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How would you reboot/reimagine Sonic?


Yoshman
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Yoshman

Sonic Redesign

Art by CatBeeCache

It's always interesting to see people sharing their ideas and interpretations of Sonic characters, so I thought why not make a thread about that?

How would the Sonic cast and lore change if you were given free reigns over it, without having to worry about the SEGA mandates?

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That pic is nice, but looks a bit too Boom-ish, but without being Boom designs. Was it meant to? That said, Amy looks awesome but also it seems very out of character for her. Perhaps creating a new character entirely would've been better, or choosing a more fitting character.

 

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EmTiven01

Personally, I would just make it a soft reboot and retcon all the shittiest parts of the lore out of continuity. (Such as the Black Arms)

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MetalSkulkBane
36 minutes ago, EmTiven01 said:

Personally, I would just make it a soft reboot and retcon all the shittiest parts of the lore out of continuity. (Such as the Black Arms)

That is wrong approach.

- Every franchise will keep making new mistakes, thus "requiring" new reboots.

- Pretending Shadow-game never happened will not erase it from human brains.

- It always ends with making things more confusing, not simple.

- It's easy to remove good things as well (like Eclipse the Darkling)

My take? Keep going forward and simply don't mention bad past stories. Focus on future, not past.

This is why I'm against reboots in general, unless
A. reboot is more of a spin-off,
B. franchise already ended and is just being revived for new generation, like mos TMNT or She-ra.

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6 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

Pretending Shadow-game never happened will not erase it from human brains.

Not with that attitude.

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6 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

Pretending Shadow-game never happened will not erase it from human brains.

Are you sure about that?

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MetalSkulkBane

Foolish fools.

Events of Sonic 06 were literally erased from existence and people still remember them. we were talking about Shadow not 06, but you get the idea

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Kaotic Kanine

I'm a bit conflicted with regards to this topic. Cause on one hand, I can agree with arguments against a reboot since Sonic doesn't necessarily need one and could just cause more problems. But at the same time, I think the franchise could use a fresh start; reset the setting into something more cohesive and consistent, and maybe "reintroduce" the characters to give them new life, so to speak.

Like, very few people (as far as I'm aware) like the whole "Shadow is part Black Arms", so this sort of thing would be a good opportunity to officially remove that and have it simply that he is an artificial hedgehog infused with chaos energy. Likewise, if Angel Island/the Master Emerald aren't going to be relevant to the series in the longterm, then why not change Knuckles from "Master Emerald Guardian, part-time treasure hunter" to "full-time treasure hunter"? And personally, I would adjust Amy and Cream to make them more "viable" characters: for Amy, not only bring back her tarot cards and make them a big part of her character, but maybe make her at least a semi-mage so she has more abilities than just wielding a hammer? And Cream would definitely benefit from the addition of a long-term goal and a key characteristic to be more involved in adventures specifically voluntarily tagging along with Amy frequently

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This topic depends entirely on the purpose of a reboot; if you're simply trying to "fix" things, then you're already operating from a wrong perspective. Most of the things that people think need "fixing" (i.e. Shadow's backstory) are irrelevant in the current day and age. Shadow's game was over fifteen years ago, there are an entirely new generation of kids who either don't know or don't care about him being part alien, because  it has no bearing on who his character is NOW. When was the last time was it ever mentioned that Shadow is part-alien? It doesn't get elaborated on, because it doesn't matter. The only people who still care are the older, jaded fans who refuse to let go of it, fifteen years after the fact, and those people are not worth catering to. 

A reboot needs to breathe life into a series and appeal to new crowd, but Sonic doesn't really need that, because it's already popular with its target demographic. Most reboot ideas I see come with an attempt fixing what is perceived to be "broken", and while I admit there are issues with this franchise, a reboot wouldn't really solve anything. It's be a publicity stunt more or less. 

 

If people are more interested in creating a new, cohesive universe for the series, then just have it be a sub-series that exists alongside the main one, there's no need to just nuke the main continuity, because I have more reason to believe that could cause more harm than good. 

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Kaotic Kanine

Could you have directed that at me much less while making your point? :P You could've at least brought up how the Black Arms have been irrelevant for years, in addition to the whole "Shadow is part Black Arms", in light of what the others in this thread said. But nope, just strictly focusing on what I wrote. 

