Sonic the Hedgehog is known for several elements in his adventures: speed, evil robotic doctor, and ’90s-style attempts to deliver an environmental message. The latter usually manifests in Sonic freeing small animals from the clutches of Robotnik or Eggman, but this raises some questions about the game’s setting.
As a franchise, Sonic has recently experienced a bit of a renaissance, with the release of several popular film adaptations that introduced many new fans to the games that inspired the film. As a result, some might wonder where exactly Sonic the game takes place, i.e. in relation to where all the non-Robotnik humans are. Sega is terrible at answering this, and the franchise adaptation has not helped. Here’s what the game has to say about its settings, as well as how the different versions of Sonic have tackled the topic.
Sonic Games Are On Earth… Except When It’s Not There
Where is the problem Sonic The game takes place back to the original entry in the series on Sega Genesis. In Japan, these games are said to only take place in “Sonic’s World”, although the exact locations are mostly on the South Island. However, that wasn’t the case early in the series’ English localization, with Sonic’s planet explicitly stated as “Mobius.” This will be reflected in much of the American media for the franchise, whether it goes against the game or not.
Things changed when Sonic ran into the third dimension with Sonic Adventure. The game is clearly set on some version of Earth, as there are lots of humans in its relatively modern setting. The same goes for the sequel, which features the human military organization GUN as well as Eggman’s kin. This marks the point where the continuity of America and Japan is the same. However, the last game that had humans at this level was Sonic Unleashed. Since then, the franchise has had a bit of an aesthetic reversal.
Original Sonic the game has a much more natural setting, making them feel like a strange world full of anthropomorphic animals. Of course, this is made odd by the presence of non-humanoid animals like the Flickies, but the relatively cartoonish nature of the world makes for this not-so-subtle environment. Newer games like Sonic Color and Sonic Power has returned to this, featuring a natural-looking animal village with absolutely no humans apart from Eggman.
The last few years have given rise to the “two worlds” theory, which says that Sonic The game has two planets: Human Earth and Sonic’s world. It’s easy to traverse between these two worlds, which explains the history of the Robotnik family as well as Shadow the Hedgehog. Many fans didn’t like this idea and simply preferred the world of Sonic to be the Earth of humans, animals, and anthropomorphic animals. However, Sonic the Hedgehog comic book writer Ian Flynn has stated that this theory is no longer canon for the franchise, muddying the waters once again. Sonic Frontier may or may not feature humans in the lead role, reinforcing the favored idea that Sonic’s adventures are in an Earth version.
Adaptation Has Toggled Sonic’s World and Earth Apart
Back in the day, the greatest adaptation of Sonic is an American cartoon, too Archie comics monthly comic book. It uses the Mobius idea, although they do it in a different way. Comic books reveal that Mobius was once Earth, with an alien gene bomb that killed much of humanity. Most of the survivors mutated into Overlanders, while the world’s animal population became humanoid Mobians. 1993-1994 Sonic the Hedgehog the cartoon is meant to use something similar, with Mobius actually being the future Earth and not the alien planet Robotnik discovered.
The anime series sonic x did not name the world Sonic, but firmly established that it was separate from Earth. Control of Chaos via the Emerald of Chaos is a means of going back and forth between these worlds, which has never been officially stated but is likely the reason Eggman is in Sonic’s world. Live action Sonic the movie would also set this world apart from Earth — and to the surprise of fan service, Sonic’s world was actually called Mobius. Of course, this is unlikely to ever be referenced in the game, and with the supposed “two worlds” theory going out of the window, no one really knows where Sonic is doing it all the way.
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