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Do you think that SEGA will eventually change the mandates for the IDW Sonic comics?


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Rabbitearsblog

So, SEGA had set up a few mandates for the IDW comics that had caused some controversy for the writers and the fans alike.  Here are some of the mandates they have set up for the comics:

  • Game characters cannot have relatives unless they were established in the game canon, i.e. Cream and her mother
  • Game characters can not die. 
  • Sonic can't be shown getting too emotional (i.e;cry).
  • Game characters cannot enter in a relationship. Amy must always be in love with just Sonic but they can't get together.
  • Much like the post-reboot of the Archie comic, the words "Mobius" is banned—the planet is simply called "Sonic's World". 
  • Sonic must always win at the end. 
  • Characters and material from other licensed properties Sonic the Comic, Archie Sonic, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic SATAM, Sonic Underground, Sonic X and the Sonic Movie cannot be used.
  • According to Ian Flynnexternal_link.gif, a specific incident involving Shadow's characterization when he's exposed to the Zombot infection was written in a specific way because of Sega mandating that he be written as an "overconfident asshole rival" character, similar to Vegeta. He later followed upexternal_link.gif with an explanation that out of every character, Shadow has the most mandates and notes attached to how he's portrayed. 
  • Sega has stated to Flynn that only male hedgehogs are allowed to go Super with the Chaos Emeralds.
  • Sega says that Team Dark is no longer a thing. 
  • It has been stated that there is no money in Sonic's World, and that anything that alludes to money (such as Rings acting as currency) is strictly forbidden. 
  • Knuckles is not allowed to leave Angel Island unless he has a very good reason to.

So, here are my thoughts on some of the mandates.  Regarding the mandate about Sonic not getting too emotional, I can actually get by that since there are other ways that Sonic can still get emotional without crying, as the Metal Virus Arc has shown.  Also, I'm okay with the characters not dying since you don't really need anybody to die to make the story more interesting.  And in regards to not using characters from other licensed properties, I have a feeling that SEGA is slowly letting up on that mandate since Honey that Badger did show up in the IDW comics and they are planning on making a comic book series based off the movies.  The only mandates I have issues with is how Shadow is being portrayed and that Team Dark is no longer a thing.  I feel like these mandates are only slowing down Shadow's character and it's making it harder to write his character if there's nothing to back his character up with.

So, I'm wondering if SEGA will eventually change some of these mandates, especially if they are getting in the way of the story telling for the comics?  I have a feeling that they will eventually have to tone down the mandates for Shadow if they want the writers to include him into the stories.

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Depends on who is making these mandates to begin with. Do we know if this is coming from Sonic Team itself, or somewhere else within Sega of Japan? I'd say things will always change when staff change, especially when someone like Iizuka eventually quits Sonic Team and someone new takes the reigns, who may have a very different vision for the franchise.

I doubt some things will change, such as Sonic winning or clamping down on relationships, but I can imagine they could become more lenient or more strict on how far they could let certain things go, such as how long it takes for Sonic takes to win a story arc or how low he can be. Feel like you could get away with some relationship drama, as long as it has a definite end point theoretically. Doubt we'll ever see any long term relationships for any game character but maybe a relationship that just lasts a few issues?

To me, the big thing is stuff that seems very "fan fiction", to say the least. Stuff that otherwise seems just bizarrely pedantic and seems to serve no point but to needlessly obfuscate things. No money, no Team Dark, Shadow's very specific characterisation. Such odd things like that really seem like they would be by one person, rather than stuff that seems neccesary from a corporate viewpoint. Wouldn't be surprised if that gets overturned at some point.

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Rabbitearsblog
28 minutes ago, Silvereyes said:

Depends on who is making these mandates to begin with. Do we know if this is coming from Sonic Team itself, or somewhere else within Sega of Japan? I'd say things will always change when staff change, especially when someone like Iizuka eventually quits Sonic Team and someone new takes the reigns, who may have a very different vision for the franchise.

I doubt some things will change, such as Sonic winning or clamping down on relationships, but I can imagine they could become more lenient or more strict on how far they could let certain things go, such as how long it takes for Sonic takes to win a story arc or how low he can be. Feel like you could get away with some relationship drama, as long as it has a definite end point theoretically. Doubt we'll ever see any long term relationships for any game character but maybe a relationship that just lasts a few issues?

