Sonic's Timeline


The Marcos
First of all I'll mention I wont count spinoffs as mainline cannon games (Sonic Rush, Mobile Sonic games, Sonic Racing games) I'll count the storybooks as the gameplay has kind of a development of an early boost (although as someone who played them I must say that those boosts were crappy)

Sonic, as many other franchises has a lot of games connected through small details, or by literally mentioning it inside the game (or the title).

However for Sonic, there are two different Sonic dimensions, which, were caused by a change of appearance. This happens in Sonic Adventure, where Sonic gets a more of a teenager model, which has been improved through the years. But why did Sonic & Knuckles go to Adventure, and had that massive character redesign? Well, maybe because it didn't. Years later SEGA decides to launch a game that will celebrate Sonic's 20th anniversary, Sonic Generations.

It's because of this game that the entire timeline was broken, because back then, people could just say, "it's normal to go from Sonic & K to Adventure because it's just a redesign". Or "He just grew older like other living things" True, other franchises as Mario or Kirby got a redesign, even if it was quite unnoticeable.

But that's not the point. In Sonic Generations, as you probably know, the newer Sonic aspect meets with the older model. But how is that possible?, when he was in Sonic 1 or 2 he never met a future Sonic, so how was that possible? Because a new dimension was created. A different timeline was existing too.

In Sonic Generations, Sonic doesn't meet with his former self, instead, he meets with a parallel past himself, in which he hasn't grown yet to start Sonic Adventure.

I guess you already know what happens in Sonic Generations, if not, just go watch a walkthrough or something. What's important, is that at the end of the game, "Classic" Sonic learns a bit on how to do the homing attack, but as he hasn't learned it completely yet, it's just an aerial dash.
What happens afterwards, is that "Modern" Sonic stays as usual and later Forces will come, but classic Sonic goes back to his times.

Now here is where I wanted to reach. "Classic" Sonic goes back to the past, but here, he learned what the homing attack was. From there, he polishes his homing attack, and with the time going by, Sonic 4 comes in stage, where Sonic and Tails have already grown up and "Classic" Sonic learns the homing attack completely. Then that timeline would end in Sonic 4 ep 2, as there doesn't seem to be an actual sequel to that, or a game that suggests that comes from Sonic 4.

So we've got one timeline closed. And we'll be leaving "Modern" Sonic apart for now.

Now let's go back to "Classic" Sonic.
Remember this, in my theory, the timeline divides into 3 different Sonic's from Sonic & Knuckles
The first one being "Modern", the second "Classic to Modern" (Sonic 4 Sonic), and the TRUE "Classic" Sonic
The last timeline that I'll be telling (as for the games that exists up to today, 5 of may 2020) is the "True Classic Sonic"

"True Classic Sonic" is the Sonic, that never meets with another timeline, a timeline where Generations never happened. Nothing happens after Sonic & Knuckles. (I mean, neither he grows into Adventure neither he goes to Generations)
This Sonic, learns his own ability. The Drop Dash.
With this, Sonic Mania starts.
After the events of Mania, in the true ending (I'm not gonna count the bad ending as cannon) "True Classic Sonic" goes to the supposed future, (which for him is actually a parallel dimension and Forces starts.
And if you don't know Forces story either then go to youtube and type "Sonic Forces 100% Walkthrough" or something idk, I'm not here to talk about that.
Anyway at then of the game, "True Classic Sonic" supposedly goes back to his past timeline, and Sonic Mania Plus, Encore mode, or Sonic Mania Adventures, they are two different ways of telling the aftermath of Sonic Forces.

And this is where the Sonic timeline ends (for now)
If I had to put SRB2 somewhere inside this timeline, it would be a time between "Classic Modern" Sonic after Generations, but before Sonic 4, where Sonic is still learning the homing attack. But as he still doesn't learned it, we have the thok, and airdash

I'm not gonna go over the Sonic CD before Sonic 2 or viceversa dilemma, because the order of these two won't change the timeline.


I'd like to know what do you think about Sonic's timeline and how would you develop it. And you have to argument why would the order be like that, and if you want to add another game (The ones at the beggining of this post or another one) you must explain why would that game be in the mainline cannon and where should it be placed.