 

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I don't think a reboot is necessary, but assuming my task was to take a fresh canvas and make the best of it:

Artstyle

Spoiler

-Art

I don't think a huge overhaul of the art direction is necessary, but some kind of stylistic shift that emphasized "reality over realism" instead of the high fidelity bent the series gets on sometimes would simplify things for the developers without necessarily looking unattractive. I just don't think a fast paced game like Sonic where a lot of objects are intractable needs to also focus on high fidelity, picturesque visuals too. Everything needs to be lively and animated. 

What does "Reality over realism" mean? It doesn't necessary have to look real, but it has to feel tangible, regardless of what it looks like. Sonic games shouldn't focus on faithfully replicating the real world, but there should be enough details to make the player really feel like they're in a fantasy world and not a level. 

As for what, exactly, that art shift might look like...well, it's hard to pin down, since a lot of people are clamoring for consistency but I prefer the series to have some wiggle room to match the mood of the individual product. Sonic 1 doesn't look like Sonic 3, and that's fine with me. I tend to be more of a Sonic 3-Sonic Adventure 2 kind of guy than a Sonic 1-Sonic CD kind of guy though. 

What about Sonic’s design? I think Sonic gives off a stronger silhouette if his quills are sharp and it also gets across his “edge” perfectly, but the noodle limbs and the round torso never clicked as much for me. I like it when his body gives across the impression of an athlete and not just “copying old cartoon characters just because.” 

Whenever I think about what My Sonic might look like I default to this sketch from Tyson Hesse or the premium covers by Nathalie Foundrine.

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In general I think Sonic Tails and Knuckles have a timeless appeal to them but beyond that you could argue for some tweaking, as most subsequent designs tend to lean into whatever the trends of the moment are. Amy’s clothes call to mind late 90s/early 2000s. Shadow’s design spins from punk/skater culture, Rouge is a femme fatale type character that has gone out of style these days etc. I think part of the appeal of a reboot is the potential for a completely different cast of characters altogether though. “The Legend of Spyro” introduced new main characters. Why can’t I? Maybe I don’t have to worry about redesigning Shadow and Rouge for the modern era when I can just do something else, but that’s something more for the lore tab to be concerned with. 


I don't think Sonic needs to wear clothes as part of some permanent design change, but artistically I liked seeing the characters in cool jackets and stuff when I was younger so I'd lean into that. Again, more letting characters dress for the occasion/customization for the fun of it and less of a permanent design change like Boom tried to do. 
 

Lore

 

Spoiler

Most people assume a Sonic reboot/continuity shift would start with Sonic 3/Sonic Adventure 1 as the jumping off point but being honest, I don’t think either of those games serve as compelling ways to jumpstart a AAA series. They don’t introduce Tails and Knuckles or what they’re capable of particularly well. The story in general is more of a footnote of an entirely mechanical experience. Maybe that’s enough for some people, but I’m approaching this from the perspective that people are wanting more from these characters and not less, so I’d advocate for just starting over from scratch or at least starting after Sonic 1. 

If humans and animals are going to exist in the same world, there should probably be more differences in how they choose to live, and also more friction, maybe? Nothing too complicated, and nothing too violent like the wars in Archie’s backstories but if the basis of Sonic’s story is going to be nature vs technology maybe the animals should tend to live among more natural settings to contrast with the cities that humankind likes. 

I want Sonic and Eggman’s histories and their conflict to be more of a focus. This is particularly the case for Dr Eggman, who’s backstory should be fleshed out and devolved into over multiple games. 

Speaking of Eggman, I want him/the robotnik to be presented as more of a controversial figure among humanity instead of a supervillain. I think there’s more opportunities for the atmosphere when you enter a human controlled part of the world to shift if Eggman’s eccentricities and technology were presented as more of an accepted part of life there. It doesn’t have to go full on dystopia like Satam but it could be presented as a state Sonic and friends don’t want their world to fall into if possible. 

So what changes am I making to the characters I am assuming are absolutely essential? Like I said in the art tab, not much on the surface level. I mostly think they’re appealing as they are and their backstories are malleable enough to fit into a new context without being altered much, but..

I want Sonic to be less of a cereal mascot/slogan machine and more of a character with a full range of emotions, dreams, aspirations, insecurities and fears. This could be as simple as “I want to get off my home island and see everything else.” I just don’t find the idea of starting this franchise off with a character who’s seen it all and has nothing more to learn again all that compelling. Making Sonic a more interesting protagonist is probably the most convincing argument for a reboot/rewrite to me so I’m not budging on it.

