The Sonic universe (ソニック, Sonic) refers to the Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from the world famous media franchise owned by Sega and centered on its company mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog. This had been easily the most anticipated new franchise for inclusion in the Nintendo-based fighting game series and is considered the biggest "rival" franchise to Mario. Its logo is a silhouette of Sonic's head, similar to the logo of Sonic Team.
As Sega's 16-bit console, the Genesis, was launched by 1990, Sega decided it needed to develop a killer-app for the system that could effectively combat the 1991 launch of the Super Nintendo console and its hit pack-in game, Super Mario World. It put into effect "Project Million Seller", where a small team of developers, prominent among them programmer Yuji Naka, developed a side-scrolling platforming game named Sonic the Hedgehog. The game indeed sold millions as the pack-in title for Genesis systems, thanks in no small part to design elements that were welcomely radical and fresh for their time: lengthy-yet-timed action-based levels where the object is to get to the end before time runs out, and the main character runs and jumps very fast through these levels to bounce off of and roll through enemies and obstacles while avoiding pits and spikes and bouncing off springs. This character, the anthropomorphic blue hedgehog and 'tude-filled speed demon named Sonic, was endearingly established as Sega's mascot and answer to Nintendo's Mario and helped ensure the Genesis' place as the primary contender to the SNES in what would be remembered as one of gaming's most memorable "console wars".
As one would expect for such a smash hit character and game franchise, sequels were in order, and a steady stream of Sonic sequels, spin-offs, and alternative media was released in all of the following years for all Sega-owned systems. The "real" sequels to Sonic the Hedgehog were generally the most successful for expanding on both the core gameplay and the characterization and world design. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 introduced many Sonic staples, such as Sonic's Spin Dash ability to charge forward at full-throttle, Sonic's Super Transformation ability to become a faster and strong gold-colored version called Super Sonic, and a CPU-controlled sidekick to follow and assist Sonic, which in this case is the young two-tailed fox Miles "Tails" Prower. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 thoroughly revamped the gameplay and presentation and introduced Sonic's hero rival Knuckles the Echidna, and Sonic & Knuckles was a direct and physical continuation that was the first and only Genesis cartridge to have another Genesis cartridge insertable onto it. Locking Sonic 3 into Sonic & Knuckles created a huge Sonic quest where Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles were all separate playable characters.
Time would not be so merciful to Sonic's career and Sega's standing in the game industry in the years afterward, though. A lot of spin off games for Genesis and other less successful Sega systems like the Sega Saturn took the franchise in various different directions such as isometric platforming and adventure-based racing, and also introduced more characters, but the games were not appreciated as much as the main series by fans and critics alike. Sonic had a magnificent resurgence on Sega's better-handled Dreamcast console with its premiere title Sonic Adventure, successfully pulling off a fully 3D adventure game that physically remodeled Sonic's character design and yet felt worthy of the Sonic name. In spite of great hardware and software in the Dreamcast, the system and Sega itself were ultimately defeated by the competition in the form of the powerful Sony PlayStation brand (with franchises like Metal Gear Solid) and the phenomenal popularity of Nintendo's Pokémon franchise, and Sega ultimately shifted its company focus to strictly a software publisher.
Now a developer for companies once considered its rivals, Sega resumed developing a steady stream of Sonic titles and releasing them for all three main competing hardware publishers - Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, though it started exclusively for Nintendo with Sonic Adventure 2: Battle being the first Sonic game for the GameCube. Some of these games would be critically acclaimed, some viewed as mediocre, and some widely panned, and standout Sonic games on Nintendo systems include the Sonic Advance series for Game Boy Advance, Sonic Rush for DS, and Sonic and the Secret Rings for Wii. As a franchise, Sonic remains one of gaming's most recognizable, and for this reason Sonic the Hedgehog has even appeared in crossover games by popular demand. Three Wii titles are especially notable: one is Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, a track-and-field-style sports title featuring characters from the Mario universe and the Sonic universe competing against each other; its sequel, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games; and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, featuring characters from many universes as playable fighters, with Sonic among those playable.
Although popular worldwide, Sonic is not as famous in Japan. As a nod to his international popularity, Sonic will say various English phrases even in his games' Japanese audio track.