To me, the big thing is stuff that seems very "fan fiction", to say the least. Stuff that otherwise seems just bizarrely pedantic and seems to serve no point but to needlessly obfuscate things. No money, no Team Dark, Shadow's very specific characterisation. Such odd things like that really seem like they would be by one person, rather than stuff that seems neccesary from a corporate viewpoint. Wouldn't be surprised if that gets overturned at some point.

 

Yeah, I have a feeling that Shadow's current characterization will eventually change because Shadow is a pretty popular character and you wouldn't want to have a story without him for too long.  So, SEGA will eventually have to tone down that mandate if they want Shadow to become a regular character again.

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Most of the "mandates" won't change, as they are "logical" with what SEGA want. No relatives ? SEGA want to be the ones that decide if a character have relatives or not. They can't die ? Of course, they're official game character, SEGA want to be the one that kill them off, or revive them (because the inverse seems to exists, as Mephiles couldn't be used in Archie PostReboot because he was dead). Sonic won't cry and show strong emotions ? That's his characterization since '98. Sonic must always win in the end ? Welp, they won't end a story by a final loss of Sonic that he can't recover. These "mandates" won't change as they are kinda normal for what he IP is. They're part of the deal, as they're basically "don't step on our toes".

The money things is a non-subject, and seems to be more that they don't want much mention of stuff like money, maybe to not rationalize too much the universe.

Most of these things aren't a set of rules, more just "how the Sonic Team see their own IP", I think.

 

About the Team Dark things, even the "no friends", there are elements that show that it's already more complicated than that. Flynn said that they're "no friend" and not a "team". Evan Stanley said that there were no official "Team Dark", but that there relationship (which is for them that both Rouge and Shadow makes the other a better person) is possible to do.  So, it's difficult to see what SEGA really

I don't think that they'll go to make Team Dark anything that exists in-universe as an official Team with a statuse or anything. It'll continue to be this group of misfits that are "kinda-friend-kinda-just-tagging-along". They might just give us more Shadow-Rouge-Omega, or they might just disbend the group to make them more individual. (Rouge would benefit a lot from that, it would revert that she was for a long time just "Shadow's friend" because of Team Dark)

 

Shadow's characterization is a bit of the same story : it's mandated by SEGA, but he can be different depending of who write it.

- Ian Flynn's SEGA!Shadow act more like a superior entity, tends to hyper-rationalize (like everybody written by Flynn, in a way)

- Evan Stanley's SEGA!Shadow is more an stoic-yet-angry edgy teen that go full tunnel vision when he fight an ennemy that need other to be on the right path or to see a blatant abuse. The kind of character that act like he don't care, but second guess himself when he is alone (like when he doesn't seem happy to see Cream in the White Park). And that'll go full tsundere "I didn't do it for you" :'D

- ST's most recent SEGA!Shadow (as shown in the Sonic × Shadow story) is stoic misanthropic (anti)hero that doesn't care about the concept of peace but dislike what "some people are capable to do to another", that is prideful and push off Sonic, and tend to misinterpret signs of compassion and "flee" when he thinks that Sonic is mocking him.

All these Shadow's are similar in their basic concept, but the presentation of the same concept are pretty different on some key aspect, and intepretation seems to influence it a lot.

So basically for me there is a mandate that says that Shadow have to be more stoic/less emotional, to look more about "fighting strong foes" and that isn't "friend" per se with Rouge et co… But the mandate is more complicated that we seems to see by taking just one interpretation in term of how it translates into stories. I think that with what Flynn's and Stanley's said about the mandate and what we've shown, it's difficult to know what SEGA really "want" with them.

So I think that even if the "mandate" don't change, his presentation can change with time. And honestly, I wouldn't be angry if they keep the Sonic Channel's Shadow, it's maybe the most interesting interpretation of him, so I hope its modern representation will go toward that.

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SegaSonicMegamix

Why we can't have Sonic and Amy getting together in IDW Sonic because maybe SEGA could save their relationship until Sonic 2022 game maybe?

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They really need to change the mandate on Shadow and Team Dark. He’s essentially just a little angry furry Vegeta and I hate every second of it.

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28 minutes ago, SegaSonicMegamix said:

Why we can't have Sonic and Amy getting together in IDW Sonic because maybe SEGA could save their relationship until Sonic 2022 game maybe?

