IDW Sonic Update: Ian Flynn Elaborates On “Two-Worlds Canon”, Talks About Fleetway Content
Q: Can we at least have Humans and “Mobians” on both worlds maybe find some way to infer that they are two closely connected worlds? I really enjoyed the one inclusive world we had post reboot, and I hate to see the idea get ripped apart because of canon
A: There was some “fluff”, we’ll say, over confirming that the two-worlds thing from the games will be the canon of the comics. I think folks are paying too much attention to the nitty-gritty because the two-worlds thing has been around since Sonic Adventure; we just didn’t know it. It wasn’t confirmed until that one Q&A session, what, 5 years ago or so, and everyone was like “What?” That is why Sonic X had two worlds, because it was based off the Sonic canon. Really it hasn’t undermined any of the game stories at this point. The story of Tikal and Chaos, really doesn’t matter where it is. It is a strong enough story on on its own right. Shadow, and his whole deal, it doesn’t matter that it happens in the Human world. His story is fairly stand alone. Ya, it raises some big questions. I’m not denying that. It also isn’t the brick through the window kind of distraction, that I think a lot of people think its going to be. So, I mean, obviously Sonic and his friends can cross over between the worlds no problem in the games. If we get around to messing with that at all in the comic, we’ll probably gonna follow suit, but again, the book isn’t out yet. The first year has been plotted, that’s not a lot. Just relax, let the stories come. Even if I have a bullet point list of all the super nerdy things I wanted to cover, there’s no way to do that in a single year. So let the comic be. Its not really going to affect year one, probably won’t even effect year two. That’s how its been, that’s how it has been for the past, oh shoot, since ‘ 99, how many years is that? Almost 20 years. It’s not a big deal it’ll be fine, trust me, I know what I”m doing I’ve been doing this a bit, trust me. Trust me. …Pre-reboot, post-reboot, IDW, Sonic X, and Sonic Boom continuities, and game continuities considering SEGA exclusive online thing. I’ve played with 6 different flavors of Sonic; I think I can manage.
Q: I don’t suppose there might be any Fleetway’s Sonic the Comic hidden in the IDW Sonic run?
A: Maybe? Not initially, because like I said before, we’re trying to define the book as the IDW Sonic. It needs to stand on its own two feet before we start going crazy with references to other incarnations of Sonic over the years. That and the last time there was any kind of Fleetway nod in the Archie book it had some really nastly blowback. So might wanna dodge that minefield, but I’m always tempted because Nigel Kitching said I could use Metallix, and I want to but I know its more complicated than that but I want to so bad.
Q: Something has been on my mind lately, do you think the whole debacle with Ken Penders contributed to Archie and SEGA not continuing their relationship? I understand that was years later, but the ripple effect of the reboot must’ve hurt a lot.
A: No. It had no–it–it didn’t help things, but it was not a major contributing factor. The reboot happened, it sucked at the time, but we were rolling full steam ahead and just other stuff happened. And here we are.
This post was originally written by the author for TSSZ News.
This puts my mind at ease. I was worried when the two world continuity was announced but looking back now, it really isn’t all that bad.
Gotta give it to Flynn: this was the best response yet to the Two Worlds thing we’ve had from Sega yet, and probably ever will.
Now with that said.
I have serious doubts that the Two Worlds canon was always a thing since Sonic Adventure; Adventure’s story heavily relies on Angel Island and the Master Emerald, and if this was a thing from the start, you’d think Sonic Team would have at least pay lip service to the question “why’s Angel Island here if this is a new world?”
Course, the key word there is “you’d think.” But more strongly, in the original Japanese version of Adventure, there’s dialogue from a boy NPC that calls out the events of Sonic CD and 3&K by name very specifically, which definitely adds a really big crack in that canon. Granted it was edited out of International’s English script, so maybe the canon was decided during Sonic Team’s own localization and they amended it then, but humans still refer to Sonic having previous adventures, and you know, what were those if the Classic games didn’t happen in that world? I’m not convinced. I mean, Sonic Team is perfectly willing to do retconing even putting the Two Worlds canon aside, so it would line up with their behavior; Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling Ian a lier, I’m saying I suspect the guy who told him that did so looking off to the side, scratching his neck and with a “……..Yeeeeeeaaaah, yeah, that’s totally how it’s always been, yep.”