Warrior from Algol
It's a bit convoluted for that kind of serie... I mean Mario didn't need to have a timeline (neither did Zelda but this is another subject).

Sonic 4 was planned to be the bridge between Sonic 3&K and Sonic Adventure (before the episode 3 was cancelled due to poor reception).

Finally I'm pretty glad that Mania will be its own sub-serie which will continue the Classic era while Sega makes another Modern game.


"In a world ablaze with war...Heroes must unite.."
I guess that could be a thing but what if.. SRB2 came after S3K or Mania?


Warrior from Algol
What would happen if Sega suddenly decides to reboot the Sonic serie by simply erasing everything between since Adventure up to before Mania to create a new official timeline?
I don't take the developer/Sonic Team interviews as gospel for the "true timeline." Sega doesn't necessarily care about Sonic being interesting, they just want him to be an effective salesman. But to me, Sonic is most interesting with his entire history in view, rather than trying to carve something different out of its natural shape.

I think the most fun — and easiest — view is that "everything happened, everything counts." Obviously there are some contradictions between the various Sonic media that require a bit of headcanon-ining, but the reality is they aren't that different and have much more in common than not.

Basically every Sonic story happens in the order it was released, with only a few exceptions, like:

—Sonic 2020 Movie is the origin; "year one"; the beginning of the timeline.
—Sonic CD takes place after S3K, immediately after the Sonic OVA (Metal Sonic's origin)
—SRB2 & Sonic Mania & Sonic 4 take place in the post-S3KCD period before SA1.
—Fleetway & Archie happen concurrently with a bit of squeezing
—Sonic Underground takes place before SatAM; Manic and Sonia are not his actual siblings, Sonic learns in the end, (headcanon) but they are his cousins; they're Uncle Chuck's children with Aleena.
—Sonic Boom is "10 years later" — the characters are young adults instead of teenagers. Everyone's got more gear from their adventuring experience. Knuckles has had a growth spurt. Sonic's arms are blue, their natural color; he's letting the fur grow out again. Eggman has been contained from a true threat into basically under house arrest on Prison Island where Sonic, Tails, Amy, Knuckles and new friend Sticks keep guard.

And then whatever the most recent Sonic adventure is (Forces; IDW comics) happens in "current day."

Movie Sonic = age 14
Classic Sonic = age 15
Modern Sonic = age 16
Boom Sonic = age 25

The few contradictions between media/settings are pretty much all solved by the later Archie Comics by Ian Flynn — easily resolved with Warp Rings and Time Travel headcanon (even easier since both magical devices are used in almost all Sonic media).

The events of Sonic 06 literally shows us how even the wildest "non-canon" Sonic story can easily be "canon." Time Travel wipes Sonic's memory on a pretty regular basis with how much he and Eggman screw about with space/time! Combined with an attitude that keeps him firmly planted in the "present moment" Sonic is not one to reminisce about characters who haven't returned; ie, the fact that the 06 or Underground characters haven't reappeared doesn't negate them (even as awful as those characters are). They still existed. We saw it!

The events of Sonic Forces also allow for an easy explanation for why the Archie characters exited when they did. Once the world was liberated from the Eggman Empire, city-states like the Kingdom of Acorn were restored in full; Sally and the gang stayed behind while Sonic, Tails, Amy, and Knuckles continued on to help others. And if you'd like to imagine the characters returning later, that's supported by the "25/30 Years Later" stuff. They're not dead nor did they never exist; just out of view for now.

The deeper level of this theory can get pretty fun/wonky in a sci-fi comic book way...
The universe literally revolves around Sonic & Eggman now, in a vortex shaped like an egg. They've fucked up space/time from a DNA strand shape into a moebius strip, looping endlessly back on itself, with tons of holes/chutes/ladders connecting the past and future. (examples include Sonic CD, Generations, Mania)

Every use of the Chaos Force creates a ripple effect through time/space. In other words, Sonic Generations wasn't the first time a new timeline splintered off. It happens constantly, every time Sonic or Eggman use the Chaos Force.