As of the 2010s, Sega began to collaborate further with the Sonic fanbase on a larger scale, including fans who have developed modified versions of the Genesis games among other fan projects. This started with highly upgraded, official remasterings of Sonic 1, 2 and CD for mobile phone platforms by Christian "The Taxman" Whitehead, a prolific Sonic ROM hacker who developed the Retro Engine on which the phone versions of those games were developed on. Another well known Sonic fan included in the process was Simon "Stealth" Thomley, famous for his Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 1 rom hack, which used technical tricks to insert Knuckles into the first game when Sega was unable to. This culminated in 2017's Sonic Mania, a 2D throwback game developed by Whitehead and Thomley with Sega's approval and assistance, along with PagodaWest Games, music by Youtube user Tee Lopes and an intro animated by artist Tyson Hesse, famous for his parody comic "Hedgehog the Sonic" and later artist for the official Sonic comics, all resulting in a game that head developers Yuji Naka and Takashi Iizuka approved of, with Iizuka declaring it "by the Mania, for the Mania." This co-existence with the fanbase later culminated in the game's Mania Plus update, which reintroduced long obscure fan favourite characters Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel, characters that had appeared in less known Sonic spinoff games but were forgotten about by Sega (while Mighty and Ray debuted in the arcade game Segasonic, only Mighty managed a second game in Knuckles Chaotix. Ray was almost completely forgotten up until Mania Plus.) A web-series of animated shorts called Sonic Mania Adventures was also created which helped reintroduce Mighty and Ray to modern audiences. These shorts were developed by the game's main team including Hesse on animation and Lopes on music.
The Sonic game franchise is a widely ranging series of games and other media covering many genres and formats, and if the characters and world consistent among them were taken away, there would seem to be several games and sub-series unrelated to each other and to the "main" series of side-scrolling platformers left behind as a result. Sonic and related properties have appeared in games covering genres such as side-scrolling, 3D adventure, racing, party-gaming, pinball, sports, and fighting. What is generally consistent among all Sonic games is a sense of speed and fast pacing, and gameplay and action is generally emphasized over voluminous characterization and overwrought storytelling. A sense of "attitude" and "coolness" pervades each Sonic title as well.
The Sonic franchise comprises several separate continuities and alternative interpretations. In many cases, the games are not groupable together by "storyline". In general the franchise depicts a world where characters are wildly anthropomorphic and colorful animals who speak and interact just like normal people (similar to the Star Fox universe). "Normal humans" also exist in the Sonic world, however, and the primary antagonist of the series is a "mad scientist"-style human named Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik who repeatedly attempts to take over the world with an army of robots and a Death Star-inspired super-weapon named the Death Egg, and his nemesis Sonic must thwart his schemes time and time again, collecting power-ups like Gold Rings and powerful artifacts called the Chaos Emeralds along the way. Recent Sonic games have explored different and more involved styles of storytelling and added new characters of good and evil affinities, much like recent Mario games.
List of games in Sonic franchise
- Sonic The Hedgehog (1991, Sega Genesis)
- Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (1992, Sega Genesis)
- Sonic CD (1993, Sega CD)
- Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (1994, Sega Genesis)
- Sonic & Knuckles (1994, Sega Genesis)
- Sonic Adventure (1998, Sega Dreamcast)
- Sonic Adventure 2 (2001, Sega Dreamcast)
- Sonic Heroes (2003, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube)
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2006, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
- Sonic Unleashed (2008, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii)
- Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode I (2010, iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
- Sonic Colors (2010, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS)
- Sonic Generations (2011, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS)
- Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II (2012, iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
- Sonic Lost World (2013, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PC)
- Sonic Mania (2017, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
- Sonic Mania Plus (2018, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC)
- Sonic Forces (2017, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC)
- Sonic Forces Speed Battle (2017, iOS, Android
Sonic Racing series
- Sonic Drift (1994, Game Gear)
- Sonic Drift 2 (1996, Game Gear)
- Sonic R (1997, Sega Saturn)
- Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (2010, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360)
- Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (2012, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation Vita)
- Team Sonic Racing (2018, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch)
Sonic Advance series
- Sonic Advance (2002, Game Boy Advance)
- Sonic Advance 2 (2003, Game Boy Advance)
- Sonic Advance 3 (2004, Game Boy Advance)
Sonic Riders series
- Sonic Riders (2005, Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC)
- Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (2008, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2)
- Sonic Free Riders (2010, Xbox 360)
Sonic Rivals series
- Sonic Rivals (2006, PlayStation Portable)
- Sonic Rivals 2 (2007, PlayStation Portable)
Sonic Rush series
- Sonic Rush (2005, Nintendo DS)
- Sonic Rush Adventure (2007, Nintendo DS)
Sonic Storybook series
- Sonic and The Secret Rings (2007, Nintendo Wii)
- Sonic and The Black Knight (2009, Nintendo Wii)
Mario & Sonic series (crossover)
- Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (2007, Nintendo Wii; 2008, Nintendo DS)
- Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (2010, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS)
- Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (2011, Nintendo Wii; 2012, Nintendo 3DS)
- Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games (2014, Nintendo Wii U)
- Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (2016, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Arcade)
Other Spinoff games
- Sonic Eraser (1991, Sega Genesis)
- Sonic Chaos (1993, Game Gear)
- Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball (1993, Sega Genesis)
- Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (1993, Sega Genesis)
- SegaSonic the Hedgehog (1993, Arcade)
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble (1994, Game Gear)
- Knuckles' Chaotix (1995, Sega 32X)
- Tails' Skypatrol (1995, Game Gear)
- Tails Adventure (1995, Game Gear)
- Sonic Labyrinth (1995, Game Gear)
- Sonic Blast (1996, Game Gear)
- Sonic 3D Blast 1966, Game Gear)
- Sonic the Fighters (1996, Arcade)
- Sonic Shuffle (2000, Sega Dreamcast)
- Sonic Pinball Party (2003, Game Boy Advance)
- Sonic Battle (2003, Game Boy Advance)
- Sonic Jump (2005, Mobile)
- Shadow The Hedgehog (2005, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube)
- Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (2008, Nintendo DS)
- Sonic Dash (2013, Android, iOS)
- Sonic Jump Fever (2014, Android, iOS)
- Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (2014, Nintendo Wii U)
- Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (2014, Nintendo 3DS)
- Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom (2015, Android, iOS)
- Sonic Runners (2015, Android, iOS)
- Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice (2016, Nintendo 3DS)
There is no verifiable mention of anything Sonic related in Melee at all, in spite of the infamous rumor detailed below. However when Yuji Naka was asked if Sonic had appeared in Melee in an interview with Edge Magazine, he stated that "It was very close, but time constraints did not allow us to continue with the idea." 
Sonic & Tails Rumor
In the April 2002 edition of the video game magazine EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly), an Aprils Fool's claim was that Sonic and Tails, the two biggest mascots of the game company Sega, could be unlocked as playable characters in the game Super Smash Bros. Melee by defeating 20 or more Fighting Wire Frames in Cruel Melee.
Players have proven this rumor false both in premise and in practice. It would be highly unlikely that Sega (which, during Melee's development, was not yet a full-fledged third party company, and thus was in competition with Nintendo) would sell its characters for use in a Nintendo game. There are no provisions to include Sonic and Tails in Melee's All-Star Mode (which showcases every playable character in the game), and an in-game message also indicates that Mr. Game & Watch is the last unlockable character (or whoever the player unlocks last). In addition, another message tells the player that they have unlocked every trophy. As beating single-player modes with Sonic and Tails would yield new trophies, this is impossible. Along with all of this, hacking the game reveals absolutely no data of Sonic or Tails existing in the game.
Additionally, Cruel Melee strategies showed very quickly that Sonic and Tails did not appear after obtaining 20 kills - in particular, a video of a Japanese player KO'ing 565 Wire Frames with Pikachu, along with an older video of a Danish player getting 10,000 kills with Samus disproved the rumor spectacularly. They can be seen here and here.
The Sonic franchise makes a sensational debut in the Smash Bros. series in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- Sonic the Hedgehog: The eponymous star of the franchise was the most anticipated and requested third-party character for Brawl. His appearance is based on the Modern Sonic appearance in later Sonic games, such as Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Sonic Unleashed. Seemingly as expected, he is a character who emphasizes speed, and has been compared to Fox and Falco in Melee. His Final Smash is Super Sonic which utilizes the seven Chaos Emeralds to transform him and fly around the stage, ramming into opponents at high speeds.
On the final character select screen (after all characters are unlocked), Sonic occupies the ninth column (miscellaneous characters) along with Mr. Game & Watch, Snake, and the random option.
- Shadow the Hedgehog: Shadow uses Chaos Control on the battlefield, which causes the movement of opponents to slow down.
- Green Hill Zone : Based on the first level of the first game. The stage is based almost entirely around a huge crater like formation at the center. The bottom areas of the dip are destructible and break away in squares. A checkpoint Star Post appears at certain places in random intervals which can be struck to make it spin, damaging enemies who touch it, other than the one that attacked it, unless it's a team battle, then it applies for all teammates. Also, Tails, Silver, and Knuckles make a cameo in the background of this stage.