I’ve got no problem with the IDW comics adopting that canon, they are their own thing starting fresh with this in mind on Day 1, and aren’t the main games. They can do things like that, they can have their own rules and more importantly, they have the ability to do them well. Because ultimately I think my biggest problem with this is if this is false, then it’s flabbergasting they think it’s a smart choice NOW, after years of establishing the opposite; and if it’s true, then Sonic Team is even more incompetent at storytelling then we ever knew or suspected. In fact, it makes them one of the most horrendous storytellers ever! (Slight hyperbole)
This isn’t just not bothering to write a second draft in 06 to fix everything, this isn’t missing all the data points that really should have been filled in in SA2. This is utterly failing to establish your story’s setting and make it a convincing one.
A completely sci-fi, mind leaping concept of two parallel worlds interconnected and populated with completely different races and species where citizens can freely leap between them has been part of the story for over 10 games, AND ABSOLUTELY F*CKING NOBODY IN THESE WORLDS HAVE MENTIONED IT?!?! That is completely IMPOSSIBLE, the patron KING of inprobability, the REIGNING CHAMPION of coincidences!!! Think about it! What if our world was from the dawn of time connected to another world that had talking aquatic life that could be on land, like seahorses and anglerfish? Wouldn’t our society look the tiniest bit different? Wouldn’t we have different terms in our culture to refer to going down to the other world? Wouldn’t we see random seahorses and dolphins on the street? Wouldn’t we have trade and political matters with the talking walking fish? There is WAY too many things it would change that can be brushed aside as just “not worth talking about” “eh, everything’s the same, there’s just trans-universal travel” “all that stuff happens off screen” even for a kid’s game!! Even if the interconnected worlds thing only happened recently in the canon, it doesn’t excuse it never being brought up. Sonic X explored what it would mean, you can manage one single NPC throwaway line towards it!! That’s all I never knew I wanted!!
This is such a big thing, a big concept, you can’t just never bring it up if this is what you always had in mind! Earth being more advanced and futuristic is not good enough of an indication of this Two Worlds thing, if it was intended to be so! Yes, some of the stuff about the Two Worlds thing wouldn’t exactly be worth elaborating on in any of the game’s stories, and could bog it down, but I’m not asking for an entire game about explaining it or establishing the rules for it, I’m saying that there should have been something in the previous games, anything! The tiniest sliver of concrete indication! Someone saying “Well, we’re in this world” or “Don’t forget, that’s the other world!” This is a game-changer for any setting in any story, and the good ones, even the decent one, even the mediocre ones, and even in some of the bad ones have some explanation or reference to this game-changer. And you did nothing? NOTHING??
That is such an massive failure to tell your story well, heck, competently even. Setting isn’t always a massively important part of some stories; some get away with not explaining a whole lot about their locations, some don’t need to. And I’m not even saying that Sonic should be all about its setting, heck no. And if Sonic Team just wanted to establish that rule in their heads and just do whatever having got it out of the way I can sorta get that. But they should have realized that that isn’t totally apparent to everyone and that it’s at least acknowledge it in some way that everyone knows and understands. I mean, it’s basically a hand wave, excusing several inconsistencies that cropped up with Adventure 1’s shift in setting in one very quick excuse. But the thing about hand waves is that we’re supposed to see the hand waving. If you’re waving your hand to yourselves, then the whole purpose of it is lost. It’s meaningless. You were waving your hand to yourself, and you don’t need to do that.
A hand wave is the tool of the more lazy storyteller who doesn’t want to think too hard. It’s the repairmen’s duct tape of narrative: It can work, but it isn’t exactly pretty. And you’re telling me Sonic Team is incapable of even using _duct tape_ right?
That, is extremely, extremely, *extremely* pitiful.
It is of my opinion that it made more sense, was more easily understandable, and was more quick to grasp, when as far as we knew in Sonic’s world, the humans were just over that hill we’ve never climbed this whole time but they were there all along really.