Ring & loop shapes are not coincidental — they are physical manifestations of this ripple, of "echoes" through space/time. They are the positive version of black holes. These ripples terraform the fabric of reality in direct response to Sonic/Eggman's messing with Chaos Emeralds and other God Gems. The characters don't perceive the world's landscape changing; to them, it's always been this way (time travel!) but from our perspective, we san see the "real story" behind the story.

For example, at the end of Sonic Movie 2020, Eggman is on an empty mushroom world. It's possible this is in fact Mushroom Hill on Angel Island at an earlier time, and Eggman warping back & forth in space/time will warp reality, thus terraforming Mushroom Hill with the loops that Sonic will encounter in S&K.

All of this comic-book cosmic quantum theory is partly a way to manifest the central theme in a way that matches the series' magical/scifi rules — Sonic and Eggman are literally in a "zoning" war, like a municipal battle, but on the grandest possible scale. Should the universe industrialize with technology? Or should nature remain untamed?

By the current day of IDW, post several in-universe reboots, everything has merged into only one Sonic timeline. There's always ever only been one Sonic and one Eggman living in a universe seemingly designed for them — because they, themselves, have in fact been designing it with their actions!
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Warrior from Algol
Actually I would be glad if Sega should stop with the whole timeline thing because it makes no sense that everything gets retonned from one game to another (yes, even from Unleashed to Colors, from Colors to Generations and from Generations to Lost World).

I'm glad that Zelda Breath of the Wild had kinda overwritten the timeline from that Adult/Child/Lost nonsense...

Ever since Sega tried to make a distinction between the Classic and Modern era it has always been a mess when we thing about it.
Tbh all of the Sonic games from the 2010s should be written off as non-cannon. Especially Lost World and Forces. They've simplified all of the Sonic characters, making them bland and uninteresting. Generations could be cannon, and Mania could stem off of it, creating it's own separate timeline and building up from there.


Warrior from Algol
Tbh all of the Sonic games from the 2010s should be written off as non-cannon. Especially Lost World and Forces.
I hope you're not including Colours in it.

Generations could be cannon, and Mania could stem off of it, creating it's own separate timeline and building up from there.
At this point Sega should let Whitehead handles the serie and make the "Mania Timeline" as the main one while using Modern Sonic only for marketing and promo materials.
At this point Sega should let Whitehead handles the serie and make the "Mania Timeline" as the main one while using Modern Sonic only for marketing and promo materials.

I agree with the first part, but I'm not sure how much value the Modern design has even for marketing materials anymore.

Sega's always been skilled at ignoring reality but I'm excited to see whatever their 2020 plans are and how they reflect any listening/learning from the obvious conclusions from the data of the last few years for the Sonic franchise. Mania and 2020 Movie both were commercially and critically successful, both performing above expectations. It'd be more strange if they didn't both receive sequels, but then, Sega/Sonic are no strangers to strange decisions.

Point being, of all recent Sonic output, those featuring the "Modern Sonic" design have been least popular.

2020 is a new decade. If it were up to me, I would take the opportunity for a fresh start, and kick off a new generation of Sonic with an updated design, and a new structure for the games/spinoff media.

1) Classic Sonic continues from the Taxman/Whitehead team with 2D and maybe 3D adventures; whatever they want to do. Bring aboard Mystic and Rob and the SRB2 community all stars and do Saturn Sonic with the license. "hey Sega hire them plz" is a cliche but in an ideal world the Sonic franchise would be as community-owned as possible. It would be wise to invest in talent that loves and understands the franchise on a molecular level, and they're probably far less costly than the Iizuka Sonic Team. Just seems logical.

2) Modern Sonic era is over, and should go out with as much grace as possible. Not with a new title, but with HD remastering/bug-fixed re-releases announced — The Adventure Collection (SA, SA2, Heroes, 06) and The Modern Collection (Unleashed, Colors, Generations, Forces).

