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The Continuity Debate


Dr. Mechano
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I wanted to start a new topic to continue this debate, so as not to further diverge away from the "Hypothetical Eggman Empire" theories topic, but also because this is a somewhat divisive issue in the fanbase. The question is simply as follows:

Is the Sonic videogame series one long continuous story that spans from Sonic 1 all the way until today? Or is it divided into two separate canons, a "classic" series (Sonic 1 to Sonic R) and a "modern" series (Sonic Adventure to present)?

My personal theory is the former- That all Sonic games happened in the same timeline, at least if we observe the Japanese storyline, which I feel works to tie the classic and modern games together neatly into one long continuity. I will present a few points in which I attempt to defend this position.

1. The allusion to Sonic CD

In Sonic Adventure, Amy has a flashback to being kidnapped by Metal Sonic, and of Sonic giving chase to rescue her. This clearly seems like a flashback to the events of pre-SA game Sonic CD. I acknowledge that Sonic and Amy retained their SA models, but I attribute this more to laziness on the part of the designers than I do a true story contradiction.

2. Sonic Pocket Adventure

Sonic Pocket Adventure uses both designs for Eggman. Throughout the game, Dr. Eggman wears his classic costume, switching to his modern jacket near the very end. Despite being released after Sonic Adventure, it's a plausible assumption that this game takes place prior to SA in the timeline, with Eggman's definitive costume switch occuring in-game, leading to future appearances which would use this jacket.

3. Sonic Advance - X Zone

Dr. Eggman reuses two of his old machines, the Egg Hammer Ball and the Eggman Drill! Clearly intended to be a nostalgic reference to his older plans, this reference would hardly make sense if it were, in fact, a "different" Eggman altogether.

4. Sonic Adventure - Classic Cameos!

Classic Eggman in Hedgehog Hammer. Classic cast in Sonic Pinball in Casinopolis. This one's simple.

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I'm not claiming to be definitively right, of course. This topic will be an open forum for both sides to debate their view of the canon(s) of the game series. Let's see what we think about this. Let's go!

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It's the same for the most important ones, no matter how much some fans don't like that idea and battle against it. The 4 classics + CD, adventures, heroes, 06 and unleashed are all part of the main storyline. If some other games can be added without major contradictions, then they can belong as well but these I mentioned before are all part of it.

Edited by redmenace
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The 4 classics + CD, adventures, heroes, 06 and unleashed are all part of the main storyline.

Well, I don't agree with this either. I don't see how "home console" equals "main" canon.

As long as the Gamegear/Advance/DS/PSP/etc. games don't actively contradict anything, I think they should be accepted as canon by default. Yes, even minor/"silly" games where Sonic and Eggman compete in a competition, such as Drift/R/Riders/etc.

There are a scarce few games whose canon status I would question- Mean Bean Machine for taking place in an obviously AoStH-inspired setting, Spinball for its many many Emeralds and AoStH/SatAM elements (And off-model Eggman), and the Rivals games for their seemingly-contradictory origin story for Eggman Nega.

Aside from those, I really cannot think of a good reason to deem any other game noncanon, no matter how minor a contribution it is to the plot.

EDIT: Forgot Chronicles. That game has canon problems all over the place.

Edited by Dr. Mechano
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Amy's status has always confused me, somewhat. Did she somehow jump from being a little kid to being a preteen somewhere along the line, or are we now meant to assume that she has always been twelve, but changed her hair and clothes?

I see this as a retcon, most likely. If she had an official younger age in the old games, the writers seem to have disregarded it.

A retcon, while a plot inconsistency, is not outright continuity-destroying, however.

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I see this as a retcon, most likely. If she had an official younger age in the old games, the writers seem to have disregarded it.

A retcon, while a plot inconsistency, is not outright continuity-destroying, however.

True. It's usually kind of hard to tell the ages of the characters just by looking at them anyway, as they seem to typically be around the same size.

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It's blatantly obvious that SA was based on the legend of Angel Island from the Japanese Sonic 3 manual.