Tails is mostly fine as is. He’s one of the few characters that develops in the main series nicely,  but I’d want to tone down his tech guy position and focus more on him being an impressionable child. Someone who’s genuinely wowed by Sonic and what he’s capable of but has to learn that he’s not right about everything. The goofy technical hiccups he had in SA1 should return too since it adds some humility.

Knuckles is another character where I mostly like how he turned out, but as the series goes on I’d want him to sharpen up by quite a bit and maybe even get to the point where he can deceive someone else for once. Some pay off to the constant deception and badgering he gets from everyone else.

Amy can appear again as the damsel, assuming these games still do that. I was weighing on whether to keep her or not but I figure if Boom had to keep her she’s probably considered a mainstay internally, thus she has the same grounds as Tails and Knuckles to be kept. I think there’s a middle ground you can hit with her crush where it’s a big motivator for her without being literally the only thing she does. Otherwise I like her as a character who embraces the slow and steady modern life instead of being a nomad.


My most controversial take; Sonic’s “rivals” like Metal Sonic,  Shadow and Blaze have so many overlapping character traits that you can probably consolidate them into one character that fills that role of the villain with emotional baggage that turns good. Like the execution within the series or not, it’s a popular archetype, and you’d probably do better getting people to accept the old cast getting deleted if you could carry some of the stuff that made them appealing over to new characters. I don’t know how I’d feel about that as a fan of those characters, but having one female rival  that’s equivalent to Sonic does a good job of balancing the cast out and giving you an easy option for a playable female MC. Making her his ideological foil would make their interactions interesting too. Someone who has roots somewhere but is forced to travel for plot reasons. We’ll call this character “Shade” for now as a shorthand.

This idea was based off an old concept sketch for Shadow that would end up being Blaze btw. I think both characters spring from similar places(and it’s probably why both are favorites of mine lmao.)
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To round out the cast I’d probably consider giving “Shade” a “Tangle/Marine” esque sidekick? I haven’t really thought this one through yet, but someone that’s fun to poke holes in their more standoffish tendencies. Maybe leaning more toward Tails’s age but more of a direct foil than marine. An interest in art over mechanics, maybe? 

And that would probably be my main cast. Six characters. Three boys, Three girls. There are characters I’m super attached to from the older continuity like -gestures at icon- that I’d probably sneak in the back somewhere but I’m gonna take the "murder your babies" approach to this and go for as many fresh faces as possible. 

I think the plot structure should be like a well paced episodic show. Sonic heads to a new location, Eggman is causing trouble, he saves the day while seeing the sights and maybe picking up a tagalong or two along the way. As much as I liked some of the central hubs in previous entries I think this structure might fit the more nomadic habits of Sonic more. 

Gameplay
 

Spoiler

This is the most important part to me, despite how much I wrote about everything else. Rolling down hills and off ramps should become the core gameplay loop of the series again, period. I’m open to implementing newer ideas from the newer games like the homing attack, grinding or tricks but they haven’t come up with a more compelling movement mechanic than rolling in 30 years. It’s time to embrace it. 

 Sonic levels should be structured more like a skatepark where there are a lot of things that seem fun to interact with. “Get to the goal” can still be a primary objective but I think there needs to be lots of incentive to explore to really get the most out of the 3D space. I’ve flirted with the idea of just going with an alternate objective entirely like Mario 64 shifting the focus toward star collection but I just don’t think it fits. Instead, maybe there should be lots of completely optional stuff you can find, both intrinsic(optional dialogue/character interactions, locales/scenery, easter eggs ala the special gold statue in Sonic CD) and extrinsic(red rings, small animals, artwork/soundtrack CDs)

Picking your character should be more akin to picking your favorite skater rather than giving them some power that completely breaks the game or changes the way you approach it entirely. This means that yeah you’ll probably have to rethink Tails/Knuckles’s abilities but someone else can do that. I’m not wracking my brain over it today. 

Should there be hubworlds? Well, “no” in the sense that I think elements that show up in hubworlds should be built into the levels by design ala Mario Odyssey. Nonaggressive NPCs, the occasional side objective or minigame. Settings that exist for the sake of fleshing out a character or a part of the world like Tails’s workshop. One benefit of Sonic levels is that they work with both a faster and a slower approach so there could be timewasters ala casino night’s minigames that don’t hurt much of anything. 