3) The big-budget series would Post-Modern Sonic would be a new design, and new gameplay.
3a) The design should include the blue arms, and a furrier texture compared to Modern's plastic sheen. Imagine a combination of Movie, Boom, and Classic in a way that feels both new and familiar. The people who ought to lead the redesign, obviously, would be Tyson Hesse, Tracy Yardley, and Evan Stanley.
3b) The games will continue refining the Boost/Modern levels from Generations and Forces, embracing the on-rail nature of this "3D" Sonic that occasionally switches to the 2D platforming and back again. It's fundamentally 2D gameplay and, as the new Sega Lords, we are saying we're okay with that, the trick now is to continue finding clever fun gimmicks for variations on it. From the Sonic 2 half-pipe through the Modern era, we're saying — this is how Sonic levels work, this is what they are: wacky racetrack obstacle courses with branching pathways; its Star Fox 64 but Sonic. Whether you need to hold up on the L stick or enable automatic forward movement, these are the levels, the Zones.

To supplement, Post-Modern Sonic games will feature gigantic "open world" hub maps, separate from the Zones. Unlike previous Sonic hubs, the player does not return to the hub between levels. The Zones progress as they do in Classic. However, the player is free to exit the Zone and return to the hub world at any time, and return when they're ready. The Zones are accessible via Warp Rings, not dissimilar to the Mario 64 paintings, with each level unlocked after its completion.

The hub world would need to be developed by a dedicated team, working alongside but separate from the level designers. You want the Sonic Utopia dev/s working on the hub, and the SRB2 devs on the levels.

The hub needs to be massive. At least the size of a PUBG/Fortnite map. It is full of interesting terrain, springs, and rings, but no enemies. The point of the hub is to be the "Tony Hawks Pro Skater" park for the Sonic moveset. This is just a giant South Island where you can run around, learn new tricks, find secret gems, and pursue mini-game activities, like a Chao garden. The hub can also be a place to reward the player with aesthetic prizes for completing extra objectives in the level campaign— a Flickie bird bath, or a swirly side for the Pockys and Rickys.

Lastly, most importantly, Post-Modern Sonic would emphasize multiplayer, both co-op and competitive, both arcade-style drop in / drop out, with modern online capabilities.

...That's what I'd do, anyway.
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The Marcos
Ok so I watched a video about why Sonic Mania doesn't replace Sonic 4 (which obviously doesn't) and the person mentioned a real Christian Whitehead tweet in which he states that the Sonic we see in Sonic Mania is in fact a post-Generations Classic Sonic.
I found the


So I guess that last part of my theory is officially and cannonically screwed up a little bit.


Warrior from Algol
Let's be honest here, Whitehead is great at making good Sonic game but he's still not allowed to interfere with the Sonic Team's plan for the serie (sadly).

The tie-in with Forces was in fact forced (pun not intended) because the whole Phantom Ruby thing was just a glorified MacGuffin that only served as an excuse to transport Sonic & Co on other areas in Mania then into Sonic Forces...

I still hope that Mania will spawn a sequel and hopefully an alternative sub-serie (like Prime for Metroid or Yoshi Island for Super Mario World)
Mania taking place after Classic's time travel in Generations makes sense. It's best/easiest to assume the games take place in order of chronological release. So, the Classic Sonic in Generations is already post-S3KCD4, then Mania, then Forces, then whatever else is yet to come for the pre-Adventure time period.

You Gotta be Joshing me

Rookie Flash Animator
One of my biggest issues with Sonic games is just how inconsistent the world is, as far as I know, Angel Island is the only place that has remained consistent.

I've always thought of it as being where some areas are occupied solely by mobians, whereas others are by humans, with some areas housing both.


Warrior from Algol
I honestly think that time travels are narratively and inherently bad because of how confusing things are made with these.


i make stuff sometimes
I think the biggest problem with the timeline is how terrible it is, way too many times has something been either retconned or outright changed for seemingly no reason at all


Warrior from Algol
I think the biggest problem with the timeline is how terrible it is, way too many times has something been either retconned or outright changed for seemingly no reason at all
You can thanks Lizuka for this one.

I mean was it necessary to precise that Classic Sonic from Forces is "from another dimension"?

Even Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time was less convoluted about its story (too bad it didn't get a remake).

Anyway I really hope that Sega will find a way to "fix" the timeline for a game like Mania 2 to be a thing.

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