In an ancient time, the "mystery island" was part of the main continent. A people with an extraordinary culture inhabited it. That civilization had built a peaceful and happy society using the energy of something they called "The Mighty Stone". But at a certain point, a faction of dark-minded elders tried to steal the energy of the stone, and by accident made that energy explode.

The civilization was wiped out in a second, erased from history. Time passed, and a god descended from the sky to the newly created "mystery island". The sky god restored part of the civilization to the island, and threw the "Mighty Stone" into the open sky…

Angel Island was once part of the ground, as shown by the shrine and the Lost World temple area being connected by a tunnel in the past. The people with the extraordinary culture were the echidnas, the Knuckles tribe. The "Mighty Stone" is the Master Emerald, the "dark-minded elders" are Pachacamac and his supporters, the explosion was Chaos, and as we know it pretty much obliterated their civilization. They don't explain exactly how the island got in the sky, but that's just because the story cuts off before then.

I really don't see how anyone could say they're not connected, knowing that...

That said, I still believe the timeline isn't a simple straight line. It forks into two separate paths thanks to the Rush/Rivals/'06 snarl (with a side order of storybook games) and, most likely, reconnects starting with Unleashed. It's not a disconnect, it's a bubble.

Amy's status has always confused me, somewhat. Did she somehow jump from being a little kid to being a preteen somewhere along the line, or are we now meant to assume that she has always been twelve, but changed her hair and clothes?

It's just a quirk of cartoon time. Characters don't age unless they want them to, and with SA they decided to age up Amy by a few years.
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Don't allow yourself to be confused by Miko's rambling, Gordo! I'll second the general consensus that there is no old / new story split. Minor tweaks with the ages and designs pre-Adventure 1 does not break ontological continuity.

If anything, I set my stall in the crazy on the other side; contending that ALL the games are part of one cohesive canon. The 06/Rivals/Rush snarl is... problematic, but not insurmountable. Especially not when you've had Solaris screwing around with the substance of causality itself, providing a convenient "A wizard did it" out should anyone care to employ it.

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Well, I don't agree with this either. I don't see how "home console" equals "main" canon.

As long as the Gamegear/Advance/DS/PSP/etc. games don't actively contradict anything, I think they should be accepted as canon by default. Yes, even minor/"silly" games where Sonic and Eggman compete in a competition, such as Drift/R/Riders/etc.

There are a scarce few games whose canon status I would question- Mean Bean Machine for taking place in an obviously AoStH-inspired setting, Spinball for its many many Emeralds and AoStH/SatAM elements (And off-model Eggman), and the Rivals games for their seemingly-contradictory origin story for Eggman Nega.

Aside from those, I really cannot think of a good reason to deem any other game noncanon, no matter how minor a contribution it is to the plot.

EDIT: Forgot Chronicles. That game has canon problems all over the place.

It's not a matter of being main console at all. Sonic 1 is the one that started it all. Sonic 2, 3 & K are all part of the Death Egg saga, so of course they apply as well. Sonic Adventure introduces Amy as a major character of the series, and she was remembers her Sonic CD adventures, which make the two of them part of it. Sonic Adventure 2 mentions the Tails' Sonic Adventure story, so it adds up as well. From here on, it's Sonic Team's main games that don't contradict anything (Heroes, 06 and Unleashed), so ofcourse they are part of it as well. These ones are undeniable and their place in the main storyline is not up for question. That's what I was trying to say, not just because they are made in major consoles. I believe the others can fit as well, without major problems, excepting those you mentioned as well. Riders I would add as well, even though the setting differs from the rest, but I understand those who wouldn't.
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I agree with Frozen Nitrogen that all games can be called canon. As long as the story doesn't interfere with the big picture, there's no reason to write it out. Why are there too many emeralds in Spinball. Probably, someone on the creative team didn't think it was important and the idea got into the game. It's hardly earth-shattering. My philosophy is the LESS important a game is in the storyline, the EASIER it should be to ignore inconsistencies. And I certainly don't see a classic-modern split. I believe there were some superficial reboot attempts by design update (SA1 and '06) or drastic story and character changes (Heroes), but it never changed the direction of the storyline.

Edited by Stretchy Werewolf
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Aside from those, I really cannot think of a good reason to deem any other game noncanon, no matter how minor a contribution it is to the plot.