That was a hand wave too. But it’s a hand wave that never needed explaining, unlike the Two Worlds hand wave.
P.S. Besides Classic Sonic being from another dimension instead of being young Modern Sonic also points to this Two Worlds canon not being etched into stone, along with all of Generations unless Sonic Team just literally forget that fact when making it. And if so, wow, Sonic Team just keeps losing points as a storyteller!
Heck, Classic Sonic being from another dimension makes this Two Worlds thing even more complicated and confusing, rather than fix things. I mean, he’s not from the human or the animal world, is he?
TL;DR : Ian Flynn’s response to the Two Worlds canon is good. I don’t have an issue with it being in the comics, as it’s a new, separate thing. I don’t believe that the Two Worlds has been canon since Adventure 1, as I feel there’s evidence against that. My main problem with the Two Worlds canon is if it has been in place since Adventure 1, then the fact Sonic Team didn’t even bothering mentioning it before now is complete idiocy and makes them even worse at storytelling than I previously thought.
Jeez, even the short version’s a paragraph. I cannot stop myself, someone stop me.
It’s – I think – more that they have been discussion within the Sonic Team about what is the canon, and that the two world canon theory have existed since Sonic Adventure, but that they didn’t really all agree about what is exactly the real canon, so that why it existed but wasn’t addressed at all. It’s pretty often that difference of vision affect creation, and Sonic Team seems to have been traversed *a lot* with creative differences, so I wouldn’t be surprised that it’s just another one of them. It doesn’t excuse anything (but as Sonic have never had a really constructed universe, I don’t think that it change that more than having the planet that change shape between every games…), but it explain many problems the franchise had.
And Classic Sonic doesn’t really make that really much harder (except when you overthink it, but everything can get harder when overthinking), we just have one dimension with two world (Modern Sonic), and another one with one/maybe two world but it’s not important because it’s just classic-style stories.
“there’s dialogue from a boy NPC that calls out the events of Sonic CD and 3&K by name very specifically”
I know exactly who you’re talking about. I believe in the English version he said something like “Is it true you saved the world?” But in the Japanese version he mentioned Little Planet and Angel Island by name. There’s no way the “classic dimension” or “two worlds” concepts existed during the Adventure era.
@Bonzai Unless the implication is supposed to be that Sonic saved “this world” once before, but then in that case, what would that have even been? Was there a whole other adventure we didn’t know about? On the one hand it would open itself to the possibility of making an Adventure-era prequel, but oh wait that’s right, we’re not supposed to care about the Adventure era anymore are we? There’s just noooo reason to want to go back and capitalize on something that literally almost everybody wants us to do, what would even be the point…? XP
@Rarefoil What you said.
The two worlds thing still bugs me, both the humans and “mobian” could live in the same planet and it will make sense, that or we are missing a prequel to Sonic Adventure that explains more about it.
“…because the two-worlds thing has been around since Adventure; we just didn’t know it.”
I think there’s a significant difference between Sonic Team bringing up “two worlds” explicitly in-game and them only bringing it up in outside contexts like Q&As and Sonic Channel articles. What Sonic Team has done so far in addressing the two worlds kerfuffle is vague implied waffling that only stands out in how *recently* said vague implied waffling has come up. The solution is simple: if they don’t want people thinking that the Sonic games take place on one planet, they can actually *mention* it in game instead of making vague hints that fans can easily ignore in favor of their own interpretation.
It doesn’t help that past SEGA employees like Kevin Eva have said Sonic doesn’t actually have a “series bible”. So how are we actually supposed to KNOW that said detail has been canon since Adventure instead of being a recent retcon that, for whatever reason, has never actually been a plot point? Heck, Eva even said he would have had to been made aware of it yet…he wasn’t?
I’m well aware of the absurdity of people getting super invested in stuff like this, but it’s not like Sonic Team is making it easier on themselves either. Can you imagine how much worse people will complain if five years later, they start talking about how it was actually all on the same planet because they forgot what they said before? o_o;
I would still prefer them to just go back and say it was always one world 5 years later, and even then I would still be frustrated by how inconsistent and forgetful that would be. What would the point of being dragged through the dirt for those 5 years have even been if you’re just gonna keep flip-flopping over it? -_-“”
Ooh…TSSZ reads my blog. If you ever want to join forces on anything, hit me up.