It's mostly because they simply don't want to do that. And Flynn especially don't want to go to much toward anything shipping-related because of how some members (of course, some, not everybody is like that) of the shipping circles can become extremely toxic for nothing, and that he already got hateful mail because of that.

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Some of them, absolutely. The mandates aren't entirely set-in-stone edicts defining the fundamental underpinnings of the series, they're whatever Sega thinks serves their current goals for the series. And while some of those goals, and thus some of the mandates, aren't likely to change (don't expect Sonic to start losing every major fight or to settle down with Amy and get married), Sega has hardly kept their shit consistent over the series' lifespan; they're inevitably going to change direction in some ways, and that's going to filter down to whatever other iterations of the series are running.

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Sega DogTagz

Honestly, most of the mandates outside of the few concerning Shadow are standard fare for series adaptations and licensing agreements. Especially considering how some of these got so out of hand in the past.

 

For example, If you take away the "Sonic can never lose / Sonic must win in the end" mandate - nothing would change about the IDW series. Sonic is the hero of the story and its a foregone conclusion that he will always win in the end. Mandate or not.

Te real problem with mandates is when they shift in such a way that clashes with recent history or established lore. The two worlds split was never officially explained and implemented in such a way that forces us to ignores history that tells us the opposite. The mandate tying Knux to angel island isn't a bad thing in of itself, but it is a slap to the face of all the times he casually has left the island in the past.

Only a few of the mandates really do much to curb the imagination. Its not like its some kind of heavy-handed overbearing thing that people always seem to make it out to be.

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CrownSlayer’s Shadow

They might. If I recall, they had mandates preventing Cream from showing up in Archie before that was eventually lifted.

Most of those mandates are very poorly worded—about the only two mandates that even make any sense are Sonic characters not dying, and Knuckles not leaving the Island unless he has good reason to (to which I say it’s about fuckin time they acknowledged that).

The mandates on Shadow are without a doubt the worst ones. Having worked on Shadow before the switch, the IDW Sonic Comic Team are the last people who should be receiving mandates on how to interpret this character if you ask me. They know how to write Shadow, so if anything, the mandates only made his reception worse off during times like the Metal Virus—Flynn’s idea probably would’ve had Shadow succumb to the Virus anyway, but the idea of unleashing his inhibitors rings made far more sense than what Sega forced him to do.

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I really think people make these out to be way more restrictions than they actually are. 

Like of course game characters can't die. That's just common sense.

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Ryannumber1gamer

Ian has already gone on point to say they aren’t set in stone restrictions as much as they are guidelines that can change depending on how SEGA feel. It’s why he continues to say the Freedom Fighters and Sticks aren’t an impossibility in IDW, there isn’t any hard rule saying only game characters, but he has been told “not right now”. 

He’s also already implied in one of the Bumblekasts that one of the mandates is being lifted. When asked about the two worlds fiasco, he basically implied SEGA might be getting rid of it by saying that he wouldn’t worry about it much longer with one of his trademark knowing smiles, so it’s definitely possible.

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PublicEnemy1
1 hour ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

Ian has already gone on point to say they aren’t set in stone restrictions as much as they are guidelines that can change depending on how SEGA feel. It’s why he continues to say the Freedom Fighters and Sticks aren’t an impossibility in IDW, there isn’t any hard rule saying only game characters, but he has been told “not right now”. 

He’s also already implied in one of the Bumblekasts that one of the mandates is being lifted. When asked about the two worlds fiasco, he basically implied SEGA might be getting rid of it by saying that he wouldn’t worry about it much longer with one of his trademark knowing smiles, so it’s definitely possible.

I personally interpret that as him finally going to be able to at least explain more about what the Two-Worlds thing is, and being able to finally address the inconsistencies and give them an explanation. Who knows at this point, tho

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19 hours ago, Rabbitearsblog said:

It has been stated that there is no money in Sonic's World, and that anything that alludes to money (such as Rings acting as currency) is strictly forbidden. 

????

The team chaotix demanded payment on early IDW chapters, in the arc where Mr. tinker was a thing.

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In general I'm just waiting for the mandates to be broken. Jeff Fowler said in the GHZ podcast that they broke a ton of rules Sega gave them and got no repercussions at all. Look above, they kinda already broke the money rule.

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Rabbitearsblog
21 minutes ago, Ricochet said:

????