Scoring/Ranking is the part I’m torn on. They’re a big part of Sonic’s appeal to me but putting big, fat numbers incentivizing rushing yourself or having a certain amount of positive interactions might get in the way of a more freeform approach. Most 3D platformers do away with scoring system and go for a bigger focus on collectables instead so maybe that’s the solution. This is one change that might genuinely hurt for me, but I really do want them to approach a reboot with the intent of rethinking everything and seeing what is or isn’t necessary. I enjoy the feeling of doing a clean run of a level and being acknowledged by the game for it, but maybe a cleverly placed collectable or secret is enough to emulate that feeling?

 

Again, I don't think a full reboot is necessary since the series can hit the ground running with a lot of this stuff tomorrow if it wanted, but yeah. 

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MetalSkulkBane
8 hours ago, Kaotic Kanine said:

and have it simply that he (Shadow) is an artificial hedgehog infused with chaos energy.

There is nothing "simple" about this sentence. And we both know that you still omitted few elements from SA2.

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King Conne

No reboot please, the series is great (I'm crazy about Yuji Uekawa's art and the lore is wonderful)!!...
If you want reboots, you have one every X years in anime (before it falls into oblivion), that's more than enough!!...
Please, let the videogame series in peace : it has so many great stories to tell us (and Graff and Pontac are no longer onboard, yeehaw)!!...

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7 hours ago, Kaotic Kanine said:

Could you have directed that at me much less while making your point? :P You could've at least brought up how the Black Arns have been irrelevant for years, in addition to the whole "Shadow is part Black Arms", in light of what the others in this thread said. But nope, just strictly focusing on what I wrote. 

 

You're hardly the first person to talk about changing Shadow's backstory as part of a "reboot idea".

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PeterPancake

I'd focus on the story. World building and character development take full priority 

 

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Kaotic Kanine
5 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

There is nothing "simple" about this sentence. And we both know that you still omitted few elements from SA2.

Um, how...? Shadow is an artificial organism created to be the "ultimate lifeform", with a key trait of such a lifeform being capable of using abilities like Chaos Control. That's all SA2 really established about his 'biology', and to me that's "simple". 😕

1 hour ago, Pengi said:

There’s no such thing as “chaos energy” and Shadow was never “infused” with it.

What do you call the energy of the Chaos Emeralds, then? Chaos Spear certainly isn't composed of electric or solar energy. Even if "Chaos Energy" itself had never been said in official material, "Chaos Emerald Energy" is too long to write and say all the time, so might as well shorten it to "Chaos Energy". 

And I should remind that I was suggesting for a potential reboot that Shadow merely be an artificial lifeform who was created with innate Chaos Energy, as ooposed to being created with alien DNA to harness/utilize such power. I never said that's what Shadow is, just that's how I'd change him for a reboot.

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Here's a pretty interesting idea for a reboot I've seen. Pretty minimalist, cast is cut down to just Sonic & Eggman, but I found its focus interesting. Particularly how Eggman is more of a public figure as @Wraith suggested.  

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Rabbitearsblog

I personally wouldn't want a reboot.  The only time we should get a reboot is if the franchise itself has come to an end and they planned to reboot the series a few years afterwards or if the reboot was apart of a spin off series, like Sonic Boom was.

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Diogenes
11 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

*snip*

Here's a pretty interesting idea for a reboot I've seen.

I watched this one a while back, it's got some interesting ideas, but it's got a real big problem where it basically has to be a one-and-done story, not a series. And as a thought exercise that's fine, but Sega would obviously never reboot the series into something they could only possibly get one game out of, and I can't imagine fans being very happy with that either.

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Yoshman
9 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

I watched this one a while back, it's got some interesting ideas, but it's got a real big problem where it basically has to be a one-and-done story, not a series.

It's especially a problem when you introduce Metal Sonic, who is a character you would expect to meet in a sequel. It doesn't make sense for Robotnik to make a copy of a foe he has only just met. I would fix that by replacing Metal with a special Badnik who was designed to keep up with Sonic's abilities but not to the point of mimicking him, but who still goes through the same development as the one mentioned, making it a sort of new Gamma.