Could someone elaborate on this?
“That and the last time there was any kind of Fleetway nod in the Archie book it had some really nastly blowback.”
The only reference I know of is Tekno and Ebony showing up in STH #134. I don’t know what backlash there was regarding that one, though it was towards the end of Penders run and just a cameo anyway.
Has to be legal wise, notice his usage of “complicated” at the prospect of using Metallix. My feeling is that Sega has come down hard on the usage of any original characters from previous media outside of the games to prevent even a remote chance of a Penders situaiton from happening again.
On the plus side though, that probably means they’re being a lot more careful with paperwork this time around. At least, one would hope…
This is really insane why can’t they just admit there is no canon and they don’t care? It would make them look less incompetent then saying it’s actually been around since SA when all that does is open another can of worms when that game revolves around a location that somehow exists in both these supposed worlds at once. The easiest fix would be to say there is a multiverse not just for the locations but the characters but Iizuka wouldn’t do that for ego reasons as it would admit that his Modern Sonic isn’t the original character in a historical sense.
*Oh look, a long post by me of all people, who could have seen that one coming…?*
…Sigh. Okay, I am NOT upset with Flynn here. At best, he honestly believes what he’s saying about how supposedly Sonic Team had always intended the Two Worlds thing this way from the very beginning (I’m assuming we’re talking Sonic Adventure here, right? Seems to be the consensus around here). At worst, he’s making a HUUUUGE guess and honestly has no clue as to whether they always planned it that way or not but the fact is that this is how the comic is going to be and he needs to try and sell the idea to people and make that bitter medicine easier to swallow. Either way, he’s trying to ease some of our concerns, and he’s right in many ways, the comic isn’t out yet, for all we know it will work out great for the comic. Quite honestly I’m up there with Rarefoil in that while I don’t like the idea as a concept, if it was it’s own thing set up for the comics, I could probably learn to love it depending on how they use it and how it’s addressed (would still prefer them to end up fusing the two worlds later though…).
That disclaimer being said, I feel that Flynn is HEAVILY mistaken. Sonic Team in no way showed any signs of confirming, hinting, referring, or even lightly suggesting that the “Mobians” (cause there are few short terms for “anthropomorphic animals” that I have the patience to use at this point) and Humans of the games ever existed in distinct separate worlds at ANY point prior to Iizuka’s Q&A session where he expressed that idea. If you were to take anything at face value without even trying to speculate, you would have had no reason to believe or even suspect that Sonic moves between two different worlds.
Sonic X would have been the only exception to this, but the main difference here was that it used it in a much more blatant manner. You have EVERY reason to believe that Sonic and friends come from another world because they straight up show and tell it to you. It’s constantly referred to several times, it’s the driving force of the whole show, it’s in the freaking American theme song for crying out loud! Sonic X had many problems, but at least being vague about it’s lore or direction was never one of them, you always knew what it was trying to tell you.
Despite that, the games never really followed suit. It never called it’s world’s nature into question, therefore there was never any need to suggest that Sonic was in a different world at any given time. A different dimension where Blaze hails from? Directly stated and addressed, even given a whole plot dedicated to it. A storybook world where all the characters, save for Sonic, are reinterpreted as storybook characters? Once again, made very clear so that the audience gets it. Classic Sonic coming from the past which ended up mutating into it’s own separate timeline/dimension because reality-breaking schenanigans in Generations…? Um, well, uh…well I can buy it a little easier since multiverse theory is a thing in some works of fiction, so, yeah… Point is that they at least brought attention to it IN-GAME. But the one thing that never seemed to be touched or questioned in any way was Sonic’s world. It was the one constant thing that didn’t get elaborated on because for a while it didn’t really need to be, it just WAS what it appeared to be. The only thing that changed was the general art style of each game, and I seriously doubt that’s supposed to act as a visual marker for which “world” we’re in because it’s not even consistent with that.
