitude and all.

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The 2010s has been the best decade for Sonic since the 1990s. We got some great games (Generations, All Stars Racing Transformed, Mania), great extended media (Sonic Boom TV show, Hesse shorts, Sonic crossovers) and a great social media team presence. It's hard to argue against the increased quality of the franchise this decade.

However, the 2010s has also been the decade of truly awful games being released (Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric), a bunch of mediocre ones (Lost World, Sonic and Mario at Olympic Games, Forces) and long periods of radio silence on the games front. So it's been very mixed and frustraring.

I'm okay with only receiving a few great games in a franchise every decade though, what is worrying is that it's very unclear if we'll ever get another Mania or Generations. SEGA doesn't seem to care about utilising its talent well. Even the All Stars Racing games got worse because TSR was made by a completely different team.

So even though the decade has been good for Sonic, the future still looks bleak, because teams who make great Sonic games never seem to get the chance to improve on their projects.

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I'm gonna keep it short.

My personal High was by far Sonic Mania. I love this game so much.

My personal Low...well, anything modern Sonic since Lost World. And Sonic 4.

Lost World was terrible. everything Boom was sh*t and even Forces was so bad that I didn't even bother playing it in any way since my first playthrough..welp.

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Much like Monkey Destruction Switch, my personal biggest low of the decade is the revelation that classic and modern Sonic are different characters. It destroyed my interest in Sonic as a work of fiction.

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Given the acknowledgement of the 90's games still having happened in the modern timeline, I assumed the "other dimensions" thing was due to a new timeline split starting at the end of S3&K (probably so they could continue making as many classic adventures as they want) either leading into Mania or Sonic 4/Sonic Adventure. Maybe it's like Dragon Ball time travel logic and the timeline being fucked with in Generations made classic return to a now split off and separate universe lol.

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I agree about the Classic and Modern split. I think they could still have Adventures in both versions and sell Classic Sonic merch without having to say Classic Sonic is from a different dimension. I don't really get the need to split Classic and Modern characters either. Sure Shadow being in Classic for example would make no sense, but why can't the Classic characters come back in a Modern version if they wanted to? It'd be fine if they said they wanted the games casts to feel different, but it seems a bit off when some Classic characters can be used again and not others.

I really think this made the Classic and Modern split among fans even worse. I was into the Modern version more, but I always really enjoyed the side content and spinoffs for Classic too. I don't get why both can't exist at the same time as equals instead of shoving one into the other. I hope Sega can turn things around this decade as I do think it's possible to recover, but it would mean tidying up confusing plot points. I also think game wise they need to not only bring in new staff, but give those new staff time to grow. I'm not completely sure what that would involve, but I wouldn't mind something like Rush or Advance where you get the characters but it's not seen as a "core" huge title like Adventure or Forces. Not every title needs to be a giant epic, but when that title comes after a 4 year gap, it's natural fans are going to be upset.

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I'm not so bothered about the Classic/Modern split because I lost interest in the story of Sonic games a long time ago.

Part of it is down to age. When I played SA1 and SA2 as a kid, both games seemed to be really badass partly because I was young. By Heroes I was already outgrowing the narrative, but still enjoyed it, and by 06 was laughing at how po-faced the games had become.

However, the games have also declined gradually in writing quality for a long time now. Heroes was fun but worse than SA2, and then Shadow and 06 jumped the shark. The 'serious' writing hasn't been 'good' since SA2 and Forces shows that it's a bad avenue to take for modern Sonic Team.

Colors gets a lot of flak for making the games more tongue in cheek and comedic, but the game was like a breath of fresh air compared to what came before. It started to get predictable by Lost World and the brand took upon a self-referential humour around Generations which I find really grating and inane . Especially because there's a strange combination of self-congratulation and self-loathing mixed in it. 

When Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric came out I had lost all interest in the narrative of the games and so was already deeply disillusioned when Forces' awful story and dimension splitting took place.

And I'll be honest, for as great as Mania is, it's story presentation is awful. The levels progress with more focus on variety than narrative sense and the Titanic Monarch, while an original idea, is horribly communicated. It's totally vague and I only realised a year later that Act 1 is set outside and Act 2 inside. In fact, without the Plus update cutscenes I didn't even realise that Titanic Monarch was a huge robot station. Sonic Mania also has an absolutely terrible ending, far worse than any of the classic games.