- Green Hill Zone - Original Sega Genesis version from the actual level. It is the theme for the Green Hill Zone stage.
- Angel Island Zone: The theme of Angel Island Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 3, completely redone by Jun Senoue, the composer of the music for the Sonic Adventure titles. It is used on the Green Hill Zone stage. This is the only Sonic the Hedgehog remix made for Brawl.
- Scrap Brain Zone - Taken directly from the original Sonic the Hedgehog, this was the theme to the game's last area. It is used on the Green Hill Zone stage.
- Emerald Hill Zone - Original Sega Genesis version from the 1st level of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It is used on the Green Hill Zone stage.
- Sonic Boom - The main theme of the American version of Sonic CD which played during the opening movie, this song is taken directly from said game. It is used on the Green Hill Zone stage.
- Super Sonic Racing - Background music and main theme taken directly from the lesser known Sonic racing game Sonic R. It is used on the Green Hill Zone stage.
- Open Your Heart - The main theme of Sonic Adventure, this is a looped version of the very same song from said game. It is used on the Green Hill Zone stage.
- Live and Learn - The popular main theme of Sonic Adventure 2, it was performed by Crush 40, the same people who did Open Your Heart. It is used on the Green Hill Zone stage.
- Sonic Heroes - Also performed by the same band as the above two songs, this was the main theme of the game of the same name. It is used on the Green Hill Zone stage.
- Right There, Ride On - Taken directly from the first Sonic DS title known as Sonic Rush, this was the background music to the Leaf Storm levels. It is used on the Green Hill Zone stage.
- HIS WORLD (Instrumental) - An instrumental version of Sonic's theme from the next generation Sonic the Hedgehog title for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It is used on the Green Hill Zone stage. It is unlocked by playing on the Green Hill Zone stage 10 times.
- Seven Rings in Hand - Taken directly from Sonic's first Wii title Sonic & The Secret Rings, this was the main theme to that game. It is used on the Green Hill Zone stage. This song also plays during Sonic's Classic Mode credits.
- Sonic's victory theme - The victory fanfare of Sonic is an orchestration of the "Level Clear" theme from various Sonic the Hedgehog titles, with it originating in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. This version is taken directly from the next generation Sonic the Hedgehog for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, making it the only victory music directly imported from another game.
- Amy Rose
- Blaze the Cat
- Cream the Rabbit
- Dr. Eggman
- Jet the Hawk
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Shadow the Hedgehog
- Silver the Hedgehog
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Super Sonic
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Amy Rose
- Big the Cat
- Blaze the Cat
- Charmy Bee
- Classic Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog JP Ver.)
- Classic Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog US Ver.)
- Cream the Rabbit and Cheese the Chao
- Dr. Eggman
- Erazor Djiin
- Espio the Chameleon
- Gamma (E-102)
- Jet the Hawk
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Metal Sonic
- Omega (E-123)
- Rouge the Bat
- Shadow the Hedgehog
- Shahra the Genie
- Silver the Hedgehog
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Storm the Albatross
- Super Sonic
- Tikal the Echidna
- Vector the Crocodile
- Wave the Swallow
Note: With the exception of the Classic Sonic, Sharhra the Genie and Erazor Djiin stickers, all the sticker art is character artwork that originates from Sonic Channel, the official Japanese website for the Sonic franchise.
The Sonic the Hedgehog series returns for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, bringing the same character and a new stage. This makes it the first third party franchise to appear in multiple installments of the Super Smash Bros. series.
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic returns in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, using the same special moves from Brawl, as well as his Final Smash. In addition, Sonic has a new down smash and his dash attack was slightly changed: for his down smash he performs a split-kick, and for his dash attack he performs a scissor-kick at the end. His appearance is now based on his refined appearance that debuted in Sonic Unleashed and recently Sonic Lost World, which in turn is based on official 2D and CGI artworks.
- Shadow the Hedgehog: Shadow the Hedgehog returns as an Assist Trophy. Like in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he uses Chaos Control to slow everyone down, except the one character who summoned him.
- Eggrobo: Eggrobos appear as enemies in Smash Run in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. They act similar to how they did in their original appearance in Sonic & Knuckles.
- Green Hill Zone: The first level of Sonic the Hedgehog, Green Hill Zone, retains its appearance and mechanics from Brawl.