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18 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

I watched this one a while back, it's got some interesting ideas, but it's got a real big problem where it basically has to be a one-and-done story, not a series. And as a thought exercise that's fine, but Sega would obviously never reboot the series into something they could only possibly get one game out of, and I can't imagine fans being very happy with that either.

Oh yea, its extremely not plausible for a long-running series, probably a side series. I just thought it was an interesting idea for a minimalist approach. 

ITs why I think a full reboot isn't really needed, because if the story is more serialized and focus, the less you can actually do with it

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Indigo Rush

When you say "reimagine/reboot" Sonic, I'm assuming this is meant to run the entire gamut from character designs to storyline of the main game series. To that, I'd say the most important thing is to recognize first that Sonic is much bigger than a stand-alone game franchise, and everything from the movie to the shows to the comics and maybe even the mobile phone games have equal potential to leave a strong first impression on newcomers. From a branding perspective, that's a lot of salivating potential for making money a franchise that transcends generations, but it's equally nightmarish to manage. To just "reboot" the games is one thing, to make a sweeping call that everything ever that stars Sonic doesn't count anymore is most likely going to fall on the deaf ears of the general public who'll say "who cares" and enrage the fans who've spent years of their lives building their understanding of the Sonic series. If we're going to "reboot" it all, get ready for some backlash and confusion.

So, we want to reimagine Sonic. If that responsibility fell on my lap, I'd first and foremost establish a living lorebook/continuity bible that explains everything from how Sonic's universe functions to every character's favorite food. Sonic's world needs to be fleshed out so it can be a sturdy launching point for an endless number of stories to tell, as well as give a faithful canvas for fans to create their own stories and characters with. From there, I think it's important to make sure different media forms like the comics and TV shows be written and portrayed in a way that doesn't contradict the games, instead supplementing them to create a sort of expanded universe, if you will. 

The main thing is to determine if we want to redesign the cast, and to that I'd say not to, or rather not much. The current modern design which incorporates some of Classic Sonic's stature is a great equilibrium to work from. I'd just have it so certain games or other media have the opportunity to fill in more specific details such as fur and shoe texturing, similar to the Movie, just not as radical.

The next major task is story, and I think the biggest thing is to take advantage of 30 years of hindsight to recreate the most loved story beats from the series across any continuity, as well as avoid recreating (or heavily modifying) the worst ones. I'm talking moments like Tails saving Sonic at the end of Sonic 2, Eggman brutally defeating Sonic in Archie #175, Sonic and Shadow's "faker?!" quips in SA2, the showdown against Metal in the OVA, Sonic and Knuckles squaring off in... Sonic & Knuckles, that sort of thing. It doesn't have to only come from the game series to find a second life in a rebooted series. Similarly, just because it was in the games, doesn't mean it needs to be revisited. I'd stay far away from incorporating the Black Arms into Shadow's backstory, for instance, and the Deadly Six need a serious retooling. 

Aside from that, rebooting the series from "square one" with a Sonic 1 or Sonic 2 remake isn't a bad start, but pretty soon we're going to need to be smart with adding more fan favorites into the mix. Eventually we'll need to get back up to par with having the primary cast and tertiary supporting characters on the palette so we can start painting new stories with them. This is possible with the aforementioned hindsight; it'll be much easier to reintroduce the old guard when we've already figured out their personalities and character arcs. Some game stories could even be "re-told" as comic book arcs or TV episodes; or for fun, we could take something like the Storybook series and literally make them into story books. All the character development without any of the half-baked Wii tech demos. 

Additionally, with the comics and shows picking up the slack, some characters could be introduced in that area and then be incorporated into a major game without having to make another introductory arc to explain everything about them. I'm actually sort of hoping SEGA is going to do this with the IDW comic, as it took off right after Sonic Forces and seems to consider the games prior to that as part of it's canon; and with Tangle and Whisper being playable in the mobile games, there's certainly an opportunity to be had here. From there, you could introduce all new characters or re-incorporate "lost" or "non-canon" characters like the Hooligans or the Freedom Fighters in new, re-imagined ways that would supplement the new series. 

And that's where I'd start. I didn't mention anything about game design because this just isn't the topic for that, though I definitely have my opinions there. For the most part, I think the series is just fine the way it is, but if afforded the opportunity, I'd vouch for everything I said above.

