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The Many Alternate Timelines of Sonic the Hedgehog


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We're coming up on 30 years of this franchise and with a recent drought of news, it's become commonplace to take a look back on the series' history. But what other paths might this franchise have taken if it were for just a step in a different direction? What would the franchise be like now if one small change was made in history?

In this post, hopefully with help from replies, I want to catalog a bunch of alternate Sonic timelines. I specifically mean the franchise, not the lore. Here's a couple. And let's start small.

Fang the Sniper / Nack the Weasel's prevalence

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This one is not entirely grounded in specific decisions or anything, but I still find it interesting to explore. You may recognize this devilish rouge if you're a sonic fan. Which I assume we all are. His debut was in Sonic Triple Trouble for the Game Gear in 1994. The plot of the game centers around Sonic and Tails having to deal with three, triple, antagonists - Dr. Eggman, who has once again tricked Knuckles the Echidna, and also Nack the Sniper Weasel Fang. Metal Sonic also makes an appearance too, but I suppose Quad Trouble doesn't roll off the tongue as easily.

Also he had a theme song.

Nack Fang would go on to feature in Sonic the Fighters and two more Game Gear games - Tails Adventure and Sonic Drift 2, plus endless cameos through the franchise. For a character that I used to think just filled a slot in a forgotten arcade fighting game, he was actually quite prevalent in the franchise back in the day! He was planned as a boss for Sonic X-treme, and he even appeared as a collectable toy in Shenmue.

My point is, Sonic as a franchise was still very much in its infant stages in the 90s with the first game coming out in 1991, and Nack seemed like just another character in the roster. But past 1995, we wouldn't see much of Nack, in major roles at least. Of course, he'd show up in the comics, but that series had every character and their mother in it. Not so special. So...

What if Fang didn't get tossed? Would he show up in Sonic 3? Maybe show up for real in Sonic Mania? Would he replace E-102 Gamma's shooting stages in Sonic Adventure?

Maybe show up with Team Hooligan in Sonic Heroes?  Yes, he was going to, actually! Which leads into another fun thought experiment...

 

The Alternate Sonic Heroes Roster (Shadow stays dead.)

Okay, big title. Literally and thematically. First, let's elaborate on what I just said.

Fang, Bark, and Bean were originally going to appear in Sonic Heroes! For some, Sonic Heroes was a game that was basically a make or break for your entry in the series as a main-stay character. Sadly, Team Hooligan didn't end up making the cut. This information was revealed by former Sonic Team writer Shiro Maekawa in a simple twitter post, along with the rest of the original roster.

https://twitter.com/SonicJPNews/status/989898578595405826?s=19

 

 

  • Sonic, Tails, Knuckles
  • Amy, Cream, Rouge
  • Chaos, E102, Big (A 'Team Adventure')
  • Espio, Charmy, Vector
  • Fang, Bean, Bark
  • Metal Sonic, Ray, Mighty

krabs.gif.2f7c46ab09369bce32e3ed70b391514c.gif

WHAAAT?!?

Alright, let's start with the small stuff. So we covered Hooligan, but also Rouge is not going to form Team Dark - in fact, Team Dark won't be formed at all. Rouge goes out for lady's night with the other female characters.

Next we have a pretty clunky team of Chaos, E102, and Big, for a Team Adventure (all characters introduced in Sonic Adventure). Not sure how they would have handled. Who would be speed? Flight?! Power could be any one of them. And imagine this team interacting, it would be like a group project full of students you don't know. Very awkward. Also two of them are practically dead. Dead as in they have no real way to return. Unless Gamma, the bird, is flight...

Also, of great importance; Team... Metal Sonic? Team Mighty? Team Ray? What an odd trio. I mean I get Ray and Mighty, but Metal doesn't fit in so well. Interesting, as Metal Sonic was eventually the main antagonist of Sonic Heroes. Would he be a good guy in this alternate Heroes game? Or maybe Ray and Mighty are just really naive and following around who they think is Sonic? That could be funny. Also, seeing as Sonic Heroes thrust Team Chaotix back into the limelight, would Ray and Mighty be main characters in the present day of the franchise? What would they look like if they were redesigned like Team Chaotix? Maybe something like their comic adaptations? Point is, we wouldn't need a Sonic Mania DLC to make them relevant again.

https://twitter.com/roboticpastries/status/990058935699812354?s=20https://twitter.com/roboticpastries/status/990058935699812354?s=20

Probably the craziest revelation of this alternate timeline is not the inclusion of a character, but the lack of one... Shadow. (And Omega.) What came as a shock to me as a new fan of Sonic years ago was that Shadow actually dies at the end of SA2, and was intended to stay dead. Of course, he was revived in Heroes, and later confirmed to be the real Shadow during Shadow the Hedgehog's True Final Boss by Dr. Eggman.

But in this Alternate timeline, Shadow was to stay in his grave. Think about that! We would have never seen Shadow again past SA2. It's hard to imagine all the effects the lack of Shadow would have on the franchise. I'm sure fans would be begging for him back for the next decade or two - which might have made his reappearance as a villain in Sonic Forces all the more sweeter.