Wii U Version
- Windy Hill Zone: The first level of Sonic Lost World, Windy Hill Zone, appears as a new stage exclusively for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
- Green Hill Zone: The theme of the first level of Sonic the Hedgehog, Green Hill Zone. It plays in Green Hill Zone in the Nintendo 3DS version and on Windy Hill Zone in the Wii U version.
- Angel Island Zone: A remix of the music for Angel Island Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. It plays in Windy Hill Zone.
- Open Your Heart: Sonic Adventure theme song performed by Crush 40. It plays in Windy Hill Zone.
- Escape from the City: The theme of the City Escape stage from Sonic Adventure 2. It plays in Windy Hill Zone.
- Live & Learn: The main theme of Sonic Adventure 2, performed by Crush 40. It plays as an alternate music in Green Hill Zone in the Nintendo 3DS version and on Windy Hill Zone in the Wii U version.
- Sonic Heroes: Sonic Heroes theme song performed by Crush 40. It plays in Windy Hill Zone. Additionally, this track is played in Sonic's reveal trailer.
- Right There, Ride On: The theme of the first level in Sonic Rush, Leaf Storm. It plays in Windy Hill Zone.
- His World (Instrumental): An instrumental version of Sonic's theme for the next generation title Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). It plays in Windy Hill Zone.
- Seven Rings in Hand: The main theme of Sonic and the Secret Rings. It plays in Windy Hill Zone.
- Knight of the Wind: The theme of Sonic and the Black Knight, performed by Crush 40. It plays in Windy Hill Zone.
- Reach For The Stars: Sonic Colors theme song performed by Cash Cash. It plays in Windy Hill Zone.
- Rooftop Run: The theme of the Rooftop Run stage in Sonic Generations. It plays in Windy Hill Zone.
- Wonder World: The title screen theme of Sonic Lost World. It plays in Windy Hill Zone.
- Windy Hill - Zone 1: Act 1 theme of the Windy Hill Zone in Sonic Lost World. It plays in Windy Hill Zone.
- Victory! Sonic the Hedgehog Series: An orchestrated remix directly ripped from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) which is based off the tune that plays when Sonic passed an Act in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- Sonic the Hedgehog / Sonic
- Sonic (Alt.)
- Shadow / Shadow the Hedgehog
- Dr. Eggman
- Tails / Miles "Tails" Prower
- Amy / Amy Rose
- Knuckles / Knuckles the Echidna
- Cream & Cheese / Cream the Rabbit
- Blaze / Blaze the Cat
- Jet / Jet the Hawk
- Silver / Silver the Hedgehog
- Metal Sonic
- Vector / Vector the Crocodile
- Charmy / Charmy Bee
- Espio / Espio the Chameleon
- Big / Big the Cat
- Rouge / Rouge the Bat
- Omega / Omega E-123
Wii U Version
Games with elements from or in Super Smash Bros.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Green Hill Zone and its respective music appears, as well as Sonic himself.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Tails, who originated in this title, can be seen in the background of the stage, Green Hill Zone. In addition, the music for the Emerald Hill Zone can be heard, unaltered, in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Plus, Super Sonic, Sonic's Final Smash, made its first appearance here.
Sonic's side Taunt "You're too slow!" and running animation come from Sonic CD, when Sonic charges his "Strike Dash", an ability that Sonic charge his run and make it faster.
Sonic the Fighters
Many elements from this game are used for Sonic in Super Smash Bros Brawl:
- Sonic's A attacks are based on the "punch, punch, kick" move he used in this game.
- Sonic's Dash attack is based on a similar move from this game in which the player has to run and attack.
- All of Sonic's tilts are based on moves he used in this game.
- Sonic's Neutral, Forward, and Down air attacks are based on moves he used in this game.
- Sonic's Forward Smash is based on a move he used in this game.
- Sonic's Down throw is based on a move he used in this game.
- Sonic first wall-jumped in this game; thus, that ability is given to him in Brawl.
Sonic Adventure 2
Shadow the Hedgehog, who made his debut in this game, appears as an assist trophy. The games main theme song "Live & Learn" can also be heard in Green Hill Zone.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (2006)
Silver the Hedgehog, who debuted in this game, can be seen running in the background of Green Hill Zone, and the instrumental version of the games main theme "His World" can be heard in the same level. Sonic's victory fanfare is taken directly from the games "level clear" screen.
Sonic Lost World
Windy Hill is a stage representing the Sonic universe in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
Sonic and other characters use artwork from newer Sonic games, like Sonic Adventure, Sonic Advance, and Sonic Rush. Respective stickers and trophies also appear.