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1 hour ago, Indigo Rush said:

When you say "reimagine/reboot" Sonic, I'm assuming this is meant to run the entire gamut from character designs to storyline of the main game series. To that, I'd say the most important thing is to recognize first that Sonic is much bigger than a stand-alone game franchise, and everything from the movie to the shows to the comics and maybe even the mobile phone games have equal potential to leave a strong first impression on newcomers. From a branding perspective, that's a lot of salivating potential for making money a franchise that transcends generations, but it's equally nightmarish to manage. To just "reboot" the games is one thing, to make a sweeping call that everything ever that stars Sonic doesn't count anymore is most likely going to fall on the deaf ears of the general public who'll say "who cares" and enrage the fans who've spent years of their lives building their understanding of the Sonic series. If we're going to "reboot" it all, get ready for some backlash and confusion.

So, we want to reimagine Sonic. If that responsibility fell on my lap, I'd first and foremost establish a living lorebook/continuity bible that explains everything from how Sonic's universe functions to every character's favorite food. Sonic's world needs to be fleshed out so it can be a sturdy launching point for an endless number of stories to tell, as well as give a faithful canvas for fans to create their own stories and characters with. From there, I think it's important to make sure different media forms like the comics and TV shows be written and portrayed in a way that doesn't contradict the games, instead supplementing them to create a sort of expanded universe, if you will. 

The main thing is to determine if we want to redesign the cast, and to that I'd say not to, or rather not much. The current modern design which incorporates some of Classic Sonic's stature is a great equilibrium to work from. I'd just have it so certain games or other media have the opportunity to fill in more specific details such as fur and shoe texturing, similar to the Movie, just not as radical.

The next major task is story, and I think the biggest thing is to take advantage of 30 years of hindsight to recreate the most loved story beats from the series across any continuity, as well as avoid recreating (or heavily modifying) the worst ones. I'm talking moments like Tails saving Sonic at the end of Sonic 2, Eggman brutally defeating Sonic in Archie #175, Sonic and Shadow's "faker?!" quips in SA2, the showdown against Metal in the OVA, Sonic and Knuckles squaring off in... Sonic & Knuckles, that sort of thing. It doesn't have to only come from the game series to find a second life in a rebooted series. Similarly, just because it was in the games, doesn't mean it needs to be revisited. I'd stay far away from incorporating the Black Arms into Shadow's backstory, for instance, and the Deadly Six need a serious retooling. 

Aside from that, rebooting the series from "square one" with a Sonic 1 or Sonic 2 remake isn't a bad start, but pretty soon we're going to need to be smart with adding more fan favorites into the mix. Eventually we'll need to get back up to par with having the primary cast and tertiary supporting characters on the palette so we can start painting new stories with them. This is possible with the aforementioned hindsight; it'll be much easier to reintroduce the old guard when we've already figured out their personalities and character arcs. Some game stories could even be "re-told" as comic book arcs or TV episodes; or for fun, we could take something like the Storybook series and literally make them into story books. All the character development without any of the half-baked Wii tech demos. 

Additionally, with the comics and shows picking up the slack, some characters could be introduced in that area and then be incorporated into a major game without having to make another introductory arc to explain everything about them. I'm actually sort of hoping SEGA is going to do this with the IDW comic, as it took off right after Sonic Forces and seems to consider the games prior to that as part of it's canon; and with Tangle and Whisper being playable in the mobile games, there's certainly an opportunity to be had here. From there, you could introduce all new characters or re-incorporate "lost" or "non-canon" characters like the Hooligans or the Freedom Fighters in new, re-imagined ways that would supplement the new series. 

And that's where I'd start. I didn't mention anything about game design because this just isn't the topic for that, though I definitely have my opinions there. For the most part, I think the series is just fine the way it is, but if afforded the opportunity, I'd vouch for everything I said above.

You know what I like about this? It doesn't actually require changing anything that's inherent about the series on a fundamental level. All you're really doing is just filling in the blanks, and reestablishing things that were already there. 

I'd argue that's why they always reuse Green Hill Zone, because it worked and it's the perfect way of establishing the series. When you see Green Hill, you already associate it with Sonic. Its why things like Captain America using Thor's hammer is such a great moment even though its happened like three times in the comics; you're resonating with both the demographic who grew up with said comics, and the new demographic who are the seeing this for the first time. 

You just really need a game, and medium to just reestablish what these characters are about, and how this world works. It's certainly not EASY, but it's possible. 