Sonic 2 8-bit was a huge mess for reasons that I believe I was one of the first to bring up but can ironically no longer remember. Mostly timeline reasons, I think.

Edited by Tornado
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I believe that all the Sonic games tie together into one canon. More proof of this is in Sonic's comment to Knuckles about being tricked again in SA, and Knuckles mentioning the mushrooms on his island in Heroes.

One thing I've always wondered was if the Sonic Rivals series is canon. This isn't just because of the Eggman Nega plothole either. In Rivals 2 after Silver and Espio's story, Silver comments on how the future has changed, yet he still exists. This is a contradiction to Sonic 06, because when the future was altered, time was reset and new versions of the characters existed.

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Games that tie in with STH '06 are always a mess. I got lost halfway through Sonic Rush trying to figure out what was going on, and as I understand it the Rivals games are even worse.

There's nothing confusing about Rush- it came FIRST. Blaze came from a different dimension. The Sol and Chaos Emeralds were making the two dimensions merge and collapse. Easy.

Rivals introduced Nega as a different character- that's what gets confusing.

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Just because a similar set of events took place in the past does not definitivly make them part of the same canon. A more obvious example of this would be Jonny Quest. Both shows have a similar backstory take place at different times in the characters lives, and never explicitly contradict one another, but they are clearly not part of the same continuity.

That doesn't neccisarily mean that they are seperate continuities on it's own, just that a few conclusions seem to have been jumped to. Sonic Adventure does appear to come after Sonic 3, but the only thing I've seen that ties Adventure 2 to 1 is the title.

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That doesn't neccisarily mean that they are seperate continuities on it's own, just that a few conclusions seem to have been jumped to. Sonic Adventure does appear to come after Sonic 3, but the only thing I've seen that ties Adventure 2 to 1 is the title.

Likewise for Unleashed to previous titles, 06, Rush and more. There's no reason to believe that they're part of a seperate canon. And the reason to believe that they're all the same canon is that it's bloody simpler and not at all fanon that way.

Edited by Blue Blood
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I don't especially think there's any living "canon" so to speak today. I think that what we have today, is a game verse which is mainstream. And while yes, it is influential to some of the other Sonic material out there, their roots are in the classics. That and well... the games have played homages to the other verses based off the classics as well. The verses alive and kicking (or that were alive) were based off a series of classic games that were a separate verse from today's games in my mind. Yes while there are numerous allusions to the classic games, it doesn't necessarily mean it worked with everything from the orignal material.

Dr. Eggman reuses two of his old machines, the Egg Hammer Ball and the Eggman Drill! Clearly intended to be a nostalgic reference to his older plans, this reference would hardly make sense if it were, in fact, a "different" Eggman altogether.

Yes and Archie Robotnik uses classic weapons and badniks. And even SatAM Robotnik used Buzzbombers. That doesn't mean the verse is the same. It means there are things in common between verses. This is like saying that because SatAM Robotnik took over refineries, cities, and so on during Sonic 2 just like classic Robotnik did, it's the same verse, whilst choosing to totally overlook the things about the two verses that make them different. I don't care how they're similar. Because all verses will have commonalities.

Classic Eggman in Hedgehog Hammer. Classic cast in Sonic Pinball in Casinopolis. This one's simple.

I don't think stylistic refference is going to be enough to say it is the same verse. Like I said, if every verse followed the classic model to a tee, it doesn't mean that it's the same verse. Citing again Tenchi Muyo. There isn't suddenly "not" a multiverse simply because the characters look the same.

So anyway here are some reasons I don't feel the games are of the same timeline..

1. Knuckles Chaotix, a classic story which gave the Chaotix their official debut is treated as if it didn't happen in the modern games according to Iizuka himself.

2. Amy and Tails' age changes. While it's perfectly understandable if characters age a bit Amy aged 4 years and Tails didn't age at all. Which means this verse's Amy is of a different age than the classics while Tails' age is about the same. Even if we want to disregard Amy being a 12 year old girl in Sonic CD as laziness, it doesn't really change the aforementioned.