So with all that in mind there’s really only two possibilities as to what is actually going on here. Either A) Sonic Team never originally intended to suggest that there was a “animal world” and “human world” when they introduced humans in Adventure, they just had them there if they felt like it and didn’t really feel a need to explain or justify it, and Iizuka just pulled the “two worlds” thing out of his ass just recently because he just tends to make things up with the lore as he goes whenever he’s in a Q&A setting, he is rarely consistent; Or B) Sonic Team actually did intend for Sonic to be going back and forth between two worlds when they first introduced humans in Adventure and the only reason we haven’t been given any reason to look at the series that way is because they just really REALLY sucked at telling it in the story so it took Iizuka just blurting it out in a Q&A session to even get the idea across at all.
Either way, it speaks poorly of how the story and lore is being handled. I mean the choices are either an eccentric guy who flies by the seat of his pants when it comes to decision making or a dedicated team not knowing how to properly portray something that they want to get across to people. There’s no winning excuse here. Personally, I put much more stock in the possibility that Iizuka just recently made it up out of nowhere because it fits his pattern of answering questions, as well as his noticeable shift in direction with the series ever since he was put in charge, plus it just seems more plausible than the alternative. Sonic Team has gotten shaky over the years, but I never once had any reason to believe that they didn’t have a clear grasp of what their actual setting was, so the idea that they would have had to have been secretly struggling with this from nearly day-one while also having ups and downs in game development is really asking me to suspend my sense of disbelief. That’s conspiracy theory level shit right there.
I have problems with Iizuka, but I want to make something clear. I am NOT trying to make him a scapegoat here. Sonic Team as a collective has been mishandling Sonic, and it’s not like it’s a recent thing either, they’ve had a history. I only see Iizuka as a problem in particular because I have been observing particular patterns with him that when piled up with Sonic Team’s issues just seem to keep complicating the state of Modern Sonic. I didn’t start out hating the guy the second he took over. There was actually a period of time where I thought he might have been fresh change to the series with Colors and Generations.
But then as time kept going on with all of those lore changes, retcons, his stated desire of wanting to make the Wisps “the new item capsules”, doing away with beloved transformations, the lackluster writing in recent years, taking more pride in copying Mario than copying previous Sonic material when it came to Lost World, not to mention releases from Lost World to Forces, my overall confidence in his capabilities in the particular position he has has been slowly chipped away bit by bit.
It’s not like he’s DIRECTLY responsible for how Sonic moves in one game or how the story is specifically written in another, but at the end of the day he is THE BOSS, ergo some of the responsibility of any shortcoming still lies with him as it would with any employer.
So while I’m not waving around the “#BlameIizuka” banner any time soon, I’m not gonna pretend this guy has done nothing but right either. There’s lots of factors at play for why Sonic has been having as many problems as he has been having lately, and it doesn’t all boil down to just one single person, but Iizuka is still definitely ONE of those factors at play here.
Neither Sonic Team or even Yuji Naka ever once suggested or outright stated that there were ever two worlds at play in the series, and they have had plenty of opportunities to do so. It only ever came into play when Iizuka answered that question last year (or was it the year before? my memory on that is a bit fuzzy…), so in all likelihood, probability, and believability it started with him. And now everyone else affiliated kind of has to double down on it because he’s the head of the franchise, what can you do? Sonic Team is known well for trying to save face, so unless you want to make out your boss as being incompetent you’ll probably want to reinforce what he says and encourage your affiliates to do the same.
So hence, we’ve got Flynn doubling down on the “two worlds” thing. I honestly don’t think he’s trying to sell BS to fans, or at least I don’t think he’s aware of it in any case. It could be that he was honestly convinced that it may have always been that way. Or even more possibly, he’s just not as hung up on it like I or most of the fan base are. He’s probably just taking it as it is, “what is being said now”, which, I guess is fine.
It’s not like I want him to be upset or frustrated about how the rules have suddenly changed, and he’s clearly shown that he can work with anything, no matter how ridiculously redundant it can get. If nothing else, he’s just trying to calm us down, and I can’t get upset at him for that. I would have at least liked to have seen him be even the tiniest bit skeptical towards the idea, but maybe a reassuring figure is all we really need right now, and I’m not going to scorn that.
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