Stories have declined so much in Sonic games that I don't really care about the continuity, because it's already shot to all hell. The only way I find the Classic/Modern split annoying is that it fragments the cast for spinoffs. Mighty and Ray couldn't be in the 'Modern' dimension TSR for example.

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As much as I hated Classic Sonic in Forces (and everything about the game for that matter), I always interpreted the dimension thing less as him being a different character and more as Generations changing his future by leading into Mania. It's essentially about Sega being able to make more Classic adventures independent of the modern games and contradicting their ""canon"". Modern Sonic's not an imposter because of it and still went through Sonic 1-3, and everything else wouldn't make sense considering how addicted to Green Hill & co they are.

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5 minutes ago, LukA8 said:

As much as I hated Classic Sonic in Forces (and everything about the game for that matter), I always interpreted the dimension thing less as him being a different character and more as Generations changing his future by leading into Mania. It's essentially about Sega being able to make more Classic adventures independent of the modern games and contradicting their ""canon"". Modern Sonic's not an imposter because of it and still went through Sonic 1-3, and everything else wouldn't make sense considering how addicted to Green Hill & co they are.

Essentially. That's how time travel can work, especially when it happens so frequently and totally.

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12 minutes ago, LukA8 said:

As much as I hated Classic Sonic in Forces (and everything about the game for that matter), I always interpreted the dimension thing less as him being a different character and more as Generations changing his future by leading into Mania. It's essentially about Sega being able to make more Classic adventures independent of the modern games and contradicting their ""canon"". Modern Sonic's not an imposter because of it and still went through Sonic 1-3, and everything else wouldn't make sense considering how addicted to Green Hill & co they are.

Perhaps they could have better communicated that idea. No one in the game mentioned anything of the sort, and the conclusion was made outside of the game by Sonic fans. Sonic Team could not communicate the idea effectively and fell flat on their faces because of it. I still hold to the idea that Classic Sonic is still from the past because it's the only thing that makes sense about it all.

I have plenty of likes and dislikes about Sonic from the past decade, but character assassination and muddling what should be easily understood concepts have bothered me so much.

Still, Generations and Colours are good fun, as is Mania. Plenty of good things for Sonic has happened, with Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed being one of my favourite kart racing games. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is a game that I've also enjoyed a lot, with memories of Dry Bowser wiping the floor with me in a campaign mode, but I still beat him through sheer willpower and determination.

I could go on and on about the good and the bad, from Archie and IDW and more.

Ultimately: Sonic 4 is everything but what it wanted to be, Colours is great, Generations is great, Lost World is weird, Sonic Boom is squandered, Mania is great, Forces did a thing. Comics did a backflip into a void and bounced out somehow, but didn't stick the landing. No idea what the hell Sonic was trying to do this decade.

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The low points of the decade for me were Sonic Boom and the movie. I still get annoyed thinking about and seeing the movie everywhere online as the release date approaches, and both were the kind of disastrous franchise redirections I had hoped died out in the late 2000s after '06.

The high points were Mania and the mobile remakes of CD, 1, and 2 which paved Whitehead and Thomley's working relationship with Sega. I'm a huge fan of the recent trend of Sega commissioning animated shorts for the series, both classic and modern, and I sincerely hope that it leads to bigger and better things in the 2020s. I'd also say that the Archie reboot was another one, but that was dampened by its unceremonious cancellation, another low point that has left me so bitter that I have very little interest in reading IDW.

On the fan side of things, Sonic Robo Blast 2 has had two major revisions this decade, one in 2014 and another just last month, and both revitalized my longtime interest in this game which I have been following since 2001. It's exciting seeing how far it has come after two decades; 2.2 is the best and most substantial update yet, incorporating multiple new characters, working slopes and rolling physics in the Doom Legacy engine, and improved level design that is unparalleled by other fan games. It's by no means perfect and I have my fair share of complaints toward some questionable design choices and lack of accessible control schemes (but at least there's always this camera mod which makes controllers a legitimately viable alternate to mouse and keyboard - if you have ever been put off by SRB2's FPS-based tank controls, I strongly recommend that you give this a shot to see what you think of it), but it's one of the most amazingly complex fangames I have ever played with endless replayability and a wealth of mods to keep it going. Along with Mania, SRB2 2.2 is the most fun I've had with Sonic in years.

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