The team chaotix demanded payment on early IDW chapters, in the arc where Mr. tinker was a thing.

I'm guessing either they were able to sneak that in the story or SEGA made that  mandate after that story was made.

10 hours ago, SBR2 said:

I really think people make these out to be way more restrictions than they actually are. 

Like of course game characters can't die. That's just common sense.

There are some of these mandates that aren't a big deal.  Like for example, the whole characters can't die thing is not that bad because you don't necessarily need a character to die to tell an intense story or Sonic can't be shown getting too emotional is not that bad either because you can still have Sonic act emotional without having to cry.  The only mandates that are problematic is Shadow's characterization and the fact that he's no longer apart of Team Dark because that just sounds like they are making unnecessary changes to his character and it limits any kind of story telling you can tell with the character.

5 minutes ago, charmsb said:

In general I'm just waiting for the mandates to be broken. Jeff Fowler said in the GHZ podcast that they broke a ton of rules Sega gave them and got no repercussions at all. Look above, they kinda already broke the money rule.

I'm guessing that SEGA didn't care that the movie broke a lot of rules because the movie made a lot of money, so they are probably thinking that they are not going to get too involved with the movie series.  Besides, movies are known to go off the source material from time to time, so technically speaking, SEGA can't prevent that, even if they tried.

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CrownSlayer’s Shadow

I don’t know why money shouldn’t be allowed to exist. It’s not like they need to know real life exchange rates and stuff and comparing that to their fictional one, they could just have fun making their own currency in the world.

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5 hours ago, Rabbitearsblog said:

I'm guessing either they were able to sneak that in the story or SEGA made that  mandate after that story was made.

It's more that we don't understand the "mandates". And IIRC, Flynn even explained better the "mandate" after that, saying that it was more that it existed and that they didn't want to show it a lot except related to some character. Basically they might simply don't want a complete monetary system in IDWSonic, or simply the character having some money in their hand, but might be fine with talking about money in some aspects, especially the chaotix.

We should always remember that we don't have a set list of the mandates, stuff that are written and that we just have to read. We have the interpretation of one of the author about how the world works with these mandates (I'm not saying that Flynn's lie, but often we interpret stuff. And he have had to correct himself some times, he isn't immune to mistake - which is normal), but we doesn't have how SEGA see them. And that's how SEGA see them that define more what will be accepted or not.

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On 8/29/2021 at 9:14 PM, Ricochet said:

????

The team chaotix demanded payment on early IDW chapters, in the arc where Mr. tinker was a thing.

Money exists, it's just that the Chaotix are the only characters affected by it and allowed to acknowledge it.

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Red Hot Jack

I believe the mandates are to keep everyone in-character and the world in-brand. That said some of them are the dumbest shit I've ever seen.

Vector asks for money ALL THE TIME in the games and media.

Knuckles leaves the Island ALL THE TIME in the games.

The Master Emerald is now useless, because why not, they even retconned the Adventure series.

It's like these restrictions only apply to comics.

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Rabbitearsblog
10 minutes ago, Jack-al said:

I believe the mandates are to keep everyone in-character and the world in-brand. That said some of them are the dumbest shit I've ever seen.

Vector asks for money ALL THE TIME in the games and media.

Knuckles leaves the Island ALL THE TIME in the games.

The Master Emerald is now useless, because why not, they even retconned the Adventure series.

It's like these restrictions only apply to comics.

It makes me wonder why SEGA is so strict with their mandates when it comes to the comics.  It's like SEGA is trying to erase the past history with the franchise, despite the fact that said history is what defined the franchise.  Not to mention, as you stated, some of the mandates that SEGA made is contradicting what has already been established in the games, like the whole money issue and Knuckles leaving the island.  I know part of the reason is because of the whole lawsuit thing with Archie, but SEGA could at least try to make the mandates synch in with what has already been established in the games.

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1 hour ago, Rabbitearsblog said:

I know part of the reason is because of the whole lawsuit thing with Archie

The mandates aren't related to the lawsuit as far as we know. Most of them existed before it.

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Rabbitearsblog
6 hours ago, Kazhnuz said:

The mandates aren't related to the lawsuit as far as we know. Most of them existed before it.

What mandates did exist before the lawsuit happened?

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21 minutes ago, Rabbitearsblog said:

What mandates did exist before the lawsuit happened?

The "Sonic can't cry" one for sure. 

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