Since Team Dark needed Omega to complete their trio, Omega would have also never been a character in this timeline. Which, although not as impactful as Shadow, would be very, very unfortunate. A world without Omega's unrelenting anger and snark towards Eggman's robots is a world I don't want to live in. We're in the Good Future.

And who would be there to kick SIlver in the head?!

The Storybook Continues

The Sonic Storybook series... Series. Huh. Seems weird calling it a series when it only has two games. But more were intended! In the first game, Secret Rings, Sonic is transported to the world of Arabian Nights, followed by a quick jaunt in Black Knight to the world of King Arthur and the knights of the round table.

Shortly after Sonic and the Black Knight released, Sega ran a poll on Facebook from which fans could decide Sonic's next adventure in the Storybook saga.

A Facebook poll. Quite the odd place to decide the fate of a game series, but oh well. Anyways, Greek Mythology won!

1927682875_Sonicstorybook.jpg.1cd7a1a82f4287de91b36a22fbd69fbf.jpg

It's unknown whether this would truly decide the fate of the series, because, well, there never was another Storybook game. Perhaps it was the bad reception, the bad sales, or just a lack of interest. But if it did happen, we would be living in a world with Sonic and the... Heroes of Olympus? I don't know, come up with a name yourself. And what of that Western option? Would Shadow no longer be the only hedgehog to wield a gun?

We can even try to imagine how the game would play and what it's story could be based on our sample size of the two existing games. They are both on rails experiences with Sonic gaining a new ability, e.g. a sword, and also being followed by some sort of magical girl. In the end, he undergoes a transformation akin to Super Sonic but specific to the world he's currently invading (like Adidas Sonic in Secret Rings) and defeats the main antagonist. Levels would be themed around common legends and folktales associated with the theme and time period. And the rest of the Sonic cast has an alternate form in this universe.

It's been a while since I was a Percy Jackson kid, so hopefully my knowledge of Greek Mythos holds up enough for a fun idea;

Sonic's new ability is some sort of magical attack, and he... goes through Hell or something, with Persephone? Or maybe his connection to wind as an element causes him to be the demigod son of Hermes. I don't know, you guys come up with something.

Sonic the Rabbit

It's pretty well known by now that one of Sonic's many prototypes was a rabbit that looked like this.

250px-Sonic1prerelease_rabbitconcept.png.f175003129b0b360ed6aa62eda502201.png

Neat! It's not exactly revolutionary knowledge, but in terms of future thinking, what could the Sonic franchise look like if the mascot looked entirely different? Would he still be sharp and edgy, or would he have a more childlike and carefree tone, like this concept suggests? Perhaps the entire franchise would be completely different.

But you don't need to imagine this alternate timeline any longer!

I present to you: Dash Adventure 2! Made by many talented modders who comprised Dash team, this SA2 skin gives us a glimpse into an alternate time. Okay, well, maybe the franchise wouldn't just be the same thing but with different character designs, but this is still cool nonetheless. 

Fun fact, I actually accidentally designed a character who looked remarkably similar to ol' bunny sonic. It was a light blue rabbit with exaggerated ears and a red bowtie... perhaps my subconscious added the details, but when I remembered that resemblance, I facepalmed and switched up the bowtie to a scarf. Just like the Bunny Shadow is wearing in this mod. Oops.

But anyway, I'm going forward with that character and some others to create a novel that takes inspiration from Sonic and many other games, movies, and shows, and you know what this isn't the time for self promotion.

Your Turn...

 

Do you know any other alternate timelines this franchise exists in? What cut content, scrapped decisions, or chance occurrences could have happened that would have led the franchise in a different direction? Or would have resulted in a fun spinoff? Please share and add to the discussion!

 

 

 

 

 

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Nack's best bets for making it over to the modern era would of been in getting rescued in Sonic Heroes like the Chaotix did, or, I personally believe, he stood a good chance in the next game, Shadow the Hedgehog. Funny enough he just kind of fits stupid well with the tone of that game then anywhere else.

He's the scrapped, or "classic locked" character with the most appearances in the games, though Mighty might be most popular and better known thanks to his membership card with the Chaotix.

For my own alternate takes? As I understand it there was a brief time in the franchise when Sally Acorn stood an honest chance at breaking into the main cast. It's been cited that one of the reasons behind the decision to keep her alive during the Endgame arc was SEGA asking them hold off as they were considering her for their own projects, and that brings to mind the similarities between her and Tiara. 

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charmsb
11 minutes ago, Cuz said:

For my own alternate takes? As I understand it there was a brief time in the franchise when Sally Acorn stood an honest chance at breaking into the main cast. It's been cited that one of the reasons behind the decision to keep her alive during the Endgame arc was SEGA asking them hold off as they were considering her for their own projects, and that brings to mind the similarities between her and Tiara. 

Interesting! I can't think of any other examples of alternate media characters breaking into the games, unless you count Tangle and others showing up in Sonic Forces: Speed Battle. Sally probably would stick around too. Never was a huge fan of her personally but that would be an interesting future nonetheless. It's a wonder they didn't decide to put her in Forces, honestly.

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