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Snowragnarok
1 hour ago, Indigo Rush said:

When you say "reimagine/reboot" Sonic, I'm assuming this is meant to run the entire gamut from character designs to storyline of the main game series. To that, I'd say the most important thing is to recognize first that Sonic is much bigger than a stand-alone game franchise, and everything from the movie to the shows to the comics and maybe even the mobile phone games have equal potential to leave a strong first impression on newcomers. From a branding perspective, that's a lot of salivating potential for making money a franchise that transcends generations, but it's equally nightmarish to manage. To just "reboot" the games is one thing, to make a sweeping call that everything ever that stars Sonic doesn't count anymore is most likely going to fall on the deaf ears of the general public who'll say "who cares" and enrage the fans who've spent years of their lives building their understanding of the Sonic series. If we're going to "reboot" it all, get ready for some backlash and confusion.

So, we want to reimagine Sonic. If that responsibility fell on my lap, I'd first and foremost establish a living lorebook/continuity bible that explains everything from how Sonic's universe functions to every character's favorite food. Sonic's world needs to be fleshed out so it can be a sturdy launching point for an endless number of stories to tell, as well as give a faithful canvas for fans to create their own stories and characters with. From there, I think it's important to make sure different media forms like the comics and TV shows be written and portrayed in a way that doesn't contradict the games, instead supplementing them to create a sort of expanded universe, if you will. 

The main thing is to determine if we want to redesign the cast, and to that I'd say not to, or rather not much. The current modern design which incorporates some of Classic Sonic's stature is a great equilibrium to work from. I'd just have it so certain games or other media have the opportunity to fill in more specific details such as fur and shoe texturing, similar to the Movie, just not as radical.

The next major task is story, and I think the biggest thing is to take advantage of 30 years of hindsight to recreate the most loved story beats from the series across any continuity, as well as avoid recreating (or heavily modifying) the worst ones. I'm talking moments like Tails saving Sonic at the end of Sonic 2, Eggman brutally defeating Sonic in Archie #175, Sonic and Shadow's "faker?!" quips in SA2, the showdown against Metal in the OVA, Sonic and Knuckles squaring off in... Sonic & Knuckles, that sort of thing. It doesn't have to only come from the game series to find a second life in a rebooted series. Similarly, just because it was in the games, doesn't mean it needs to be revisited. I'd stay far away from incorporating the Black Arms into Shadow's backstory, for instance, and the Deadly Six need a serious retooling. 

Aside from that, rebooting the series from "square one" with a Sonic 1 or Sonic 2 remake isn't a bad start, but pretty soon we're going to need to be smart with adding more fan favorites into the mix. Eventually we'll need to get back up to par with having the primary cast and tertiary supporting characters on the palette so we can start painting new stories with them. This is possible with the aforementioned hindsight; it'll be much easier to reintroduce the old guard when we've already figured out their personalities and character arcs. Some game stories could even be "re-told" as comic book arcs or TV episodes; or for fun, we could take something like the Storybook series and literally make them into story books. All the character development without any of the half-baked Wii tech demos. 

Additionally, with the comics and shows picking up the slack, some characters could be introduced in that area and then be incorporated into a major game without having to make another introductory arc to explain everything about them. I'm actually sort of hoping SEGA is going to do this with the IDW comic, as it took off right after Sonic Forces and seems to consider the games prior to that as part of it's canon; and with Tangle and Whisper being playable in the mobile games, there's certainly an opportunity to be had here. From there, you could introduce all new characters or re-incorporate "lost" or "non-canon" characters like the Hooligans or the Freedom Fighters in new, re-imagined ways that would supplement the new series. 

And that's where I'd start. I didn't mention anything about game design because this just isn't the topic for that, though I definitely have my opinions there. For the most part, I think the series is just fine the way it is, but if afforded the opportunity, I'd vouch for everything I said above.

...you took the words right outta my mouth there. I completely agree with this; and hope that we can do better than what Aligned Transformers tried to do over its lifespan. Buying all Sonic-related assets from Archie Comics would be a major help in this department, in order to give us more characters and worldbuilding to potentially introduce via the “Covenant of Solaris” or something. I suppose we could retell all the Genesis games as one unit, sort of, similar to WFC 2010. This lore book would even be published and sold at retail, similar to the Covenant of Primus and Stay Sonic. 
 

Maybe, just maybe, we could try weaving in other Sega games down the line, similar to the Hasbro Comic Universe.

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