Giving new meaning to “Worlds Unite.”
We’re all well aware that Archie and IDW comic writer Ian Flynn has mystical, arcane knowledge from the depths of Sega’s Sonic brand and world bible, and from working with the franchise for over 15 years. For fans that have a mighty need for the universe of Sonic the Hedgehog to be organized and documented and consistent… the upstream struggle has hit some rapids.
On the latest BumbleKast Q&A, Flynn responded to a listener question regarding duplicate locations among Sonic games such as Central City:
Crouse (reading): The two worlds apparently have the same locations like Central City. How does that work? Do they have all the same locations in terms of both cities and geographies, or is it just naturally formed locations like mountains and fields? […]
Flynn: I’m gonna say it again, forget about two worlds. I can’t specify why, just don’t worry about it anymore.BumbleKast Q&A July 26, 2010, 33:16, YouTube
Flynn goes on to talk broadly that multiple cities can have the same name, though without saying this is explicitly the case.
The concept of multiple worlds was often used to establish a single continuous through-line among games, explaining how Sonic goes from the setting of Sonic 1 to Sonic Adventure to Sonic Unleashed to Sonic Forces. The anime Sonic X explicitly uses this concept as the premise of the show, sending Sonic to the “human world” where a version of the events of Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, and Sonic Battle occur.
That said, Sega and Sonic Team are companies that have gone through leadership and design philosophy changes since the early 90s, and there may not be a convenient story explanation outside of “We as a company aren’t doing that anymore. We remember the old stuff, but we’re doing this now.”
However, there’s really only one true explanation.