3. The Chaos emeralds. In the current games there are only 7 in the entire world. In the classics however there number varies from reigion to reigion as well as the properties of the emeralds (like for instance color or how they're accessed). These emeralds are all also (unless already in Robotnik's posession) available in their own special zones whereas in the modern games they are generally part of the planet's geography.

4. Characterization differences between classic Robotnik and the modern take on Robotnik. I'm not saying SatAM Robotnik or Robotnik Prime are "right", I'm saying they picked up on aspects of Robotnik's characterization that aren't present in the modern games. Classic Robotnik can enslave sentient beings, Eggman in today's games does want to rule the world, but he hasn't demonstrated he'd enslave people to the lengths classic Robotnik would. In SA forward, no animals demonstrating sentience were used and since Sonic Adventure, I don't think ANY living organisms have been enslaved to fuel his machines.

Some that came off the top of m head. ^^;

Why are there too many emeralds in Spinball.

Again emeralds varied in number and in properties from game to game. So, it's not as if there couldn't be a game where a plethora of emeralds existed.

Edited by Miko
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To go back a bit, I don't subscribe to the belief that an installment's state of canon is automatically positive if it doesn't offend or add to the existing universe. Rather, they should be what they actually are-- Neutral. If certain installments have narratives that have absolutely no effect on the overall storyline, it would stand to reason that one has as much liberty to leave them out as another person has to leave them in. And both sides can rationally do this for any reason because it ultimately doesn't matter what you do with the stories in the first place, right? After all, they're not affecting anything.

Thus, I feel that having such a lenient standard on what is and isn't canon dilutes the, for lack of a better word, pedigree of a universe's canon. A canon, at least in my eyes, should display the absolute truth of a particular universe's construction-- The time lime, the existing figures, the existing places, etc. How can one say for certain that an installment reflects this truth, or even doesn't, if it could've or couldn't have happened? You just can't, ergo there should logically be more stringent standards in place for determining what is and isn't canon. Or at the least, not every game should be able to carry the benefit of assumption until they prove themselves significant enough to be considered canon.

Although, with a franchise like this, I think you'd be hardpressed to find some objective and universal qualifier. I'm hypocritical in that I personally tend to take the major platform-centric console releases as the 'de facto' canon while most everything else is either non-canon for various reasons or simply not significant enough for me to care for in regards to trying to determine whether or not it actually happened. xP

Edited by Nepenthe
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Eggman reads a news report about how Tails saved Station Square from a missile attack- The same one he launched in SA1.

And there's also a high rise based off of NiGHTS.

This is the same game in which falling from orbit suddenly became a life threatening situation. Previously it was more of an inconvenience.

Likewise for Unleashed to previous titles, 06, Rush and more. There's no reason to believe that they're part of a seperate canon. And the reason to believe that they're all the same canon is that it's bloody simpler and not at all fanon that way.

Unleashed is explicitly a reboot.

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Let's not act like the games need to reference back to each other in order to remind us we're playing the same series. You should know they're the same series when you look at the box and it says "Sonic" on the front.

But I do believe there's something like main and secondary story in the continuity. For example, the handheld games. Because these games are expected to have less exposure than the main console games, their stories aren't usually referred back to. For example, the events of Sonic Battle aren't really ever mentioned outside Chronicles, another handheld (although they put Nocturne in M&S2, which impresses me). Blaze's story is all messed up between titles. And the Storybook titles are deliberately placed outside the normal setting. All of these games sort of exist on the side, even if they're telling a story consistent with one another.

Edited by Stretchy Werewolf
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I agree with Frozen Nitrogen that all games can be called canon.

I believe that all the Sonic games tie together into one canon.

I tend to think along these lines, but at the same time it is really hard to imagine that Sonic's possibly got a game-breaking piece of bling in his back pocket.

Cast: "We don't have the Chaos Emeralds! We're Doomed!"

Sonic: "Don't worry guys, Darkspine to the Rescue!"

Cast: "Wut?"

Anyway, as long as the game isn't a 100% open contradiction to existing cannon, I see no reason to deny cannon status. It is also worth noting that there is a big difference between contradiction and being unclear.

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