Did Sega Really Ban Sonic From Crying?

Sonic’s cameo in Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers has been popular, but has also taken some fans by surprise. In recent years, Sega has famously been very particular about how its mascot is depicted on screen, providing writers with guidance on what he can and cannot do. Therefore, it seems odd that the company is okay with him being portrayed as the ugly creature we see in the new film.

But a renewed interest in the rules surrounding Sonic the Hedgehog has brought in newcomers, and they can’t believe what they’re hearing. This has reignited discussion of some of the things Sonic can and can’t do under Sega’s rules. Is Sonic really not allowed to cry? Can he seriously never get a girlfriend? Some fans insist that this is the case, and are unhappy that Chip ‘n Dale got permission to show a very different Sonic when comic book writers seem to have to stick to strict rules. However, as it happens, it’s actually a little more complicated than that.


Related: Sonic 2 Is Proof That There’s Nothing Wrong With Human Characters

Claims that Sega banned Sonic from crying have been circulating since the 2010s, and it’s not without reason. The most popular example of Sonic being emotionally censored comes from this iconic panel, where our hero mourns the loss of his children. In the original draft, he seemed to react quite appropriately to the situation, but in the final version he just looks a bit annoyed.

Controversial comics writer Ken Penders is often blamed for this mandate being enforced. When Penders left Archie Comics, a lawsuit ensued. In the end, Archie agreed to stop using every character he created for the Sonic comics – making it necessary to reboot the canon in the process. The story goes on then that Sega took the opportunity to slap a bunch of other rules on the team as well.

This, however, is not fully tracking. See the example above? It’s from 2006 – and takes place in original, pre-reboot canon. So if these mandates do exist, they’ve actually been around in some form for a while. Not just since the 2013 reboot. Penders escaped this time.

So, what evidence do we have that Sonic can’t legally cry, outside of that panel? It’s also quite difficult to break. A list detailing everything in a mandate that should be shared frequently is not strictly legit. However, that’s not too far from the truth, for reasons we’ll cover in a bit.

According to fans, Sega’s rules state that Sonic shouldn’t “show excessive emotion”, or even lose to bad guys. All Sonic characters also seem to be forbidden from connecting with each other, getting new family members, or being killed. This is probably why fans believe this rule is new – Sonic did have a past girlfriend, Sally, but they split during the reboot. In the game, he had been single since his brief flirt with Princess Elise.

Guard? Good, because I’m about to throw another curling ball at you – there’s no primary source for this mandate. At least nothing I can find. There is a screenshot of the rules from an old blog post, which appears to have been created by comics writer Ian Flynn, but it is claimed that the author’s name has been edited and is not him at all.

But wait, there’s more. While Flynn has denied that there is a strong mandate he must follow, he strongly advises that the guidelines he provides don’t go too far. When a fan is wrong he as the only one behind the “no crying” rule, Flynn answer, “I don’t make rules. At all. Sega makes rules about how their properties are used”. So she doesn’t deny that “no crying” is one of her rules.

About the supposed existence of a mandate, he too comment“If [fans are] looking for a detailed list on company letterhead, no, it’s not there. Never said there was. These rules and guidelines are passed down through agreements that change with the direction of the brand from time to time. What is good today may not be tomorrow & vice versa.”

Flynn’s claim that these rules are not rigid seems very likely. Both Sonic and Knuckles have been given family members in recent Sonic films. Even so, there were still no tears.

So there we have it. There isn’t a stone tablet at Sega HQ that says “Sonic can’t cry”, but there are guidelines that say he should control his emotions. These rules can be bent, as we saw in Chip ‘N Dale, but it looks like Sega isn’t in a rush to let Sonic cry. Blue Blur might be able to revel in his cameos, but in the main series, he’ll likely stay the same for years to come.

Next: Cyberpunk 2077’s Dialogue System Doesn’t Get Almost Enough Credits

star field

Starfield ‘Leak’ Confirms It Will Have Doors, Fans Excite

Read More

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: